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NEX 5N/7 autofocus speed

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by ccasey, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. ccasey

    ccasey New to TalkEmount

    7
    Sep 15, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Hi,

    I've been shooting with various DSLR's for the past few years, currently a D7000, and recently decided I wanted something smaller. I tried an E-P3 and a GF-2, and while I liked most things about them, I didn't particularly care for the image quality I was getting. Images seemed flat to me... I'm sure there are ways to work around that in post, but I couldn't help but feel that I was seeing limitations of the sensor size.

    After seeing many sample shots from various NEX models, and after hearing about the capabilities of the new cameras, I thought I might have found the ideal solution in the NEX-7. However, my one main concern is that the autofocus speed/responsiveness won't be up to my needs. I shoot mostly my young children, usually at home indoors, sometimes lit with flash, and sometimes without. On the weekends I'd be shooting at my oldest son's football games, taekwondo events, or outside at a park. My kids are almost never still.

    I've seen beautiful shots of static scenes from various NEX's, with both native and adapted glass. But I just watched a video demonstrating the autofocus speed (or lack thereof) in the Engadget preview of the NEX-7 that makes me worry. Maybe it's something that will be better in a production camera?

    Can anyone with a 5N confirm that the focus speed is faster than demonstrated in that video? Does anyone use these cameras for shooting their similarly active kids?

    Thanks in advance,
    Chris
     
  2. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    I have an E-P3 and NEX-5N. Have also owned a GH2 as well as many DSLRs (D5000, D700, etc). The NEX-5N has decent AF speed, but it's still the slowest AF of the cameras I mentioned. None of the NEX or Micro 4/3 cameras is going to be as good as a DSLR when it comes to football games. For the kids at the park at close distance, I find that even the DSLRs can't keep up, and I basically have to predict well and pre-focus. For that, all of these cameras work really well in capturing the action.
     
  3. ccasey

    ccasey New to TalkEmount

    7
    Sep 15, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Thanks Amin, that's very helpful. I had a very good experience with a D700 paired with pro glass, but that's what started me down the path of downsizing. Who wants to haul a full frame camera along with a pro telephoto lens for park outings? The D7000 seems just slightly less capable, and I figured that paired with a 70-200 might still be the right combo for football. I thought the E-P3 was really surprisingly good in autofocus speed, but not tracking. If the NEX were a match for the E-P3 then I wouldn't have any concerns.

    Have you tried manual focus (with peaking) for kids shots? Any luck there?

    -Chris
     
  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    The D700 with 24-70/2.8 is what launched me on the path of downsizing too :).

    I don't really have any complaints about using any of the cameras with the kids. A lot of the time they aren't moving super fast towards/away, so the AF is quick enough to get a good shot. If one of them is moving towards me very quickly, I'll pick a contrasty spot a few meters in front of them, focus, and trip the shutter. Of course they change directions sometimes and I miss the shot, but it works often enough that I haven't tried peaking or other solutions.
     
  5. JJJPhoto

    JJJPhoto TalkEmount Regular

    116
    Aug 8, 2011
    I have mostly been happy with the AF speed of my current NEX-3 and pre-ordered the NEX-7. My only complaint about AF with the NEX-3 is that it sometimes isn't accurate ... I will next the green AF confirmation on the screen but when I review the image the shot might be back focused. It doesn't always happen and it also happens with the E-PL1 and E-P3 cameras I have used. I think it is one of the down sides to contrast detection AF.

    AF speed on my NEX-3 hasn't been much of an issue and I have a hyper 2 year old and an energetic 5 year old. As was already stated, pre-focus or anticipating the natural pauses in action help you get an AF lock when you need it.

    Also considering the cost of the NEX-7 and 24mm lens ... and Sony's history of quality firmware updates, I hope that Sony continues to "tweak" firmware after the shipping dates to improve AF speed and accuracy over time.

    Oh, and the Olympus E-3 with battery grip and the MASSIVE 35-100mm f/2 lens is what finally made me say, "Enough!" and start looking at mirrorless cameras. If I can find a mirrorless camera that is as good or better than my E-3 in every way (including AF speed and accuracy) then I can finally sell my DSLR gear.
     
  6. ccasey

    ccasey New to TalkEmount

    7
    Sep 15, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Thanks guys. I saw that occasional out of focus shot with the E-P3, too - and like you, JJJ, I wasn't bothered by it too much. Now, the continued long wait until November!

    -Chris