Thu 13-Dec-12 01:43 AM | edited Thu 13-Dec-12 03:03 AM by ZoneV
>Not to veer TOO far off the subject, but this statement >intrigues me. What is it you feel is missing in the D600 for >it to be useful for sports? We can take this private if the >mods feel it dilutes the thread too much.
Arguably the main consideration for sports is AF speed. I'm sure you agree with this.
Up to this point, I've been using a non-D original 1980s 80-200 Nikkor. On anything other than a D1-series or F5 body, the lens isn't all that fast (and even the D2-series and D3-series bodies don't quite have the D1 motor torque, though they're closer than a D200). I managed to make due using it on the D1H/x (which have the strongest AF motor Nikon has ever put into a camera), even pulling in a few tack-sharp division 1 hockey shots from behind the glass. This was until about a year ago, when I began to get frustrated. The lens simply is not sophisticated enough to know when to brake. I've been getting 70% out of focus frames, and was putting up with it. It was no fault of the D1 camera bodies; I only ever used the center AF point. It was just the fact that the lens was from a time before AF was really fine-tuned. It appears you may have the same lens as a backup. It's the original, non-D version. It hunts like mad, and doesn't brake right a lot of the time. It's also slow, even on the D1 bodies. Focus is tack-sharp for static or slow subjects, however. I love the optics and build as well.
But when I started getting more sports assignments from my newspaper, my frustration level just increased. I made do for about a year, and really worked on my tracking/panning techniques. My percentage of drastically out of focus frames decreased, but I still got about 70% of the shots that were just a few feet misfocused. Bottom line: even when you track properly, you get a lot of OOF with this lens when shooting most sports, especially in low light.
Finally I broke down last week and purchased the current version of the lens. I'm not shooting currently, but I will be shooting again soon, and I know it's going to work a lot better. It's much faster, and it also brakes better. This is a known feature of this lens.
Now, if I were to use this lens on a body with a weaker motor than the D700/D300/D200, I would be needlessly handicaping myself again. Not as bad as with the old lens on the D1x/h, probably...but still more than I'd like. I don't know if the D600 has the same AF motor as the D700 or not...
It very well might. I haven't tried one. But from what I've read, I'm confident that it has great AF. Now, if a new D600 and used D700 were the same price, it would make more sense to go with a D600 if the AF motor was just as fast. But reality is, a used D700 is significantly less expensive than a new D600...at least a $700 difference. That and the fact that I don't feel the need for 24MP at this point in time, makes the D700 the better option for me, personally. I hope to add a D700 in the near future at some point. It's not going to happen right away, as I just bought the lens. The D700 body will only become more affordable in the meantime.
The only thing about the D600 that really bothers me is that it doesn't take CF cards. I always feel like I'm going to break my SD cards by accident. Never have, since I'm very careful. But I just don't like them because of this.
I'm really trying to get away from the D1 bodies and go onto something more modern with better low light performance. I can't go any higher than ISO 1600 right now! When I shot film SLRs only before digital, I used to go up to 6400 all the time! I miss it. And I'm sure I'd find use for 12,800 at times as well.
For the time being, I'm going to enjoy the new lens on the existing bodies. For division 1, I'll still probably use it on the D1H (I should get ~90% the AF speed of the 70-200 VR with that combo). For somewhat less demanding action, I'll use it on the D200 (where the new lens should still be a drastic improvement over the old D1H/old 80-200 combo).
Bottom line, I'm not AF-S (at all) and I don't really intend to go that route in the future. (Due to budget and longevity/long-term repair issues of AF-S/VR motors.)
IMHO, the D600 body appears to be nearly perfect (if a bit on the small side). I had a D90 for about 6 months in 2010, and it was too plasticy and small. The D600 appears to have solved this for the most part. I'd also ideally like an interchangeable focusing screen (I know, even the D4 doesn't offer that now!)...and to a lesser extent, a 10-pin and PC terminal. As a semi-pro PJ, I appreciate these features. (I actually did swap out the screen in my D1x for an FM3A K-type screen.) And when using remotes, I feel the ten-pin terminal is more secure than the USB-style connector.
But the D600 is plenty fast enough in terms of frame rate and AF processing. It's durable enough, I think. it has more AF points and modes than I'd ever use. The quiet(er) release modes are welcome for photographing in certain situations. While small, it's not overly small, either...
So, it's really just a few little things about the D600 I'm not thrilled with. To recap, in order of importance they are:
-AF motor weaker than D700??? -Price/lack of used bodies (Hey, it's new, what do you expect, Al? ) -SD cards -Lack of user interchangeable focusing screens -Just a bit smaller than I'd like -Mode dial instead of buttons (but the lock on the dial is welcome and nearly makes up for this!) -No ten-pin or PC terminals
D700 costs less on the used market, is tried and proven, and readily repairable by third parties to an extent (assuming they have parts).
Also, I'll remind you I'm not a pure sports shooter. Just a PJ shooter who shoots a decent amount of sports and action (hey, who doesn't?). I elected to go with the D200 instead of the D2H or D2x due not only to cost, but also because the D200 arguably has better image quality and is a bit more modern than the D2-series. And for the D3-series, only a D700 is cost-effective at this point. I always buy a used body that's one (actually 1.5) generations behind the current one. So I bought the D1H shortly after the D2Hs was announced. I bought the D200 shortly after the D300s was announced. And I hope to buy a D700 before the D800 hits the one year mark in its production cycle, if possible.