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D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....
  
 
elkhornsun
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


The test done was relevant for sports shooters where a player may be approaching the photographer directly or at a slight angle. This is a very difficult situation for the autofocus system so in that limited sense it is a valid test. It is also why Nikon chose with the D3 to have three columns of cross type autofocus sensors dead center in the viewfinder, a layout that continued for nearly 10 years until the D5 was introduced.

But most problems encountered by those photographing other subjects involve both much smaller targets that do not encompass half the frame as well as back lit situations where the camera will not focus on the target but instead focuses on something in the background that is brighter and or has greater contrast.

I do not have a D5 but I have the D500 and the D850 and the autofocus on the D850 while being very good is not as good as that of the D500 with respect to birds in flight. I was photographing Caspian terns and brown pelicans with the D850 and the only AF mode that enabled fast enough focus was Group AF mode. None of the dynamic area AF modes would lock onto the terns flying against a plain blue sky. 3D was also a complete bust.

My keeper rate with the D850 Group AF was a lot lower with the large pelicans than I experienced with the D500 photographing hummingbirds in Costa Rica. The D850 is likely to be fine for photographing large mammals in the wild but at this point in time I do not trust it for birds. This may change as Nikon may improve the autofocus system with future firmware updates. This has occurred in the past with other Nikon and Canon cameras I have owned.




Sep 25, 2017 at 05:20 AM
TimMunsey
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


Seems a mixed bag of experiences going on, I wonder if it is lens and user variable or camera.

Tim



Sep 25, 2017 at 06:43 AM
la puffin
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


pipspeak wrote:
But read between the lines and what it does not say is that the AF system *performs* the same as the D5's. It might well use the same underlying technology, AF array etc., but does the D850 have the same processing power available for the AF system as the D5? That would explain a difference in real-life performance.


I have a D5 and a D500, and think the AF on the D5 has an edge to the D500. Maybe it is the shorter mirror blackout or maybe there's a difference in the processing system, but using the bodies back to back, I notice a difference. Perhaps this is the same with the D5 and D850.

The D5 does not have the dot in the center of the AF point in 3D mode. I use 3D mode pretty reliably in certain situations on a D5 (but not with the D500), but I shoot sports, not wildlife. I have 3D Face Recognition set to ON, as I do use it on faces.



Sep 25, 2017 at 06:44 AM
joefoo
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


Well that's very sad news. I really wanted the new focus system mostly for the birds. I can still cancel my order, so that's a plus.


Sep 25, 2017 at 07:15 AM
la puffin
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


joefoo wrote:
Well that's very sad news. I really wanted the new focus system mostly for the birds. I can still cancel my order, so that's a plus.


Don't do that based on this thread. The D5 is a highly specialized tool. The D850 is a new reiteration on the D810 with greater resolution and a much better AF system, even if it doesn't match the D5 exactly AF head to head.

I think people thinking the D850 as a D5 killer are mislead; different bodies at different price points for different usages. There are times I wish the D5 had more that it's 21mp resolution so I could crop more. It's a trade off. Wasn't the Canon 1Ds meant to be the end all for everyone when it was released? That didn't last long.



Sep 25, 2017 at 08:04 AM
joefoo
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


I don't need it to be as good as a D5, but when someone says:

"None of the dynamic area AF modes would lock onto the terns flying against a plain blue sky. 3D was also a complete bust.

My keeper rate with the D850 Group AF was a lot lower with the large pelicans than I experienced with the D500 photographing hummingbirds in Costa Rica. The D850 is likely to be fine for photographing large mammals in the wild but at this point in time I do not trust it for birds."

that gives me pause. Things may be beginning to turn sour for the camera to rule them all...



Sep 25, 2017 at 08:12 AM
Howard Kearley
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


For me the AF lock on is as good or the same as my D500 (which I have just sold).
Not picked up my D5 for a while (shoulder op) but I cannot tell any difference between AF on D850 and D500, so I am happy



Sep 25, 2017 at 08:40 AM
TimMunsey
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


I like Howard's reply.


Sep 25, 2017 at 09:02 AM
ilkka_nissila
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


One possible explanation is that the 45 MP files at high fps require more processing power which then can slow down the AF tracking of an erratically moving subject (even though there is a separate processor for AF, there may still be some communication between the two processors. Does the AF processor or main processor handle the subject recognition and tracking?).

Another factor is that to get 45MP files in focus at the pixel level requires greater accuracy from the AF. To achieve this (at least in less demanding circumstances where the subject movement may be slower and more predictable) may have required slowing it down a bit. A slightly different compromise between speed and accuracy may have been made by the designers for the D850 than the D5.

Third would be that the mirror blackout times can differ between the two cameras (so the AF information from the D5 is more up to date by the time the shutter opens). Adding the MB-D18 grip and EN-EL18a/b battery could bring them closer to one other in blackout time at given fps rate.

Finally, the test methodology may not have been exactly repeatable. A lot of repeated testing in different conditions and with different subjects is required to reach reliable conclusions. The subject's face should be always kept within the AF sensor array area.



Sep 25, 2017 at 10:38 AM
rick2906
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


Well I was hoping the D850 to be as good as the D5. The D500 is even better the the D5 in one area,af frame coverage! I love that I can put the af anywhere I want in my viewfinder! It facilitate composition so much!


Sep 25, 2017 at 12:45 PM
 

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TimMunsey
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


Well I've read better than, same as, worse than. I shall have to wait and see for myself.


Sep 25, 2017 at 01:31 PM
nextlife1
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


You should definitely see for yourself. I shoot BIF virtually every day of the week and I find my D850 to be every bit as good as my D500. But I shoot primarily group and single point, and never use (nor have been happy with) 3-D. So everyone's mileage can vary depending on what you shoot and how you do it. If you were interested enough to order the camera in the first place, I would not recommend canceling because of what you read here.


Sep 25, 2017 at 02:17 PM
rick2906
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


If Steve perry who own both and shoot wildlife professionaly say the D850 is just as good, I trust his opinion!


Sep 25, 2017 at 02:33 PM
CanadaMark
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


TimMunsey wrote:
Seems a mixed bag of experiences going on, I wonder if it is lens and user variable or camera.

Tim


It's to be expected. All 3 cameras have the same AF system, so with AF being incredibly difficult to compare objectively and consistently, what you're going to get is a range of opinions highly dependent on uncontrolled variables. On top of that, all 3 cameras have different shutter lags, viewfinder blackout times, sample variances, pixel densities, and FPS rates - those are all things that can affect AF performance or how it's perceived. The lens used can make a big difference as well. The fact that nobody can objectively demonstrate one being better than another aside from anecdotal evidence supports the notion that they are all the same, but other small differences in the cameras may have them performing slightly different than one another (or perceived to be).

This whole thing reminds me of various experiments that have been done with wine tasting and sommeliers. First, the group was given 3 identical bottles of wine in a blind test, and they all came back having completely different tasting notes for each bottle. When that was revealed, some got very upset and blamed it on a cold or other health problem. Then, they gave them 3 more different bottles of wine where they were asked to say which tasted best. Finally, they were all given those same 3 bottles again (blindly) but they were told how much each bottle cost - most of them unknowingly changed their answer from the previous test to coincide with the price of the bottle. I'm not saying camera AF is like wine haha, but I think it helps to illustrate how easily perceptions can change based on other factors, even if you are a expert in the field.



Sep 25, 2017 at 03:06 PM
sk66
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


I believe it comes down to processor RAM, which I *think* is related to buffer. Now that AF is separated it may have separate RAM, but the idea is the same... basically, just a little better spec'd computer inside. I can't say for certain w/ the D5/500/850, but I've never seen a lower spec'd camera with less RAM/smaller buffer to be quite the match even if everything else is supposedly the same.

But if one system isn't having trouble with a given subject/situation, then it's not going to be at all apparent that another system is "better." There are many times where my D5's AF isn't any "better" than my D810, because it doesn't need to be.
And there are enough other factors affecting AF/focus/sharpness that I don't know how it would be feasible to test w/o the results being subjective.



Sep 25, 2017 at 03:10 PM
CanadaMark
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


joefoo wrote:
I don't need it to be as good as a D5, but when someone says:

"None of the dynamic area AF modes would lock onto the terns flying against a plain blue sky. 3D was also a complete bust.

My keeper rate with the D850 Group AF was a lot lower with the large pelicans than I experienced with the D500 photographing hummingbirds in Costa Rica. The D850 is likely to be fine for photographing large mammals in the wild but at this point in time I do not trust it for birds."

that gives me pause. Things may be beginning to turn
...Show more

So one person on one forum with one sample of the camera who you've never met who has a history of posting inaccurate information is going to determine whether or not you buy the camera? That seems very odd to me especially when everyone else all over the web is raving about the AF. Most people are reporting (subjectively) that they are the same or extremely similar, and even some of the people who think they can see a difference in the D500 and D5 AF have reported they think the D850 AF is the same as the D5. On top of that you have a guy like Steve Perry telling you that after two weeks he's having a hard time telling them apart and they have roughly the same keeper rate - did you miss that?



Sep 25, 2017 at 03:17 PM
Frode
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....




Lance B wrote:
It is maxed out for the EN-EL15a battery. It will only do 9fps with the battery grip and the EN-EL18b battery.

I wonder how well the D850 will AF when using the battery grip and EN-EL18b battery. After all, in the brochure, it states:
"The D850ís powerful 153-point AF system ó the same acclaimed technology used in the
flagship D5 "

and:
"Accurate focusing is crucial to large-pixel-count images. The D850 comes equipped
with the same powerful 153-point AF system as the flagship D5 ó a technology widely
praised by editorial sports photographers. The 153 densely packed focus points (55
selectable) provide over 130% of the D810ís
...Show more

Yes, the D850 also uses a dedicated AF engine. Why doesnít Nikon say that theyíre using the SAME AF engine......? Because itís not the same, maybe....... ;-). This is how it always have been; their flagship series (D1/2/3/4/5), is.....their flagship :-).



Sep 25, 2017 at 03:47 PM
la puffin
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


I haven't shot a D850 yet, but writing off it because it might not have exactly 100% of the total AF capability of the D5 is silly. Is anyone in that boat selling off a D5 for the D850? Try the D850. Unless you shoot a D5, the AF system is going to be better than anything you've used plus you have all of the features of the D850.

If you're looking for a reason for justifying not buying a D850 (and everything else meets you needs), the AF system is not that reason. Try the camera and shoot for yourself.



Sep 25, 2017 at 04:08 PM
CanadaMark
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


Frode wrote:
Yes, the D850 also uses a dedicated AF engine. Why doesnít Nikon say that theyíre using the SAME AF engine......? Because itís not the same, maybe....... ;-). This is how it always have been; their flagship series (D1/2/3/4/5), is.....their flagship :-).


I think maybe we're over-analyzing it (probably more so than Nikon's PR folks did haha), but this is what Nikon says:

"The D850 uses the same field-proven ultra-accurate AF system as the flagship D5. With 153 focus points, 99 cross-type sensors and a dedicated AF processor, the D850 delivers all of its 45.7 MP performance with NIKKOR lenses. Shoot in low light to -4 EV. Capturing the most elusive subjects will feel like second nature with the D850."

The AF "system" is of course all parts in the AF chain, otherwise they would have to mention specific parts. Nikon says the AF "system" is the same as the D5. They don't need to make specific distinctions if they have told you everything is the same. If they did, they would also need to say things like "the center AF point is sensitive down to -4.0EV like the D5" even though we can clearly see both are rated down to -4.0EV. The Nikon rep I talked to told me they are identical, including the actual dedicated processor. On top of this we have experienced shooters and every blogger I have read so far saying the AF is the same as the D5. That also matches my own experience so far with the two cameras - the AF is nothing short of amazing.

The only thing we know with 100% certainty is that the AF performance is too close to reliably or objectively differentiate, so IMHO that is the most important takeaway from all this discussion. The fact that there is even this much discussion and debate at all is extremely positive for the D850 because of the camera it's being compared to. Even if the AF was 90% as good at the D5 it's still better than any competing DSLR and a big upgrade from the D810.



Sep 25, 2017 at 04:27 PM
henry albert
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · D850 vs D5 AF Comparison....


elkhornsun wrote:
The test done was relevant for sports shooters where a player may be approaching the photographer directly or at a slight angle. This is a very difficult situation for the autofocus system so in that limited sense it is a valid test. It is also why Nikon chose with the D3 to have three columns of cross type autofocus sensors dead center in the viewfinder, a layout that continued for nearly 10 years until the D5 was introduced.

But most problems encountered by those photographing other subjects involve both much smaller targets that do not encompass half the frame as
...Show more

How about showing us some of those images?



Sep 25, 2017 at 05:34 PM
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