How is the D4 focusing system?

Started Jan 10, 2013 | Discussions
Eng Yeap Regular Member • Posts: 212
How is the D4 focusing system?

well with no review on the D4 yet, I thought I'll ask the question here.

How is the D4's focusing system?

The new move to remove the dedicated focus levers sure did baffle me when I was holding a D4 in the shop, and the shop assistant didn't know anything either. 

I had to go home and read up what they did to it,  , so I didn't test it out in the shop. Darn.

So you D4 shooters out there, how is the new focusing system?

how do you find the new joysticks?

What focus modes do you use to shoot sports?

Thanks for your time.

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Eng

michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 11,680
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

Eng Yeap wrote:

well with no review on the D4 yet, I thought I'll ask the question here.

How is the D4's focusing system?

The new move to remove the dedicated focus levers sure did baffle me when I was holding a D4 in the shop, and the shop assistant didn't know anything either.

Don't know what you mean.  What dedicated focus levers?  I have owned a D100, D200, D3, and now a D4 and D800.

I had to go home and read up what they did to it, , so I didn't test it out in the shop. Darn.

So you D4 shooters out there, how is the new focusing system?

It's fine.  Very fine.

how do you find the new joysticks?

What new joysticks?  You mean the extra one they added for using portrait mode?  It works fine.

What focus modes do you use to shoot sports?

AF-C, 21 point.

Thanks for your time.

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Eng

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Mike Dawson

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chipmaster
chipmaster Senior Member • Posts: 2,794
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

50K frames on D3s worked great

5K frames on D4, froze twice, completel lock up wouldnt' do a thing till I turned the camera off and on.  Lets say was very dissapointed and lost confidence in this expensive thing.

Downloaded the new firmeware, so far so good, but as noted very dissapointed.  We'll see if I get a repeat when I push it again.   All the shots since the freeze and now have been with the D600 but oil made me return that.  So in 3 months after some gymnastics puts the D4 thru the real 1st season test, we'll see.    Seems like Canon might be back on their game with Andy and others going back to Canon after being nikon since D3 days.

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RickD Contributing Member • Posts: 878
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

How is the D4's focusing system? Really good. AF speed and low light performance are among the cameras strongest features, particularly with FW 1.03. ​

The new move to remove the dedicated focus levers sure did baffle me when I was holding a D4 in the shop, and the shop assistant didn't know anything either. I assume you mean that the focus mode switch now has only two positions (auto or manual), plus a button in the center of the lever you push while using the thumb wheel to toggle between AF-S and AF-C and while using the finger-wheel to select AF sub modes.  Works fine - better than three position lever/no button set up once you are used to it because it is easier to change focus modes while looking through the viewfinder.  If you don't mean this, I don't understand your question.

how do you find the new joysticks? Fine.

What focus modes do you use to shoot sports? 9 or 21 point AF-C.

Hope this helps.

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RickD

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Donald Chin
Donald Chin Veteran Member • Posts: 5,757
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

Eng Yeap wrote:

well with no review on the D4 yet, I thought I'll ask the question here.

How is the D4's focusing system?

The new move to remove the dedicated focus levers sure did baffle me when I was holding a D4 in the shop, and the shop assistant didn't know anything either.

I had to go home and read up what they did to it, , so I didn't test it out in the shop. Darn.

So you D4 shooters out there, how is the new focusing system?

In general better than D3s but not faultless.

how do you find the new joysticks?

Canon 1Dx has better joysticks, and the one on D4 is quite delicate and easy to break.

What focus modes do you use to shoot sports?

It all depends, most often is AF-C single or 9 points.

Thanks for your time.

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Eng

heptagon Regular Member • Posts: 191
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

Actually it's easier to switch between focusing modes on a D4 - you don't even have to get your eye off the viewfinder, just press and hold the button and dial!

Focusing is really impressive - I can grab focus even at -3EV! The only complain is the coverage of crosstype AF points.

I use AFC 9-point most of the time.

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tcom Veteran Member • Posts: 7,449
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

chipmaster wrote:

50K frames on D3s worked great

5K frames on D4, froze twice, completel lock up wouldnt' do a thing till I turned the camera off and on. Lets say was very dissapointed and lost confidence in this expensive thing.

Well, I had 4 lock ups within 30K frames on the D3s, sent it in to Nikon to fix it and on the next 5K frames, it locked up twice...

I am now at 30K frames on the D4 and not a single lock up.

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tcom Veteran Member • Posts: 7,449
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

Eng Yeap wrote:

well with no review on the D4 yet, I thought I'll ask the question here.

How is the D4's focusing system?

it works really well.

So you D4 shooters out there, how is the new focusing system?

having switched from D3s to D4, I really appreciate the new way of changing the AF modes. You can keep the eye in the viewfinder and switch through the modes using the AF button combined with the front and back wheel. It works really great.

What focus modes do you use to shoot sports?

it depends on the sport.  AF-C 9pt works well typically on indoor sports with a lot of public close to the main subject. When there is more space behind the subject, I also use the automatic mode.

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Pradipta Dutta
Pradipta Dutta Veteran Member • Posts: 9,782
D4 Auto focus is Nikon's best so far

Eng Yeap wrote:

well with no review on the D4 yet, I thought I'll ask the question here.

Those who are buying/bought D4 are mostly those who would not rely on review of the camera at DPR.

How is the D4's focusing system?

It is the best Nikon has rolled out so far. Unlike the AF module on D3, which was revolutionary, D4's AF module is only a slight evolution from that of D3. But it sure is an improvement both from the perspective of max aperture for AF (f/8) and tracking as well.

The new move to remove the dedicated focus levers sure did baffle me when I was holding a D4 in the shop, and the shop assistant didn't know anything either.

I had to go home and read up what they did to it, , so I didn't test it out in the shop. Darn.

So you D4 shooters out there, how is the new focusing system?

how do you find the new joysticks?

What focus modes do you use to shoot sports?

If you happen to buy a D4, do yourself a favor and buy a guide from someone like Thom Hogan. His eBooks usually are written much better than Nikon's user manual. From your questions it is clear that you are not familiar with the latest Nikon cameras. Reading Thom's guide will sure help.

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OP Eng Yeap Regular Member • Posts: 212
Re: D4 Auto focus is Nikon's best so far

Pradipta Dutta wrote:

buy a guide from someone like Thom Hogan.

He hasn't done a guide on the D4 either, or a review.

How about the fact that the "Auto Focus Area Mode selector" is now missing from the D4? Any issues with that?

Do you guys actually use "Auto-area AF" or do you use Single area AF and use the joysticks?

Thanks for the replies so far.

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Eng

OP Eng Yeap Regular Member • Posts: 212
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

Don't know what you mean. What dedicated focus levers? I have owned a D100, D200, D3, and now a D4 and D800.

Mike Dawson

I mean the front of camera "Focus Mode selector" has changed and the rear of camera "Auto Focus Area Mode selector" has vanished.

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Eng

Donald Chin
Donald Chin Veteran Member • Posts: 5,757
Re: D4 Auto focus is Nikon's best so far

Eng Yeap wrote:

Pradipta Dutta wrote:

buy a guide from someone like Thom Hogan.

He hasn't done a guide on the D4 either, or a review.

How about the fact that the "Auto Focus Area Mode selector" is now missing from the D4? Any issues with that?

All the new Nikon DSLRs use the same AF mode selector, it's alright once you get use to it.

Do you guys actually use "Auto-area AF" or do you use Single area AF and use the joysticks?

Auto-area AF links with faces detection, it works pretty good with group shots.

Thanks for the replies so far.

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Eng

Pradipta Dutta
Pradipta Dutta Veteran Member • Posts: 9,782
Re: D4 Auto focus is Nikon's best so far

Eng Yeap wrote:

Pradipta Dutta wrote:

buy a guide from someone like Thom Hogan.

He hasn't done a guide on the D4 either, or a review.

How about the fact that the "Auto Focus Area Mode selector" is now missing from the D4? Any issues with that?

You select the AF area mode by rotating the command dial with the AF mode button pressed. As Donald Chin mentioned in the previous post, all new Nikon DSLR's work this same way.

Do you guys actually use "Auto-area AF" or do you use Single area AF and use the joysticks?

I don't know what is a joy stick you are referring to. Are you talking about the multi-selector on the back of the camera? If so, then that is not used to change the AF area mode. I described how it is done above.

You can also download the D4 user manual in PDF format from the Nikon Support site - http://www.nikonusa.com/pdf/manuals/dslr/D4_EN.pdf

If you give it a quick read, it will be pretty clear.

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OP Eng Yeap Regular Member • Posts: 212
Re: D4 Auto focus is Nikon's best so far

When I say joysticks I mean what Thom called it the thumstick.. i.e.

"The main change is the addition of a small thumbstick above the Direction pad to change the AF point more quickly."

There's a thumbstick for landscape and portrait modes.

So the Face Detection in Auto Area AF works well? That's good to know.

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Eng

CC88 Regular Member • Posts: 147
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

The new move to remove the dedicated focus levers sure did baffle me when I was holding a D4 in the shop, and the shop assistant didn't know anything either.

Great move!!! Now you can look thru viewfinder and change from AF-S to AF-C and from single to 9,21,51 etc. point with confidence and very quickly.

In some cases for example when you hand hold a 200-400mm it's a little too difficult but sure better than before.

So you D4 shooters out there, how is the new focusing system?

Sometimes it seems a little 'nervous' to me. In AF-C mode it continuously try to achieve focus although the subject is not moving...

It's super in low light and I've achieved some 12800iso 1/400 f4 (600VR) shots of a short-eared owl in flight with no problem... I was really surprised by the results and what it can do.

how do you find the new joysticks?

A good choice with no doubt. They're not too small as in Canon 1DX and more easy to handle than Canon.

What focus modes do you use to shoot sports?

Sorry I don't shoot sports but nature. I've the best results with single point af and 9 point af.

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 14,572
Re: once I got used to it

Once I got used to it I prefer the new system because it is quicker, easier, more flexible and you do not have to take your eye away from the viewfinder.

I "cut my teeth" on the D7000 which has the same autofocus control system. This made adding the D800, which has the same autofocus is the D4, straightforward.

I found switching between old and new control systems somewhat confusing and as a resultI have sold my D300s and D3s.

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Captain Tommy
Captain Tommy Regular Member • Posts: 255
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

ENG-excellent focus system!  I use C for sports shooting and once you learn to work with it---it is fantastic! The controls for me seem to be in the right place.

If I really need large commercial stuff, I switch to my D800--but with sports----the D4 is my go to choice!  Have fun!

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OP Eng Yeap Regular Member • Posts: 212
Re: How is the D4 focusing system?

Thank you all for the input.

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Eng

joejack951 Senior Member • Posts: 2,682
Re: D4 Auto focus is Nikon's best so far

Eng Yeap wrote:

There's a thumbstick for landscape and portrait modes.

The portrait orientation joystick/thumbstick for moving the AF point around is very nice. I got used to having one shooting with a D300s and MB-D10 and I definitely miss it on the D3s. I tried my friend's D4 and loved it for that reason. Maybe after a few more years with the D3s I'll justify a D4.

FYI, if you like to change ISO manually, on the D4 you can re-program the movie record button to allow for one-handed ISO adjustment. A very nice touch for long lens users especially. I use auto-ISO almost exclusively any more so it's not as big a deal as I originally thought. It makes more sense than the button layout on any other Nikon DSLR though.



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