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Multi-CAM 4800FX

JolietDeltaTango-0505 3:27am, 22 September 2012
Anyone like me noticing that the AF module sensor array doesn't cover near enough real estate for this sensor?

Maybe it's because I've been using the 51 point system for so long, but it seems to me that The D600 has inherited the exact same module as the D7000 regardless of the FX added to the name.

I think the AF points should have been spread a little further out from each other to provide coverage closer to the edges.
VicPhotos PRO 6 years ago
Totally agree.
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Zeroneg1 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Zeroneg1 (admin) 6 years ago
It is looking like the AF multi-sensor wasnt scaled up to the full frame sensor and 100% viewfinder coverage. Remains to be seen if this is detrimental to this body.
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
As far as I'm concerned it is detrimental. It's near impossible to frame to rule of thirds without focusing and recomposing. It's a time waster and useless if your subject is moving.
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Zeroneg1 6 years ago
Well you have a D800 so you're safe LOL
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
I was telling someone earlier if they dropped this sensor into the D800 THAT would be a great camera. I'd even consider selling my D700 if that happened!
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Dream Source Studio Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Dream Source Studio (moderator) 6 years ago
Someone created this image of the D800 AF points overlapping the D600 AF points. Not sure of the picture's accuracy, but here it is:

http://i167.photobucket.com/albums/u136/najsuroviji/AFlayout.jpg



The D800 definitely has more frame coverage, but not as much as I thought it would. The extra AF points give it a little more spread across the frame.
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
That's quite a bit actually. It may not look like it, but when framing it makes a lot of difference.
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Zeroneg1 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Zeroneg1 (admin) 6 years ago
And to think we started with only 5-11 AF indicators years ago.
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
Yeah, 11 in the D200. It actually provided more coverage than this does. I'd rather have 11 spread out points than 39 jammed together though.

How about 3 point in the D60? That was pretty awesome.
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Dream Source Studio 6 years ago
Every little bit makes a difference, no doubt.

@Zeroneg1 - tell me about it! My D40X has 3 AF cross points and that's it! Though..... the nice thing about that was that the cross points come closer to the right and left sides. Somehow I managed. Can't comment on the D600 until Tuesday.
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Zeroneg1 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Zeroneg1 (admin) 6 years ago
I don't think this is a show stopper for most and those that find it to be an issue would either adapt or use another body. Just like in life we accept it or adapt or refuse it and move on to something else.

Didn't we used to focus using the center AF then re-compose for off center images?
JolietDeltaTango-0505 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by JolietDeltaTango-0505 (member) 6 years ago
Yeah, well I also shot sports in manual focus in the 80's. There's a reason why more AF points are added, for speed and convenience. Why have 39 points if only 11 of them are useful?
Chromium Prime Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Chromium Prime (member) 6 years ago
The D800 does have more coverage than D600 but that is to be expected. The picture above is not entirely accurate though. The AF points are not correctly lined up and centered between the D800 and D600. As a result, the lack of AF coverage looks more exaggerated specially if you look at the pic from left to right top to bottom as most people do.

Here is a GIF I created of the D600 and D800 AF modules.



Ignore the AF framing area as that will give a misleading indicator since they're not spaced to the same degree on both modules. Instead look at the AF boxes (points) themselves. Now hold a ruler to the edge of the leftmost or rightmost AF points on the D600 AF module and you'll see that it's only one column short compared to the D800 on either side. Do the same for the top or bottom of the module and it's only half a row short. This is not bad at all for FX camera with AF module based on D7K.

If we compare the D7K and D300s in the same way, I'm sure the AF area differences would be similar if not exactly the same.
Chromium Prime Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Chromium Prime (member) 6 years ago
To make a more thorough comparison on how multi-CAM 3500FX and 4800FX measure-up in terms of area coverage against their DX counterparts, here is D300s vs. D800 AF area coverage.



And here is D7K vs. D600 AF area coverage.



You can see how in DX formats AF area coverage looks huge compared to FX but then again this does not take into account the smaller area of the DX sensor.
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
I'm not sure that those screen grabs from the Nikon manual are drawn to scale.
VicPhotos PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by VicPhotos (member) 6 years ago
I really miss the high coverage ratio of the AF points in my D300. The "focus and recompose" method is not ideal for shooting action photos if you want your subject off the centre, say one-third from the right edge.

I would rather have a fewer AF Points, but having them spread out more.

Even D800's AF points are clustered towards the center.

How is the coverage of the AF points in a D4? Can anyone show a picture of D4 AF points?
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Wade Bryant 6 years ago
None of the FX cameras have as much AF sensor frame coverage as the D300. The D700 and D800 are better than the D600 but neither really gets as much of the frame as would be useful. The D800 I had briefly had the bad outboard sensor issue anyway. I agree that fewer sensors spread out wider would be ideal. I don't think the D600 spread will bother me at all. I'm more concerned about cross-type sensitivity and low-llight capability. The D600 seems to do quite well in both regards.
chimphappyhour 6 years ago
I went from a D300 to a D700 which is about the same as the D7K to D600 AF jump. As Nikon has stated, it is D7K AF sensor that has been reworked. As Wade has said, this is just how Nikon has operated up to this point. When I went from the D300 to the D700, I lost a lot of AF real estate. I think I'm losing just a tad bit more going from the D700 to the D600 but I knew I would when I saw 51 versus 39.
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
I haven't exactly been pleased with D600 AF in low-light focusing myself and I haven't even put it through the paces of shooting in a challenging situation like a concert. It does a lot more hunting than I'm used to.
chimphappyhour 6 years ago
Really? Odd. My first test shots with any camera I get are in the darkest of galleries in an art museum. Always the same "light" (or lack thereof), always the same subjects. The D600 did just as well as my D700. The only place that caused a hunt scenario was blind shooting into an unlit sarcophagus cover in a dark gallery. Once my eyes adjusted enough to see into it and see the resin drips to focus on, the D600 snapped right to. Both the D600 and D700 have more robust AF units than my J1 and that easily locked focus last night at a concert.
Chromium Prime 6 years ago
They're certainly the same scale as the picture that posted just more centered focus points : )
henryting 6 years ago
Reviews are coming in and quite a bit of comments surround the 39-point AF area. It seems the AF of the D600 is exactly sized and designed like the D7000 without spacing out the 39-points for the FX format.

Can we rightfully claim that the smaller AF coverage is going to affect dynamic, and continuous AF, especially in action sports such as auto-racing and anything you want to capture while the subject is moving ?

I would like to see some real world testing in this area. Anyone ?
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Nick Arora Photo 6 years ago
@hentryting,

aren't most people using dynamic autofocus using the center AF point anyway? I know particularly for auto-racing and football...they recommend using the center (or a group from the center)
Arie's Photography 6 years ago
Crap. It doesn't even look like it covers enough real estate for the rule of thirds. I really hope people who get this give their honest opinions about it.
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
It doesn't work very well for rule of thirds. That's for sure.
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Nick Arora Photo 6 years ago


I suspect that people's opinions aren't going to help you make a decision. Some people won't mind it at all, and others will be bothered to no end about it. Your best bet is to rent the camera (as soon as its available at rental places) and make a personal decision about whether the focus point situation is unacceptable.
I've been testing today on moving subjects, using point AF and selecting either the centre one, or one of the other cross points. To be honest this is the setting I usually use for sports. I rarely use 3D tracking or area focus. I've not found any problems. You do notice the lesser coverage, compared to my D300s, but for me it's no big deal. In any case, what's all this rule of thirds business? If we all complied with this, all our shots would be the same!
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
In any case, what's all this rule of thirds business? If we all complied with this, all our shots would be the same!

If none of us complied with this all of our shots would look the same.
Arie's Photography 6 years ago
I don't follow the rule of thirds ALL the time but for portraits where I want to make sure the focus is on the eyes, it's very handy. I'd hate to end up cropping the picture just to get things to work out. But yeah, I for the life of me can't figure out why people get so defensive when you try to find out about a product. My dad doesn't own Nikon and I'm sure other people's dads on here don't own Nikon either so why do people take it so personally?

I'd rather know what issues people are having so I can figure out whether it's worth it to get this or perhaps the D800 later. on .
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
so why do people take it so personally

I always wonder the same thing. People act like you called their kid ugly or something. It's just a camera, y'know?
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Nick Arora Photo Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Nick Arora Photo (admin) 6 years ago
[Houston Cougars]

Still, I think the issues other people are having with AF-points are not going to be particularly helpful to you.

I've been on enough forums to know that some people seriously do not know how to auto-focus their cameras -- claiming back focus problems when really they just don't know their camera's limits or when to use AF-C, etc.

If a random person on the internet tells you that following the rule of thirds is impossible with the MultiCAM-4800FX...take it with a grain of salt. Just rent the camera and play it with it for a weekend and decide if it works for you. Alternately, buy from a place with a generous return policy.

You'll quickly find out whether not you can get a sharp eye in a off-center portrait --- even if random_internet_guy tells you its impossible or incredibly difficult or something
Arie's Photography 6 years ago
I understand that Nick, but if one person complains, I take it with a grain of salt. When many others start to complain then it turns into a serious issue because many others may have had the problem but aren't on this forum. It's kind of like with Apple and "antenna-gate". There were many "how dare you insult Apple! You need to learn how to hold your phone right!".
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
I don't think it's actually really necessary to rent the camera to see that composing by rule of thirds is going to be hard without recomposing, especially with smaller subjects. Take a look at the viewfinder GIFs above and you can see how the AF points don't even come near the edge of the frame. Then use your imagination.

I don't see that off-center portraits will be much of a problem as your subject is likely to fill a lot of the frame, but for other things it's not going to work quite as well. For example I was trying to focus on a flower near the edge of the frame, I wanted to focus on the center of the flower. I switched to AF-S, I used the closest far focus point to the subject, recomposed then shot.

Of course the wind was blowing ever so slightly and while recomposing the flower moved and was out of focus. Now, with a camera with spread out focus points I could have used AF-C, the exact point I wanted and nailed it in one shot. Instead I had to take multiple shots and in the end I just ended up framing it loosely and cropping it in post.

Now in this situation it isn't a big deal, not a high pressure shot. But, if I were shooting a concert assignment it would mean missing a lot of shots or adding to post production time by cropping later. On an assignment with a strict deadline neither of these options will work.

Now, it's not a big deal for me. I own a D700 and D800 as well and I'd likely use those instead, but for some people who may be attempting to make some money with their expensive new camera they may not have the option of switching to another body.

Now, this isn't just the opinion of "random_internet_guy". I've owned every entry-level to small body pro DSLR that Nikon has ever made as well as various pro bodies like the D1H, D2H/X as well. I've written well over a dozen books on Nikon cameras. I have a degree in photography. If I have a problem with a camera it's not because I don't understand how to use it.

This isn't a "my camera is back-focusing, maybe" complaint. I'm just pointing out a physical limitation of the AF module and hypothesizing that it may not work for everyone.
henryting 6 years ago
@_JDT0505, a very good scenario that you illustrated. The D600 perhaps wouldn't be a problem for 95% of the time, but the rare exception with the situation as you have illustrated. I wouldn't want to pass judgement on this yet, but I think it might be an Achilles heel for the D600. The jury is still out.
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Nick Arora Photo Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Nick Arora Photo (admin) 6 years ago
I still stand my belief that its better for him to rent it (or purchase and return it) before drawing any conclusions.

>_JDT0505 writes "for some people who may be attempting to make some money with their expensive new camera they may not have the option of switching to another body."

Meanwhile, I know for a fact that some high-level shooters exclusively use center-point focus and recompose. Jonas Peterson, named one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world in 2011, uses this technique. Weddings are obviously fast paced, high pressure events where the goal is to make money. It works for him.

Not trying to discredit _JDT0505's experience. My point is that what is a "deal breaker" for some rarely is a "deal breaker" for all. Personal experience with the camera will trump all the reading you do online.

Moreover --
>Houston_Cougars writes "When many others start to complain then it turns into a serious issue"

Except I've learned that forums are a breeding ground for hive-mind and negativity. The minute one person brings up "back focus" -- everyone freaks out and you get hundreds of posts all complaining about the same thing. Nevermind that most of those complaints are user error ... or a failure to understand AF-fine tune.

This is compounded because happy users have less inclination to post new threads (a happy user is probably out shooting!). so it will sometimes feel like all you ever read about are focus issues.

Anyway, just my two cents. Hope it gives you a little perspective.
JolietDeltaTango-0505 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by JolietDeltaTango-0505 (member) 6 years ago
Jonas Peterson, named one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world in 2011, uses this technique. Weddings are obviously fast paced, high pressure events where the goal is to make money. It works for him.

That's all well and good for him. However, I'm sure he's in the minority and when dealing with people it's easy to give them a bit of direction and ask them to hold still for a second. Not so much with the wind.

In any case, I've never heard of him and I've never seen him shoot so I don't know his technique. Maybe he's so fast he can focus, recompose and shoot before anyone moves or the camera refocuses. Maybe he's a spray and pray shooter (I know some very successful wedding photographers who do this). Who knows?

Not to discount your knowledge, but you saying you know for a fact that he uses this technique exclusively doesn't really hold much weight with me. I don't know any photographer that's worth his salt that doesn't modify his shooting techniques for different scenarios. It's just a simple fact that using the center point only isn't always going to be the best option, no matter if you're the #1 wedding photographer or the noob.

I never said it was a "deal breaker" at all. I can learn to use any camera by modifying my technique to fit the camera.
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Nick Arora Photo 6 years ago
He posted in a forum that that's his main AF method. He occasionally manual focuses. But my goal isn't to say that Jonas is right and you are wrong -- only that prospective buyers should get some hands on experience before deciding whether using the rule of thirds is too slow or too difficult with this camera.
JolietDeltaTango-0505 6 years ago
Main AF method is the key phrase. In your earlier post you said he used it exclusively.

That changes the whole context.

In any case, I'm not saying people should blindly listen to me. All I ever did was give my point of view. I never told anyone not to buy the camera because of this. I was just putting my observation out there.
MOD
Wade Bryant 6 years ago
I've been shooting my D600 all weekend and am finding the AF system to be perfect for my needs. It seems to have excellent tracking in low light with moving subjects even thought the coverage area is not too great. The AF sensitivity in darkness seems better than any other Nikon I've had (D700, D7000 and lesser). I was easily able to focus on individual stars in the sky with the center AF point for night infinity focus with my "dim" 28-300 AF-S lens.
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Nick Arora Photo 6 years ago
@wade, good to hear! In a wedding photography forum I post to -- someone who normally uses a D800, D3s combo had this to say about the focus:

"The AF seems really accurate, and just as responsive as the top-level pro bodies. But the points are definitely packed a little tighter - I was missing the spread just a smidge, but I still can't tell if its outer points are better than the outer points of a D800/D3/etc. because they're closer to the center."
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