Disapointed in my Df.

Started Apr 6, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP brianric Veteran Member • Posts: 8,325
Re: Moving subjects at 1/80th ??

Paul P K wrote:

brianric wrote:

j_photo wrote:

brianric wrote:

I was shooting a Relay for Life last night to 6 AM this morning at a local college and decided to use my Df. I had it set up for flash, AF-C single point, center point, focus priority. The Df struggled to lock focus in what I would consider in light, while low, not all that bad. I had to switch to AF-S, and the red AF-assist illuminator in order to lock focus. When I had a small break in the action I replaced the Df with my D800. With the same initial setup the D800 nailed the focus instantaneously 100% of the time.

At some point as light decreases, the D800 should come out ahead. I would be interested to know at what exposure (shutter, aperture, ISO) were you seeing the problem?

I took a picture with no flash, and it was f/4.0 at 1/80 at ISO 3200.

While I agree the D800 and D3 ( which I have so can real life and not just based on 'what I read on the internet' compare the DF with) have a better AF then the DF I totally disagree it sucks as much as is suggested by many of the 'experts' here.

Some time ago I had my first testrun with my DF and to push it to its limits AF wise I shot a catwalk show under far from ideal (lighting) circumstances in a shopping mall.

Didn't post the results here, but here's the link where I did http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1282709/0?keyword=catwalk#12227750 (yes exposure and postprocessing wise the pics aren't 100%, as for me it was just a test to muck around a bit before next day's serious shoot, and the pictures were posted for the models to have something for their Instagram and Facebook).

I found the DF was quite up to its task, but the same criteria for when shooting fast moving subjects with a D3 or D800 still applied:

  • (fast) moving subjects under bad/low light means you have to slect an AF point which can handle the lower light level and consquently lower contrast that come with it ( and with the DF more then with the D800 and D3 that means the center one's as it simply does not have the same grade AF module)
  • (fast) moving subject means faster shutterspeeds; 1/80 is really on the very edge . And yes, unfortunately shooting at a higher shutter speed means a wider aperture, or when shooting with flash and stopping down the lens consequently less availible light = darker pictures).
  • I don't know what experience is the OP has with shooting moving subjects, but AF-S really isn't the way to shoot moving subjects (I have extensive experience shooting surf and castwalk so not just speaking from a theoretical point of view). Basically it means the camera locks focus on a certain spot. And in the milisecond between focus being locked and the picture being taken, chances are more then likely that the moving subject will have moved from the spot focussed on. And being no longer is on the spot where the focus was locked on this inevitably means an OOF picture (that's why AF-S is recommended for more static subjects)

If you read the original post, I had to switch to AF-S and use the AF illuminator on the flash to get the camera to focus properly. I've been shooting events since 2006, so I have plenty experience shooting moving subjects.

I would be interested to see the results of the OP, not just his complaints, and his camera set up and settings. As the DF has no AF assist (the red light on the front only is there for the selftimer and the lack of an AF assist light is another gripe against the DF much heard on the net) I wonder what AF assist light he's referring to.

My SB-900.

I can only then assume assume he shot with flash and available light mixed. And of course the combination of slow shutter speeds with a mix of flash and available light on one hand, and moving subjects on the other may very well result in a slight ghost image which may seem unsharp.

  • To get the best AF results under bad light (or moving subjects), don't just activate the AF with the shutter release button. Personally if necessary I combine using the AF-On button with the shutter release ( some purists solely use the AF-On button) which basically means I have the picture already in focus with the AF-On button when I push the shutter release, rather then having the camera focus while I push the shutter release.

In general I find the DF when used in its own right (no it does not have the pixels for a high fashion double page magazine lay out, nor the AF and fps for sportsphotography) just as usefull as my D800 and D3.

But I give it extra points for the smaller size (as an old film shooter I love the F2AS like size and feeling) and tghe handling with old manual lenses ( as the lenses generally are smaller ten their modern AF counterparts, the balance between the smaller body and lens feels better to me). Also being an old fart who grew up with dials for shutterspeed and ISO, and using the aperture ring on the lens, I don't really miss the 'modern' button and dial setup ( it still has enough of that though)

And of course it has theD4 sensor, which produces smaller files then the D800, which apart from superior higher ISO on still big enough files ( compare that with my D1H, only 2,7 MP!) also allows a more relaxed (= sloppy) shooting style.

-- hide signature --

all in a day's work

 brianric's gear list:brianric's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Sony RX100 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Nikon D810 Nikon D500 +32 more
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
(unknown member)
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow