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Afl Button Focus Method


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#1 RichC

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:45 PM

Hi all.

 

I haven't used my 60mm much lately, in fact I don't think I have used it since the last firmware update!

 

So, I thought I would take it out and give it a good thrashing last Sunday as the weather and light was pretty good. I have always used AF by half pressing the shutter button, finding the process to be quite adequate with a good/acceptable success rate.

 

This didn't seem to be the case on Sunday. I always shoot several pictures of the same scene to make sure I get at least one useable picture. Previously, ie. pre firmware update, pretty well all of the shots would be keepers. I was somewhat disappointed to find that in some cases I was struggling to find 1 shot from a sequence that I could use.

 

With the 60mm I always use the EVF.

 

I have done a bit of fiddling around and "I think", I might be getting a slightly quicker, and more reliable focus lock by using the camera set to MF and focussing with the AFL button.

 

Am I kidding myself here, or is anyone else finding the same?

 

I intend to go out tomorrow and shoot a whole load more using the AFL button method to see what happens.

 

Rich.

 

 


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#2 RichC

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:06 PM

mmmmm.........thought that might have resulted in some thoughts from the experts.

 

It's ok, I have answered my own question. I took the 60mm out again today and used the AFL button for all shots. Focus lock was quicker and virtually all shots were in focus.

 

Happy days!  :rolleyes:



#3 Topsy

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 03:21 PM

I have done a bit of fiddling around and "I think", I might be getting a slightly quicker, and more reliable focus lock by using the camera set to MF and focussing with the AFL button.

 

Am I kidding myself here, or is anyone else finding the same?

 

Hi RichC, I have just tried your suggested method and I think you are right, I hit focus more successfully in poor light or close up than in normal AF. Thanks for the tip.



#4 Al Downie

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:53 PM

I'm seeing exactly the same results every time - shoot one frame with autofocus, and one frame with manual/AFL, and the manual/AFL shot is noticeably sharper. This is great - I've been struggling with poor autofocus for the last few days, thinking that either I must have been expecting too much from my X-Pro1 & 35mm, or that there must be something wrong with my technique despite a month's worth of experience with the X100 and an awareness of the foibles of the X-system focussing. Finally I can clearly see that the system is capable of producing good results, but just not by the normal autofocus method. 

 

Thank you VERY much for this tip!

 

Al



#5 RichC

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:29 PM

Thanks Guys. Glad I'm not the only one to find this.

 

I am certain I had read this, or something like it in another thread some time ago, but I couldn't find it, it might have been on another forum.

 

It seems strange to me as I was getting really good, and I mean, really good results by using the shutter release button to focus pre fw 2.01(?)

 

The 35mm still seems to give good results using the old method though. That said I think I will now just use the AFL button with all lenses.

 

Thanks again for your replies.

 

All the best.

 

Rich



#6 RichC

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:32 PM

I'm seeing exactly the same results every time - shoot one frame with autofocus, and one frame with manual/AFL, and the manual/AFL shot is noticeably sharper. This is great - I've been struggling with poor autofocus for the last few days, thinking that either I must have been expecting too much from my X-Pro1 & 35mm, or that there must be something wrong with my technique despite a month's worth of experience with the X100 and an awareness of the foibles of the X-system focussing. Finally I can clearly see that the system is capable of producing good results, but just not by the normal autofocus method. 

 

Thank you VERY much for this tip!

 

Al

Al

 

I've come to realise that there is nothing normal about Fuji  :D



#7 Sapphie

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:15 AM

The 2.01 FW update says it improves AF accuracy using the AFL button. Are you guys saying that they have effectively made 'normal' AF process worse, perhaps by introducing some newly introduced bug?

 

Lee



#8 Al Downie

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 04:43 AM

I can't answer that question I'm afraid, because v2.01 is all I've known. But it certainly seems to me that the 'normal' autofocus method is much less reliable than the manual/AF-L method, on my camera.



#9 RichC

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:38 AM

The 2.01 FW update says it improves AF accuracy using the AFL button. Are you guys saying that they have effectively made 'normal' AF process worse, perhaps by introducing some newly introduced bug?

 

Lee

Hi Lee.

 

I can't really say for sure. My 35mm seems ok with the "normal" focus method, but the 60mm is definitely not the same. It was fine before fw 2.01.

 

Rich.



#10 Uniball

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:06 AM

This is day 3 of an X-E1 with 35/1.4 on 2.01.  Although I'm still new with the camera, I've had an X100 for a year.  Yesterday I was not impressed with the focus accuracy I was getting.  So went at it again today.
 
I just took 20 shots of an octopus in the kitchen (not close) and all the shutter button would do is hunt forever, never reach focus and flash up red boxes.  An octopus, with its gelatinous skin may be difficult but I could not achieve focus on anything within 3 feet of the lens.  Going to M and pressing the AF button worked every time, and quickly.
 
Also shot some shots in the garden at about 4 feet.  No question I'm getting better and faster focus in M.
 
Am I correct that the minimum focusing distance with the 35 is 28cm?  
 
Here's an update.  I had the focus square set to the smallest square.  Putting it back to the default square helps (that's one size up from minimum and the same size that's displayed in manual focus mode) somewhat but it still pales compared to using manual focus mode.  In a nutshell, I can lock focus after about 5 attempts in S.  I can lock focus just about every time in M.  M achieves more accurate focus.  
 
I just pulled out the X100.  A cakewalk in S.  Same shots (other than the octopus which is now in the pot), no problem at all achieving accurate focus and quicker than the X-E1/35.  Viewing off the lcd suggests I'm also getting better focus accuracy with the X100.

#11 jzzmusician

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:33 PM

I like using manual focus and the AF button as well but the lack of corrected focus boxes in manual mode puts me off when shooting close.  It works when using the electonic viewfinder but not OVF.



#12 jknights

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 02:45 AM

I prefer to use EVF with the 60mm and make sure that I can see everything I want in sharp focus.
With the 35 and 18mm lenses there are different issues.
I find the 18mm doesnt focus accurately where the focus point is on screen but that is easy to get round by shooting at f8-11 everything is in focus.
The 35mm behaves perfectly!

I will be very interested to see how life changes with the 18-55mm zoom.
Always Nikon and Fuji cameras.

Still learning after all these years!
Website http://www.jmknights.com


#13 John_N

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:47 AM

I must admit that using the AFL button (back button focus) method this weekend did improve the hit rate on both the 35 and 60mm, moreso when using the EVF. It's funny, I've used the back button focus method for years on Canon dSLRs, so its quite natural.
The only downside is the lack of visual confirmation (illuminated green box) and the need to rely upon an audible beep (I hate beeps)....now there's a another firmware update to consider.



#14 denissf

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:04 AM

I've slowly been training myself to focus using this method and fine focusing with the focus ring if necessary.  As I spend a lot of my time with legacy lenses on my X Pro 1, I will have to reserve judgement as far as keepers with the 35, but the initial 'feel' of the exercise is that the camera is snappier and more accurate when doing things this way.


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#15 gambofoto

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 12:30 PM

A friend and myself have both been using the AF-L even before the last several updates with better success then with the cmaera in AF-S mode.  It also seems to me that my 35mm hunts more now in AF-S then it did before firmware 2.0.

 

Sorry I did not respond earlier, been off for a few days.



#16 MuMinded

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:01 PM

I had been using this method of AF since I was first using my old Fujifilm S2 DSLR..      To be honest, I can't remember why I got in this habit but it is now just naturally a part of my shooting style to leave the camera in Manual and use the AFL button to achieve focus and then recompose and shoot the way I want.    Highly recommended technique in my opinion and after just a few sessions of shooting with the camera it will become second nature to you.

 

MuMinded



#17 drb5

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:30 AM

It still doesn't really help moving objects though...

I don't find the C and S terrible in low light for static items, as long as you catch an edge and hold the camera still, but for my 16 month old, it will not lock focus and take the shot fast enough. And that's regardless of focus selection.

#18 RichC

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:11 PM

I'm finding the AFL button method to be a good way of working, it is now pretty much second nature.

 

Nevertheless, the fact remains, that the camera focussed fine using "normal" S setting prior to the last fw update, now it does not!

 

One wonders whether this is a known problem to Fuji and whether they intend to address the problem with a further fw update ???

 

We shall see.  :blink:



#19 Uniball

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:46 PM

I'm finding the AFL button method to be a good way of working, it is now pretty much second nature.
 
Nevertheless, the fact remains, that the camera focussed fine using "normal" S setting prior to the last fw update, now it does not!
 
One wonders whether this is a known problem to Fuji and whether they intend to address the problem with a further fw update ???
 
We shall see.  :blink:


I had a call into Fuji and they called me back today. Missed the call but will speak to them tomorrow. If they have anything substantive to offer, I'll post it.

I'm surprised this did not come up earlier. Is it evf only? Otherwise there are enough X-Pro1 users out there that I would think its been known for a while. I started with 2.01 on the 35 with an X-E1. My comparative base was the X100 which can lock pretty much all the time in situations the 35 (using the shutter button) was hopeless. M mode is fine, so I now shoot using the AF/AE button.

#20 RichC

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:29 AM

Likewise, I find it strange that it hasn't come up before. I hadn't noticed it because I had spent some time working with a Sony NEX and hadn't touched the X-Pro1 until a couple of weeks ago when I started this thread.

 

The lack of contributors to this thread might also suggest that it is only happening to a few of us(?) I wonder.

 

Let us know what Fuji say...... if anything!



#21 Arjay

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:34 AM

I've been reading this thread all of the time, but it made me hesitate to do the firmware upgrade. Of course, not having done the latest upgrade, I cannot report meaningful findings.

 

Is it possible to undo the upgrade if it has a negative effect? Has anybody successfully downgraded its firmware from 2.01 to 2.0?



#22 RichC

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:09 AM

Hi Arjay, thanks for joining in with this discussion.

 

I think I read somewhere that a downgrade is possible. However, I don't intend to attempt it. Since discovering the advantages of the AFL button I am quite happy to continue using it. Although it would be nice to have the option of using the "S" setting when and if needed, after all, that is what it is there.

 

My gut feeling, and indeed hope, is that Fuji know about this issue and will release a further fw upgrade to correct it.

 

Rich.



#23 John_N

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:36 AM

Here's a thought.... perhaps the X-Pro1 is a little under powered in the CPU stakes.

Using the S mode and depressing the shutter button kicks in both AF and exposure evaluation circuits along with all the visual indicators.

However, when in M mode using the AF-L button, only the AF circuit is intitated allowing more CPU headroom for focus speed and accuracy determination.

IIRC, Fuji did indeed change the refresh rate of the EVF to help improve focus issues in an earlier firmware. I'm guessing there's a CPU trade off between such modes while firmware is optimised.

Let's hope they get it sorted.
 



#24 Al Downie

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:57 AM

Is it possible to undo the upgrade if it has a negative effect? Has anybody successfully downgraded its firmware from 2.01 to 2.0?

 

I think I saw a reply to another thread, maybe on another forum, from someone who tried to downgrade and failed. I did try to re-apply the v2.01 updater and the camera told me something like: "v2.01 is the current version", and wouldn't proceed - so it definitely checks to see what's installed before running the update. And Fuji's notes clearly state that once an update is applied, it cannot be undone. I'm pretty sure it *could* be done by someone who knows about these things, but it'd certainly void any warranty.

 

It does seem that only a few people are either aware or bothered by the problem. Some people might not notice because they've grown out of the pixel-peeping stage of ownership; some might be in denial because they're Fuji loyalists; some might have noticed but are perfectly happy to live with the manual/AF-L alternative method. 

 

I had a very short window of time in which to return my X-Pro1 for a full refund last week. I did so, but only to give me a bit of breathing space to either watch and see if this problem (if it's ever perceived to be a problem) is resolved, OR to adjust my expectations and my frame of mind and adapt to the Manual/AF-L way of doing things. The tricky thing is that, in order to do that, I have to basically accept that the 'normal' autofocus method is useless, at the same time as I'm handing over £1,200, grimacing inwardly and saying: "I'm fine with that"...



#25 Uniball

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:49 AM

Here's a thought.... perhaps the X-Pro1 is a little under powered in the CPU stakes.
Using the S mode and depressing the shutter button kicks in both AF and exposure evaluation circuits along with all the visual indicators.
However, when in M mode using the AF-L button, only the AF circuit is intitated allowing more CPU headroom for focus speed and accuracy determination.
IIRC, Fuji did indeed change the refresh rate of the EVF to help improve focus issues in an earlier firmware. I'm guessing there's a CPU trade off between such modes while firmware is optimised.
Let's hope they get it sorted.
 


I felt the indicators were the reason why the X100 can focus and shoot quicker by depressing the shutter all the way than pre focusing with a half press. The only difference (that I could see) is the indicators don't refresh. I have not had enough time with the X-E1 to tell.

All I know is it's a whole new camera using M mode with the AF button and I'm delighted.

#26 Uniball

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:01 AM

It does seem that only a few people are either aware or bothered by the problem. Some people might not notice because they've grown out of the pixel-peeping stage of ownership; some might be in denial because they're Fuji loyalists; some might have noticed but are perfectly happy to live with the manual/AF-L alternative method.


I also find it strange. Its far more pronounced when shooting close with open apertures. However, I was not impressed with an initial series of distant shots I took. They were ok but not X100 sharp, an initial bummer.

I received a return authorization from B&H, but have decided to keep the camera. The 35/1.4 is a gem and I can live with using the AF button as all I shoot with anymore is an X100 and the X-E1. No idea if it's quicker and prone to less hunting than a "normal" operation shutter button but its sure fast enough, for me.

#27 Uniball

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:46 AM

I just had a rather lengthy, and excellent,  discussion with a Fuji USA tech assistant about this issue. 

 

He was unaware of any 2.01 problem. He took the time to mount a brand new 35/1.4 on an X-E1 body and took some shots under his desk using S mode. Dim light, close distance, no problems. He checked with the person who interfaces with Fuji Japan and he had not heard of any problems with 2.01. 

 

He's going to read this thread as well as look at some other forums. His initial thought was return both the body and the lens. We left it at in a week I'll give him a call back and see if there's anything new. I have time before my rma period ends and I'd like to keep the camera. 

 

So, no new firmware in the works. I would encourage anyone with an issue to call them. An email will only get a response to call them.  So, if it's important to you, I believe some phone calls might be of assistance. This is my first experience with Fuji tech and I was favorably impressed. 1 800 800-3854, Option #1 and then Option #2 for Pro Digital?

 



#28 Arjay

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:00 AM

I think I read somewhere that a downgrade is possible. However, I don't intend to attempt it. Since discovering the advantages of the AFL button I am quite happy to continue using it. Although it would be nice to have the option of using the "S" setting when and if needed, after all, that is what it is there.

 

Hm - I am a very avid and convinced AF-S user, so any effect on this AF mode would get me rather upset. I have invested a lot of reading and practicing in the way I am using AF on the X-Pro1, and having to change into MF mode with its rather large "focusing" frame doesn't look like a fascinating idea to me.

 

My times of shooting with analog cameras and manual focus are long gone, and my aging vision doesn't let me look back nostalgically on manual focus. So, I'd much rather like to see that Fuji is optimizing the AF capabilities of the camera.



#29 wchutt

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:04 AM

Focusing on close objects is likely to be focus mode dependent. The in-camera firmware estimate for parallax correction in OVF mode could vary since the focus region (green box) size is different. Even in EVF mode, where parallax is irrelevant, there could be differences in speed because the camera position becomes a much greater variable in hand-held tests.

I don't own the 90mm lens but I can say I really don't notice a significant difference between M AF and S AF with the 35 mm lens.

Why not just go out and make photographs using the modes of operation that you find most effective for the task at hand? How did we get sucked into a vortex of worrying about about subtle differences that are impossible to unravel without tedious and rigorous tests?

#30 Al Downie

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:20 AM

Why not just go out and make photographs using the modes of operation that you find most effective for the task at hand? How did we get sucked into a vortex of worrying about about subtle differences that are impossible to unravel without tedious and rigorous tests?

 

Hi William,

 

If only it was that easy! Sadly however, when I spend £1,200 on a camera which promises three methods of autofocus, and then find that two of them just don't work, it's very difficult to write that off as 'subtle differences'. In fact there was nothing subtle about it - using AF-S or AF-C my images were simply not sharp, irrespective of shooting conditions, subject matter, subject distance etc. It had nothing to do with focus hunting, speed or ability to lock - it appeared to lock reliably every time with the green square of delight, but produced an unsharp image. M+AF-L was obviously better, but rather than reassuring me that simply reinforced the notion that the other two 'features' were broken.

 

I've kept my 35mm lens and still hope to buy an X-Pro or X-E1 at some stage, but having had the experience above, I'd like to wait and see if I can be convinced that mine was an unusual bad specimen, or a problem that's been addressed.






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