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runbei

Pre-Purchase: Will Fuji ever fix X-H1 focus hunting?

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My work requires that I start shooting video. As an X-T20 user, the X-H1 seems the obvious upgrade. I shoot in crowded venues where IBIS is highly preferable to a gimbal or stabilizer: school classrooms, music and theater rehearsals, stage events, social gatherings, etc.

I am concerned about issues with focus hunting that have been reported in actual field tests, e.g., this review: Fuji X-H1 revisited after longer use: Auto Focus for video & more… - YouTube

I would be extremely grateful for your thoughts on this. Are their settings or workarounds to make continuous focus, focus tracking, and touch focusing less prone to hunting?

The only other alternative seems to be a Sony A6500 or A7III, neither of which evokes the sightest enthusiasm! I am in love with the Fuji colors and ergonomics.

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Focus hunting, or its lack of, depends on the lens you are using. 

 If you want fast focusing lenses then choose the newer f2.0 primes, the 80mm as well.

For zooms, the recent ones are usually all fast, 10-24mm, 18-55, 16-55 even more. 

Also, focus hunting can happen if you shoot in dark environments. This is normal.

The X-H1 is very capable when it comes to AF speed, so coupled with a good lens you should experience among the best of what's currently possible with cameras.

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Thanks, Sachafilms. That's what I was feeling a bit frustrated to find out - few reviewers, if any, seem to have given us a "state of the X-H1 2019" message. The current price reduction is attractive, and for my purposes the camera does seem ideal.

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On 1/11/2019 at 4:51 AM, sachafilms said:

Focus hunting, or its lack of, depends on the lens you are using. 

Hunting happens when the body does not find focus. The lens has nothing to do with hunting as long as it can provide enough contrast/sharpness in the given light. A 1.4 lens can be better focusing in low light than a slower lens given that it allows more light in.

As newer bodies have shown, hunting is created by the body telling the lens to move back and forth when it goes into contrast detect mode. The lens only ever does what the body tells it to do. So the above quote is technically completely wrong.

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10 hours ago, cug said:

Hunting happens when the body does not find focus. The lens has nothing to do with hunting as long as it can provide enough contrast/sharpness in the given light. A 1.4 lens can be better focusing in low light than a slower lens given that it allows more light in.

As newer bodies have shown, hunting is created by the body telling the lens to move back and forth when it goes into contrast detect mode. The lens only ever does what the body tells it to do. So the above quote is technically completely wrong.

I should have been clear - I meant that depending on the lens (and the AF speed) the focus hunting will be more or less an annoyance. If the lens is really fast, then the focus hunting is barely noticeable right? 

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To a degree. The differences between most lenses are small. People like to quote the 35/1.4 vs. the 35/2, but the difference between these two lenses on a current body is basically irrelevant. You'd have to compare something like the 60mm or so to a more modern lens. Or a lens that has to move massive glass like the 56.

Overall, unless you compare lenses that are hardly comparable, there are other attributes that are much more important. Like noise when focusing in video recording or general image rendering. 

Regarding hunting: it still depends mostly on the body and the algorithms. Especially in video this can be annoying even with the fastest lenses and the fastest bodies. And depending on what you do or which settings you chose, all of them will have their distinctive issues.

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On 11/16/2018 at 12:40 PM, runbei said:

I am concerned about issues with focus hunting that have been reported in actual field tests, e.g., this review: Fuji X-H1 revisited after longer use: Auto Focus for video & more… - YouTube

If you watch the video entirely, you will note the sun is in the background. The hunting problem would have been minimized or eliminated with on-camera lighting or change in camera position especially with the 56mm used in the video. 

As proven in the past, Fujifilm has reduced AF-related problems over time with progressive firmware releases to optimize the AF algorithms for the sensor and suite of lenses.  I have found that hunting is largely dependent on current scene lighting conditions. You should always keep the current position of the sun in mind when shooting outside. 

 

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On 2/19/2019 at 12:06 AM, mmx said:

Hi guys, I was very interested in the X-H1 with a 18-135 zoom lens , actually intended to buying one...until I I had the chance to try one yesterday, together with a T3. To the usage: I intend to use the camera 50% -60% for shooting videos. I have to say upfront that I did few movie shots with both of them out "of the box", with just few adjustments,without any further tweaking or fine tuning, anyway I found the T3 focuses way better than X-H1. Actually the only thing I found on the H1 was the hunting, almost not existing on the T3. I tested indoor, my wife walking towards the camera, at approx. 1 m distance going out of the field and coming back into the field, face/eye recognition off. I can't believe such a difference with two models that were launched within 6 months time frame. 

I don't know that firmware was on my test camera, I wonder if the focus features have been further improved with the actual firmware 2.0 or is the hunting at the same level as with version 1.1...can anyone report experience on this subject. if somthing was further improved the H1 I could imaging sticking to that, you know why?....I found the IBIS-OIS combination just fantastic! The focusing however disappointing 🙁 - I hope to get some actual feedback on this subject from you guys :)

 

 

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Many times I've been faced with this particular issue, even when using face detection in brightly lit scenarios.

I've defaulted to using the 16-55 due to it's fast AF motors instead of preferably using things like the 56 or 23 1.4...It's a bit heavy on the Ronin S though so I've been looking at using primes instead for longer shoots.

My temporary solution is to buy the 35/2 for it's fast motors instead for video use while I contemplate moving my business over to a Sony system exclusively for video use and using the Fuji system for photography only. Perhaps the next iteration of XH camera will be vastly superior. It just sucks since I was an early adopter and still feel shafted by the close release of the XT3 right afterward which seems to trump AF speed and accuracy of the XH. 
That all said, more often than not I can get things going on the Fuji cameras. I can get the shots I need, albeit I need to act more methodically and really think about the shot I'm after and how exactly I'm going to achieve it working within the limitations of the gear I have. I wouldn't suggest a Fuji system to a run-and-gun shooter though, that's for sure. I don't trust it enough in it's current iterations and I don't believe that Fuji is going to pay much more mind to the XH-1 as far as kaizen goes. The XT largely overshadowed it in both popularity and sales and it's now become what I consider a 'dead' camera in the eyes of meaningful firmware updates to be honest. Let's not forget that the XH uses the same sensor found in your XT2..There's only so much the hardware can be pushed to do after the fact. I've been wrong before and I do hope I am this time but I can't help but speak my mind)

 

To fully answer your last question, this is what I've found to be most useful to pay attention to to achieve the most accurate and non-hunting experience:

AF speed of the lenses used

Aperture used on the lenses used

Continuous zone focusing

Pay attention to how dimly lit the scene is and if contrast between your subject and background is going to become a conflict or point of contention for the AF system to lock on to.

Paying attention to the video AF settings that you're using for your particular shot/style of shot

 

 

Edited by eurotrash

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Many thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts with me eurotrash. You are probably right that no further significant firmware enhancements will occur on the X-H1, with a X-H2 coming out maybe next year. And same for the T3…a T4 will come up quite soon for sure. I indeed also checked the Sony 6400 & 6500 as alternatives, what I don’t really like on the Sonys is that, whatever you need to set you have to “dive” into the menus…mainly no fast wheel settings, just display work. For sure one gets used to it. I am not a run and gun shooter, I do mainly private “travel documentaries”, can take some time to set things, still do not want to invest a huge amount of time for a good shot…and when shooting I am not using a large external monitor to check the results. I would be very frustrated to discover later, 100 miles away from my "scene", that the footage is not good. Indeed my test was indoor, neon tubes lighting, the room had windows, outside it was cloudy and rainy…not the best illumination then.

I think the contrast between background and subject was good: background was light grey/white, my wife as subject with dark hair, dressed in dark blue, that should have been fine? AF-Speed of the lens I don’t know and the other parameters I don’t remember…in case I go for a second test I will pay attention to that. But actually I start to think that it probably does not make a lot of sense to buy a XH1 that actually was already launched with a “not-state-of-the-art hardware” (the new hardware was launched few months later with the XT3). I ask myself “could I live without IBIS?”, especially since I am reading more and more about IBIS & OIS where OIS seems to do most of the job anyway. Actually the “biggest” problem is that talking about APS Sensors and “good” videography there is not really much choice on the market right now…basically either Sony or Fuji. Other brands opted for MFT, but I personally do not intend to go for a full frame (the larger the sensor, the more accurate/exact need to be the settings aspecially regardig DOF). The problem probably would not exist if I wouldn’t have experienced the great image stabilization of the X-H1 😉 Greetings from over the ocean 😊

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