Tue 09-Oct-12 06:07 AM | edited Tue 09-Oct-12 03:50 PM by PerroneFord
>Perrone, I am sure others would be as curious as I am how you >compare the AF performance between the D800, D3s and D600 >Stan
Typically by shooting the same subjects back to back with the same lenses and camera. Since I am a sports shooter, and it's volleyball season, it's an ideal time to test bodies against one another. Volleyball is one of the most demanding sports in existence for autofocus. No player has the ball for more than 8/10 of a second at this level. The ball can travel over 50mps on a spike. Players are constantly shifting on the floor, Focus on your target is often THROUGH the net or in the small fraction of a second you have, catching the face or an arm above the net. It's as hard as it gets. Very similar to birds in flight, but without the typically clean background.
I tend to take 2-3 bodies to a game, and 2-3 lenses. I swap lenses back and forth between bodies and shoot from the same locations. My tests are totally unscientific, but absolutely repeatable. When I look at my ability to lock focus on plays with one body compared to the next, it usually shows up VERY quickly.
Looking at my numbers in LR, there are some VERY telling stats.
Sunday's game I took a total of 952 frames
I selected 116 keepers or 12% (pretty low for me)
Of the 116, 93 were shot on the D600. Since I was getting results I liked, I stayed on that camera more.
74 of the shots were on the 70-200, 42 on the 300mm
Of the shots on the 70-200, 24 of them were at 200mm, with a few at numerous other lengths
All shots were taken at 3200 ISO.
On Friday, things were a little different. I had the D3s and the D800. Two cameras I have been shooting with for some time now.
Total frames was 1421, I kept 81. A VERY low ratio for me but I motor drived a lot on the D3s that day.
58 shots kept taken on the D3s. Only 23 shots kept on the D800
NO shots taken on the 300mm were kept. 72 from the 70-200 and 9 from the 85mm.
What these numbers mean to me is that though I GREATLY prefer to shoot the high megapixel cameras, the D800 was simply not working well for me when focusing speed was critical. The D3s continues to deliver in spades in that regard. The D600 was doing a serviceable job for me with focus, so I stayed on it far longer than I did the D800. Even more than the D3s.
I know that when a scenario was pending and I NEEDED to get the shot, I moved to the D3s. That doesn't show in the numbers.
Looking at my keepers of the 7 matches I've shot this fall, there are 581 total. Two hundred on the D3s, 288 on the D800, and 93 on the D600. The D600 got nearly half as many keepers as the D3s, in only ONE game compared to 7. That is a REMARKABLE number. And over 1/3 as many as the D800.
It is abundantly clear when breaking down the numbers that I was absolutely thrilled with what the D600 was offering me, and objectively, I am able to produce more keepers with it, than any other camera in my bag. The bonus of it's ISO performance being as good as it is, just sweetens the deal.
Anyone who thinks the D600 won't "make it" as a sports camera is sadly mistaken.