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AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.

  
 
Victor Santos
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


So I just purchased a new X-pro 2, and I'm coming over from a Sony A7c. I have a single Fuji lens, the 35 1.4 as I care more about rendering than sharpness (one of the reasons I moved from Sony). I am having the hardest time hitting shots with the AF, but when I do I think the shots are gorgeous. I'm going to keep at it, because I'm liking the overall experience. I'm hoping it's just my technique or settings, but I'm wondering what the heck is going on and whether there are tricks to this body. I am also wondering if it's specific to this lens, but I have no other lens to compare. Any suggestions?


Sep 22, 2022 at 08:27 PM
Sauseschritt
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


Its one of the first trinity of lenses (28/2 Pancake, 35/1.4, 60/2.4 macro) and they all have quite slow autofocus compared to newer lenses. At least the 35/1.4 and 60/2.4 are optically amazing though. The 28/2 archieves mixed reactions, some love it massively others think its the worst of all Fujifilm lenses.

Why you cannot successfully focus is a bit of a mystery though, the X-Pro 2 shouldnt have any problems with that.



Sep 23, 2022 at 02:40 AM
Victor Santos
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


Maybe I'm expecting too much? The Sony is a few years newer technology. I'm not missing all the time just a lot more than the Sony. Maybe I'll pick up the 28 to compare. It sounds like a convenient lens to have anyway.

Sauseschritt wrote:
Its one of the first trinity of lenses (28/2 Pancake, 35/1.4, 60/2.4 macro) and they all have quite slow autofocus compared to newer lenses. At least the 35/1.4 and 60/2.4 are optically amazing though. The 28/2 archieves mixed reactions, some love it massively others think its the worst of all Fujifilm lenses.

Why you cannot successfully focus is a bit of a mystery though, the X-Pro 2 shouldnt have any problems with that.




Sep 23, 2022 at 04:10 AM
JadedWriter
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


I have heard the AF on that lens is nightmarish by modern standards. Never owned it. I remember the people at Adorama putting that lens on an XT2 when I went to trade it in and just the noise alone from that lens made me never want to get it. I imagine it's fine for posed portraits and a no go for more random moving street photography.


Sep 23, 2022 at 05:49 AM
kenbennett
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


I have two X Pro 2 bodies, and I have used them hard since they came out. The AF has more in common with the older Fujifilm bodies, meaning that it's very quick in Single Shot AF and basically useless in Continuous AF. It's quite usable for street and other types of candid work with the right technique.

So, for best results, I use Single Shot AF with a single focus point, and I use the thumb stud to move the point where I need it. Make sure the focus point is only covering the subject, and doesn't include any background - the AF system will focus on the most contrasty object inside the focus box. If my subject is moving, I use the "mash the shutter" technique -- put the focus box on the subject and gently mash down on the shutter button all the way - don't stop at the half-press setting and wait for the camera to focus. This was a very useful technique with the first-gen Fuji cameras, and it still works well with the XP2. The camera will autofocus and make a photo, and the AF is quick enough that most moving subjects will be sharp even wide open. Then completely release the shutter and do it again.

I used gaffer's tape on the S-C-M switch on the front of the camera to keep it in Single AF all the time.

The 35/1.4 is an excellent lens for a lot of subjects. For me, it often renders best wide open, and when I look at a folder in Lightroom of mixed Fuji photos, the ones shot with that lens wide open always pop out. I got the new 33mm f/1.4 for when I need a clinically excellent lens, but I keep going back to the 35mm for the soft corners and dreamy look.

Also, try the Astia color profile ("film simulation") for general purpose use. If you shoot raw and use Lightroom, make sure you add the Fuji color profiles in the Develop module so you have access to them.



Sep 23, 2022 at 06:09 AM
Victor Santos
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


JadedWriter wrote:
I have heard the AF on that lens is nightmarish by modern standards. Never owned it. I remember the people at Adorama putting that lens on an XT2 when I went to trade it in and just the noise alone from that lens made me never want to get it. I imagine it's fine for posed portraits and a no go for more random moving street photography.


Any recommendations on a better lens with that special rendering? I do not want a clinical super sharp image.




Sep 23, 2022 at 08:43 AM
jecottrell
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


Victor Santos wrote:
Maybe I'm expecting too much? The Sony is a few years newer technology. I'm not missing all the time just a lot more than the Sony. Maybe I'll pick up the 28 to compare. It sounds like a convenient lens to have anyway.


Yes, you're expecting too much. The Fuji will never focus as well as your old Sony. Don't expect it to get better with a different lens (or even a newer camera, up to and including the XT-4). It may get faster, but it won't get better.



Sep 23, 2022 at 09:19 AM
Victor Santos
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


jecottrell wrote:
Yes, you're expecting too much. The Fuji will never focus as well as your old Sony. Don't expect it to get better with a different lens (or even a newer camera, up to and including the XT-4). It may get faster, but it won't get better.


Good to know. I think at least that will help with expectations. I'll keep at it with this lens then for AF and just work on my technique. I thought about resetting the camera to stock, thinking maybe I screwed up something.




Sep 23, 2022 at 09:29 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


kenbennett wrote:
I have two X Pro 2 bodies, and I have used them hard since they came out. The AF has more in common with the older Fujifilm bodies, meaning that it's very quick in Single Shot AF and basically useless in Continuous AF. It's quite usable for street and other types of candid work with the right technique.

So, for best results, I use Single Shot AF with a single focus point, and I use the thumb stud to move the point where I need it. Make sure the focus point is only covering the subject, and doesn't include any background
...Show more

I also use the XPro2 for travel and (mostly) street phtography, and the 35mm f/1.4 is one of the lenses I use, particularly for handheld night street photography.

I also use it in single shot AF mode, though I tend to use the smallest AF area rather than a single point. (I think that generally mirrorless systems do better if they evaluate a small area rather than a point.)

I understand the "mash" the shutter technique, though I often prefer to pre-focus (if you will) with the half-press first when possible since it lets me confirm that the AF points are activated on the right elements of the scene. (Truth be told, there isn't always time for that with street, though.)

I agree that continuous AF is probably not a good option here. With it on, it seems to me that there is a danger that the camera will move off the desired subject if it gets "distracted" by something else in the scene. In addition, continuous AF is using battery power unnecessarily in most cases. (I might turn it on in a few specific cases...)

I've had the 35mm f/1.4 for about a decade. It gets a bad rap from some folks today, partly I think because they assume that any old lens must be deficient and any newer model must be a vastly-improved upgrade. Newer lenses do provide more options and some kinds of benefits, but often not to the extent we might hope. I'll spare you the details, but I carefully tested the fine 35mm f/2 lens side-by-side with the f/1.4 at one point, thinking that it would AF faster based on reports. If it did, I could not tell. I kept the f/1.4.

The XPro2 is not going to equal the AF speed of newer cameras or of some cameras from other manufacturers. That's rarely an issue, and it works quite well for the vast majority of my photography... and I still use it for street photography with great success. (Though these days I'm most likely to have the new version of the 27mm f/2.8 on the camera.)

If I were you, I'd spend some time photographing with the combo until you are more familiar with its strengths and weaknesses... and I think you'll figure out how to use it effectively.

Dan



Sep 23, 2022 at 10:27 AM
Victor Santos
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


kenbennett wrote:
I have two X Pro 2 bodies, and ....


---------------------------------------------

gdanmitchell wrote:
I also use the XPro2 for travel and (mostly) street phtography, and the 35mm f/1.4 is one of the lenses I use, particularly for handheld night street photography...


Thank you for those replies. I think they frame what I should be expecting out of the body. I will keep at it, but plan to shoot moving forward purely in S. I'll try shutter button mashing. I tried using back button focus rather than the half shutter focus mode, but I'll reset that. I'm using the camera mostly to take photos of my 1.5 year old, who is really active at the moment, and I'm just taking a ton of shots, and picking the best of the bunch. I hate that that's my technique at the moment, but I'm catching moments with it.

Victor



Sep 23, 2022 at 11:18 AM
 


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ratter75
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


I’m also going to endorse the AF-S and “mash the shutter button” method. But I’ll add, if the T2 is anything like my T4 - make sure AF priority is set to “focus” rather than “release” and make sure AF+MF, if available, is DISabled.


Sep 24, 2022 at 07:23 AM
gyoung143
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.




kenbennett wrote:
I have two X Pro 2 bodies, and I have used them hard since they came out. The AF has more in common with the older Fujifilm bodies, meaning that it's very quick in Single Shot AF and basically useless in Continuous AF. It's quite usable for street and other types of candid work with the right technique.

So, for best results, I use Single Shot AF with a single focus point, and I use the thumb stud to move the point where I need it. Make sure the focus point is only covering the subject, and doesn't include any background
...Show more
The only thing I can add to that is that I found I should avoid choosing the smallest AF box size, which doesn't use pdaf. Choose the next size up and I find the AF very good, although I don't have the 35/1.4. Works fine with the newer f/2 lenses, I have 23, 35, 50 and 90, all great. I've enjoyed using my Xpro-2 for almost 6 years now.

Gerry



Sep 24, 2022 at 03:33 PM
Victor Santos
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


Thanks for that! I went down to the smallest one last night. I'll bump it up.

gyoung143 wrote:
The only thing I can add to that is that I found I should avoid choosing the smallest AF box size, which doesn't use pdaf. Choose the next size up and I find the AF very good, although I don't have the 35/1.4. Works fine with the newer f/2 lenses, I have 23, 35, 50 and 90, all great. I've enjoyed using my Xpro-2 for almost 6 years now.

Gerry




Sep 25, 2022 at 07:56 AM
CKrueger
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


Hi! I have an XPro2, and use a 35/1.4 and 56/1.2 on it almost exclusively. I think there's definitely some things that could be tripping you up coming from another system. Here's my thoughts:

* The XPro2's eye AF is disabled when shooting with the OVF. Eye AF in C-AF is really helpful with wobbly little kids, so try EVF/LCD and eye AF and see if that helps.

* Have you played with the little LCD window in the OVF? I don't use it much, but if you need to touch up focus with magnified MF, it can be handy.

* The 35/1.4 is noisy and slow, but it can absolutely keep up with candid-scale motion. It's fast enough, and it's accurate enough. I don't have much difficulty tracking my subject, even while people are on the move. The worst of it is when the lens seeks.... slowly. Success is predicated on NOT seeking, in my experience.

* Have you played with the C-AF tracking settings? I know some people find those make a large difference in AF tracking.

* The XPro2's AF is definitely primitive compared to the XT4, or especially the newest/best bodies. Dust off your old DSLR techniques like pre-focusing to the approximate distance and you can make up most of the gap.

* Don't use full-area AF and expect the camera to sort it out. I find large zone AF works great, and only requires a little bit of AF point tweaking to keep it pointed at faces. Doing so, the camera will either eye-AF on eyes or at least focus on the head.

* Don't forget to turn on "MF ASSIST" to allow manual focus override in S-AF and MF. And don't forget to turn on focus peaking for manual focus fun. And if you use the OVF, turn on the parallax correction feature (I forget what it's called) so your framelines adjust for focus distance.

* If all else fails, shoot high-contrast B&W, crank the grain, print small, and pretend you hit focus! (I kid, but I absolutely love the look of this camera/lens with extreme B&W processing. Flaws and all.)

I would never say the XPro2 is an autofocus all-star. It's not the 35/1.4 that's the issue, in my opinion. It's the primitive eye AF that makes it shoot more like DSLRs of yore. That said, I'm still getting shots faster and (especially) more accurately than my old DSLRs. It's just a bit of a culture shock when coming from the current top-of-the-line. If you think the 35/1.4 is bad, you should try the 60/2.4... great lens, glacial AF.

As a yardstick, I use my XPro2 for family candids frequently, and chasing 8-year-olds around I hit perhaps 75% of what I try for. It's not the basically-perfect tracking from my Z9+24-70, but it's good enough that I come back with tons of great photos, and between the beautiful rendering of the 35/1.4 and fun-to-use XPro2 body, it's neck-and-neck with my X100V for my favorite candid camera, even if I lose a few shots.

I hope you can get along with the 35/1.4... this is a great combo, but it drives like a finicky old sports car... no "stability control" here.



Sep 25, 2022 at 09:43 AM
Victor Santos
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


CKrueger wrote:
Hi! I have an XPro2, and use a 35/1.4 and 56/1.2 on it almost exclusively. I think there's definitely some things that could be tripping you up coming from another system. Here's my thoughts:

* The XPro2's eye AF is disabled when shooting with the OVF. Eye AF in C-AF is really helpful with wobbly little kids, so try EVF/LCD and eye AF and see if that helps.

* Have you played with the little LCD window in the OVF? I don't use it much, but if you need to touch up focus with magnified MF, it can be handy.

* The 35/1.4
...Show more

I'm not saavy enough to reply to each of your bullets, but I appreciate those tips. I was using the OVF just because it is nice to use. And I've already settled on the fact that I need to get reaccumstomed to my DSLR day techniques, though when I bring out my original 5D, I efeel that the AF is a bit quicker, though a lot noisier than the X-pro2. But I'm still so happy with how to images are coming out, despite losing some here or there.

You're point about shooting black and white gave me a chuckle. I often convert a few out of focus photos into a monochrome, push the grain, output to jpg for web use, and it looks like it was meant to be.

I'll definitely try out some of your other tips. I went out to the nursery with my family and did some shutter button mashing. I need to get used to mashing, but completely lifting my finger. At the moment, my muscle memory is still stuck on the "lazy let AF-C do the work technique." I'm not giving up on this body, though for a second considered the X-E4.




Sep 25, 2022 at 01:16 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


CKrueger wrote:
Hi! I have an XPro2, and use a 35/1.4 and 56/1.2 on it almost exclusively. I think there's definitely some things that could be tripping you up coming from another system. Here's my thoughts:

* The XPro2's eye AF is disabled when shooting with the OVF. Eye AF in C-AF is really helpful with wobbly little kids, so try EVF/LCD and eye AF and see if that helps.

* Have you played with the little LCD window in the OVF? I don't use it much, but if you need to touch up focus with magnified MF, it can be handy.

* The 35/1.4
...Show more

I agree with a lot of this...

... especially the "great lens, glacial AF" note on the 60mm macro!

Dan



Sep 25, 2022 at 03:03 PM
Victor Santos
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


I checked out the AF-C settings hoping I missed something before but I didn't. There aren't too many customization options, other than the 5 presets. I ended up setting it to #5. I'll try it out on the little one tomorrow.


Sep 25, 2022 at 07:44 PM
gyoung143
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


gdanmitchell wrote:
I agree with a lot of this...

... especially the "great lens, glacial AF" note on the 60mm macro!

Dan

60 is too reminiscent of early AF days with Nikon F801 🙁
Swopped mine when I saw the Fuji vs Fuji comparison with the 56 and 50. 50 is even better at close up than the 60 so called macro,which apparently doesnt even have a flat field and has awful MF 'feeling'. 50 is a gem.

Gerry



Sep 26, 2022 at 05:01 AM
CKrueger
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


The 60 is compact, it's sharp, it has a nice soft OOF falloff, it has no significant LoCA, its bokeh is smooth... and then it seeks, and your brain screams "NO! NO! STOOOOOOP!" for three seconds while the barrel appears to extend a few feet.

I don't know that it's possible to update this lens with a legitimately-fast AF motor without increasing its size, but if it were, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. 1:2 on APS-C is sufficient for the vast majority of macro subjects, and it's easy on the wrist during long macro shoots. The 50/2 only gets to 1:6 or so, which is much less close. (It is better in every other respect, of course.)

Back to the topic at hand, I think C-AF can work with you, but it tends to lose its lock when contrast suddenly disappears. I have good luck with a nice clear face in frame, even with area AF. With tricky subjects I switch to the smallest "zone" AF mode that I can use without constantly moving the box around. "Point" if I'm desperate.

In other words, if you're having problems with the camera giving up on your subject, try a smaller area so it has fewer distracting details to work with. On the other hand, if you're having problems keeping the zone box on your subject, and the AF gives up because your box jumped off the face (or whatever you're shooting), increase the size to lower your workload at the camera's expense.

The AF customization is (at least as I understand it) a gauge of how quickly the camera will give up on what it THINKS is its subject when its AF confidence is low. The best example I can think of is shooting a goose flying. As it flies through the air, the AF tracking is 100% sure of itself. Then the goose flies behind a tree, before reappearing out the other side. If your camera is really "sticky", it will wait a moment for the goose to reappear, and then resume tracking. If it is NOT, it will immediately jump to the background.

You might be tempted the make the AF as sticky as possible, but the problem with that is, if the camera focuses on the wrong thing (I'm sure we've all hit the chair next to the kid), it'll hang onto that incorrect subject, and wreck your shot.

Definitely play with the setting, and intermix your experimentation with AF zone sizes. It's a personal preference, and you can absolutely tune the camera for your shooting style.

Finally, on the X-E4... I have an X-T4, and I'll assume the X-E4 is roughly the same in AF performance. I would NOT upgrade an X-Pro2 to X-E4 to improve AF. It's a significant upgrade for sure, but the X-H2S (and presumably the X-H2 and all future cameras) is significantly better again. If you're hitting 50% now, you'd hit 75% with the X-E4, and 90% with the new bodies. In my experience, the X-H2S is pretty much equivalent to the best of any other brand.



Sep 26, 2022 at 06:57 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · AF on X-Pro 2. I'm struggling.


CKrueger wrote:
The 60 is compact, it's sharp, it has a nice soft OOF falloff, it has no significant LoCA, its bokeh is smooth... and then it seeks, and your brain screams "NO! NO! STOOOOOOP!" for three seconds while the barrel appears to extend a few feet.


The 60mm f/2.4 is such a complicated story. I got one very early on, pretty much back when I got my first x-trans camera about a decade ago. Talk about a lens with lots of positives... that is marred by some serious and kind of bizarre negatives.

Let's start with the minuses:

1. As you point out, the AF is about the slowest I've ever seen. It takes me back to the early little digital cameras of the pre-2000 era. The barrel goes out. The barrel goes in. It goes out again. Then in. Eventually, some time later, if all works out, it finally stops... one hopes on the intended subject. ;-)

2. What about that gigantic, ridiculous metal lens hood!? It is big enough for a long telephoto. Being metal, you might think it would at least be more sturdy... but it bends easily. Mine did rather soon after I got it, and I was unable to get it to work again. (Fortunately you can replace it with a very tiny screw-in hood!)

3. A smaller downside, though one that may disappoint some users, is that it isn't really a full-on macro lens. It doesn't focus quite that close. It is great for small subjects — my wife uses it for floral photography, for example, but it is more of a "close focus" lens than a true macro.

OK, now the pluses:

1. Its optical performance is truly first rate. It produces really sharp images all the way across the frame.

2. That f/2.4 aperture is actually pretty large — very close to the lovely f/2 primes from Fujifilm.

3. the 60mm focal length is also quite useful, giving and angle-of-view equivalence to 90mm of full frame, kind of a classic prime focal length. It fits nicely between the 35mm and 90mm focal lengths, too.

4. Once you lose that absurd OEM hood, it isn't that large of a lens at all. And it will work for non-macro subjects... if you are patient with its AF.

Is it a good lens or a bad lens. It depends! If you want a real macro, get the beautiful 80mm f/2.8. (Notice though, that hte 60mm has a slightly larger aperture!) If you want a 60mm-ish lens that focuses well for general use, the 50 and 56mm Fujifilm lenses are perhaps better choices. Want a versatile lens with excellent optics that isn't too large (again... lose that hood!) that can focus quite close? It can be a great choice.

It says something that I still have mine. :-)

Dan



Sep 26, 2022 at 07:59 AM
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