Better AF - D800 + f4 or D600 + f2.8?

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I only have experience with D700's and a D600. But I'm thinking of replacing my D700's with either a D800 or maybe another D600. (related thread) It occurred to me that difference between the two is about the cost of one of the new Tamron 24-70 lenses that have been getting great reviews.

So I'm wondering which would focus better (faster, more reliably, etc). Setting: Events, kids dancing/running, sometimes darker reception halls.

D800 with my 24-120 f4
D600 with a Tamron 24-70 f2.8 (maybe a use Nikon, but more likely the Tamron)

AF-C setting.
 
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I've never used the Tamron but having owned the Nikon 24-70 2.8 and 24-120/4, I know that the 24-70 2.8 beats the 24-120/4 just in sheer focusing speed. Also, the 24-70 provides 1 full stop of light more to the AF module so it has more light to work with. Btw, the D600 is no slouch when it comes to acquiring focus. I'd even say it's ever so slightly quicker than the D700.
 
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I've never used the Tamron but having owned the Nikon 24-70 2.8 and 24-120/4, I know that the 24-70 2.8 beats the 24-120/4 just in sheer focusing speed. Also, the 24-70 provides 1 full stop of light more to the AF module so it has more light to work with. Btw, the D600 is no slouch when it comes to acquiring focus. I'd even say it's ever so slightly quicker than the D700.

My D700's seem a little faster than my D600. I had a Nikon 24-70 and sold it a little over a year ago. No questions it's nice, I just wasn't using it that much after getting the 24-120 f4. And I'm not questioning whether it made sense at the time.

I shoot mainly Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and I've had two over the last month that have been in overly dark venues. I know the best combo would be the D800 AND the 2.8 lens but that is not going to happen.

What I'm looking for more is whether the AF power of the D800 + f4 is better then D600 + f2.8..

D800
51-points, with 15 cross-type
AF sensitivity down to -2EV
11 points supporting f/8

D600
39-point, with 9 cross-type
AF sensitivity down to -1EV
1 point supporting f/8
 
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David, I have not used either camera, I will make some comments based on what I know.
The D600 is based on the body of the D7000 and I have to suspect that most probably many of the functions of the D7000 have been incorporated into the D600. As an amateur camera that both are they lack the powerful AF motors of more professional cameras although I admit the D7000, which I own, has an excellent AF system. Because the D800 is at a higher level than the D600 you should expect better performance from its AF.
Lenses also make a difference and professional lenses are going to be better in that respect. Because I have no experience with the 24-120 f4 VR I will not make any comments.
In general, Nikon manufactures excellent AF systems in their cameras and their best AF are built into their professional bodies. Do not misunderstand me, it does not mean amateur bodies are not up to the task. As I said, I have found the AF of my D7000 very responsive and precise and I see no reasons why the AF of the D600 should be different.
Just an opinion.

William Rodriguez
Miami, Florida.
 
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Having both the D800 and the D600, in good light the D600 AF does not suffer much from the D800. When the light gets dim, however, the D600 does not does as well with slower lenses, I was testing with the 200-400 f4. Hard to tell if this would suit you or not, I am guessing that you have already tried the 24-120 f4 and found it lacking.

Here is what I would do if I were you. I would contact BorrowLenses, they have the Tamron lens you are looking at, as well as others. Do a short rental and try it in one of you dark venues. Then you will know for sure without a large monetary outlay.
 

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