Its official. Oly AF sucks!

Started Sep 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 57,678
Re: Canon and Nikon are bad for the overall camera market...

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!
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.

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.

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.

Well I would say a SLR is a camera with a mirror that reflects light to the viewfinder, not an AF mechanism.

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.

Not many for stills. Some for video. And I think its disadvantages are considerable.Loss of 1/2 stop of light (basically giving away more than a generation of sensor improvement), putting another mirror in the optical path when the shot is taken, which can and does affect the image, reliance on a EVF with its lag which makes it questionable for use in the action situations where the SLT might have an advantage.

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.

Not exactly true. Nikon has its 39 point AF in it second tier, the 70D now has canons 19 point AF. Both are arguably more capable than Sony's.

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.

That sounds argumentative to me. I don't think the D5200 or 70D can sensibly be described as 'junk'.

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.

Because both Nikon and Canon are safe buys. Nikon has developed two different 24MP sensors for its DX range, it has high spec AF except in the lowest end model. The 70D contains some serious innovation. It's very hard to see cameras like the D5200, D7100, 70D, 100D as an 'inferior product' at their price points. They are highly capable, and that is why they succeed.

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.

They haven't been strong there, and they've never sold well there. Recently, though they have some solid if not innovative performers. Hard to see that any other brand's P&S are a great deal better.

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.

I just don't think that your description of those ranges accords at all with reality. The reason Canon and Nikon have got where they are is because they make some excellent cameras. And I think the idea that they are not 'innovators' is ludicrous. The Nikon 1 range might not be everyone's taste, but it's certainly innovatory. The D800 is a landmark product. The dual pixel AF in the 70D is an innovation. The on-sensor binning that Canon uses for high quality video is an innovation. If you wanted to make a full lost of who was the first to put today's major features in cameras, both those companies would feature prominently.

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