Thread: I gave AF a try

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    #41
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    Thats exactly the shot the client wont even blink at.. but 90% of times a MF shooter woud mess up.


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    #42
    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morgan_moore View Post
    Thats exactly the shot the client wont even blink at.. but 90% of times a MF shooter woud mess up.
    You're right about the first part.


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    #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post
    Here's an example of AF doing right by me on A7SIII tamron 70-180 @f/2.8 ungraded:



    I could have taken this shot with manual focus but I would definitely have buzzed focus sometimes. And it's really, really nice for me to concentrate solely on operating the camera.

    The thing is that weddings have like a 100:1 ratio of raw footage to edited footage, so all I really care about are nailing cool shots vs taking more reliable safety shots. And when AF isn't as well-suited, such as dark, backlit, or busy frames, or when I want to do expressive focus pulls, i just switch back to manual. But of course, the A7SIII has a more sophisticated AF system than the FX6/FX9, so it's not an apples to apples comparison.
    Looks great Abe!!! Tell us more about the shot.


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    #44
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    Sarcasm detected


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    #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post
    Sarcasm detected
    Sarcasm detector needs a reset. None intended whatsoever. Looks like a gimbal or slider was used? My gimbal will not support a large lens.


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    #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post
    Here's an example of AF doing right by me on A7SIII tamron 70-180 @f/2.8 ungraded:



    I could have taken this shot with manual focus but I would definitely have buzzed focus sometimes. And it's really, really nice for me to concentrate solely on operating the camera.

    The thing is that weddings have like a 100:1 ratio of raw footage to edited footage, so all I really care about are nailing cool shots vs taking more reliable safety shots. And when AF isn't as well-suited, such as dark, backlit, or busy frames, or when I want to do expressive focus pulls, i just switch back to manual. But of course, the A7SIII has a more sophisticated AF system than the FX6/FX9, so it's not an apples to apples comparison.

    Footage looks great. Lighting is not great, but that's weddings for you. Your tracking and the camera's AF are both doing great here.

    My biggest issue with that clip is the number of times the guitar player clams his part.


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    #47
    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Roper View Post
    Sarcasm detector needs a reset. None intended whatsoever. Looks like a gimbal or slider was used? My gimbal will not support a large lens.
    oh sorry I thought you were saying I went into too much detail.

    yeah it's the ronin-s. i'm probably traveling about 12' after I get moving.

    the ronin-s can handle 8 lbs. the lens is 1.8lbs and camera with batteries is 1.5lbs. Then the focus motor, tripod collar, riser plate probably add <.5lb. So I'm probably still under 50% of the weight rating.

    Of course, the lens itself is a little too long for the ronin-s. once it's balanced, I can't swing the camera down into an underslung position because the evf will bump into the gimbal. which causes some issues, but mostly I get around it by keeping the unit relatively level to the camera (ie I tilt the whole gimbal up rather than joy sticking the camera up and keeping the gimbal level). and of course, tilting down isn't a problem. (it helps that I'm short and also good at squatting for low-angle shots, lol)

    a big help in this case is that the tamron 70-180 f/2.8 is pretty compact. it doesn't even come with a tripod collar, i had to buy a 3rd party one for my convenience.

    vs the sony 70-200 f/2.8:

    tamron-70-180-and-Sony-70-200-side-by-side-size-difference.jpg

    and a few telephoto zooms:

    Last edited by ahalpert; 06-10-2021 at 05:08 PM.


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    #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozmorphasis View Post
    Footage looks great. Lighting is not great, but that's weddings for you. Your tracking and the camera's AF are both doing great here.

    My biggest issue with that clip is the number of times the guitar player clams his part.
    haha. yeah, the lighting's not great. I have two LEDs hitting the dance floor (which is what they're crossing) but they're too weak compared to the sunlight streaming in to make much impact. then there are a lot of hanging tungsten-esque bulbs under the tent.

    I tested the look of exposing for inside the tent and letting the outside blow out but it just ended up losing any sense of where we were. I like the beautiful greenery and even the hudson river visible in the background. when it blew out it was more like a tent in heaven, and I figured well they came all the way out here for the natural beauty, so I decided to move to a lower-contrast picture profile and split the exposure between the tent and the outside. plus, when the outside blows out but there's still a LITTLE bit of detail visible before it clips, I feel like it looks kind of weird and videoish

    I don't super duper mind that the people are underexposed and that it's a mixed color situation just because that was kind of the nature and reality of the setting and environment.

    the bigger question for me is should I have tried to keep them in a more flattering 3/4 angle. I let them move into a profile shot so I could have faces and tables in the background, and I think that background works well. it would have been perfect if they had turned to wave at people in my direction, but I was probably blocking that view for them


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    #49
    Senior Member Tom Roper's Avatar
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    The only advantage the GH5 ever held over the GH5S was IBIS, which I came to loathe for its warping image, so I'm firmly now an OIS proponent over IBIS. And the inexcusable flaw of the GH5S was that AF would back focus on the clock on the wall behind the subject and NEVER let go. But after several firmware revision updates, that problem is completely resolved and the AF is actually now fast and very good. So I've relegated the GH5 to B-cam backup safety shot angles, supported on tripod with non-OIS lenses, where the IBIS can subtly manage tripod and floor vibrations with longer zoom lengths on down to normal or wide. The GH5S goes on a Zhuyin Crane-1 with PanaLeica 12-60mm f/2.8. That combination also works very well in AF, smooth and damped by OIS+gimbal, AF is now fast and reliable in low light. Your beautiful shot looked like it was from a gimbal, so Sam would have been right that MF shooters would have a hard time with a gen-1 gimbal like mine that doesn't have enough motor force to allow for turning the focus ring without rotating the gimbal axis, and the GH5S is actually now doing an excellent job of fast AF on people, aided of course by the inherent shallow dof of the M43 format. The Pocket 6K is my A-cam and has been working excellently with Canon stabilized EF lenses and manual focus clutches, either hand held, or on sticks, and delivers the most stunning images by far. I'm very practiced with it now, can regularly hit the marks on focus without over/undershooting, and can track the bridal procession, grand entrance etc. It's gets heavy holding it after a while though, so I keep the sticks nearby. Since I nail focus, the biggest advantage AF would have is in faster target acquisition; there is 1 to 2 or 3 seconds time between resetting the tripod, reframing the zoom, and focusing manually. That latency could be the difference between having or missing the shot. Different though if I'm handheld, my fingers already on the focus ring; I'm going to be fast and on target, swinging into action on notice. But if I have to pick up the tripod and reset it, a continuous AF system would be acquiring focus in the background, making ready the instant the tripod has been set, so that to me is the chief advantage. MF also means the focus stays on the subject of your choosing. I noticed in your video the focus had changed between the woman and the man, insignificantly but nevertheless 12-18 inches of difference apart so the AF system was forced into guess work, or was operating within a circle of confusion. At that point in manual, panning very fast in MF would be a challenge for sure, but sometimes a blind squirrel finds an acorn so you never know.


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    #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Roper View Post
    The only advantage the GH5 ever held over the GH5S was IBIS, which I came to loathe for its warping image, so I'm firmly now an OIS proponent over IBIS.
    I have no compunctions using IBIS in conjunction with another stabilization rig. I feel like the warping is worse when the camera is shakier. When I'm already using a gimbal, it sort of helps smooth out any rough edges, like you mention in tripod use.

    And the inexcusable flaw of the GH5S was that AF would back focus on the clock on the wall behind the subject and NEVER let go. But after several firmware revision updates, that problem is completely resolved and the AF is actually now fast and very good. So I've relegated the GH5 to B-cam backup safety shot angles, supported on tripod with non-OIS lenses, where the IBIS can subtly manage tripod and floor vibrations with longer zoom lengths on down to normal or wide. The GH5S goes on a Zhuyin Crane-1 with PanaLeica 12-60mm f/2.8. That combination also works very well in AF, smooth and damped by OIS+gimbal, AF is now fast and reliable in low light. Your beautiful shot looked like it was from a gimbal, so Sam would have been right that MF shooters would have a hard time with a gen-1 gimbal like mine that doesn't have enough motor force to allow for turning the focus ring without rotating the gimbal axis, and the GH5S is actually now doing an excellent job of fast AF on people, aided of course by the inherent shallow dof of the M43 format.
    I have the focus motor on the Ronin-S which works really well and doesn't cause any torque on the gimbal axis. I was previously using it exclusively for manual focus on the GH5 and then the S1. And I could have shot this same shot and delivered it. But I would have been on a 50mm at f/2.8 and I probably would have buzzed briefly as they landed in the medium shot from the wide, and probably buzzed once more as I walked with them due to overcorrecting on my part. By and large, I don't think that the AF makes me deliver shoots I couldn't previously deliver. But it lets me deliver more challenging-to-focus footage with fewer focus errors and a higher keeper rate. And the big win is the improved stability and operating thanks to not having to focus on focus.

    The Pocket 6K is my A-cam and has been working excellently with Canon stabilized EF lenses and manual focus clutches, either hand held, or on sticks, and delivers the most stunning images by far. I'm very practiced with it now, can regularly hit the marks on focus without over/undershooting, and can track the bridal procession, grand entrance etc. It's gets heavy holding it after a while though, so I keep the sticks nearby. Since I nail focus, the biggest advantage AF would have is in faster target acquisition; there is 1 to 2 or 3 seconds time between resetting the tripod, reframing the zoom, and focusing manually. That latency could be the difference between having or missing the shot. Different though if I'm handheld, my fingers already on the focus ring; I'm going to be fast and on target, swinging into action on notice. But if I have to pick up the tripod and reset it, a continuous AF system would be acquiring focus in the background, making ready the instant the tripod has been set, so that to me is the chief advantage.
    The wedding companies I work for prohibit handholding the camera without a rig because they don't trust our stability. But I prefer to be on a gimbal anyway because I can go high-angle over people's heads when need be or break into a camera move. (Most of my stuff on gimbal is monopod-esque coverage until I have a reason to pull a move.)

    And yes to the speed of focus acquisition. Usually, the focus is grabbed by the time I have my frame set and as such it has delivered shots I would have missed. That's even more so true for the annoying times when people pop into my frame and make gestures or comments directly at the camera. I don't know if these things ever make the edit, but I rarely ever focused them in time before I used AF because it's a surprising, huge pull and they usually only last a quick second.

    MF also means the focus stays on the subject of your choosing. I noticed in your video the focus had changed between the woman and the man, insignificantly but nevertheless 12-18 inches of difference apart so the AF system was forced into guess work, or was operating within a circle of confusion. At that point in manual, panning very fast in MF would be a challenge for sure, but sometimes a blind squirrel finds an acorn so you never know.
    I actually thought that the camera did a perfect job of selecting the subject in that clip, and being able to see when it racks from her eyes to his eyes to her bracelet really shows how precise it is and how shallow the DOF is. Sometimes, the camera does things I don't want it to. But I've found that it's usually better to have SOMETHING in precise focus than nothing (if I were focusing manually but imprecisely, that is).

    For example, here is the entrance of the bride/groom which I didn't initially show because the camera racks to the background at 0:33 and then I have to direct it back to the couple. (If I had asked it to track his or her face to begin with, this errant rack probably wouldn't have happened. But I just pointed it at them and let it find their faces.) PS the very beginning is shaky but should be stabilizable in post.



    But even though it's not doing what I had in mind, it ends up giving me 2 new shot options that might have been a good idea anyway (racking from couple to audience and vice versa). Nobody is ever going to use the full length of this shot or the one I showed before, they'll probably use less than 2 seconds of it or a few 2-second segments. So, in this context it doesn't really kill me if the machine goes off-road as long as I can get it back to where I want it. (Of course, there are occasions where that's not true, such as speeches, cake cutting, processional/recessional, but those are easier circumstances for the AF and it does a better job keeping focus than I do. Before I used A7SIII AF, once or twice a year, I would come home to find that i had missed focus on the couple while gimballing out with them during the recessional because it's kind of a challenging circumstance - walking backwards down the aisle trying not to bump the photog next to me or the audience on the other side of me, keeping the couple in frame, watching where I'm walking. The AF handles it super reliably and makes the whole thing easier for me.)

    And that's the thing - AF doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to do as good or better at the job than I do. And if the situation is not conducive to the capabilities of the AF system, then it's no problem - I just switch back to focusing manually. The key thing is learning how and when to use AF and when I should go manual.


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