Its official. Oly AF sucks!

Started Sep 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
Beach Bum
Senior MemberPosts: 1,055
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Re: Canon and Nikon are bad for the overall camera market...
In reply to esco, Sep 14, 2013

esco wrote:

Beach Bum wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

Beach Bum wrote:

PerL wrote:

esco wrote:

Pentax, Sony, Olympus id say they're all pretty similar in AF performance. Its easy to think of Olympus as only being sub-par but the af-modules and lens motors on the above brands aren't too hot either!
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Photographer first, gear second

The AF-C on the Canon and Nikon prosumer models has constantly been better than those from competing models from other brands like Pentax, Olympus or Sony. They probably use the experience they have from the pro series. They put in more resources on AF R&D and have better know-how.

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I would be absolutely shocked (stunned really) if Canon or Nikon had better autofocus on their price competitive DSLRs than Sony.

Judging AF performance is very hard, because little of it is about specs. Most systems will focus pretty accurately and quickly if there is some pattern under the focus point and the subject isn't moving. From there on, it's downhill, and the shape and steepness of the slope can be unpredictably different. I have four DSLR's of three different brands with radically different AF systems. For static subjects really you can't tell much difference (well, so far as the different lenses let you predict which part of the performance is the camera). By far the most sophisticated of my cameras is the D800's 51 point, and certainly it works much better than the others with unpredictably moving subjects, low light and so on, but also it's trick, choose the wrong settings for a situation and you can make it work worse than the simple systems. So, I would always hesitate to make sweeping statements about AF systems.

Admittedly, I know nothing about Pentax. But, with regard to Olympus, they've been out of the mirror box market for a while, and it's well-known that the on sensor PDAF isn't up to the speed of the dedicated PDAF sensor yet, so it's absolutely no surprise that Canon or Nikon would beat out a two year old true DSLR by Olympus.

But Sony is still producing true DSLRs, and, like I said, I'd be shocked if you have any evidence of either Canon or Nikon having better autofocus.

Sony certainly doesn't any more make 'true DSLR's'. What they make are EVIL's with DSLR similar AF systems. As for Canon or Nikon having 'better AF', the AF of the tope end SLT's is lesser specified than Nikon or Canon's second tier AF. As to how it actually performs, I couldn't say, but AF performance is one of the most fiercely fought part of the competition between Canon and Nikon. Since Sony isn't a player in the top-end PJ market where that battle is fought out, it would be strange if Nikon and Canon's engineers had done worse. Certainly Canon's new 61pt AF system seems to be a blinder.

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Bob

First, let me clarify what I meant by "true" DSLR. I meant an ILC with a mirror that reflects light to a dedicated PDAF sensor. Clearly, sony produces SLTs not SLRs, but they still use a mirror, which is what I wanted to use to differentiate these from mILCs.

Second, it's also possible that having only 30% of the light reflected to the PDAF sensor has some impact on autofocus speed or accuracy. It certainly can't be good for it, but this is one of the compromises Sony had to make to create SLT technology and differentiate itself from CaNikon. And SLT tech has advantages of its own over SLR.

But, even if Canon and Nikon have the best AF in their very top tier, I can tell you that they seem to devote next to nothing in R&D with regard to their lower end cameras and it shows. I'm not trying to be argumentative but these two companies clearly capitalize on their top tier cameras to continue to sell junk at the lower tiers.

Meanwhile, companies like Sony, Panny, and Oly, are clearly devoting a lot of resources to their entire lineup. That's the thing that irks me about these two companies. They probably sell more lower end stuff than the other guys while clearly putting out an inferior product. The average consumer just has no clue about it and sees the name Canon or Nikon and just buys.

I will say that this applies far more to Nikon than to Canon, as their P&S's are bordering on unusable, and always have been.

So, you'll excuse me if I'm not going to line up to kiss their butts. And, yes, it is absolutely true that they're able to devote resources their very top tier (i.e. multiple thousand dollar) gear because they've cornered the market and they're the only two major players here (i.e. full frame SLRs). But they're not innovators by any stretch, and I would much prefer a company that has some desire to actually innovate would be in their enviable position. It's a virtual impossibility for any other manufacturer to break into this market and expect to succeed because of the massive user base and already available lenses. Even Sony, with all of their resources, couldn't attempt to break in directly. They HAD to go with SLTs to have any chance of differentiating themselves and gain market share.

Hrm. . .
Well you see i'm afraid you're a bit misinformed. Canon and Nikon also put tons of r&d into their other lesser lines because this is where the most profit is and well it's best not to neglect your bread and butter cash flow. . .we've all witnessed what happens when you do that on here. Some of canon's latest tech is actually introduced in the lesser bodies because those bodies are released more often and so they can have it out on the market in between pro model releases and to further refine the tech. They pioneered hd-video in dslr's with the 5dmkII and the 70d has become the benchmark of hybrid af comparisons, these are bodies that aren't top-pro either.
The beauty of being successful in the fiercely competitive and demanding pro market is that the tech does trickle down to the lesser bodies and it certainly shows. For example the d300 and 7d are still extremely good in the af department even years after their release - consider that these were e-3 era cameras that's pretty impressive and they are still tried and true bodies that are chosen over newer bodies from the competition. Meanwhile pentax, sony or olympus - three companies that have no top-pro offerings also have af performance that reflects that and they've yet to make a body that has actually cracked the af from the bodies canikon released 5years ago. . . .
This stuff may not matter to some but let me tell you, AF is incredibly important for many and it shouldn't come as a surprise. The best lenses and sensors aren't worth a d@m if you don't have great focusing.
The fundamentals matter a whole lot more than anything else.
Then you throw in a blanket statment about how canikon compacts are bordering unusable!
The Nikon coolpix stuff has been pretty mediocre until recently but i'm sorry you can't seem to figure out how to operate canon compacts, they've mostly been pretty well regarded. Sure there is the craptastic budget models that everyone produces but the elph, G,S and SX series are still considered the benchmarks in each of their categories. Panasonic became really good and so has fuji too. . .but Olympus had nothing worth looking at for a really long time when they stopped producing the cz-8080, it was the great depression if you were an Olympus compact fan with a long dark gloomy period of nothingness unless you were a free diver catching shellfish from the bottom of the reef and looking to carry a tough cam who's image quality takes a backseat for obvious reasons. The xz changed that but look at what's already killing the compact market? Phones and now big sensor phones.
I don't understand people who express these blanket statements that sound pretty opposite of common user experience and reviews. . .I mean this is all common knowledge but anyone could fact check any of it on the very site you're participating in so why express such false statements?

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Photographer first, gear second

It's tough to read through all of this without paragraphs, but I think I got the gist.

Nikon compacts are garbage compared to the other brands. Occasionally they'll produce one that doesn't totally suck when they have some good press to gain from it, but 90% of what they make is utter junk. That's all Nikon does, pick and choose the models that will get them good reviews and good press for their performance and pour everything into those. Everything else is cobbled together from spit and string.

What kind of impression do you think this gives the average consumer about the quality of dedicated cameras, when the supposedly "best" manufacturer is pumping out junk. Furthermore, it has to be discouraging to manufacturers who actually put forth some effort and actually put out superior products to be beaten by a company like Nikon (solely based on name) who puts forth no effort or money whatsoever.

Canon does do better but they're still behind the other manufacturers. For one, both Canon and Nikon have terrible autofocus on their compacts (and I mean atrocious). It's hard to believe that companies that get so much credit for the quality of their autofocus on top of the line DSLRs perform so poorly for the average consumer.

Panasonic and Sony, OTOH, have top notch autofocus on all their models.

p.s. I'd be willing to do a comparison based on a set of specific metrics of Canon/Nikon vs Panasonic/Olympus/Sony on lower tier cameras of 2013 if there were some interest and possibly some contribution from others. However, knowing that this is a camera snob forum, I'm quite certain the only interest is in top of the line models. In other words, I would do it if I felt I wasn't wasting my time.

I have done this sort of comparison for myself in past years (hence my conclusions), but I don't plan to do it every year unless there's a reason to.

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