Better AF. EM1 or P100-400.

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by usayit, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. I currently shoot with my EM5 (1st version) with the Panasonic 100-300. Not exactly the performer in terms of tracking moving objects but I've been working it. Em5 doesn't track well and 100-300 is a pretty dated lens (good value.. and compact).

    I've been considering the EM1 (with its phase detect sites) but I've been hesitating (prices are also coming down). Now the Panasonic 100-400 is on the shelves it has me wondering.

    Which combination would have have a significant improvement from a AF standpoint:

    * EM5 (mk 1) + new Panasonic 100-400
    * EM1 (mk 1) + old Panasonic 100-300.

    I guess I'm trying to figure out if the bottleneck for AF performance is really the body EM5 body or the slower 100-300 pany lens.
  2. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Are you asking about S-AF or C-AF? I honestly have really seen no difference in focus speed when using S-AF between my EM5 or EM1. I don't have the Panny 100-300 but do have the Olympus 75-300 and it is pretty fast on either body (being honest, I never use it anymore since getting the 50-200 SWD and 150mm ƒ2.0). If you are asking about C-AF then there is no comparison between the EM5 and EM1. The EM1 will outperform any Olympus camera when it comes to C-AF because of the hybrid focusing (PDAF and CDAF).

    The Panny 100-300 is also an old design which performs very poorly for C-AF and sequential shooting because of the slower focusing and aperture mechanisms in the camera. I do not have that lens so can't say how it performs compared to other lenses, but many others on this forum have talked about it's poor performance for C-AF and sequential shooting.

    For about the price of the Panny 100-400 you could pick up an reconditioned EM1/50-200 SWD/MM3/EC-14 at be at 280mm of reach, close to what you have now with better C-AF performance and IQ as well as faster apertures. For a bit more you could throw in the EC-20 and have 400mm of reach at a slightly slower aperture then the Panny 100-400 at 400mm. Honestly this would give you a setup that for under 280mm will have better IQ then the Panny and at faster apertures as well as comparable IQ and aperture speed at 400mm.

    Link to a thread I created about my experience using the 50-200 SWD with the EC-20: A day with the ZD 50-200 SWD and EC-20
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  3. TheMenWhoDrawSheeps

    TheMenWhoDrawSheeps Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 15, 2016
    Are you sure about that Info? I was certain that em1 doesn't support Phase detect focus on any, but old 4/3 lenses. Em1 will outperform em-5 by being advanced pro Grade camera, and more recent one either. That said, i have read reports E-M5ii being on par and better than EM1 with m43 lineup (neither support Phase detect)lenses

    Sent from my D5503 using Mu-43 app
  4. I was concern about C-AF. I'm am currently pumping focus in S-AF as a work around. Yes... the consensus seems to be that the EM1 is a good improvement. Still concerned if that improvement will not be realized if I'm stilll using the 100-300.

    Yes... that is my experience. It has been ok since I've had it a long time and had its use.

    Wonderful! This is certainly an option I was not aware of. I've got more to consider (a good thing) and read about. If were to go this route, the next concern would be size and weight of that combination.


    The word is still out though... which contributes more to the AF (lack of) performance ; my EM5 body or the older 100-300mm lens.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  5. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    That is very old and very bad information. The EM1 uses both CDAF and PDAF with µ4/3 lenses in some sort of hybrid focusing method that Olympus is very closed mouth abount (there are several discussions on this forum about that as well as an email exchange between @gryphon1911@gryphon1911 and Olympus about this very thing). I assume that for SAF only CDAF is used and that the hybrid focusing only kicks in when using CAF. When using the old 4/3 lenses the EM1 will only use PDAF.

    What reports? The use of CAF in Olympuses CDAF only cameras is pathetic at best, because of how CDAF focusing works. It is why Panasonic developed the DFD technology for their camera/lens combinations, but it is still not up to the same level as the hybrid focusing of the EM1.
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  6. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    If you are referring to CAF I am going to have to say the EM1, but really probably contribute equally. The CAF of the EM5 is pathetic at best and for anyone interested in using CAF I would not recommend anything but the EM1 (in the µ4/3 world that is). I have never seen let alone used the 100-300 so I cannot really comment on it's performance, just know what others on this forum have said about it. I can confidently say that if you upgraded to the EM1 you would see an improvement in CAF with the 100-300 (because the EM5 has pathetic CAF). If you changed lenses to the 100-400 (still using the EM5) I would guess that you would see little to no improvement in CAF.
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  7. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
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  8. It seems that replacing my EM5 with an EM1 and shoot with 100-300mm for a little while would be the first logical step. I can then decide later if I continue to either the 50-200 SWD/MM3/EC-14(20) or the Panny 100-400mm. The 100-400mm is relatively new so I have a little time before I see them drop in price.

    Either way the EM1 will be necessary to get the best out of either lens combination. That's what I needed. Many thanks.
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  9. magicaxeman

    magicaxeman Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 27, 2016
    Essex UK
    Neither and both at the same time though you may be looking in the wrong direction for a solution.

    I've had the EM1/SWD + TC conversion, its not that fast, slowish aperture and bulky I wasn't impressed and sold it.

    What you need to do is upgrade both lens and body but there are ways around it.
    Its widely known that the 100-300 benefits from being mounted to a decent tripod so that may be worth the 80 euros outlay for the tripod ring for that lens.
    You could couple that with a secondhand EM1 to get past the CAF issues.

    Another even better solution would be to try the 40-150 Pro + TC, this lens may not have quite as much focal length as the 100-300 0r 100-400 but at a constant F2.8 you can keep the shutter speed up far enough to freeze fast movement in lowish light without having to push the ISO above ISO 1600.
    Off course you'll have to use your legs more and stalking skills to get a little closer to the wildlife but its well worth the effort, the lens produces outstanding results even with EM5's & EM5ii's.
    In fact I chose it over the 100-400 as its no good having a long lens that I have to shoot at high ISO's to get the shutter speed I need to freeze action, and with the 100-400 @ 400mm you need to be shooting at 1/1600th of a second at least in order to kill any shake and freeze action and all that @ F6.3, the resulting ISO's in anything other than perfect bright sunlight will be high.
    Remember IBIS might combat camera shake, but it can't freeze a fast moving subject.
    With those kind of settings it will be limiting in our dingy UK weather a lot of the time, thats why I went for the shorter focal length and faster aperture.

    Again that lens could be coupled to a secondhand EM1.

    Its also worth noting that as we get closer to the launch of the new mk2 EM1 there will be more older EM1's coming onto the secondhand market and prices for both new and secondhand EM1's are bound to drop after the launch.
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  10. Another quick question to add....

    Is there a Panasonic offering that is equivalent to the EM-1 in regards to PDAF sites / AF performance that I should also be considering?
  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    That is what I would do as a first step. No matter what, you will see a huge improvement in CAF performance going from the EM5 to the EM1. From there you can decide on lens choices, but don't discount using the older 4/3 lenses. They may be a bit heavier but the IQ is the same or better then any µ4/3 lenses (actually the 50-200 SWD is only 10 grams heavier then the Panny 100-400, a little more after you factor in the adapter and any of the EC's). My personal favorite is the 150mm ƒ2.0, but that is a bit more expensive and heavier but the IQ is out of this world.
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  12. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Panasonic has their DFD in some cameras but I really know nothing about which bodies. There is only one review that I have found about the CAF ability between an EM1 (with PDAF) and I believe a Panasonic GH4 (with DFD) and they concluded that the EM1 performed a bit better then the GH4. Keep in mind that this review was conducted before the EM1 received firmware upgrade 3.0, which made a drastic improvement in the CAF ability of the EM1. With the new firmware I would guess that the EM1 will outperform any of the Panasonic DFD cameras, but I have yet to find any side by side comparisons between the two with the latest and greatest firmwares.

    If you go to the 6:50 mark you will get to where he talks about the CAF between the GH4 and EM1. At the end he concludes the GH4 is faster but that is based on single point focus (aka initial focus), for CAF the EM1 outperformed the GH4 and has only gotten better with the newest firmware.

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  13. I've been shooting the 100-300 equipped with the tripod ring, a full tripod with gimbal head. It is sometimes paired with a high powered flash, fast cycle provided by an external battery pack, and extended with a better beamer.

    One example:


    When it comes to moving subjects, I'm pumping S-AF and trying to stay ahead of the direction of the action. To me, this is still a work around and while I am getting acceptable results, it is not an ideal experience (which is important to me). I've been in m4/3rd since the first generation G1 and the only thing I'm missing about my old Canon system (1dMark II with high end lenses) is the AF performance (even handheld). No regrets switching but at times the tripod and such plus pumping in the SAF mode all seems a bit like a band aid when compared to my old Canon system. Hopefully the micro 4/3rds system continues to evolve in this area.

    I will consider the 40-150 Pro + TC. Thanks for mentioning it. I've considered trading in my Panasonic 35-100 f/2.8 in for that lens a while back but I haven't felt compelled to. I'd like to keep as close to 300mm as possible... Even with the 100-400, I'll most likely find myself shooting in the area of 300mm focal length most of the time.

    The driving reason for me making up my mind now so that I can start keeping an eye out for one. I'm currently seeing the EM1s in a local venue for $599 USD with just over 12k on the shutter.
  14. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I forgot about a 2nd video they did comparing the 35-100/GH4 to the 40-150/EM1 and in this one they checked focus speed again and concluded no difference between cameras.

  15. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    [QUOTE="usayit, post: 907870, member: 2187" I'm currently seeing the EM1s in a local venue for $599 USD with just over 12k on the shutter.[/QUOTE]

    You just missed the latest, but Olympus sells refurb E-M1s for $575 plus tax on their regular 20-25% off sales.
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  16. Awe bummer..... oh well.
  17. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Parts of your post make LOL. I agree with what you say about 100-400 and that's why it is not even on my want list. If I want a slow aperture 100-400 lens, I will just slap my EC-20 to my 50-200 SWD and have basically the same lens. That is what I did for thread linked above to see what it would be like using the Panny 100-400.

    Now, comparing the 50-200 SWD to the 40-150 Pro is what makes me LOL. There is little to no difference in focus speed or CAF ability between the two lenses. You just have to keep in mind that the PDAF cells on the EM1 are not cross-type and require you find horizontal lines to get fast focus, once you adapt to this the lens performs brilliantly. Yes, looking at the specs the lens is 2/3 stops slower at the long end but keep in mind that it is 200mm. Once you put the MC-14 on the Pro lens you get 210mm (10mm extra) but now you are 1/3 stop slower then the SWD, may as well save $1,000 and go with the SWD (which can still get even more reach with the EC-14 or EC-20 if needed).

    Where are you getting this 1/16000th shutter to freeze action and/or shake? I can easily handhold 400mm down to 1/400 with my EM1 and can probably go down to 1/250 if I really concentrate at it, I regularly shoot down to 1/250 with my 150mm + EC-20. As for action, what kind of action? For birds you can freeze a heron/egret (any water bird for that matter) striking for a fish at 1/800 to 1/1000. I would suspect that for just about any wildlife photography (even a cheetah running) you would not need much faster the 1/1000 and the same goes for human sports. Now for motorsports I could see maybe needing faster but for most of those you want some blur, especially in the tires.

    Are you the MagicAxeMan from one of the Fuji forums I use to be on?
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  18. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    If you really don't need over 300mm and don't mind using a prime lens I have to recommend the ZD 150mm ƒ2.0, that's if you don't mind a bit more money and weight. That lens is just absolutely amazing and combined with the two TC's give you 150/2, 420/2.8, 600/4.0. When I am in the swamps (I live in Southeast Texas and spend my time in swamps shooting not woods) I keep the TC's in these small neoprene pouches that are clipped to the D-rings on my backpacks shoulders straps. I can switch out or remove the TC's in under 10 seconds when needed, not ideal for sports photography but more then adequate for wildlife photography.
  19. I've generally shoot with primes.. so I don't mind. However the size/weight is an important issue with me. The price is a bit more more and I don't think I can justify it I'm more of a street shooter type that dabbles in sports and wildlife occasionally which is the reason I stuck to the 100-300mm as long as possible making the most of it. I'd have to sell something to make up the difference... not sure i can let go of anything currently in my bag at the moment.
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  20. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    I agree with Phocal that the EM5 is lousy at C-AF even with M43 native lenses. That was one of the first things I tried when I got it and tried to shoot kids playing soccer. At S-AF it's great.

    EM1 is far better at C-AF with either M43 or 4/3rds lenses. Olympus states that the EM1 implements a Dual FAST AF hybrid system when shooting C-AF and sequential shooting with M43 lenses. Dual FAST AF: high-speed performance | OM-D | E-M1 | Olympus With 4/3rds of course, the PD-AF sensors are used regardless, and the EM5 II doesn't have PD-AF sensors.

    I don't have the Pana 100-300, Oly 75-300, or Pana Leica 100-400, so can't say anything about those. I do have the 50-200 SWD with my EM1 and it works very well, doing C-AF and sequential shooting. Needs proper settings and practice, just like anything else.

    Hmm... this article talks about adjusting PD-AF focus points. Very interesting.
    Olympus OM-D E-M1 new features explained (Four Thirds User)
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