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AF-S, why such a big deal?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by PeteZ28, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    I've seen a million posts on this forum about "why isn't such and such lens AF-S yet?" or "I'm going to wait till they release an AF-S version of X lens."

    Don't get me wrong, AF-S motors made a world of difference on some lenses, especially the big glass that's often used for fast moving work.

    But why all the noise about some other lenses? Take the 50 f/1.4 for example. Even in the screwdriver configuration, it's a pretty darn quick focuser. Now Nikon has released an AF-S version that weighs twice as much, is twice the size, is half as reliable, and costs twice as much! Where is the "benefit" of such a lens? Even the 80-200 f/2.8 lenses focused extremely fast on modern bodies, probably fast enough for 95% of what people shoot with them.

    Same with the 85 f/1.4. Pretty fast focuser and a beast as it is. My guess is the AF-S version will not only be larger but cost a bit more too.

    Personally I'd be happier seeing Nikon put AF-S motors in lenses that deserve them, like the 80-400 VR!!!!
  2. Some people just want to have the lenses updated to be more modern, and one of those updates is AFS. Some want all the speed they can eek out of their lenses. And for some, like wedding photogs, they want the quietest focus they can get.
  3. mattsteg


    Aug 10, 2007
    Full time manual is very nice, for starters, it's easier to combine focus accuracy and speed with AFS than with screwdrivers, and there are those who use the smallest/cheapest bodies (although throwing a lens that's twice as big and costs twice as much as the screwdriver alternative on one of those kinda reduces their benefits).
  4. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    I'm not trying to say that AF-S lenses aren't great, they are. But I still don't find them to be the end all - be all that others do. I only have one AF-S lens in my stable right now and it's one of the best; the 70-200. Honestly I rarely use the manual override feature, and my previous two 80-200 lenses focused darn near as fast. But this is a lens where speed is important so AF-S makes sense.

    Yeah wedding shooters, never considered that!

    One thing about screwdriver lenses though is they are stupid reliable. I've seen quite a few of the "squeaking AF-S" threads in the past few weeks and it's starting to make me wonder how much are we really benefiting from it sometimes?
  5. rotxlk82


    Jul 20, 2007
    I guess when D40, 40x and 60 owners enquire about AFS they're looking for cheap, high IQ primes like the new 50/1.4 AFS that will focus with their body.
  6. Not true. Current 50mm f/1.4 weighs 9 oz (230g). The New AF-S 50mm f/1.4 G weighs 9.9 oz. (280g). The new version doesn't even add a full ounce of weight.

    I suspect full time manual over ride is the main advantage of AF-S on a lens like this, not necessarily focus speed.
  7. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    Yeah I had considered the D40/60 angle as I used to have one, but saving a few hundred on a body only to spend a thousand more for AF-S lenses seemed pretty illogical to me, so I don't even really understand that argument. So much great glass out there that doesn't work on the D40/60 package it's almost pointless to own one if you are any kind of serious about photography.
  8. rotxlk82


    Jul 20, 2007
    I always found the 50/1.8 to be very quick at focusing, it was so light even the bodies with less powerful AF motors (like my D50) could push it around with some pace.

    As Rich G noted the main appeal of the new AFS 50mm is likely to be in the D40/40x/60 AF compatibilty and MF overide.
  9. You get used to being able to grab the focus ring at will I find and that's one of the things I like best about AFS lenses.
  10. It's nice not to have to switch the camera (and lens in some cases) to be able to manually focus, when necessary. I most enjoy the silence of true AFS/HSM lenses like my 10-20 and 50-150, it is a breath of fresh air as compared to the squeaking and squealing of traditional screw-drive or micro motors (like the recent Tamrons).
  11. My favorite lens is a ...

    My favorite lens is an AF lens... now if they ever made one with nano coating and AFS I'd go for it but if the only upgrade seems to be AFS versus AF... well ... yea why is it better?

    Do they focus faster? Depends on which camera body you put them on but for people with a D40 or D60, AFS lenses while be a great addition specially fast lenses like the 50 and 85mm - they will then discover the joys of fast primes. :smile:

    Well said and applies to smaller AF lenses like the 35 and 50 (20 and 28mm/2.8 lenses as well) But not so with the 85 and 28/1.4 which have a slightly different auto focus system...
  12. I personally do not appreciate AFS at all. I guess it is because I am either in AF or MF mode mentally, When I use MF, my camera is set to MF and that is what I do. When I want AF, I don't feel the urge to MF inbetween.

    I guess what I am saying is that MF override means little to me.

    With AFS likely to make lenses bulkier (kudos to Nikon on the 50 not gaining much weight) and less reliable, I'll rather have Nikon focus on putting AFS & VR in the long fixed focals (180mm +) and all the zooms (Isn't it criminal the 80-400 has no AFS? Isn't this far more critical than an AFS 50mm or 85mm?) but leave the short to medium fixed focals alone with the old faithful screwdriver.
  13. If you're shooting BIF, you need AFS
  14. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    I agree 100%.

    This is exactly why I don't understand what the fuss is about 50 f/1.4 and 85 f/1.4 and similar lenses being in AF-S.

    Updating the 80-400 to AF-S makes a LOT more sense!

    I'd rather have my fast primes built the old fashion way. No shortage of fast primes from the dawn of time that are still working 100%, even AF lenses. I somehow doubt 20 years from now many of these AF-S lenses will be functioning properly, nor will there be parts available to replace them.
  15. Some AF (screwdriver) lenses have an awful sloppy focus ring if you try to manually focus (like the 50/1.4). Others are pretty decent (like the 85/1.4). I've waited for the new AF-S 50 because the AF version annoys me. If I wanted an 85/1.4 I probably wouldn't wait for the AF-S version. So, my answer is - it varies by lens.
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