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Old Dec 6, 2010, 6:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by John.Pattullo View Post
now this is rumour and second hand rumour at that but if a D800 is on its way this spring i would imagine that it would easily have the performance of the d3s at least and almost certainly with more MP but thats worse than rumour thats just a guess
John - there is more to a professional camera than just sensor performance. As Jim already eluded to - the AF system on the D3s is more advanced than the D700. While the sensor array is the same, the performance is not. There are other customizations aand such that differentiate the two as well. Which is another reason why aps-c isn't always "just ast good". It's not just sensor size. But again, it depends on what the OP wants to shoot and whether or not the added features of D3s are more beneficial to his needs than a lower end body and more money on lenses.
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Old Dec 6, 2010, 7:11 AM   #12
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ah i thought the d700 had the same autofocus system but a different sensor - well anyway would suspect the d800 when it arrives would have as good or even better system than d3s by virtue of being quite alot newer design and of course a new 4d might appear next year too but suspect that might be 2012 or at least late 2011 if i had to guess
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Old Dec 6, 2010, 7:30 AM   #13
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John,
I wouldn't count on d400 having a better AF system than D3s. Canon & Nikon are savy like that - you have to leave important features in the pro models so people are willing to pay double for those bodies. Nikon threw the impressive 51 point array in the D700 and d300 but not the same processing power (unknown if the same algorithms for AF). It's a bit different than everything below the pro market. Especially when it's a two-horse race. There's no focus system out there from Pentax, Oly and Sony that is on the level of Canon / Nikon's pro series cameras (when it comes to AF tracking). Both of them also enjoy having a premium on pro series camera bodies. Push an AF system down to semi-pro cameras and you really risk hurting a good cash cow. And there's no market reason to do it. In the world of today where media companies have less and less money to spend, you don't want to give them more reason to drop down to D800 from D3s.

So, I expect you'll see inccrease in MP, increase in dynamic range and increase in high ISO performance. The AF system will change to handle the data flow but I don't think AF improvements would be part of it. I think sensor and video performance will be the emphasis. Nikon already leads the market in AF performance so they're better off putting their money in these other areas where they are vulnerable to the competition at the semi-pro market segment.
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Old Dec 6, 2010, 12:21 PM   #14
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kinda makes me wanna rent out a d3s for a week just to give it a whirl - but can see what you mean there is little reason for nikon to put emphasis on new autofocus if they already have the best in that regard - but by the same token better not rest on their laurels or could be overtaken so might move d3s autofocus to d800 and then have some newer even better system for d4
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Old Dec 6, 2010, 12:30 PM   #15
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I agree with John. Joe public gets enough AF performance with the D700/D300s if Nikon put the better AF in these then who would really go top end. Same with Canon, we are not likely to see a much improved AF system in the 5DmkIII when it comes out otherwise that would take a major chunk out of the 1D sales. They need to keep lines, it's not with mp that these lines are there but with the handling, AF and IQ. These gains are pretty small in honesty but they are what the Pros need. I have a 1DmkIII and a 7D, the pro 1D is behind the 7D in MP with 10.1 rather than 18 MP but it is still a better performer at anything apart from ISO 100, also the AF is a bit more accurate and quicker. The 1DmkIV is better still. I don't think Nikon can make too much of a better AF system is it is pretty rock solid, very fast and accurate and they will ensure that the best stays on the top bodies only.
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Old Dec 6, 2010, 12:55 PM   #16
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FWIW, I've never tried any controlled conditions tests with the Nikon models for AF speed/tracking. But, my perception from using some of the Nikon models with the same focus sensor assemblies (for example, D300 versus D3) is that the AF systems in the higher end bodies are much faster with better tracking ability.

The AF systems in the higher end Nikon Pro level bodies are almost magical in the way they can lock and track so well, even with momentary obstructions in the view.

Now, that's not to take anything away from the non-Pro bodies (D300, etc.) using the same AF sensor assemblies.

But, it's pretty obvious to me that the higher end models are better when used in very demanding conditions. You can't always go by a camera's specs. Similar specs (Imaging Sensor, AF Sensor assembly/number of focus points, etc.) does not necessarily mean they're just as good. The cameras' internal processing speed, algorithms being used and more come into the equation.

There is a reason for the price difference between the advanced amateur/semi-pro bodies as compared to the more expensive Pro bodies.

Now.... the big question is if you really need the benefits you'd get with a pro level body. Most users would probably not benefit from the extra cost going from a model like the D700 to the D3s. Plus, you'd end up with a larger and heavier camera (not always a good thing if you're using it on a daily basis).

If you're not shooting sports at a pro level where you need the absolute best AF performance you can buy with faster frame rates, larger internal buffer sizes, etc.; put the extra cash towards better lenses instead (since lenses are a huge part of the equation in getting better results in demanding conditions).

IOW, I wouldn't buy a D3s if you plan on using it for taking portraits in a Studio, or even for sports shooting at an amateur/semi-pro level. There are other options at a lower price point that would give you great results.
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Old Dec 6, 2010, 1:24 PM   #17
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John - just to follow up on what Mark & Jim have said - AF systems are complex. There is circuitry and processing design involved. This isn't just firmware. Besides eating into their own pro models, pushing down the pro level AF is likely also to incur higher manufacturing costs which would also drive up the cost of the D700. It's a balancing act - keeping the market segmented so people buy the next model up the chain but also keeping costs down in that product. Again there is hardware involved too. How much? Who knows. Nikon to my knowledge doesn't publish their engineering specs for how the AF system in the D3s operates and how the AF system in the D300 operates.
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Old Dec 7, 2010, 7:23 PM   #18
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I've decided to get the camera. You're right, use it that resell when an update comes out is more logical. And if I can't get a reasonable price for it I'll give it to my sister and buy the new one.
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Old Dec 7, 2010, 7:52 PM   #19
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The D3s is a really nice camera. Now... what lenses to buy to use with it?

I'd probably consider the new Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 HSM for starters. It looks really nice, at a lower price point compared to the Nikkor.

I've used the Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8 on a D3 before, and it was a really neat lens, except for one minor "quibble", in that loss of contrast from flare was a bit irritating in harsher lighting if the sun was too close to the frame.

Here's a review that includes tests of the Nikkor and Sigma lenses:

http://www.lenstip.com/index.php?tes...wu&test_ob=172

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Old Dec 8, 2010, 9:35 PM   #20
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I'm going with two Nikon lenses, 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and the 24-70mm f/2.8G ED. I'll definitely post after outing.
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