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Xenon
25th October 2013, 09:13 AM
I'm wondering if anyone has had the time to make any real assessments of the E-M1 vs. mid range DSLRs, such as the Nikon D7100 or Canon 70D?

Not so much with regard to IQ or DR, but specifically in regards to C-AF.

Obviously there are no cross-type PDAF sensors on the E-M1, but many of the results I've seen on here and other forums in respect of action photographs look to be pretty acceptable.

Is anyone prepared to give an idea of their impressions of comparability with the DSLRs above which sport many cross-type PDAF sensors?

Hopefully next week when/if mine finally arrives, I'll have an opportunity to check this out for myself, but in the meantime any observations will be appreciated.

David Morison
25th October 2013, 09:57 AM
I don't often venture into the realm of sport photography so, as many here know, my only work with CAF on the E-M1 has been on birds in flight. While the E-M1 is a league ahead compared to the E-M5 in this respect it hasn't so far measured up to my Canon 7D, although I have more work to do in this area.
While I haven't had any lockups with CAF as a few have, this aspect is holding my testing back a little until we know what the score is. I have had some acceptable results using S-AF and "H" level frame rate so I will be continuing to test in this area. Not sure about the 70D which is much newer than the 7D but the latter appears at present to be more user friendly in the BIF department than the E-M1, although the noise levels at higher ISOs (required for high speed action shots) are much better in the E-M1.

David

jamsa
25th October 2013, 09:59 AM
The reliability concern I have atm based upon already reported issues has made me also wonder how it compares as I like sports events and CAF is important to me after reliability of course.

Xenon
25th October 2013, 10:12 AM
I don't often venture into the realm of sport photography so, as many here know, my only work with CAF on the E-M1 has been on birds in flight. While the E-M1 is a league ahead compared to the E-M5 in this respect it hasn't so far measured up to my Canon 7D, although I have more work to do in this area.
While I haven't had any lockups with CAF as a few have, this aspect is holding my testing back a little until we know what the score is. I have had some acceptable results using S-AF and "H" level frame rate so I will be continuing to test in this area. Not sure about the 70D which is much newer than the 7D but the latter appears at present to be more user friendly in the BIF department than the E-M1, although the noise levels at higher ISOs (required for high speed action shots) are much better in the E-M1.

David

Thanks, David.

Recently I have started the long road (slippery slope?) to more BIFs, so your observations are particularly appreciated :)

I have used a 7D, and was very impressed, but it is a weighty beast and I have no Canon glass, so an expensive route to go!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Xenon
25th October 2013, 10:15 AM
The reliability concern I have atm based upon already reported issues has made me also wonder how it compares as I like sports events and CAF is important to me after reliability of course.

I share your concerns over reliability, although it is early days.

Those worries add to the mix, so I'm watching forums, and trying to get a "feel' for the E-M1...almost impossible of course until I get my hands on one! ;)

brian1208
25th October 2013, 10:16 AM
My experiences with BIF and Sport shooting have been very positive (even taking the "problems" into account)

Whilst it lacks the sophistication of the 7D focus options I am getting results that I never managed with the 7D.

I reckon that things such as the better EVF view compared to the OVF of the 7D (a surprise for me), and the lighter weight all contribute but I am finding that I can get focus and maintain it with moving objects, be it bird, windsurfer, active child or motorbike with equal or greater ease than I managed with the 7D

Xenon
25th October 2013, 10:19 AM
My experiences with BIF and Sport shooting have been very positive (even taking the "problems" into account)

Whilst it lacks the sophistication of the 7D focus options I am getting results that I never managed with the 7D.

I reckon that things such as the better EVF view compared to the OVF of the 7D (a surprise for me), and the lighter weight all contribute but I am finding that I can get focus and maintain it with moving objects, be it bird, windsurfer, active child or motorbike with equal or greater ease than I managed with the 7D

Thanks, Brian :)

Yes, I've seen some of your excellent results!

As you say, problems aside...and hopefully yours will be resolved quickly!

Grumpy Hec
25th October 2013, 10:33 AM
Whilst many are focused, pun intended, on CAF I would be interested on thoughts on other wider aspects such as IQ, general usability, battery life, OIS etc.

I'm putting aside the rather worrying potential problems with lock-up for now on the assumption that a firmware update could resolve.

cheers

Hec

photo_owl
25th October 2013, 10:48 AM
Not so much with regard to IQ or DR, but specifically in regards to C-AF.
.

which aspect of C-AF?

there are many elements that may, or may not, contribute to the perception of C-AF 'performance'; with probably the biggest being the camera and operator being on the same page!

with the E-M1 you have the additional factor of a not particularily clearly defined (technically) focus functionality for 43 glass.

the only real C-AF performance test in MO is that of the systems ability to maintain focus on a moving subject once locked. The initial AF lock is common to the camera's overall AF capability in any mode - it's the ability to maintain that focus when the object changes it's distance that is 'C-AF performance' (tracking)

the DSLRs use a combination of the phase detection AF points, AF passover (from one point to another) and predictive alogrithms to deliver that.

I don't know what the E-M1 uses, and as Ian has already posted, Olympus don't seem to be saying much about how they achieve it! I suspect it's tied in with the FD software in that you effectively tell the camera to maintain focus on the bit that looks like the bit you focus on with your initial lock (if that makes any sense!). Bluntly, I do not expect the camera to be able to deliver as well as a DSLR on fast moving subjects that aren't on a smooth speed and angle vector ie whilst it should tracka fast moving racing car, an antelope trying to evade a lion might prove a challenge to that part of the system.
As well as the maintaince of focus with an uninterupted target you also have the ability of the camera not to be distracted by briefly intervening elements (lock).

Any assesment of performance without using tracking and lock are more a test of the operator's performance.

Given that basic C-AF underpins the delivery of all movies from the camera suggests to me that the underlying C-AF capability will be there.

Then there's the small matter of the glass - all the glass I would generally associate with C-AF in practice is 43 rather than m43, and despite the obvious AF performance with that glass I do not expect this to carry over into C-AF. I have a good oportunity to assess this in a couple of weeks, but I'm not expecting miracles.

Seonnaidh
25th October 2013, 10:49 AM
I've had some more than reasonable results photographing White Tailed Sea Eagles in flight from a hide. Done with the E-M5.
If the E-M1 is an improvement on this then wahey here I come. Bit concerned about this locking up issue though. And as Grumpy Hec has mentioned, battery life, reliability, IQ
and usability will be major considerations.

Xenon
25th October 2013, 11:20 AM
which aspect of C-AF?

C-AF in respect of quick AF on fast moving objects, i.e. BIF or sports action, as opposed to C-AF +TR


I don't know what the E-M1 uses, and as Ian has already posted, Olympus don't seem to be saying much about how they achieve it! of the system.


I presume, therefore, that we must rely on empirical testing for now, which is why I'm hoping to hear early user's opinions at this stage

I have a good oportunity to assess this in a couple of weeks, but I'm not expecting miracles.

No, me neither :) But some results on here have seemed promising so far.

Time will tell.

brian1208
25th October 2013, 11:36 AM
As well as the maintaince of focus with an uninterupted target you also have the ability of the camera not to be distracted by briefly intervening elements (lock

where the track is consistent I am happy that it will do that, based on my work with the EM-1

an antelope trying to evade a lion might prove a challenge to that part of the system.


Agree, (but we don't get many of these in the UK :D)

DSLRs use a combination of the phase detection AF points, AF passover (from one point to another) and predictive alogrithms

As we don't know how Olympus is set up I don't think any of us can comment sensibly on this, but there is no doubt that the extensive history of "CanNikon" developing this must, I would imagine, give them a significant advantage

Then there's the small matter of the glass Absolutely, and based on what I am seeing now I cant wait for the "Pro" glass series to be released (but, the same applies to the CaNikon system too,) one would never get comparable focus / tracking results from a low end consumer DSLR + long zoom compared to a fast aperture, "L" lens on a "Pro" body canon set up

My simple view is that no m4/3rds camera + current range of lenses will ever match the focus tracking performance of top end DSLR + pro lenses BUT they can now meet something around 90% (picked from the air) of users needs for action and wildlife work

If you want the ultimate performance you must pay for it, in money and weight

andym
25th October 2013, 12:08 PM
Well I've had mine about three weeks now and used it extensively.I did start an observations tread but here are a few more.

Build:-Very good,the finish seems to be like the E5 and much better than the E-M5. I don't think there's going to be any peeling paint on the corners on this one.
The only thing I feel is a little flimsy is the card compartment door. When you push it back into position it seems to not move evenly(hard to explain)on the track. Be-careful with this.

Ergonomics:-Fine lots of programmable buttons and much better placing and size than the E-M5. Just need the grip which I think will match my 4/3 lenses much better.

OIS:-As good as the E-M5 and much better than the E5. On my OMD's I tend to leave it on all the time and forget about it, something I wouldn't do on my E5.

Battery Life:-About the same as the E-M5, I get about 140 shots out of one battery.

Focus:-With 4/3 lenses it is quick but as there is only focus sensors in the horizontal plain you have to be a little thoughtful about where you are focusing ie don't try to focus on things with lots of vertical lines.
That said the PADF focus seem much more consistently accurate than on my E5 ie if I take a series of shots of the same thing and re-focus between each shot the E5 will miss some slightly but the E-M1 seem to be spot on every time.
I dabbled with CAF but more testing to do.
I've only got one M4/3 lens and not tried it yet.

The view-finder is a dream, I manual focus a lot so I couldn't ask for more.

Image quality:-I can't see much difference from the E-M5 but if your coming from one of the 4/3 cameras you will.

I've not had any of the aforementioned "lock-ups" so may just be lucky. That said my E-M5 will lock-up from time to time ie still working but unable to change settings or even power down so it's battery out.

All in all I'm pleased so far and if I think of anymore I'll add it.

Lots of images here on my FlickR from the E-M1 if your interested.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/andypeter/

photo_owl
25th October 2013, 01:01 PM
Focus:-With 4/3 lenses it is quick but as there is only focus sensors in the horizontal plain you have to be a little thoughtful about where you are focusing ie don't try to focus on things with lots of vertical lines.
That said the PADF focus seem much more consistently accurate than on my E5 ie if I take a series of shots of the same thing and re-focus between each shot the E5 will miss some slightly but the E-M1 seem to be spot on every time.
I dabbled with CAF but more testing to do.
I've only got one M4/3 lens and not tried it yet.

The view-finder is a dream, I manual focus a lot so I couldn't ask for more.

Image quality:-I can't see much difference from the E-M5 but if your coming from one of the 4/3 cameras you will.

I've not had any of the aforementioned "lock-ups" so may just be lucky.

I missed the E5 and E-M5 so my reference points were the 3 and 30 ( the latter being better at AF all round) but my experiences match yours here exactly. *chr

Mickg
25th October 2013, 07:27 PM
Andym.

Excellent work with the e-m1 on your flickr stream.
May I enquire if you've tried your sigma 50-500 yet & also are you shooting jpegs or raw?

Mick

andym
25th October 2013, 09:39 PM
Andym.

Excellent work with the e-m1 on your flickr stream.
May I enquire if you've tried your sigma 50-500 yet & also are you shooting jpegs or raw?

Mick

The Titmice are with the 50-500 and the X2 digital converter just to see what I could get away with hand held.
I think there are a few more also.
Apart from those with the x2 converter which are jpegs the rest are in raw. Early ones converted with DNG converter and then to jpeg, later with Silkypix from ORF to Jpeg.

*chr*chr*chr

Mickg
25th October 2013, 09:53 PM
Ok thanks.
Are you generally positive about the bigma with the e-m1?
I have the lens & e-m1 on order so am interested in your opinion.

Thanks Mick.

andym
26th October 2013, 10:30 AM
Ok thanks.
Are you generally positive about the bigma with the e-m1?
I have the lens & e-m1 on order so am interested in your opinion.

Thanks Mick.

Hi

The 50-500 seems to focus at about the same speed as on the E5 but as said before I think the overall focus consistency is better.
No really being a tripod user I am happy with the results of the Bigma which is helped by the great IS and much better high ISO of the OMD's

Hope this helps.

Mickg
26th October 2013, 05:18 PM
Nice one. Thanks for replying.

Regards Mick.