Its official. Oly AF sucks!

Started Sep 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
windsprite
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Re: Its official. Oly AF sucks!
In reply to Louis_Dobson, Sep 13, 2013

Louis_Dobson wrote:

On moving subjects I found both much better than anything I have had before (or since), but the D3 was pretty persistently off on objects coming towards me, however hard I tried to use the clever bells and whistles. And don't even consider using the outer focus points, only the central cluster are cross type.

That is one really good thing about Oly AF, especially compared to FF.  AF sensors closer to the edges, and all cross-type. I get by fine with the FF sensor points, even shooting f/1.4 lenses, but the Oly layout is much more convenient for things like portrait shooting.

As far as C-AF goes, though, I would a thousand times rather have the Nikon AF and be confined to using the center points for some types of action, than have 11 cross-type Oly points at my disposal.  That goes for even the ancient (E-1 era) D2H AF.  The kind of action that I shoot is so fast that I don't have time to fool with switching focus points anyway.

I understand that your experience was very different, but you are the only one I've read of who hasn't found the D3 or even D700 in a completely different league from even the E-5, which seems quite a bit better than the E-3 (even according to people who were happy with the E-3's accuracy).  It's hard to believe anybody could get two D3s that were worse than or even only equal to an E-3, so maybe there was a lens-related problem?  Or maybe you just got on really well with the E-3's way of doing things.  Or maybe you were just incredibly unlucky, I don't know.

I replaced the camera, but the new one was the same. The E3 mostly got it right. To learn how to use either camera for C-AF takes many hours, but longer for the D3 which has more functions (none of which are much use really because of the focus point clustering).

I didn't find it hard to adapt to the D2H or D700 (which have different configurations). For action shooting, I use either one point or 9 point AF, nothing else. AF-C, release priority, with AF controlled by the AF-ON button. The A4 ("focus tracking with lock-on") setting is a little harder to figure out.  I mostly keep it on the default of normal, or sometimes short.  Those are my basic settings for just about everything.

So there is clearly sample variation - mine behaved far better than Julie's.
And there are unreasonable expectations - tracking moving objects is hard, and nothing gets it right all the time.

I find the Nikon cameras come really, really close.  Basically, if I can keep a focus point trained on it (which is often a problem), the Nikons can follow it.  With Oly AF I often feel the camera is letting me down.  With Nikon, I feel like I am letting the camera down.

But finally, I'm still amazed Dan could use the D3 in C-AF mode for static objects. I accidentally left my D3 in C-AF mode for an hour, and it missed every (static) shot. Entirely my own fault, it isn't supposed to be used like that, but it is interesting that Dan's will put up with it and mine would not.

You can't just accidentally switch over to AF-C and hope to have success on stationary subjects.  There are other settings you need to change to make it work.  I think that must be the case, anyway.  It's hard to recall the settings, because like Dan I have not switched out of AF-C once in the past three years.  It's one of the best things about shooting Nikon.  Set the camera up right, and you never worry about switching over to AF-S or MF again.  You can shoot a running athlete, and the next split second you can do a portrait, without changing any settings.  Very useful.

Julie

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