AF performance vs. 8 competitors

Started Oct 27, 2008 | Discussions thread
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SDF Senior Member • Posts: 2,131
AF performance vs. 8 competitors

Source: fotoMAGAZIN (Germany) (fotoMagazin), Nr. 5/2008, p30ff.

Results

Gear:

  • 40D: Canon 40D + EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM (3230,- € German list price)

  • 1D: Canon 1D-mkIII + EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM (6390,- € German list price)

  • 1Ds: Canon 1Ds-mkIII + EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM (10290,- € German list price)

  • D80: Nikon D80 + Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VR G IF-ED (3260,- € German list price)

  • D300: Nikon D300 + Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VR G IF-ED (4120,- € German list price)

  • D3: Nikon D3 + Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VR G IF-ED (7140,- € German list price)

  • E3: Olympus E3 + Zuiko 50-200 f/2.8-3.5 ED SWD (3100,- € German list price)

  • K20: Pentax K20D + DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED IF SDM (2180,- € German list price)

  • A700: Sony Alpha 700 + 70-200 f/2.8 G SSM (3800,- € German list price)

(Order and prices as chosen by original print, K20 has best price in the field due to affordable DA* lens.)

Result (Test #4 -- Relative ratio of out-of-focus shots, central AF):

1. A700: 2.1 %
2. 40D: 6.4 %
3. D3: 9.2 %
4. D300: 10.0 %
5. 1D: 11.7 %
6. 1Ds: 14.3 %
7. E3: 17.8 %
8. D80: 23.2 % (but 10.7 % with multi-field AF)
9. K20: 25.6 % (and 43.6 % with multi AF)

Result (Test #3 -- Absolute number of in-focus shots, central AF):

1. 1D: 30.2 images
2. D3: 21.6 images
3. 40D: 20.6 images
4. A700: 15.3 images
5. 1Ds: 15.0 images
6. D300: 13.5 images
7. D80: 8.6 images (10.7 with multi AF)
8. E3: 7.4 images
9. K20: 5.8 images
3.7 images (with multi-field AF, other multi-field AF results ommitted here)

Method:

  • Continous shots (burst, continous AF aka AF.C) of an approaching red Chrysler PT cruiser, tripod mounted and panned centering onto radiator grill. Photograph besides road. Road straight. Test done on a closed military airport.

  • Controlled speed: 100 km/h (62 mph).

Starting photo burst at 100m distance (109 yards, 328 ft). Stopping when passing by.
Time to drive through 100m: 3.6s.

  • Focal length: 35mm equivalent of 200mm (135mm for K20).

  • Aperture: f/2.8 or widest (Olympus).

  • Shutter: 1/320 or shorter.

  • Light: Daylight overcast with grayness. Constant conditions.

  • Storage: JPEGs onto Sandisk Extreme III.

  • Statistics: 6 series, averaged.

Short verdict (mine):

While the K20 comes out last, it did do its job surprisingly well after reading all the complaints around. We all don't position the K20 as the sport photographer's machine gun and rightly so with only 20% of the available peak performance on the market (1D).

However, it is more than sufficient for everyday photography with 75% of images in focus.

If I may make my personal scale:

Outstanding: 95-100% (relative ratio of in-focus shots)
Excellent: 85-95%
Good: 75-85%
Average: 25-75%
Poor: 0-25%

Then I get:

  • Outstanding: A700

  • Excellent: 40D, D3, D300, 1D, 1Ds

  • Good: E3, D80, K20

 SDF's gear list:SDF's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Sony RX1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony Alpha NEX-6 +3 more
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