Leica Q2 AF issues with backlit scenes

Started Sep 28, 2019 | Discussions
lnsmr New Member • Posts: 13
Leica Q2 AF issues with backlit scenes

General impression for Q/Q2 owner seems to be accurate and fast AF, and that has been my experience as well, even in dark scenes (although annoying lagged EVF).  However, I have had many missed focus with backlit situations when I shoot people who are in front of strong light source (e.g., the sun).

The red-cross AF indication is actually acceptable to me.  Frustrating as it is, at least I know AF failed.  I generally switched to MF.  The problem is that I also had a large number of false positive AF indication that I only learn about missed AF when I process later.

Any tips or suggestions?

Vikas M Gore
Vikas M Gore Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
Re: Leica Q2 AF issues with backlit scenes

Have you tried using spot or field modes (see page 61 in the English manual).

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OP lnsmr New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Leica Q2 AF issues with backlit scenes

Vikas M Gore wrote:

Have you tried using spot or field modes (see page 61 in the English manual).

Always used spot. Is field better?

qianjin Regular Member • Posts: 208
Re: Leica Q2 AF issues with backlit scenes

lnsmr wrote:

Vikas M Gore wrote:

Have you tried using spot or field modes (see page 61 in the English manual).

Always used spot. Is field better?

My personal experience is that field is even worse than spot.

AFc might be a little bit better. But I found manual is the best, always!

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TheClueless
TheClueless Senior Member • Posts: 2,140
Panasonic familiarity does prep you to a degree.

I know enough to switch to manual focus in certain situations. Challenging conditions are definitely a cue to move to MF, as are some potentially not that challenging scenarios (like shooting through clean glass not at an angle). I'm assuming you have the ground-floor smarts to have selected the right mode already, but even then the way the Q's focus is not foolproof - even if you're sticking a spot right on the target. I like tack sharp and MF is the way I get reliable tack sharp.

And besides that, I have used MF a lot on the Q simply because it's easy to transpose M experience to it, as opposed to something significantly crappier to use like the X100F / X-Pro2.

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Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,475
Re: Panasonic familiarity does prep you to a degree.

NO AF system I've ever used has ever been foolproof. This is one reason why I just stick with M and R lenses when using my CL. AF is just an occasionally nice convenience to me.

Vikas M Gore
Vikas M Gore Senior Member • Posts: 2,397
Re: Leica Q2 AF issues with backlit scenes

lnsmr wrote:

Vikas M Gore wrote:

Have you tried using spot or field modes (see page 61 in the English manual).

Always used spot. Is field better?

If you want an exact spot then spot is good.  I've only found it useful in macro mode where I want to use a wide aperture and focus on an exact part of, say, a flower.  The field still gives you a narrow enough area but is less fussy.

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OP lnsmr New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Panasonic familiarity does prep you to a degree.

Godfrey wrote:

NO AF system I've ever used has ever been foolproof. This is one reason why I just stick with M and R lenses when using my CL. AF is just an occasionally nice convenience to me.

Tried field focus earlier today and still missed some focus.  To be fair, this seems to be a problem for most focusing mechanism, and my RX1M2 has similar difficulties.

Q2 MF is still by wire, but it is implemented so well (much better than RX1M2) that I love using it.  But MF is much slower than AF when shooting people.  My two young kids move around so much that the window (especially two of them in the same frame) for capturing the good moment is very small.  The missed AF is all the more frustrating.  Previously with DSLRs, it was simply a matter of shooting many frames with AF tracking and keep the few good ones.

Any tips on settings for quick MF?  Currently I am relying on 3x magnification (more FOV than 6x) with highlight, but sometimes get soft focus when shooting f/1.7.  Wonder how reliable is the AF highlight assist.  Perhaps that allows focusing without magnification.

TheClueless
TheClueless Senior Member • Posts: 2,140
Quick MF

Peak, no magnification.

Practice.

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Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,475
Re: Panasonic familiarity does prep you to a degree.

lnsmr wrote:

...Any tips on settings for quick MF? Currently I am relying on 3x magnification (more FOV than 6x) with highlight, but sometimes get soft focus when shooting f/1.7. Wonder how reliable is the AF highlight assist. Perhaps that allows focusing without magnification.

Learn to think in focus zones rather than critical focus.

I use manual focus lenses on my CL because I can just set the distance and focus zone with the focus and aperture, and then I don't focus at all: I just frame and make exposures. This is perhaps a little more difficult on the Q/Q2, I'm not sure, but I do the same with every camera. It just takes a little time and experimentation so that you understand how much focus 'criticality' is essential to your satisfaction ... how much defocus you can tolerate and still get the results you want.

I often get a baseline setting by using maximum magnification and focus on something critically, just so I know where the right point is, then I just move the focusing ring a nudge this way or that by estimation when actually shooting. I've gotten very good results this way.

G

OP lnsmr New Member • Posts: 13
Re: Panasonic familiarity does prep you to a degree.

Godfrey wrote:

lnsmr wrote:

...Any tips on settings for quick MF? Currently I am relying on 3x magnification (more FOV than 6x) with highlight, but sometimes get soft focus when shooting f/1.7. Wonder how reliable is the AF highlight assist. Perhaps that allows focusing without magnification.

Learn to think in focus zones rather than critical focus.

I use manual focus lenses on my CL because I can just set the distance and focus zone with the focus and aperture, and then I don't focus at all: I just frame and make exposures. This is perhaps a little more difficult on the Q/Q2, I'm not sure, but I do the same with every camera. It just takes a little time and experimentation so that you understand how much focus 'criticality' is essential to your satisfaction ... how much defocus you can tolerate and still get the results you want.

I often get a baseline setting by using maximum magnification and focus on something critically, just so I know where the right point is, then I just move the focusing ring a nudge this way or that by estimation when actually shooting. I've gotten very good results this way.

G

Thank you for the tip.  The difficulty of Q2 focusing has to do with focusing by wire implementation, although it is much better implemented than other such mechanisms I have used.  Contrast assist and stopping down definitely help as well.

I am really hoping that Leica would improve its AF by firmware update (even if they charge for it), like what Canon did with the RF.  Just got back from a family trip in Kyoto.  Many missed shots.  Noticed that most of the missed AF has to do with contrasty background, as the spot focus point seems not a point but a zone (supposedly smaller than field focus?), and it jumps when someone with high contrast cloth walks behind.  A good eye AF would likely to eliminate this problem, although I have not experienced with the latest Sony yet.

Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,475
Re: Panasonic familiarity does prep you to a degree.

Contrasty, complex scenes with multiple potential targets at different distances are always the most difficult for AF. I've not yet found any AF system that handled them with near 100% consistency. I think it's just the nature of the beast...

G

Verto Regular Member • Posts: 338
Re: Leica Q2 AF issues with backlit scenes

lnsmr wrote:

General impression for Q/Q2 owner seems to be accurate and fast AF, and that has been my experience as well, even in dark scenes (although annoying lagged EVF). However, I have had many missed focus with backlit situations when I shoot people who are in front of strong light source (e.g., the sun).

The red-cross AF indication is actually acceptable to me. Frustrating as it is, at least I know AF failed. I generally switched to MF. The problem is that I also had a large number of false positive AF indication that I only learn about missed AF when I process later.

Any tips or suggestions?

I've had similar results. The Q2 autofocus is only OK. Definitely not fantastic.

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