Just how fast is the AF on M43 cameras now

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by TexChappy, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. TexChappy

    TexChappy Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 30, 2012
    I've been happily shooting an XP1 for about a year now after a brief flirtation with M43. I'm not enjoying as much the little Canon I bought back into to cover the wildlife shooting I'd like to get back into shooting. I got the T4i because it was supposed to be very good at video. The results have been 'meh'. I only have the kit STM lenses but better glass in Canon is heavy and pricey.

    So all that said, here's the question: is the AF on the current generation of M43 cameras up to shooting wildlife and maybe kids sports as well as a DSLR?
  2. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I think any of the native lenses on a current body are plenty fast for pretty much anything you might want to shoot.

    For wildlife you want big heavy lenses. The m43 (really 43) ones will be smaller but they will still be largish. If you are shooting the 4/3 lenses the body to get is the E-M1, without question I think.

    If you are using native glass the E-M5 is very capable.
  3. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    Plenty fast enough for following kids playing around. I recently did a shoot with a 30mm sigma on a G5 and ended up with 99 out of 124 shots that were in focus using tracking mode. Pretty close to what I get with true DSLRs.
  4. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    In S-AF, the best of today's m43 cameras are probably faster than all but a very few DSLRs, and those DSLRs are way bigger, heavier and more expensive. In C-AF, they've caught up to a large extent, too:

    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51955665 (which references this site:)



    There seems to be an urban myth that DSLRs are near 100% accurate in C-AF mode, but that's not even close to true. Even the top pro and action oriented cameras (1Dx, 7D, D4) don't come close to that for randomly moving subjects, and consumer level cameras are often not much better than 50% accuracy even for steadily moving subjects. I've used Canon 1D series bodies to shoot soccer, and had keeper rates of not much more than 60-70%. OTOH, shooting track, where the athletes are moving at a fairly steady pace, the keeper rate on a 1DIII can hit 90-95%.

    DSLR systems attempt to predict where the subject is going to be, based on an algorithm that looks at it's current speed and direction. If the subject speed and direction varies, the software doesn't really know what to do. The AF performance of today's best CDAF systems, even though they can't really predict, seems to be able to correct far faster than most PDAF systems, which makes up for a lot.
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  5. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    One thing I find somewhat funny looking at a lot of photos taken by general DSLR users is the lack of depth of field. In theory they have a focus system capable of following a subject and yet they use a depth of field that makes the capability moot.


    Now mind you this is a scene mode so I am sure Canon is trying to assure success, more depth of field will help that for sure! :thumbup:
  6. OMD E-M5 is very fast for STATIC subjects. Once set to continuous or tracking focus hunts quite a bit. I have found worked around this limitation for shooting my son's soccer games..... but its still no where close to my old 1dmark II.
  7. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    I would say for anything that needs CAF, DLSR is still better but it doesn't mean you can't use m43 as well. We just have to understand that currently, DLSR is better at doing it than m43.
  8. I just sold my EM-5 and have pre-ordered an EM-1 because of the lack of AF-C performance. However the sports I photographs are motorbike, car and boat racing where the direction of travel is predicable so the AF-C on DSLR bodies works at it's best.

    I'm expecting the EM-1 to be somewhat better, how much remains to be seen.
  9. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    One of the big hurdles is to "get over" AF-C. On m43, your hit rate will be better with the lightning fast AF-S.
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  10. atmo

    atmo Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 11, 2013
    Is there a common consensus for ranking of the popular native lenses in terms of AF speed? For example I would expect the PL25 to be somewhere near the top and the P20 to be at the bottom.
  11. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    On recent Panasonic bodies, at least, I think you'll find the 12-35 and 35-100 to be the fastest. But no, I don't believe I've seen any real effort at comparative testing. All of the recent lenses focus plenty fast enough for my needs, on my GH3. Even the old 100-300 is acceptable for shooting motorsports, in my limited experience with that lens. I'll use it more when the weather warms up again.
  12. It would be interesting to see results of such a test....

    Newer cameras have a much higher sampling rate for AF but it doesn't help much if the lens itself cannot keep up.

    I can say for sure that 35-100 f/2.8 is faster than the 100-300 and light years ahead of the 20mm f/1.7.
  13. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
  14. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    for me its fast enough I think it could still be more accurate at times ? the two go hand in hand so speed wise plenty I think it just needs a touch more accuracy on moving objects and moving in the dark objects :)
  15. Fast indeed... but "enough" is all relative.

    For subjects that are moving towards or away from position, the subject will always have traveled beyond the point of focus by the time focus is acquired. No matter how fast the camera acquires focus in single focus mode. Furthermore in burst, you end up taking a series of frames at that one now incorrect focus point. It's not always a showstopper... A good amount of DOF will often compensate.... but it still would be nice to see improvements to accurancy... especially for those that prefer to shoot with a shallower DOF.

    Sent from mobile.... excuse my typos
  16. blitzvitz

    blitzvitz Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 21, 2013
    Manila, Philippines
    Jourdan Fernandez
    Good enough to chase around toddlers (2yr old niece, 3 year old nephew after a sugar rush) and get a lot of keepers using S-AF as long as I use my newer lenses like the 45/1.8 either with an E-PL5 or the GH2

    It's with the older lenses like the 20/1.7 or the 14-140 v1 when things get more difficult
  17. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Those that want a shallower DoF use full frames, medium, or large format.:biggrin:

    DoF is an age old method of acquiring acceptable focused images!

    With very good lenses the E-M1 shutter response time is quicker than most dSLRs on the market today and is competitive with all but the newest pro dSLRs. A knowledgeable and skilled photographer that can utilize the equipments best capabilities, goes a lot further than just depending on gear.

    As for accuracy - I have not seen any research on the focus accuracy of the OM-Ds, outside of my errors the accuracy of my OM-Ds exceeds my dSLRs.

    So if one needs better - they should probably look at the newer pro level gear and develop the necessary knowledge and skills.
  18. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Shooting object moving parallel to the camera isn't a challenge for any modern AF system, because the distance between the camera and subject changes only gradually. It's subject's moving towards / away from the camera that cause problems. But the GH3 with Panasonic's "pro" lenses (the 12-35 and 35-100) is very fast and accurate indeed. Better than many mid-range DSLRs.

    But your shot does point out something very important: You don't need super-fast AF to shoot moving subjects. Back in the 70s I routinely shot sports (football, basketball, track, baseball) with manual focus, manual advance 35mm cameras. Panning with the subject, pre-focusing, and manual follow-focus are often better techniques than relying on AF.
  19. STR

    STR Mu-43 Veteran

    May 16, 2013
    Only if you leave the camera on a setting where it doesn't refocus between shots. I start firing away at medium speed and usually the second shot onwards was bang-on, even with a slow moving lens like the 100-300mm. This was manageable with the G5's small buffer and slow writes (6 RAWs before it just STOPPED), and easy with the GH3 and its ability to fire away at medium speed for 5-6 seconds. But the 2.8 zooms on the GH3 and it usually nails it the first shot.
  20. Sorry.. I should have quoted the previous post. I was replying to

    In this case, S-AF as suggested would not refocus between shots.
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