Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?
When I compare my D2XS to my D300 when it comes to focusing (70-200mm AF-S F/2.8) inflight seagulls (continuos focus), my D2XS wins hands down. It seems to have a faster engine and I do have many more keepers.
How about the D3X compared to the D3. Who holds the advantage here?
Just trying to justify what the D3X future bucks buys me.
#1. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 0Mon 29-Dec-08 08:07 PM
I can't answer your question, Alan, but in my experience the D300 is noticeably better at acquiring and tracking focus of things like birds in flight than my previous D2Xs was, as long as suitable AF system settings are chosen.
#2. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 1Mon 29-Dec-08 08:24 PM
can I assume we are using fast AF-S lenses comparable to the one I mentioned in the previous post?
It could be just me but I feel more confident shooting those gulls in flight with my D2XS at my favorite creek. I just get more in focus keepers over my D300.
#10. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 2Tue 30-Dec-08 07:10 AM
> can I assume we are using fast AF-S lenses comparable to the
>one I mentioned in the previous post?
Yes. I use (or have used) 70-200mm f/2.8, 300mm f/2.8 and 200-400mm f/4 Nikkors.
#3. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 0
Which focusing "Dynamic AF area" mode are you using on the D300 (9, 21, 51, or 51-3D)? With rapidly moving targets, you want to reduce the number of AF points that the processor needs to track.
#5. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 4Voodoo Registered since 29th Apr 2006Mon 29-Dec-08 09:37 PM
everyone seems to say the newer 51pt af system is the best yet
I know the d300 is way better than my d200
I use 51 pt for all my bif shots tho
Thanks for sharing,
#6. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 4david_mathre Nikonian since 23rd Nov 2006Mon 29-Dec-08 09:37 PM
Then that is not the problem. Back when I had a D2xs & D300, I did feel that the D2xs was faster and still used it when speed was critical. Once I got a D3, the D2xs didn't get used, and as such I don't have a D2xs to compare anymore. The processor in the D3 is faster than the D300 (frame/sec), but I don't know if this also relates to AF time. When I get a chance, I will do a test with moving targets with a D300, D3, and D3x. I often use the 51 point 3D focusing mode on the D3 and find it is just spooky how accurate it is.
#8. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 0
#9. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 8Tue 30-Dec-08 02:56 AM
HI guys. I had posted a question along similar lines a week ago when my D3x came in and I tried it out with incoming and howering gulls on a cloudy evening. My D3 focuses much faster and tighter with much more sharpness to the photos than my D3x with the same 70-200 mm VR lens with 1.7 TC and without the TC.
I have experienced the same situation with bald eagles. I had 29 out of 29 shots of a bald eagle with the D3 nailed sharp while had about 2 from the D3x that came close to being sharp but were not anywhere close to those of the D3.
I tried similar settings (shutter priority at 1/250, 1/500 and 1/1250s). I even tried AF with similar settings on the AF system (51 point and 9 point).
Finally I resorted to using DX mode with JPEG to get the 7 FPS on the D3x and shutter priority at 1/1250s with 21 point AF and ISO of 400 to get about 20% keepers on the D3x. When I shoot with the D3 they are ALL keepers for some reason that I cannot explain except perhaps the fact that 9 FPS is quite fast and one can lock in focus using the focusing lock on the 70-200 mm VR and just keep shooting.
#11. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 9Sun 04-Jan-09 08:49 AM
When I moved from the D2H to D2X I had similar issues for a while, loads of great sharp shots with the d2h, and only reasonable but not 100% with d2x, was worried soemthing wrong with the camera but it turned out to be me who had the issues, not the D2X. It took me a while to get as comfortable with the d2x as i was with the d2h. With 2x the pixels, is it not just magnifying any errors? both cameras use the same tracking system/AF points, there shouldnt be any diff?
#12. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 11Sun 04-Jan-09 12:49 PM
There are several differences between the D3 and the D3x as far as moving birds and similar motion photography is concerned.
1. In 14 bit NEF you can only get 1.9 FPS with the D3x. This means almost 5 times less number of shots. So I lose a lot of shots while the bird is in flight (or when an squirrel is running.
2. While the camera is processing the file and the shutter is depressed, I am also tracking (panning) the bird. Somewhere between the time of taking the first shot and the camera becoming ready to respond the second time to the depressed shutter release, there is a loss of tracking. I do not know why this happens. It has happened with birds and squirrels and dogs and just about everything that moves. The D3x attempts to refocus several times and either overshoots or undershoots. Obviously the D3 has already shot four more shots in this same time frame that the D3x has been waiting and processing and refocussing. This leads me to believe that the two cameras have different algorithms to process files and for tracking moving objects. Mind you, the D3x is NOT devised for sports and active wildlife photography (some of are trying to make it work for these two types of photography).
3. As we discussed in a different thread, the density of D3x sensor and the pixel size (more the former than the latter) do not lend themselves to production of tack sharp images when hand held (leave alone the shake and motion blur of panning a flying bird or moving animal). This is a very important factor. There is no statistical calculation to help determine what is the likely percentage of sharp shots that would occur if effect of hand shake or target movement or panning were to be taken into consideration. I believe that all cameras with sensors of 21 MP or higher will perform in the same way as long as their pixel density and pixel size are being squeezed to cram in more pixels on to the same 24X36 sensor. The only way to overcome this handicap will perhaps be to use the pixel size of 8 microns or larger and fit them as loosely as the D3 sensor and just create a larger sensor (45X60 or 60X60) which is what then brings us into true medium format (which creates a problem of its own namely the bulk and weight of the camera body is doubled although look at the Mamiya 7 II film MF camera which is no bigger than the large DSLRs)
4. In continuous and Fast shooting modes the D3 does not refocus in between shots (during a burst) in 14 bit NEF and neither does the D3x. So perhaps the interval between the shots (during a burst) is critical in acquisition of sharp images and this will therefore obviously be much higher in D3 than D3x.
5. I also feel that the two cameras have focusing and processing algorithms that are tweaked differently to serve different purposes. Nikon is very clear about what those purposes are. Although the tracking and focussing systems might use the same hardware and software, these systems may be operating differently in REAL TIME and might not show any difference while shooting slow at 1-2 FPS (and I have noticed that they are the same under that circumstance) although while shooting at bursts in CF modes in NEF 14 bit the D3x will not operate (and perhaps this is also the reason that we see somewhat similar although a slightly better result with D3x in JPEG/12 bit NEF when it operates at upto 5 FPS although nothing comparable to D3 in fast burst at 14 bit NEF).
6. I think the optimum pixel size, density, sensor size that is required in the practical real world to pull off stellar performance in active landscape has already been created and tested for a little over a year now, the one that is in the D3. The FPS, tracking system and the processing algorithms along with the focussing system of the D3 is unbeatable and will remain so for a long time. Those of us who have D3's should realize how valuable this camera really is (pixel numbers are not everything) while those of us that are fashion photographers or portraiture photographers should be thankful that Nikon has produced a camera that brings them at the doorstep of medium format for a under-$10,000 tab and a camera that is portable and robust to withstand even shooting fashion on ice in Antarctica (or perhaps penguins or lions that are lazing after a good meal in Africa). Just make sure you carry enough flash power to Antarctica when the light is low.
#13. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 12Sun 04-Jan-09 12:56 PM
PS: Please forgive me for putting the Penguins with the Lions in Africa. I did not catch the lack of a comma until after I read after I had posted it.
#14. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 12Mon 05-Jan-09 10:30 AM
hey, no criticism intended. Just wondered if maybe same issues applied. (and im still not convinced Higher frame rate of the D2H against the higher res of the D2x is pretty much what you have in the case of the D3 - D3x, just on a different scale.
re your para #4 can you elaborate??? am interested.
re 14bit, is there really any need in most conditions to use this over 12bit? my understanding is its only in shadow detail that the 14bit will be of any real improvement in most day to day shots?
re penguins, had noticed, but knew what you meant!
Just shot some with 14bit, take your point, target was a stationary bird, and still noticed some shake,ina few shots (late evening here in kabul and 180 2.8 at 400s was fine, anything slower was abysmal!) howoever, 12 bit also gave similar results, lower percentage of sharp shots without extreme care, this is not a camera for shaky hands. (but i went thru same when moving to d2x so am sure technique still plays a part (what % im not sure yet) the good news is we can always hone that.
#15. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 14Mon 05-Jan-09 10:02 PM
When you set the D3/D3x to shoot in Continuous mode and in CH (9 fps for D3 and 1.9 fps for D3x) with NEF in 14 bit, both cameras focus on subject/target only at the beginning of the burst. So if you lock focus on the bird and it is flying across your field of vision (perfectly perpendicular to the axis created between your eyes and the bird at time of initial focus lock) then in one second the D3 will shoot 9 pictures while the D3x will shoot less than 2 pictures. In theory, provided the bird is exactly perpendicular to the initial axis when focus was established then all 9 photos with D3 and 1.9 photos with D3x will be identical in sharpness (dependent on the sharpness at the onset of the burst). My observation was that the D3x took longer to initially focus as compared to the D3 although both have the same 51 point AF system. This could be either because of me being at fault or the camera having a different algorithm to run the same AF system (optimized for studio or stationary landscape photography for which it is created by Nikon) or the slight camera shake or effect of panning (this would create more than just minor camera shake while pursuing the bird in flight). Whatever the final cause of this might be the result is a burst of 1.9 fps of slightly blurred image with the D3x.
In real life the bird is more likely to fly at a slightly diagonal axis to the initial axis created by the camera when it focuses on the bird prior to the burst. If the initial focusing of the D3 was slightly faulty (provided the D3 focused hyperfocally) then shooting 9 fps with the bird flying slightly inbound on a diagonal axis would allow several of these 9 images to come into focus in one second and in a burst of 30 frames several would be perfectly focussed while the rest would only be incrementally or decrementally under or over focused allowing many photos to be of acceptable quality. With the D3x however, this opportunity to get few sharp photos would be greatly compromised due to the fact that only less than 2 exposures would occur in each second (creating a great difference between any two exposures) dependent on the velocity of flight and the incident angle of the bird. This would be even more exaggerated if the bird were to fly on an erratic path.
12 bit NEF has much lesser color depth than 14 bit and I have seen quite a bit of difference in dynamic range as well of color saturation especially if the subject has many color shade transitions. 14 bit is also better in landscapes where there could be a great dynamic range between the shadows and sun exposed areas of the landscape. Post production manipulation would then expose the limitation of 12 bit. The same goes for JPEG v/s NEF. This was my initial concern with the D3x when I first received it and although the results of comparisons are evident when one looks at them on a properly calibrated good quality screen, everything looks the same on the internet (unless there is a dramatic difference in the resolution or color rendition or noise).
None of this really matters if one can get the desired result from the gear one uses. This desired result depends on the cortical interpretation in the brain and on the aesthetic and artistic and critical viewing of the viewer. That is so subjective that all the discussions and sharing of images that we may engage in would be an exercise in futility for 'One man's food is another man's poison'.
#16. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 15Tue 06-Jan-09 02:51 AM
I agree re the 14bit v 12bit for landscapes, and in any areas that dont involve high speed shooting, and can see where it would be advantageous at times even for erratically moving objects, however, as you pointed out the chance of capturing "the" shot at 1.9fps when faced with such a subject is less than with the D3 for example, so why bother trying I take your point that the D3 is far better equipped for this (at 14bit)
in high speed mode when you say the camera locks on at start of burst, does it not track from that point on when in 14bit mode??? either D3 or D3X?? wasnt aware of that, hadnt got that far in the manual in truth with work have hardly had the time to play with it yet.
#17. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 15Tue 06-Jan-09 07:54 AM | edited Tue 06-Jan-09 07:55 AM by briantilley
>12 bit NEF has much lesser color depth than 14 bit and I have
>seen quite a bit of difference in dynamic range as well of
>color saturation especially if the subject has many color
>shade transitions. 14 bit is also better in landscapes where
>there could be a great dynamic range between the shadows and
>sun exposed areas of the landscape.
Selecting 12-bit or 14-bit NEF recording does affect the tonal gradation of the recorded image, but it does nothing to increase the overall dynamic range.
Check the comprehensive Photographic Dynamic Range table at Nikonian member Bill Claff's website for more information. Note that it doesn't yet cover the D3X - perhaps you could help him out with some sample images...?
#18. "RE: Whose faster w/r focusing D3 or D3X?" | In response to Reply # 9
I believe the AF module is physically located below the sensor and is in no way related to the pixel density of the sensor. I'm going to guess that any issues you see might be related to a 'hiccup' during processing the increased MP (24MP vs 12MP, or 12MP vs 4MP in the case of the D2X vs D2H) -- whether its traffic on a bus, a cpu issue (I think these are separate?), or maybe just a battery drain while data is being transferred?
Non-AFS lenses would be a different issue.
#19. "RE: Evidence?" | In response to Reply # 0
The D3x brochure clarifies the shutter release time of 0.04 seconds increases to 0.06 in 14 bit A/D conversion mode. As 14 bit has 4 times more potential colour information than 12 bit the camera settings can reasonably be expected to affected overall processing, which includes AF speed.
Whether differences using identical settings are detectable is another issue - in theory they should be so small as to be only detectable with electronic measuring devices.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#20. "RE: Evidence?" | In response to Reply # 19blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 10-Jan-09 11:20 AM
> As 14 bit has 4 times more potential colour information than 12 bit the camera settings can reasonably be expected to affected overall processing, which includes AF speed.
14-bit isn't four times as much information than 12-bit, it's four times as many values. These are quite different. Taken at at one extreme, it's 16% more information than 12-bit (2 more than 12). But as far as things like transfer time and the like go, it's probably not actually any more data, because of the way data circuits are designed: it's almost certain that the busses etc are 16-bit busses. It does take more time to process 14-bit as opposed to 12-bit, but it doesn't take more time to capture it.
The other thing that's got me here is, as Jess points out, the AF is accomplished by the sensor in the bottom of the mirror box. I don't think it runs in 14- or even 12-bit mode. The only reason I can construct for the D3 and D3x to have different AF speeds is if the AF processing is done by chips shared with the processing pipeline. As a designer, I find this unlikely although I certainly have no block diagram of these cameras to work from. One of the reasons I think this is unlikely is that the AF modules and processing pipelines are developed independently and used in different cameras in varying combinations.
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!