What Is It With Fuji X and AF Performance?

Started Jan 2, 2013 | Discussions
Charlesn
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What Is It With Fuji X and AF Performance?
Jan 2, 2013

The Preamble:

Yes, I know that CDAF is never going to be PDAF.

Yes, I know there are various workarounds that will coax better moderate-low light AF performance from the Fuji X cams.

Yes, I know that the more these workarounds are used, the more natural they become, to the point of not seeming like workarounds.

Yes, I know someone will respond to this thread by saying that they only shoot black cats at night in dense fog and never have a problem with Fuji AF.

Okay, that said, why is it that Fuji continues to lag far behind the class leaders in CDAF performance? How is it that Fuji can write software code that borders on magic in terms of IQ, but can't seem to do it for what would seem like the easier task of improving their CDAF? Why is it that two years after the release of the X100, and several cameras later, the #1 complaint about Fuji X cams remains AF performance in moderate-low light?

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Clint Dunn
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Because....
In reply to Charlesn, Jan 2, 2013

....too many people expect it to perform like a DSLR.  I didn't.  I had low expectations on the AF and I wasn't disappointed.  Then again...I wasn't replacing my DSLR...I was replacing my Leica M8.  If I want ultra fast AF I will shoot my Canon.

It is what it is....don't fight it.  Either use it or don't...

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zephyr2013
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Re: What Is It With Fuji X and AF Performance?
In reply to Charlesn, Jan 2, 2013

Charlesn wrote:

The Preamble:

Yes, I know that CDAF is never going to be PDAF.

Yes, I know there are various workarounds that will coax better moderate-low light AF performance from the Fuji X cams.

Yes, I know that the more these workarounds are used, the more natural they become, to the point of not seeming like workarounds.

Yes, I know someone will respond to this thread by saying that they only shoot black cats at night in dense fog and never have a problem with Fuji AF.

Okay, that said, why is it that Fuji continues to lag far behind the class leaders in CDAF performance? How is it that Fuji can write software code that borders on magic in terms of IQ, but can't seem to do it for what would seem like the easier task of improving their CDAF? Why is it that two years after the release of the X100, and several cameras later, the #1 complaint about Fuji X cams remains AF performance in moderate-low light?

Indeed, and the rest of the other problems too, like proper RAW software, darn EVF lag/shake/shiver, etc.

Anyway, when it works, it's a so-so camera that gives splendid images, serves me well while waiting for the Leica M. I won't wait for Fuji to fix their issues, they take years (or never)

Oh, the AF doesn't bother me, obviously, it's other stuff ...

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ohmydentist
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this is Fuji issue, not CDAF
In reply to Charlesn, Jan 2, 2013

Sony Nex, Olympus, and Panasonic cameras with CDAF all show blazing fast AF, only thing lagging behind PDAF would be subject tracking.

I remember it took a few years for Olympus to catch up to Panasonic's AF speed, and I'm sure Fuji is going through the same learning curve.

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Roadrunner123
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Re: this is Fuji issue, not CDAF
In reply to ohmydentist, Jan 2, 2013

Yes it is a pain in the ass.  Hopefully one day they will get their act together and make a good camera range a superb one.

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abelits
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Re: What Is It With Fuji X and AF Performance?
In reply to Charlesn, Jan 2, 2013

Charlesn wrote:

Okay, that said, why is it that Fuji continues to lag far behind the class leaders in CDAF performance? How is it that Fuji can write software code that borders on magic in terms of IQ, but can't seem to do it for what would seem like the easier task of improving their CDAF? Why is it that two years after the release of the X100, and several cameras later, the #1 complaint about Fuji X cams remains AF performance in moderate-low light?

It's clearly directed to Fujifilm engineers, so why is it posted here? To contribute to anti-Fujifilm marketing that is now busy creating an impression that slow autofocus is a REALLY BIG PROBLEM that somehow does not exist in other brands' cameras?

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Photozopia
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Re: What Is It With Fuji X and AF Performance?
In reply to Charlesn, Jan 2, 2013

"How is it that Fuji can write software code that borders on magic in terms of IQ, but can't seem to do it for what would seem like the easier task of improving their CDAF?"

Think you've answered your own query (if you think about it for a second). Fuji has had years of experience in colour management - but very little in digital hardware development.

Been using other's core technologies for a long time - only now are they producing stuff 'in-house' as it were.

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Mr Hyde
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Re: this is Fuji issue, not CDAF
In reply to ohmydentist, Jan 2, 2013

ohmydentist wrote:

Sony Nex, Olympus, and Panasonic cameras with CDAF all show blazing fast AF, only thing lagging behind PDAF would be subject tracking.

I remember it took a few years for Olympus to catch up to Panasonic's AF speed, and I'm sure Fuji is going through the same learning curve.

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I'd take issue with you in relation to the Sony NEX 7, at least. I owned that and enjoyed it, but AF was no better than the X-Pro, in my view. It was a frequent occurrence that I missed shots because the camera could not focus, or would not focus accurately. It just seems to me that the case is overstated by many, and I get about as many red frames on my Fuji as I got green dotted borders on my NEX.

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mrgooch2008
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Re: Because....
In reply to Clint Dunn, Jan 2, 2013

Clint Dunn wrote:

....too many people expect it to perform like a DSLR. I didn't. I had low expectations on the AF and I wasn't disappointed. Then again...I wasn't replacing my DSLR...I was replacing my Leica M8. If I want ultra fast AF I will shoot my Canon.

It is what it is....don't fight it. Either use it or don't...

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At present that's all we can do. Love it or leave it.

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mjl699
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Re: this is Fuji issue, not CDAF
In reply to Mr Hyde, Jan 2, 2013

Mr Hyde wrote:

ohmydentist wrote:

Sony Nex, Olympus, and Panasonic cameras with CDAF all show blazing fast AF, only thing lagging behind PDAF would be subject tracking.

I remember it took a few years for Olympus to catch up to Panasonic's AF speed, and I'm sure Fuji is going through the same learning curve.

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I'd take issue with you in relation to the Sony NEX 7, at least. I owned that and enjoyed it, but AF was no better than the X-Pro, in my view. It was a frequent occurrence that I missed shots because the camera could not focus, or would not focus accurately. It just seems to me that the case is overstated by many, and I get about as many red frames on my Fuji as I got green dotted borders on my NEX.

I would also take issue re:Panasonic - the DMC-GX1 AF is worse than the X-Pro1. The GX1 was released at the back end of 2011 and the X-Pro1 a few months later. No doubt improvements have occurred since these releases (I'd certainly hope so) and no doubt future models from all manufacturers will be better still.

Note I am not saying the GX1 is a bad camera either. I like it very much and in my opinion it is better in every way possible than the Cannon EOS 400D I used before it (including autofocus and including low light performance). Which shows just how much cameras have advanced in recent years, when something nearly pocketable beats an entry level SLR hands-down.

As the original post said it is true that the autofocus in the X-Pro1 and the GX1 (and the 400D it replaced) is a slow relative to PDAF, e.g. that of the EOS 3 I used to use, and that of a friend's 40D I used recently. These were both fast and accurate.

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Charlesn
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Re: Because....
In reply to Clint Dunn, Jan 2, 2013

Clint Dunn wrote:

....too many people expect it to perform like a DSLR. I didn't. I had low expectations on the AF and I wasn't disappointed. Then again...I wasn't replacing my DSLR...I was replacing my Leica M8. If I want ultra fast AF I will shoot my Canon.

It is what it is....don't fight it. Either use it or don't...

As I said at the outset, I know CDAF isn't PDAF, so this isn't about "Oh, it doesn't work like my DSLR." The question is apples to apples: why can't Fuji match, or at least be in the same ballpark as, the leading cameras in CDAF performance, none of which are DSLRs.

This isn't magic or a black box... it's about writing better code, since CDAF is largely a matter of software.

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Apteryx6
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Re: What Is It With Fuji X and AF Performance?
In reply to Charlesn, Jan 2, 2013

Charlesn wrote:

Okay, that said, why is it that Fuji continues to lag far behind the class leaders in CDAF performance? How is it that Fuji can write software code that borders on magic in terms of IQ, but can't seem to do it for what would seem like the easier task of improving their CDAF? Why is it that two years after the release of the X100, and several cameras later, the #1 complaint about Fuji X cams remains AF performance in moderate-low light?

Somebody has to be. There can be only one "class leader" for any feature. Fuji is the class leader on a lot of features, but not CDAF. If they were the class leader on every feature, who would buy other cameras?

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NJHr
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Re: Because....
In reply to Charlesn, Jan 2, 2013

Charlesn wrote:

This isn't magic or a black box... it's about writing better code, since CDAF is largely a matter of software.

True but have you ever conducted R&D in software based signal processing systems? When you don't understand how something works it is as good as magic, especially given that we are talking about a companies IPR and not stuff we can just read in the scientific literature. If one assumes however all the companies reverse engineer each others products and have equally good engineers we could expect to see a catch up after a year or two. Assuming of course it is all about the software and the X mount, lens focusing mechs and basic processing architecture don't have some fundamental flaws.

This is why I have hope in Fuji, they massively improved the X100 over its lifetime with firmware updates and I can remember how horrifically slow the E-P1 was. My X100 for example has clearly faster AF than my old E-P2 had with the Panny 20 and it fails less in low light/low contrast scenarios. The release dates between the camera bodies is not much which indicates to me that Fuji can't be that far behind.

BTW I have used the OMD it was crazy fast but its like the difference between quick enough and quicker not the way many seem to obsessively paint it on these forums.

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57even
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Glass half empty?
In reply to Charlesn, Jan 2, 2013

Charlesn wrote:

The Preamble:

Yes, I know that CDAF is never going to be PDAF.

Yes, I know there are various workarounds that will coax better moderate-low light AF performance from the Fuji X cams.

Yes, I know that the more these workarounds are used, the more natural they become, to the point of not seeming like workarounds.

Yes, I know someone will respond to this thread by saying that they only shoot black cats at night in dense fog and never have a problem with Fuji AF.

Okay, that said, why is it that Fuji continues to lag far behind the class leaders in CDAF performance? How is it that Fuji can write software code that borders on magic in terms of IQ, but can't seem to do it for what would seem like the easier task of improving their CDAF? Why is it that two years after the release of the X100, and several cameras later, the #1 complaint about Fuji X cams remains AF performance in moderate-low light?

It is Fuji's first ever interchangeable lens AF camera. It is WAY ahead of any of the first generation MFT cameras and NEX's, and really no worse than some current model/lens combos.

It is a lot better than an EOS M. Or a Sigma DP2, RX1 or G1X.

It's not as good as an EM5. However most MFT lenses are slower and the sensor is smaller, so it has more DOF hence does not need to be as accurate. The lenses are quite a bit smaller as well.

I also have a few screw drive lenses on my D700 which don't focus any faster (old Sigma 105 macro for instance, or the 85 F1.4 (in fact AF-D version is faster than AF-S).

Moreover focus accuracy on the X series is much better than any SLR, in all types of light. Change the light sources (or even just the aperture with fast primes) and PDAF systems will back or front focus like a goon-un.

So I don't accept it's bad, and it's far from unusable. And all things considered it's actually pretty good for a first attempt, and the PDAF system coming in future cameras will make it better still.

But like I said, it's actually NOT that uncompetitive overall.

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unknown member
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Re: Glass half empty?
In reply to 57even, Jan 2, 2013

57even wrote:

Charlesn wrote:

The Preamble:

Yes, I know that CDAF is never going to be PDAF.

Yes, I know there are various workarounds that will coax better moderate-low light AF performance from the Fuji X cams.

Yes, I know that the more these workarounds are used, the more natural they become, to the point of not seeming like workarounds.

Yes, I know someone will respond to this thread by saying that they only shoot black cats at night in dense fog and never have a problem with Fuji AF.

Okay, that said, why is it that Fuji continues to lag far behind the class leaders in CDAF performance? How is it that Fuji can write software code that borders on magic in terms of IQ, but can't seem to do it for what would seem like the easier task of improving their CDAF? Why is it that two years after the release of the X100, and several cameras later, the #1 complaint about Fuji X cams remains AF performance in moderate-low light?

It is Fuji's first ever interchangeable lens AF camera. It is WAY ahead of any of the first generation MFT cameras and NEX's, and really no worse than some current model/lens combos.

It is a lot better than an EOS M. Or a Sigma DP2, RX1 or G1X.

It's not as good as an EM5. However most MFT lenses are slower and the sensor is smaller, so it has more DOF hence does not need to be as accurate. The lenses are quite a bit smaller as well.

I also have a few screw drive lenses on my D700 which don't focus any faster (old Sigma 105 macro for instance, or the 85 F1.4 (in fact AF-D version is faster than AF-S).

Moreover focus accuracy on the X series is much better than any SLR, in all types of light. Change the light sources (or even just the aperture with fast primes) and PDAF systems will back or front focus like a goon-un.

Totally, and completely disagree. I just finished a shoot with my X100 and S5 Pro and the difference in keeper rate was horrific (indoor market, not well lit). 50% or less for the X100 vs 80% or more for the SLR. No way, no how is focus accuracy better for the X100. The green box was lit for every shot on the X100 and it simply failed to catch the action. Maybe for 100% static shots this might be true, but for anything that moves, and in most real life situations, the Fuji's autofocus is not anywhere near being better than an SLR in any category at all.

So I don't accept it's bad, and it's far from unusable. And all things considered it's actually pretty good for a first attempt, and the PDAF system coming in future cameras will make it better still.

But like I said, it's actually NOT that uncompetitive overall.

Yeah, if you dont keep score.

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justin_time
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Re: Because....
In reply to Charlesn, Jan 2, 2013

Charlesn wrote:

This isn't magic or a black box... it's about writing better code, since CDAF is largely a matter of software.

Disagree. Sure software plays a part, but...

a) the hardware needs to get the data from the sensor at a decent rate.

b) the CPU  needs enough processing power.

That said I was playing with my X-E1 in a dimly lit room yesterday and was a bit surprised that when I tried to use AF-S / manual focus on a subject that was just about in focus about 6 feet away (as I'd just focussed on it and moved the camera a couple of inches) that the lens went all the way to min focus distance and back to 6 feet.  Surely the camera could see that the contrast was decreasing (my eyes could !) and reverse the AF direction so it moved focus towards the 6ft distance, before it reached min focus.

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57even
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Re: Glass half empty?
In reply to rattymouse, Jan 3, 2013

rattymouse wrote:

57even wrote:

Charlesn wrote:

The Preamble:

Yes, I know that CDAF is never going to be PDAF.

Yes, I know there are various workarounds that will coax better moderate-low light AF performance from the Fuji X cams.

Yes, I know that the more these workarounds are used, the more natural they become, to the point of not seeming like workarounds.

Yes, I know someone will respond to this thread by saying that they only shoot black cats at night in dense fog and never have a problem with Fuji AF.

Okay, that said, why is it that Fuji continues to lag far behind the class leaders in CDAF performance? How is it that Fuji can write software code that borders on magic in terms of IQ, but can't seem to do it for what would seem like the easier task of improving their CDAF? Why is it that two years after the release of the X100, and several cameras later, the #1 complaint about Fuji X cams remains AF performance in moderate-low light?

It is Fuji's first ever interchangeable lens AF camera. It is WAY ahead of any of the first generation MFT cameras and NEX's, and really no worse than some current model/lens combos.

It is a lot better than an EOS M. Or a Sigma DP2, RX1 or G1X.

It's not as good as an EM5. However most MFT lenses are slower and the sensor is smaller, so it has more DOF hence does not need to be as accurate. The lenses are quite a bit smaller as well.

I also have a few screw drive lenses on my D700 which don't focus any faster (old Sigma 105 macro for instance, or the 85 F1.4 (in fact AF-D version is faster than AF-S).

Moreover focus accuracy on the X series is much better than any SLR, in all types of light. Change the light sources (or even just the aperture with fast primes) and PDAF systems will back or front focus like a goon-un.

Totally, and completely disagree. I just finished a shoot with my X100 and S5 Pro and the difference in keeper rate was horrific (indoor market, not well lit). 50% or less for the X100 vs 80% or more for the SLR. No way, no how is focus accuracy better for the X100. The green box was lit for every shot on the X100 and it simply failed to catch the action. Maybe for 100% static shots this might be true, but for anything that moves, and in most real life situations, the Fuji's autofocus is not anywhere near being better than an SLR in any category at all.

I have an X100 as well, but the X100 is NOT an interchangeable lens system and the S5 is a Nikon body with Nikon AF and Nikon lenses. Fuji only supplied the sensor and processing components. So this IS Fuji's first AF interchangeable lens camera.

So I don't accept it's bad, and it's far from unusable. And all things considered it's actually pretty good for a first attempt, and the PDAF system coming in future cameras will make it better still.

But like I said, it's actually NOT that uncompetitive overall.

Yeah, if you dont keep score.

The OP was comparing with other CDAF systems, not an SLR. I stand by what I said regarding other CSCs.

I also own a D600 specifically for moving subject photography and high-volume shoots in poor light. No CSC does a great job with moving subjects compared to an SLR.

But for static subjects the Xpro1 and Xe1 (and X100) are more accurate than any SLR over a wider range of lighting spectra, even if they take longer to lock. For comparisons I have used a D90, D7000, D700 and D600 all of which are better than the S5 but still not as accurate as the Xpro1.

Why don't you just buy a D600? It does everything you want and is accurate enough for anything except DOF critical applications.

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IrishhAndy
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Re: Glass half empty?
In reply to 57even, Jan 3, 2013

57even wrote:

Charlesn wrote:

The Preamble:

Yes, I know that CDAF is never going to be PDAF.

Yes, I know there are various workarounds that will coax better moderate-low light AF performance from the Fuji X cams.

Yes, I know that the more these workarounds are used, the more natural they become, to the point of not seeming like workarounds.

Yes, I know someone will respond to this thread by saying that they only shoot black cats at night in dense fog and never have a problem with Fuji AF.

Okay, that said, why is it that Fuji continues to lag far behind the class leaders in CDAF performance? How is it that Fuji can write software code that borders on magic in terms of IQ, but can't seem to do it for what would seem like the easier task of improving their CDAF? Why is it that two years after the release of the X100, and several cameras later, the #1 complaint about Fuji X cams remains AF performance in moderate-low light?

It is Fuji's first ever interchangeable lens AF camera. It is WAY ahead of any of the first generation MFT cameras and NEX's, and really no worse than some current model/lens combos.

It is a lot better than an EOS M. Or a Sigma DP2, RX1 or G1X.

It's not as good as an EM5. However most MFT lenses are slower and the sensor is smaller, so it has more DOF hence does not need to be as accurate. The lenses are quite a bit smaller as well.

I also have a few screw drive lenses on my D700 which don't focus any faster (old Sigma 105 macro for instance, or the 85 F1.4 (in fact AF-D version is faster than AF-S).

Moreover focus accuracy on the X series is much better than any SLR, in all types of light. Change the light sources (or even just the aperture with fast primes) and PDAF systems will back or front focus like a goon-un.

So I don't accept it's bad, and it's far from unusable. And all things considered it's actually pretty good for a first attempt, and the PDAF system coming in future cameras will make it better still.

But like I said, it's actually NOT that uncompetitive overall.

It's not as good as an EM5. However most MFT lenses are slower and the sensor is smaller, so it has more DOF hence does not need to be as accurate.

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Re: Glass half empty?
In reply to 57even, Jan 3, 2013

57even wrote:

rattymouse wrote:

57even wrote:

Charlesn wrote:

The Preamble:

Yes, I know that CDAF is never going to be PDAF.

Yes, I know there are various workarounds that will coax better moderate-low light AF performance from the Fuji X cams.

Yes, I know that the more these workarounds are used, the more natural they become, to the point of not seeming like workarounds.

Yes, I know someone will respond to this thread by saying that they only shoot black cats at night in dense fog and never have a problem with Fuji AF.

Okay, that said, why is it that Fuji continues to lag far behind the class leaders in CDAF performance? How is it that Fuji can write software code that borders on magic in terms of IQ, but can't seem to do it for what would seem like the easier task of improving their CDAF? Why is it that two years after the release of the X100, and several cameras later, the #1 complaint about Fuji X cams remains AF performance in moderate-low light?

It is Fuji's first ever interchangeable lens AF camera. It is WAY ahead of any of the first generation MFT cameras and NEX's, and really no worse than some current model/lens combos.

It is a lot better than an EOS M. Or a Sigma DP2, RX1 or G1X.

It's not as good as an EM5. However most MFT lenses are slower and the sensor is smaller, so it has more DOF hence does not need to be as accurate. The lenses are quite a bit smaller as well.

I also have a few screw drive lenses on my D700 which don't focus any faster (old Sigma 105 macro for instance, or the 85 F1.4 (in fact AF-D version is faster than AF-S).

Moreover focus accuracy on the X series is much better than any SLR, in all types of light. Change the light sources (or even just the aperture with fast primes) and PDAF systems will back or front focus like a goon-un.

Totally, and completely disagree. I just finished a shoot with my X100 and S5 Pro and the difference in keeper rate was horrific (indoor market, not well lit). 50% or less for the X100 vs 80% or more for the SLR. No way, no how is focus accuracy better for the X100. The green box was lit for every shot on the X100 and it simply failed to catch the action. Maybe for 100% static shots this might be true, but for anything that moves, and in most real life situations, the Fuji's autofocus is not anywhere near being better than an SLR in any category at all.

I have an X100 as well, but the X100 is NOT an interchangeable lens system and the S5 is a Nikon body with Nikon AF and Nikon lenses. Fuji only supplied the sensor and processing components. So this IS Fuji's first AF interchangeable lens camera.

So I don't accept it's bad, and it's far from unusable. And all things considered it's actually pretty good for a first attempt, and the PDAF system coming in future cameras will make it better still.

But like I said, it's actually NOT that uncompetitive overall.

Yeah, if you dont keep score.

The OP was comparing with other CDAF systems, not an SLR. I stand by what I said regarding other CSCs.

I also own a D600 specifically for moving subject photography and high-volume shoots in poor light. No CSC does a great job with moving subjects compared to an SLR.

But for static subjects the Xpro1 and Xe1 (and X100) are more accurate than any SLR over a wider range of lighting spectra, even if they take longer to lock. For comparisons I have used a D90, D7000, D700 and D600 all of which are better than the S5 but still not as accurate as the Xpro1.

Why don't you just buy a D600? It does everything you want and is accurate enough for anything except DOF critical applications.

A D600 does not "do" Fuji colors and PP'ing that into images is not an option.

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nixda
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Re: Glass half empty?
In reply to rattymouse, Jan 3, 2013

rattymouse wrote:

The OP was comparing with other CDAF systems, not an SLR. I stand by what I said regarding other CSCs.

I also own a D600 specifically for moving subject photography and high-volume shoots in poor light. No CSC does a great job with moving subjects compared to an SLR.

But for static subjects the Xpro1 and Xe1 (and X100) are more accurate than any SLR over a wider range of lighting spectra, even if they take longer to lock. For comparisons I have used a D90, D7000, D700 and D600 all of which are better than the S5 but still not as accurate as the Xpro1.

Why don't you just buy a D600? It does everything you want and is accurate enough for anything except DOF critical applications.

A D600 does not "do" Fuji colors and PP'ing that into images is not an option.

So then your whole quandary should end here. Please, please. Get the Fuji. It's obvious that you want Fuji colors, so there is only one solution. For the sake of all here, please get the Fuji and be done with it! Please!

 nixda's gear list:nixda's gear list
Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8
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