D3 firmware update – Update
This photo is nothing special, except when you understand the circumstances under which it was taken. As you can see, it was a foggy afternoon at Ding Darling when Sharon & I were out scouting. Typically in this kind of light which is flat and with a subject that is moving, shooting relying just on AF isn’t really reliable with the lens combo I was using. Our Nikon’s (Canon’s for that matter too) require lenses that are f/5.6 or faster for AF spec operation. I was shooting with the 600VR with a TC-17e attached, that gives an effective f/stop of f/6.7, beyond the range of the AF system specs and reliable AF operation. That’s not what I’ve got here (right side AF sensor, 21Dyna being used).
Normally this lens combo requires highnoon light and your use of just the center AF sensor for reliable AF operation (since we are outside of the system’s specs). But as you can see here, the D3x, 600VR and TC-17e not only locked on but maintained focus for the whole sequence of the Great Blue Heron landing. It wasn’t doing that before the last firmware upgrade. Nikon stated they improved AF performance in lower light/darker subjects. Personally, I thought that was just marketing until I started to use it. But I had to test, which is what this series of photos are, a test, to understand how the tool in my hand now operated. I’m a firm believer, they have vastly improved the AF performance. Bottomline, update your firmware and, the 600 & 1.7x works in a whole lot more situations!