Nikon D4S | Auto Focus Field Test with Sports Illustrated photographer Robert Beck

Nikon D4S | Auto Focus Field Test with Sports Illustrated photographer Robert Beck


For the D4S campaign
we went up to Salt Lake City. We shot some of our up-and-coming downhill racers skiing. One image we wanted to get was the skier coming out
of a blind and making a jump. So in other words
they are coming down a hill they kind of go in a swale, they hit a jump
and then they’re airborn. And it was an image that we were dead set on getting,
but I’m thinking there’s no way it’s going to happen.
I didn’t think that there is a system
that could pick up something you couldn’t see.
And in a millisecond lock on, getting in focus
and then track it through the air and have the kid land.
It’s a millisecond but it has to catch
that person coming out of nowhere that it doesn’t know where it is and to lock on
and make it tack sharp. It’s catching it way before I think
it’s catching it and way before I get it centered. That kind of technology is a whole new realm.
I mean you can apply it to football or baseball
and you start thinking now that’s another jump
of what autofocus can do. I was shooting some speed skating
up in Salt Lake City as another part of the project
and we wanted to try and grab a skater
as he was coming around at a corner and track him all the way
through the corner and then releasing
out of the corner. The D4S did a much better job of tracking that skater
all the way through the corner. So no matter where I had my camera that focusing system
locked on and kept the skater sharp all the way through. And he was moving
extremely fast towards me. And probably not more than 15 feet away
when he’s going across the frame. I’d be hard-pressed
to get that image in the old days but now with the new D4S the system
is good enough to keep tracking. D4S exceeded
my expectations by a long shot. I’d be really excited
when I have two or three in my bag and I’m taking them to every
event and I’m that much better. Yeah, let’s get excited guys.

11 Replies to “Nikon D4S | Auto Focus Field Test with Sports Illustrated photographer Robert Beck”

  1. This is a Kalashnikov in DSLR world. Works everywhere, in any time, in any conditions and is unstoppable fast !!

  2. There is a common problem with Nikon D4. The multi-selection buttons fall off. This supposed to be the most robust flag ship camera… Lame !!! And, Nikon (Canada) asks $283 to fix it and give your camera back! They make $283 from a $2 rubber button (which is not supposed to fall off even after years), but lose reputation for bad customer relationship, and leave a bitter taste and frustrated customers behind.

    You can catch and focus on your subject if you have a focus button…

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