We're really spoiled by the autofocus on our cameras

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by Amin Sabet, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    As some of you know, I use a lot of cameras from different systems. Some of them come and go - I just like trying different stuff.

    At this point, I wouldn't say the autofocus is a weakness with very many cameras. There are exceptions like the EOS M which takes a long time to focus, but current NEX and Fuji cameras focus just fine. Same with DSLRs. None of those cameras really have an autofocus problem.

    Unless you compare them to current Micro 4/3 cameras that is. I'm not talking about AF tracking - DSLRs still have a strong lead there. I mainly take photos of people, and for people just living there life, nothing comes close to Micro 4/3s.*

    *I'm excluding the Nikon 1 System because while I know that is strong in AF, I have little experience with it or interest in it.

    It's probably the single most significant reason that I still use MFTs for the great majority of my photography. I can leave it on autofocus with automatic point selection and be very confident it is going to pick the right focus point. If there's are faces in the frame, the great majority of time it will focus on the nearest eye and even adjust the metering for proper exposure of those faces. Doesn't matter if they're in the middle of the frame or close to the edge. And it happens *fast*.

    It also happens in low light, especially with the latest Panasonic bodies. Lastly, for some scenarios, touch AF is a revelation, and the implementation of that on some of the latest MFTs bodies (I use an E-PM2).

    In the past several months, here are the cameras that have come through my hands (ownership, in some cases brief) that have been completely outclassed by my GX1, E-M5,and E-PM2 when it comes to autofocus performance for MY needs: Nikon D600, Canon 5D II, Fuji X-E1, Fuji X100S, Sony NEX-5N, Sigma DP2M.

    I've been wondering for a long time now how long it would take Fuji, Sony, et al, to catch up. Still wondering.
  2. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    One thing I have wondered about the AF being so good on mirrorless. Do we get to the stage whereby basic AF is so fast that we dont need continuous or track focusing AF - you simply press the shutter button and it focusses so quick it doesnt matter if it is moving.

    The GX7 has a function that is in effect a one press shutter shot - that compares to the usual half press to focus full press to shoot mode.
  3. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    I'm completely unaware of the tech and science involved in making a camera AF to this (m43) standard...surely it's not so perplexing a problem that Fuji et al can't do it. It's scary to think how much sales of Fuji X system cameras in particular would explode if they had m43 standard AF.
  4. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    I like the reach & autofocus. E.G., My M. Zuiko 75-300 & M. Zuiko 75mm
    Just waiting for the Lumix 150 ƒ2.8 now :biggrin:
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I've been there for a long time now. The stuff I want to shoot is either slow enough that I don't need continuous AF or fast enough that continuous AF won't work.
  6. To an extent, yes, but then the fps is controlled by how fast and how frequently you can press and release the shutter button.

    Hadn't heard about this yet, but the touchscreen focus and shutter release on various existing models would do the same thing I guess, and allow focus point selection at the same time.
  7. stratokaster

    stratokaster Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Kyiv, Ukraine
    I especially like the fact that since the GH2 you can set the camera to do face-detection AF and still be able to override its decision via the touchscreen.
  8. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    One thing I would say about the autofocus on M43 is that it is so good that I have completely given up on manual focus lenses. I had a couple but never used them and sold them and I have resolved to stick with native autofocus lenses in the future - hardly a hardship given the choice we have.
  9. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    By the time others catch up, Olympus and Panasonic will hopefully have hybrid auto focus working with phase detection sensors.
  10. jsusilo

    jsusilo Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2012
    +1 There are many reasons I may not be completely happy with photo SOOC, under/over -expose, DR, colors, composition but none beat missing focus on intended subject. Perhaps because most can be recovered or compensated in PP but not the last.
  11. svtquattro

    svtquattro Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 24, 2012
    Vancouver, Canada
    If you think the E-PM2 is fast (I use mainly P14/2.5 and Sigma 30/2.8 and 45-175X with this body), then the G5/G6/GH3 is smokin' fast.

    I have not measured but I swear my G5 is easily faster than the E-PM2 at AF. The only thing I like better about the Oly is that it is smart enough to focus on the closest eye, something I'm not sure the G5 is doing.

    Tried my sister in law's Canon SL1 (100D) and the idiotic thing was out of ~11 AF points, the camera, when set to autoselect points, doesn't even tell you which one it is using at exposure time! There is no indication by way of a flashing LED which focus point it chose. How are you supposed to know if you nailed the shot or not! Crazy...or that setting was disabled...

    I agree Amin, u43 AF rocks!
  12. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I refuse to say I am spoiled by it. It is a very handy tool under many different situations and I would hate to have to live without it. However I did for many years and could if I had too.

    I personally love going manual for my own personal pleasure shooting. I would do it much more if my PENs had focus peaking. I just can't get the hang of the the magnify to focus and that is under normal shooting. If I try close-up/macro or long tele, forget it!

    Right now I am debating between the E-P5 and the GX7. Both have focus peaking so they should make manual focus much friendlier. The reviews of the E-P5 are good but the price is a bit steep IMHO. The GX7 is still too new to have any full reviews but I am reading/watching them as they come out.
  13. dejongj

    dejongj Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 3, 2013
    Whipsnade, UK
    One thing that has me in awe of my e-p5 over the g6 is the speed of the focus, whilst the g6 is already very good. But also the ability to have eye priority within the focus. Absolutely superb for my portrait and street stuff and is working very well.

    Focus peaking is also superb for a quick manual override when I want it creatively in a different place. My old Nikon was good at focus, and it is what made me go to M43. Especially the E-P5 I find instant with my lenses.
  14. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Even with our "slow" AF lenses like the Pana 20/1.7, it's a huge plus that our AF systems pick the right subject. Bottom line is that I put a ton of value on well-implemented face detection, and very few interchangeable lens cameras outside of MFTs have that.

    BAXTING Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 5, 2012
    Los Angeles SFV, CA
    I dont even think about it with the G5. I almost always just point and shoot. It pretty freakin fast. I definitely notice how not fast some other systems are. I think m43 being such a small package if desired nicely compliments the fast AF especially if your after candid photos. I still personally very much like zone focusing, but when I want to make sure I get the shot I will pick up the G5.
  16. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Of the three cameras I have used on the m43... the E-P5's AF is so freakingly good I must say. At least if we are talking about AF-S.

    The other two being the E-Pm2 and E-M5. I used the E-M5 when I got started with m43 so it might not be a fair comparison but I still think the E-P5 is really faster. :smile:
  17. dejongj

    dejongj Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 3, 2013
    Whipsnade, UK
    Same here, albeit I only used them side by side in the shop...but on 17mm 60mm and 75mm the E-P5 did seem to have the edge...And it is the same with my G6...Whilst the G6 is very very good, the auto focus on the E-P5 just feels (fools?) better :)
  18. monk3y

    monk3y Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 14, 2013
    in The Cloud...
    Yes I was able to get a lot of keepers of dancing people on a parade using the E-P5 and 75mm f/1.8 combo. It just felt so easy:biggrin:
  19. I feel that with the Panasonic 14/2.5 and the Olympus 45/1.8 my E-M5 sometimes gets...confused. Not too often, but enough to be noticeable. I hope that the E-P5 has refined this a bit.
  20. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I started a few years ago with an E-PL1 that still takes great pictures, but put me off m43 AF for it's lack of speed and reliability. I've been happily shooting mostly legacy MF ever since. The recent arrival of a new E-P5 has change my perspective entirely and now I have two viable options for shooting.
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