Disapointed in my Df.

Started 5 months ago | Discussions
user_name
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 5 months ago

brianric wrote:

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.

Practice, practice, practice.

It's all you can do, but if you are determined to overcome the Dƒ limitations you have to resolve yourself to apply yourself 100% to that goal and not waste time complaining about something you can not fix.

We all know the Dƒ is less than perfect and I am not trying to belittle you for your despair, just try to make the most of what you have.

Someday something better will come along and some new kid will start complaining about how limited that new camera is and you can laugh and tell him in the old days of photography how we had to walk up hill both ways.

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Paul P K
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Re: AF-S and self timer on a moving subject ?!!
In reply to han47, 5 months ago

han47 wrote:

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

Hi Han

please read more carefully (In in this case what the OP wrote in red, not the manual)

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.

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Sutto
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The old story
In reply to brianric, 5 months ago

Yea - well you know the old story 'you can't take a boy along to do a man's job' - you get what you pay for.

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vladi1234567
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 5 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.

This is disappointing..  But thank you for sharing your findings - I've seen a couple of reviews where people were commenting on poor autofocus in low light, but none mentioned their meter readings.  This really helps to better understand the Df's limitations in low light..

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Nikonparrothead
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 5 months ago

brianric wrote:

Rservello wrote:

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.

I almost replied to this last  night. Moving on a track at walking speed eh? I checked to make sure you didn't start this on April 1.

Look, I saw your port and kudos for documenting all those charity events the way you do. And I realize we come from different backgrounds.

My screen of choice was a Beattie without a split image, so while focusing, all I could see was whether it was in or it was out. I spent more than two decades shooting sports with manual focus cameras -- basketball, football and track (for some reason it always seemed like the person I needed to shoot was part of a 4x100 or 4x200 relay, both indoors and outdoors) -- so I can't comprehend the difficulty of follow focus on a slow-moving subject, moving at a fairly consistent rate. Toss in that they're repeating that same motion for several hours and our versions of reality move farther apart.

I've tried rerwriting this next portion without sounding condescending but can't. I guess the bottom line is next year at this time you'll bring your D800 (or maybe your D3s -- that would have been my choice but I also don't own a D800) to Rowan University.

Be well.

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Fred Mueller
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What lens were you using ... ?
In reply to brianric, 5 months ago

AF performance is highly lens dependent. If you were using any of the AFS primes for instance - they are slow. Any one of the "Trinity" are much faster focusing lenses

(my advice is based on I assuming your DF and my D600 have "about" the same re AF performance)

I would have tried 9pt, AF-C, AF-on, release priority , JPG basic, ISO 6400 f5.6, NR on auto or high, and shoot multiples of each passing target @ shutter = H. Using AF-C and release priority 1 or 2 frames out od a 6 frame burst will likely be in focus - maybe even more. 9 pt gives a little wiggle room on a moving target for the camera to find a good contrast edge.

The 39 pt AF sensor is not quite as "sure" as all the 51 point bodies, but it is not terrible either. It tends to hunt a more - but more like "chattering" between a number of "opinions". Hard to get it to settle.

My D700 seems just a little bit slower, but "decides" right away and is usually accurate, and therefore more keepers.

good luck

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larrywilson
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to David Rosser, 5 months ago

Thanks David, that kind of confirms that the af on the df is not as good as with cameras with the 51 point dynamic focus system such as the d800 or d4.  The sensor in the df is wonderful, but the af is not top of the class.  My main thought is that we have excellent sensors now, but the af on all the modern Nikon cameras can be improved upon.

Larry

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Fred Mueller
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Re: What lens were you using ... ?
In reply to Fred Mueller, 5 months ago

almost forgot ... make sure "focus tracking with lock on" is off

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Rservello
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to Nikonparrothead, 5 months ago

Nikonparrothead wrote:

brianric wrote:

Rservello wrote:

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.

I almost replied to this last night. Moving on a track at walking speed eh? I checked to make sure you didn't start this on April 1.

Look, I saw your port and kudos for documenting all those charity events the way you do. And I realize we come from different backgrounds.

My screen of choice was a Beattie without a split image, so while focusing, all I could see was whether it was in or it was out. I spent more than two decades shooting sports with manual focus cameras -- basketball, football and track (for some reason it always seemed like the person I needed to shoot was part of a 4x100 or 4x200 relay, both indoors and outdoors) -- so I can't comprehend the difficulty of follow focus on a slow-moving subject, moving at a fairly consistent rate. Toss in that they're repeating that same motion for several hours and our versions of reality move farther apart.

I've tried rerwriting this next portion without sounding condescending but can't. I guess the bottom line is next year at this time you'll bring your D800 (or maybe your D3s -- that would have been my choice but I also don't own a D800) to Rowan University.

Be well.

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'Nice pen, bet you write good stories with it.'

A lot of people forget that a lot of professionals forsake auto focus for speed.  Auto anything is inefficient, and I personally, would rather miss the shot because I miscalculated, rather than the equipment failing me.

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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, 5 months ago

Hi Han

please read more carefully (In in this case what the OP wrote in red, not the manual)

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.

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Hi Paul,

still think he was using flash in AFc and then switched to AFs to have focus assist.

He wrote :I had it set up for flash, AF-C single point, center point, focus priority
Then he continued: I had to switch to AF-S, and the red AF-assist illuminator in order to lock focus

About ten messages later he wrote:I took a picture with no flash, and it was f/4.0 at 1/80 at ISO 3200.
But this was to describe the circomstances after someone asked about them.

Where do you think the red led from the selftimer comes in play.?

Btw. I don't use a Df nor did I read the manual for this particular thread.

Ciao, Han

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brianric
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to Nikonparrothead, 5 months ago

Nikonparrothead wrote:

brianric wrote:

Rservello wrote:

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.

I almost replied to this last night. Moving on a track at walking speed eh? I checked to make sure you didn't start this on April 1.

Look, I saw your port and kudos for documenting all those charity events the way you do. And I realize we come from different backgrounds.

My screen of choice was a Beattie without a split image, so while focusing, all I could see was whether it was in or it was out. I spent more than two decades shooting sports with manual focus cameras -- basketball, football and track (for some reason it always seemed like the person I needed to shoot was part of a 4x100 or 4x200 relay, both indoors and outdoors) -- so I can't comprehend the difficulty of follow focus on a slow-moving subject, moving at a fairly consistent rate. Toss in that they're repeating that same motion for several hours and our versions of reality move farther apart.

I've tried rerwriting this next portion without sounding condescending but can't. I guess the bottom line is next year at this time you'll bring your D800 (or maybe your D3s -- that would have been my choice but I also don't own a D800) to Rowan University.

I'll be using my D800. I was able to switch to the D800 half way through the Rowan Relay. I still have seven more Relays to shoot.

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brianric
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to user_name, 5 months ago

user_name wrote:

brianric wrote:

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.

Practice, practice, practice.

It's all you can do, but if you are determined to overcome the Dƒ limitations you have to resolve yourself to apply yourself 100% to that goal and not waste time complaining about something you can not fix.

We all know the Dƒ is less than perfect and I am not trying to belittle you for your despair, just try to make the most of what you have.

I realize now that the Df is useless in low light for my type of photography, so I'll use my D800 in the future. Funny thing is the Df did fine at the Stockton College Relay for Life two months earlier under a lot better lighting conditions.

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brianric
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to Rservello, 5 months ago

Rservello wrote:

Nikonparrothead wrote:

brianric wrote:

Rservello wrote:

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.

I almost replied to this last night. Moving on a track at walking speed eh? I checked to make sure you didn't start this on April 1.

Look, I saw your port and kudos for documenting all those charity events the way you do. And I realize we come from different backgrounds.

My screen of choice was a Beattie without a split image, so while focusing, all I could see was whether it was in or it was out. I spent more than two decades shooting sports with manual focus cameras -- basketball, football and track (for some reason it always seemed like the person I needed to shoot was part of a 4x100 or 4x200 relay, both indoors and outdoors) -- so I can't comprehend the difficulty of follow focus on a slow-moving subject, moving at a fairly consistent rate. Toss in that they're repeating that same motion for several hours and our versions of reality move farther apart.

I've tried rerwriting this next portion without sounding condescending but can't. I guess the bottom line is next year at this time you'll bring your D800 (or maybe your D3s -- that would have been my choice but I also don't own a D800) to Rowan University.

Be well.

-- hide signature --

'Nice pen, bet you write good stories with it.'

A lot of people forget that a lot of professionals forsake auto focus for speed. Auto anything is inefficient, and I personally, would rather miss the shot because I miscalculated, rather than the equipment failing me.

Or don't use the equipment that's failing me and use the equipment that's capable of doing the job.

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brianric
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to user_name, 5 months ago

user_name 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.

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.

And get 50 good shots instead of the 336 shots that I actually got by switching to the D800.

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brianric
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to David Rosser, 5 months ago

David Rosser wrote:

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.

In a well lit gymnasium the Df worked great as I had no problem at Stockton College Relay. Unfortunately for me the Rowan University Rec Center lighting is poor. I always go with a backup, so it was easy to switch cameras. Thanks for telling me what EV the lighting was.

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larrywilson
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to brianric, 5 months ago

Basically if the df has the same af system as the d7000 with its 39 point dynamic af, then the df does not have the auto focus excellence to match the excellent sensor.  Come on, manual focusing on an action activity is not good.  Most of the images will miss good focus.  I got rid of the d7000 because of its inadequate auto focus.  Probably best to use your d800 for conditions like the events your shooting.  The df really isn't meant for this type of photography.

Larry

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lickity split
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Re: Disapointed in my Df.
In reply to Rservello, 5 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!

Maybe you should go check lens barrels that were produced in the 21st century...

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: Moving subjects at 1/80th ??
In reply to Paul P K, 5 months ago

Paul P K 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.

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)

If you read the original post, I had to switch to AF-S and use the AF illuminator on the flash to get the camera to focus properly. I've been shooting events since 2006, so I have plenty experience shooting moving 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.

My SB-900.

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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all in a day's work
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/

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brianric
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Re: AF-S and self timer on a moving subject ?!!
In reply to Paul P K, 5 months ago

Paul P K 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 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.

Operator mistake in depending on the Df.

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michaeladawson
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Re: AF-S and self timer on a moving subject ?!!
In reply to han47, 5 months ago

han47 wrote

Hi Paul,

still think he was using flash in AFc and then switched to AFs to have focus assist.

He wrote :I had it set up for flash, AF-C single point, center point, focus priority
Then he continued: I had to switch to AF-S, and the red AF-assist illuminator in order to lock focus

About ten messages later he wrote:I took a picture with no flash, and it was f/4.0 at 1/80 at ISO 3200.
But this was to describe the circomstances after someone asked about them.

Where do you think the red led from the selftimer comes in play.?

I don't think it does.  He was using flash most of the time.  When he refers to AF assist light I believe he is talking about the assist light on the flash.  Nowhere in his post does he mention self-timer.

Btw. I don't use a Df nor did I read the manual for this particular thread.

Ciao, Han

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Mike Dawson

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