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Thread: Can the 645DF or H-system AF do this easily?

  1. #1
    Shelby Lewis
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    Can the 645DF or H-system AF do this easily?

    (Probably a silly question....)

    I'm heading to Atlanta next week to try out some gear at CI. I've been looking at RZ systems, both for the cost and the higher flash sync. I use high-speed flash sync in combo with open apertures A LOT in location work (canon with PW FlexTT5 Units) and really enjoy the look of natural light with a touch of flash to clean up skin tones and even out shadows on the face (and add a bit of sparkle to the eyes).

    So all this "high speed sync" got me to thinking about the H system and the new 645DF... is the AF on the 645DF or the hassie H cameras responsive enough to shoot portraits of subjects that are "mildly prone to movement"?

    I'm not talking about kids who are running around the yard... that's canon territory... and I know that adults are easy pickings. I'm just curious as to whether the AF on the newer bodies is responsive enough to keep with, say, a baby who's prone to bobbing back and forth a little bit.

    Stuff like these shots that I posted in the "share" forum. These use off camera flash (speedlight into an umbrella) to even out skin tones as well as to tone down the background a bit. I defaulted to ISO200 but at f/1.4 that gave me shutter speeds of around 1/1250th. I assume at f/2.8 at ISO200 I'd still be in good shape with MF using a normal lens:







  2. #2
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Can the 645DF or H-system AF do this easily?

    Hi Shelby,

    I would say definitely yes for the DF body if you have the three AF points enabled and are in "accurate" focus mode. However, you may need to shoot three or so for one perfect, 'eye's-crisp' keeper depending on your subject's motion. For these, I would use my 80/2.8 LS wide open and generate roughly the same DoF effect you have here. I would feel comfortable going up to ISO 400 with my P65+ and then flash would be synching between 1/400th and 1/800th.

    So what I'm saying is at the end of the day it will work, but may not be as easy as with Pro 35 AF. OTOH, the results when it does work will undoubtedly be worth it
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Can the 645DF or H-system AF do this easily?

    Hey Shelby,

    Nice look to those shots.

    Since I have an RZ kit that I use a DB on, I'd say stick to Canon or Sony for these type shots. It can be done, but why struggle?

    If you go to MFD, then the new Phase 40 with leaf shutter lenses, or a Hassey 40 are the best choices to evaluate IMO ... (or if you are filthy rich, a Leica S2 with CS lenses : -)

    I rarely shoot semi-static kids outdoors, and leave that to studio type images, where they are still wiggle worms. Outdoors it tends to be action candids.

    I do use the MFD for these action shots of kids outdoors ... and the new True Focus AF system in the H4D/40 has dramatically increased keeper rate from kinetic kids with ants-in-their-pants.

    I tend to do a different look than you, but as far as working with kids the H4D/40 has been great so far ... especially for lightening quick off-center AF.

    Here are few, including a H4D shot in a make-shift studio at the client's home (baby in rocker), and one wedding "kid candid" done at ISO 800.

    I'd say in outdoor light the H4D/40 is debatably as fast as my Sony A900 ... and un-debatably faster/more accurate AF when shooting off-center subjects compared to wheeling around the focus point in the 35mm DSLR.

    -Marc

  4. #4
    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Can the 645DF or H-system AF do this easily?

    Shelby,

    I really don't think you'd have much problem at all photographing children with a MFDB and current generation camera body (H4D or Phase DF). IMO, the Phase DF focuses probably slightly better than a Canon 5D II, and definitely better in dimly lit interiors. As Jack suggests, you may need to shoot several frames. But then again, even when I'm using a 1Ds Mark III, I'm shooting several frames with kids or any subject that has any movement at all. If you're talking about hauling around an RZ, that poses a different problem! Kids and portraiture (with Phase DF)? No problem.

    Have a great time in Atlanta and bring your pocketbook!

    ken

    p.s. Not mentioned much is that the 150mm D series lens is smoking fast for focusing.
    Last edited by kdphotography; 29th July 2010 at 07:05.

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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Can the 645DF or H-system AF do this easily?

    Shelby,

    I currently use an RZ and P45 back for studio portraiture. I would not attempt to use it outside for making portraits with a toddler like the beautiful ones you have posted above. Why not? For me, the RZ is not very portable, but it is an excellent studio camera for shooting portraiture. I am saving up for an S2 version 2 at some point in the future for my all-around portrait camera.

    If you have the cash and need for a studio portrait camera, I would definitely take advantage of the lower prices on the RZ system right now. I purchased a lightly used RZ II-D system from a forum member (Lu-La) for $2,000.00 and have been very happy with it, although the P45 plate cost me another $900--could not find a used one!

    Best of Luck,
    Darr
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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Can the 645DF or H-system AF do this easily?

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    Shelby,

    I currently use an RZ and P45 back for studio portraiture. I would not attempt to use it outside for making portraits with a toddler like the beautiful ones you have posted above. Why not? For me, the RZ is not very portable, but it is an excellent studio camera for shooting portraiture. I am saving up for an S2 version 2 at some point in the future for my all-around portrait camera.

    If you have the cash and need for a studio portrait camera, I would definitely take advantage of the lower prices on the RZ system right now. I purchased a lightly used RZ II-D from a forum member (Lu-La) for $2,000.00 and have been very happy with it, although the P45 plate cost me another $900--could not find a used one!

    Best of Luck,
    Darr
    Darr, you've also got a sweet set-up, because now you can simply add a Phase DF body and you've got the best of both worlds so to speak....

  7. #7
    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Can the 645DF or H-system AF do this easily?

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    Darr, you've also got a sweet set-up, because now you can simply add a Phase DF body and you've got the best of both worlds so to speak....
    Thanks Ken. I will probably jump ahead to a DF body at some point in the future. Dreams of the S2 being the ultimate portrait camera I hoping are just that-- dreams!
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

  8. #8
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Can the 645DF or H-system AF do this easily?

    Thanks everyone for the replies... VERY informative.

    I wasn't very clear. An RZ is definitely in my future... I love that camera and the look that comes from it's lenses. I also love the slow working methodology... but it's not what I plan on bringing to location sessions with kids. No way!

    What I'm grappling with right now is whether to shoot for a (partial) 5DII replacement as opposed to continue the upgrade path in the canon line for my handheld work. I had envisioned using 35mm for all my location work and an RZ for headshots and studio stuff (still plan on that). Even though I posted some more static examples, at least half of my kid/family sessions are more lifestyle in nature with the kids playing and having fun and "being who they are at that time in their life". I generally shoot those sessions in pretty fat light as well... bright sunlit days in broad shade.

    I've not seen many folks post samples of the kind of work I do using MF, other than Marc (and our work is still somewhat different)... but I really think the jump in IQ would be a good move for me.

    I'm not shooting for an ultra-high-res DB. I'm just not going to have the money for that and TBH I don't need it for my work (although I always welcome the highest quality I can afford)... but I AM possibly willing to spring for the latest camera body in combo with a somewhat lower res (cheaper) back in order to gain better IQ, more malleable files, and that little something extra that MF capture brings to the table. I'd rather have more usability in combo with better IQ than a crippled older body and a high-res back that is limited to fewer situations (due to camera platform's lack of responsiveness). Uber-res is for later in life for me.

    Sounds like the DF won't have any probs handling this... so I guess I need to choose a back that has good enough ISO 200-400 to be usable when I need those sensitivities.

    Sound about right?

    BTW... there are a few more from the session above at my blog as well as a broader sampling of my portraiture... I don't shoot all lifestyle work, but it's not all static either. Where I think the MF capture might really pay off is in my senior work. I've planned to work towards MF in that realm for years.
    Last edited by Shelby Lewis; 29th July 2010 at 07:56.

  9. #9
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Can the 645DF or H-system AF do this easily?

    THIS SESSION better represents an overview of what I'd consider to be "typical" for me... and where I might try to integrate some MF work. Pushing it, I'd guess.

    BTW, can you tell it's an older A900 session. Files are noticeably better, even at web-res than the current stuff I get out of my 5dII... oh how I miss that sensor in combo with the 135/1.8 and the siggy 50/1.4

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