Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.

Started Aug 16, 2010 | Discussions
thinkfat
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Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
Aug 16, 2010

Following the announcement in a recent thread here I ordered the µFT "AF confirmation chip" from Tagotech via Ebay. I received it recently and mounted it inside a Canon FD - µFT adapter from RJ Camera.

As a reminder, Tagotech claims that the chip will allow correct EXIF information for manual-focus lenses without electrical connection to the camera (your typical Canon FD, Nikkor F, Leica M, etc), for aperture, focal length and lens name, plus, and that's important, confirmation when the subject is in focus. If that worked it would be an interesting helper tool for us manual-focus lovers.

The assembly procedure involves quite a bit of fiddling with a "Dremel", Locktite and plastic glue, but eventually it took only about one hour to complete it. The instructions are accurate enough, but if you've got big clumsy hands or drink a lot of coffee it may not be for you.

Anyway you will not have to try.

So I got the chip mounted and programmed aperture and focal length (not so easy, you have to do it using the camera controls) but the programming procedure is really very complicated and for accurate information in the JPEG EXIF you'd have to reprogram at least aperture on any change on the lens. Ideally you'd need one chip for each lens you own because programming the lens name is even more complicated than programming the aperture. So you go one lens, one adapter, one chip per adapter, that game quickly adds up.

The downside of it is that the main function, "focus confirmation", does not work as expected on either G1, G2 or GH1. I could not check GF1 or any Olympus PEN but I suspect that it's going to be the same.

I emailed with a Tagotech sales rep, Paul, to resolve the issue. He was very responsive and told me that the chip was not compatible with the GH1, but has been tested with G2, GF1 and E-P1, and E-P2. He admitted that the Ebay listing had a typo and mentioned the chip being also for the GH1, which it is not.

Now, I really wanted to see how the chip worked and so I went to my local camera shop and asked if I could try the chipped lens on a GF1. Unfortunately they didn't have any in stock, but they had a G2, which was claimed to be supported. I tried with this one, without success. The chip made the camera go crazy in all AF modes as soon as I half-pressed the shutter and the focus confirmation didn't work. Needless to say that I contacted Tagotech again and it looks like they're refunding me and I get to keep the chip as well. Not that it's of any use for me, but I won't complain.

So, that is my story of the "AF confirmation chip" for µFT. I can't really recommend buying it at this time, maybe they sort out the issues at a point but I can't quite believe that they will ever get the focus confirmation going. Therefore it's likely nothing but a quite expensive and complicated way to have your MF lens name, focal length and aperture recorded in your JPEGs, provided you have the diligence to reprogram the chip each time you change the aperture, focal length or lens

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fermy
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to thinkfat, Aug 16, 2010

Thanks for the report, thinkfat. The most surprising bit is that they are going to refund you. I thought it was 100% scam operation as I don't believe it's possible to make contrast detect focus confirm, at least at current point in time. I wonder what these guys up to if their "technology" does not work, but they are not doing take the money and run business model.

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nspur
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to fermy, Aug 16, 2010

Well, I have "AF detect" chips for some of my Canon EOS digital bodies and I can tell you that in Live View the thing beeps when focus is achieved. Presumably it is using contrast-detect in LV. I think basically all the chip has to do is to fool the body into thinking that it has an f2 (or whatever) lens attached and then the firmware behaves accordingly.

fermy wrote:

I don't believe it's possible to make contrast detect focus confirm, at least at > current point in time.

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fermy
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to nspur, Aug 16, 2010

nspur wrote:

Well, I have "AF detect" chips for some of my Canon EOS digital bodies and I can tell you that in Live View the thing beeps when focus is achieved. Presumably it is using contrast-detect in LV. I think basically all the chip has to do is to fool the body into thinking that it has an f2 (or whatever) lens attached and then the firmware behaves accordingly.

Which lens and how well that works? The way contrast AF works is moving lens back and force and reading the contrast. How would the adapter be able to tell back from forth w/o any communication with the lens is a mystery to me.

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Peter Zoltan
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to fermy, Aug 16, 2010

The item is now "out of stock" at Tagotech....

I am still very curious about this....I believe it could work and find it hard to believe that this store, which apparently looks and behaves sincere, is only scamming people.

Maybe the adapter doesn't work on G2 as well, but on EP-1, GF1, etc..? ... seems unlikely.

Maybe it is difficult to get to work? Maybe you have to focus around optimum focus point in a special kind of way?

Still, if I hear of someone who succeeds in getting this to work, I'll give it a shot!

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saghost
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to thinkfat, Aug 16, 2010

Pretty sure he's feeding you a line of BS about being tested on these various bodies - it is physically impossible for any CDAF camera to look at a scene at a given focus and tell you if it is in the best focus.

(The camera can't tell the difference between a mild fading of gray surface in sharp focus and a sharp black and white line way out of focus without changing the focus point and watching the result.)

As a result, the only way manual focus confirmation could work is if the body were designed for it, and gave you feedback when you passed peak (you'd still have to overshoot and go back, just like the camera does...)
Walter

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thinkfat
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to Peter Zoltan, Aug 17, 2010

Peter Zoltan wrote:

The item is now "out of stock" at Tagotech....

I am still very curious about this....I believe it could work and find it hard to believe that this store, which apparently looks and behaves sincere, is only scamming people.

Well, it's certainly not a scam operation. I received real goods and the chip did partially what it was supposed to do. Unfortunately the main function did not work, making the chip worthless for me. The other functions are just too clumsy to operate to make it worth while.

Anyway Tagotech is a distributor only and not the maker of this chip. Of course they could have verified the claim of the maker, but they sell a lot of other AF chips from the same maker and supposedly these work.

Maybe the adapter doesn't work on G2 as well, but on EP-1, GF1, etc..? ... seems unlikely.

I can make another attempt when my local shop has stock of GF1 again, and maybe make a trial with an E-P1, too.

Maybe it is difficult to get to work? Maybe you have to focus around optimum focus point in a special kind of way?

I agree it could be difficult to operate, but in my case the chip worked somewhat properly in MF mode only, and of course the camera will not attempt to focus there thus no focus confirmation. In AF-S and AF-C the camera would just display weird things on the LCD and also not confirm focus in any way.

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Bilgy_no1
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to saghost, Aug 17, 2010

saghost wrote:

As a result, the only way manual focus confirmation could work is if the body were designed for it, and gave you feedback when you passed peak (you'd still have to overshoot and go back, just like the camera does...)
Walter

Exactly, and since the m4/3 cameras don't give this feedback even with their native lenses in manual focus or with compatible 4/3 lenses, it wouldn't work with this chip either.

That's not to say that Olympus and Panasonic could make a MF-confirm implementation in future models, or possibly trough a FW-update. That would seriously make their cameras even more attractive for MF-glass users.

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thinkfat
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to Bilgy_no1, Aug 17, 2010

it would be enough for me if they just output the raw contrast reading from the center AF point in some kind of "LED strip" meter on the screen. You can easily find the maximum contrast that way.

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Bilgy_no1
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to thinkfat, Aug 17, 2010

thinkfat wrote:

it would be enough for me if they just output the raw contrast reading from the center AF point in some kind of "LED strip" meter on the screen. You can easily find the maximum contrast that way.

Yes; many smart and creative ways of doing this are possible. Hope the manufacturers pick up on this line of thinking.

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Peter Zoltan
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to Bilgy_no1, Aug 17, 2010

still a bit strange that a manufactor of these Dandelion AF-chips that work for other platforms (for Olympus 43, etc) are selling a chip which doesn't work...it doesn't make any sense.

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Al Bond
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to nspur, Aug 17, 2010

nspur wrote:

Well, I have "AF detect" chips for some of my Canon EOS digital bodies and I can tell you that in Live View the thing beeps when focus is achieved. Presumably it is using contrast-detect in LV. I think basically all the chip has to do is to fool the body into thinking that it has an f2 (or whatever) lens attached and then the firmware behaves accordingly.

fermy wrote:

I don't believe it's possible to make contrast detect focus confirm, at least at > current point in time.

I can second that. I have a AF confirm chip for my wife's Canon 450D which does give AF confirm in Live View. The focus confirmation point is a bit off, both using phase detect and live view contrast detect, and it seem to be out by the same amount on both. There is the option to program the chip for focus adjustments but I haven't done that yet.

Obviously, the underlying programming in Canon cameras will be different to m4/3 cameras but the principle should still be the same.

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Fredrik Glckner
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Re: Tagotech
In reply to thinkfat, Aug 17, 2010

Even when using Four Thirds or Micro Four Thirds lenses in manual focus mode, there is no focus confirmation on Micro Four Thirds cameras. So to think that legacy lenses can achieve this is perhaps a bit optimistic.

I agree with the posters that a scale showing the relative contrast could be useful when using manual focus lenses, legacy or otherwise. That way, manual focusing could perhaps be a bit easier. I don't expect to see this in the coming generation of cameras, though.

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Bryan Biggers
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to Al Bond, Aug 17, 2010

Al Bond wrote:

nspur wrote:

Well, I have "AF detect" chips for some of my Canon EOS digital bodies and I can tell you that in Live View the thing beeps when focus is achieved. Presumably it is using contrast-detect in LV. I think basically all the chip has to do is to fool the body into thinking that it has an f2 (or whatever) lens attached and then the firmware behaves accordingly.

fermy wrote:

I don't believe it's possible to make contrast detect focus confirm, at least at > current point in time.

I can second that. I have a AF confirm chip for my wife's Canon 450D which does give AF confirm in Live View. The focus confirmation point is a bit off, both using phase detect and live view contrast detect, and it seem to be out by the same amount on both. There is the option to program the chip for focus adjustments but I haven't done that yet.

Obviously, the underlying programming in Canon cameras will be different to m4/3 cameras but the principle should still be the same.

The Canon is NOT using contrast detection (which is what the u4/3 bodies use). It is using phase detection to determine focus. Phase detection can work with any lens. Basically the camera can read the instantaneous goodness of focus at any of the focus points by comparing the phase of two arriving wavefronts. The u4/3 bodies do not have phase detection hardware (for one thing it requires a partially silvered mirror so that there can be 2 light paths). DSLRs that use phase detection CAN give a focus indication with any lens (but you might have to focus the lens yourself). u4/3 does not have phase detection hardware so the "principle" is not the same here, it uses contrast detection. They have different hardware. Contrast detection involves moving the focus of the lens in and out and measuring the contrast, then remembering and returning to the "best" position. This has to be done under automatic control so that the camera can "know" the lens position and return to the best one.

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Bilgy_no1
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Re: Tagotech
In reply to Fredrik Glckner, Aug 17, 2010

Fredrik Glckner wrote:

Even when using Four Thirds or Micro Four Thirds lenses in manual focus mode, there is no focus confirmation on Micro Four Thirds cameras. So to think that legacy lenses can achieve this is perhaps a bit optimistic.

I agree with the posters that a scale showing the relative contrast could be useful when using manual focus lenses, legacy or otherwise. That way, manual focusing could perhaps be a bit easier. I don't expect to see this in the coming generation of cameras, though.

http://m43photo.blogspot.com/

If camera firmware were open source, it would have been fixed by an app already...

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saghost
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to Bryan Biggers, Aug 17, 2010

I agree with most of what you said completely. I'm not sure that it 'has' to be done under automatic control, though. Certainly it is simpler to do that way. But there are alternatives...

You could build a system that, when you enabled the 'MF CD assist' (random descriptive name invented just now,) it would lock the focus point, and start providing and remembering contrast numbers. If it remembers the peak when it sees it, it should be trivial to tell you when you got back to it. Done elegantly, it might be quicker and easier than magnification, and nearly as fast as AF.
Walter

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saghost
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Re: Tagotech
In reply to Bilgy_no1, Aug 17, 2010

I'd love to see an open source, modular camera! Just look at all the progress we're getting just out of cracked firmware (tester13 hack.)

I'm not convinced there's anyone out there who will bring it to us, though; the profit motive isn't clear. We'll see...
Walter

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Bilgy_no1
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Re: Tagotech
In reply to saghost, Aug 17, 2010

saghost wrote:

I'd love to see an open source, modular camera! Just look at all the progress we're getting just out of cracked firmware (tester13 hack.)

I'm not convinced there's anyone out there who will bring it to us, though; the profit motive isn't clear. We'll see...
Walter

I guess that the first one to make a camera that accepts 'apps' and hacks will sell a whole lot of units to tech savvy people...

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thinkfat
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refund is in.
In reply to thinkfat, Aug 17, 2010

This just as a heads up to notify anyone interested that Tagotech just refunded the purchase. Went through without a hassle and kudos to them for handling that issue in such a customer friendly way.

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Bryan Biggers
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Re: Tagotech "AF confirmation chip" for µFT - no go.
In reply to saghost, Aug 17, 2010

saghost wrote:

I agree with most of what you said completely. I'm not sure that it 'has' to be done under automatic control, though. Certainly it is simpler to do that way. But there are alternatives...

You could build a system that, when you enabled the 'MF CD assist' (random descriptive name invented just now,) it would lock the focus point, and start providing and remembering contrast numbers. If it remembers the peak when it sees it, it should be trivial to tell you when you got back to it. Done elegantly, it might be quicker and easier than magnification, and nearly as fast as AF.
Walter

OK, well, that would be possible, but it would have to be built into the camera, not as an external chip since the external chip can't use the CCD. You would have to assume a display of focus points on the screen and that you don't move the camera at all during focus ( or pick a point and have a readout of that point, but why not show them all). You would press a button to clear the memory, then start wracking the lens in and out but not too fast. The camera would display a "best I've seen so far at this point" indication at each focus point. It would start out with all the "best I've seen" lit because that is what it would be. That would not mean that it could not get better at that point though, you would have to decide your self by wracking the lens back and forth which point to use and which direction to turn the lens and if you thought that you had been through enough cycles to know that that was really in focus and not just the "best it has seen so far"; you have to know if you covered the focus range on both sides of the good focus. For example, say it started at a point out of focus, and you turn the lens in the right direction but not far enough. The "best I've seen" indicator would stay lit because every sample is getting better, but you didn't go far enough but it is still lit. You would have to move past the good focus point and then come back. This might be a problem for infinity, and would be a problem for the closest focus, you can't move past that. Then you would have to try to zero on on the focus by going back and forth, and it might involve some guesswork. Then you would press a button to stop the process and take the picture.

Frankly I think that you would do better by just looking to see if the spot you are interested in appears to be in focus rather than use a dodgy assist like this, you can make a pretty good guess usually.

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