AF tracking vs Subject detection a reflection Locked

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Interceptor121 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,199
AF tracking vs Subject detection a reflection

After few weeks of testing with both the G9 fw 2.4 and GHM2 I am satisfied that the latest technology Panasonic is employing which is similar but covers more uses cases to the Olympus EM1X AI is really superior to any tracking system I have used so far

When I had a Nikon camera I could use 3D tracking, this was based on the idea that the user would select something to track and the camera would then track it as it was moving inside the frame. The tracking was based on colour recognition not on shape detection.

This has then evolved into face detection with tracking but the issue always was that you had to achieve focus first position your tracking and then the camera would follow. Many situations where you did not have the time to run this process would result in no tracking and many blurred shots so at the end I would have rather used a single point and track by hand.

This is very similar to the CAF tracking with the Olympus EM1 series and others where you place your green spot and the camera (tries and mostly fails to ) track it.

The EM1X instead works in a different way able to identify shapes as they materialise on the screen without you having to choose a target unless there are many of them. This is very similar to Panasonic implementation that however has more options when it comes to humans as it can detect heads so if your subject does not look at you it will still follow and eventually switch to body.

Those systems are based on video pipeline processing in essence the camera is processing 60 frames per second and the CPU looking for shapes, in order to do this there needs to be reasonable but not too precise focus. This system may be slower to sustain high speed focus in a burst however is able to operate without assistance.

The EM1X and G9/GH5M2 systems differ. The EM1X uses shape recognition until being able to track this makes it faster to produce burst but less robust in case the specific shape is not detected and ultimately relying on the previous tracking technology. The Panasonic system keeps tracking based on shape recognition and is therefore slower because it continues to perform analysis however it is very accurate once it detects something and works better in situations where the subject is partially obscured.

Both systems struggle when there are too many candidate subjects but the options of panasonic with single area and the ability to resize and move the area are helpful to restrict options that are not needed. Hopefully OMD follows with improvement and more options.

With increased processing power we are getting to the point where the camera is actually assisting and leaving the photographer the task of composition removing the technicality from it at least for the scenarios that are covered. While birds in flight and the most challenging situations may still require human override there is no doubt that portrait photography and any type of photography where subject are not darting at speed are covered well by this technology making it easier for many people to achieve better shots.

The MFT system with high sensor readout speed is ideally placed to take advantage of those technology advances because while the processing is identical in larger format usually the frame rate is halved which means this is far less effective on a larger sensor camera that has many megapixels and can only run at 30 fps max. This in turns means the system is twice more reactive to changes and the probability your shots are in focus is becoming very high.

None of this would have been possible without video technology if we were still at the classic DSLR style tracking we would still be left with very limited possibilities and with cumbersome user interfaces

A new 120 fps readout sensor will potentially make subject detection even faster and open the door to real AI implementations.

 Interceptor121's gear list:Interceptor121's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 II Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH OIS Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro +13 more
Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
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