First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

Started Mar 1, 2017 | Discussions
MinAZ
MinAZ Senior Member • Posts: 3,978
First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light
4

Admittedly, the conditions were demanding even for a DSLR. It was a low key studio shoot, with the only source of illumination (before flash) being the modeling lamps of several Buff strobes (I forget the exact model). And, needless to say, this being a test of the M system, I tried using an M lens, specifically the 18-150mm. Sad to say, this combo simply did not work. The lens was too slow to AF under these conditions. Raising the light level to probably the equivalent of 1000+ watts continuous, and the AF worked reliably but was slow, and in fact everything about this camera is still slow when compared to the mirrorless competition. Nothing was intolerable, more like annoying. The responsiveness of even simple tasks like swiping the rear LCD to swap photos or move the AF point was just sluggish.

The strengths? The same as before - the image quality. The M5 continues the fine tradition of rendering images as only Canon can. It's superb, even with a consumer lens.

But I cannot use it for any serious shoots for the reasons cited. This may seem like I am recommending against this camera, but that is far from the truth. If the price does not deter, I actually highly recommend it because low light is not everything unless you happen to be into astrophotography I guess.

Brian Cohen Regular Member • Posts: 165
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

MinAZ wrote:

Admittedly, the conditions were demanding even for a DSLR. It was a low key studio shoot, with the only source of illumination (before flash) being the modeling lamps of several Buff strobes (I forget the exact model). And, needless to say, this being a test of the M system, I tried using an M lens, specifically the 18-150mm. Sad to say, this combo simply did not work. The lens was too slow to AF under these conditions. Raising the light level to probably the equivalent of 1000+ watts continuous, and the AF worked reliably but was slow, and in fact everything about this camera is still slow when compared to the mirrorless competition. Nothing was intolerable, more like annoying. The responsiveness of even simple tasks like swiping the rear LCD to swap photos or move the AF point was just sluggish.

The strengths? The same as before - the image quality. The M5 continues the fine tradition of rendering images as only Canon can. It's superb, even with a consumer lens.

But I cannot use it for any serious shoots for the reasons cited. This may seem like I am recommending against this camera, but that is far from the truth. If the price does not deter, I actually highly recommend it because low light is not everything unless you happen to be into astrophotography I guess.

I agree, with the exception of the 22mm f2 lens the existing selection of lenses is very slow. I'm in the process of deciding on a mirrorless camera and had my first opportunity to play with the M5 when visiting a store in Ottawa. I live in the country and don't get too many opportunities to get into town, especially in winter! Even with store lighting I found it hard to get focus lock at longer focal lengths, f6.3 comes very quickly on the 18-150.

The saving grace is that I own a good selection of fast EF glass and for studio work I can live with that as weight isn't an issue on a tripod. Having a lightweight body, for me, is ideal for a travel camera without sacrificing IQ by going with a point and shoot.

I'm trusting Canon will augment their lens selection with some fixed f4 or better zooms and some fast primes, in the meantime at least I have the option of EF glass and an adapter.

 Brian Cohen's gear list:Brian Cohen's gear list
Olympus E-M5 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 +3 more
Jonathan Brady
Jonathan Brady Veteran Member • Posts: 5,930
I agree Re: slow lenses

IMO, the only glaring weakness in the M lineup is the lack of even somewhat fast glass, the obvious 22/2 aside.

The zoom lenses are incredibly useful as far as range goes but yes, the aperture closes FAST  on them.  With the 18-150, it hits f/6.3 just before 60mm.  So in essence, it's similar to the EF-M 18-55 (which is f/3.5-5.6) and then it becomes a 55(ish)mm-150 f/6.3 lens.  Obviously, the other medium-to-long-range zooms are similar in max aperture vs focal length specs.

I'd like to see a 30-35mm f/2 or faster prime, a 50-ish mm f/2 or faster prime (preferably stabilized), and an 85mm f/2 or faster, stabilized prime.  Heck, even a 30/60/90 trifecta (stabilized, of course!) would be pretty cool and quite marketable, I think - assuming no slower than f/2 max aperture.  I think this would round out the offerings SUBSTANTIALLY and it would snag quite a few people who are holding out on the system or have made up their mind already to try another system.  I'm sure a fast 15mm prime would go over well too (and would fit nicely into a 15/30/60/90 set).

But, Canon is a SMART company that knows how to maximize their ROI.  So, I'm sure my ramblings are irrelevant and if they were a potential source of excellent ROI, would have already been implemented.

 Jonathan Brady's gear list:Jonathan Brady's gear list
Sony a9 Sony Alpha a7R III Zeiss Batis 25mm F2 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony FE 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 G OSS +3 more
xsnrg
xsnrg Forum Member • Posts: 67
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light
1

MinAZ wrote:

...low light is not everything unless you happen to be into astrophotography I guess.

Interestingly, astro is fully manual including focus and no flash.  It is all about the sensor, and the sensor is quite good.  I would say your studio lighting situation is far more demanding of the full package, and your findings reflect those of others.  Great picture, sub-optimal low light auto-focus.  The lens you used is also quite slow if you were at all into the tele end of it.  It drops off fast.

 xsnrg's gear list:xsnrg's gear list
Canon EOS M5 Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Canon EF-M 28mm F3.5 Macro IS STM Canon 70-300 F4-5.6 IS II Canon EF-M 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM +1 more
M02 Contributing Member • Posts: 603
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

How much of the slow AF would you say is the camera and how much is the lens? I love the 18-150 but at f/6.3 over much of its range it is really a good light lens. Did you try some fast (adapted) primes?

 M02's gear list:M02's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS M Canon EOS M5 Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM +11 more
MinAZ
OP MinAZ Senior Member • Posts: 3,978
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

M02 wrote:

How much of the slow AF would you say is the camera and how much is the lens? I love the 18-150 but at f/6.3 over much of its range it is really a good light lens. Did you try some fast (adapted) primes?

It's a combination. A superior AF system will allow you to shoot with a slower lens, and a faster lens will allow you to use a less capable AF system. So this is not a straightforward answer! There is actually a table that Canon publishes that shows which lens can focus on which AF point using what aperture, but bugger me if I can ever be bothered to look that up! I would say though, that the easiest way to improve AF performance would be to use a fast prime, but I have not yet tested an adapted prime performance. If I do, I will be sure to let everyone know on these forums.

burnymeister
burnymeister Senior Member • Posts: 1,564
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light
1

Why not go with something like a Canon 50 f/1.4 or f/1.8 with the adapter for low light work? Seems like that would be a much better choice?

-- hide signature --

Vern Dewit
Calgary, Alberta Canada
http://www.explor8ion.com
http://verndewit.com/

 burnymeister's gear list:burnymeister's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Leica CL Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro +3 more
pekr
pekr Contributing Member • Posts: 638
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light
1

Thanks for the post - we have a studio too. I plan to buy M6 just for street photo and travelling in general, but was curious, how will it perform in a studio, where the only light available is coming from the modelling lamps. Now I might know the answer - it is simply not on par with the DSLR. But maybe, using an adapter, M6 would work with Tamron 17-50/2.8 (simply a fast lens) quite satisfactory. In two months, I will hopefully know more

 pekr's gear list:pekr's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Alan Sh Senior Member • Posts: 1,994
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

I'm not sure I follow this.

Why would you NOT use a proper DSLR in a studio. Surely the whole point of mirrorless is its weight for using on the go. OK - it's not that good under studio lights, but it was never designed for that (in my opinion).

I can see that as an intellectual exercise, this is a good test - but for real work? I don't think so.

Or am I missing something?

Alan

 Alan Sh's gear list:Alan Sh's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS M5 Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40 (TZ60) Canon EOS M100 +13 more
pekr
pekr Contributing Member • Posts: 638
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

Alan Sh wrote:

I'm not sure I follow this.

Why would you NOT use a proper DSLR in a studio. Surely the whole point of mirrorless is its weight for using on the go. OK - it's not that good under studio lights, but it was never designed for that (in my opinion).

I can see that as an intellectual exercise, this is a good test - but for real work? I don't think so.

Or am I missing something?

No, mostly an excercise. I tend to create complicated scenarios from time to time E.g. when we do weddings, for promoshoot, we carry our Elinchrom ELB400 + DeepOcta kit, where others would do with just the speedlite ...

I like the design of the M6 more than M5. I want an external EFV. With DSLR, I sometimes use a magnifier of the LCD screen, to see details. So I thought that with the EVF, I could see the resulting image up-front, right once I create a shot.
But with M6, I can't have an external EVF and the Skyport Transmitter, as the hot-shoe is going to be taken. I am already concluding on using a synchro cube. Complicated, isn't it? But - I like that stuff as an amusement

Petr

Alan

 pekr's gear list:pekr's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Dave Seeley Senior Member • Posts: 1,337
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

Good to get your report MinAz

I do studio model shoots with a series of speedlites on triggers, but have been doing more interior available light shots at the outset, in front of large windows.  Typically using 5d's and L glass...  but now toying with the notion of using the M5 w my 50/1.2L as an 85mm equiv for head shots.  From what you're saying, sounds like I better leave it at that...

-- hide signature --

pro photo-illustration
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Dave-Seeley/dp/1608874052/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421644292&sr=8-1&keywords=art+of+dave+seeley
http://www.DaveSeeley.com/
http://www.photographercentral.com/photographer/26551767636661/dave-seeley-boston-massachusetts
current kit: 5DsR, 5DmkIII, 16-35/4L is, 24-70/2.8L II, 24-105/4L, 70-200/2.8L IS II, 70-300/4.0-5.6L is, 100 macro/2.8L, 50/1.2L, 50/1.8stm, 40/2.8pancake, 2x III extender, 1.4x III extender, 9x550ex Speedlites, Phottix Odin Flash Triggers, Canon EOS M5, M22, M11-22, M15-45, M55-200

 Dave Seeley's gear list:Dave Seeley's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS M Canon EOS 5DS R Canon EOS M5 Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM +15 more
Dave Seeley Senior Member • Posts: 1,337
Re: I agree Re: slow lenses

Jonathan Brady wrote:

I'd like to see a 30-35mm f/2 or faster prime

Assuming you mean native, as the M22 is 35mm equiv... so

, a 50-ish mm f/2 or faster prime (preferably stabilized),

The adapted ef 35mm f/2 IS stm fits this bill as a relatively small and fast prime. I don't own it, but am flirting w getting one.

Or the ef 40mm pancake stm at f2.8 is a slower no IS cousin, and focuses very quickly on the M5

and an 85mm f/2 or faster, stabilized prime.

The various ef 50mm's adapted gets you this at f1.2, 1.4, or 1.8 stm, though no IS. The 1.2 is too big for travel, but the 1.8 stm is very light and manageable. I don't have a 1.4.

But, Canon is a SMART company that knows how to maximize their ROI. So, I'm sure my ramblings are irrelevant and if they were a potential source of excellent ROI, would have already been implemented.

Granted these options aren't m22 small, but pretty light and manageable for travel, and perhaps a reason that Canon isn't under serious pressure to produce their M native equivalents. They introduced the adapter w the original M, and I expect that they thought it would buy them a leisurely approach to native lens development. Lets hope that the positive response to the M5 and M6 will bring those lenses to market.

-
pro photo-illustration
http://www.amazon.com/Art-Dave-Seeley/dp/1608874052/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421644292&sr=8-1&keywords=art+of+dave+seeley
http://www.DaveSeeley.com/
http://www.photographercentral.com/photographer/26551767636661/dave-seeley-boston-massachusetts
current kit: 5DsR, 5DmkIII, 16-35/4L is, 24-70/2.8L II, 24-105/4L, 70-200/2.8L IS II, 70-300/4.0-5.6L is, 100 macro/2.8L, 50/1.2L, 50/1.8stm, 40/2.8pancake, 2x III extender, 1.4x III extender, 9x550ex Speedlites, Phottix Odin Flash Triggers, Canon EOS M5, M22, M11-22, M15-45, M55-200

 Dave Seeley's gear list:Dave Seeley's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS M Canon EOS 5DS R Canon EOS M5 Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM +15 more
Vlasty Senior Member • Posts: 1,852
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light
1

MinAZ wrote:

Admittedly, the conditions were demanding even for a DSLR. It was a low key studio shoot, with the only source of illumination (before flash) being the modeling lamps of several Buff strobes (I forget the exact model). And, needless to say, this being a test of the M system, I tried using an M lens, specifically the 18-150mm. Sad to say, this combo simply did not work. The lens was too slow to AF under these conditions. Raising the light level to probably the equivalent of 1000+ watts continuous, and the AF worked reliably but was slow, and in fact everything about this camera is still slow when compared to the mirrorless competition. Nothing was intolerable, more like annoying.

Im curious why you would use a superzoom for a studio shoot. I have never used one in a studio regradless of it being mirrorless or a DSLR specifacly because they are generally poor preformers.

The responsiveness of even simple tasks like swiping the rear LCD to swap photos or move the AF point was just sluggish.

I never experienced this. Infact I find the touch screen on the M5 the snapiest of all camera  touch screens I have used.

The strengths? The same as before - the image quality. The M5 continues the fine tradition of rendering images as only Canon can. It's superb, even with a consumer lens.

But I cannot use it for any serious shoots for the reasons cited.

Are your subjects moving? Just curious.

This may seem like I am recommending against this camera, but that is far from the truth. If the price does not deter, I actually highly recommend it because low light is not everything unless you happen to be into astrophotography I guess.

 Vlasty's gear list:Vlasty's gear list
Canon EOS M5 Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM +12 more
dpr4bb Senior Member • Posts: 1,132
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

MinAZ wrote:

Admittedly, the conditions were demanding even for a DSLR. It was a low key studio shoot, with the only source of illumination (before flash) being the modeling lamps of several Buff strobes (I forget the exact model). And, needless to say, this being a test of the M system, I tried using an M lens, specifically the 18-150mm. Sad to say, this combo simply did not work. The lens was too slow to AF under these conditions. Raising the light level to probably the equivalent of 1000+ watts continuous, and the AF worked reliably but was slow, and in fact everything about this camera is still slow when compared to the mirrorless competition. Nothing was intolerable, more like annoying. The responsiveness of even simple tasks like swiping the rear LCD to swap photos or move the AF point was just sluggish.

This is a surprise. DIGIC 7 should have plenty of horsepower to make things responsive. Is this a deliberate product differentiation strategy between mirrorless and DSLR lines perhaps?

The strengths? The same as before - the image quality. The M5 continues the fine tradition of rendering images as only Canon can. It's superb, even with a consumer lens.

But I cannot use it for any serious shoots for the reasons cited. This may seem like I am recommending against this camera, but that is far from the truth. If the price does not deter, I actually highly recommend it because low light is not everything unless you happen to be into astrophotography I guess.

MinAZ
OP MinAZ Senior Member • Posts: 3,978
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

Mainly convenience. I received both in the same box, so thought I would kill two birds with one stone (testing). Obviously, I ended up killing no birds at all, live and learn.

VfxByArt Forum Member • Posts: 56
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

While I'm not a fan of the lens converters, using the ef 50mm with the adapter offers an f1.4 aperture for focusing while you may be shooting at f7.1.  its still as small light lens with sharpness at the narrower aperture... you just have to manage the distortion on the f1.4 50mm for portraits.

If you are OK with manual focus, there are other manufacturers that make EF-m point lenses as well as Leica M mount lenses that can be adapted. But you loose AF which will affect your speed and your are back at square one.

 VfxByArt's gear list:VfxByArt's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Fujifilm X-T2 Canon EOS M5 Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM +7 more
Don Dement Contributing Member • Posts: 582
Re: First studio shoot with M5 - AF disappoints in low light

Based on all these posts, I decided to test my new M5 with the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 and adapter. The 50mm and 1.6 crop (80mm eq.) equates close enough to a good portrait FL for informal shots.

It's night here now, so I turned off office lights and aimed across the room, with the only light coming from my computer screen. I could barely see to walk around.

With the AF light on, or even with my finger over the light, focus was instantaneous and as sharp as we can get with ISO 25600. I had to use that to get decent shutter speed because I didn't have a tripod handy, so the noise was evident in the result, but the autofocus locked on right away - no hunting, blue squares - without the AF light regardless of the resulting picture. The lens blocks half of the AF illumination anyway.

Not scientific, but it gives me the idea that I should take that lens on my trips for in-restaurant and night street shots. So thanks to all here for discussing this.

 Don Dement's gear list:Don Dement's gear list
Canon EOS 20D Canon EOS 40D Canon EOS 7D Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EOS M5 +5 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads