How long until AF with 4/3 lenses is fixed?

dhazeghi

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I've been seeing a lot of good deals on high quality 4/3 lenses recently. Tempting as they are, I've passed on all of them for the simple reason that AF is only (barely) usable for stationary subjects. It's hard to justify getting a lens that I will have to also get a native equivalent for because of poor AF.

The question for me is if/when Olympus (or Panasonic - though they have less gain) will fix AF with 4/3 lenses. I don't particularly care how they do it (PDAF off the main sensor, mirror/sensor in the adapter, etc.) - just that it happens.

On the one hand, it's been 4 years since m4/3 came out. There are a lot more m4/3 lenses now than before. So if they were going to release, it would have made a lot more sense to do it early on.

At the same time, Olympus finally seems to be preparing to produce a high-end m4/3 - the sort of body that would make sense with lenses like the HG 4/3 zooms.

Thoughts?
 

amalric

 
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I've been seeing a lot of good deals on high quality 4/3 lenses recently. Tempting as they are, I've passed on all of them for the simple reason that AF is only (barely) usable for stationary subjects. It's hard to justify getting a lens that I will have to also get a native equivalent for because of poor AF.

The question for me is if/when Olympus (or Panasonic - though they have less gain) will fix AF with 4/3 lenses. I don't particularly care how they do it (PDAF off the main sensor, mirror/sensor in the adapter, etc.) - just that it happens.

On the one hand, it's been 4 years since m4/3 came out. There are a lot more m4/3 lenses now than before. So if they were going to release, it would have made a lot more sense to do it early on.

At the same time, Olympus finally seems to be preparing to produce a high-end m4/3 - the sort of body that would make sense with lenses like the HG 4/3 zooms.

Thoughts?
A post at DPR pointed to a halving of focus time in 4/3 lenses when using the max fps speed of the OM-D. this doubles the processing power to the expense of other needs, notably battery power:

Re: 4/3 lens on OM-D5: Micro Four Thirds Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

I am not sure if this works only with 4/3 CDAF compatible lenses, or with all 4/3 lenses. I don't have the equipment to check, but if true, that might be an indication of what is in store for a higher tier OM-D.

A mirrored adapter, like the Sony one, might be a too cumbersome/expensive solution which would find little use on small bodies.
 

slothead

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I don't think it makes financial sense to the makers of 4/3 lenses to make them perfectly adaptable to Mu4/3, especially since most of these manufacturers are the same one making Mu4/3 lenses. They would much rather you buy the new Mu4/3 lenses than be able to save your money and use old stock.
 

hkpzee

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I don't think it makes financial sense to the makers of 4/3 lenses to make them perfectly adaptable to Mu4/3, especially since most of these manufacturers are the same one making Mu4/3 lenses. They would much rather you buy the new Mu4/3 lenses than be able to save your money and use old stock.
... but Olympus is still producing 4/3 lenses, so the adapter would expand the lens selection of high quality lenses for m4/3 users, and potentially convert existing 4/3 users to m4/3. I think these two propositions make enough market sense for Olympus to work on a 4/3 lens AF solution on m4/3 cameras...
 

dhazeghi

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A post at DPR pointed to a halving of focus time in 4/3 lenses when using the max fps speed of the OM-D. this doubles the processing power to the expense of other needs, notably battery power:

Re: 4/3 lens on OM-D5: Micro Four Thirds Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

I am not sure if this works only with 4/3 CDAF compatible lenses, or with all 4/3 lenses. I don't have the equipment to check, but if true, that might be an indication of what is in store for a higher tier OM-D.
I don't think faster framerate is going to help with most 4/3 lenses. The limiting factor is usually the speed that the motor can perform microadjustments. Certainly on my 12-60 it makes no difference if I set refresh rate to high or normal.

A mirrored adapter, like the Sony one, might be a too cumbersome/expensive solution which would find little use on small bodies.
Considering how much one spends on quality prime lenses, I think even a $400 adapter would be economical. As to size, well none of the lenses we're talking about are particularly small...
 

RDM

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........ A mirrored adapter, like the Sony one, might be a too cumbersome/expensive solution which would find little use on small bodies.
Considering how much one spends on quality prime lenses, I think even a $400 adapter would be economical. As to size, well none of the lenses we're talking about are particularly small...
I agree there, I know many people, besides myself, that would spend the same price as what song charges for their adapter and probably a bit more, just to be able to use those lovely SHG lenses. Also a mirrored 4/3 adapter would probably allow for focus confirmation again on the old legacy lenses.
 

Promit

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Don't count on a mirrored adapter. The flange difference between NEX and Alpha is 26.6mm, for 4/3 and m4/3 it's closer to 19. I don't think there's physically space for any type of mirror just in an adapter. (I remember 43rumors posted some relevant patent, but that's more theory than practice.)
 

Jonathan F/2

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It may still happen. Olympus has been really careful not to duplicate some of their standard 4/3rd lenses. Though Olympus doesn't seem to have the best track record when it comes to fleecing their customers! I doubt Panasonic has much vested interest in doing an adapter since they're pretty much building a complete M43 lens line-up.
 

amalric

 
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The argument about 4/3 lenses has been made over and over, but all there is are people who want desperately to save money in the face of a new AF system, which is far more precise and relies on lighter focussing groups. Heavy lenses will never do.

PDAF relied on a rangefinder type of sensors that it would be absurd/costly to implement in mirrorless. PDAF on sensor is even more imprecise.

Well there is a very simple shortcut: learn to MF. OM lenses were no worse than 4/3 lenses after all :)
 

dhazeghi

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... but Olympus is still producing 4/3 lenses, so the adapter would expand the lens selection of high quality lenses for m4/3 users, and potentially convert existing 4/3 users to m4/3. I think these two propositions make enough market sense for Olympus to work on a 4/3 lens AF solution on m4/3 cameras...
The first point particularly. There are very few 4/3 users at this point, but there sure seem to be plenty of unsold 4/3 lenses...

Don't count on a mirrored adapter. The flange difference between NEX and Alpha is 26.6mm, for 4/3 and m4/3 it's closer to 19. I don't think there's physically space for any type of mirror just in an adapter. (I remember 43rumors posted some relevant patent, but that's more theory than practice.)
That's a shame. Well, in that case, I suppose we're limited to PDAF off the main sensor. Still if Nikon and Sony can do it, why not Olympus and Panasonic...

The argument about 4/3 lenses has been made over and over, but all there is are people who want desperately to save money in the face of a new AF system, which is far more precise and relies on lighter focussing groups. Heavy lenses will never do.
It's not simply a matter of saving money. Most of the interesting 4/3 lenses simply don't have m4/3 equivalents. If they chose to make them, the question would be moot, but clearly after 4 years, only 2 of the 12 HG/SHG lenses have m4/3 equivalents. That says something.
 

uci2ci

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Im ignorant to this so help me understand. Are there any technical reasons why Oly cant make a m43 SHG telephoto thats does fast CDAF ? Im not talking about whether or not it makes sense money wise or size wise
 
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Im ignorant to this so help me understand. Are there any technical reasons why Oly cant make a m43 SHG telephoto thats does fast CDAF ? Im not talking about whether or not it makes sense money wise or size wise
I doubt that there is any technical reason, but your last sentence probably sums up perfectly why it hasn't happened yet.
 

dhazeghi

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Im ignorant to this so help me understand. Are there any technical reasons why Oly cant make a m43 SHG telephoto thats does fast CDAF ?
The focusing elements need to be able to change the direction they're moving in very quickly because CDAF is an iterative process. That doesn't work if those elements are heavy. So a m4/3 SHG lens with fast CDAF would need to have small lightweight focusing elements - not something we've seen so far.
 

goldenlight

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Don't count on a mirrored adapter. The flange difference between NEX and Alpha is 26.6mm, for 4/3 and m4/3 it's closer to 19. I don't think there's physically space for any type of mirror just in an adapter. (I remember 43rumors posted some relevant patent, but that's more theory than practice.)
They could still do it, if they use extra optical elements in the adapter. What effect that might have on image quality and light transmission I don't know.
 

uci2ci

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I see. So it might be even more expensive and require more R&D than i thought. Since it seems like a mirror adaptor is a long shot, maybe the next batch of m43 could have hybrid AF/on-sensor PDAF systems, like the NEX-6. That might speed things up quite a bit. I wouldnt mind buying a new body just for that perk
 

goldenlight

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Personally I feel it is make or break time on this issue. If they are going to do it, it will be within the next year. I know it is something Olympus would dearly love to achieve, because the SHG lenses in particular are unrivalled in image quality and this was always the strength of the 4/3 system. However, it may not be possible to achieve this in an acceptable manner.
 

goldenlight

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The focusing elements need to be able to change the direction they're moving in very quickly because CDAF is an iterative process. That doesn't work if those elements are heavy. So a m4/3 SHG lens with fast CDAF would need to have small lightweight focusing elements - not something we've seen so far.
I suspect that this is the greatest problem that Olympus are encountering in making the 4/3 lenses fully compatible.
 

amalric

 
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It's not simply a matter of saving money. Most of the interesting 4/3 lenses simply don't have m4/3 equivalents. If they chose to make them, the question would be moot, but clearly after 4 years, only 2 of the 12 HG/SHG lenses have m4/3 equivalents. That says something.
That's a point I am not sure about. Lenstip for instance shows that the latest m4/3 lenses from Olympus have a higher resolution than my 4/3 9-18, which was a highly recommended lens at the time.

So if lens making keeps improving and matches higher resolution sensors it makes less and less sense to adapt lenses which have an older resolution standard.

Their resolution won't change, but it won't improve either, as the newer lenses do.

In other words it is not a given that 4/3 lenses are better than m4/3 ones.

By what I remember of Lenstip's tests they argued that the even the well prized 11-22 falls behind (in lpmm) the new 17mm.
 

jnewell

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I don't think it makes financial sense to the makers of 4/3 lenses to make them perfectly adaptable to Mu4/3, especially since most of these manufacturers are the same one making Mu4/3 lenses. They would much rather you buy the new Mu4/3 lenses than be able to save your money and use old stock.
Bullseye...follow the money...it does not lead to fixing the 4/3 problem...
 

dhazeghi

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That's a point I am not sure about. Lenstip for instance shows that the latest m4/3 lenses from Olympus have a higher resolution than my 4/3 9-18, which was a highly recommended lens at the time.
You can't directly compare lenstip's 4/3 and m4/3 tests directly because they use different sensors - the E-3's sensor can't record much more than 50 lp/mm, whereas the E-PL1's sensor can record nearly 80 lp/mm.

So if lens making keeps improving and matches higher resolution sensors it makes less and less sense to adapt lenses which have an older resolution standard.
What indications are there that the newer lenses are matching the higher resolution sensors? Even most good m4/3 lenses are unable to resolve 80% of the E-PL1's possible resolution across the frame, to say nothing of the newer 16MP sensor.
 
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