Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?

Started 7 months ago | Questions
tlrfoto
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Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
7 months ago

As a hobbyist photographer my normal D5200 suits me just fine for 90% of what I like to shoot. I've had a couple recent opportunities to shoot some concerts and have realized that my D5200, while it does a passable job in low light (twilight etc.), it's sensor just isn't up to the task of holding the level of detail I'm looking for in the dynamic and often poor lighting conditions present at indoor concerts.

My question if I'm going to rent a FX camera for a weekend of concerts, which out of these three would be the best performance for the $$$, D4s (~$200), D800E (~$110), or Df (~$100)?

I realize the D4s is a powerhouse, but is the extra $100 worth it?

Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.

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Rogerlange
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

The d4s is the best for your particulate problem, high speed and very high ISO usability.

11 fps is nice to get the right facial expression.  The 800 is great for iso noise . But no where near the d4s, and the 4 fps will limit  your amount of useable  shots. The dr will do the job better than the d800 but not as well as the  d4s.

roger

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T O Shooter
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

tlrfoto wrote:

As a hobbyist photographer my normal D5200 suits me just fine for 90% of what I like to shoot. I've had a couple recent opportunities to shoot some concerts and have realized that my D5200, while it does a passable job in low light (twilight etc.), it's sensor just isn't up to the task of holding the level of detail I'm looking for in the dynamic and often poor lighting conditions present at indoor concerts.

My question if I'm going to rent a FX camera for a weekend of concerts, which out of these three would be the best performance for the $$$, D4s (~$200), D800E (~$110), or Df (~$100)?

I realize the D4s is a powerhouse, but is the extra $100 worth it?

Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.

Not that I shoot concerts, but sometimes the venue or type of concert can put parimeters on what you shoot.  Will there be any issues with the size of the body or the noise of the shutter?  Personally I have a D4 and an 800e ( + 700 ) and if size of body and shutter size are a non issue, then I would take D4S.

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PenPix
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

Do you need the vertical grip?  If you do a lot of vertical shots, you will find it an indispensable convenience.  I'm not a big fan of the screw-on grips because they've given me plenty of grief on my D700 and D200 (fried camera electronics and repairs to broken tabs that are half the price of the grip!)… and these were the actual Nikon brand ones. 

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George Payne Jr
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to PenPix, 7 months ago

Without question, D4s!

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tlrfoto
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

All,

The concerts I'll be shooting will all be at small venues (relatively speaking) and thankfully camera noise won't be an issue since they're all rock concerts, or otherwise extremely loud. The low-light AF performance and fps speed were already two factors driving me towards the D4s, and all your inputs confirmed that selection.

Thanks!

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jfriend00
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

You asked about performance per $$$.  That depends entirely how much various performance characteristics are worth to you.  Only you can answer that.

D4s - best low light performance, best AF, high fps, built-in grip, most $$$, most weight

D800 - very good AF, low fps, medium $$$

Df - best low light performance, moderate AF, have to adapt your style to unique controls (might be a challenge for a short rental), medium $$$

D610 - moderate AF, moderate fps, lowest $$$

As for high ISO ratings, all the latest generation Nikon FX cameras are pretty close in performance when you look at the overall image quality.  Here are the DXOMark high ISO ratings:

Df - 3279

D4s - 3074

D610 - 2925

D800 - 2853

D5200 - 1284

So, as you can see all four FX cameras are around 1.5 stops better than the 5200 with not a huge large difference among the different FX choices.  So, any FX camera will probably work equally well for high ISO performance.

If you want the large body, the hands-down best AF, or fast fps and are willing to pay for it, then the D4s is your only choice.

If you like the 36MP image size or you want the best AF that isn't the D4s, then the D800 is your choice.

Between the Df and D610, I'd say it's really a matter of which control style you want.  The two have the same lesser AF than the other FX options.  If it were me, I'd be concerned about renting a camera I was not familiar with the control style because you don't have a lot of time to get familiar with it and presumably you will sometimes need to operate the controls without a lot of light.  Low light AF might also be an issue.  If you want to save money and have familiar controls, the D610 will give you excellent low light performance for the least expensive rental.

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T O Shooter
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to jfriend00, 7 months ago

jfriend00 wrote:

You asked about performance per $$$. That depends entirely how much various performance characteristics are worth to you. Only you can answer that.

D4s - best low light performance, best AF, high fps, built-in grip, most $$$, most weight

D800 - very good AF, low fps, medium $$$

Df - best low light performance, moderate AF, have to adapt your style to unique controls (might be a challenge for a short rental), medium $$$

D610 - moderate AF, moderate fps, lowest $$$

As for high ISO ratings, all the latest generation Nikon FX cameras are pretty close in performance when you look at the overall image quality. Here are the DXOMark high ISO ratings:

Df - 3279

D4s - 3074

D610 - 2925

D800 - 2853

D5200 - 1284

So, as you can see all four FX cameras are around 1.5 stops better than the 5200 with not a huge large difference among the different FX choices. So, any FX camera will probably work equally well for high ISO performance.

If you want the large body, the hands-down best AF, or fast fps and are willing to pay for it, then the D4s is your only choice.

If you like the 36MP image size or you want the best AF that isn't the D4s, then the D800 is your choice.

Between the Df and D610, I'd say it's really a matter of which control style you want. The two have the same lesser AF than the other FX options. If it were me, I'd be concerned about renting a camera I was not familiar with the control style because you don't have a lot of time to get familiar with it and presumably you will sometimes need to operate the controls without a lot of light. Low light AF might also be an issue. If you want to save money and have familiar controls, the D610 will give you excellent low light performance for the least expensive rental.

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OP only asked between three choices; not four.

"Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?"

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jfriend00
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to T O Shooter, 7 months ago

T O Shooter wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

You asked about performance per $$$. That depends entirely how much various performance characteristics are worth to you. Only you can answer that.

D4s - best low light performance, best AF, high fps, built-in grip, most $$$, most weight

D800 - very good AF, low fps, medium $$$

Df - best low light performance, moderate AF, have to adapt your style to unique controls (might be a challenge for a short rental), medium $$$

D610 - moderate AF, moderate fps, lowest $$$

As for high ISO ratings, all the latest generation Nikon FX cameras are pretty close in performance when you look at the overall image quality. Here are the DXOMark high ISO ratings:

Df - 3279

D4s - 3074

D610 - 2925

D800 - 2853

D5200 - 1284

So, as you can see all four FX cameras are around 1.5 stops better than the 5200 with not a huge large difference among the different FX choices. So, any FX camera will probably work equally well for high ISO performance.

If you want the large body, the hands-down best AF, or fast fps and are willing to pay for it, then the D4s is your only choice.

If you like the 36MP image size or you want the best AF that isn't the D4s, then the D800 is your choice.

Between the Df and D610, I'd say it's really a matter of which control style you want. The two have the same lesser AF than the other FX options. If it were me, I'd be concerned about renting a camera I was not familiar with the control style because you don't have a lot of time to get familiar with it and presumably you will sometimes need to operate the controls without a lot of light. Low light AF might also be an issue. If you want to save money and have familiar controls, the D610 will give you excellent low light performance for the least expensive rental.

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OP only asked between three choices; not four.

"Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?"

And I included the D610 because it's a worthy consideration also - probably the most bang for the buck for high ISO performance and equivalent AF to the Df, yet more familiar controls than the Df. Is there a problem with expanding the options to include other relevant choices?

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T O Shooter
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to jfriend00, 7 months ago

jfriend00 wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

You asked about performance per $$$. That depends entirely how much various performance characteristics are worth to you. Only you can answer that.

D4s - best low light performance, best AF, high fps, built-in grip, most $$$, most weight

D800 - very good AF, low fps, medium $$$

Df - best low light performance, moderate AF, have to adapt your style to unique controls (might be a challenge for a short rental), medium $$$

D610 - moderate AF, moderate fps, lowest $$$

As for high ISO ratings, all the latest generation Nikon FX cameras are pretty close in performance when you look at the overall image quality. Here are the DXOMark high ISO ratings:

Df - 3279

D4s - 3074

D610 - 2925

D800 - 2853

D5200 - 1284

So, as you can see all four FX cameras are around 1.5 stops better than the 5200 with not a huge large difference among the different FX choices. So, any FX camera will probably work equally well for high ISO performance.

If you want the large body, the hands-down best AF, or fast fps and are willing to pay for it, then the D4s is your only choice.

If you like the 36MP image size or you want the best AF that isn't the D4s, then the D800 is your choice.

Between the Df and D610, I'd say it's really a matter of which control style you want. The two have the same lesser AF than the other FX options. If it were me, I'd be concerned about renting a camera I was not familiar with the control style because you don't have a lot of time to get familiar with it and presumably you will sometimes need to operate the controls without a lot of light. Low light AF might also be an issue. If you want to save money and have familiar controls, the D610 will give you excellent low light performance for the least expensive rental.

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OP only asked between three choices; not four.

"Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?"

And I included the D610 because it's a worthy consideration also - probably the most bang for the buck for high ISO performance and equivalent AF to the Df, yet more familiar controls than the Df. Is there a problem with expanding the options to include other relevant choices?

Yeah, there kind of is. OP had is list in place. I think he's aware that there was a D600/D610 option. My apologizes to him if he was unaware.

I know you D600 / D610 followers like to insert that body as a viable alternative but it's a fourth place body. Fifth if you go D4s, D4, D800, Df.

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jfriend00
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to T O Shooter, 7 months ago

T O Shooter wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

You asked about performance per $$$. That depends entirely how much various performance characteristics are worth to you. Only you can answer that.

D4s - best low light performance, best AF, high fps, built-in grip, most $$$, most weight

D800 - very good AF, low fps, medium $$$

Df - best low light performance, moderate AF, have to adapt your style to unique controls (might be a challenge for a short rental), medium $$$

D610 - moderate AF, moderate fps, lowest $$$

As for high ISO ratings, all the latest generation Nikon FX cameras are pretty close in performance when you look at the overall image quality. Here are the DXOMark high ISO ratings:

Df - 3279

D4s - 3074

D610 - 2925

D800 - 2853

D5200 - 1284

So, as you can see all four FX cameras are around 1.5 stops better than the 5200 with not a huge large difference among the different FX choices. So, any FX camera will probably work equally well for high ISO performance.

If you want the large body, the hands-down best AF, or fast fps and are willing to pay for it, then the D4s is your only choice.

If you like the 36MP image size or you want the best AF that isn't the D4s, then the D800 is your choice.

Between the Df and D610, I'd say it's really a matter of which control style you want. The two have the same lesser AF than the other FX options. If it were me, I'd be concerned about renting a camera I was not familiar with the control style because you don't have a lot of time to get familiar with it and presumably you will sometimes need to operate the controls without a lot of light. Low light AF might also be an issue. If you want to save money and have familiar controls, the D610 will give you excellent low light performance for the least expensive rental.

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OP only asked between three choices; not four.

"Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?"

And I included the D610 because it's a worthy consideration also - probably the most bang for the buck for high ISO performance and equivalent AF to the Df, yet more familiar controls than the Df. Is there a problem with expanding the options to include other relevant choices?

Yeah, there kind of is. OP had is list in place. I think he's aware that there was a D600/D610 option. My apologizes to him if he was unaware.

I know you D600 / D610 followers like to insert that body as a viable alternative but it's a fourth place body. Fifth if you go D4s, D4, D800, Df.

The OP asked a specific bang for the buck type question. The D610 belongs in that discussion as many would argue that it's a better bang for the buck than the Df. You apparently have a bias against the D610, but it serves the needs of many quite well. Obviously you don't like it, but given your inventory of cameras, you don't appear to be very price sensitive so perhaps you aren't considering the bang for the buck part of the question the OP is asking. In any case, I'll take my queues from the OP on this topic, not from you.

FYI, I don't own a D600/D610 so don't have any bias in favor of it.  I just thought it deserved to be in the conversation.

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Hugo First
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

How serious are you about your photos? What do you plan to do with them?

In some ways it sounds like your primary objective is just to try a high-end, FX body. Period.

If that's so, the D4s is at the top of the heap. It'll have the absolute best AF, FPS and low-light performance overall.

It is worth $100 more than the others?

How badly do you want to experience that level of performance?

I don't have a D4s -- or even a D4. I do have a D800 and a Df.

My view is that the Df is superior in really low light, but that any time you go to high ISO you notice that while colors are preserved especially well, the detail at 100 percent zoom is very, very smeared. And I don't just mean ISO 10,000!

D800, on the other hand, develops purple splotches in the shadows once you go up much about ISO 3200. If your venue can support ISOs not much higher than that, you can probably get better results than with a Df.

Since the sensor of the D4s is supposed to be somewhere close to the Df's, I'm guessing they'd share the same noise characteristics -- and some of the sample photos from the Olympics I saw suggest this is the case, but I can't attest to it by first-hand experience.

My gut feeling is, unless you're used to heavy bodies and all the features and control on the pro bodies, that you should stick with a Df for this time and see how it goes. I doubt you'll be dissatisfied with it, even though it isn't the be all and end all of cameras.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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T O Shooter
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Sorry, my mistake................
In reply to jfriend00, 7 months ago

jfriend00 wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

You asked about performance per $$$. That depends entirely how much various performance characteristics are worth to you. Only you can answer that.

D4s - best low light performance, best AF, high fps, built-in grip, most $$$, most weight

D800 - very good AF, low fps, medium $$$

Df - best low light performance, moderate AF, have to adapt your style to unique controls (might be a challenge for a short rental), medium $$$

D610 - moderate AF, moderate fps, lowest $$$

As for high ISO ratings, all the latest generation Nikon FX cameras are pretty close in performance when you look at the overall image quality. Here are the DXOMark high ISO ratings:

Df - 3279

D4s - 3074

D610 - 2925

D800 - 2853

D5200 - 1284

So, as you can see all four FX cameras are around 1.5 stops better than the 5200 with not a huge large difference among the different FX choices. So, any FX camera will probably work equally well for high ISO performance.

If you want the large body, the hands-down best AF, or fast fps and are willing to pay for it, then the D4s is your only choice.

If you like the 36MP image size or you want the best AF that isn't the D4s, then the D800 is your choice.

Between the Df and D610, I'd say it's really a matter of which control style you want. The two have the same lesser AF than the other FX options. If it were me, I'd be concerned about renting a camera I was not familiar with the control style because you don't have a lot of time to get familiar with it and presumably you will sometimes need to operate the controls without a lot of light. Low light AF might also be an issue. If you want to save money and have familiar controls, the D610 will give you excellent low light performance for the least expensive rental.

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OP only asked between three choices; not four.

"Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?"

And I included the D610 because it's a worthy consideration also - probably the most bang for the buck for high ISO performance and equivalent AF to the Df, yet more familiar controls than the Df. Is there a problem with expanding the options to include other relevant choices?

Yeah, there kind of is. OP had is list in place. I think he's aware that there was a D600/D610 option. My apologizes to him if he was unaware.

I know you D600 / D610 followers like to insert that body as a viable alternative but it's a fourth place body. Fifth if you go D4s, D4, D800, Df.

The OP asked a specific bang for the buck type question. The D610 belongs in that discussion as many would argue that it's a better bang for the buck than the Df. You apparently have a bias against the D610, but it serves the needs of many quite well. Obviously you don't like it, but given your inventory of cameras, you don't appear to be very price sensitive so perhaps you aren't considering the bang for the buck part of the question the OP is asking. In any case, I'll take my queues from the OP on this topic, not from you.

FYI, I don't own a D600/D610 so don't have any bias in favor of it. I just thought it deserved to be in the conversation.

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"Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?"

I thought the main crux of the thread wast the above. I also thought that would be where you were taking your queue from.

But no problem - my mistake. D610 it is then. Good sensor, good high ISO, decent AF. Maybe best bang for the buck. OP should have it on his list.

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Wahrsager
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

tlrfoto wrote:

As a hobbyist photographer my normal D5200 suits me just fine for 90% of what I like to shoot. I've had a couple recent opportunities to shoot some concerts and have realized that my D5200, while it does a passable job in low light (twilight etc.), it's sensor just isn't up to the task of holding the level of detail I'm looking for in the dynamic and often poor lighting conditions present at indoor concerts.

My question if I'm going to rent a FX camera for a weekend of concerts, which out of these three would be the best performance for the $$$, D4s (~$200), D800E (~$110), or Df (~$100)?

I realize the D4s is a powerhouse, but is the extra $100 worth it?

Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.

I think the D4s would be perfect for a concert and probably worth the money.  Try Group autofocus mode and set the Matrix Metering (Custom Settings Menu > b5 > turn Face detection on) and you'll nail those dimly-lit artists on stage.

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LD_50
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

If renting to determine whether to purchase, I'd recommend trying all three.

If you simply want to maximize photo quality this one time, I would go for the D4s unless you need huge print size or expect extensive cropping, in which case I'd go for the D800 and limit ISO a bit.

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toomanycanons
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

Renting any of those original three will impress you as to their high ISO capabilities.  I have a D5200 as well but it can't hold a candle to the D610 or Canon 6D.

If you rent a D4s, of course you're going to be impressed with it.  And the D800.  And the Df.  Which one can you afford to buy?

There was a thread here a few months ago, a guy was looking for the same thing you were and he tested side x side a D600 and a Canon 6D and he went with the 6D.  Just sayin'...

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calson
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

No gain with the D4s over the Df for low light shooting. The D800e will also provide comparable autofocus and the images are remarkably clean at ISO 6400 which is more than you actually will need as stage lighting is actually very bright - just set the exposures using manual mode.

When I first got my D800e one of the first things I did was test it be photographing light and dark skinned people under 3200-3400K lighting at ISO settings from 3200 up to 6400. I was surprised to see that at ISO 6400 there was less noise than with my D3 at that setting. The noise was there but it was so slight that it could easily be fixed in post processing.

The D4s will autofocus faster than the other two cameras but for theater or event shooting such as you plan to do it will not provide any real benefits. On the other hand with Nikon pro cameras the faster the fps capabilities of the camera the louder the shutter release will be. Live mode will help in this area though awkward to use in an event setting.

For fast low light autofocus and a much quieter shutter even in normal mode I like the D7100.

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larrywilson
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

If your considering buying one of the three and can afford the d4s, then rent one.  Maybe you should consider the d800 or d800e also for less than half the price of the d4s.  The d800 also has an excellent af and even if there is a little more noise on the d800, you can down sample and I bet the noise level will look the same as the d4s.  Actually unless your shooting over an iso of 3200 there should not be a problem with the d800.  With the battery grip on the d800 you can do 5 frames a second which should be fast enough for the concert.

I would think that the 51 point dynamic focus on the d4s or d800 is better than the 39 point af on the df, plus faster setting changes.

Larry

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Wahrsager
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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to calson, 7 months ago

calson wrote:

No gain with the D4s over the Df for low light shooting. The D800e will also provide comparable autofocus and the images are remarkably clean at ISO 6400 which is more than you actually will need as stage lighting is actually very bright - just set the exposures using manual mode.

When I first got my D800e one of the first things I did was test it be photographing light and dark skinned people under 3200-3400K lighting at ISO settings from 3200 up to 6400. I was surprised to see that at ISO 6400 there was less noise than with my D3 at that setting. The noise was there but it was so slight that it could easily be fixed in post processing.

The D4s will autofocus faster than the other two cameras but for theater or event shooting such as you plan to do it will not provide any real benefits. On the other hand with Nikon pro cameras the faster the fps capabilities of the camera the louder the shutter release will be. Live mode will help in this area though awkward to use in an event setting.

For fast low light autofocus and a much quieter shutter even in normal mode I like the D7100.

I disagree-  The Df autofocus in low-light is trash compared to a D4s.  I sent my Df back and bought a D4s basically because I wanted better autofocus.

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Re: Renting FX camera as a trial run: D4s vs D800E vs Df?
In reply to tlrfoto, 7 months ago

tlrfoto wrote:

All,

The concerts I'll be shooting will all be at small venues (relatively speaking) and thankfully camera noise won't be an issue since they're all rock concerts, or otherwise extremely loud. The low-light AF performance and fps speed were already two factors driving me towards the D4s, and all your inputs confirmed that selection.

Thanks!

If the size and weight are not a problem, then the D4s is the superior weapon.

If size is important, the Dƒ would be my next choice, but you lose frames per second.

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