What is the best m43 for focus tracking?

Started Mar 31, 2013 | Questions thread
PerL Forum Pro • Posts: 13,992
Re: So what is the fuzz about?

Anders W wrote:

PerL wrote:

Anders W wrote:

PerL wrote:

Anders W wrote:

PerL wrote:

Anders W wrote:

PerL wrote:

Anders W wrote:

PerL wrote:

Anders W wrote:

The only site I am aware of that actually tries to test AF-C performance in a systematic fashion is the French Fnac labs.

In one of their tests, they simulate a car approaching the camera at a speed of 50 km/h. The camera is fired in burst mode with a 200 mm (EFL) lens. At the outset, the car is fifty meters away. Obviously, it gets more and more difficult for the AF system to keep up, the closer the car gets. So one significant measure is the distance of the car from the camera when the last reasonably sharp shot is caught. Here are the results from this year's roundup:


Panasonic GX1: 2.5

Panasonic G5: 8

Panasonic GF5: 8

Panasonic GH3: 9.5

Sony NEX F3: 11

Sony NEX 7: 12.5

Sony NEX 5R: 13

Sony NEX 6: 15

Samsung NX1000: 19



Nikon J2: 6.5



Canon 650D: 6

Canon 7D: 6.5

Nikon D4: 7

Nikon D800: 8

Canon 5DIII: 8.5

Nikon D5100: 8.5

Nikon D600: 8.5

Canon 1100D: 9

Nikon D3100: 9.5

Pentax K-5: 9.5

Pentax K-30: 9.5

Nikon D3200: 10

Sony SLT-A57: 10

Nikon D7000: 10.5

Sony SLT-A65: 10.5

Canon 600D: 11.5

Sony SLT-A37: 11.5

Canon 60D: 12.5

Sony A-77: 13.5

I have been critical about these tests before.

And I have dealt with that criticism in some detail. Those interested find my latest response in the exchange between us here:


If you Per have anything further to say, I suggest you start where we left off (the post I linked to) so that we don't have to repeat everything from the beginning again.

To many odd results IMO (even if one excludes the most strange ones like G2X)  that seems to be at odds with common sense and practical user experience. A few samples:

"Common sense" and "user experiences", both often rife with confirmation bias, are hardly infallible. That's precisely why we need systematic and objective tests like this, isn't it?

G5 and GF5 faster than G3H?

As I pointed out, a test like the one at issue here must by necessity involve a statististical error margin and you shouldn't put too much stock in each individual data point but look at broader patterns. The difference between the G5 and GF5 on the one hand and the GH3 isn't all that large and all three are in the latest generation of Panasonic MFT cameras. So I don't find too much to be surprised about here.

G5 and GF5 in the same ballpark as Nikon D4? (8 vs 7)

Yes. Isn't it amazing how quickly MFT has made progress, now rivalling the D4 in a test of AF-C?

Consider the fact that in the FNAC report of two years ago (the one where they tested the GH2 that you have personal experience with), the average value for the mirrorless camera tested was 16.25 meters. Two years later, that figure is down to 11. For MFT cameras specifically, the value two years ago was 13.5. By now, the average is down to 7.  In the meantime, the results for DSLRs haven't changed much. PDAF is a rather mature technology. CDAF has been developing rapidly in the last few years and is now catching up.

If we look in a broader view - the low end m43 Panasonics matches the semi pro cameras like Nikon D800 (same AF system as D4) and Canon 5D3?

See above.

The low end m43 Panasonics and the also slower GH3 clearly beat the prosumer and middle of the line DSLRs like Nikon D7000, Canon 60D, Sony A77?

See above.

Even the results in the DSLR group is confusing with entry level models beating the more expensive ones.

The only really unexpected result here is for the 650D. Other than that, the expected cameras (recent pro/semipro cameras) top the chart.

You can pick out a lot more strange stuff here, I would not put much trust in this.

So one can choose to believe this "test", or one can remain sceptical. Count me in the second category.

Yes, we know that you belong to that category. While it is not unusual for people to reject any test that does not confirm their preconceptions and prejudices, I personally try to avoid that mistake. How much stock I place in a test depends primarily on what I know about the methods used rather than on whether the results are what I thought they would be.

I dont think I am alone, not even in this forum. I have not seen a single post from a dual system user with a high end DSLR and an entry level m43, claiming that the CDAF m43 has better or equal tracking performance.

Noone said you were alone. The mistake I described above is rather common.

Is it a mistake to trust experiences and opinions and reviews more than a simulated test, where the simulation seems to go against all user reports?

That depends on the quality of the test versus the quality of the user reports. I try to carefully evaluate data sources of all kinds based on the methods whereby the data were generated. I do not, however, reject a data source off hand just because it does not agree with "conventional wisdom". If science would have done that, it would never have made any progress.

Furthermore, the scenario you outline is not the one we are actually facing. The user reports I see about this matter are rather variegated.

Would you without a doubt recommend someone aimng for a career in sports photography to get a couple of G5s to compete with the guys with the   high end DSLRs, based on this test?

No. What have I said to make you think that? The D4 beats the G5 with regard to the test figures I reported. It also beats the G5 with regard to those I just mentioned but didn't report: number of successful shots before the targets gets too close, where the D4 manages 32 versus nine for the G5. Furthermore, the D4 has better high ISO-performance (provided DoF is sufficient) and can be combined with a considerable number of high-performance tele lenses. So why should I recommend the G5 for professional sports photography? Unlike the D4, it is certainly not optimized or optimal for that particular purpose.

Well, since the difference was only 7 for D4 vs 8 for G5, in the test you showed the G5 looks like the AF-C bargain of the year. Who would have thought that the 600 dollars G5 and the 400 dollars GF5 would be in the same ballpark as the 6000 dollars pro camera, specially designed for action shooting.

Right. Remarkable, isn't it?

Anders, let me ask you, do you shot some sports your self, in low light with shallow DOF?

Not that this is at all relevant, but for the fun of it, let me ask you Per: Have you shot regularly with any more recent MFT camera than the GH2?

No, and if the improvement has been so radical as your test suggest, every reviewer I have read has  missed it.

It follows that you didn't read the tests and reports I have already linked you to. So you are once again showing that you are not ready to put your preconceptions and prejudices to trial.

Now, your turn - could you compare the shooting experience of a high end DSLR vs a m43 in a demanding sports situation?

As I already pointed out in a prior post, I would think that a D4 would be preferable to a G5 (or other recent MFT body) in that particular situation on, among others, the following grounds:


Note in addition that the test I linked to isn't a test of tracking performance. It is a test of AF-C and burst-mode performance.

Anders, I am pulling out now, I dont think this will lead anywhere.

Happy shooting,


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