AF speed D700 slower than D3? how come ?

Started Aug 7, 2009 | Discussions
Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,169
Controls: Unit-to-unit variation

em_dee_aitch wrote:

One of the many differences I've noticed is that the shutter release/on-off switch unit on the D700 and D300 is lower quality than on the D3. The on-off switch action has never broken in to become "smooth" on my D700 like the D3 was out of box. The D300 was same way.

The two D3 bodies I own are completely different in this respect. Both the power switch, and the main command dial, are much softer/smoother in operation on the newer D3 body, than on the older one (which has 500,000 actuations on it). Even in the dark, I instantly know which one I've picked up, as soon as I flick the power switch.

The new D3x that I have is annoying me with its shooting-mode dial release button, which needs to be pressed very hard to release the dial - I wish I could fix that! Also, I need to use quite a bit more pressure to work the 4-way controller, than I do on either of the D3's.

DuckTape
DuckTape Regular Member • Posts: 296
Re: AF speed D700 slower than D3? how come ?

IMHO, the D700 is a D300 with a larger sensor,....AND A SMALLER VIEWFINDER....
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NikonPhoto New Member • Posts: 8
Marianne

Marianne Oelund wrote:
...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

But, is the D700 really slower? We see a confusing jumble of contradictory anecdotes and test results. As it turns out, the truth is: It depends on which lens, and even what focal length setting is being used! No wonder there is a plethora of divergent opinions on the subject.

AF system control parameters are table-based, with different sets for the various lens focal length ranges. The D300 and D3/D3x have different tables, and there are cases for which the D300 actually drives AF motors faster .

I haven't tested a D700 yet, but I'm becoming very curious to see whether it behaves as a D300, D3 or something completely different.
More later (after I get my hands on a D700) . . .

Can't wait to see the D700 results in comparison to D3 et. al.

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 14,914
Re: In camera processing?

The more AF points used the more processing a camera CPU has to do.

It is probable the more expensive D3 has faster CPU processing than the D300/700.

For moving targets my D300 can take slightly longer to acquire focus (not an issue if you can pick the subject up early in the frame) - but the consensus among wild life photographers is once focus is acquired tracking speed is equal with an AF-s lens.
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Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,169
Sorry, this will be a disappointment for MB-D10 owners

photoforfun wrote:

I think you are write about the voltage issue.

Yes

No - absolutely not!

AF motor speed is independent of battery voltage. You cannot speed up your D300 or D700 by adding a battery grip with higher-voltage batteries, nor with an external AC adapter. The AF motor is driven at a very tightly-controlled rate, regardless of whether it's the in-body motor, or an in-lens SWM. That rate is carefully optimized by the designers to work in a stable, repeatable manner with the rest of the AF system, thus it's important that it be regulated and not vary with power supply.

Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,169
Think I'll need to start a separate thread on the topic

NikonPhoto wrote:

Can't wait to see the D700 results in comparison to D3 et. al.

All the speculative ideas are getting very much out of hand. People don't understand servo control loops. It's a huge topic, and deserves its own thread.

photoforfun Veteran Member • Posts: 6,084
Question for Marianne ///Re: It is not the batteries

No, you're not. Having the same AF sensor is only part of the solution. The AF sensor tells the camera if the lens is focused too near or too far, and how much to move the lens. The motor (camera motor or lens motor) then has to move the lens, and the motor runs on the camera's batteries. Increase the battery power, and the motors move faster.

I think MDH was the only one to get this right.

Joseph, I'm very respectful of your expertise, and greatly appreciate the wealth of information you have contributed to this forum. However, I must correct you on this issue: The batteries have nothing to do with AF speed.

AF motor drive is tightly regulated by the inner servo loop in the lens electronics, which completely compensates for variations in battery voltage. Regardless of whether one uses a freshly charged EN-EL4 in the battery grip, or an almost-dead EN-EL3 in the body, AF motor speed will be exactly the same.

Marianne, thanks for your input, interesting read just like Joseph's... I did quite a bit of practical testing about this issue and found no difference in AF speed, AF locking or tracking with AF-S lenses on D700 or D3. Underwhile I suspect though that the explanation from Joseph is correct for screw driven lenses... The difference of AF speed of screw driven lenses has always been very different on different bodies in the past. A 80-400VR on a D50 was focusing MUCH slower than on a D1X... Underwhile I think the batteries might play an important role in relation to AF speed with screw driven lenses. Unfortunately I can't re-do my test because I sold my D3...

Jonathan Statt Regular Member • Posts: 499
Re: Sorry, this will be a disappointment for MB-D10 owners

I don't really have a strong opinion on this one way or another.

But, if the high voltage rate can change the frames per second, then in principal it could make a controlled change to the focus speed.

Imagine it like this. With the better battery, you moved from one very controlled speed (frames per second), to a higher very controlled speed. It is simply that the camera is able to have more than one option.

With the focus mechanism, there is no reason, that it cannot have two very controlled and defined operational servo speeds.

Similarly, processors in laptops work a very precise clock speeds, but can often function at multiple controlled and precise clock speeds. On battery most laptops will default to a lower clock speed....and on mains a higher one.

Therefore a high voltage battery, could result in a faster processor speed, a faster focus servo and a higher number of frames per second.

You are absolutely right to say that the servo should not vary unintentionally due to fluctuations in voltage level, such as when the battery is running low.

Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,169
It doesn't matter which motor

photoforfun wrote:

Underwhile I suspect though that the explanation from Joseph is correct for screw driven lenses... The difference of AF speed of screw driven lenses has always been very different on different bodies in the past. I think the batteries might play an important role in relation to AF speed with screw driven lenses.

The in-body motor is also regulated, just like the motor in AF-S lenses. You can't speed it up with higher battery voltage.

Marianne Oelund Veteran Member • Posts: 7,169
Theory aside

Jonathan Statt wrote:

But, if the high voltage rate can change the frames per second, then in principal it could make a controlled change to the focus speed.

.
.
.

Therefore a high voltage battery, could result in a faster processor speed, a faster focus servo and a higher number of frames per second.

The comments I've been posting on the subject are based on actual measurements, not just theoretical considerations. That's the way it actually is.

Trevor Allen Senior Member • Posts: 1,123
D700 AF is fine

being much faster & more responsive than the D300 AF, I find the D700 great for events & always locks on fast enough, using Nikons 70 to 200 & the 24 to 70

I've not tried a D3

Trevor

Octane Senior Member • Posts: 2,993
that's it!

You are right. Nikon said the blackout time and shutter lag on the D700 is not as fast as the D3. That means, just as you said, the D3 has more time to acquire focus and track motion when shooting in continuous mode.

Especially blackout time is very important here.

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NickMJr Veteran Member • Posts: 3,752
Re: Two Expeed Processors

nikonians wrote:

Having two Expeeds makes a big difference. I have a D300 and would love to believe that it is as fast as a D3, sadly it is not! Even on a slower and old lens like 24-120VR D3 focuses much much faster, locks on and just does the job.

Nikon not only made the camera have a built in grip with more power but also stuffed another processor in that camera.

Regards,
JohnnyK

I don't believe the D3 has 2 EXSPEED processors. I've heard that mention on photography forum. Its not even mentioned anywhere of their website or the D3 product broucher. In fact the broucher also shows a picture of the mother board only shows one chip with EXSPEED stamped on it.

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Nick M

Drew Loker Veteran Member • Posts: 3,400
The shooting speed is what i am talking about...

Thanks for quoting my ugly type (write vs right).

Anyway, my point about the voltage is in regard to the shooting speed. The impact of the higher shooting speed regardless of how many frames per second are actually used is the key here.

See this post for a better articulation of what i was trying to explain:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=32677576

Even if you shoot your D3 on S, it is going to focus faster than a D700 with out grip.

Drew
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Drew Loker Veteran Member • Posts: 3,400
Well articulated!

Thanks for reasserting what I was trying to say!

Drew
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OP James Kei Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
Re: D700 AF is fine

friend of my own D300/D700, telling me.....

AF speed & performance of D700 are clone of D300.......the whole DSLR body also clone of D300, only CMOS is FF.

Trevor Allen wrote:

being much faster & more responsive than the D300 AF, I find the D700 great for events & always locks on fast enough, using Nikons 70 to 200 & the 24 to 70

I've not tried a D3

Trevor

em_dee_aitch Veteran Member • Posts: 3,675
Re: D700 AF is fine

James Kei wrote:

friend of my own D300/D700, telling me.....

AF speed & performance of D700 are clone of D300.......the whole DSLR body also clone of D300, only CMOS is FF.

I said this above, but worth repeating, because it was a very nice improvement: the joy pad on back is significantly improved over D300, has center button like on D3.

Jonathan Statt Regular Member • Posts: 499
Re: D700 AF is fine

James Kei wrote:

friend of my own D300/D700, telling me.....

AF speed & performance of D700 are clone of D300.......the whole DSLR body also clone of D300, only CMOS is FF.

I can say without doubt that is not true. The D700 is more responsive than a D300 even if its not as responsive as a D3. The D700 and D300 have different processors. This is evident by the fact the D300 couldn't natively do 14-bit without huge slow-down...whereas the D700 can. The auto-focus modules are different in the D300 and D700. And there are quite a few body differences too....

OP James Kei Senior Member • Posts: 2,156
aaah... I C - faster CPU

This is evident by the fact the D300 couldn't natively do 14-bit without huge slow-down...whereas the D700 can.

good point........

given the price difference NOT that much D300s/D700......

D700 much value from the $$$

Jonathan Statt wrote:

James Kei wrote:

friend of my own D300/D700, telling me.....

AF speed & performance of D700 are clone of D300.......the whole DSLR body also clone of D300, only CMOS is FF.

I can say without doubt that is not true. The D700 is more responsive than a D300 even if its not as responsive as a D3. The D700 and D300 have different processors. This is evident by the fact the D300 couldn't natively do 14-bit without huge slow-down...whereas the D700 can. The auto-focus modules are different in the D300 and D700. And there are quite a few body differences too....

photoforfun Veteran Member • Posts: 6,084
Re: aaah... I C - faster CPU

friend of my own D300/D700, telling me..... AF speed & performance of D700 are clone of D300.......the whole DSLR body also clone of D300, only CMOS is FF.

Your friend is wrong, I owned D300/D3 and D700. D300 is different than D700, the fact that D300 slows enormously down when shooting 14 bit is the best evidence of the difference in processor speed, power battery pack doesn't help to change that.
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