Thom finally resurfaces, with comments sure to be controversial, at least here ...

Started Apr 17, 2014 | Discussions thread
Maximus176 Regular Member • Posts: 183
Re: Ahem?

photoreddi wrote:

Maximus176 wrote:

photoreddi wrote:

Lyle From Canada wrote:

Not sure anything he said here is controversial at all. Seems pretty true across the board.

I agree, but if you look at forum comments made a month or two ago, reasonable comments such as Thom made would have been savagely attacked by a few, and highly criticized by some of the more moderate Fuji fans. People were routinely saying that the X-T1 had the fastest AF performance, not adding Fuji's caveat that it required using one exceptionally wide angle lens. Tony Northrup's initial mistakes didn't win him many fans, but when he revised his video review, he was still tarred and feathered because there were an lot of owners claiming that their X-T1s has excellent AF tracking performance. In fact it was far from excellent but the examples given just showed that the X-T1's tracking could get the job done if the subjects that it had to track didn't present challenges. One that I recall was of a toddler taking a few steps, another was of movement across the frame, not away from or coming closer to the camera. Hardly the same as a sprinter or a motorcycle racing towards the camera.

Some forum members recognized this, but they were in the great minority at the time. I guess that the initial overly defensive posture has become more reasonable, helped in great part by the sage comments from several respected forum members, notably Ray Sachs. At least that's what I see based on the first several replies in this thread.


tracking focus on quick but big birds the 55-200 Xt1 never missed a shot. i was out shooting lambs bombing around fields the other evening and got plenty of keepers. Where the 55 -200 struggles is in lower light, and at full zoom it's operating at F4.8. bMaybe the new lenses with F2.8 throughout the range will give better performance.

I'm sure that the new f/2.8 lenses will perform better but I don't think that your "Ahem" is really warranted, since what Thom wrote seems to be consistent with your comment about "quick but big birds". He also did well with big birds but his X-T1 had less consistent results with speedy, erratic small birds. This was included in the quote from the OP :

Still, on the fastest and most sporadic moving birds near at hand in the Galapagos, I sometimes struggled to get high hit rates on focus. On the more predictable birds (e.g. Albatross), no real problems.


I’d say that the Fujifilm struggled partly because of lens, partly because its phase detect system isn’t yet up to the performance level of DSLRs. The lens part is because all we really have at the moment for telephoto work of the kind I was doing is the 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8. It’s not a snappy lens when it comes to focus. So when you’re trying to dial in a bird that’s coming at you at warp speed, even if the Fujifilm manages to attain focus initially, it struggles to maintain it. Getting continuous sequences of in-focus birds was near impossible.

As well as your X-T1 performed shooting the Greyag geese, most of the photos show them slowing down, using their extended wings to brake their speed for the landing. That's not exactly what Thom is referring to when he writes about a bird approaching at "warp speed". I think that you have to understand that when he concludes with "Getting continuous sequences of in-focus birds was near impossible" he was still referring to birds flying at "warp speed". I also have the 55-200mm and agree with Thom's assessment. It's not slow, but neither is it "a snappy lens". My 70-200mm f/2.8 is speedy and snappy, and I assume that Fuji's forthcoming 50-140mm f/2.8 lens will also be speedy and snappy, and that if you get one, it will perform much better than the 55-200mm lens.

Fortunately my photography is usually something slower so über speed is generally not required. I have occasions when I need speed and it's nice to know that the Xt is quicker at focus than my X pro. I  agree with Thom that sensor and mp chasing  is no longer an issue, apart from the FF argument. Indeed af performance and ergonomics are important  and where manufacturers can make improvements.

The point of my test was only to highlight that focus tracking does work with the right subjects, as at the time of writing the blog piece it seemed many people were splitting hairs over the improved focus and tracking ability.

Lets hope the new lenses bring even better speed

 Maximus176's gear list:Maximus176's gear list
Nikon D3 Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm XF 18mm F2 R Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +3 more
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