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Author Topic: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus  (Read 1430 times)

TechTalk

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Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« on: August 29, 2019, 06:27:05 am »

I've seen enough comments posted in various places to believe that there are some who have the misconception that the Phase One AFr (autofocus-recompose) feature is the same as Hasselblad True Focus. Or, as prominent Phase One dealer posted a couple of months ago, "the XF also has a dedicated mode for this called AFr (same idea as True Focus)". However the two features are not equivalent or the same idea.

There are a variety of things that can effect focusing accuracy. Hasselblad has worked to improve focusing accuracy by addressing first, factory calibrating the sensor position (and its specific optical characteristics), body, and autofocus module as a complete unit. Each component in the chain has very tight tolerances, but within these tolerances there are variances. All of these tolerances add up and need to be calibrated together for maximum accuracy. Spare bodies can be calibrated in the same manner.

Second, aperture dependent focus shift is compensated for automatically for the selected aperture setting of the lens being used. All lenses exhibit focus shift and this adds to previous list of variables that need to be considered to achieve best focus. These functions were termed "ultra focus" when introduced in the H3D/H3D II in 2006.  https://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-format-systems-and-digital-backs/38555-diglloyd-focusshift-compensation-hasselblad-h-mf.html

In 2009, Hasselblad introduced the H4D with True Focus to address the problem that has always existed with autofocus-lock when recomposing. The plane of focus shifts when rotating or tilting to recompose after locking focus. True Focus uses accelerometers in the body to measure the precise degree of angle change and corrects the focus to the locked focus point. This allows center point autofocus lock and repositioning of the subject anywhere in the frame with more confidence of getting what you want in focus. True Focus is one of the most important features for many Hasselblad users due to their increased percentage of images with optimum focus.

In 2012, The H5D / H6D added True Focus II correction which compensates for lens field curvature (again, all lenses exhibit this to some degree. wide-angles more and teles less) to ensure consistent focus accuracy to the edges of the frame. True Focus  processes the measurements and calculations, then applies those focus corrections to the image you are currently capturing. This last statement (especially the underlined part) might seem obvious, but this is where the difference lies.

In 2017, Phase One introduced AFr (which functions only with "Blue Ring" lenses). Their website and release notes both say this feature allows you "to focus on a subject and then recompose the frame while retaining the desired focus point". Sounds like True Focus, doesn't it? It isn't. It does not measure your angle change and calculate the focal plane shift and then apply that change to your current shot. On your current shot, AFr is going to change your focus based on one or more of the previous shots you've taken and NOT on the movement you made in your current shot. Huh??  https://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-format-systems-and-digital-backs/62504-first-experience-afr-focus-recompose-phase-one-xf.html

Here is how it works from the XF manual... "the compensation that AFr Mode applies to your captured image is anticipated based on your preceding captures." "The XF Camera will automatically adjust the plane of focus for you, based on your anticipated movement, prior to capturing the image." "This tool is designed to learn the movements of the XF Camera over the course of a shoot, and therefore the more you repeat the same movement within a sequence of images, the greater the success." "The initial capture from when the camera is turned on, may be imperfect in terms of AFr success."

I cannot think of any reason why I would ever want focus adjustments being made based on anything other than the conditions of my current shot. Maybe I'm just not predictable and repetitive enough to benefit from this feature. Maybe I'm just too set in my habit of adjust focus, then shoot; to adapt to shoot first, then adjust focus.

Of course, the change in focus is often very small when using autofocus lock and recomposing. It depends entirely on the amount of angular change. So, it's mainly of concern at closer distances with shorter focal lengths. But where it makes a difference, it can be very noticeable and can make the difference between an excellent image and one that isn't what you wanted.  http://static.hasselblad.com/2015/02/using-true-focus.pdf]http://static.hasselblad.com/2015/02/using-true-focus.pdf[/url]
« Last Edit: August 29, 2019, 07:19:58 am by TechTalk »
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Ken Doo

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2019, 08:36:22 am »

....and Phase One's XF using the AFr feature enabled does work very well in my experience.

ken

Doug Peterson

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2019, 09:03:13 am »

Techtalk: Have you used a Phase One XF? AFr works quite well.

People refer to it as synonymous with True Focus because they both solve the same problem. As you point out they use somewhat different paths to get there.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2019, 09:08:32 am by Doug Peterson »
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Steve Hendrix

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2019, 06:07:50 pm »


Here is how it works from the XF manual... "the compensation that AFr Mode applies to your captured image is anticipated based on your preceding captures." "The XF Camera will automatically adjust the plane of focus for you, based on your anticipated movement, prior to capturing the image." "This tool is designed to learn the movements of the XF Camera over the course of a shoot, and therefore the more you repeat the same movement within a sequence of images, the greater the success." "The initial capture from when the camera is turned on, may be imperfect in terms of AFr success."

I cannot think of any reason why I would ever want focus adjustments being made based on anything other than the conditions of my current shot. Maybe I'm just not predictable and repetitive enough to benefit from this feature. Maybe I'm just too set in my habit of adjust focus, then shoot; to adapt to shoot first, then adjust focus.



Because all auto focus motors have slack (necessarily so the gears don't break). And one advantage of the AFr method for the XF is that since it has already accounted for the movement the accelerometers need to adjust for, that known movement is already done. The Hasselblad True Focus performs this on the fly for each and every shot, and the variability of True Focus performance is a result of the auto focus motor having to account for that slack in those microseconds it has to calculate the position. For every shot.

So yes, the XF needs to have that previous shot to already have the positioning accomplished so the auto focus motor slack does not introduce the potential for slight inaccuracy, and this may be a caveat to some, but for others, it contributes to the strength of the results.

True Focus definitely helps. And so does AFr. But some find better results with AFr, like Brad Kaye, who is our Technical Services Manager and also an excellent commercial photographer who has shot with both systems and noticed that while True Focus helped, he achieved more consistent results with XF AFr. But to your point, the combination of tolerances is also a factor in results. So this is assuming that the user would have lenses that they themselves had already focus trimmed to their individual and unique XF body and digital back.



Steve Hendrix/CI
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2019, 11:11:08 pm »

Honestly they are both so irrelevant compared to the AF of the GFX100 that I wonder why they are still bothering.

The minuscule advantage in image quality is simply never ever achieved on moving subjects.

The IQ4 and H6D-100c are nowadays only relevant on an Arca.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: August 29, 2019, 11:14:14 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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Doug Peterson

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2019, 07:10:23 am »

Honestly they are both so irrelevant compared to the AF of the GFX100 that I wonder why they are still bothering.

Bernard, I'm surprised at you. This is the kind of inane internet comment that you're not prone to.

As always: Horses for courses. Neither H6 nor XF are sports cameras. There are many cameras that focus faster than a GFX; does that make the GFX "irrelevant"?

I've shot many weddings with the XF as my primary body. While not a sports camera with billion-point lightning-fast tracks-a-linebacker-weaving, it handles just fine, especially since the HAP2 upgrade to the autofocus.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 07:45:47 am by Doug Peterson »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2019, 07:41:29 am »

Bernard, I'm surprised at you. This is the kind of inane internet comment that you're not prone to.

As always: Horses for courses. Neither H6 nor XF are sports cameras. There are cameras that focus faster than a GFX; does that make the GFX "irrelevant"?

I've shot many weddings with the XF as my primary body. While not a sports camera with billion-point lightning-fast tracks-a-linebacker-weaving, it handles just fine, especially since the HAP2 upgrade to the autofocus.

Apologies, this is first hand experience (with the H6D-100c), that's just how I feel about those cameras. Great sensor, useless AF when things move.

Having owned the best focusing camera ever, the D5, until recently I am aware that there is better than the GFX100, but the point is the ability of those cameras to deal with real world situations.

And the GFX100 is more than good enough to deal with a large set of situations, and the H6D-100c/XF aren't IMHO. Would it only be because of their centered AF sensors. But ability to track is also very far behind and tracking with a centered sensor is useless anyway and a major hinderance to creative shooting.

Cheers,
Bernard

TechTalk

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2019, 04:19:49 pm »


This is why the internet is a curse as well as a blessing. "Digital Imaging" is killing something that I used to love... Photography.

Reading forums like this is as depressing to me as going into a cafe and seeing people sitting across from one another while both stare endlessly at their phones. Because it's no longer about real people connecting in a real world, they're more interested in the technology that disconnects them from reality.

Cameras were once a device to connect a person to a subject in order to make a record of what they see and feel. Now it's the device itself we're connected to.

My megapixel is bigger than your megapixel! Mine has more menu options! Well, mine shoots the fastest! Your camera is useless, it doesn't have OSPDAF. Yeah, but it has dual-pixel AF and that poor soul is stuck with contrast detect! HA! You suckers, mine has 892 autofocus points! Don't interrupt me right now, I'm still scrolling thru my submenus. Wait a minute, the lights gone. Let's go to a cafe together. I need to stare at my phone for awhile and log onto a "photography" forum while I sip my coffee.

I'm not against cameras having new features or more options or more resolution, but when these become an obsession and the end desire in and of themselves; it becomes a barrier not a bridge. I honestly feel like I should give all of my gear to a friend; go to a thrift store and buy the cheapest, most basic camera they have; load it with some film, and rediscover what photography was all about when I started.

At this moment, I'm ashamed that I even started this thread. Maybe I'll come back to it. Maybe not. I'd like to help people better understand the technology aspects of the tools they use. What their purpose is and the how, why, and where they may be useful or not, but I see that I may be just pouring more fuel on a fire and doing more harm than good.

Enjoy your weekend. Take some great pictures. Hope you have some fun.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2019, 05:22:53 pm »

Apologies, you guys keep discussing how great the XF AF is.

And I sincerely think that it is a very decent single point AF system.

I just donít get why anyone objective about whatís available these days would inflict upon oneself a single point AF to photograph moving subjects.

And since AF has little practical value on high quality images on static subjects, I stick to my view that the IQ4 and H backs only truly make sense nowadays on tech cameras. Thatís why I have not sold my H6D-100c.

Donít get me wrong, I have used the AF of my H6D-100c a lot for various handheld images and that sometimes work and may work a bit better on the XF. But thatís about trying to make a brick talk not about using the best tool to have a conversation.

If you have to attribute this point of view to internet then so be it. :) But you may at least want to acknowledge that this isnít about MF envy or hatred of high end equipment. Itís a userís realistic point of view about the practical limitations of equipment vs what is the new high end wonderkit. Being brand agnostic I am pretty likely to be objective about this.

And for what itís worth, I may had an IQ4 to my kit for a specific project, but if I do it will only sit on my Arca. And if I were to use the XF body the performance of itís AF body would not be a factor.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 05:45:59 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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BobShaw

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2019, 06:40:01 pm »

I just donít get why anyone objective about whatís available these days would inflict upon oneself a single point AF to photograph moving subjects.
I don't get why anyone would use any medium format camera to photograph any moving objectives. For that I have a Canon.
For things that don't move like portraits, groups, still life, products and landscapes I use the Hasselblad because it eats the Canon for that use.

The point (if there ever is a point on this forum) was about photographing stationary objects using focus and recompose, which is what True Focus fixes. Until people have eyes all over their body then one focus point is probably all that I need.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2019, 07:05:26 pm »

I don't get why anyone would use any medium format camera to photograph any moving objectives. For that I have a Canon.
For things that don't move like portraits, groups, still life, products and landscapes I use the Hasselblad because it eats the Canon for that use.

The point (if there ever is a point on this forum) was about photographing stationary objects using focus and recompose, which is what True Focus fixes. Until people have eyes all over their body then one focus point is probably all that I need.

Perhaps one would want to use a medium format camera for action out of desire to ensure higher level of image quality? How does that differ from static subjects?






GFX100

No, people don't have eyes all over their bodies, but composition often ditactes that one locates the eye pretty far from the center. Or at least do I not like my choice of equipment to dictate where I should locate the eyes in the frame to be able to focus them more of less accurately.

Great if it works for you guys. As far as I am concerned, the only times I have been able to critically focus my H6D-100c consistently with a limited DoF is when I used live view. If you shoot at f11-f16, this is less of an issue... but I don't want to be limited to f11-f16 out of concerns that eyes won't be in focus otherwise.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 07:15:29 pm by BernardLanguillier »
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TechTalk

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2019, 10:56:12 pm »


In making a photograph, there are various means of expression. You focus on something to express a point of interest. It can be accomplished manually or via some automation. The means by which you arrive at that point are irrelevant. Aperture and shutter speed will effect the expression of sharpness or blur in the image. Whether it is done mechanically or electronically, automatically or manually is irrelevant in achieving that expression. Composition is another form of expression. Maybe one day that will be automated too. I hope not, because it's very relevant and subjective. Some photographers may find looking at their subject thru an array of focus points, or moving a focus point around a screen, or selecting from multiple menu options for focus modes distracts them from the things they want to focus on, for others it's just the opposite experience. How any of us decide to pursue the objective of creating an image is subjective and personal. The ability of photographers to express themselves has never been dictated by the creativity of the camera, only their own.

When I travel, I can go by car, bus, train, plane, by some combination, or other means. In any event, I arrive at the same destination. Some modes of transportation will be faster or more convenient. Some modes may be safer or more reliable than others. Some modes may be more enjoyable or relaxing. The means I choose will be based on my personal needs and desires. It likely won't be decided by which means provide the greatest level of technology. I might even walk. I need more exercise.

In an earlier age, when most fashion photographers were using 35mm and medium-format film, Richard Avedon often chose to work with an 8x10 view camera, including the fashion shots where movement was involved. It isn't what others did, but it worked for him. Margaret Bourke-White could have worked with a Leica rangefinder or Rollei twin-lens instead of a 4x5 Graflex. They chose what fit their style and gave them the look they desired.

Robert Capa was one of the greatest photojournalists. He captured some of the most iconic and beautifully-blurry-action pictures of his time. One of my heroes. I look at his images today and don't think any of those blurred shots would have been better if he had been able to use a super-high ISO digital camera with fast multi-point predictive autofocus at an extremely short shutter speed... quite the opposite.  Robert Capa images at Magnum

I like technology. I'm fascinated by it. I just don't want to become overly dependent on it. For instance, spell checkers are great, until they insert a word that you weren't trying to write. I like technology until it gets in the way or diverts my attention from where I want it focused. If I ever reach a point where I think that camera technology is what limits my creative potential, I hope I'll go for a walk and reconsider that with a thought process that's more constructive and creative. It would be difficult to convince me that any camera or lens, or any images produced by a particular camera or lens, or any photographer using a particular camera or lens, have become irrelevant due to a feature found on another camera or the choice of gear that one photographer makes compared to someone else.

I don't have any objection to criticism or praise of equipment that's based on ones own needs or experience. I don't object to praise or criticism that's accurate and not false or misleading. I do wish sometimes that it was rendered with a finer brush instead of a spray gun.

For now, I'm going to spend my remaining online time finishing a New Yorker article from 1958 on Avedon. It's a fascinating read that describes him and his evolving style before he created some his most iconic later works.  https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1958/11/08/a-woman-entering-a-taxi-in-the-rain
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BobShaw

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2019, 12:58:27 am »

Perhaps one would want to use a medium format camera for action out of desire to ensure higher level of image quality? How does that differ from static subjects?
Ok. Misunderstanding. To me action is moving at least at running speed. Dancing on the spot is fine for MF. All of the subject dancer is in focus anyway.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2019, 04:05:09 am »

Ok. Misunderstanding. To me action is moving at least at running speed. Dancing on the spot is fine for MF. All of the subject dancer is in focus anyway.

The only time I tried with the H6D-100C I got exactly 0% of keepers. :)

Cheers,
Bernard

douglevy

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2019, 07:11:42 am »

All I know is...at 5.6 or wider on my H5X I'm around 80% in focus...on my H1 (which I barely use, but have used) it's like 25%. That's my real world experience.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2019, 06:05:02 pm »

All I know is...at 5.6 or wider on my H5X I'm around 80% in focus...on my H1 (which I barely use, but have used) it's like 25%. That's my real world experience.

Do you think itís reasonable at this stage for Hasselblad to continue with the same AF technology for the H platform or should they go with full frame on sensor AF like on the X1D?

Cheers,
Bernard

douglevy

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2019, 06:49:48 am »

I don't know. I don't know why they haven't updated it, I don't know the techincal of why...all I know is what works for me. Do I wish my H5 had the af of my D5? Sure, but I have no idea how realistic that is.

TechTalk

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2019, 06:56:42 pm »

What disturbs distresses me about comments like some I've seen here, or countless times elsewhere, is the implication or assertion that there is some feature or technology that renders a camera lacking that function unusable, inappropriate, or irrelevant for some category or type of photography. While that might be true for a particular type of photographer, it's not true when applied to any broad category of photography. Or to be a bit more specific, it doesn't apply to any decent camera made in the last several decades. All that's necessary to create a compelling image that tells a story or evokes an emotional response is a subject to photograph and a photographer with a skill set learned and developed over time and a camera.

What concerns me is that someone that has developed an interest in photography or is looking to advance that interest, will read online forums, or comment sections of videos or articles that are photo related, and start to believe that the latest "new high end wonderkit" camera or feature is needed to improve their photography in some area of interest. It isn't. Only time invested in acquiring a base of knowledge and skill will do that. Any extra features a camera may have are there to make the application of your skills faster or more convenient, they are not necessary to create a great photograph in any situation... you are. Sometimes, those extra features are helpful. They have limits, and sometimes won't work for a given situation. That's when you take control and apply your skills. Sometimes, they're an impediment and should be switched off.

The newest version of Auto-Tune is not going to improve my singing voice. And anyone who has seen me dance knows that a new pair of shoes is not going to help. Put me in the finest ballet shoes ever made and Swan Lake will look like Donald Duck.

Autofocus systems are a very nice convenience; but every system, regardless of their level of sophistication, has limitations and compromises in their design. Even the most sophisticated options are sometimes not as capable as you can be. Depending on your focusing skills, you may find in some fluid shooting situations that it is faster, more accurate, more convenient, or less distracting for you to focus manually while concentrating your attention on the subject, than to move focusing points around or trust a tracking function. Perhaps not, it's important to know your camera's limitations as well your own. It should be noted, that human eye and hand coordination does have a long and impressive track record when it comes to focusing and that autofocusing has a shorter track record, but is impressive as well. And if neither works for that split-second shot you see, take the shot anyway. Capturing a unique expressive moment is more important than sharpness or other technical flaws. Sophisticated metering algorithms are great too, but they don't understand as much about the light you're looking at as you do; so don't become too trusting or dependent.

Now, the last few paragraphs were aimed at those that have started their photographic journey more recently than many of the astute and capable contributors here. However, I must say that the notion that cameras as capable, versatile, and precise as a current Hasselblad or Phase One "only truly make sense nowadays on tech cameras", are "only relevant on an Arca", or that this is a "realistic point of view about the practical limitations of equipment" because other cameras exist with more advanced autofocus options, while certainly valid as an opinion one could reach for their own individual needs, desires, and preferences; any broader implication of that opinion I would find absurd. The idea that shooting moving subjects requires a particular type of autofocus, or autofocus at all for that matter, I find ridiculous and evidence to support that can be found easily!

So, to summarize, I urge those that want to improve their photography to try and avoid falling into the mindset promoted by manufacturers' marketing departments or commentary online by individuals that you need some new feature or brand or model of camera because it's vital to making great images. It's secondary at best. It's a mindset that fuels endless and fruitless internet debate or is used as an excuse for images that are less than satisfying.

* But don't stop buying new cameras (or old ones either). We want to keep as many manufacturers alive as possible in order to have choices that satisfy our individual preferences. They are all doing the best they can to provide you with excellent tools under very challenging conditions.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2019, 09:03:23 pm by TechTalk »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2019, 08:23:48 pm »

Now, the last few paragraphs were aimed at those that have started their photographic journey more recently than many of the astute and capable contributors here. However, I must say that the notion that cameras as capable, versatile, and precise as a current Hasselblad or Phase One "only truly make sense nowadays on tech cameras", are "only relevant on an Arca", or that this is a "realistic point of view about the practical limitations of equipment" because other cameras exist with more advanced autofocus options, while certainly valid as an opinion one could reach for their own individual needs, desires, and preferences; any broader implication of that opinion I would find absurd. The idea that shooting moving subjects requires a particular type of autofocus, or autofocus at all for that matter, I find ridiculous and evidence to support that can be found easily!

So, to summarize, I urge those that want to improve their photography to try and avoid falling into the mindset promoted by manufacturers' marketing departments or commentary online by individuals that you need some new feature or brand or model of camera because it's vital to making great images. It's secondary at best. It's a mindset that fuels endless and fruitless internet debate or is used as an excuse for images that are less than satisfying.

Right... and you are here, embodying objectivity and freeing us from marketing messages... ;)

I would just urge anyone needing AF to try both the GFX100 and the XF and H6D. You'll be able to tell which of these tools contribute most to freeing your creative mind and further developing your photographic journey. Not to mention that it may help you secure enough pocket change to buy a car in the process.

There is nothing like first hand experience to form an opinion.

Cheers,
Bernard

TechTalk

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Re: Phase One XF AFr is not the same as Hasselblad True Focus
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2019, 08:58:22 pm »

Right... and you are here, embodying objectivity and freeing us from marketing messages... ;)

I would just urge anyone needing AF to try both the GFX100 and the XF and H6D. You'll be able to tell which of these tools contribute most to freeing your creative mind and further developing your photographic journey. Not to mention that it may help you secure enough pocket change to buy a car in the process.

There is nothing like first hand experience to form an opinion.

Cheers,
Bernard

Excellent advice. I would change "needing" autofocus to "wanting" autofocus. Some use it a lot, others not so much. But, I don't want to nitpick too much as I agree with the general advice.

To add to your comment on the savings, it's always nice to have money to travel to new locations to photograph. Choice is good!
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