Disapointed in my Df.

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brianric
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Disapointed in my Df.
7 months ago

I was shooting a Relay for Life last night to 6 AM this morning at a local college and decided to use my Df. I had it set up for flash, AF-C single point, center point, focus priority. The Df struggled to lock focus in what I would consider in light, while low, not all that bad. I had to switch to AF-S, and the red AF-assist illuminator in order to lock focus. When I had a small break in the action I replaced the Df with my D800. With the same initial setup the D800 nailed the focus instantaneously 100% of the time.

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T O Shooter
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 7 months ago

I've read a lot of fellows on here bragging about how good the AF is on the D6x0s and the Df.  But in reality it's a second tier AF. It has to show up somewhere coming up short compared to D4s, D800s, D700s.

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reginalddwight
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 7 months ago

If that happened to me, I would be disappointed as well.

Your experience resonates with what the DPR reviewers observed when testing the Df.  I recall they panned the Df for many things, including the AF performance. This is from the DPR review:

"Although rated down to -1EV, the performance of the Df's focus drops off significantly at even moderate indoor lighting levels. Even at an illumination level of around 4.5EV, we've found the camera has to 'hunt' to find focus, and the only reliable way of getting a shot was to use the central focus point to focus-and-recompose from a high-contrast point.

With a bit of perseverance, it will usually find focus eventually (even in genuinely low light), but the amount of work you need to put in to get it to focus is not really acceptable. Overall, the performance is not up to the standards you'd hope for from a camera costing this much money - especially one built around a sensor whose main appeal in this case is its low light performance."

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j_photo
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 7 months ago

brianric wrote:

I was shooting a Relay for Life last night to 6 AM this morning at a local college and decided to use my Df. I had it set up for flash, AF-C single point, center point, focus priority. The Df struggled to lock focus in what I would consider in light, while low, not all that bad. I had to switch to AF-S, and the red AF-assist illuminator in order to lock focus. When I had a small break in the action I replaced the Df with my D800. With the same initial setup the D800 nailed the focus instantaneously 100% of the time.

At some point as light decreases, the D800 should come out ahead. I would be interested to know at what exposure (shutter, aperture, ISO) were you seeing the problem?

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larrywilson
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to j_photo, 7 months ago

It sounds like the Df has the same setup for af as the d7000 which I got rid of because of many missed focused images.  A low light camera with an inadequate af???  Yes it is too much money if the af isn't up to the excellant sensor in the Df camera.

Larry

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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to T O Shooter, 7 months ago

T O Shooter wrote:

I've read a lot of fellows on here bragging about how good the AF is on the D6x0s and the Df. But in reality it's a second tier AF. It has to show up somewhere coming up short compared to D4s, D800s, D700s.

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brianric
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to Rservello, 7 months ago

Rservello wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

I've read a lot of fellows on here bragging about how good the AF is on the D6x0s and the Df. But in reality it's a second tier AF. It has to show up somewhere coming up short compared to D4s, D800s, D700s.

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Photography - It's a passion No other reason required.

And yet, knowing how to properly manual focus wins 100% of the time!

Ever been at a Relay for Life? Manual focus not going to help you shooting people moving on a track wat walking speeds.

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Rservello
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 7 months ago

brianric wrote:

Rservello wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

I've read a lot of fellows on here bragging about how good the AF is on the D6x0s and the Df. But in reality it's a second tier AF. It has to show up somewhere coming up short compared to D4s, D800s, D700s.

-- hide signature --

Photography - It's a passion No other reason required.

And yet, knowing how to properly manual focus wins 100% of the time!

Ever been at a Relay for Life? Manual focus not going to help you shooting people moving on a track wat walking speeds.

Anticipate distance. That's why it's etched on the barrel!  Action/sports photography existed long before auto focus. And so you believe sports photogs trust their camera to get their shots for them??

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brianric
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to reginalddwight, 7 months ago

reginalddwight wrote:

If that happened to me, I would be disappointed as well.

Your experience resonates with what the DPR reviewers observed when testing the Df. I recall they panned the Df for many things, including the AF performance. This is from the DPR review:

"Although rated down to -1EV, the performance of the Df's focus drops off significantly at even moderate indoor lighting levels. Even at an illumination level of around 4.5EV, we've found the camera has to 'hunt' to find focus, and the only reliable way of getting a shot was to use the central focus point to focus-and-recompose from a high-contrast point.

With a bit of perseverance, it will usually find focus eventually (even in genuinely low light), but the amount of work you need to put in to get it to focus is not really acceptable. Overall, the performance is not up to the standards you'd hope for from a camera costing this much money - especially one built around a sensor whose main appeal in this case is its low light performance."

I agree with you there, problem is you have people moving on a track at walking speeds, where even the central point was useless. I took a quick meter reading in the area where I wanted to shoot. F4.0 at 1/80 at ISO 3200.

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brianric
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to Rservello, 7 months ago

Rservello wrote:

brianric wrote:

Rservello wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

I've read a lot of fellows on here bragging about how good the AF is on the D6x0s and the Df. But in reality it's a second tier AF. It has to show up somewhere coming up short compared to D4s, D800s, D700s.

-- hide signature --

Photography - It's a passion No other reason required.

And yet, knowing how to properly manual focus wins 100% of the time!

Ever been at a Relay for Life? Manual focus not going to help you shooting people moving on a track wat walking speeds.

Anticipate distance. That's why it's etched on the barrel! Action/sports photography existed long before auto focus. And so you believe sports photogs trust their camera to get their shots for them??

And that's the excuse people give for a camera that doesn't focus squat diddly in low light. Tell me how you going to anticipate distance when you have 1,000 participants inside a gymnasium walking around in a recreation center at Rowan University.

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brianric
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to j_photo, 7 months ago

j_photo wrote:

brianric wrote:

I was shooting a Relay for Life last night to 6 AM this morning at a local college and decided to use my Df. I had it set up for flash, AF-C single point, center point, focus priority. The Df struggled to lock focus in what I would consider in light, while low, not all that bad. I had to switch to AF-S, and the red AF-assist illuminator in order to lock focus. When I had a small break in the action I replaced the Df with my D800. With the same initial setup the D800 nailed the focus instantaneously 100% of the time.

At some point as light decreases, the D800 should come out ahead. I would be interested to know at what exposure (shutter, aperture, ISO) were you seeing the problem?

I took a picture with no flash, and it was f/4.0 at 1/80 at ISO 3200.

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Felts
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 7 months ago

brianric wrote:

j_photo wrote:

brianric wrote:

I was shooting a Relay for Life last night to 6 AM this morning at a local college and decided to use my Df. I had it set up for flash, AF-C single point, center point, focus priority. The Df struggled to lock focus in what I would consider in light, while low, not all that bad. I had to switch to AF-S, and the red AF-assist illuminator in order to lock focus. When I had a small break in the action I replaced the Df with my D800. With the same initial setup the D800 nailed the focus instantaneously 100% of the time.

At some point as light decreases, the D800 should come out ahead. I would be interested to know at what exposure (shutter, aperture, ISO) were you seeing the problem?

I took a picture with no flash, and it was f/4.0 at 1/80 at ISO 3200.

I have to say I'm very surprised at this... I'm almost always shooting in darker conditions than this (f2.8, 1/60, ISO 6400) is very common for me. I shoot AF-S, centre point. I don't have any problems acquiring focus. I also don't feel like I'm 'bragging' about this either but just presenting my findings...

Lens selection has to play a part in the differing evaluation too;-)

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brianric
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to Felts, 7 months ago

Felts wrote:

brianric wrote:

j_photo wrote:

brianric wrote:

I was shooting a Relay for Life last night to 6 AM this morning at a local college and decided to use my Df. I had it set up for flash, AF-C single point, center point, focus priority. The Df struggled to lock focus in what I would consider in light, while low, not all that bad. I had to switch to AF-S, and the red AF-assist illuminator in order to lock focus. When I had a small break in the action I replaced the Df with my D800. With the same initial setup the D800 nailed the focus instantaneously 100% of the time.

At some point as light decreases, the D800 should come out ahead. I would be interested to know at what exposure (shutter, aperture, ISO) were you seeing the problem?

I took a picture with no flash, and it was f/4.0 at 1/80 at ISO 3200.

I have to say I'm very surprised at this... I'm almost always shooting in darker conditions than this (f2.8, 1/60, ISO 6400) is very common for me. I shoot AF-S, centre point. I don't have any problems acquiring focus. I also don't feel like I'm 'bragging' about this either but just presenting my findings...

Lens selection has to play a part in the differing evaluation too;-)

I had the Tamron 24-70/2.8 VC on the Df and 24-120/4.0 VR on the D800. Because the action was happening very fast at the Relay I needed to have instantaneously focusing to get the shot. I was losing too many shots where the students would make a goofy face or do something silly because the Df wouldn't focus lock where the D800 would.

When I do sports in the AF-C on the Df I have the priority selection for release, as I'm shooting at 5.5 fps, and don't care if the first shot or two are out of focus. When shooting with flash, I have the priority selection at focus, because I'm at single shot mode. The only thing that saved me until I had a chance to swap cameras was to set the Df in AF-S and use the AF illuminator from the flash in order to obtain focus. I was stunned at how the D800 had no problem focusing in the AF-C mode in the same lighting.

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David Rosser
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 7 months ago

brianric wrote:

reginalddwight wrote:

If that happened to me, I would be disappointed as well.

Your experience resonates with what the DPR reviewers observed when testing the Df. I recall they panned the Df for many things, including the AF performance. This is from the DPR review:

"Although rated down to -1EV, the performance of the Df's focus drops off significantly at even moderate indoor lighting levels. Even at an illumination level of around 4.5EV, we've found the camera has to 'hunt' to find focus, and the only reliable way of getting a shot was to use the central focus point to focus-and-recompose from a high-contrast point.

With a bit of perseverance, it will usually find focus eventually (even in genuinely low light), but the amount of work you need to put in to get it to focus is not really acceptable. Overall, the performance is not up to the standards you'd hope for from a camera costing this much money - especially one built around a sensor whose main appeal in this case is its low light performance."

I agree with you there, problem is you have people moving on a track at walking speeds, where even the central point was useless. I took a quick meter reading in the area where I wanted to shoot. F4.0 at 1/80 at ISO 3200.

That's about EV5 so your observations tie in well with DPReview conclusions quoted above.

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tommiejeep
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 7 months ago

Interesting, I've not had a problem yet but will have to experiment.  I shoot many functions in really low light, such as garden parties (candles and low watt paper lanterns) .

I had some problems with shooting a riverside function where the only light source was  a couple of 50watt bulbs about 15 mtrs behind me (or 150 mtrs across the river )... then I had to find some contrast on people wearing light clothing that was picking up at least some light.   A focus assist light on the Df would be nice .  So far I've only used the SB400 for fill and bounce.

Thanks for the heads up

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Paul P K
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Moving subjects at 1/80th ??
In reply to brianric, 7 months ago

brianric wrote:

j_photo wrote:

brianric wrote:

I was shooting a Relay for Life last night to 6 AM this morning at a local college and decided to use my Df. I had it set up for flash, AF-C single point, center point, focus priority. The Df struggled to lock focus in what I would consider in light, while low, not all that bad. I had to switch to AF-S, and the red AF-assist illuminator in order to lock focus. When I had a small break in the action I replaced the Df with my D800. With the same initial setup the D800 nailed the focus instantaneously 100% of the time.

At some point as light decreases, the D800 should come out ahead. I would be interested to know at what exposure (shutter, aperture, ISO) were you seeing the problem?

I took a picture with no flash, and it was f/4.0 at 1/80 at ISO 3200.

While I agree the D800 and D3 ( which I have so can real life and not just based on 'what I read on the internet' compare the DF with) have a better AF then the DF I totally disagree it sucks as much as is suggested by many of the 'experts' here.

Some time ago I had my first testrun with my DF and to push it to its limits AF wise I shot a catwalk show under far from ideal (lighting) circumstances in a shopping mall.

Didn't post the results here, but here's the link where I did http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1282709/0?keyword=catwalk#12227750 (yes exposure and postprocessing wise the pics aren't 100%, as for me it was just a test to muck around a bit before next day's serious shoot, and the pictures were posted for the models to have something for their Instagram and Facebook).

I found the DF was quite up to its task, but the same criteria for when shooting fast moving subjects with a D3 or D800 still applied:

- (fast) moving subjects under bad/low light means you have to slect an AF point which can handle the lower light level and consquently lower contrast that come with it ( and with the DF more then with the D800 and D3 that means the center one's as it simply does not have the same grade AF module)

- (fast) moving subject means faster shutterspeeds; 1/80 is really on the very edge . And yes, unfortunately shooting at a higher shutter speed means a wider aperture, or when shooting with flash and stopping down the lens consequently less availible light = darker pictures).

- I don't know what experience is the OP has with shooting moving subjects, but AF-S really isn't the way to shoot moving subjects (I have extensive experience shooting surf and castwalk so not just speaking from a theoretical point of view). Basically it means the camera locks focus on a certain spot. And in the milisecond between focus being locked and the picture being taken, chances are more then likely that the moving subject will have moved from the spot focussed on.  And being no longer is on the spot where the focus was locked on this inevitably means an OOF picture (that's why AF-S is recommended for more static subjects)

I would be interested to see the results of the OP, not just his complaints, and his camera set up and settings. As the DF has no AF assist (the red light on the front only is there for the selftimer and the lack of an AF assist light is another gripe against the DF much heard on the net) I wonder what AF  assist light he's referring to.

I can only then assume assume he shot with flash and available light mixed. And of course the combination of slow shutter speeds with a mix of flash and available light on one hand, and moving subjects on the other may very well result in a slight ghost image which may seem unsharp.

- To get the best AF results under bad light (or moving subjects), don't just activate the AF with the shutter release button. Personally if necessary I combine using the AF-On button with the shutter release ( some purists solely use the AF-On button) which basically means I have the picture already in focus with the AF-On button when I push the shutter release, rather then having the camera focus while I push the shutter release.

In general I find the DF when used in its own right (no it does not have the pixels for a high fashion double page magazine lay out, nor the AF and fps for sportsphotography) just as usefull as my D800 and D3.

But I give it extra points for the smaller size (as an old film shooter I love the F2AS like size and feeling) and tghe handling with old manual lenses ( as the lenses generally are smaller ten their modern AF counterparts, the balance between the smaller body and lens  feels better to me). Also being an old fart who grew up with dials for shutterspeed and ISO, and using the aperture ring on the lens, I don't really miss the 'modern' button and dial setup ( it still has enough of that though)

And of course it has theD4 sensor, which produces smaller files then the D800, which apart from superior higher ISO on still big enough files ( compare that with my D1H, only 2,7 MP!) also allows a more relaxed (= sloppy) shooting style.

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azotor
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to reginalddwight, 7 months ago

with low light focus capacity like this, the low light iso performance is a waste.

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Paul P K
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AF-S and self timer on a moving subject ?!!
In reply to brianric, 7 months ago

brianric wrote:

j_photo wrote:

brianric wrote:

I was shooting a Relay for Life last night to 6 AM this morning at a local college and decided to use my Df. I had it set up for flash, AF-C single point, center point, focus priority. The Df struggled to lock focus in what I would consider in light, while low, not all that bad. I had to switch to AF-S, and the red AF-assist illuminator in order to lock focus. When I had a small break in the action I replaced the Df with my D800. With the same initial setup the D800 nailed the focus instantaneously 100% of the time.

At some point as light decreases, the D800 should come out ahead. I would be interested to know at what exposure (shutter, aperture, ISO) were you seeing the problem?

I took a picture with no flash, and it was f/4.0 at 1/80 at ISO 3200.

I just reread my DF manual on the (lack of an) AF assist light on the DF and the function of the selftimer (the red illiminator light) and think I now understand why your pictures with the DF were not in focus.

Apart from the low shutter speed, and the use of AF-S on moving subjects, given the minimum self timer speed of 2 (!!) seconds it would be amazing if you have anything which would resemble an in focus shot.

Basically you lock you focus on a subject which then moves away (however slow) from the spot you were aiming for during the millisecond between focus lock and shutter release, while the shutter actually opens at least two seconds (the minimum selftimer setting)after the shutter release was pushed.

I don't want to sound hasty, but unless the set up was chosen for artistic purposes, this really does not sound a fault of the DF, but rather a clear case of operator mistake.

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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 7 months ago

brianric wrote:

Rservello wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

I've read a lot of fellows on here bragging about how good the AF is on the D6x0s and the Df. But in reality it's a second tier AF. It has to show up somewhere coming up short compared to D4s, D800s, D700s.

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Photography - It's a passion No other reason required.

And yet, knowing how to properly manual focus wins 100% of the time!

Ever been at a Relay for Life? Manual focus not going to help you shooting people moving on a track wat walking speeds.

Your best method for that is called the zone focus method.

1. You need to close down the aperture to increase the DOF

2. Set the lens focus to either a distance on the lens that you want to capture or focus on a stationary point at that distance.

3. Wait until the subject enters the "zone" and snap the shot.

It takes practice to do this, but you will get better at it and it is also a good technique for getting candid street shots.

Unfortunately, the Dƒ has nothing to offer for manual focus aids except the green dot, which is okay as along as the aperture is not wide open with a narrow depth of field.

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han47
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Re: AF-S and self timer on a moving subject ?!!
In reply to Paul P K, 7 months ago

Hallo Paul,

je hebt het, denk ik, mis wat betreft de setup van de OP.
He put a flashlight on the camera than changed AFc to AFs to use the flashes red focus assist light.
Then he would still have the choice to use the flash for exposure or just its assist light.
There's no talking of selftimer whatsoever.

Ciao, Han

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