Is Olympus E-PL5 focus as quick as that of the EM5?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by isabel95, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I just can't get the E-PL5 to capture focus as fast as my Panasonic GH2, whether I use the lcd (touch focus MUCH better on the GH2) or the viewfinder.

    I'm using the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 (a notorious slow focuser) and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 and I honestly don't find the 45mm that much faster to lock focus.

    I'm contemplating investing in yet ANOTHER lens (I have a collection for both micro 43 and dslr) because I just love using my micro 43 cameras - mainly for lack of weight, stealth factor from moveable lcds, and live histograms/blinkies.

    I keep reading reviews and each alternative lens has downsides - the 17mm f/1.8 for example isn't quite as sharp or contrasty as the 20mm.

    I do a lot of candid/stealth people shooting inside at meetings and love having the stealth factor which allows me to shoot from my lap, but the 20mm, which I use most of all is just plain aggravating. I fail to lock focus fast enough to capture the moments I want.

    I thought about the 12-35 but I don't think the price is justified.

    I'm wondering if I should invest in yet another lens for the e-pl5 (mainly because I prefer it's better high iso performance) or should I just grin and bear it.

  2. verbatimium

    verbatimium Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario
    I have a PL5 and I find it's autofocus blazing fast with all native Olympus lenses (and from my understanding, it is just as fast as the EM5). However, I also had the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 and found it to be quite slower (although still acceptable) compared to lenses such as the Oly 12mm 2.0 and 45mm 1.8. I ended up trading in the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 for an Olympus 17mm 1.8 (primarily because of banding issues at high ISO), and I don't regret it at all. Although not AS sharp as the 20mm wide open, the lens is still very capable (it's actually sharper from edge to edge stopped down). You don't really don't notice much of a difference between the two lenses unless you are a pixel peeper. I also like the 35mm FL much more then the 40mm. No worry about banding, and the autofocus is blazing fast and accurate, even in low light.
  3. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    What focus settings are you using? I find that this has a big impact of focus speed and focus lock when I shoot with my E-PL5.

  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The GH2 uses constant AF by default. It's going to appear faster at the default settings because it's constantly pre-focusing all the time to keep you within range. The Olympus cameras can do the same thing but it is not the default behavior. Put both cameras on the same settings before you compare them.
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    I recently switched from the PL5 to the M5. I haven't noticed an improvement in AF. Hardly scientific but nothing obvious.
  6. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I have both an E-PL5 and an E-M5 and I don't notice any difference between them in focus performance. The 17/1.8 is a particularly fast focusing lens too. As Ned says though - maybe you should set continuous AF and see f that delivers the performance you're looking for.
  7. Darren Bonner

    Darren Bonner Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 1, 2013
    Poole UK
    I don't have either camera, but I do own the P20mm & the Olympus 45mm lens, I have found that both lenses do hunt and I would say they focus at the same speed, but the Oly 45 is faster in low light.
    I know the P14mm is blazing fast and I have read that the PL25 & the Oly 17 f/1.8 are very fast in focusing too.
    I have looked at photo's that were taken with the Olympus 17 f/1.8 and to me (this is just my opinion only) it renders photo's of people nicer than the P20. The P20 maybe clinically sharper, but that doesn't mean that the Olympus 17 f/1.8 is not sharp enough as there are many happy users out there.
  8. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I gave in last night and thanks to everyone's feedback that I've gathered I am hoping the 17mm will amaze me.

    I find it hard to believe, however, that a 17mm renders people portraits better than a 20mm lens, since in my experience wider angle lenses tend to distort facial features, with noses being unnaturally enlarged.

    I photograph a lot of senior citizens and for their closeups sharper isn't always better! :) 
  9. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    The distortion of wide angle lenses is prospective and is due only (really, only) by subject to camera distance. With a wider angle lens, one tends to get closer to the subject to fill the frame, and this changes the prospective.

    FWIW, I have and E-M5, E-PL5, GX1, 20/1.7, 17/1.8, 45/1.8 & 25/1.4 (the only gear relevant to the topic). The 20/1.7 is significantly slower to focus on all the above listed cameras than the other other lenses. There is no different in AF speed between the E-M5 & E-PL5.

    For a single subject, the 45/1.8 will give the camera to subject distance, yielding the classic perspective of a portrait lens. As has been pointed out, if the focus with the 45/1.8 is no faster than the 20/1.7, then the camera settings are wrong. Typically, the camera to subject distance and perspective given by the 17/1.8 is appropriate for groups of 6 or more.
  10. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I totally agree, b rubenstein! Lots of people don't realize that when they move in for a portrait with a wide angle lens they are not doing their subject a favor (unless they want a distorted interpretation for some sort of artistic purpose).

    Happy to hear the e-pl5's focus speed is on a par with the em-5.
  11. Nathan King

    Nathan King Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 19, 2013
    Omaha, NE
    I own both cameras and find no meaningful difference in focus speed or accuracy between the two.
  12. Dduval

    Dduval Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    I just recently got a PL5 and even with the kit lens, focus speed is excellent for me. Faster than my nex 5n
  13. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    My 17mm arrived about an hour ago and I put it on my E-PL5 to test it.

    I am deliriously happy. Focus is nearly instantaneous. The frustrating 20mm is probably going to sit in the closet now, despite it's stellar IQ. That focus hunting was just too frustrating.

    Oh, by the way, there's nothing wrong with the 17mm's image quality!

  14. Dduval

    Dduval Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 13, 2013
    Orlando, FL
    Congrats Isabel, enjoy!
  15. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Thanks, Dana

    It took a long time to give in and order it, but I'm really happy I did!

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