Likelihood of Mark II firmware update including improved video C-AF/C-AF-TR?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Lunatique, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. Lunatique

    Lunatique Mu-43 Regular

    132
    Sep 14, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
    I'm one of those people holding off on upgrading to the E-M1 Mark II, because it currently doesn't have the most important improvements I wanted--namely, vastly improved video C-AF/C-AF-TR.

    I had just sent the following email to Olympus customer service:

    "I'm looking to upgrade to the E-M1 Mark II from my E-M1, but all the reviews I've seen says the Mark II's video C-AF and C-AF-TR is disappointing and not much improved from the E-M1. This is a huge problem, because one of the main reasons I want to upgrade the E-M1 is because of the disappointing C-AF-TR in video.

    With the E-M1, when using video C-AF-TR, the little focus tracking green box often will slip off of the subject and jump onto something in the background instead. I mostly shoot run & gun style videos, with me following the subject as the subject is walking around (at home, out shopping, etc.), and the C-AF-TR is just too unreliable. I have to constantly re-tap the touchscreen to get the little green box to lock onto the subject again, and it often would slip off just a few seconds later.

    The C-AF isn't much better because it often would not stay focused on the subject.

    I think Olympus needs to develop much more powerful algorithms to identify and track the subject reliably. And here's my question:

    Is Olympus going to make improvements on the Mark II's video C-AF and C-AF-TR in an upcoming firmware update? If so, around what time-frame? If the C-AF and C-AF-TR for video is going to be improved, then I'll gladly upgrade to the Mark II. But if not, then I have no reason to upgrade because all the other improvements aren't that important to me (except the fully articulated LCD). "
     
  2. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Firmware updates are a definite. AF improvements a likely part of them. Exactly what is updated and when nobody knows.
     
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  3. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Considering Olympus recently announced that a mk3 was coming the end of the year I wouldn't hold my breath for any firmware updates on the mk2.
     
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  4. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    I thought he was asking about FW for the 1 mk2
     
  5. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Don't hold your breath. In any case, I suspect that the E-M1ii's CAF is probably getting close to leading edge so I suspect your expectations are set too high. Find a technique to work within the limitations of the kit maybe?
     
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  6. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    The buzz over GH5 when it's released will put some pressure on Oly. We'll see, but I wouldn't expect it soon.
     
  7. Lunatique

    Lunatique Mu-43 Regular

    132
    Sep 14, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
    Olympus's response is very alarming--they seem completely unaware of the video C-AF/C-AF-TR problem that I've seen in numerous reviews online. Here's their reply:

    "Thank you for contacting Olympus Technical Support.

    No, we are not aware of any new firmware upgrades being developed at this time for the E-M1 Mak II camera, or any issues with the AF performance of this camera in movie mode. Therefore we are not able to provide you with any time frame. This is not to say that there will never be any firmware updates for this camera.

    In general, we usually become aware of new firmware almost around the same as it is announced to the general public by Olympus Tokyo, at best maybe a week or two before. Regardless, we usually forward feedback to them from real end users that may be having issues, and they can use this data to make improvements as they deem appropriate. Can you provide us with any references of the reviews of articles you mention that says that the AF performance is disappointing and not much improved? I ask because most of the reviews we have seen here have been very positive, and make specific mention of improved AF performance when you compare this camera to the original E-M1. We also have not received any complaints here from any end-users so far, about the AF performance of this camera in the movie mode."

    So now I have to go and find all the reviews that mentioned the video C-AF/C-AF-TR problem so they can see that it IS a problem.
     
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  8. ThomD

    ThomD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    550
    Jun 1, 2013
    SF Bay Area
    Don't waste your time. The standard line from tech support (for EVERYONE!) is "This is the first we've heard of it." Even if you compile anecdotes of issues, the tech support person is in no position to do anything with that information.

    I'm pretty sure that Olympus corporate HQ has heard of this thing called the internet and already had some intern taking notes on everything posted.
     
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  9. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    New rumor that Olympus is working on a FW update to be released in synch with CP+ next month. Let's hope that means it brings something significant that justifies the rush to get it out for the show.
     
  10. AllanG

    AllanG Mu-43 Regular

    151
    Aug 26, 2014
    Brisbane, Australia
    Allan
    Don't bother about expecting something from Olympus in regard to the Pen-F either as I asked about the C-AF with and without tracking and they suggested cleaning the lens contacts and then said there was no upgrades for the pen as there had never been any issues about it.
    Pardon my reply, but I guess they don't keep their finger on the pulse of things or they live in a bubble world.
     
  11. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Phil
    Sigh, just buy a gh5 it will have perfect tracking... the only thing that has surprised me with the FOUR IDENTICAL threads across forums on this topic is the lack of Fuji/Sony fanboys telling us how perfect their system is...
    So the current caf-tr implementation doesn't work for your video style, just tell us the facts and leave the hyperbole out. Why the hell its alarming is a mystery, that is largely a canned response.
    What I will agree is that it is a problem for you and others trying to do x but for the rest of us doing a b c it's likely ok.
    Like people whining about photos show the evidence of how it didn't work, maybe others have some advice to help
     
  12. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Phil
    Statistically they may be telling the truth..... anything under 1% for reported 'issue' to total sales may well be considered no issue.
    Why any company would invest time in firmware development if 99.9% do not complain, report any bug or plain just don't ask for features should be a bit of a no brainer
     
  13. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Actually there is nothing wrong with the Pen F in regards to C-AF. Like all of the Olympus cameras that use only CDAF, it's C-AF is next to useless. Without some sort of assisting technology like Panasonics DFD, CDAF is just not capable of doing C-AF. I don't think we will see anything like DFD in Olympus cameras but I do suspect that new OMD cameras will probably get PDAF like the EM1........just not sure how they can keep justifying only having viable C-AF in one camera.

    As far as tracking, that is still being worked on by Olympus. They seriously updated the computing horsepower of the EM1mk2 and I suspect some firmware updates to take tracking further, like the firmware 3 update to the mk1. I am guessing that other Olympus cameras will not have the computing power to take advantage of the improvements I am hoping we see from Olympus.
     
  14. Lunatique

    Lunatique Mu-43 Regular

    132
    Sep 14, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
    Here's the follow up:

    My reply to the tech support:

    "Thank you for the reply, Miguel.

    I have to say, I'm very surprised that Olympus is completely unaware of the E-M1 Mark II's video autofocus problems. It's been mentioned by some of the biggest online camera review sites/channels. I've collected them here for you to see, and I hope they will prompt Olympus to fix the video C-AF/C-AF-TR problem in a firmware upgrade.

    This very popular channel's review contains a segment on the terrible video autofocus of the E-M1 Mark II:

    (starting at 19:25)

    There's no bigger camera review site in the world than DPReview, and they found the video autofocus to be problematic too:

    https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympus-om-d-e-m1-mark-ii/10

    This review contains a section on the video autofocus and stated that it's not as confident or responsive compared to Sony's A6300/6500 cameras:

    http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Olympus_OMD_EM1_Mark_II/

    Forums posts about the video autofocus problem:

    https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4096635#forum-post-58866479

    And these are just some off the top of my head. There are a lot more out there.

    If what you said is true, that Olympus is totally unaware there's a problem with the Mark II's video autofocus, then this is very alarming, as it means the engineering and QA teams are incompetent, and the marketing team is ignorant about its own products. This is a serious matter and there needs public dialogue about it, so that Olympus will be forced to take action to fix the problem. I've posted a thread on DPReview to get a conversation going about it, and hopefully it'll have an effect on Olympus:

    https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4109669

    And please consider this as my official submission of firmware request to Olympus and pass it along to whatever team is responsible for addressing such issues."

    Someone at DPR forums said I was being insulting, and I explained what I actually meant in my reply:

    "No, if you analyze what I wrote, what I actually meant was, 'IF what you're saying is true, which I really don't think is what you ACTUALLY MEANT, then that would mean Olympus is both incompetent and ignorant, and IF that is really the case, it is alarming and we need to address it.'

    Basically, I was calling him out on the fact that what he said can't possibly be true, because it's too hard to believe, and it's just corporate speak. I wanted to jolt him out of that "automatic template response mode" and force him to engage with me with more transparency."

    Anyway, this is the tech support's reply:

    "We appreciate your feedback very much. Please note that in the previous email, when I said that we are not aware of any issues, I was referring to our team here in tech support for the Americas. I can't speak in regards to our engineering department in Olympus Tokyo, as I do not know what they are working on now, or what info they have gathered from around the world. Although I personally do not know if this is possible or can be done, again as I am not an engineer, I will forward your comments up the chain to the appropriate department for review and consideration. Thank you for choosing Olympus products."
     
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  15. Lunatique

    Lunatique Mu-43 Regular

    132
    Sep 14, 2014
    Lincoln, CA
    I would love to just get the GH5 and call it the day, but it's highly unlikely its IBIS is going to be as good as the E-M1 Mark II, if what we've seen on the GX80 is any indication. But IF IT IS actually close to Olympus's IBIS performance, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
     
  16. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Well, what can we expect customer support agents to say? "Yeah it really sucks. Your screwed unless we can figure out how to fix it." They are constrained by policy and won't comment on things like this unless they have been cleared to do so with an official statement on the issue. Olympus is well aware and are probably desperate to improve it before the gh5 is released...that may be what's behind the race to release a FW upgrade at cp+
     
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  17. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 Top Veteran

    908
    Mar 26, 2014
    UK
    Does anyone here understand the technical reason why C-AF on video isn't as good as C-AF on still photos?
     
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  18. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Probably not... then again I slightly struggle with the angst and outrage expressed here

    In my mind if you are seriously shooting video... as in professionally shooting video, as in joined up shots telling a story... then any sort of AF is not relevant

    K
     
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  19. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    This is actually more of an issue for those not shooting video super seriously, i.e. those can't be assed manually focus pulling. It's also an issue for one man band vloggers who may find shooting with themselves in the frame a lot easier with AF if they intend to be moving a bit in the shot. So actually, it makes a bit more sense on a lower end camera than a 'pro' one. I know of a number of people who have gone the 70D/80D route just to get dual pixel AF just to record video of their children. I know my wife often struggles to video our toddler with the E-M1 and 12-40...

    As for why video AF is harder - quite simple really, processing capability. There's a lot of processing going on for video, and so there's less headroom to be doing hefty focusing algorithms too. Notice how on the E-M1 Mk2 the highest FPS modes lack AF, even when electronic shutter is used.