A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Discussion about Ricoh GXR system

A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Postby odklizec » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:42 am

If you are curious how much is improved the A12 50mm AF speed with recent FW, here is a little test I did yesterday. What I did was recording the AF sounds with wife's iPhone ;) Below you can see the results...

First test shows the dramatic boost of the AF speed under the low light conditions and with very low contrast target (and no AF assist light!). What you don't see in this test is that it's not only the AF speed what's improved but also the precision of the focus! Another major improvement is zero screen freeze while focusing! With previous FW, you could choose between the faster AF with screen freeze and slower AF without screen freeze. With FW 1.29, the screen freeze is gone and the speed of AF under the low light conditions is dramatically improved. Yet another improvement is decreased shutter speed value when the camera switches between the faster and slower AF algorithm.

Previously, the speed of AF automatically switched to slower mode when the shutter speed dropped under 1/17 (at ISO200). I described this behavior here. Basically, there was no difference between the QK and FR AF under 1/17sec. With recent FW, the AF switch is done around 1/10 (at ISO200). And even the slower AF algorithm is much faster than previous (FW 1.18) low light AF.
af_test - low_contrast.png
af_test - low_contrast.png (23.75 KiB) Viewed 10325 times

Next test shows difference between FR/QK AF (FW1.18) and new AF (FW1.29) in case of high contrast scene and normal light (well above 1/20). The speed boost between the QK AF (1.18) and new AF is not that dramatic. But you can definitely feel it. And the increased precision is good enough to love this new FW.
af_test - high_contrast.png
af_test - high_contrast.png (21.74 KiB) Viewed 10299 times

Finally, here is the Macro AF test. And also here you can see very nice speed improvement. In case of well lit scene and with high contrast subject, the speed of Macro AF can be nearly as fast as normal AF! Very well done Ricoh!
af_test - macro.png
af_test - macro.png (21.4 KiB) Viewed 11197 times

In sum, new FW made the A12 50mm a completely new module ;) I think it's now what it should have been from the very beginning. But it's great to see Ricoh engineers finally cracked the contrast detection AF riddle and made the Macro lens usable even in low light. Of course, all the above results should be taken with caution. The actual AF speed depends on many factors, mainly the contract of the target and also the actual focus position. The far is the actual focus from the ideal position, the longer can take the lens to lock the focus. However, new FW shows much lower tendency for focus hunting.
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Re: A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Postby joelypolly » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:59 am

This is excellent news. One of the main reasons I choose the GXR was due to Ricoh's on going support of the GRDs over the years.

Good to see this is continuing with the GXR:D
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Re: A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Postby uKrris » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:16 am

Thanks for this. Great test. I think I will seriously try saving up for one of these GXR's now :) .
Stay well, Chris.
( R2; GX100; GRD3 )
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Re: A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Postby joelypolly » Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:23 pm

Just updated my GXR A12 and what an amazing difference it makes. I think Ricoh updated the refresh rate to 60fps since the live view updates so quickly now.

Shots I would have missed previously are now captured fast. Love it
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Re: A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Postby waloszek » Wed Nov 03, 2010 8:02 pm

Hi Pavel!
Thank you for your good work!
I came home late yesterday and to my surprise found out that the update was already available. So I downloaded and applied it. But I had little time so far to test it, particularly in daylight today -- too much work... Hopefully the macro AF will not only be faster but also find a target at all (as you promised...) -- that was my main gripe with macro AF (and forced me to switch to manual focus).
I had two family events in the past in low light: a wedding in a dark London town hall and a Christianing in a dark German church. Both would definitely have profited from the update. But we can't replay the scenes... Manual focus was in both cases not of much help, because it was hard to see in the viewfinder when the object was in focus (even with magnification that I used at the second time). Now, I think the AF will do the work!
Best regards,
Gerd
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Re: A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Postby aydemiru » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:23 pm

now, who wants to change a gxr a12 with my d40 with 35mm 1.8? :mrgreen:
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Re: A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Postby joelypolly » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:07 am

Macro performance is great even in low light. It use to hunt a lot when I was taking photos of my fish and was practically useless but now it locks on in about half a second.
R0015016.JPG
My shrimp
(220.8 KiB) Downloaded 6793 times
- MBP | MBA - Canon 30D - 28-300mm L - 17-40mm L
- SMC Takumar 50 1.4 | 28 3.5 | 200 4.0
- Ricoh GXR 24-72mm
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Re: A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Postby odklizec » Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:50 am

Good one! It's definitely easier to lock the focus in low light. It's still not fast enough in case of moving subjects. Even the slow motion is often a problem. Or better said, the camera often locks the focus, but the subject is often somewhere else and so the locked focus is useless. But thanks to 4x screen enlargement, it is now much easier to use the manual focus.
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Re: A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Postby CHICHORNIO » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:28 am

Hi Pavel,
Ricoh should pay you a few bucks in returns for your saving-services!!!
I´m travelling to the US next week to do a mastering in Color Management for printing in San Diego, CA, and I was pretty decided to place a order at Popflash to get the Hot Deal Demo Kit of the Leica X1 (us$1.797)... Then your test came over, and after doing some research, I´ll save us$900 because I´m buying the Ricoh GXR + A12 50mm kit demo at us$ 897. The us$900 saved will go to a Mac Mini Server with 8gb of ram... (Good deal!!!)
Thanks again and I promise to place same shots of San Diego with (I hope!) my new Ricoh GXR A12.
Best Regards,
Guillermo, from Argentina
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Re: A12 50mm AF speed test (FW 1.29 vs. 1.18)

Postby odklizec » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:34 am

Congratulations for your decision Guillermo! I only posted a quick test and I'm glad it helped you! ;) The main hard work has been done by Ricoh developers!

I think your decision about getting GXR is right. With new FW it really rocks! I can't wait to try the A12 28mm. It could be even a bit faster due to higher DoF. I believe you are about a perfect street camera? Maybe the 28mm focal length would be a bit better option for you? I mean, due its larger DoF, it's much easier to use in Snap mode. A12 50mm AF is now definitely faster, but it may not be fast enough for fast street actions or candid shots, where the Snap focus would be much better solution? For example, with A12 28mm you need to close the aperture down to just f4, to get the same DoF (at 2m) as GRDIII at f1.9. With A12 50mm you need to go as low as f13-14 to get the same DoF.

BTW, here is one more comment supporting your decision:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read. ... e=36823590
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