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Gear Talk => EOS Bodies - For Video => Topic started by: ss396 on March 05, 2012, 11:06:39 PM

Title: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: ss396 on March 05, 2012, 11:06:39 PM
Just wondering for those of you who shoot a lot of video;  Is continuous auto focus (D800 has it, 5DmkIII does not) a good feature? 
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: theuserjohnny on March 05, 2012, 11:39:00 PM
It's a great feature but even though its there I personally (and I think I can speak for a lot of people who shoot video) still use manuel focus just to really ensure that you have the shot that you want.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: cinema-dslr on March 06, 2012, 07:28:35 AM
Not realy a big deal.
The whole reason for shooting with dslr's is for the control you get with what is in focus and what isn't.
When using shallow dof any autofocus (even the best out there) would go crazy between subjects in your composition.
For steadycam shots it could be handy but only if it's very good/fast.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Axilrod on March 06, 2012, 09:59:16 AM
Not at all, I wouldn't want it and I suspect it would cause more trouble than it's worth, and video is really all I do with DSLRs.  People have been using MF in the cinema industry for as long as it's been around, I don't think any professionals will be disappointed in the slightest bit. 
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Jedifarce on March 06, 2012, 10:51:08 AM
Just wondering for those of you who shoot a lot of video;  Is continuous auto focus (D800 has it, 5DmkIII does not) a good feature?

That's the thing isn't it? Those who shoot 'video' might need auto focus for things like sporting events that have action that is too quick follow manually. Filmmakers don't do video. There's a difference. If you want to do video you use a camcorder not a DSLR.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on March 06, 2012, 01:35:54 PM
If you can afford to pay a focus puller, its not necessary at all, and will be better than AF for rehearsed scenes or still / slow moving subjects. 

However, if you want shallow depth of field for a subject moving at random, like soccer players, or kids, AF is needed.

Those who love HDDSLR video have learned to deal with lack of AF, and use techniques used by filmmakers for the last 100 years or so. 

I'm not a fan of someone running theu a scens which is later cut to show only the one second that he is actually in focus, and has no continuity.  Movie makers using focus pullers rehearse and practice focusing on quickly moving actors until they have it down precisely. 

So, yes, continuous AF is a big deal for many would be video users, but not all.

Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: vuilang on March 06, 2012, 02:59:15 PM
For those who said:  YOU dont need autofocus in Video.. WRONG. PLZ STOP BEING TOO CONSERVATIVE
what do you do with the focus puller? follow focus syst?  YES.To get it in focus

as of now, the AF ability to get video in focus on where we want it, isnt reach it full potential/development yet. Just because the AF hunt back and forth in video doesnt mean you dont need AF... YOU NEED AF THAT WORK ON WHERE YOU WANT THE FOCUS AT.. those are new tech that would take time/research to best it.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: vuilang on March 06, 2012, 03:01:25 PM
Just wondering for those of you who shoot a lot of video;  Is continuous auto focus (D800 has it, 5DmkIII does not) a good feature?
Can you show the the link that's stated d800 has AF in video mode? thnkxs
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: IWLP on March 06, 2012, 04:09:24 PM
For the corporate/talking head videos I shoot, no, not at all.

For ENG/action/stock footage acquisition (at least the types I do), yes it would be a big help.

For some of what I shoot, a small aperture takes care of some of the focus issues. However, not everything is/can be shot at small apertures. I don't mind trying to pull focus, but as of now, I don't find the camera screens conducive to pulling focus. And while I realize that there are loupes and monitors available to make it easier, I don't have the budget for such things, nor necessarily the desire to add them onto my camera.

$.02
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Leadfingers on March 06, 2012, 04:22:34 PM
Yes, it's a VERY big deal.  For those of us who aren't Steven Spielberg, but still shoot a lot of video, it's a big deal.

Half of the problem with this conversation is that the Manual Focus guys almost sound like you're being being physically forced to use it.  If you don't want it... THEN DON'T.

For those of you who shoot a lot of video, how do you maintain focus during a live event?  I mean, with the little 3" screen on the T3i that I use, it's pretty much impossible to truly see what's clearly in focus.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Frank209 on March 07, 2012, 08:15:50 AM
only if it's programmable. other, not at all.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Axilrod on March 07, 2012, 09:32:38 AM
For those who said:  YOU dont need autofocus in Video.. WRONG. PLZ STOP BEING TOO CONSERVATIVE
what do you do with the focus puller? follow focus syst?  YES.To get it in focus

as of now, the AF ability to get video in focus on where we want it, isnt reach it full potential/development yet. Just because the AF hunt back and forth in video doesnt mean you dont need AF... YOU NEED AF THAT WORK ON WHERE YOU WANT THE FOCUS AT.. those are new tech that would take time/research to best it.

PLZ STOP TLNG ME WHAT I NEED AND DNT NEED AND PLZ STOP TYPING LIKE THIS.  Go tell this crap to the cinema industry and they will laugh at you.

I do not need AF for video, I've never asked for it, wished I had it, etc.  Manual focus has never made me compromise shots in any way, nor has it ever messed up any of my productions.  I simply don't trust a camera to decide what I want to be in focus, and I could absolutely care less if we get AF on these cameras anytime soon. 
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: nvsravank on March 07, 2012, 11:26:52 AM
I dont see anybody complaining about the presence of auto focus. I only see folks saying it is not necessary for them. Which means it is not a bad idea to have auto focus and based on your needs you either engage autofocus or not.

Also for the "Movie" folks as opposed to the "Video" folks, they are talking about control and for that control they are willing to put money to get the focus pullers and monitors to overcome the limitations of the DLSR monitors and are happy to do that.

For the "Video" folks who dont have the budget for such gear, autofocus is seen as a magic pill, but then i feel that they dont realize that auto focus has problems - for example even when focus tracking for still shots the lens hunts sometimes and that is BAD BAD BAD for video.

This means 5D3 will not lose the movie folks who bought into the DSLR for the disposable camera factor, nor will it lose the regular movie makers who bought into the DSLR for its workflow merits and cost merits. It might lose some "Video" folks to the D800, but then it might not since the D800 has lower max possible ISO settings than the 5D3 for video.

I also thought that auto focus would be nice, but reading more into the issues with autofocus in the current generation, it might be right for mainstream pro use anyway.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Jedifarce on March 07, 2012, 12:31:33 PM
Just because the AF hunt back and forth in video doesnt mean you dont need AF... YOU NEED AF THAT WORK ON WHERE YOU WANT THE FOCUS AT..

Here's the problem, if you are trying to focus in on something behind a preceding object, whatever that may be, with the autofocus engaged you just can't. The autofocus will always focus in on whatever is closest to it. That's not a plus but a negative for a filmmaker.

 However for a videographer at sporting events its a plus -maybe-.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Lyra Video Productions on March 07, 2012, 01:04:08 PM
Not a big deal.  Nearly all the video professionals I know shoot exclusively manual focus.  And the ones who don't use manual most of the time--let's just say they're not that talented in general. (I'm not bashing you if you use auto focus a lot for video--I'm just speaking from my personal experience) Of course, there are a few situations where it's fine to pop it into auto focus but those are far and few between.

Now, it's probably the case that most people don't use auto focus because it can't really be trusted--especially with a shallow depth of field--to stay focused on the thing you want to stay in focus.  You can't take the chance to let the camera go fishing for focus at the exact moment you need to capture something.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Lyra Video Productions on March 07, 2012, 01:09:53 PM
You're right, Leadfingers.  Live events are definitely one instance when auto focus (if it works well) can be handy.  Especially when it's a single camera shoot and you can't zoom in to get your focus first.


For those of you who shoot a lot of video, how do you maintain focus during a live event?  I mean, with the little 3" screen on the T3i that I use, it's pretty much impossible to truly see what's clearly in focus.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: CanineCandidsByL on March 07, 2012, 01:17:31 PM
I don't always need it, but I frequently would love to have it. Given two identical SLRs with and without the ability, I'd take the ability. I'd probalby pay up to 20% or $200 to have it in a midprice (<$1000) SLR and up to $300 on a higher price SLR.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Axilrod on March 12, 2012, 04:15:14 PM
Yes, it's a VERY big deal.  For those of us who aren't Steven Spielberg, but still shoot a lot of video, it's a big deal.

Half of the problem with this conversation is that the Manual Focus guys almost sound like you're being being physically forced to use it.  If you don't want it... THEN DON'T.

For those of you who shoot a lot of video, how do you maintain focus during a live event?  I mean, with the little 3" screen on the T3i that I use, it's pretty much impossible to truly see what's clearly in focus.

Spielberg uses MF as does the rest of the industry.  I shoot pretty much nothing but live music, over 70 bands in the last 7 months.  I focus with a follow focus and either a 5" Marshall monitor or my Zacuto EVF.  The EVF has peaking which artificially sharpens the image, making it much easier to pull focus.  And in those situations I'm usually using the 35L or 50L at f/2, so it's not like I have tons of DOF to work with.  I would never try to pull focus off the back of the screen, and don't know any professionals that do either.

The thing is, if these things did have AF people would be complaining that it was focusing on the wrong thing or at the wrong time.  I'm sure we'll have it one day, but until then I'll be fine with manual focus.  The film industry has been using MF for as long as it's been around, and they continue to do so.  I think this sudden demand for autofocus on video DSLRs stems from photographers being used to having AF for stills.

Maybe if every video camera had a single, fixed lens that it may be easier, but when you throw tons and tons of lenses into the mix it probably makes it much more difficult to create a reliable AF system.  Most of the consumer video cameras in recent years have tiny sensors and TONS of DOF, which probably makes it much easier for them to have AF.  If you want AF you should try one of those.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: SPG on March 12, 2012, 10:57:08 PM
For cinema? No need for it. For live events? Well...not really unless it's really good AF, and even then most pros would continue to use their EVFs, extra monitors, and Z-finders. Would it be nice to have occasionally? Sure, but it's not the most important part of the feature list.
Are there times where it would be really useful? Last week I was shooting a live event in pouring rain so I couldn't use a monitor, and then my viewfinder fogged up. A push to focus function would have been a life saver there, but that's a pretty uncommon situation. Even in that situation an AF that was either always on or always off wouldn't have been ideal. A push to focus option with an easily accessible button could have worked, or the ability to zoom the screen while shooting would've done the trick too.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Hillsilly on March 12, 2012, 11:55:20 PM
I wouldn't say I do a lot of video, but it something that I'm doing more and more.  I use an Olympus EPL-1 for my videos.  It has continuous AF and I use this occasionally and I enjoy using it.  If it wasn't for the noisy lens autofocus sound, I'd probably use it more.  However, I'm tending to use wide aperture manual focus lenses with an adapter, and obviously the camera won't AF with these.  Therefore, I'll say that continuous autofocus isn't needed.  But it is handy to have.  I wasn't really aware that Canon's latest cameras lacked this and I'm a little surprised.  It would seem like an easy thing to implement.

One thing my camera lacks that later models picked up was the use of face detection AF in video mode.  I can appreciate that professionals would never use such a thing, but for casual / fun / family videos, this would be a great feature to have. 
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: gene_can_sing on March 13, 2012, 12:43:11 AM
I shot mostly video. Although for studio stuff, continuous autofocus is not important, but I can see how it would be great for certain things. For example, if you wanted to shoot a steadycam shot with a longer lens to get a shallow DOF. It would be almost impossible to keep in focus without Autofocus.

That would be a great use for it.

I'm thinking the 4K VDSLR will probably have it, especially since rumors have it that it might be mirrorless. The mirror is completely useless for video, so not sure why they would have it in that camera.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: WoodysGamertag on March 13, 2012, 05:57:24 AM
I wish I had it. Sometimes I film myself and need a stand in to set the focus with. Sometimes I use a glide cam and I can't change the focus without bumping it or otherwise ruining the shot.

I wouldn't use it all the time but it's a nice feature that I'd love to have included.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: elflord on March 13, 2012, 06:53:42 AM
Just wondering for those of you who shoot a lot of video;  Is continuous auto focus (D800 has it, 5DmkIII does not) a good feature?

It's not enough for the body to have continuous AF. It's the body/lens combo.

What I found when I was looking into this is that DSLRs don't autofocus very well in video mode. Maybe the D800 is better, but I saw youtube videos of the Nikon APS-C cameras and their continuous autofocus behaved in a manner pretty similar to how the 5D Mark II would if you were to pound on the "autofocus" button in video mode.

That is, when it focus, the lens lurches and hunts, it doesn't glide smoothly like a camcorder or for that matter, a manual focus pull.

I have a Panasonic GF2 which seems to autofocus much more smoothly in video mode than any SLR. If video is important to you, and AF in video is also important I'd suggest taking a serious look at either a panasonic GH2 or a camcorder.

SLRs are fine for video, but the AF in video mode isn't really usable (at least none of the ones I've seen are) -- you need to be willing to manually focus.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: darinf on March 13, 2012, 04:17:52 PM
For me, I would love to have autofocus. I shoot with my 5D2 and 7D on a Steadicam. And since I don't have a Spielberg budget, I don't have wireless remote monitoring and a focus puller on my staff, autofocus on a Steadicam would be great.

Sure it wouldn't be perfect, but it would give me a fighting chance in low light situations where I can't stop down the lens.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: elflord on March 13, 2012, 10:39:22 PM
For me, I would love to have autofocus. I shoot with my 5D2 and 7D on a Steadicam. And since I don't have a Spielberg budget, I don't have wireless remote monitoring and a focus puller on my staff, autofocus on a Steadicam would be great.

Sure it wouldn't be perfect, but it would give me a fighting chance in low light situations where I can't stop down the lens.

The 5D Mark II will autofocus in video ("AF on" button next to the left of the AE lock). The main problem is not that it doesn't autofocus continuously as much as it is that the autofocus is unusable for video because it jerks around instead of moving slowly.

As far as I can tell from the youtube video of the Nikon cameras like the D7000 and D5100, the autofocus is every bit as violent as it is on the Canon, except that you yield control over when it kicks in.

Here is a sample video (and many related ones show up)
Nikon D7000 video AF Subject Tracking (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f96PlMTnCLA#ws)

Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: felix arnold on March 19, 2012, 05:49:04 AM
Not to establish Continuous Autofocus in the 5D mk III is a purely marketing driven decision. It does not show any respect of the customer who invested in a canon dslr system.
I'm a happy user of the 5D mk II, but I feel abused as a money spending ape by these people of the marketing department. Any customer will notify the one and only intention of that decision. That was a "Bad, Bad Idea" of canon. The company made lots of money with customers going for a product, which was a logic combination of what historically belongs together.  - Movies are still Pictures with Frame Rates off 24+. -
Even the analog movie material was the same as the one used for stills. Canon should have not decided for fooling their customers in such a blunt way.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: jrod on March 19, 2012, 07:14:13 AM
I have shot only video for many years and I am not saying it is right or wrong but almost any professional video camera system with interchangeable lenses does not have an auto focus system of any kind. I have used them to shoot sports, weddings, commercials, etc with no focus problems. The difference is they have a much higher resolution viewfinders that assist in getting an accurate focus. But for the moment lets talk of the professional cameras that do include an auto focus, they have some trade offs. For one they typically have very small sensors so the DOF is never very shallow so if it misses focus it is much less noticeable. Also the focusing mechanism is not extremely fast (compared to an SLR), so things in the shot roll in and out of focus instead of violently snapping around, this is much more pleasant to the eye. The lenses are also designed for video, they are extremely quiet.

Secondly lets look at the physical hardware requirements for a true auto-focus system on a HDSLR, many of which would cause compromises to the still picture quality and functionality. Look at Sony's system that requires a semi-transparent mirror that results in a loss of light to the sensor and requires a digital viewfinder. The other issue as I mentioned above is still picture lenses are not designed for video, they are extremely noisy which is a nightmare in post, not to mention the focus mechanism and algorithms are designed to achieve focus as quickly as possible, and it is not very pleasing to the eye.

Now I am not against auto-focus, there are times it could be helpful (boom or steadycam shots), but even then from my experience they cause more missed shots than good ones. Everything requires some trade offs, I think a lot more people would be upset if the still picture quality/functionality/speed was compromised to please the people that want/need a full time auto focus system. At the end of the day it is a still camera with video functions.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: felix arnold on March 19, 2012, 10:47:50 AM
“At the end of the day it is a still camera with video functions” - Think twice before promoting it like that. Might just be that kind of shortsighted propaganda, which pisses customers off.  Nikon did it, Panasonic did it, …  “Everything requires some tradeoffs.”  For sure that ignorant kind of wise guy talking; - claiming it would not be possible without infringing with the photo-functions,- will cause some major tradeoffs.  Are you claiming, that while performing 6 frames per second on a fast moving object your camera does not keep the object in focus? Are you claiming that the canon video cameras do not catch up the focus on moving objects? Your next consumer DSLR will anyway be obliged to carry an Autofocus system for video. How will you promote that? “Not for professionals” Arrogance does not sell!
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: bluegreenturtle on March 19, 2012, 11:24:18 AM
I dunno, I've been in the film and video industry for decades and maybe my "pro" thinking is old fashioned, but I just can't imagine how autofocus could possibly work on a large sensor video camera.  There's a reason that no large sensor cameras have them - they just don't work and never really could, unless you're stopped way down.  Most video cameras have tiny sensors so no DOF, so they have autofocus and it's fine.  Still cameras are looking at a single image.  I'm a steadicam operator and I cannot imagine, dream as it might be, shooting with super35 or larger and having a non-human focus puller understand what's happening in the frame at anything greater than f8 or so.  Maybe I'm just stupid and not-forward thinking, but I'm just perplexed by the people saying this feature will need to be included in future large sensor cameras - it sounds like a lot of still photographers that dabble in video - to my way of thinking it's like saying all still cameras in the future should include a feature that automatically frames the photo correctly - how could the camera possibly know what's correct?
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: bluegreenturtle on March 19, 2012, 11:28:21 AM
The video above demonstrates my point perfectly - that autofocus is completely unusable for any application except maybe some sort of personal use - a kids party or something, but otherwise I'd be horrified to turn in footage that had a focus pull like that to any client.  It'd probably mark the end of a career, I'd certainly fire any camera person I hired that focused like that, manual or auto.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: JR on March 19, 2012, 11:43:28 AM
I think it would be very useful especially for personal use.  I agree it would never replace manual focus for professional use, but for personal use it would be very useful.  Personally not being very skilled at manual focusing I end up using my 24mm stopped down for most of my family video to benefit from a longer DoF and having more of the scene in focus...maybe this is why Canon came out with a 24 and 28 IS prime lens!
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: jrod on March 19, 2012, 02:24:18 PM
“At the end of the day it is a still camera with video functions” - Think twice before promoting it like that. Might just be that kind of shortsighted propaganda, which pisses customers off.  Nikon did it, Panasonic did it, …  “Everything requires some tradeoffs.”  For sure that ignorant kind of wise guy talking; - claiming it would not be possible without infringing with the photo-functions,- will cause some major tradeoffs.  Are you claiming, that while performing 6 frames per second on a fast moving object your camera does not keep the object in focus? Are you claiming that the canon video cameras do not catch up the focus on moving objects? Your next consumer DSLR will anyway be obliged to carry an Autofocus system for video. How will you promote that? “Not for professionals” Arrogance does not sell!

I think you miss the point of my post, I am not saying auto focus is a bad thing or that its "not for pros". What I am saying is that the engineering of a proper auto focus system would require compromises to the imagining, lens design, and focus algorithms that were all designed to the best performance on a "still" camera.

Lets take your example of shooting 6fps, or heck lets say we are using a 1DX and shooting 12fps. The focus system is design to quickly achieve focus, snap a picture, then achieve a new focus again. Each frame is a new focus event, how quickly or violently it changes focus between these events has no effect on the picture as each is an individual event. Most people will tell you when tracking a moving subject all 12 frames are not always in focus, 1 or 2 might be missed. Think of what this would do to your eye if just 1 out of every 30 frames of video were out of focus, I know it would give me a massive head ache.

The motors in still lenses are not engineered for slow rolling focus that is done in video/film, they are designed to get from one focus point to the next as quickly as possible. This is why some lenses focus faster than others and some bodies focus faster than others. It works amazingly well for still shots. But when you try to do this with video it is not pleasing to the eye, with focus moving too fast and sometimes in a psychotic fashion, video or film require liquid smooth focus changes. In the end it is much more than shooting 30 or 60fps, it is about each frame flowing into the next to make a smooth picture.

I would suggest that people take a look at videos of nikon and sony's DSLRs and how the focus changes when using the auto focus (and real videos not the company produced ones). They may support the feature on paper, but the visual quality in how they change focus is worse than just about any $200 camcorder. Not to mention the noise from the lens changing focus.

Now if Canon wants to bring out a "video" lens and build in a focusing algorithm to support it that would be great, and they may be working towards this with their C line. Now the video lens would be very slow for focusing still shots, but would look beautiful in video. Again there is a reason no one has perfected the still/video + autofocus camera, the trade offs must be weighted. And like I said before Canon choose to design  the camera and lenses to be a still camera first and a video camera second. This is is just the nature of the engineering, all political and marketing aside.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Cgdillan on March 20, 2012, 04:26:38 AM
Personally, with the shallow depth of field nature of dslrs in video, i wouldn't trust autofocus to get the focus just right and always prefer to pull focus myself. Especially with the high density and sharp displays on the 60d t2i and t3i. much nicer to pull focus on than 5dmkii and 7d.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Jedifarce on March 21, 2012, 03:20:44 AM
For me, I would love to have autofocus. I shoot with my 5D2 and 7D on a Steadicam. And since I don't have a Spielberg budget, I don't have wireless remote monitoring and a focus puller on my staff, autofocus on a Steadicam would be great.

Sure it wouldn't be perfect, but it would give me a fighting chance in low light situations where I can't stop down the lens.

I'm not sure why you would need a focus puller when you're only using a steadicam or how autofocus would help in low light situations. Low light has more to do with your f/stop, iso and shutter speed than your focus.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Jedifarce on March 21, 2012, 03:37:39 AM
I'm just perplexed by the people saying this feature will need to be included in future large sensor cameras - it sounds like a lot of still photographers that dabble in video - to my way of thinking it's like saying all still cameras in the future should include a feature that automatically frames the photo correctly - how could the camera possibly know what's correct?

I'm sure you'll find that it's people that come from a camcorder background and have yet to or simply haven't shot any video on a DSLR in manual mode. Just ask them if they have a follow focus - probably not, external monitor - doubtful, that should tell you something about their position.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: elflord on March 21, 2012, 06:53:40 AM

I'm not sure why you would need a focus puller when you're only using a steadicam or how autofocus would help in low light situations. Low light has more to do with your f/stop, iso and shutter speed than your focus.

wider aperture makes it harder to focus manually. Try manually focusing f/1.4 in video on a moving subject ...
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Jedifarce on March 21, 2012, 11:42:57 AM

I'm not sure why you would need a focus puller when you're only using a steadicam or how autofocus would help in low light situations. Low light has more to do with your f/stop, iso and shutter speed than your focus.

wider aperture makes it harder to focus manually. Try manually focusing f/1.4 in video on a moving subject ...

Uhhhh.....yah... F/1.4 on a moving object...that's something that you just don't do. Try using F/4 or higher.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: CanineCandidsByL on March 23, 2012, 10:06:40 AM
I suppose if you really need autofocus you could always go with somthing like this...can't wait to see the reviews on it....oh, its over $2000 more....I can wait.

http://store.redrockmicro.com/microremote (http://store.redrockmicro.com/microremote)
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: bluegreenturtle on March 23, 2012, 01:48:16 PM
I suppose if you really need autofocus you could always go with somthing like this...can't wait to see the reviews on it....oh, its over $2000 more....I can wait.

http://store.redrockmicro.com/microremote (http://store.redrockmicro.com/microremote)

Ummm...that's the opposite of autofocus - that's a wireless follow focus.  This is designed so that a focus puller can operate it without touching the camera - vital for some types of crane/jib work and especially (because I am a steadicam operator) steadicam work where focus is impossible without such devices. 
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Fandongo on March 25, 2012, 02:52:06 PM
Not at all, I wouldn't want it and I suspect it would cause more trouble than it's worth, and video is really all I do with DSLRs.  People have been using MF in the cinema industry for as long as it's been around, I don't think any professionals will be disappointed in the slightest bit. 

If it's always been done that way, clearly it's the best and only way.
Hollywood was never in danger of becoming obsolete until now, so their failure to innovate was never an issue.
When film costs as much as a house, every second is precious.
They've mastered the distribution of each role in producing a marketable product.

You still need actors, direction, sets, costumes, visual effects, grading, editing, sound, and music.
But the ability to capture raw material has been revolutionized.
Computers/software have revolutionized what one intelligent person can do in post.

Movie AF, if stopped down, could be a vital feature for one-man steadycam/crane work.
At the very least (and I've said this 1,000 times now), stutter-free follow focus controller.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: CanineCandidsByL on March 26, 2012, 08:02:32 PM
I suppose if you really need autofocus you could always go with somthing like this...can't wait to see the reviews on it....oh, its over $2000 more....I can wait.

http://store.redrockmicro.com/microremote (http://store.redrockmicro.com/microremote)

Ummm...that's the opposite of autofocus - that's a wireless follow focus.  This is designed so that a focus puller can operate it without touching the camera - vital for some types of crane/jib work and especially (because I am a steadicam operator) steadicam work where focus is impossible without such devices.

Depends on your options....There was also a pieces to get distance and can be used to autofocus; At least I saw one early demo that was being shown that way.  But yes, it was really designed around wireless follow focus.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: RichATL on March 26, 2012, 09:17:00 PM
Eh, I just think people read all these fancy words on blogs and forums, an spout them out like they know what they are talking about.

Personally, I've never had a client complain about the resolution of my images... (I currently shoot with a T2i)...
Never had an issue getting an awesome final product, easily and efficiently.

Even if... the 5d3 gives me an identical resolution... I'm buying it because of the Full Frame.... and the Autofocus...

I really REALLY think all the whiners on this site have no idea how to properly process a file.
(and don't give us the BS that no one can process the RAW file yet because no one supports it... that's just a lame excuse for people who don't know what they are doing).

Oh.. and just for a point of reference for all you gearhead pixel peepers...
Compare any iso800 file from ANY Nikon or Canon camera made in the last 2 years... and compare it to what ISO 100 looked like 3 years ago...
...People werent' complaining then...

Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: RLPhoto on March 26, 2012, 09:24:08 PM
Not One Bit. In a Good production, A camera requires a dolly/Stedicam Operator and a focus puller minimum for good camera work. Along with the careful selection of lenses, lighting, and a competent DP, a Three Man crew is good enough for small productions.

For consumer video, sure! auto-focus would be great but they might look towards offerings from sony for that. (a77)

My 2 Cents.  ;D
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Bob Howland on March 26, 2012, 10:02:25 PM
The Canon XF100/105/300/305 are all marketed as "professional" camcorders. For $3000 to $8000, they certainly don't seem targeted at the kiddie's birthday party market. And all of them have autofocus capability, and it's apparently fairly sophisticated. (They also have built-in lenses and fairly small sensors.) If "professionals" use manual focus, why is this capability included in these models?
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: RLPhoto on March 27, 2012, 08:32:45 AM
3000-8000$ is nothing in a good sized production but that's not my point. If you want to shoot FILM, you will need an arri-cam operator and a focus puller. The advantage of film is it's large size compared to tiny video chips. That's why the Alexa and RED are doing so well. They don't need all the logistics of feeding film to the camera and also have the advantages of sweet interchangeable lenses from zeiss, Cooke, and arri. Along with a large sensor...

we have used canon XL1's before and I was a good cam for its day. Pro video cameras with AF have large DOF for ease of autofocus to gently transition focus. It's great for TV productions, it's great for solo stedicam operators , it's great for alot of things. But it doesn't offer complete creative control that shooting with an interchangeable system as large as canons EF or a true PL system offers, let alone zeiss supports too.

Thats why the 5D2 is awesome because it HAS a large sensor and it CAN change lenses and CAN do these things cheaper.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: bluegreenturtle on March 27, 2012, 08:44:40 PM
The Canon XF100/105/300/305 are all marketed as "professional" camcorders. For $3000 to $8000, they certainly don't seem targeted at the kiddie's birthday party market. And all of them have autofocus capability, and it's apparently fairly sophisticated. (They also have built-in lenses and fairly small sensors.) If "professionals" use manual focus, why is this capability included in these models?

Those cameras have sensors the size of a bee's prick, relative to full frame\super 35\aps-c.   Everything's basically in focus already.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: AAPhotog on March 27, 2012, 09:06:12 PM
I dont see why autofocus is such a big deal when these movie studios spending 100,000+ on cameras are still MANUALLY pulling focus. Professional studios don't use auto focus. People shouldn't rely on the software, rely on the trained eye instead.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: bluegreenturtle on March 27, 2012, 09:11:35 PM
I don't understand why this thread has gone on this long and people still aren't getting that AUTOFOCUS DOESN'T WORK on LARGE SENSORS OR FULL FRAME OR SUPER 35mm FILM.  It never has, and while it might in the future, you almost certainly wouldn't want it to.  People seem to be thinking like still photographers, or people who use camcorders with 2/3 inch or smaller sensors. 
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: preppyak on March 27, 2012, 10:11:23 PM
wider aperture makes it harder to focus manually. Try manually focusing f/1.4 in video on a moving subject ...
why would you even try that? Video at f/1.4 already has a razor-thin DOF, and all the videos I've seen that go to that level look horrible, because someone breathing makes their face go out of focus. You need a completely still scene and static shot to even go to that aperture.

Autofocus at f/1.4 would be a nightmare, it'd jump back and forth so much
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: bluegreenturtle on March 27, 2012, 10:23:46 PM
wider aperture makes it harder to focus manually. Try manually focusing f/1.4 in video on a moving subject ...
why would you even try that? Video at f/1.4 already has a razor-thin DOF, and all the videos I've seen that go to that level look horrible, because someone breathing makes their face go out of focus. You need a completely still scene and static shot to even go to that aperture.

Autofocus at f/1.4 would be a nightmare, it'd jump back and forth so much

You ever seen Barry Lyndon?
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: elflord on March 29, 2012, 08:12:58 PM
wider aperture makes it harder to focus manually. Try manually focusing f/1.4 in video on a moving subject ...
why would you even try that? Video at f/1.4 already has a razor-thin DOF, and all the videos I've seen that go to that level look horrible, because someone breathing makes their face go out of focus. You need a completely still scene and static shot to even go to that aperture.

Autofocus at f/1.4 would be a nightmare, it'd jump back and forth so much

First, I'm responding to another post, making the point that in low light, you're more likely to want to open the aperture (to get more light) which makes for a challenge in focusing accurately.

Second, dof doesn't just depend on aperture. Depending on subject distance and focal length, f/1.4 might not be too unmanageable.  I've shot with a 20mm f/1.7 on a panasonic GF2 without too much difficulty (btw, it autofocuses smoothly)
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: elflord on March 30, 2012, 06:17:10 AM
I don't understand why this thread has gone on this long and people still aren't getting that AUTOFOCUS DOESN'T WORK on LARGE SENSORS OR FULL FRAME OR SUPER 35mm FILM.  It never has, and while it might in the future, you almost certainly wouldn't want it to.  People seem to be thinking like still photographers, or people who use camcorders with 2/3 inch or smaller sensors.

works reasonably well on micro 4/3. Touch screen makes it possible to "guide" the AF instead of requiring it to guess what you want to focus on. The AF doesn't seem as "jerky" as contrast AF in Canon/Nikon.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: mws on March 30, 2012, 06:29:55 AM
All depends on what your using it for. If I was shooting something artsy I'd be fine with manual focus, if I'm shooting my 2 year old son running around the back yard, I want auto focus.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Jedifarce on March 30, 2012, 02:34:28 PM

First, I'm responding to another post, making the point that in low light, you're more likely to want to open the aperture (to get more light) which makes for a challenge in focusing accurately.


Then you're doing something wrong. At that point you should be providing your own light or get your subject to stay stationary. Autofocus is not the issue, it's the experience of the operator.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Jedifarce on March 30, 2012, 02:52:29 PM
wider aperture makes it harder to focus manually. Try manually focusing f/1.4 in video on a moving subject ...
why would you even try that? Video at f/1.4 already has a razor-thin DOF, and all the videos I've seen that go to that level look horrible, because someone breathing makes their face go out of focus. You need a completely still scene and static shot to even go to that aperture.

Autofocus at f/1.4 would be a nightmare, it'd jump back and forth so much

I remember this vimeo clip interviewing Shane Hurlbut ACS. The camera man was shooting manually at F/1.4 which looked nice with the shallow depth of field. Unfortunately while Shane Hurlbut's upper body remained stationary, being passionate about cinematography he often becomes very animated with his hands. As a result the footage had this constant blurring from the motion of his hands and arms. Having autofocus wouldn't have solved this problem. Filming at a higher f-stop would have.

 I was sort of surprised that while all the comments on the vimeo page were nothing but praise for the camera operator, not one person (besides myself) stopped to ask if he shouldn't have shot the video at a higher f-stop.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Minnesota Nice on March 30, 2012, 03:13:56 PM
I personally do not want autofocus when I'm shooting video, if my camera had the option I probably wouldn't use it.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: elflord on March 30, 2012, 07:07:13 PM

Then you're doing something wrong. At that point you should be providing your own light or get your subject to stay stationary. Autofocus is not the issue, it's the experience of the operator.

One doesn't always have the luxury of being able to make the light or subjects accomodate the equipment. Sometimes it's the other way around.  Here's the kind of scenario I'm thinking of -- I'm filming something like a kid running around. I aren't going to shoot this with razor thin dof, but if I don't have a lot of light, I'm not going to shoot it at f/11 either. Manually focusing something like this is tricky.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: preppyak on March 30, 2012, 07:52:22 PM
Thing is, a dedicated video camcorder is gonna have issues handling that shot as well, if you are in dark enough light where you have to shoot at f/1.4 or f/1.8. I know my XA-10 ($2000 camcorder) could probably handle it, but, it would definitely have some noise, and even there the auto-focus isn't perfect. When I film classrooms, it guesses which kid to focus on and can miss focus in darker rooms.

It's always a compromise. I can't even take useable pictures on my XA-10...so its a big trade-off to get auto-focus that certainly isn't perfect.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: elflord on March 31, 2012, 09:43:16 AM
Thing is, a dedicated video camcorder is gonna have issues handling that shot as well, if you are in dark enough light where you have to shoot at f/1.4 or f/1.8. I know my XA-10 ($2000 camcorder) could probably handle it, but, it would definitely have some noise, and even there the auto-focus isn't perfect. When I film classrooms, it guesses which kid to focus on and can miss focus in darker rooms.

It's always a compromise. I can't even take useable pictures on my XA-10...so its a big trade-off to get auto-focus that certainly isn't perfect.

Panasonic's micro 4/3 let you use the touch screen to guide the AF system -- you can basically choose the "AF point" and it moves smoothly to it like a manual focus pull.

I don't believe it isn't possible for a DSLR to have decent AF in video mode, but neither Canon nor Nikon have achieved this. Not clear to me whether Sony are any better.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Fishnose on March 31, 2012, 11:13:21 AM
The Canon XF100/105/300/305 are all marketed as "professional" camcorders. For $3000 to $8000, they certainly don't seem targeted at the kiddie's birthday party market. And all of them have autofocus capability, and it's apparently fairly sophisticated. (They also have built-in lenses and fairly small sensors.) If "professionals" use manual focus, why is this capability included in these models?

Because these cameras are not meant to be used in cinematic situations. Run and gun videography often means you need to have plenty of dof all the time, and manual focus is often impossible because you've got the cam on your shoulder and there's no way you can have a focus puller running alongside. You're too busy keeping the subject in frame and keeping track of your sound guy/cables/levels/keeping down the shake etc.

Shallow dof and manual focus is a different world. A controlled world where distance to subject is often measured with a laser before each take and the focus puller sits and twiddles back and forth between markings on his remote. Try that in the real world....

Comments about tiny sensors just don't have relevance in the world of video except on a set. After all, Full HD is only 2MB, you don't need much of a sensor for that. So many other issues are more important.

Shallow dof is SO cool right now. Just because DSLRs can be used for video. Gee, wow. Who gives a toss in the real world.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: bluegreenturtle on March 31, 2012, 12:52:07 PM
I have to stop reading this thread.  I want my 5 minutes back.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: Jedifarce on April 01, 2012, 10:28:04 AM

Shallow dof is SO cool right now. Just because DSLRs can be used for video. Gee, wow. Who gives a toss in the real world.

You apparently haven't heard about the film 'Hell and Back again'.

Hell and Back Again clip (http://vimeo.com/6995256)
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: wdh777 on May 14, 2012, 04:54:09 PM
so this thread started by stating that the d800 has autofocus.  Has anyone actually tried a d800 with autofocus and could report back regarding how it works.  I would be very interested in seeing a d800 for instance shooting my kids soccer match to see how the autofocus works.
Title: Re: Is Continous Autofocus a big deal for those who shoot video
Post by: dash2k8 on May 16, 2012, 09:23:20 PM
I have a friend/associate who swears by the GH2's fast continuous autofocus. Doesn't hurt that the GH2 produces pretty good quality images for its price range. Personally, I think the continuous autofocus is more useful for ENG people who often need to track the action live. That's very hard to do in manual mode, even with follow focus, because you can't predict what is going to happen. That said, you could always close down to f/9.0 and get most everything sharp.

For filmmakers, the autofocus is not a big deal. It's not a "deal" at all. Everybody wants control of what's in focus, what's not. There's a reason why movie cameras and lenses don't have autofocus.