What to buy for shooting action that doesn't cost as much as a D4?

Started Nov 14, 2013 | Discussions
lock Veteran Member • Posts: 6,202
You are using big words.
1

But your reading capabilities are quite poor. "No offense. Wel not much ,,,"

I quote: "Nothing touches the D3S and D4 for action."

The d7100 was the suggested alternative in this part of the discussion. Nit the D4 or D3s. That wasi nthe part above my initial response.
So, I was discussing the option of the OP to take the D7100 route with the 51 point Af system. I did not discuss the jump to the D4 or D3s.

More importantly, there is a difference between the D4 Af module and the D7100 module. Have a look.
Lenses up to f5.6 wide open both use the same 51 points. Between 5.6 and 8 and at f8 the D7100 only has one focus point. The D4 has 15 points between 5.6 and 8, nine of the cross type. At f8 we are talking of 11 points, one (central) point being cross type.

The D600/610 has 31 af points between f5.6 an f8. "Seven focus points (five central focus points and one point to the left and right of them in the middle line) are compatible with f/8." Mind you , the central is cross sensor as in the D4/d7100.

The AF algorithm in the D4 needs to handle up to 11 frames per second. This is subtantially faster than the max 7 frames of the d7100. Pure processing power in the D4 (and d3s btw).....

Back to my point: there is not much between the AF in the d7100 9 point dynamic mode and the one in the d600/d610.

Do you still have personal experiences with good arguments to back up that mine are simply 'dangerous' ?

lock

Kerry Pierce
Kerry Pierce Forum Pro • Posts: 19,757
some additional info on the d7100 AF

I just found this thread on another site, that was posted by an avid soccer shooter. He is not happy with the 9pt dynamic AF performance for soccer shooting.  That poster also has some comments in this thread that you may find interesting.

This is the kind of action that is similar to what I'd normally test, but I've not been able to do so with the d7100 yet.

Kerry

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Brandon birder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,204
Re: What to buy for shooting action that doesn't cost as much as a D4?

joejack951 wrote:

Kerry Pierce wrote:

Of course, you could go wild and crazy, getting a d7100 and a d700, keep the 200-400 and get a 120-300 for the lower light stuff.

If you could live with the slower AF and slightly worse overall performance, the Sigma 120-300 plus their 1.4X TC would offer the best of both worlds (f/2.8 when you need it or 420mm f/4 when you need reach).

For what the 200-400/4 can be sold for versus the new cost of a 120-300/2.8 and TC ($2500 + $224) you can get a D700/D3 for free and possibly have some change left. The not-yet-available latest 120-300/2.8 is a little pricier though ($3600).

Good lens. Available in UK now. Tried one out this week and it is sharp as a tack and handles the Sigma 2TC as good as a prime would. Same wight as a Nikon 300mm f2.8vr.

OP jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,396
Re: some additional info on the d7100 AF

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I just found this thread on another site, that was posted by an avid soccer shooter. He is not happy with the 9pt dynamic AF performance for soccer shooting. That poster also has some comments in this thread that you may find interesting.

This is the kind of action that is similar to what I'd normally test, but I've not been able to do so with the d7100 yet.

Interesting thread where he concludes that the D300 handles soccer playing tracking noticeably better than the D7100.  I know there's a lot more to AF performance than just which focus part the camera has.  This seems to indicate that even the ancient D300 has more focus horsepower than the D7100 (at least in the hands of this soccer photographer).  The inverse is probably why the D3/D3s focuses better than the D300 too.

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(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 4,624
Re: some additional info on the d7100 AF

jfriend00 wrote:

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I just found this thread on another site, that was posted by an avid soccer shooter. He is not happy with the 9pt dynamic AF performance for soccer shooting. That poster also has some comments in this thread that you may find interesting.

This is the kind of action that is similar to what I'd normally test, but I've not been able to do so with the d7100 yet.

Interesting thread where he concludes that the D300 handles soccer playing tracking noticeably better than the D7100. I know there's a lot more to AF performance than just which focus part the camera has. This seems to indicate that even the ancient D300 has more focus horsepower than the D7100 (at least in the hands of this soccer photographer). The inverse is probably why the D3/D3s focuses better than the D300 too.

The focus processing probably has a lot to do with it. Which goes with what another poster was saying below, re D3 focusing being tops.

Less money = cheaper processing.

Goes along with my motto, used pro level equip is better than new consumer equip, if the money is similar makes it easier to choose.

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Amateur photographer. Enjoy.....believe in yourself..

OP jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,396
Re: some additional info on the d7100 AF
1

Bajerunner wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I just found this thread on another site, that was posted by an avid soccer shooter. He is not happy with the 9pt dynamic AF performance for soccer shooting. That poster also has some comments in this thread that you may find interesting.

This is the kind of action that is similar to what I'd normally test, but I've not been able to do so with the d7100 yet.

Interesting thread where he concludes that the D300 handles soccer playing tracking noticeably better than the D7100. I know there's a lot more to AF performance than just which focus part the camera has. This seems to indicate that even the ancient D300 has more focus horsepower than the D7100 (at least in the hands of this soccer photographer). The inverse is probably why the D3/D3s focuses better than the D300 too.

The focus processing probably has a lot to do with it. Which goes with what another poster was saying below, re D3 focusing being tops.

Less money = cheaper processing.

Goes along with my motto, used pro level equip is better than new consumer equip, if the money is similar makes it easier to choose.

Yeah, I really wish there was a way to know how much "focus horsepower" a camera has without just trying to rely on anecdotal info from shooters.  For example, does the Df really have the same focus system as the D610?  Or is it more powerful?  Does the D7100 really have the same focus system as the D300?

It sure would be useful to buyers for Nikon to provide some sort of grading system for the AF system so buyers who shoot things that move could be better informed in selecting the right system.  If the higher level cameras really are better, then I would think this might actually boost sales of the higher level cameras because those who care would want the better system.

But, right now, you don't really know if you get more for your money in AF or how much more. I'm thinking that they could provide some sort of focus points per second that the camera can process at x EV of light or y level of contrast and light.  I know the D300 does better at 9 focus points than at 21 in low light and that is presumably because whatever processing power it has gets too busy when there are 21 points to process and the light is low.

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Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,188
I don't know about EV's but ...

lock wrote:

But of course you can go lower. However, how often does it happen when shooting sports ?

Well, have never bothered with EV, so I have no idea where that puts you

But to me, decent low light is at say iso 3200, f2.8 and 1/500, while quite bad light is at iso 6400, f2.8 and 1/250. Following that I find the 51 point system somewhat better in decent light, and in quite bad light the 39 point AF just is nowhere near the performance of the 51 point version.

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By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

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Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,188
Slow down a bit there ...

T O Shooter wrote:

lock wrote:

Did you use the d600 Af with the 9 point dynamic mode ? Can you make a true comparison based on experience ?

lock

Yes I can. I have owned D300 / D300s/ D7000/D600/D700/D3S/D800/D800e/D4 Nothing touches the D3S and D4 for action. What the hell do you think you're getting for $7000 out the door if you're not getting something extra in AF?? You're getting the fastest, most consistent AF that Nikon makes. It's not the sensor - they can put that into a $2700 DF and it's certainly not the little bit of extra cost for the full magnesium frame. It's stupid really to suggest that the 39 pt D600 AF equals the 51 pt D4 AF. No offense. Well not much.

Well, that was a bit over the top ... No need to use that kind of harsh language.

I have by the way shot the D3s side by side with D7100 quite a lot and the 51 point system works quite nicely also in a lowly $1200 DX camera ...

It is in low light the 39 point AF lacks in performance, in normal daylight it is quite capable and the difference to the 51 point version is fairly subtle.

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I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every moment of it!
By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

 Grevture's gear list:Grevture's gear list
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T O Shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,444
Re: You are using big words. Works for me

lock wrote:

But your reading capabilities are quite poor. "No offense. Wel not much ,,,"

I quote: "Nothing touches the D3S and D4 for action."

The d7100 was the suggested alternative in this part of the discussion. Nit the D4 or D3s. That wasi nthe part above my initial response.
So, I was discussing the option of the OP to take the D7100 route with the 51 point Af system. I did not discuss the jump to the D4 or D3s.

More importantly, there is a difference between the D4 Af module and the D7100 module. Have a look.
Lenses up to f5.6 wide open both use the same 51 points. Between 5.6 and 8 and at f8 the D7100 only has one focus point. The D4 has 15 points between 5.6 and 8, nine of the cross type. At f8 we are talking of 11 points, one (central) point being cross type.

The D600/610 has 31 af points between f5.6 an f8. "Seven focus points (five central focus points and one point to the left and right of them in the middle line) are compatible with f/8." Mind you , the central is cross sensor as in the D4/d7100.

The AF algorithm in the D4 needs to handle up to 11 frames per second. This is subtantially faster than the max 7 frames of the d7100. Pure processing power in the D4 (and d3s btw).....

Back to my point: there is not much between the AF in the d7100 9 point dynamic mode and the one in the d600/d610.

Do you still have personal experiences with good arguments to back up that mine are simply 'dangerous' ?

lock

The OP had three possible options at the start.  D3, D3S, D700. Part way through he was half convinced to "look" at a D7100. That's bad enough with no buffer.  Then you decided to logic that up to a D600/610 with poorer AF and still no buffer.  If you'd ever shot action or wildlife with something with the buffer of the D7100, either of the 6s, or even the 8s, you wouldn't be recommending them for action / wildlife. If the OP shot with a 3s or 4 he'd never want to go back to anything less.  Seeing one in a store somewhere doesn't qualify you on knowing their unmatched ability for action

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T O Shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 9,444
Re: Slow down a bit there ...

Grevture wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

lock wrote:

Did you use the d600 Af with the 9 point dynamic mode ? Can you make a true comparison based on experience ?

lock

Yes I can. I have owned D300 / D300s/ D7000/D600/D700/D3S/D800/D800e/D4 Nothing touches the D3S and D4 for action. What the hell do you think you're getting for $7000 out the door if you're not getting something extra in AF?? You're getting the fastest, most consistent AF that Nikon makes. It's not the sensor - they can put that into a $2700 DF and it's certainly not the little bit of extra cost for the full magnesium frame. It's stupid really to suggest that the 39 pt D600 AF equals the 51 pt D4 AF. No offense. Well not much.

Well, that was a bit over the top ... No need to use that kind of harsh language.

The "what the hell" was just a little intentional over the top.  Note the smilie

I have by the way shot the D3s side by side with D7100 quite a lot and the 51 point system works quite nicely also in a lowly $1200 DX camera ..

Think "no buffer"

.

It is in low light the 39 point AF lacks in performance, in normal daylight it is quite capable and the difference to the 51 point version is fairly subtle.

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By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

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OP jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,396
Re: I don't know about EV's but ...

Grevture wrote:

lock wrote:

But of course you can go lower. However, how often does it happen when shooting sports ?

Well, have never bothered with EV, so I have no idea where that puts you

But to me, decent low light is at say iso 3200, f2.8 and 1/500, while quite bad light is at iso 6400, f2.8 and 1/250. Following that I find the 51 point system somewhat better in decent light, and in quite bad light the 39 point AF just is nowhere near the performance of the 51 point version.

I think the point of the recent discussion here is that how an AF system works in low light has more to do with the focus processing behind the scenes (e.g. in the circuitry) and less to do with how many actual AF points there are.  There might be a loose correlation between number of focus points and focus horsepower (just because Nikon chooses to align more horsepower with more points), but they are different parts of the system so we know they are not always correlated.  For example, the D300 and D3 had the same 51pt AF part in it, but the D3 was way more powerful for AF in bad light.

Similarly, we really don't know how the Df, D610 and D7000 compare in focus horsepower even though they all have 39 focus points.  And, I've seen evidence that the D300 does noticeably better in low light than the D7100 even though they both have 51 points (in fact, the D7100 part is newer as it works at f/8 whereas the D300 does not).

So, I've concluded that you can't just assume a level of performance because of the number of focus points.  There's so much more to it than that.

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Kerry Pierce
Kerry Pierce Forum Pro • Posts: 19,757
Re: some additional info on the d7100 AF

jfriend00 wrote:

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I just found this thread on another site, that was posted by an avid soccer shooter. He is not happy with the 9pt dynamic AF performance for soccer shooting. That poster also has some comments in this thread that you may find interesting.

This is the kind of action that is similar to what I'd normally test, but I've not been able to do so with the d7100 yet.

Interesting thread where he concludes that the D300 handles soccer playing tracking noticeably better than the D7100. I know there's a lot more to AF performance than just which focus part the camera has. This seems to indicate that even the ancient D300 has more focus horsepower than the D7100 (at least in the hands of this soccer photographer). The inverse is probably why the D3/D3s focuses better than the D300 too.

FWIW, my experiences with all 3 cameras is that the d3s (while not perfect) will do better than the d300, especially under the more difficult conditions, more consistently. Same applies to the d700, which to my recollection, is pretty much identical to the d300.

In daylight and subdued daylight conditions, I have not seen a significant difference between the d300 and d7100 AF.  I would assume that the differences that he talks about are in lower light levels, combined with the new way that dynamic area focus, which will change AF points when the selected AF point fails to achieve focus within a certain amount (very short) of time.

So, I would guess that his conclusion is accurate.  But, this is the part that I've been unable to test, so I can't quantify it.

Kerry

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lock Veteran Member • Posts: 6,202
Decent and bad low light.

Your examples are EV 6.9 and 4.9.

lock

Cliff Fujii
Cliff Fujii Veteran Member • Posts: 8,322
Re: What to buy for shooting action that doesn't cost as much as a D4?

Here's a copy of the manual:

http://www.nikonsupport.eu/europe/Firmware/J1/FT1/Nikon1_FocusAid_En_01.pdf

This web site shows the details that might interest you.  It looks like with AF-S lenses most of the modes are supported.  Please read the section under the Restrictions tab.  These apply only to the V1 and J series cameras.  The V2 came out after this document was printed.

http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/acil/lenses/mount_adapter_ft1/

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Cliff

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calson Veteran Member • Posts: 9,630
Re: What to buy for shooting action that doesn't cost as much as a D4?

The D7100 has great IQ in low light shooting, has the f8 autofocus sensors which helps to focus in low light or with telephoto lenses and it shoot HD video.

A FX lens means longer and heavier and more expensive lenses. A 70-200mm on the D7100, as with your D300 functions much like a 105-300mm f2.8 zoom, and this is great for sports photography day or night.

Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,188
Re: I don't know about EV's but ...

jfriend00 wrote:

Grevture wrote:

lock wrote:

But of course you can go lower. However, how often does it happen when shooting sports ?

Well, have never bothered with EV, so I have no idea where that puts you

But to me, decent low light is at say iso 3200, f2.8 and 1/500, while quite bad light is at iso 6400, f2.8 and 1/250. Following that I find the 51 point system somewhat better in decent light, and in quite bad light the 39 point AF just is nowhere near the performance of the 51 point version.

I think the point of the recent discussion here is that how an AF system works in low light has more to do with the focus processing behind the scenes (e.g. in the circuitry) and less to do with how many actual AF points there are. There might be a loose correlation between number of focus points and focus horsepower (just because Nikon chooses to align more horsepower with more points), but they are different parts of the system so we know they are not always correlated. For example, the D300 and D3 had the same 51pt AF part in it, but the D3 was way more powerful for AF in bad light.

Similarly, we really don't know how the Df, D610 and D7000 compare in focus horsepower even though they all have 39 focus points. And, I've seen evidence that the D300 does noticeably better in low light than the D7100 even though they both have 51 points (in fact, the D7100 part is newer as it works at f/8 whereas the D300 does not).

So, I've concluded that you can't just assume a level of performance because of the number of focus points. There's so much more to it than that.

I am not particularly interested in the number of points as such - what I am saying is the 39 point system (as a system) is less well adopted to low light then its 51 point counterpart. I think the difference probably is about smaller individual AF points (thus gathering less light) in the 39 point variety - that version appear to have been designed for cheaper camera models then the 51 point version.

And I would be very interested to see the evidence supporting the D300 AF doing noticeably better low light then the D7100 AF - from what I have seen, its is the other way around (which would make sense since the 51 point system got better in low light also in the D4 and D800 as compared to D3/D3s and D700).

The part I do agree with is the total performance of a AF system is a combination of the AF sensor (being a 9 point, 11 point, 39 point or 51 point version) and the processing horsepower behind it. I have seen many reports the D300 gaining slightly in overall AF performance with the battery grip (along with gaining fps speed), which could be because the camera is allowed to use more power for processing with the battery grip then without.

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By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

 Grevture's gear list:Grevture's gear list
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OP jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,396
Re: What to buy for shooting action that doesn't cost as much as a D4?

calson wrote:

The D7100 has great IQ in low light shooting, has the f8 autofocus sensors which helps to focus in low light or with telephoto lenses and it shoot HD video.

A FX lens means longer and heavier and more expensive lenses. A 70-200mm on the D7100, as with your D300 functions much like a 105-300mm f2.8 zoom, and this is great for sports photography day or night.

FYI, the f/8-capable auto-focus sensors means that it will handle AF when the angle of view of the light rays coming from the lens is only f/8 (typically happens when using a teleconverter - like a 2x converter on an f/4 lens).  This is a separate issue from actual AF performance in low light.  I know they sound like the same thing, but are not.

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OP jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,396
Re: I don't know about EV's but ...

Grevture wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

Grevture wrote:

lock wrote:

But of course you can go lower. However, how often does it happen when shooting sports ?

Well, have never bothered with EV, so I have no idea where that puts you

But to me, decent low light is at say iso 3200, f2.8 and 1/500, while quite bad light is at iso 6400, f2.8 and 1/250. Following that I find the 51 point system somewhat better in decent light, and in quite bad light the 39 point AF just is nowhere near the performance of the 51 point version.

I think the point of the recent discussion here is that how an AF system works in low light has more to do with the focus processing behind the scenes (e.g. in the circuitry) and less to do with how many actual AF points there are. There might be a loose correlation between number of focus points and focus horsepower (just because Nikon chooses to align more horsepower with more points), but they are different parts of the system so we know they are not always correlated. For example, the D300 and D3 had the same 51pt AF part in it, but the D3 was way more powerful for AF in bad light.

Similarly, we really don't know how the Df, D610 and D7000 compare in focus horsepower even though they all have 39 focus points. And, I've seen evidence that the D300 does noticeably better in low light than the D7100 even though they both have 51 points (in fact, the D7100 part is newer as it works at f/8 whereas the D300 does not).

So, I've concluded that you can't just assume a level of performance because of the number of focus points. There's so much more to it than that.

I am not particularly interested in the number of points as such - what I am saying is the 39 point system (as a system) is less well adopted to low light then its 51 point counterpart. I think the difference probably is about smaller individual AF points (thus gathering less light) in the 39 point variety - that version appear to have been designed for cheaper camera models then the 51 point version.

And I would be very interested to see the evidence supporting the D300 AF doing noticeably better low light then the D7100 AF - from what I have seen, its is the other way around (which would make sense since the 51 point system got better in low light also in the D4 and D800 as compared to D3/D3s and D700).

The part I do agree with is the total performance of a AF system is a combination of the AF sensor (being a 9 point, 11 point, 39 point or 51 point version) and the processing horsepower behind it. I have seen many reports the D300 gaining slightly in overall AF performance with the battery grip (along with gaining fps speed), which could be because the camera is allowed to use more power for processing with the battery grip then without.

We're mostly in agreement here.

What I'm trying to say is that it's not safe to generalize based on the number of AF points.  For example, do you think the Df, the D610 and the D5300 all have the same AF performance just because they all have a 39pt system?   Or do the D7100, D800 and D4 all perform the same because they all have 51pt systems?  Or can we know that the D7100 performs better than the Df just because it has more points?

I think what matters even more than which AF sensor unit the camera has is the processing unit behind it (it probably comes down to focus calculations per second and subject tracking logic and noise suppression and stuff like that in the electronics behind the focus sensor).  I refer to this processing stuff as "focus processing horsepower" because I don't know of any other name for it and Nikon does not discuss any of this.  But, we know that the D300 and D3 both have the same focus sensor, but the D3 is clearly more capable at focusing and tracking - especially in low light, at max fps or with low contrast subjects.  I theorize that is because it has more "focus processing horsepower".  You could see this in the 3D processing too.  The D3/D3s were sometimes passable in 3D mode, the D300 was basically never useful in 3D mode.

There may be a general correlation between number of focus points and the amount of focus processing horsepower and overall system performance such that 51pt based systems may have more focus processing horsepower than 39pt systems and thus perform better just because Nikon chooses to align the more expensive part with the better focus processing horsepower. But, I don't think you can conclude that all 39pt systems have equivalent performance or all 51pt systems have equivalent performance.

If I can find the source of the info about the D300 AF performing better in low light than the D7100, I'll post it - don't have it handy now.

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Brandon birder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,204
Re: some additional info on the d7100 AF

jfriend00 wrote:

Bajerunner wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I just found this thread on another site, that was posted by an avid soccer shooter. He is not happy with the 9pt dynamic AF performance for soccer shooting. That poster also has some comments in this thread that you may find interesting.

This is the kind of action that is similar to what I'd normally test, but I've not been able to do so with the d7100 yet.

Interesting thread where he concludes that the D300 handles soccer playing tracking noticeably better than the D7100. I know there's a lot more to AF performance than just which focus part the camera has. This seems to indicate that even the ancient D300 has more focus horsepower than the D7100 (at least in the hands of this soccer photographer). The inverse is probably why the D3/D3s focuses better than the D300 too.

The focus processing probably has a lot to do with it. Which goes with what another poster was saying below, re D3 focusing being tops.

Less money = cheaper processing.

Goes along with my motto, used pro level equip is better than new consumer equip, if the money is similar makes it easier to choose.

Yeah, I really wish there was a way to know how much "focus horsepower" a camera has without just trying to rely on anecdotal info from shooters. For example, does the Df really have the same focus system as the D610? Or is it more powerful? Does the D7100 really have the same focus system as the D300?

It sure would be useful to buyers for Nikon to provide some sort of grading system for the AF system so buyers who shoot things that move could be better informed in selecting the right system. If the higher level cameras really are better, then I would think this might actually boost sales of the higher level cameras because those who care would want the better system.

But, right now, you don't really know if you get more for your money in AF or how much more. I'm thinking that they could provide some sort of focus points per second that the camera can process at x EV of light or y level of contrast and light. I know the D300 does better at 9 focus points than at 21 in low light and that is presumably because whatever processing power it has gets too busy when there are 21 points to process and the light is low.

Without objective tests this is currently not possible. The lens also needs to be taken into account.

The D7100 focuses and tracks as well with my 80-400vrAFSG as any of my primes with my D800. Put it on my 300mm f2.8vr1 and older generation lens and it focuses quickly and accurately but doesn't track as well. Works much better with my current generation 500mm f4 though.

I assume that lens focussing algorithms improve in tandem with their generation camera ones.

Brandon birder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,204
Re: What to buy for shooting action that doesn't cost as much as a D4?
1

jfriend00 wrote:

calson wrote:

The D7100 has great IQ in low light shooting, has the f8 autofocus sensors which helps to focus in low light or with telephoto lenses and it shoot HD video.

A FX lens means longer and heavier and more expensive lenses. A 70-200mm on the D7100, as with your D300 functions much like a 105-300mm f2.8 zoom, and this is great for sports photography day or night.

FYI, the f/8-capable auto-focus sensors means that it will handle AF when the angle of view of the light rays coming from the lens is only f/8 (typically happens when using a teleconverter - like a 2x converter on an f/4 lens). This is a separate issue from actual AF performance in low light. I know they sound like the same thing, but are not.

I shoot week in and week out with a friend who uses a D300s and I have yet to see him take better images in low light focus wise than me on a D7100. The D800 is an order better IQ and AF wise in low light and for action the 1.2 crop mode gives 5fps with a decent buffer. I can't honestly say I have missed peak action at that frame rate much at all. The IQ  at 1.2 crop is still amazing.

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