D600 Auto Focus Points - Who Thought That Would Be A Good Idea?

Started Mar 29, 2013 | Discussions thread
GregF Senior Member • Posts: 1,912
Simple answer

Paul Schatzkin wrote:

(….which I thought would be a more suitable subject header than "WTF?" -- which is how I really feel about this topic. And I'm sorry if this is a topic that has already been beat to death elsewhere but I did search and did not find much to go on so....)

After waiting more than 10 years (since buying a D100 in the summer of 2003) for Nikon to introduce a full-frame DSLR in a price range that makes sense for me (like the price of the D300s I've been shooting for the past several years), about two weeks ago I picked up a Nikon D600.

I like most of the camera's features and functions just fine, and it's so nice to FINALLY see 24mm rendered as 24mm. Ten years I've been waiting for that!

But I am driven to distraction by the concentration of auto-focus points in the center of a small portion of the frame.  The auto-focus area falls well short of the thirds at either edge of the frame.
What genius designer/engineer/product manager thought that was gonna be a good idea?  I want their heads.

Now, I know, I'm supposed to be able to "focus and recompose."  But I shoot a lot of musicians on stage  They move constantly. I want their faces/eyes in the top third of the frame.    I need to keep the focus where I want it in the frame. Focus/recompose is really not practical in a situation like that.

I just looked through the viewfinder of my D300s and note that the auto-focus points on that camera extend to a point that is well within the "rule of thirds" grid on either side of the frame.  It is easy set the focus in the portion of the frame where I want it and leave it there; auto-focus does the rest.  I can concentrate on the subject and the moments.

Was I foolish to imagine that Nikon would include a similar functionality in a similarly priced camera?
I read somewhere that the AF points are arranged this way to make the AF area more compatible with DX lenses - which, it seems to me, completely defeats the point!  I did not after all these years get a full frame camera so that I could continue shooting with DX lenses!  I have several FX lenses already… I bought the camera because I want the full effect of those lenses (particularly the ultra wide angles).

From a marketing perspective, you'd think somebody would have suggested the exact opposite: instead of making the camera more compatible with lenses that don't take advantage of the full frame, drive customers toward the lenses that do!

In fact, I was getting ready to put several DX lenses on eBay… until I discovered this flaw in the D600 design.  Now I'm thinking instead that the D600 goes back to the store and I continue to wait for somebody at Nikon to get their bloody heads screwed on straight.  D600s, anybody?

I don't guess this can be fixed with firmware, huh?  The LEDs are hardwired into the hardware?

I guess I'm wondering if anybody else feels the way I do about this aspect of an otherwise worthy camera.  Have any readers had the same response… returned the cameras to the store?  Or has somebody come up with a reasonable work around?

I know the D600 is supposed to be an "entry level" full frame camera, but why cripple it with such an ill-defined feature?

I wanna storm the gates… where are the torches and pitchforks!  Off with their heads!


Thanks for listening...

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If you want a sub-$2K camera body with a large (read:expensive) sensor, you get it by saving money in other areas, and reusing existing subsystems.

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