1st and 2nd Generation Autofocus Cameras

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. It's been more than two years since this one was re-animated, so here we go again...

    Strangely enough in a PBS special on music (I think it was a Burns show), Kris himself says something to the effect he was blown away by Janis' version :cool:
  2. ph.


    In my case I try to avoid autofocus which will pinpoint the nearest twig rather than what I wish to focus on.

    The successors to the Leitz Correfot system may well have advanced in speed and selectivity, but even when i specify spot measurement for the focus and with some annoying button pressing finally manage to center the focussing spot on my Z-7 screen, I can get sharp backgrounds but mushy subject, or a perfectly sharp branch of the tree in front of a local deer. WIth manual optics and 100%enlargement , the distance setting may require more care, but will yield better results.

    In the past I used Canons substandard SLR viewfinders plus their special manual focussing screen and experienced canons shortcut technology with their plastic lens design when a 50mm fell to the ground and split open. A reasonably robust autofocus camera was the little Olympus something with pop-out lens that I once bought for my elderly mother when she found her Retina IIc a bit cumbersome.

  3. My first AF camera was the F5 and it's near the last generation of AF film camera still I don't like its AF. So much so when I buy a DSLR I don't care so much for the AF performance, I am content to manual focus.
  4. Only if you pay no attention to what the camera is actually doing.

    Leitz early AF was not the cutting edge. Most modern AF systems descend from other early systems.

    Too extreme and not very accurate. I'm sorry your experiences were bad, and it's true that AF cameras in general, not just Canon, don't have exceptional screens for manual focus. However with appropriate attention to detail most work fine. I've shot a rather large number of early to recent AF cameras, and never had any problem. Moreover, no lens responds particularly well to being dropped. I've bought the "plastic fantastic" or "nifty fifty" Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens for as little as $25 in "pre-owned" condition, and rarely more than $50 for version 1. I've given them away to newbies as party favors. All that have passed through my hands are still working. I will confess that the "bokeh" of the lens is not so wonderful.

    Don't blame the tools
  5. I guess my 1st AF SLR was a 2nd generation AF camera, a Canon Elan IIe, with 3 AF points (center cross AF sensor), eye control, all electronic camera to lens connections, and a lens with a ring type USM AF motor. With its huge red AF assist lamp, it could focus in zero light as long as your subject wasn't more than 10-15 feet away. For anything moving AF was flawless (with USM lenses), and with moving subjects, you better only use the center AF point. In general, far more reliable and faster than the previous 25 years using mostly Minolta and FD Canon manual equipment.
  6. I got a T80 in 2015 from a Goodwill eBay auction from a nearby store, to save shipping costs.
    That one was $17.

    The nearby Goodwill stores are now not doing local pick-up for Covid reasons,
    which probably saves me from buying more.

    I only had one roll in the T80, and remember a few times when it would decide to
    refocus just when you were tripping the shutter, giving a completely out of
    focus result. Otherwise kind of fun.

    But I think when Nikon AF lenses first came out, I thought it was too strange,
    and wasn't interested in buying one. (Especially for my non-AF FM.)

    One of the few new lenses I ever bought, the AI 55/2.8 that was close to the
    same price as the AF (close enough) version. But manual focus on the AF
    lens didn't feel right.
  7. I hadn't noticed this thread the first few times round, but it reminds me that I have one of the innovative Tamron 70-210 in-lens AF zooms in a drawer somewhere - in pieces. It went wrong and I dismantled it to attempt repair. It never did get put back together again properly.

    All this makes me wonder if Nikon will ever get their 'stuck down a well, and looking at life through a floppy mirror' flakey AF system properly working, before the DSLR goes the way of the Dodo?
  8. ph.


    Many autofocus shots work,but it is the failures are remembered.
    Current autofocus systems including Nikon & Canon do actually set distances fast and as accurate as the camera can measure. Yes undoubtedly enough attention to what the camera is doing is important even if such attention take time while the motive goes away.

    I recently set aside my trusty 5yr old Olympus PenF because the focus and spot.metering point kept moving at random when using heavy optics & squeezing the camera body. It could not be fixed by the software, nor would superglue suffice without blocking access to the menu.
    The Nikon Z ยดs variety of moving focus point is not quite as bad, but it has some of the same tendencies.

    As to Canons plastic and glue methods, yes their plastics does not easily break, but such constructions do not take welll to being dropped. I do not recommend dropping Leitz lenses either, but have inadvertently experienced both, Leitz survived, Canon did not.

    As to the merits of first generation Correfot which came to nothing at Leitz,, and current systems .fattening lenses while crowding the sensors with sites for measuring distance ,
    I am convinced that the contemporary systems act fast but remain less convinced of robustness , real long term reliability and value for money.

  9. My Canon EOS 630 had only one central autofocus zone, but capacity to memorize the focus while composing the picture.
  10. I was a Minolta shooter for years (US 500si/600si/5/7), and I've been picking up some working used bodies lately just to make sure I've got some on hand that work. One of them was a 7000 (listed in BGN condition) that I got from KEH for $16. I already have lenses (including the 28/2.8, the 50/1.7 the 28-138/4-4.5 and the 70-210/F4). I've been impressed with it overall. Having used the 600si/7, and the 7D when I first went digital, the push button interface isn't my favorite, but the camera works well, the AF is at least predictable, and the viewfinder is nice and bright. I was genuinely impressed with the 7000. I'd love to get my hands on a decent 9000 (when I've had issues with the older cameras, it tends to be the film advance mechanism), but those are a little harder to come by (especially with readable LCDs).
  11. I never used the AF on the 1st and 2nd generation AF cameras back in the days (I owned F4 and N2020) even though a lot of my lenses were AF. I started using AF in 2004 - on a D70 and an F5 (quite some time after my wife demonstrated that AF on her F100 worked a lot better and faster than my manual focusing with the F4).

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