Disapointed in my Df.

Started Apr 6, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP brianric Veteran Member • Posts: 8,330
Re: Disapointed in my Df.

Hugo First 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.

I could understand if you'd come to the conclusion that, for some combination of reasons, the Df wasn't the best choice for what you were photographing... it's another matter altogether to say you were "disappointed" in your Df, when it's not the camera's fault if it wasn't the best choice all around for what you were trying to do.

I also have a Df, a D800, D700, and I recognize where each camera has strengths -- as well as weaknesses.

Among the weaknesses of the Df, I agree, is the AF module. In my view, the cross-type points are perfectly capable -- but there are fewer of them, and the outer ones are generally unsuitable fow low-light use. This means that there are fewer framing options, particularly when shooting action, and it can be a challenge to place a focus point where and when required to get the shot I'm trying to create.

On the other hand, while I might get better performance from the D700 or D800 on the AF because of the number and spread of AF points, I know I can't approach ISO 10,000 and hope to achieve a usable photo. With the Df it's possible to create a perfectly acceptable image in the ISO range, allowing me to use apertures and shutter speeds that would be unthinkable otherwise.

So the trade-off, as I see it, is you give up some flexibility on framing action shots, while making low-light situations accessible for photography (without going all out for the D4s). Yes, I miss shots because of the AF, but I'd say that, in the kind of indoor, low-light environments i've shot in, and knowing and working within the limitations of the camera, that my "keeper" ratio is about opposite of what your experience was.

Nevermind about that, though. You tried the Df and you couldn't do what you were trying to do. If, as you say, it was kind of a make-or-break situation and you had to get the shot, perhaps that wasn't the best environment for trying out the camera -- you should have gone with "the sure thing" in that case.

To be clear, there are a lot of situations where I really prefer the D800; overall I like the quality of the files better. On the other hand, shooting in a club situation which typically has poor and very unpredictable lighting, I would choose the Df without hesitation, because I know how to work the AF well enough to leverage the camera's other strengths to my advantage. I don't make every shot, but I admit, I don't need to. If I couldn't afford to miss any, you can bet you a$$ I wouldn't count on the Df.

Jon Langford, Club Iota, Arlington VA, 4/6/14

This is just my opinion, of course. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

This wasn't the first time I used the Df, and the Df with the Tamron 24-70/2.8 worked fine for grammar school basketball, a March of Dimes Awards and Kickoff Ceremony, and Stockton College Relay for Life. I was a little bit stunned being at Rowan seeing dim lighting in the Rec Center. I can't remember if it was as dark the year before. I already got 6,000 clicks on the Df. Don't forget I'm shooting on moving subjects, where I need instantaneous focus lock. I will be trying the Df with the Nikkor 24-120/4.0 VR at one of the Relays later on this year to determine if the Tamron 24-70/2.8 is at fault. I told my camera dealer I have no intention of sending the camera in for repairs.

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