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Emanuel

GH5 autofocus improvement on new firmware update for soon

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AF lock is not so useful as it seems you have to hold the button down? There is push and hold on AF in manual mode which is sort of ok.  My RX100 has push on/off toggle for AF which is the most useful as it is very soft and doesn't bump the camera like the heavy rotating AF switch.

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I guess with AF lock and touchscreen focus altogether we can track the subject going with tap-to-focus any time even when the subject moves.

With no pulsing for background. 

I also want to believe it is possible to avoid autofocus hunting on subject with the slowest settings.

Without mention to push and hold the AF button in manual mode.

Or am I wrong here?

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@Emanuel

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With no pulsing for background. 
[...]
Or am I wrong here?

That's a good way to go, yes...The second aspect is trying to keep your focus area as small as possible (without including parts of the background, if possible)...This way, you should get rid of most disturbing pulsing of background - and your Pana could concentrate on focusing in a small, defined area only, without trying to adjust focus on a large surface and depth of field (pulsing and pumping are simply tries to microadjust focus within predefined focusing area - so keep this as small as possible and drag it to your subject)...

EDIT: There is though a practical problem out there --> When shooting out of the hand and using BBF and AF-lock, you will use your thumb to keep focusing, usually with your right hand...So now, there are two flaws: A. Your right hand + right thumb are busy with keeping/releasing BBF --> you can not move focus areas with the joystick any more... B. When you want to tap focus, you have to do this with a finger from your left hand, and this way your camera could get shaky (because you will hold it for this moment with your right hand only)...

Try to track your subject within the focus area by moving the camera...for sure, this only works when the subject doesn't move toward or back to you...

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1 hour ago, Arikhan said:

@Emanuel

That's a good way to go, yes...The second aspect is trying to keep your focus area as small as possible (without including parts of the background, if possible)...This way, you should get rid of most disturbing pulsing of background - and your Pana could concentrate on focusing in a small, defined area only, without trying to adjust focus on a large surface and depth of field (pulsing and pumping are simply tries to microadjust focus within predefined focusing area - so keep this as small as possible and drag it to your subject)...

EDIT: There is though a practical problem out there --> When shooting out of the hand and using BBF and AF-lock, you will use your thumb to keep focusing, usually with your right hand...So now, there are two flaws: A. Your right hand + right thumb are busy with keeping/releasing BBF --> you can not move focus areas with the joystick any more... B. When you want to tap focus, you have to do this with a finger from your left hand, and this way your camera could get shaky (because you will hold it for this moment with your right hand only)...

Try to track your subject within the focus area by moving the camera...for sure, this only works when the subject doesn't move toward or back to you...

Would be interesting to see a video example, can you?

 

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2 hours ago, Arikhan said:

@Emanuel

That's a good way to go, yes...The second aspect is trying to keep your focus area as small as possible (without including parts of the background, if possible)...This way, you should get rid of most disturbing pulsing of background - and your Pana could concentrate on focusing in a small, defined area only, without trying to adjust focus on a large surface and depth of field (pulsing and pumping are simply tries to microadjust focus within predefined focusing area - so keep this as small as possible and drag it to your subject)...

EDIT: There is though a practical problem out there --> When shooting out of the hand and using BBF and AF-lock, you will use your thumb to keep focusing, usually with your right hand...So now, there are two flaws: A. Your right hand + right thumb are busy with keeping/releasing BBF --> you can not move focus areas with the joystick any more... B. When you want to tap focus, you have to do this with a finger from your left hand, and this way your camera could get shaky (because you will hold it for this moment with your right hand only)...

Try to track your subject within the focus area by moving the camera...for sure, this only works when the subject doesn't move toward or back to you...

Nope

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@Orangenz

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Nope

???

@Emanuel

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Would be interesting to see a video example, can you?

Emanuel, I don't do any review or howto videos...I just share here my personal non scientific experience, absolutely depending on my purposes and shooting style (in many cases "capture the moment"). Just try the BBF and AF lock method within a restricted AF area, it's really simple...

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1 hour ago, Arikhan said:

@Orangenz

???

@Emanuel

Emanuel, I don't do any review or howto videos...I just share here my personal non scientific experience, absolutely depending on my purposes and shooting style (in many cases "capture the moment"). Just try the BBF and AF lock method within a restricted AF area, it's really simple...

Well, no need for anything really elaborated : ) Simple stuff might be rather useful all the time.

I bet that "nope" up there @Orangenz is because the workaround may work out even when the subject moves.

I guess the key should be not let pulsing to pop up in the background (even though, my wondering if focus hunting issues are addressed with the slowest settings) and 'tell' the camera through touchscreen where to put the focus.

 

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@Emanuel

Never forget, that the AF issues people talk about are oviously dependent on the lens used...As @Ken Ross says, with his lens no problems (depending on his personal requirements) and the videos he posted confirm this...Other people - with different lenses - seem to have issues...So Pana should work on this issues for a future firmware - but I don't know if such an improvement is fundamentally possible in context with their currently used AF technology (contrast / DFD). Solving such failures "phenomenons" via firmware upgrade would be nice...

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33 minutes ago, Arikhan said:

@Emanuel

Never forget, that the AF issues people talk about are oviously dependent on the lens used...As @Ken Ross says, with his lens no problems (depending on his personal requirements) and the videos he posted confirm this...Other people - with different lenses - seem to have issues...So Pana should work on this issues for a future firmware - but I don't know if such an improvement is fundamentally possible in context with their currently used AF technology (contrast / DFD). Solving such failures "phenomenons" via firmware upgrade would be nice...

Right and you look like to quote me : D

I just try to figure out the chances on getting the sweet spot also in order to prevent focus hunting based on such technique:

AF lock + using touchscreen to select focus but avoiding those irritating AF microadjustments to include not only static subjects.

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@Emanuel

Just try it out - it will only takes some minutes to discover, if it's the "right" method for you to work with...

Some tipps: when you first try it out, put your camera on a tripod and use an appropriate lens/aperture to get some isolation of subject and background. Not too shallow DOF because it would make it harder to notice the background pulsing. Same if you shoot handheld and pan/tilt your camera around, you won't notice immediately the AF pulsing because of background blur...That's why it's helpful to put your cam on a tripod the first time - you will get stable enough footage to notice eventuasl pulsing/pumping outside of your AF area...Have a good time shooting!

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46 minutes ago, Arikhan said:

@Emanuel

Just try it out - it will only takes some minutes to discover, if it's the "right" method for you to work with...

Some tipps: when you first try it out, put your camera on a tripod and use an appropriate lens/aperture to get some isolation of subject and background. Not too shallow DOF because it would make it harder to notice the background pulsing. Same if you shoot handheld and pan/tilt your camera around, you won't notice immediately the AF pulsing because of background blur...That's why it's helpful to put your cam on a tripod the first time - you will get stable enough footage to notice eventuasl pulsing/pumping outside of your AF area...Have a good time shooting!

Not GH5 here yet but almost 3 decades of cameras experience from Super 8 along 16mm/Super16 and 35mm film without mention the video and broadcast worlds since SD to HDCAM or the introduction of digital cinema, not only based on RED camera(s)... ; )

Nevermind, you're right: shallow DOF can minimize the issue but I'd love to hear more directly from GH5 users on topic in the meantime.

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The only way is to set to manual focus and push the lock button to temporarily turn the af on at the set area. Or to drag and drop the focus square on the screen. Holding a button down constantly for 5 hours to lock AF while you are in AFC mode is not an option. 

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@Orangenz

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Holding a button down constantly for 5 hours to lock AF while you are in AFC mode is not an option. 

Hehe, full ACK...Best option is the manufacturer's R&D team trying to improve this BS continuous AF via firmware upgrade... :grin:

The GH5 is a typical case of a manufacturer affronting potential customers: My cousin bought it about a week ago for shooting 4k (cathedrals, churches, etc., his 4 years old daughter running around, but mainly architecture)...He is only a little bit experienced in video, he shoots mainly photos till now. He read a German "review" of the new GH5, saying "insane quality", top IBIS, "blazing fast focus speed and accuracy..."...BUT: "blazing AF" was meant for PHOTOGRAPHY - and not for video...

Then he buyed it and after getting it, he was shocked about the unreliable AF...So now he gave it to me with his 12-35 "to get it to work for a noob" as he said...Not as simple as he thought...I'm afraid it's not a camera for a unexperienced operator expecting a point and shoot AF like Canons DPAF or other phase detection AF systems...That's sad, because my cousin could invest some money in different lenses and gear - if the camera would only reliably work with AF...But it doesn't from his personal point of view...

So now he wants me to decide, if he should give the GH5 a try or return it on coming Monday...He is very happy with photographic quality, but the desastrous C-AF in video is hard to accept for a person just aiming well focused and sharp 4k footage with zero experience in manual focusing...And he doesn't want to wait for an eventual firmware upgrade: He says, he bought and paid the camera immediately, so now he expects it to work out of the box...He said: "I am not Panasonic's loaner financing the company's future development. I need a mature product..."

Till Monday there will be a decision...

BTW: He shot some videos with his 70D (mushy 720p footage) and was very happy with AF precision - now he only wants 4k, mainly for "tack sharp" architecture footage...But with exactly the same (or better) AF capabilities as his old 70D...My thoughts: Even with a future firmware upgrade, it will be quite hard for a GH5 to reach the same AF level as the 70D... :astonished:

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16 hours ago, Orangenz said:

AF lock is not so useful as it seems you have to hold the button down? There is push and hold on AF in manual mode which is sort of ok.  My RX100 has push on/off toggle for AF which is the most useful as it is very soft and doesn't bump the camera like the heavy rotating AF switch.

Oh no no! There's a setting that allows you to simply press the button in and you can then release it and still hold focus.

Edit: The operation you MUST engage is "AF/AE Lock Hold". Once you set this to 'on', you press the button to lock focus, release it, and it holds your focus. To me this is absolutely, 100% essential, to make this a terrific way to avoid so many of the AF issues.

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2 hours ago, Ken Ross said:

Oh no no! There's a setting that allows you to simply press the button in and you can then release it and still hold focus.

Edit: The operation you MUST engage is "AF/AE Lock Hold". Once you set this to 'on', you press the button to lock focus, release it, and it holds your focus. To me this is absolutely, 100% essential, to make this a terrific way to avoid so many of the AF issues.

So, add tap-to-focus and you're ready to be free of background pulsing or am I dreaming over here?

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@Emanuel

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So, add tap-to-focus and you're ready to be free of background pulsing or am I dreaming over here?

When I use the camera focusing on a subject with a very contrasty background, I get sometimes better results with AF sensitivity set to -3 - so in my case, using the described method (Restricted focus area + BBF + AF Lock / release) and tweaking down AF sensitivity when meeting very contrasty backgrounds, I can get quite reliable results *...BUT please consider, this is in a artificial situation with shooter concentrating on focus aquisition and keeping only. I doubt, that this can hold up in shooting situations with surprising movement and acting scenarios of subjects and completly different lighting scenarios...

Finally, i will recommend my cousin to return it...It's simply NOT a simple to use point and shoot camera and for sure the false device for a father wanting to shoot his little daughter who moves impredictably around. He will not get happy with this camera and at the end of the day, the codec options are an overkill too for his shooting requirements...

* Not reliable when shooting in contre-jour, against a very sunny background. But the GH5 is not the only mirrorless with big focusing problems in these cases...In these cases, shooting gets challenging, as the shooter has to adjust his variable ND with his left hand (while holding the camera with the right hand) - so, I often missed a third hand to tap focus...

My advice for you Emanuel: If AF is important for your art of shooting, I would wait until Pana releases a firmware upgrade containing substantial AF- improvements...Compared with well auto focusing cameras, the GH5 is a pain...If you want to focus on capturing the right moment, composition, lighting, etc., the AF issues are a pain at the moment...Just my two cents...

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2 hours ago, Emanuel said:

So, add tap-to-focus and you're ready to be free of background pulsing or am I dreaming over here?

Tap to focus AND focus lock and you're free of pulsing. It doesn't have to be tap to focus which I almost never use since I'm a EVF user. I use 1-area AF and then press AF Lock. Done.

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Thanks guys for your input.

Actually I like options. Not every time AF or manual. To each situation its own. I think I can't shoot without any one of both. Even though, most part of cameras used for narrative work, including by myself, are fully manual.

Touchscreen focus is one of my favs for a simple reason. I don't like artificial intelligence on command : ) Really... focus select is part of shooter's work :-D

35 minutes ago, Ken Ross said:

Tap to focus AND focus lock and you're free of pulsing.

Have you tested the slowest settings in order to prevent focus hunting with tap-to-focus, Ken?

Have you seen this MY's test?

 

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