A Dual -Themed Shoot With Lucy (and why I am fed up with phase detect DSLR focus!)

April 26, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Time for another shoot with Lucy, who we have met before on this blog.  As always it was a pleasure to work with her in 2 separate locations and two diverse themes, one using a slightly sombre fairytale theme and the other a youthful, edgy look.


Gear for all the shots was the same...a Nikon D800 DSLR with Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 lens and a single Profoto B1 flash with the new OCF beauty dish in white as the modifier.


Location wise, the first shoot was in a quiet area of public garden in Poole where some willows were overhanging the Bourne Stream and daytime sunlight gave backlighting.  

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The second location was a large cemetery in Bournemouth.

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I do not often shoot with DSLRs much any more, having found the joys of mirrorless and finding that the advantages of mirrorless generally outweigh any disadvantages.  Despite using a pro grade DSLR and lens I found that phase detect focus was very hit and miss and even at f5.6 I could not get reliable results lots of the time.  I had fine tuned focus (as with all my DSLR lenses) at 200mm where the effect is more obvious, but at focal lengths under 200mm I was getting inaccurate focus.  This is an exercise in frustration when working with other people and I found myself trying to work around it by moving way back to shoot at 200mm.  This is one of the reasons why DSLRs are rapidly becoming a niche tool for me.  Niche because the Nikon still offers full high speed sync and TTL with the Profoto B1 flash system.  I can no longer think of many other advantages for me, unless I need the huge resolution of the admittedly lovely D800 files.  Canon and Nikon really have to wake up as they have completely failed to acknowledge the advantages of mirrorless cameras for most types of photography.  Although people still buy DSLRs due to brand loyalty and lack of knowledge of what is available, the average shooter would be far better served by a good mirrorless system.


While the X system is not perfect, in every day use it throws up far fewer frustrations...on sensor accurate focus even at f1.2, tiltable screens for low angle compositions, EVF with focus aids for manual focus, remote control from an iPhone...not to mention I can carry a 2 camera system with lenses that weighs less than the single SLR with lens.  It would be awesome if Fuji and Profoto offered full compatibility one day....I live in hope!


Despite the frustrations with focus, enough images came out well to put together a bit of variety for Lucy to take away.


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