D610 and real world AF feedback for low light

Started Mar 22, 2014 | Discussions thread
clarnibass Senior Member • Posts: 2,006
Re: D610 and real world AF feedback for low light

In contrast to the post above mine, I often take photos in concerts and performances where it's impossible to use a burst, actually I use the Q mode often. I consider that I get very good focus with the D600. It's not 100% accurate but I don't think any camera is in these conditions.

It is most common for me to use ISO 1600-6400, shutter speeds 1/30-1/250 and apertures f/2.2 or larger. This is approxiamte, I occasionally have better stage lights so can get much faster shutter speeds and/or lower ISO, but sometimes it is even worse. For example f/2, 1/100, ISO 6400 is very common.

In these conditions, it is most of the time relatively easy to get good focused photos. I use mostly three AF methods.
1) AFS for non-moving people/subjects or when a person doesn't move enough to affect the DOF significantly.
2) AFC for moving people.
3) AFS for moving people, then wait until I see the person is where it is focused and take the photo. I use this method sometimes instead of AFC if I want to recompose after focusing and/or use a better crosstype AF point, etc.

The photos by the previous poster, where he used ISO 2500 with a lens with max aperture of f/4 (or is it f/4.5?) and 1/160 shutter speed don't have very low light. I'd say that is very decent light for a concert actually.

Actually, IME the D600 would focus fine even at worse conditions than I mentioned if there is a part contrasty enough to focus on. You might have very good contrast but in a way that doesn't contribute to the exposure much at all, so you have very extreme low light but good AF.

Here is one example where it was borderline but managed to get some of the photos in focus (not all). ISO 12800, 1/30, f/2, then brightened 1/3 of a stop in LR. The only light was a regular room bulb from a different room through a dark corridor. It was so low I could barely see them in the room. They were constantly moving and stopping between synth and mixer, guitar, etc. I had to time my "clicks" to disturb as little as possible. No AF assist light. Usually when the camera just can't focus at all I also get too slow shutter speeds anyway.

As far as being stealthy, I don't think the difference betwee nthe D600 and D800 really makes any difference. The D800 is a little bigger. Unless you compare something like a D3200 with a D4, there isn't a huge difference between any DSLR, when using the same lens, IMO.

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