Does anyone know if the OMD-EM1 Mark III and OMD-EM1X focusing system is faster than the Mark II ?

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by tm_j, Oct 31, 2021.

  1. Hello,

    I shoot birds and recently went back to shoot with an OMD-EM1 Mark II and really love it since it's a lot better than my old OMD-EM1.
    Just curious to know if anyone know if the OMD-EM1 Mark III or the OMD-EM1X focus faster than the Mark II ? I shoot Canon for the
    last 45 years and dabbled with Olympus but sold off my 300mm F4 PRO and the Leica/Lumix 100-400mm since the OMD-EM1 could not match my Canon 7D Mark II + 500mm F4 IS. Now, I use the OMD-EM1 Mark II with a Lumix 100-300mm and it seems decent but I wonder if I should get an OMD-EM1 Mark III or OMD-EM1X (only if the focusing system is better).

    Does anyone know ?


  2. The EM1X has a AI powered bird AF setting, but I don't know if it works any better than the AF on the EM1 Mk III or Mk II. The EM1 Mk III inherited some of the AF tech from the EM1X but again you have a specific requirement for birds. It may make senses to rent an EM1X and see for yourself. Anticipate the same image quality from all theses cameras.
    Gary Naka likes this.

  3. Thanks a bunch Ken Katz! I bought a longer lens (Olympus 100-400mm) yesterday and the gentleman sold me the lens has an OMD-EM1 Mark III. From my cursory check, the AF seems a bit faster but I think you are right that I should get my hands on either the Mark III or M1X to test to know for sure. I am very happy with the price verse capability of the Mark II, btw. I had an OMD-EM1 (mark 1) and it was very slow in focus such that I sold off my 4/3 lenses (300mm F4 PRO & Leica/Lumix 100-400mm for cheap before). I bought this Mark II since the price is so cheap and is pleasantly surprise how much better it is and I am getting most shots that I want. Everything is great with this Olympus camera for me with the except of a bit of slow focus (for birdshooting).
  4. Not sure myself since I only have the MkII. I suspect the EM1X is faster, but not sure about the MkIII. I elected not to upgrade from the mkII, as what it had to offer didn't seem worth it. I think it if it is better, it is only a matter of degree. Of the order of from 80% to 85% hit rate, but this is a guess. The MKII is good enough for fast moving sport such as basketball, but it is not so pleasant to use due to the EVF lag (which is not terrible but not up to Sony A9/A1 standard) vs my Canon 5DIV. But the results in terms of number of shots in focus, is about the same. This is partly due to the increased depth of field with MFT over full frame and because it can shoot more frames per second than the 5DIV. I don't use it much for low light sport though as its low light performance is not as good and because the OVF is much nicer to me than the EVF for this purpose.
  5. There was a BIG improvement going from the mk1 to the mk2. And I made the upgrade.
    There was a significant improvement in the EVF and AF, for sports.
    For casual photography, the mk1 was and still is just fine.​
    But from what I've read on the m4/3 forum, there wasn't that big of an improvement, for ME, going from the mk2 to the mk3. So like Robin, I did not upgrade.
    The EM1X is too big/heavy for me, I might as well be using a FF camera.

    The AF of the 1X is superior to the mk2, smarter, but I would not say faster.
    The mk3 inherited some of the AF tech from the 1X, so it is smarter than the mk2.
    But, the way I shoot sports, is 99% single point AF.
    I would not use the AI AF of the 1X or mk3. So that AF improvement is of no value to ME.​

    As for AF speed, I think you are more limited by the speed of the lens to focus, than the camera's AF.
    Mechanical devices being MUCH slower than electronics.

    Example1, when I shoot volleyball, and QUICKLY switch from player A to player B, then immediately press the shutter.
    The camera (Nikon D7200) will fire, and that 1st shot will be often out of focus. The lens (35/1.8) is still moving the focus from A to B.
    The lens is in focus by the 2nd shot, 1/6 sec later.

    Example2. Same camera, different lens (Tamron 17-50/2.8). The first 2 or 3 shots are OOF, because the 2nd lens focuses SLOWER than the 1st lens.
    For the school's cameras (Nikon D5600), I had to reconfigure the AF-C from "release" to "focus." So that the camera would not fire, until the lens was in focus. The students were complaining about the burry pictures, during the time that the lens was focusing.​

    My EM1-mk2 + 12-40/2.8 behaves similar to example 1. On a FAST subject change and fire, the 1st shot is often OOF.

  6. Robin, I still have my OMD-EM1 but I won't use it anymore. It's a very good camera but as far as birdshooting .... I won't touch it. The Mark II is light years ahead of the EM1 in my opinion. However, if you don't shoot action (birds) then it's a moot point, LOL!

  7. Gary, I like what you said! I shoot with one single center focus point (for all my setup be it Canon or Olympus or Sony) since I found that no matter what they tell you. I get soft images if I use multiple points or it's not sharp enough for me. Glad to hear your thought and sharing on this.
  8. Actually the reason I use single point is that I shoot sports, and I often have to thread a shot between other players.
    Example, shooting the football QB, I am shooting between the other players on the field. So I have to be able to place the AF point on MY subject. So as much as I would love the camera to find and lock onto MY subject, the technology isn't here yet.
    The only sports that I can use a group/zone AF are tennis, baseball and softball, where MY subject is clear of other players.

    There was a discussion on one of the forums about shooting BiF.
    WHERE is the camera' AF focusing on; the tip of the wing, the head, the body, the tail?

  9. Thanks for your clarification Gary! I see no different with my bird shot from yours because I've found that single point tax the auto focus software the least and it's the fastest and it's right on. People use more than one point because they have problem panning and keep the focus point on the subject. I met so many people who ask me about my setting since they think that I have some magic solution and I have none. I work hard to put the focus point on my subject to get the sharp focus that I need/want and I don't trust the software much. I used a Sony A9 before and I think the latest camera tracking software is very good but the tracking software on the OMD-EM1 Mark II is a joke to me. Regardless, I am very happy with my current setup of the OMD-EM1 Mark II + m.zuiko 100-400mm lens in term of price point verse result. I don't feel that it's much (if any ) behind my old Canon 7D Mark II + 500mm F4 IS setup much .

    Btw, I think people tend to make it too complicated with focusing on shooting bird. To me, it's the eye that has to be sharp. I shoot with one focus point and I aim for the head/eye and set my f-stop accordingly to get my depth-of-field. If it's single bird then I open f-stop wide or close down a bit if I want the wings to be sharp. For multiple birds, I close down my f-stop as much as I can to increase my DOF. Of course, if I get closer and cut down my focal length then I also increase my DOF as well.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2021
  10. As much as I would like smart focusing, for most of the sports that I shoot, it ain't goina happen for a long time.
    AI AF has to get much smarter, to pick out and track MY subject, in the mass of other players, half of whom are wearing the SAME uniform.

    Yes it takes a lot of practice to be able to track a moving subject, going behind and between other players.
    And in the case of football, tracking the right player.
  11. I have to agree. Even if facial recognition improves mightily, I think the idea that computational AF will be able to recognize a specific person in a mass of people and the follow them in the context of a fast moving sport is a long way away. For the sport I shoot, there’s no point using intelligent AF as it just does not work, and I wouldn’t expect it to either.

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