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Author Topic: D700 - The What and Why - A First Field Report  (Read 23512 times)
Ray
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« Reply #40 on: July 26, 2008, 02:10:58 AM »
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Ray - just curious, what currency are those dollars in?  It looked $1500 high for that kit i(D700 plus 14-24) in the US / US dollars.
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Australian dollars, currently worth about 95 cents US.
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Theodore
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« Reply #41 on: July 26, 2008, 02:18:49 PM »
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I've been shooting in an third floor playroom in our house with the D700 - the room is long and has great light at this time of day with windows on the north and west - it's a great setting to test the body out (and play with the girls).  My girls, 2 and 5, are always great subjects.

My goodness.  Well, perhaps because I used Nikon film cameras before moving to Canon, it only took a few moments (if any time at all) for my hands to feel right at home (getting used to the Canon feel took me a few days).  The performance is fantastic - from how responsive it is to my first files - shooting with a 50 1.4 (An aside the Nikon HR-2 rubber hood for the 50 1.4 is a brilliant little item - it collapses down back to the lens face in your bag and provides excellent toddler protection for the lens).  I'm tweaking it a bit already and even without the manual, it's not hard to figure out.  So I just set Auto ISO a few minutes ago.  I must have had a big smile on my face - what a feature.  It was incredibly easy to set up - a menu item that was clear and then just two setting top sensitivity and bottom end shutter speed  - and that's it.  The controls are so easy to use. I'm switching between spot and matrix metering and my finger goes right to it.  I focused with the AF button on the Canons and there's a similar button layout for that so I didn't miss a beat.  The view finder is SO much better than my 5D.  What do I mean?  It's really in the information - what it includes and where it is.  I was always trying to remember, what is x or y set at on my 5D.  Canon has fixed the ISO issue in newer models, but I am so pleased to see it here.  The icons are clear and - like checking your mirrors when driving - I find I'm getting all the information I want, e.g. what metering mode I'm in, etc. very easily.  Another nice piece of VF-displayed information is how much buffer space is available - what a good idea to include that.   It's got a much better / brighter font compared to the 5D or 30D as well - the view finder info is executed really well.  Regarding responsiveness, if you're coming from something like a 5D or 30D - both my former bodies - the experience is something - even without the battery grip.  I have it on continuous shooting and the speed of the AF and frame rate are giving me captures instantaneous with what I'm trying to photograph (little girls running around in this case) like I've never experienced before. I muttered aloud: "that's so fast".  

I'm finding a bunch of little design touches that are improvements over what I'm used to - again in the category of design / ergonomics - for example, being able to delete a file by just pushing the trash button twice.  It's a little thing, but having to press the delete, and then roll the thumb wheel to "ok" and then hit the center enter button on a 5D in comparison is doing it the hard way.  The same with formatting a CF card - which you can do without going into the menus.  The Info button on the back and the quick access items are also brilliant - again a host of little things that are adding up into a much faster / easier / dare I say, much more "fun" to use camera and having a camera that's fun (and that really is the right word) to use is certainly not a bad thing.  To give a bit more shape and color to that "fun to use" concept, it's bit like when I use a ThinkPad in the office and my Macintosh at home - I may be doing a fairly similar task on either, but I much prefer the experience on the latter.

A few additional thoughts - I also purchased a 70-300 VR from B&H (who were excellent per usual).  Thom Hogan and Moose Peterson had good things to say about the lens despite it not being a high-end Nikkor.  Thom notes that it is a sharp with no complaints up through 200mm:  

"Sharpness: from 70 to 200mm, this lens is quite sharp with plenty of contrast, and I have no real complaints. As you reach out to 300mm, you'll start to see it soften a bit at maximum aperture, though stopped down two stops it remains excellent."  

See, http://www.bythom.com/70300VRlens.htm, see also http://www.moosenewsblog.com and search for 70-300.   I've been shooting with it for a bit and I have to give it some praise too, although praise for the lens ties into the D700.  The lens is very well built.  My Canon kit consisted of L-zooms and primes and when I opened the box for this lens yesterday, my reaction was one of "this is much better than I expected; this is nice" in terms of build quality and feel - which is solid.  Yes, there's plastic there, but it feels like a very high quality material.  The lens is not tiny, just not as big as a 2.8.  It is well balanced on the D700.  As I mentioned, I'm shooting indoors, upstairs today.  With auto ISO enabled up to 3200 with a minimum shutter of 250, this lens is not hitting any obstacles.  This is where the use of the lens ties back to the D700 - with the files looking so good at 3200, it's giving me the same light capabilities of a faster lens on a camera where I might want to keep the ISO to 1600 (or really less than that if I could).  

Michael, I'm tickled with the 70-300 VR so far.  You have quite a lens list in your D3 / D300 piece, but if you haven't given this $479 VR lens a spin, you may want to give it a try.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 03:47:45 PM by Theodore » Logged
Panorama
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« Reply #42 on: July 26, 2008, 06:06:53 PM »
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Have you tested a D3/D700 yourself in order to form this opinion?

Cheers,
Bernard
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D3 yes, D700 No.

There are so many examples on the internet that can easily be compared. At low ISO ratings the 5d wins with more detail, and color/clarity/DR are either equal or better IMO. Obviously once ISO goes up the 5d has more noise, but at lower ISOs I'm giving the nod to Canon or believe it's equal.

I want to add a caveat -

I have not "upresed" the images, so if the D3 can stand more enlarging than the 5d (and I've heard some people say that) I can't say. I'd be surprised if that's the case, but until I see two images with identical enlargements to compare, I'll keep my assumption.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 06:33:23 PM by Panorama » Logged
Panorama
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« Reply #43 on: July 26, 2008, 06:21:25 PM »
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In most ways it is a D3 in a small form factor would probably be more accurate.

This is coming from a happy D3 user.

Cheers,
Bernard
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It's almost a D3 in a small size, but I do see it as "stripped down". It's missing a professional VF (95% doesn't wind my clock), it's missing one of the CF slots, it has a built in flash that I see as more of an annoyance, the grip is not included and costs extra, the FPS is lower on the D700 with or without the grip, it's missing the 4x5 crop, and if I'm not mistaken it has an inferior shutter life.

To me, that's kind of stripped down. The IQ will be the same, but the feature set has been reduced.
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Quentin
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« Reply #44 on: July 26, 2008, 06:34:38 PM »
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The D700 so far is the most satisfying dslr I have used.  Forget the drivel about resolution.  The quality of the pixels with the D700 (and D3) is so far ahead of anything else on offer in a small format camera that it (they) have no competitors at present.  Makes one wonder what might be coming in the next few months.

Quentin
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 06:36:10 PM by Quentin » Logged

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Theodore
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« Reply #45 on: July 26, 2008, 07:34:00 PM »
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I thought I'd add images to go with the above post re: first photos in the play room today.  I shot JPEG Fine + RAW.  Aperture doesn't support the D700 at this point (nor apparently does LR, my plan B ), so these are JPEGs right out of the camera (albeit, low-res, small JPEGs) - "Standard" setting plus one saturation.  There's a mirror in the play room so I snapped a self portrait in my well-loved yard cap. Most of these are with the 50 1.4 except the close ups of my 5 yr old, which were done with the 70-300 VR.  All of these are available light captures.
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General note:  Amazon (which I haven't used for a camera order) is already discounting the D700 for $2899.  It will be interesting to see if others follow that price point.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2008, 09:02:33 AM by Theodore » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #46 on: July 26, 2008, 10:07:13 PM »
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It's quite natural that folks should be excited with their new toy and be pleased with all the ergonomic improvements they see.

I was also impressed with the fast frame rate of the D3 when I tested it in a store in Bangkok. However, such features in themselves are not necessarily going to have any bearing on the ultimate quality of the shot, although they might in certain circumstances, in action shots for example, or hand-held shots for the purpose of image stacking or merging to HDR where the auto-alignment feature of CS3E might work more successfully.

I also find the following statement from Panorama somehow resonant with my own experience with the D3.

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There are so many examples on the internet that can easily be compared. At low ISO ratings the 5d wins with more detail, and color/clarity/DR are either equal or better IMO. Obviously once ISO goes up the 5d has more noise, but at lower ISOs I'm giving the nod to Canon or believe it's equal.

I got the impression that the 5D shots in my testing, shooting the same dark corner inside the store, were marginally sharper than the D3 shots. At high and very high ISO, the D3 shots were noticeably cleaner. However, curiously, I found that after applying chroma-only noise reduction in Noise Ninja to the 5D file, the noise levels were much improved whilst resolution was still maintained.

Applying a similar amount of chroma noise reduction to the D3 file also improved the level of apparent noise, but not without noticeable softening of the D3 image. These were not jpegs but Tiff conversions from RAW in ACR.

After playing around with various noise reduction settings in Noise Ninja for both 5D and D3 images, it was clear that the 5D level of noise could be improved to a greater extent than the D3 level of noise before image resolution was significantly affected in both images.

After such adjustments, the noise level differences between the two cameras at ridiculously high ISOs, between 6,400 and 25,600, sometimes seemed as little as 1/4 of a stop, although on average I would place it closer to 1/2 a stop.

One has to be careful about personal assessments of the performance of new camera models from people who have not carried out thorough, direct comparisons themselves. It's so easy just to believe and repeat the positive and promotional statements one finds on the internet and on the manufacturers website.

I remember well the glowing reports of the performance of Canon's 40D; improved autofoussing; lower noise due to 14 bit A/D conversion, and general image quality on a par with that of the 5D, if not better.

The reality is something else, as I see it.

(1) Despite 14 bit processing, no significant reduction in noise or increase in DR compared with the 20D.

(2) No noticeable increase in resolution compared with the 20D, except at 200% magnification on the monitor.

(3) Definitely slightly more noise and less DR than the 5D, comparing equal size image files or prints.

(4) No noticeable improvement in autofocussing whatsoever, that I've noticed.

The last point is a real disappointment for me. I never intended to buy a 40D when I went out shopping one day for the Canon EF-S 17-55/2.8, because I knew already that I could not expect any fundamental image quality improvement over the 20D, except at a pixel-peeping level, which is not enough for me.

However, I was seduced by an exceptionally good price. I also rationalised to myself that the superior autofocussing attributes of the 40D at F2.8 could be worthwhile. The faster frame rate and Live View would be icing on the cake.

So far, I haven't discovered any better autofocussing qualities of the 40D, compared with either my 20D or 5D, and Live View has mainly served the purpose of confirming just how inadequate autofocussing can be with the EF-S 17-55 at F2.8.
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Craig Arnold
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« Reply #47 on: July 27, 2008, 05:50:32 AM »
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It sure does look like a fantastic camera.

But...as lovely as those images are, I find that the 5D + 50L combination produces more pleasing colours and rendering to me.

The best I can describe it is thinking back to film days the Nikon looks more like Fuji to me, and the Canon like Kodak. The Nikon seems just a bit green to me and the Canon redder. As a personal preference I find the Canon tones nicer most of the time, certainly for skin tones.

As far as I can see the difference in images between the D700 and 5D is basically almost nothing that doesn't come down to preference, and variations in technique are likely to be far more relevant than any difference in camera IQ. Apart from IQ though the D700 is clearly a superior camera in every department.

I find I am one of those rare beasts who is actually hoping (when it finally comes time to replace my 5D) that Canon would make us a cheap and feature-stripped FF camera, possibly with the current 5D sensor.

If the 5D is a 20D with FF sensor, then I'd really like to see a 1000D with a FF sensor. The only "high-end" feature I am actually interested in is the ability to do some calibration with your specific lenses. Apart from that I want the lightest (plastic please), cheapest (so cut out as many features as you can) FF camera I can get.

Remember the EOS 50E ? I want that camera with a 5D sensor.
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Mort54
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« Reply #48 on: July 27, 2008, 11:27:23 AM »
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The D700 so far is the most satisfying dslr I have used. Forget the drivel about resolution. The quality of the pixels with the D700 (and D3) is so far ahead of anything else on offer in a small format camera that it (they) have no competitors at present. Makes one wonder what might be coming in the next few months.
Quentin, I was counting on you to resist the lure of the D700, and thereby serve as an example to me :-) I actually did find one in my local camera store, and was tempted, but managed to resist (tho I do have a D3 - I was just not able to justify another camera purchase - so far, at least).

I totally agree with you about the image quality - pixel level IQ is the best I've seen from all the current DSLRs, regardless of ISO. Period. Images tolerate a huge amount of post processing, if necessary, without falling apart. And at least up to 16" x 24" prints, are difficult to tell apart from 1DsIII files.

As far as tonality and color differences, compared to Canon, that a few others in this thread have commented on, they are basically due to the RAW converter more than anything, and the defaults in the RAW converters. I don't find one camera brand better than the other in that regard - only different. And I can pretty much make either look like the other with minor tweaks in the color, contrast, and sharpening parameters.

Congrats on the new D700.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2008, 11:29:45 AM by Mort54 » Logged

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macgyver
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« Reply #49 on: July 27, 2008, 11:43:54 AM »
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So far, I haven't discovered any better autofocussing qualities of the 40D, compared with either my 20D or 5D, and Live View has mainly served the purpose of confirming just how inadequate autofocussing can be with the EF-S 17-55 at F2.8.
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Ray, I'm not trying to play brand guardian, but I'm curious as to what facets of the autofocus you find similar? In my experience with the 40d the AF is worlds apart from that of the 20d/30d and 5d, especially when using servo (although still nothing like a 1-series). Are you talking speed or fine detail accuracy?
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Quentin
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« Reply #50 on: July 27, 2008, 04:55:14 PM »
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.........

I totally agree with you about the image quality - pixel level IQ is the best I've seen from all the current DSLRs, regardless of ISO. Period. Images tolerate a huge amount of post processing, if necessary, without falling apart. And at least up to 16" x 24" prints, are difficult to tell apart from 1DsIII files.
...........

Congrats on the new D700.
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I think that's part of the apeal.  The files can be tweaked a heck of a lot.  Using Auto ISO is a viable option, not a gimmick. 1600ISO is useable for stock and almost noise free; above that the noise is fine grained and even up to 6400ISO.  We never had this kind of freedom with film.

Quentin
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« Reply #51 on: July 27, 2008, 05:42:17 PM »
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D3 yes, D700 No.

There are so many examples on the internet that can easily be compared. At low ISO ratings the 5d wins with more detail, and color/clarity/DR are either equal or better IMO. Obviously once ISO goes up the 5d has more noise, but at lower ISOs I'm giving the nod to Canon or believe it's equal.
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I am sure that the 5D is an excellent camera, no doubt.

This being said, most of the comparisons I have seen use LR/ACR for RAW conversion, and that is far from being the best converter for the D3 files. I would venture as far as saying that it is probably one of the worst.

I would have a lot more faith in conversions done using C1 4.1, Raw Developper or Capture NX.

A quick D3 base panorama image for the road.



Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
ron203
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« Reply #52 on: July 27, 2008, 08:51:22 PM »
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While I have little to no faith in Canon - they've had years to produce good/great offerings and they've given us some real disappointments and mediocrities 
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Panorama, you seem to pan Canon's offerings. I have found them pretty good. Do you care to show some of your work?

~ron
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Schwenny
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« Reply #53 on: July 28, 2008, 02:36:04 PM »
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Panorama, you seem to pan Canon's offerings. I have found them pretty good. Do you care to show some of your work?

~ron
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Is this the forums at DP Review? The question sounds like that... Sorry couldn't resist...

Myself I'm a VERY happy Nikon D3 & D300 user. But I don't think that anybody needs to show their work because they dislike something... What does somebodys work have to do with it? If you're a crappy photographer or not... Some people are more technicians and some are more "artist"... I never read the manual, I hardly know anything about my cameras, I'm happy! So if anybody show their work what does it prove???
« Last Edit: July 28, 2008, 02:45:42 PM by Schwenny » Logged
kphelan
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« Reply #54 on: July 28, 2008, 03:42:37 PM »
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Has there been any discussion on when Adobe might update ACR to handle the D700 raw files?  Seems like a simple upgrade, and in fact there is at least one hack floating around that changes the Camera Model exif tag from D700 to D3 so the current ACR will handle it.

Michael, have you been shooting raw with your D700?

Thanks,

---Kent
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John Camp
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« Reply #55 on: July 28, 2008, 03:47:30 PM »
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Bernard,

You do nice stuff.

JC
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #56 on: July 28, 2008, 03:55:13 PM »
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Ray, I'm not trying to play brand guardian, but I'm curious as to what facets of the autofocus you find similar? In my experience with the 40d the AF is worlds apart from that of the 20d/30d and 5d, especially when using servo (although still nothing like a 1-series). Are you talking speed or fine detail accuracy?
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My 40D's AF has been faster and more accurate than any of my previous canon's.  AF Servo is actually useful unlike the 20D.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #57 on: July 28, 2008, 03:59:38 PM »
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The D700 so far is the most satisfying dslr I have used.  Forget the drivel about resolution.  The quality of the pixels with the D700 (and D3) is so far ahead of anything else on offer in a small format camera that it (they) have no competitors at present.  Makes one wonder what might be coming in the next few months.

Quentin
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If you're looking for D3 quality in the 20+mp Nikon I think you'll be disappointed.  Unfortunately I can't find the Hogan post at dpreview that gives me that impression.  (Maybe it wasn't a hogan post....)
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Mort54
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« Reply #58 on: July 28, 2008, 04:15:54 PM »
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If you're looking for D3 quality in the 20+mp Nikon I think you'll be disappointed.  Unfortunately I can't find the Hogan post at dpreview that gives me that impression.  (Maybe it wasn't a hogan post....)
I don't think anyone is expecting D3 noise levels in a 24 MP D3X (or at least they shouldn't be). The photosites will be half as big as the D3's, so the noise levels will certainly be higher. However, at 24 MP, the photosites will still be bigger than the photosites on the D300. So it's reasonable to assume the upcoming 24 MP sensor will have noise levels no worse than the D300, which is still pretty good (not in the same league as the D3, but very good).
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Ray
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« Reply #59 on: July 28, 2008, 10:56:47 PM »
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Ray, I'm not trying to play brand guardian, but I'm curious as to what facets of the autofocus you find similar? In my experience with the 40d the AF is worlds apart from that of the 20d/30d and 5d, especially when using servo (although still nothing like a 1-series). Are you talking speed or fine detail accuracy?

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My 40D's AF has been faster and more accurate than any of my previous canon's. AF Servo is actually useful unlike the 20D.

Mcgyver and DarkPenguin,

Note that I said I hadn't discovered any better autofocussing of the 40D. I don't often shoot moving targets. A few weeks ago I took a few shots of surfers at the Gold Coast using my 40D with 100-400 zoom in AF servo mode. I wasn't entirely happy with the focussing. On the other hand, I didn't keep changing camera bodies between the 40D and 20D and the 5D so I could compare the rate of hits and misses. Maybe I'll do that some time.

My main gripe about the autofocussing capabilities of the 40D might simply be due to a miscalibration of the one lens which was the main reason for my getting the 40D in the first place, the EF-S 17-55/F2.8.

I returned the lens to Canon for calibration, but it seemed no different after they had apparently calibrated it. I was about to send it back a second time when I discovered that the nature of the focussing target changed the result.

In order to get this lens to focus on the wooden figurine in the image below, I had to tape to it a small cut-out containing contrasty text. Then both the 40D and 20D could autofucus accurately. Without that B&W text, neither the 40D nor 20D could autofocus accurately. They were both equally good or equally bad, with or without the text.

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« Last Edit: July 28, 2008, 11:00:09 PM by Ray » Logged
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