gas has once again struck and i'm again tempted by an f4s. before i make the plunge, i would like to know how fast (or slow) is the af of the f4. how does it compare to the f90x/n90s?
i intend to use the f4 mainly as a manual focus camera but would be nice to know roughly how fast its af is. tia!
#1. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 0Tony1960 Registered since 18th Nov 2012Mon 07-Jan-13 07:35 AM
I'm not an expert on this but hopefully I can give you some useful advice.
I've found the F4's autofocus to be quite good.
It has a central single point system which I like. You can focus quickly on your subject, even if it's not central because it holds the focus with the shutter half pressed.
It does a lot of "hunting" when you point it at something plain and sometimes doesn't focus at all, but this is a problem with other camera systems as well.
Also, it struggles sometimes in the dark.
Does it focus quicker or slower than other cameras? I don't know.
#2. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 1Mon 07-Jan-13 12:27 PM
thanks tony for the insight. just the extra motivation for me to get an f4. it was one of the cameras that got me interested into photography. remember juggling between an f3hp and f4s. got the former. no regrets but there's always a side of me that want an f4s
#3. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 2Tony1960 Registered since 18th Nov 2012Mon 07-Jan-13 02:35 PM
Don't let a concern about it's focusing put you off getting an F4!
I love the F4. See my post "Why do you love your F4?".
I have an F4s and an F4. Personally I like the MB-20 grip best. I don't need the extra frames per second from the MB-21. The MB-20 grip gives the camera a better feel (for me anyway).
#4. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 0
AF speed is quite good if the target is a good one. The AF motor is quite strong for the screw-driver lenses, and AF-I and AF-S lenses are zippy as well.
The weakness is that the sensor is a single rectangular sensor that is fairly wide but not like the crossed sensors of the later models. If you keep it on target and there is contrast in the vertical plane, it does well. Low contrast it tends to hunt a bit more.
I can't compare it to the N90 era cameras as I "skipped" that generation of bodies.
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#5. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 4Tue 08-Jan-13 11:50 AM
thanks tony and jeremy for the info. i'm not worried about the f4's af speed. it's more that i'm curious about the speed. i've only got three af lenses so it's not much of an issue. i guess on the rare occasions that i need speed, i'll just use the f100.
now to hunt down for an f4. will prob get both the mb-20 and mb-21 along with the e screen!
#6. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 5Photograffiti Nikonian since 03rd Apr 2006Wed 16-Jan-13 04:28 AM
I use a 3-lens combo with my F4:
*Nikon 85 1.4D
I've never found a problem with the focusing speed on the F4. They're not AF-S fast, but they're pretty quick. But take this with a grain of salt...as I don't shoot sports with the F4.
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#7. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 0
If you do wind up getting the MB-20, you will want to run Litium AA's. It's a bit too slow on alkalines or rechargeables (which aren't recommended with the MB-20, btw). I have lithiums in both my F4 and my N8008. As well as in the F-36 drive on my F and usually in the MD-12 that I use with my FM2n.
For manual focusing, I do recommend sourcing either a K or a P screen. Ideally the latter, since the split-image is diagonal, instead of horizontal.
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#8. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 7Googlyelmo Registered since 10th Oct 2012Sun 10-Feb-13 05:14 AM
I can second John's recommendation about using lithium AA batteries with the F4/MB-20. I fretted and researched this for weeks before I made the switch from the best alkalines available (Duracell Ultra) to Energizer lithiums.
Nikon US to this day is non-committal about lithiums (I tried them twice on the issue in November, via phone and email), but consider that most F4-series bodies sold in the US were F4s, with 6 cells in the MB-21 grip, rather than the 4 of the MB-20. What this means is higher voltages, whatever batteries you use (which is why you get faster AF and film advance). They officially do not recommend using lithiums, though they state such use is untested/unresearched by Nikon.
If you have either of the 6-cell grips, I'd still be cautious about using lithiums, it could possibly be too much voltage. But 4 x 1.85VDC (the average measured level of fresh lithiums) is less than 6 x 1.6V (avg. alkaline voltage fresh, measured), so if 6 alkalines in a MB-23 doesn't hurt, 4 lithiums in a MB-20 won't, either. I am certain of it, in theory and in my own practice. Someday, I will find a proper electrical schematic for the F4-series (stating range and max voltages, and what sort of voltage regulation the camera has), and I bet that 6 lithiums are fine as well, but am unsure and wouldn't risk it myself. As to performance, when I changed over to lithiums, the change in AF speed was significant and immediately apparent (though still not as fast as AF-S). I find it a little quieter, also.
#9. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 8NorwayKim Registered since 09th Nov 2012Mon 18-Feb-13 04:37 PM
I've been using lithiums with both the four-cell and the six-cell grips for quite a while now.
No problem at all: AF and film advance are faster, the camera gets lighter and each set of batteries last a lot longer.
I noticed a couple of years ago that the "silent" mode (Cs) wouldn't work anymore on Duracells. But with the extra voltage of lithiums, that problem disappeared.
#10. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 9Googlyelmo Registered since 10th Oct 2012Mon 18-Feb-13 04:44 PM
That is good to know. Even though I find the F4 cumbersome with other than the MB-20, it is useful to know that lithium batteries may be used safely and successfully with the larger grips.
I wonder why CS mode won't work for you with alkalines? From what I understand of how that mode works, you would think it would draw less current than even S mode, since it moves everything along a bit more slowly, with the aim of quiet operation. Perhaps it does draw less current, but for a longer time period? Puzzling. . .
#11. "RE: f4 af speed" | In response to Reply # 10NorwayKim Registered since 09th Nov 2012Mon 18-Feb-13 04:53 PM
I don't have the technical qualification to answer that, but I guess like you say the duration of each power drain is a lot longer. And perhaps there is more friction between the moving parts at lower speed?