As most folks know here I received the new DF body and upgraded to the P40+ from the P30+ which at the time I did question my thought pattern on upgrading or just spending the money and get a Canon or Nikon. Which to some degree made a lot of sense but I am a very stubborn person as well and my desire to shoot 35mm again is null. I really like shooting MF and my biggest thing is if I am going to work at this until the box lid closes than I want to enjoy shooting and after 35 years of shooting I want as much pleasure out of it as i can get now. Okay that was the stubborn part and reality is it actually makes some sense at least to me it does.
Now after a heavy shoot in which let's face it shooting runway and stage work is not in favor of MF shooting. But you pick your poison and get to work and that I did with the P40+ and using Sensor Plus. I did not need 40 mpx to shoot these images but the ability to shoot 10 mpx on stuff like this led me straight in the direction of the P40+ with Sensor Plus since to me this makes a load of sense when I get a gig like this and with a switch of the ISO i can jump right into smaller files , faster processing and the ability to pick my resolution on what I am shooting plus the biggy get high ISO images with low noise. Even in the middle of this kind of shoot if I thought I needed the big honking files than it was a easy switch over.
Let's talk first about the DF camera over the AFDII and III models. Fast does not begin to describe the difference. Now i should clarify that statement it's faster for sure and for some folks it may not seem like a big difference BUT BUT BUT when you shoot very fast and rely heavily on timing the DF comes to the rescue. The shutter lag now is certainly a big improvement to me. When shooting this runway stuff I can actually shoot when one leg is in the correct position when the models are walking and this is very important in runway as it gives the body the correct lines. Before it was hard to nail it at will , now with the DF the shutter lag is so minimal it becomes a much more accurate and faster cam. The AF system has improved as well. Many shots here are shot with a Mamiya 300mm AF 4.5 lens on a monopod and focusing set for continuous and as a model comes out from stage right to the end of the T in the staging it's about a 75 foot stroll. The AF followed focus the whole time and never left me guessing I was nailing it. To me very much inline with what we are used too with Canon although slightly slower it still did the job and overall responsiveness is much closer to 35mm than MF now if you catch my meaning. The bar on speed has gone up
One nit that I found I did not like was trying to use the rear focus button, I found the button not big enough to always be using it . Now that maybe me and my personal preference but it is their for you if you choose to go this route. Also I have found great improvement with battery life on the DF and going far longer with the ni-cad batteries. I shot one day about 1400 images with review on for 5 seconds and the indicator never dropped down. I switched to a new pack the next day just because and not that I had too. Obviously I did not measure this exact improvement but it is there for sure and i also noticed my backs battery improvement as well over the P30+ so must be some energy savings going on with wake up and such as the P40+ and P65+ do handle that differently and maybe someone from Phase can answer as to why that is but the fact remains I see some battery improvement, all good in my book.
Overall on the DF with the grip improvement as well that it is really a winning cam now. But Like i said on paper it may not seem so but with shooting like this I really come to like it so much better over the AFD-III and can really feel the improvement. Personally I am a feel person with cams and they have to feel good both physically and mentally for me and this is punching my ticket very nicely so far. Could their be more improvement of course but i feel Phase finally has a cam that at least brought the bar up enough to feel more 35mm DSLR performance and that is a good thing.
The P40+ and sensor plus. I know much has been said about this and some folks feel it is a gimmick or maybe never use it. Well I bought it exactly for this technology and for jobs like this when i can run the ISO's high and not deal with 40 mpx files as well. I can do a lot of talk on this area alone but I think images are really the answer here. But to me I am getting extremely clean ISO 800 and the ISO 1600 have a touch of noise but in these shots would be the WORST case scenario as well. All tungsten lighting and very contrasty lighting with a lot of shadows and mid tones around that really would show the noise area's very much. At 1600 it handled this far better than I thought it would. In reality I shot all of the beginning of the show which are more groups like singers , dancers and team fashion at ISO 1600 because the light varied with each setup coming down the runway and all the single shots of models i used ISO 800 because the light was constant all the way through those events and even shot on manual in those and AE on the team stuff since the light varied. Basically I adapted to what was going on as we should do that and the combination of gear here handled all that very well. I shot handheld on all the team stuff with varies lenses 45, 80 and 150 and on the single runway shots used a 300mm on a monopod