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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Sat 09-Nov-13 02:01 PM
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"D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
Sat 09-Nov-13 03:10 PM by RLDubbya

US
          

TL;DR. D7100 has a couple glaring flaws in still performance, but outstanding ergonomics and makes great videos. For my shooting, I can't rely completely on the 7100, and will need another body in the bag.

I've been living with the D7000 for quite some time - enough frames that I'd say I'm on "intimate" terms with this body. I've gone through the back-focus issue on two D7000 bodies, and am perfectly comfortable fine tuning a lens when needed. Incidentally, I just use the "Live View Dot Focus" method, which I've found to be plenty accurate, and takes very little time.

I picked up a 7100 a couple months ago, and now have quite a few frames under my belt. Did some shooting with it around the compoound, and then finally spent a weekend on assignment, and then doing some outdoor shooting at Arlington National Cemetery. Then a few follow up shots around the compound and various places on my daily travels.

I noticed this in reviewing photos taken over the weekend's assignment as well: regardless of lens (in fact, regardless of photographer - I had another photographer shooting a 7100), there were times that focus would just jump from the intended subject to something that was in the background. In the gym, I was set for AF-S.
The assignment was to shoot lifters in a powerlifting gym. They would be training. We were capturing stills and video to be used on websites and in product promotion spots. Nothing would be printed above 8x10". It was OK to assume that images could be heavily processed in post with effects.

A note on the gym: lighting was not great. Had to shoot wide open, ISO 1000 or greater, and that yielded shutter speeds in the 1/160 range. Also, as most "hardcore" gyms go: lifters were typically close to other equipment, or walls. Flashes weren't really possible for lifting sequences.

Somebody said they wanted my impressions. Here goes.

The D7100 is the D7000's older, sexier sister who knows all the moves and knows how to please. She's built for speed.

Ergonomically, she blows away the 7000 - not even close. Controls are well thought out, the viewfinder is much brighter, and I especially like the video controls. Took a few minutes to figure them out, but now the D7000 seems clunky and awkward in comparison. Just being able to assign, for example, histogram to the OK button during playback is great. Everything about the 7100's control layout just makes the 7000 seem clunky.

Definite win here.

Image quality. When the 7100 gets it right, the image quality - with the best glass - has a certain something that might be a little better than the 7000. For me, the best glass means either the Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VR-II or the Nikkor 14-24/2.8. I'll have more to say about this later this month when I pick up my 200/f2.

Clearly, more pixels mean that cropping works out well to save more shots, and you can obviously print larger with less noise. I'm always astounded by how I can crop an image down by what seems like an incredible amount, and still get something usable.

However, there's two big problems I've noticed in my shooting: the 7100 misses focus when it clearly shouldn't, and it also has a problem with (and I'm struggling a bit to describe this) the edges of a ligher object against a dark background, or a dark object against a light background.

First, focus. I took a series of pics of a helicopter parked on a pad. ISO 100, 1/800, 200mm. I was set for AF-C, back-button, single-point, and on each shot, the focus point was locked onto the windscreen of the helicopter, and the camera confirmed focus. The shots were taken over a few second period. There were various objects in between me and the helicopter, but I had clear line of sight. My elbow was propped on a stationary object.

Approximately 50% of the shots were good. The other 50% had focus issues. Focus simply jumped to something else in the frame.

Again, this problem showed up in photos I took at Arlington of the changing of the guard. Using the 70-200/2.8, I took a lot of photos of the guard on watch. If there was nothing in the background, the photos all focused well, and were "tack sharp".

However, there was a group of disabled vets in chairs watching the guard, and from one angle, they're in the background of my photos. Keeper rate on those is 50%, and focus locks onto shiny metal - in this case, the focus clearly locked onto the silver metal of one of the wheelchairs in the background, I'm guessing a good 5-10' behind the guard.


I saw this in gym photos as well. Going through images, there was, for example, a series, taken of an athlete squatting. The athlete was wearing dark clothing. 5-7' behind the athlete was a shiny, white, metal rack. On some of the shots in the series, focus is on the shiny metal rack behind the athlete. Framing of the shots was identical; nothing else about the photo changed. These were taken with a much shorter focal length, I'm definitely not seeing motion blur. The camera clearly mis-focused.

If the subject being photographed doesn't have anything else around them, focus works perfectly. But otherwise, there's an unacceptable (to me) rate of missed focus.

Note that I'm not the only one to notice this: LensAuthority.Com points this out in their capsule review of the 7100.

The other problem I see with image quality on the 7100: a photo with something black in the foreground, and a light background, or vice versa. There seems be an outline of chroma noise (?) around the object; I see, for example, in certain shots of my black furred dogs taken during the day, and of trees taken at dusk.

The 7000 does not display either of these problems.

Buffer speed / capacity remains even more of a disappointment on the 7100 than the 7000. I know there are many who feel that it's more than adequate for sports. That's great; I disagree. After this weekend, I disagree even more - if I shot 1.3x mode, jpg fine, I had a usable camera. Otherwise, I was hamstrung.

I don't want to shoot jpg. I don't want to shoot even lower resolution than DX.

I noticed that the other photographer was unable to capture full lifting sequences either - so, going through photos, I see lots of either starts of lifts, locked out lifts, lifts after lock out, but I rarely see a lifter's entire sequence of start-lockout-lower.

Keep in mind, too, that these were just light weights being played around with in a gym setting. Once you get to the platform, a lift might take 10-15 seconds from start to lockout. It might also take 1 second. If you can predict which lifter is going to "grind" for 10 seconds to complete his/her lift ahead of time, I'll call you Nostradamus.

And, yes, this happens: I've personally taken 12 seconds to lock out a 725lb deadlift, and if I'm paying a photographer, I want the stills to show me locking that lift out, and hopefully struggling with it on the way up.

It's nice to be able to show a lifter his / her entire lift, and not say "I'm sorry, I missed you locking out the North American Deadlift Record because my camera ran out of buffer." Especially telling that to a 275lb, heavily muscled guy who looks like he's ready to break you in half. Let's put it this way: if you told that to me, and I was the lifter, I'd be really, really pi$$ed - you wouldn't be working for me ever again. And I'd make sure that it was known throughout the community that you missed the shot.

I honestly have to say that for stills, for my work, I'd probably lean towards the 7000. The ergonomics issue is important, however, especially the mode dial. It's very nice not to have to worry about bumping the mode dial in the heat of the action.

If money was not an issue, I'd say that for me, ultimately, neither the 7000 nor the 7100 fit the bill, which is a shame. I'm not sure what my next attempt will be. I might live with the drawbacks; I might consider moving to a pro body.

I have another on-location assignment in a month, which is just a gym session. It's overseas, I'll just use what I have for now. However, there's a huge international meet in March, close to home. I'm going to rent a D3x and a D4 for that event.

Moving on: video performance is a another ballgame.

Here the 7100 shines - no question. The ergonomics are much improved. The LCD screen actually works well by itself to focus (at least indoors), and I captured some really nice footage. Once again, the same rules apply: you can go "all auto" and get OK results, but you will find stuff to complain about (you'll hear and see the lens servo focusing, it will focus to frequently, the built-in mic on "auto level" is just acceptable).

If you set your camera to manual focus, you get much better results. That eliminates the lens servo issue. Set the recording levels to manual, and you get better results; use an external mic, jacked into the camera, and you get even better results. Pick up an external recorder, learn some external mic techniques, and you get the best results. One thing to remember about video: audio is over 50% of the battle. If you have good sound quality, picture quality can slide quite a bit - it can carry the viewer over bad pans, bad edits, etc.

Anyhow, the 7100, with a good lens - I used the Nikkor 14-24/2.8 - produces stunning video. I used standard still tripods with ball heads for most shooting.

I also did some tethered shooting using a PolePixie adapter on a painter's pole, along with a ball head, an active USB extension cable, and then used Cinemetographer Pro.

Mixed results here: when it worked, I got the same stunning video I'd expect. However, after successfully recording a couple lifters (coincidentally, female), there was a large male lifter next in line for the bench station (he weighed, oh, 375lbs, and tossed huge weights around nonchalantly). I had the laptop and 7100 all setup, and the 7100 just stopped working.

No matter what I did (rebooting the camera, the laptop, unplugging cables, etc), the 7100 refused to work. Of course, we joked that he broke the camera. I grabbed the 7000, hooked it up, and it worked fine. I haven't had a chance to diagnose this any further upon getting back home.

Video: I'm tempted to pick up another 7100 for video. It's that good. I love the results.

I really want to like the 7100 more than I can afford to; the missed focus issue is just a killer for me, as so much of my work takes place in a gym setting, where I can guarantee that the conditions are ripe for having the body blow focus and missing the shot. The video and the ergonomics, as good as they are, just don't make up for this.

The weird fringing that I notice is something that I might be able to live with; it only impacts a photo every once in a while. I could probably come up with a way to correct in post.

I'm still not sure of the 7100's high ISO performance. I haven't had enough time to play with that, but that will be next on the list.

EDIT: ERRATA. LensAuthority.Com should be LensRentals.Com. Specific text from their site is "I’ll be honest with you, I’m not sold on this one. For me, I’d take the D7000 over the D7100 nine out of ten times. The “redesigned” autofocus system is less accurate than the D7000, and the increase in resolution regressed high ISO performance by a couple generations. So what’s the redeeming factor you ask? Well… the optical viewfinder with OLED display is nice, and I suppose the 1.3x (really 2x) crop mode is useful for sports. A great “rent so you don’t buy” item."

  

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aolander Silver Member
09th Nov 2013
1
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RLDubbya Silver Member
09th Nov 2013
3
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snapper326
09th Nov 2013
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RLDubbya Silver Member
09th Nov 2013
6
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s2sailorlis_nikon
09th Nov 2013
4
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RLDubbya Silver Member
09th Nov 2013
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gfinlayson Silver Member
10th Nov 2013
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RLDubbya Silver Member
11th Nov 2013
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aolander Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Sep 2006Sat 09-Nov-13 02:31 PM
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#1. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 0


Nevis, US
          

The focus issue may be in the way you've got it set up. It seems quite a few photographers use the D7100 for birds and birds in flight so it's focusing abilities must be decent. The fringing is likely a lens issue (purple fringing, chromatic aberration) which may be more noticeable on a higher MP camera.

Alan

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Sat 09-Nov-13 03:08 PM
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#3. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 1


US
          

>The focus issue may be in the way you've got it set up. It
>seems quite a few photographers use the D7100 for birds and
>birds in flight so it's focusing abilities must be decent. The
>fringing is likely a lens issue (purple fringing, chromatic
>aberration) which may be more noticeable on a higher MP
>camera.

Doubt it. It's quite reproducible, and occurs under a specific set of circumstances which birders are unlikely to encounter. AF-S, AF-C, doesn't matter. Two different photographers, same results.



  

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snapper326 Registered since 24th Oct 2013Sat 09-Nov-13 03:00 PM
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#2. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 0


GB
          

The problem you mention with the chroma noise might just be light diffraction. The lack of the anti aliasing filter might make It worse than on the D7000?.

  

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Sat 09-Nov-13 09:11 PM
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#6. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

>The problem you mention with the chroma noise might just be
>light diffraction. The lack of the anti aliasing filter might
>make It worse than on the D7000?.

I dunno. I am neither physicist nor engineer, and don't pretend to understand the principles of light diffraction, what an AA filter might or might not do, etc.

  

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s2sailorlis_nikon Registered since 19th Jun 2012Sat 09-Nov-13 08:10 PM
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#4. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 0
Sat 09-Nov-13 08:14 PM by s2sailorlis_nikon

US
          

question on the jumping focus, curious what focus point did the camera ultimately choose? See below I was using af-c 21 point and was surprised where camera choose focus point even though I had initially locked in on center point on the hull (I posted this issue earlier and others felt it would have been better using afs instead. But was surprised how it choose the focus point. The BIF really surprised me as I had locked onto the bird and felt it should have nailed it. Having said this I have other BIF shots that turned out fine....

EDIT: below taken with d7000 and 70-200 VR 1




Visit my Nikonians gallery.



excuse typos...via iPad....

  

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Sat 09-Nov-13 09:05 PM
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#5. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 4
Sat 09-Nov-13 09:07 PM by RLDubbya

US
          

In the gym example:

Camera would randomly pick the shiny metal rack behind the athlete for focus, although the focus indicates the athlete was selected.

Arlington:

Camera would randomly pick the shiny wheelchair metal rail behind the guard's face, although the camera was set to AF-S, green dot was on, and locked to guard's face.


Helicopter:

Camera picked something in front of the helicopter to lock focus onto at random. I was focused, AF-C, green dot was on, locked to same spot on helicopter. Reviewing images, you can clearly see the out-of-focus helicopter version has elements in much better focus near the foreground than the in-focus helicopter version.

I'm looking at this right now, and after 10 minutes of going over the image, I found it: there's a cement curb, gray colored, with green grass behind it. A bright white wall partially obscures the curb.

The curb is tack sharp in the image with the out of focus helicopter.

The curb is nowhere near the helicopter.

EDIT: just to be 100% clear. The red focus point, in each case, did not move from the intended subject. So, it stayed on the helicopter, the guard's face, etc. and really looked like a good, solid image was being captured.

  

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gfinlayson Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Jan 2011Sun 10-Nov-13 10:10 PM
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#7. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 5
Sun 10-Nov-13 10:14 PM by gfinlayson

Maidenhead, GB
          

Bob, one of the issues I often see with the D7100 and the D800 is that the cross type sensors are quite large and extend beyond the size of the focusing square seen in the viewfinder or in the image review. Oftentimes, this means that an image which should be in focus is actually out of focus because the AF sensor has seen a slightly 'better' target within the cross-type sensor than the one you initially gave it.

I find it most frustrating when shooting wide open on super-teles, where a slight miss gives a very blurred subject. Getting to know when it's likely to happen and choosing a better target within the same plane of focus or choosing a tighter aperture with a greater DOF can often help. As an aside have you tried fine-tuning the AF with your lenses on the D7100? It's a worthwhile exercise as even the slightest mis-focus is very apparent on the D7100's 24MP sensor. I use the 'dot tune' method. It's fast and easy compared to other methods and also very accurate.

Graeme

  

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Mon 11-Nov-13 10:49 AM
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#8. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 7


US
          

Hi Graeme.

Good to hear from you - thanks for your comments, they make sense.

I'll just note a couple things.

Subjects for which focus was intended, and the center cross-hair was placed, and the green dot confirmed focus achieved. When focus is blown, the area in focus is very small in comparison.

Size of these nearly filled the viewfinder in at least one dimension. Not tiny, by any means.


Technique note (for my shots): helicopter. AF-C, single point, CH mode. Elbows propped up in front of me, seated. I bursted 4 shots; out of that burst, 3 were fine, 1 was clearly blown, with the helicopter out of focus, but the curb in clear focus.

Guard at Tomb of Unknown Soldiers. Standing, leaning over railing, elbows propped. AF-S. CH mode. Fired off bursts. Without going through and figuring out bursts, etc, the majority focused on the guard's face are tack-sharp as intended (poor guy has some razor irritation around the adam's apple from the morning shave). Every once in a while, without moving, focus has jumped to a wheelchair in the background - the guard's face is clearly out of focus, the wheelchair is clearly in sharp focus.

Gym shots were indoor lighting under fluorescent tubes. Gym shots were at a range of about 20-50mm, by the way. Very short distances.

I can't comment on the shooter's technique, as I was not the shooter. I'll just note that he delivered series of images, much as I would, so in the case of the athlete squatting, there's something like 6 in the series. 5 are fine; in 1, focus has jumped to a rack behind him.

The only gym shots that had this issue were the ones with a busy fore/background. None of the other series demonstrated the problem.

The cemetery was a bright, sunny day.

Helicopter was overcast, cloudy day.

I am unable to duplicate this behavior without a very busy fore/background of contrasty items. Typically the stuff you wouldn't include in a composition if you had a choice.

I'm 100% convinced this is not technique. I'm hoping I don't sound defensive - I'm trying to explain.

Please note that I'm not whining - I'm just reporting the facts as I've encountered them. I'm not upset. I'm not switching to Canon.

Indeed, I'm placing an order for a D800 this morning. I have an assignment in 4 weeks, and the D800 makes the most business sense for me.

RE: AF tuning. I haven't tuned lenses on the 7100. With the exception I've noted here, the 7100 produces images that are quite sharp, and incredibly detailed. As long as I'm aware of this limitation, I can work around it.

  

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aolander Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Sep 2006Mon 11-Nov-13 03:15 PM
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#9. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 8


Nevis, US
          

How about posting an example of the blown focus shots with EXIF intact?

Alan

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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roffelmau Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Sep 2013Mon 11-Nov-13 04:08 PM
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#10. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 8


DEPEW, US
          

I have actually noticed the same thing with my 7100 but always chalked it up to my noobness with this kind of photo tech.

I shoot a lot outdoors, on trails, forested areas, etc. Usually small critters that if they hold still for a few seconds at a time it feels like an eternity.

I've got a lot of spectacular photos of bushes and branches! Maybe only about 10%, but still, it can be annoying.

Some things I've done to help mitigate this:

The focus dance: Even on AFC, I don't keep my thumb on the button all the time (rear button focusing). I only refocus if I move or the subject moves.

If the focus point doesn't fill the focus point square, it'll be all over. I will often stab at the focus button and then shoot. Seems any little wiggle gives the stupid sensor a chance to lock onto anything other than what you're shooting.

Valium: Ok, joking here (sort of) but seriously, focusing can occasionally become very frustrating for me because of the issues you describe.

I do my best to not let the camera choose a focus point for me. It flat out hates me sometimes and does not want me to take pictures. I use D9 so that I may have a chance if I completely blow it, but try to keep lock at that center point. Which after reading above may not always be my best option... hmm..

I've also noticed that on a lens like a 300/4 AFS, the focus can change so fast I don't even notice until it's too late. On the 18-105, it's relatively slow enough that I can correct.


Just some thoughts...

--Andy

--Andy

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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jbloom Gold Member Awarded for the continuous and generous sharing of his high level expertise and his always encouraging comments in several forums. Nikonian since 15th Jul 2004Mon 11-Nov-13 05:27 PM
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#11. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 10


Wethersfield, US
          

Andy, the first question I ask when people report those kinds of problems is: What did you have CSM a3 set to? If it's anything other than "Off," the camera will stay focused on whatever subject it was focused on for a while as you hold down on the shutter button (or AF-ON). If your critter moves and you are off your subject for long enough, the camera will shift to the BG. Then you move the camera to recenter the critter on the focus point, but the camera is still on the background for a while. (Of course, "off your subject" is evaluated differently for the single-point and dynamic modes.)

When shooting high-school sports, I'm frequently shooting moving objects against a busy background. I tend to use CSM a3 set to normal or thereabouts and dynamic 9-point, but if I lose the subject for long enough and the camera locks onto the BG, I still have to do the "focus dance" to reacquire the subject. However, I can almost always track a player as he moves across the busy background and keep him in focus.

The proper setting of CSM a3 depends on how well you can stay on the subject, which in turn depends on the AF mode, subject size, how far away from the subject the background is, etc.

It's useful to inspect your shots in ViewNX 2 with the Image/Show Focus Point option on. If in AF-C mode, it will show what focus point the camera used if it believes it to be in focus. If it shows no focus point, it shows that the camera knew its selected focus point was out of focus but was following your CSM a3 instruction not to change focus right away. (In AF-S mode it just shows the focus point you have selected whether it's in focus or not.)

-- Jon
Wethersfield, CT, USA
Connecticut High School Sports Photos

  

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roffelmau Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Sep 2013Mon 11-Nov-13 05:56 PM
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#13. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 11


DEPEW, US
          

Actually, I just set that to whatever the one up from off is after Saturday! Haven't had a chance get out and see the difference yet. I'm finding that without any foliage in the scrub, there is a lot more contrast for the focus to lock onto. I had been relatively successful with it "off" during the summer and up until now. As the leaves started changing and falling, and the light changed, things kinda fell apart.

I am astounded at how well the camera can focus on a 1/4" twig 5 feet behind my subject though... That's got to count for something.

--Andy

--Andy

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jbloom Gold Member Awarded for the continuous and generous sharing of his high level expertise and his always encouraging comments in several forums. Nikonian since 15th Jul 2004Mon 11-Nov-13 06:02 PM
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#14. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 13


Wethersfield, US
          

>I am astounded at how well the camera can focus on a 1/4"
>twig 5 feet behind my subject though... That's got to count
>for something.

Especially if what you were going for was a shot of the twig!

-- Jon
Wethersfield, CT, USA
Connecticut High School Sports Photos

  

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simonleung101 Registered since 11th Sep 2012Mon 11-Nov-13 05:38 PM
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#12. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 0


Los Angeles, US
          

The number one drawback for me is the buffer. If it could handle 25-30 RAWs, I would be glad to pick one up.

  

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MarkM10431 Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Apr 2013Mon 11-Nov-13 07:40 PM
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#15. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 12


jacksonville, US
          

>The number one drawback for me is the buffer. If it could
>handle 25-30 RAWs, I would be glad to pick one up.
Amen, brother. you can get 25+ frames, but youa re shooting basic jpegs

to the OP, are you using all 52 elements for focus? I found it overwhelming and getting the same results you are talking about i reduced it to the 9 or 12 (I forget offhand) and have much better results with focus issues

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Wed 13-Nov-13 01:43 PM
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#20. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 15


US
          

Happens in AF-C single point, and AF-S. I'm not much of an AF-C bajillion point mode guy.

  

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txstone12 Gold Member Nikonian since 12th Feb 2012Mon 11-Nov-13 10:08 PM
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#16. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 0


Texas, US
          

Bob,

Sorry to hear you're having AF difficulty with your D7100. I don’t have a 7100 (yet) – I still have my D7000. I have a continuing interest in the D7100, feeling that I should have made the switch by now for my bird and wildlife interests.

I know you are very comfortable with your D7000s, so I realize you’re not a novice with Nikon AF systems. My message is pretty simple, just to point out some suggestions from an earlier topic that may be helpful in your situation.

Look at this earlier Nikonian’s "D7100: AF focuses on background a lot?" topic. I recommend this topic, not for any conclusive results that can just be dialed in, but for the helpful suggestions, e.g., see

- Clint’s back to basics suggestion to baseline your autofocus expectations (his remove possible causes) to find what IS working
- Neil’s suggestions to use ViewNX2 (or your LCD) to display the active focus point; also his suggested stop sign test to see if there is something really out of whack with your viewfinder indicators-AF sensors alignment. At the very least, this should give you some feel, perhaps even confidence, in how much larger the focal point actual coverage area is compared to indicated, as Graeme mentions.

The AF-S, single focus point baseline should be a good starting point. I would change the suggested a3 (Focus Tracking with Lock-on) to Normal or Long for what I understand about your areas of interest. (Ref pg 232 of the D7100 User’s Manual: Off - The camera immediately adjusts focus when the distance to the subject changes.)

David

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Wed 13-Nov-13 01:40 PM
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#19. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 16


US
          

Hi David!

Thanks for taking the time.

I think the 7100 is most likely a great camera for birding, although there's one shooter (whose work I admire) over on another board who emphatically disagrees, and stuck by his 7000 for DX work alongside his 800. Obviously I can't really comment, not doing that kind of work, but I do really like the 7100 overall.

The 7100 just loses it every once in a while in burst mode. See my reply to Stan for more detail. It happens with AF-S as well.

A3 is set to normal; I rarely fiddle with that setting.

I do like the 7100 a lot, I think it's a great tool. I think for my area of interest, there's a couple things it misses on - but I'm not parting ways with it, I'm not unhappy I purchased it, and I think every tool has limits.

This has escalated my decision to purchase an 800, but not by much, and given the nature of next month's assignment (I'll be in Oz for 10 days shooting, only 3 days of that will be video for the client), I'll be able to get a lot of testing done. Thanks for referencing that other post.

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Tue 12-Nov-13 12:41 PM
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#17. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 0


St Petersburg, RU
          

Is this periodic missing focus primarily in burst mode? Does it happen more in CH than CL or Single frame?
What is A3 set to? The subject focus target quality has little do with size but on characteristics that give defined edges and contrast so a large flat color object is often not a good target.
How often does it happen in single shot, AF-S mode? Does is happen with AF-Assist(preferably when using the infrared patterned assist light of the SB series speed lights)?
Is there any combination of settings which great increases the ratio of missed to captured focus?

My immediate thoughts "focused" on the burst mode, reacquiring focus lock between frames since you mention one out of a series will be missed. Is it the first or , last or middle frame in a series? Is it consistent?
A D800 might not be the answer if a burst is needed were each is refocused dead on. A used D3s or a new D4 might be the answer. One of the advantages D800/4 is the high res metering sensor that aids in reacquiring AF lock after blackout time.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Wed 13-Nov-13 12:49 PM
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#18. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 17


US
          

Thanks for the time, Stan - very astute.

When I've been able to reproduce it, it's always CH mode, and it's always a frame in the middle of the series. There's always a combination of foreground / background that gives somewhat better contrast than the subject itself, regardless of subject size.

I don't have the camera in front of me, but I believe A3 is set to 3. I tend not to change that for relatively static subjects.

I've not been able to duplicate it with AF-assist IR help from the SB.

I haven't been able to test any further than this, so I don't know if there's a combination of settings that will help the problem diminish.

Interesting that you think the 800 might not solve the issue. I guess I'll find out, since I ordered one.

Just for the sake of full disclosure: I have to produce a commercial quality video next month for my client. I have to purchase either another 7100 or an 800, might as well do the 800.

During next month's assignment, the client has placed emphasis on video, with secondary delivery of stills. So I'll be able to do real world testing of the 7100 and 800 side by side.

If the 800 doesn't fix the issue, then I'll make the move to a d4 for an upcoming assignment in February where stills are a priority. I'll probably have to rent, but that's life.

  

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km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Sat 16-Nov-13 07:56 PM
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#21. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 18


St Petersburg, RU
          

I think I would experiment with A3 for a longer hold time since it is focusing accurately, but not always on the same subject of the first frame. Another experiment would be to use Burst mode in low speed and increase the setting from the slowest to highest to see if there is a consistent speed that it becomes a problem.

I would suspect that more focus points in AF-C Dynamic Area would increase the likelihood of finding a subject off the selected focus point. Since you are not too far away and can mostly fill the frame with your subject, setting to single FP, in the center if possible, would increase the speed of re-acquisition. Concentrating on finding a focusing target on the subject that offers the best quality target for the AF system sure could not hurt.
The D800 has a little advantage in the 90k++ metering sensor that helps tracking faster at the very end of the blackout time, but I do not expect a big difference in the two cameras in AF lock times.

The Video of both cameras is very good but the D7100 has the option of 1,920 x 1,080 (Full HD / 1080p) at 60i (59.94 fields/second), 50i, 30p (29.97 fps), 25p, 24p (23.976 fps) and 1,280 x 720 (720p) at 60p (59.94 fps), 50p
That could be of real use in slow motion sequences. It had full time AF but if you are tripod mounted and the subjects are on a limited range of depth, MF is better anyway. I would not bother with hand held video for commercial release, renting a SteadiCam rig will be needed.
For field recording, a wireless mic to be hidden near the lifting stage or a remote pocket digital recorder could get surprisingly good sound, that you could not get with any camera mounted mics. If you want to get pro, set up one camera on the tripod and just let it go and use your other camera hand held for a rover but keep the sound continuous for the entire event with a pocket digital recorder. Continuous time coded audio tracks are easy to lay your many clips on and the sound will always be there during editing.
I have done some videos with my D800 and it is capable, no question but the option for HD slomo makes the D7100 more attractive. I used a set of wireless body backs on the talent, two RF channels, and used the stereo record input on the camera instead of outboard recorder and got good results. Not having the bodypack sized receivers hanging fro my strap would have been more comfortable so the next one will use the remote recorder.
Sound quality will be the defining element in whether it comes off as commercial quality. If the sound is natural sounding, a lot of visual defects like focus or framing can be ignored by the audience easier than poor noisy sound.
Good luck, sounds interesting....
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011Sun 17-Nov-13 01:10 PM
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#22. "RE: D7100 and D7000: Focus, Fringing, Video, and Buffer Thoughts"
In response to Reply # 21


US
          

Thanks Stan.

I'm looking forward to comparing the still performance of the two bodies. I have a sneaking suspicion that Nikon is really pushing the limits of performance with the pixel density of the 7100, and that that either the EXPEED processor can't keep up with that much data, or there's an issue with metering, or even firmware.

The 7100 is clearly a great camera, capable of great results. That is has some limits for my style of shooting is not saying otherwise - every camera has some limits, just like every tool has some limits. I'll be keeping the 7100 in my bag for a long time to come, I think, and I'll take a lot of pictures with it, and maybe even sneak in a couple good pictures now and then.

At the risk of getting way off topic:

The vast part of the DVDs will be "talking heads" - a presentation / seminar format. Plan is to crank up the 800 recording its HDMI stream externally on a tripod, MF. Presenters will wear a lav mic, and a small external (Handy) recorder will be used along with it's omni mics to pick up any (quite limited) crowd interaction.

I'll have the 7100 in hand / on a second tripod or monopod (can't afford a SteadiCam rig) to get a few clips here and there for variety, recorded directly to SD card, using the built-in mic, and full time AF. Obviously the soundtracks will be used just to sync.

I'll also use the 7100 to capture some lifting footage prior to the seminar, just for opening segments.

My goal with this set of DVDs is to raise the bar in this industry: it's now pretty common to shoot with a low-end camcorder, built-in mic, very minimal editing, and hope for the best. The resulting DVDs are pretty amateurish. Sometimes, the videos are shot with (I know) an iPad.

I want lifters to see my client's DVDs, and see that he is taking the steps necessary to move production quality up a notch. That attention to quality in all aspects is critical.




  

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