My point wasn't that AF could not be done. But a 50% hit rate, would be ridiculed in any other context. Even my 6D has a much better than 50% hit rate with an f/5.6 lens in similar light...yet you're happy to slam its AF weaknesses anyway, because it's not 80 to 100% hit rate, and thus "not professional". Yet you're advocating using such megapriced equipment in a situation where a pro would never use it for critical work, due to such a low hitrate.
Well, it depends on how you define hit rate. I suppose you could say the hit rate for the bittern shots was 100% - but 50% of the time it was perfectly focused on the bird, and the other 50% of the time it was perfectly focused on the background, when the AF point drifted off the bird. That's not the camera's AF weakness, it's my inability to handhold the 12 pound, 26" long setup perfectly stable. The fact that there were any shots in focus at all is a testament to the speed of the AF (even with the TC on, it was able to achieve focus fast) and the frame rate of the 1D X (which gave me 3-4 frames for each of the fractions of seconds I had the AF points over the bird). Not that I had a 6D along for comparison, but if I had, well…the 6D doesn't even support AF with an f/8 combo now, does it?
This was far from a critical situation, I was walking along a path to the beach, and happened to look to the side and see the bittern flying by at a distance…too much distance, actually, and I knew it at the time. I raised the camera that was hanging from a Blackrapid strap, and took a couple of bursts.
“It depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is…” Hahaha…
You still didn’t tell me if you were in servo mode for the bittern shot. I assume you were. 12 pounds...so this was the series 1 600mm lens?“I suppose you could say the hit rate for the bittern shots was 100% - but 50% of the time it was perfectly focused on the bird, and the other 50% of the time it was perfectly focused on the background, when the AF point drifted off the bird.”
Um, that’s effectively a 50% hit rate…and if you're saying it was only 1 AF point, why would that be? I thought you said the 1DX used a central cluster, in which case it should have been easier to keep the cluster over the bird, than if it was a single point. “Not that I had a 6D along for comparison, but if I had, well…the 6D doesn't even support AF with an f/8 combo now, does it?”
Never said it did, now did I? And you know I wasn’t referring to a 6D’s AF ability at F/8…so let’s not get silly. It’s me who owns and enjoys the 6D, and it’s you who doesn’t like that. I don’t mind that you have a 1DX, or that you will likely pre-order the new 2014 1 series as quickly as you’re able to…if not several of them. “I raised the camera that was hanging from a Blackrapid strap, and took a couple of bursts.”
Fine by me. My point was, it’s not a picture that is worth the cost it took to get it. (No doubt you have others that are, but that’s not what I’m referring to here). I’ve seen a bit of your photography, and much of it is not bad at all (don’t let this go to your head though!). But this one is unremarkable as a photograph. It’s simply a shot that you filed away in a folder for the sake of posting it to show that you were able to do it handheld at f/8 at 1200mm, yada yada…it’s not really all that mind-blowing that you did it, though. You simply held the lens, pointed, and shot…Now if it had been children running through dark tents in the foreground, and you were able to servo focus on them and capture what each was thinking, while also following the bittern all the way back to its nest…that would have been a more interesting shot.
Again though, if that was the series 1 600mm lens, and it was in servo mode, then even a 50% hit rate is not what I would call bad, especially if it's a continuous 12 fps.
My point in criticizing the AF speed, had more to do with sports. In particular people who shoot action that is moving rapidly toward or away from the camera. I don't see this 300-600 zoom lens being able to do that well enough to justify its price. It seems to me that the 200-400 only AF's barely adequately enough for professional sports...rather its advantage is of course that it's a zoom.