D4 vs. Df Manual Focus Test w/ 50mm f/1.2 AI-S

Started Dec 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Biggs23 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,109
D4 vs. Df Manual Focus Test w/ 50mm f/1.2 AI-S

Since its announcement there have been many conversations about the effectiveness of the Df's viewfinder in terms of manual focusing. Is it the same viewfinder, is it better, this, that, and the other thing. I was interested the question as well, primarily because I have a 50mm f/1.2 AIS that I'd love to use more than I do. Well, my Df arrived today and I thought there was no better time than the present to conduct a small, somewhat controlled, manual focusing test between the Df and my workhorse, the D4.

Goal: To find some at least somewhat objective evidence concerning the viewfinder of the Df versus that of the D4.

Methodology: I selected 7 objects at a distance of 4 to 15 feet. Some objects were large with high contrast, others small with very little contrast, and others were some combination. In turn, I took as many photos of each object as needed until I was reasonably certain I'd achieved a reasonably sharp photo. I timed how long it took me to finish shooting all 7 objects, counted how many total photos I needed to feel reasonably certain I'd achieved perfect focus, and also how many photos, upon review, were actually in sharp focus. All images were shot wide open at f/1.2.

More Information: I alternated shooting so as to remove comfort bias. First I shot the objects with the D4, then with the Df, then with the Df again, then with the D4, then the Df, and last the D4 again. A total of three passes were made with each camera. Also, the first shot taken with the Df in this test was literally the first image I'd taken with the camera. The D4 I've been using since its debut.


First Round (D4): 28.18 seconds, 8 shots taken, 4 shots in focus.

Second Round (Df): 26.02 seconds, 8 shots taken, 5 shots in focus.

Third Round (Df): 23.9 seconds, 7 shots taken, 5 shots in focus.

Fourth Round (D4): 29.48 seconds, 9 shots taken, 5 shots in focus.

Fifth Round (Df): 23.6 seconds, 7 shots taken, 6 shots in focus.

Sixth Round (D4): 25.38 seconds, 8 shots taken, 5 shots in focus.

Results Summary:

D4 Averages: 27.68 seconds, 8.3 shots taken, 4.6 shots in focus.

Df Averages: 24.5 seconds, 7.3 shots taken, 5.3 shots in focus.

Conclusions: Draw your own. (If you don't like my method or have complaints about the test in any way.... sorry. I post this here only for the benefit of the whole community and not for any specific subset or individual. If you think the test should have been conducted in some other way feel free to do it yourself and post your results.)

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Any opinions I express are my own and do not represent DPReview. Have a good one and God bless!

 Biggs23's gear list:Biggs23's gear list
Nikon D4 Nikon D750 Nikon D5 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +4 more
Nikon D4 Nikon Df
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