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Bang-on AF

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by T N Args, Aug 31, 2016.

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  1. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I still feel a bit of disappointment that we, willing to spend and all, don't get offered cameras that deliver bang-on, nailed-it-every-time, gotcha, wow-impressive AF ability.

    It seems to me so fundamental.

    The release of the Canon 5Dm4 brought this all flooding back. Still they say "great when it's great, but then there's the other times".

    When I got my 7D about 7D years ago, I was so impressed by how fast the AF beep ripped into my ears, the fancy AF options, the fast shooting with AF. Then I checked the actual photos, and how many were not actually precisely in focus, even after MF adjust. Considering how this was practically the state of the art model for AF under about $7,000, I felt a bit let down. Then I moved to m43 with a GX7 and lowered expectations for AF, which I was pleased to find the camera comfortably exceeded. A lot of really bang-on, nailed-it photos, until I released the subject from the head brace and they actually dared to move. I really liked that camera and still remember my times with it fondly (every time my wife raises it to her eye, I emit a faint sigh), but I just couldn't say the AF met my needs. Now I live with and delight in my M5 II, but I would have to concede that I think its AF is not quite the match of the GX7. (Don't get the wrong idea, I didn't buy it to get better AF -- but GX7 vs M5 II is a different thread, another day).

    I do know that there are top-tier m43 cameras out there today with better AF than mine. But they only offer to close the gap, between what I am living with and the bang-on, nailed-it, wow AF that I am after, they only close that gap by a fairly small percentage. Even the new Canon hasn't nailed it.

    I pine for the day.
     
  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I can't remember the last time I had an AF issue that wasn't my fault. Micro 4/3 is fantastic.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  3. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    Ironically, my Nikon 1 V1 was the only camera I have ever used that was 100% spot-on.

    I'm kind of angry at my Panasonic GX85 right now because of this:

    Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 07.17.54.

    The subject is very well lit and the camera correctly detected the face, yet it is clearly not in focus! In fact, nothing in this shot is in focus.

    But to be honest, this is the only AF miss I experienced with my GX85 so far. Otherwise it's blazing fast and deadly accurate.
     
  4. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    100% crop at f1.7, are you sure it isn't just soft?
     
  5. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    I am :)

    Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 07.50.02.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  6. Levster

    Levster Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Does it get confused by glasses? My other half has glasses and a I do occasionally see the frames of the glasses in focus instead of the eyes. Depending on what lens I use this can make the eyes seem a bit soft.
     
  7. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I wish I was so self-effacing and easily pleased. :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    This is only going to get worse as lenses get better, mega pixels increase, anti-aliasing filters get removed, etc. Look at the recent complaint about IS from Ming Thein - shots that we would have considered sharp previously are now deemed unsatisfactorily soft because we can see at 100% pixel level they are not...
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Are you sure it's the GX85, or not just the 25/1.7? I feel like when I briefly had the 25/1.7 I experience odd AF issues every now and then where it seemed like it was front-focused, which struck me as very odd for a CDAF system.
     
  10. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    Pavel
    I can't be sure of anything, because of ~600 shots I took with this lens on 2 different bodies (GX1 and GX85) only one is not in focus.
     
  11. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I know there are newer cameras out there, but my epl5 still misses focus. This is even in good light. This occurs mostly for me at the extremes of infinity and close focus distance.
     
  12. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    If you're not happy with the AF performance of you m43 cameras, then I have three words for you: Dee Five Hundred

    That camera has the most competent AF on the market right now, at least in terms of cameras that are somewhat affordable for your typical photog.

    Personally, I'm very happy with S-AF performance of my m43 cameras, however where I'd like to see an improvement is with C-AF for fast moving subject. I'm current shooting an E-M1 + 50-200 SWD as my primary motorsports lens, and it does a pretty good job given the fact that the camera is 3 years old, and the lens is even older. I'll be interested to see what the E-M1 II can do in terms of AF performance with older 4/3 lenses. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been eyeing up something like a D7200. The problem is I don't know that I want to deal with everything that comes with a DSLR. Time will tell...
     
  13. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere

    273
    Aug 19, 2016
    Burnaby, BC
    It sounds like your expectations are unrealistically high.

    Auto exposure on cameras used to be highly innaccurate; little more than an averaged frame reading lining up a needle with a pre-determined point basically. Rather stupid really. These days a $100 compact can guess the scene and nail exposure 98% of the time; that's the big reason all those phone cameras and compacts are so good for the non-photographicaly minded. But not perfect.

    Auto focus is a machine feedback process, that doesn't know what you want or even what you're pointing the camera at. Even the best on offer are still stupid machines that have some level of falability.

    I find auto-focus nails it 98% of the time in my experience (neglecting tracking) and gets in wrong that 2% of the time. This is why a good photographer behind any camera will produce better resuls than someone that relies upon the camera to figure things out. They notice when the camera gets it wrong and takes corrective action. Digital makes this mistake feedback process way cheaper than it was with film, and you can instantly find out the results not wait a week for feedback in which time you've forgotten what the exact situation was.

    Personaly I find my auto focus hits the mark 98% of the time and I'm okay with that. I can fix it that 2% of the time and really that means AF saves me time and hassle that 98% of the time.

    /end philosophizing
     
    • Winner Winner x 3
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I wish you were, too.
     
    • Funny Funny x 3
  15. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Urrrrgh. And there was all the same excitement, confidence and (bringing back flood of identical memories) feelings, three cameras ago, but with two words: Seven Dee. Like I said in post #1, the 5Dm4's release brought it all back, and yes so did the D500's. The 5Dm4 brought it back more to me because I am much more willing to accept the wearying burden of such battleships for full frame and 30+ MP than for APSC and 20.

    Like I said at the end of post #1, where's the m43? I like m43 as a system.
     
  16. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Why is it unrealistic to ask where are the m43 cameras that are 50% better than the 2011 Nikon 1, given the time elapsed and the buyer willingness to pay more for larger sensor cameras? Our top models should have more sophisticated and bang-on AF than any Nikon 1.
     
  17. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Ian
    Yeah, I understand what you're saying. I'm hoping that Olympus may be able to introduce something like Canon's Dual Pixel AF to improve AF accuracy and speed. Traditionally, the PDAF points have been located below the mirror box and thus off the sensor, but Canon bucked that trend with Dual Pixel AF.

    Are you concerned more about S-AF or C-AF? If it's S-AF, have you used any Panasonic cameras that support DFD with Panasonic lenses? I never had any complaints about S-AF speed and accuracy with my GH4 and 35-100 f/2.8.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    683
    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    Unfortunately, present day cameras are not mind readers so they only have an approximate idea of where we're hoping should be in focus. The wider the aperture the less fudge room they have.

    There isn't a single camera on the planet (regardless of what fan boys say) that can guarantee it will nail the AF exactly where you think it should 100% of the time. Most of them will be close, even bang on much of the time, but no one can guarantee it 100%.

    Having said that, my GH4 and EM1 rarely miss focus (much less than any of the Nikon & Canon PRO DSLRs I've owned), and when they do I can count on one hand the number of times that weren't down to human error.

    OTOH, I really don't shot many things that move fast ;)
     
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  19. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    Frankly, both. True, I have never tried DFD, would love to and was excited when it came out, but user reports and reviews say it is a worthwhile improvement, not 'problem solved', including CAF. I don't doubt what you say about that sweet combo of yours. [emoji106]
     
  20. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere

    273
    Aug 19, 2016
    Burnaby, BC
    Well I can't say I know anything about that, except that I bet the Nikon 1 still won't be 100%. If it was 99% what is 50% better? Half the error, so 99.5%? Then what is 50% better still? 99.75%?

    Just saying, if your expectation is 100% you're never going to be satisfied. Errors will always happen no matter how rare.

    What qualifies as bang-on? Just playing devil's advocate.