Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed

Started Mar 13, 2014 | Discussions
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biza43 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,411
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed
2

fuji P wrote:

My last word on this one - what did people do before autofocus?

Obviously, they used manual focus? But Formula 1 cars, and football players, were not very fast in those days... But I bet you those photographers would have loved to have AF... It is very possible to do, even today, but what is wrong with relying on good technology?

Photographers over the years have produced some fantastic shots without the camera doing the work for them and that's where I struggle to see the argument for one camera being better because its 0.02 of a second faster.

0.02 seconds can make or break the shot, ever checked tennis or Ping-Pong sports photography, just as examples?

I accept that some new to photography have only used autofocus cameras and the thought of manually focusing alien to them. Some only leave their settings on fully auto which is fine if that's what they want to do.

A good photographer uses whatever settings are appropriate to get the shot. To be able to make the decision of what those settings are, that is a different story, lots of experience, etc.

Thanks for all the comments - good and bad.

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John Motts Veteran Member • Posts: 5,092
Re: LOL
2

57even wrote:

Frankly I am amazed Henri Cartier Bresson managed to take any situational photographs at all.

Expectations and standards were very different then.

Many of Cartier Bresson's photographs, wonderful as they were, would not be considered up to the technical standards of today.

John Motts Veteran Member • Posts: 5,092
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed
3

fuji P wrote:

My last word on this one - what did people do before autofocus?

They used cameras that were designed for manual focussing. Unlike most of today's cameras.

John Carson Veteran Member • Posts: 4,216
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed
4

fuji P wrote:

My last word on this one - what did people do before autofocus?

What did people do before cameras? They painted and they drew, and some fine paintings and drawings they made too. Should we go back to before there were cameras?

Photographers over the years have produced some fantastic shots without the camera doing the work for them and that's where I struggle to see the argument for one camera being better because its 0.02 of a second faster.

Photographers doing action photography today have a far higher success rate than was possible with older equipment. To not want that higher success rate is just perverse.

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john carson

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smatty Senior Member • Posts: 1,950
Yes,

fuji P wrote:

Technique / knowledge / understanding / thought / planning / vision

or set to auto and let the camera do the work?

Well done.

Love your focusing tips.

many people expect the camera to do all the work. And clearly a real sports photographer needs one of the big DSLR with that massive AF and huge lenses. The right tool for the job.

But most people here could get their shots with the X-Pro 1 if they tried to understand what the camera needs to work properly for them. And some fundamental knowledge and experience on photography also helps to get the muscle memory to do the right thing intuetively.

But it is much easier not to improve ones own skills and go on to buy the next camera on the market...

Everyone how he/she likes

Cheers,
Smatty
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baobob
baobob Veteran Member • Posts: 7,222
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed

The XT1 solves the issue Thde AF tracking is now on ppar  with atleast an entry level DSLR

I get much better results wit it than I did with the 5D2

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baobob
baobob Veteran Member • Posts: 7,222
Re: LOL

Absolutely agree

With the XT1 I discovered that the burst even CL solves this problem and you can capture thisway fantastic kids attitudes you just have to erase the numerous unintersting shots that the cam has also stocked 

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shankardarren
shankardarren Regular Member • Posts: 197
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed
2

We have to look at this as a whole. Other brands out there have faster autofocus, so why not Fuji?

We are paying premium prices, so why not?

Trust me I love Fuji and use my X-pro1 daily but sometimes under certain circumstances I just wished the autofocus would be a tad faster.

Also, just say they come out with better newer bodies with faster autofocus, how will this affect lenses like the 35mm 1.4, will it focus faster?

Questions questions... just my 2 cents

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John Carson Veteran Member • Posts: 4,216
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed

John Motts wrote:

Not only that, pros are more likely to be able to overcome any shortcomings of a camera due to experience, so actually autofocus ability is often more important to the less experienced.

Excellent point. The claim seems to be often made that you need to be a highly skilled photographer in order to benefit from more advanced equipment, when in fact the less skilled photographer may sometimes be the person who benefits most from better equipment.

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57LowRider Senior Member • Posts: 3,781
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed
3

I've been really tempted to say that people who complain about AF speed are just wusses who need to grow a pair, but that's quite unfair (even if there's a seed of truth....).

I tip my hat to smatty for his good advice, it echoes my own experience. First off, these Fuji cameras are not DSLRs, that's clear - yet there seems to be an expectation that they're a seamless evolution of the DSLR: wrong.

Secondly, time has to be spent learning about how to caress them into their best performance in a given situation. It's second nature for me now, with X-E1 and XF 35, to switch immediately to M and hit AF-L when I can't lock in low light. No fuss, no toys out of pram, that's what usually works and I just do it. That's just one example. I didn't learn this the first day I had the camera, that's for sure.

There is an onus on the user to engage in an effective manner; there's little to be gained from wailing that the camera's rubbish when the user has failed to engage - look around and ask why other people are doing ok. If you're missing 50% or more of your shots, look first to improving technique and last to reducing expectation. Above all, if you're not a pro, remember it's not the end of the world and that you can learn from the missed shot.

I strongly believe that the Fujis are designed to enhance the enjoyment of the process, not as an almost-invisible means to an end. I almost get the impression sometimes that people use DSLRs as an expensive de-luxe point and shoot, where any thought is reduced to one button and that's it; that's probably why I don't want one.

Re: kids and Fuji AF, check mostly.unoriginal's stream as he seems to have it down pat http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancec/

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fuji P
fuji P OP Regular Member • Posts: 231
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed

Bravo!

Drifting ever so slightly away from my post but picking up your point about people and DSLR`s,

I went to Warner Bros. studios for the Harry Potter event and I watched a guy walking around with a very expensive DSLR - holding it and shooting shot after shot - with one hand.

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John Carson Veteran Member • Posts: 4,216
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed
2

57LowRider wrote:

There is an onus on the user to engage in an effective manner; there's little to be gained from wailing that the camera's rubbish when the user has failed to engage - look around and ask why other people are doing ok. If you're missing 50% or more of your shots, look first to improving technique and last to reducing expectation. Above all, if you're not a pro, remember it's not the end of the world and that you can learn from the missed shot.

It is a mistake to believe that everyone who points out the autofocus limitations of the cameras is unhappy with them. I love my X-E2 and I am not fretting about its limitations, which I already knew about going in.

However, the purpose of these forums is to give a realistic picture of the strengths and limitations of the hardware, so that new buyers know what they are getting. That means that the gushing enthusiasm of some must be countered by the more critical assessments of others. I am grateful to those users who prepared me for what to expect.

I strongly believe that the Fujis are designed to enhance the enjoyment of the process, not as an almost-invisible means to an end. I almost get the impression sometimes that people use DSLRs as an expensive de-luxe point and shoot, where any thought is reduced to one button and that's it; that's probably why I don't want one.

I think that is just rationalization. Fuji would LOVE to have lightning fast autofocus and would LOVE it if it could make the production of great photos easier. The current limitations are a reflection of the current state of Fuji technology, they don't represent some view about the ideal approach to photography.

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57even Senior Member • Posts: 9,581
Re: LOL
3

John Motts wrote:

57even wrote:

Frankly I am amazed Henri Cartier Bresson managed to take any situational photographs at all.

Expectations and standards were very different then.

Many of Cartier Bresson's photographs, wonderful as they were, would not be considered up to the technical standards of today.

What held Bresson back was not the speed of his autofocus (he used zone focus which any half-sensible street photographer would do) but the quality of film.

If people stopped obsessing about their overkill cameras and looked at how he did it, they would achieve a lot more and spend a lot less.

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photoreddi Veteran Member • Posts: 6,543
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed

fuji P wrote:

Bravo!

Drifting ever so slightly away from my post but picking up your point about people and DSLR`s,

I went to Warner Bros. studios for the Harry Potter event and I watched a guy walking around with a very expensive DSLR - holding it and shooting shot after shot - with one hand.

Did you ask Ashton for his autograph?

(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 4,734
not a lot of composition time in action shooting
1

I agree that a whole lot of the time, the whole notion of focus speed being the most important thing in the world is pretty whacked out. Maybe it's because I still shoot view camera and pinhole camera from time to time. The whole process there is very painstaking and slow. Focus speed issues didn't seem to harm Frank Capa, Ansel Adams, Graciela Iturbide, etc.

However, focus speed does matter in some situations. Try and shoot a herding dog competition from an interesting perspective (meaning down on the ground in the pen) or a frisbee dog competition from that same (on the ground under the leaping dog) perspective and suddenly focus speed matters a whole lot. Or, try to capture nice candids of a room full of 4 year olds who've just been given bubbles or balls to play with. Yeah, you can wait until they're tired and slow down… but those aren't nearly as interesting.

Perhaps its because I still shoot using some of the slowest cameras to operate, that I don't get lathered up about focus speed. Yeah, I do know its slow, and I emphasize that to people who are thinking about buying a camera because they want to photograph things that aren't so easy to shoot with slow AF.

But, I take my DSLR when I know I'm going to shoot difficult situations. BTW, I still lose shots to missed AF, because I put myself in situations (low angles very close up low light) where no AF system in the world will nail all the shots. But it does get more usable shots than I'd get manual focus.

And I use my Fuji or m4/3 cameras when I know that fastest AF doesn't matter, but weight and size does.

I tell people all the time - stop saying your camera's flawed because there are nothing BUT flawed cameras in the world.

Start taking responsibility for your own results, and you'll be surprised how good your camera gets.

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Combatmedic870 Senior Member • Posts: 1,102
RIDICULOUS
4

fuji P wrote:

Sorry - but this really "Gets my Goat".

People keep posting about focusing speed - this camera is faster than that camera - with this lens - with that lens - with this turned on - with that turned off!!!!!

When you take a picture, you think about the finished scene / subject and how you want the photo to look, you compose the scene, check your settings, check 100 other things then - focus. The focusing is the least time consuming part of the process and in my view, unless you are shooting sport, moving wildlife, fast moving subjects etc. the time it takes is not critical.

If anyone can provide an image where a shot was ruined due to focusing speed being a nano second slower than expected or can tell a story where they missed a once in a lifetime shot because of "slow" focusing - I would like to hear it.

Awaiting the flood.

And this lands in the #1 spot for the dumbest posting Ive seen in the X forums.

People have different needs. I have missed countless shots shooting my dog. Do I stop the lens down to F8 and try to zone focus? NO  I want my shots to look a specific way. When i get the shot, I am rewarded. Will I be replacing my XE-1 for the XT-1 mainly just for faster focusing? YES.

For me, it takes the camera longer to focus, then it does for me to compose the scene. I already know what i want the shot to look like, and the settings dont need to be checked because I set them.

I do still happen to have all of my missed shots if you would like me to flood this post with a couple 1000 missed shots to shut you up. You cannot tell me i was doing anything wrong in the shots...i had my settings set how I wanted them. Like i said, i could have a better hit rate with the lens stopped down. But that isnt how i want the shot. I do prefocus some shots...its not fool proof, because you are looking through an EVF.

If the focus wasnt slowish with the XE-1...they wouldnt have put PDAF on the XE-2...They would have left everything the same. They wouldnt have put out 2(atleast) different FW updates to speed the focus up on these cameras.

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Joachim Gerstl
Joachim Gerstl Veteran Member • Posts: 6,561
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed
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Joachim Gerstl
Joachim Gerstl Veteran Member • Posts: 6,561
Can we at least agree that slow AF is not an advantage. ;)
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57LowRider Senior Member • Posts: 3,781
Re: Once And For All - All this "Nuts" about Focusing Speed
1

John Carson wrote:

57LowRider wrote:

I strongly believe that the Fujis are designed to enhance the enjoyment of the process, not as an almost-invisible means to an end. I almost get the impression sometimes that people use DSLRs as an expensive de-luxe point and shoot, where any thought is reduced to one button and that's it; that's probably why I don't want one.

I think that is just rationalization. Fuji would LOVE to have lightning fast autofocus and would LOVE it if it could make the production of great photos easier. The current limitations are a reflection of the current state of Fuji technology, they don't represent some view about the ideal approach to photography.

I'd actually deviated from the whole AF speed debate there. The manual dials and aperture ring are telling us about the Fuji philosophy, drawing us in to actually thinking about the relationship between the three corners of photography rather than letting the camera choose (I exclude the X-M1 / X-A1 from this). My ex-commercial friend with the 5D always shoots manual with any camera and finds hers counter-intuitive, she's always  spinning a command dial the wrong way and it bugs her; she covets my X-E1 with a manual Nikkor 35mm f2.8 on it, so AF doesn't even figure in her thoughts.

It begs the question whether most people actually want to take snaps rather than photographs (assuming that there's a considerable difference), if you see what I mean.

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57even Senior Member • Posts: 9,581
Re: RIDICULOUS

Combatmedic870 wrote:

fuji P wrote:

Sorry - but this really "Gets my Goat".

People keep posting about focusing speed - this camera is faster than that camera - with this lens - with that lens - with this turned on - with that turned off!!!!!

When you take a picture, you think about the finished scene / subject and how you want the photo to look, you compose the scene, check your settings, check 100 other things then - focus. The focusing is the least time consuming part of the process and in my view, unless you are shooting sport, moving wildlife, fast moving subjects etc. the time it takes is not critical.

If anyone can provide an image where a shot was ruined due to focusing speed being a nano second slower than expected or can tell a story where they missed a once in a lifetime shot because of "slow" focusing - I would like to hear it.

Awaiting the flood.

And this lands in the #1 spot for the dumbest posting Ive seen in the X forums.

People have different needs. I have missed countless shots shooting my dog. Do I stop the lens down to F8 and try to zone focus? NO I want my shots to look a specific way. When i get the shot, I am rewarded. Will I be replacing my XE-1 for the XT-1 mainly just for faster focusing? YES.

For me, it takes the camera longer to focus, then it does for me to compose the scene. I already know what i want the shot to look like, and the settings dont need to be checked because I set them.

I do still happen to have all of my missed shots if you would like me to flood this post with a couple 1000 missed shots to shut you up. You cannot tell me i was doing anything wrong in the shots...i had my settings set how I wanted them. Like i said, i could have a better hit rate with the lens stopped down. But that isnt how i want the shot. I do prefocus some shots...its not fool proof, because you are looking through an EVF.

If the focus wasnt slowish with the XE-1...they wouldnt have put PDAF on the XE-2...They would have left everything the same. They wouldnt have put out 2(atleast) different FW updates to speed the focus up on these cameras.

You don't need F8 to zone focus. You need to know the DOF at the approximate shooting distance.

And the historical issue with X cameras is no longer relevant. Focus speed and shutter lag on the XT1 should be adequate for most usage. If it isn't then I question how you are going about it.

It's certainly better than quite a few SLRs I have owned.

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