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Author Topic: Best low-light AF body  (Read 2569 times)

pwp

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Best low-light AF body
« on: October 22, 2012, 11:04:55 PM »
At a function last night in a very dimly lit venue I struggled yet again with low-light AF. The 5D3 with 580EXII & 24-105 f/4is was OK except for the black AF points, which made it unprofessionally slow to always be sure of correct AF, but the 1D4 with 580EXII & 70-200 f/2.8isII was absolutely hopeless with a very large number of missed shots. Both bodies were on one-shot AF mode, keeping as often as practical on the cross-type AF points.

I'm actually considering picking up a couple of pre-owned 5D2 bodies just for these type of events. They have the handy red AF points and from memory are better than than the 5D3 for very low-light AF.

Any thoughts on this? What's the red-hot very low-light hero DSLR hardware?

-PW

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Best low-light AF body
« on: October 22, 2012, 11:04:55 PM »

RLPhoto

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Re: Best low-light AF body
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 11:25:34 PM »
At a function last night in a very dimly lit venue I struggled yet again with low-light AF. The 5D3 with 580EXII & 24-105 f/4is was OK except for the black AF points, which made it unprofessionally slow to always be sure of correct AF, but the 1D4 with 580EXII & 70-200 f/2.8isII was absolutely hopeless with a very large number of missed shots. Both bodies were on one-shot AF mode, keeping as often as practical on the cross-type AF points.

I'm actually considering picking up a couple of pre-owned 5D2 bodies just for these type of events. They have the handy red AF points and from memory are better than than the 5D3 for very low-light AF.

Any thoughts on this? What's the red-hot very low-light hero DSLR hardware?

-PW

Nikons 51-point AF is slightly better in extreme low light but not quite enough to justify switching. My 5D3 blows my 7D and the 5Dc I had out of the water in low light. Perhaps, AF expansion mode? Or focusing on anything with a hint of contrast.

The 6D is supposedly to have -3ev AF. Which would be very useful in that situation.

Pick you poison I suppose. :P

Drizzt321

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Re: Best low-light AF body
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2012, 12:27:30 AM »
My 5d3 is really great. I'd really recommend moving to the 24-70 (v1 or v2), or what I've finally gone for is some primes. I'm currently using the 40mm f/2.8 pancake (handy little lens), 85 f/1.8, and 135L f/2. My weakness is in the wide angle, I'd prefer the 35L f/1.4 to the 40mm, but I can't afford it, nor the 24-70 (either version) so I can't use that in it's place. If I had the money, I'd go for the 24-70 v2, 70-200 f/2.8 IS v2, and probably a couple of primes fast L primes.

Honestly, while the 24-105L is a great walking around general purpose lens, it's slow f/4 aperture really hinders it in low light, not just for the AF speed, but for needing to crank the ISO up another stop just to keep up to the f/2.8 lenses.

In terms of bodies, I don't know the Nikon side well enough, but 5d3 or 1Dx hands down. If you're making some real good money, 1Dx, otherwise 5d3. For me, the AF on the 5d3 was a huge step up from the 5d2, it's definitely changed for the better how I shoot in low light situations such as music venues or night time events.
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gmrza

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Re: Best low-light AF body
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2012, 01:01:34 AM »
At a function last night in a very dimly lit venue I struggled yet again with low-light AF. The 5D3 with 580EXII & 24-105 f/4is was OK except for the black AF points, which made it unprofessionally slow to always be sure of correct AF, but the 1D4 with 580EXII & 70-200 f/2.8isII was absolutely hopeless with a very large number of missed shots. Both bodies were on one-shot AF mode, keeping as often as practical on the cross-type AF points.

I'm actually considering picking up a couple of pre-owned 5D2 bodies just for these type of events. They have the handy red AF points and from memory are better than than the 5D3 for very low-light AF.

Any thoughts on this? What's the red-hot very low-light hero DSLR hardware?

-PW

Now I am wondering if I am missing something or going nuts.  I am absolutely certain the 5DIII's AF points light up in one-shot mode (although I think that setting can be turned off).  I'll need to check again to confirm tonight.  Isn't it only on servo that they don't illuminate?

EDIT: Just checked, if you have "VF Display Illumination" set to "AUTO" the selected AF point flashes red for focus confirmation in low light when you have one-shot mode selected.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 01:15:22 AM by gmrza »
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robbinzo

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Re: Best low-light AF body
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2012, 01:16:40 AM »
From what I have read the 5D III focuses much much better in low light than its predecessor. The 6D promises to be even better on the center point.
From personal experience, I'd say a faster lens will help no end in low light. How about getting yourself a not-too-expensive 50mm f/1.4 or even its plastic toy f/1.8 little brother? You'd have to use your legs to zoom of course.
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Zlatko

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Re: Best low-light AF body
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2012, 01:19:09 AM »
Honestly, while the 24-105L is a great walking around general purpose lens, it's slow f/4 aperture really hinders it in low light, not just for the AF speed, but for needing to crank the ISO up another stop just to keep up to the f/2.8 lenses.
I agree.  The 24-105L is more of an outdoor lens.  Indoors, the f/4 aperture does not give the autofocus a chance to work quickly.  It works ok for stationary subjects, but not fast enough for moving subjects indoors.  For moving subjects indoors, autofocus works better with f/2.8 or faster lenses.

As for the black AF points on the 5DIII, remember that you can always touch the AF point selector button (the one to the right of the * button) and it will light up the active point.  It's not as convenient as the red points on the 5DII, but it is a quick workaround.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 01:20:59 AM by Zlatko »

PeterJ

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Re: Best low-light AF body
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 01:49:59 AM »
Now I am wondering if I am missing something or going nuts.  I am absolutely certain the 5DIII's AF points light up in one-shot mode (although I think that setting can be turned off).  I'll need to check again to confirm tonight.  Isn't it only on servo that they don't illuminate?

EDIT: Just checked, if you have "VF Display Illumination" set to "AUTO" the selected AF point flashes red for focus confirmation in low light when you have one-shot mode selected.
I noticed when I first got mine it wouldn't always illuminate in what I'd consider fairly low light, I've now got it set to on and find it good in daylight as well. You're right they don't illuminate in servo mode only one-shot.

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Re: Best low-light AF body
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 01:49:59 AM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Best low-light AF body
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2012, 03:24:12 AM »
At a function last night in a very dimly lit venue I struggled yet again with low-light AF. The 5D3 with 580EXII & 24-105 f/4is was OK except for the black AF points, which made it unprofessionally slow to always be sure of correct AF, but the 1D4 with 580EXII & 70-200 f/2.8isII was absolutely hopeless with a very large number of missed shots. Both bodies were on one-shot AF mode, keeping as often as practical on the cross-type AF points.

I'm actually considering picking up a couple of pre-owned 5D2 bodies just for these type of events. They have the handy red AF points and from memory are better than than the 5D3 for very low-light AF.

Any thoughts on this? What's the red-hot very low-light hero DSLR hardware?

-PW
the 5dmk3 will actually achieve focus in many situations where a 5dmk2 simply will get nothing
did you have the 8 expanded points around you selected AF point? this makes a massive difference to low light focus, also the 16-35 L II has amazingly quick AF in very low light i dont think the 24-105 is particularly blazing in this regard, i find the 24-70 mk1 also very fast , 70-200 II no problem either with expanded AF points
granted the black points are annoying as hell though
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Re: Best low-light AF body
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2012, 03:24:12 AM »