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Old Apr 7, 2004, 4:59 PM   #1
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Default S1 IS autofocus, I dont get it

Most people/reviews say its very slow and thats the main reason I'm really thinking twice before buying one. A little CA/PF doesn't matter THAT much to me cause all ultra zoom cameras have it, but I guess bad focusing must be really annoying and can totally ruin the camera experience.

Anyway, I just found out the Minolta Z2 (though its the ugliest camera I've ever seen) has a superfast autofocus-system that works really great.

Now here comes the strange part: The extremely fast AF on the Z2 cant really keep up during movie-mode (according to Steve) so if you use the zoom it will be blurry for a while until the AF catches up (as can be seen on sample-movie).
BUT, I haven't seen this effect on the S1 IS movies I've seen from some review-sites. Zooming while filming seems to work just fine, although the AF-system is slooooow and maybe a bit inaccurate on that camera (at least everyone says it is).

HOW CAN THIS BE??? Beats me anyway
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Old Apr 7, 2004, 6:55 PM   #2
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Any way you can test drive one locally? I have a Canon S400 with a rather slow autofocus--until you turn the LCD screen off. Then it's faster than you'd believe.

I've heard the problem with the AF on digicams is that it has to give you a live feed of what you're looking at, which my eyes do pretty naturally on their own. With a 10 minute learning curve, switching to using the viewfinder for unposed, candid shots with my friends was a smart move. Before, when I used the LCD screen, I'd lose the moment as it struggled to show me where it had focused.

Anyhow, back to my point, if you can try one out at a store, try switching the LCD screen off! It may make it bareable.

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Old Apr 8, 2004, 1:02 AM   #3
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That's quite reasonable, though there's no..um.."non-digital" viewfinder on the S1 IS..The eye-level viewfinder is another LCD screen.
Though I'd really like to know if the S1 has focusing problems, I've heard quite a few people complain about it so it may be true..
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Old Apr 8, 2004, 1:44 AM   #4
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Yeah, I'm a bit scared of the S1 IS, ONLY for the AF-issues I heard about.
If it takes one second for it to lock, and if it also sometimes has a bit more trouble than most cameras getting a good lock at all, might that mean there will be trouble if trying to shoot someone walking/running from/towards me, or maybe even more extreme a car going fast from/towards me? Can a slow AF-camera handle such situations (maybe also a bit zoom used) or will it constantly be searching for focus?

Really sad if the S1 is slow and has problems....the Z2 seems to be among the fastest of them all and has the most powerful flash, and has this great continous mode where you just press shutter and it takes pictures rapidly and when you release shutter it saves the last 5, really great feature. Also its cheaper, has 4MP, and its display/EVF is useful even in lowlight and direct sunlight conditions (from what I've heard).
The downsides seems to be the totally horrible design and its also a bit more bulky, and probably more illogical cause not at all as much buttons as the S1.
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Old Apr 9, 2004, 5:59 PM   #5
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I've had my S1 IS for a day now and have been playing around with AF in movies. I don't know if I'll have a good relative perspective because I've never owned a video camera and my last digital camera took 10 second movies and was on the early side of video-taking-digital-camera era. But anyhow, here some things I've noticed so far.

The AF behaves well when I don't try to zoom at full throttle. It also seems that the fresher the batteries are the better it handles zooming in general (no surprised there I guess). When I mash on the zoom toggle while moving the camera to a new place to focus on the AF can take between 0.5 and 1.0 seconds to catch up. But then, fast zooming in general doesn't make for pleasant viewing later on. Lighting also seems to be a factor. That is, better the light, faster the focus.

Hope this helps. I'll try to do more controlled testing.

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Old Apr 11, 2004, 3:57 AM   #6
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Ok, thanks for your help

So you say the AF works pretty ok then in movie-mode, unless extreme conditions?

How well does it work when low light? For example, if you try to capture a movie at night in a town or so, with lots of brightly lit buildings and lights and cars and stuff, will it look ok on movie or cant you see anything at all?

And maybe most important (that I already asked earlier), when taking pictures it takes about 1sec people say to lock AF. Does that mean I can not take pictures of people walking/running towards/from me, or the more extreme case, cars driving from/towards me? Can the AF keep up with such movements or not? Probaby depends on zoom-level of course, but would be very interresting to hear if you or someone else has experimented a bit with this and found out what is possible and not with this camera.

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Old Apr 13, 2004, 1:20 AM   #7
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Hello Seb74. Check first these sites:


Just to get more informations.

You can also DL the User Manual from www.canon.com a get more informations about this camera.

Anyway I have read your questions.
1) Every camera, both SLR or digital, with autofocus-system will freeze the image under "hunting". Only these cameras with an optical viewfinder will not notice it.
"Hunting" will, of course, be different dependig of AF-system.
When You "freeze", You will freeze the focus and not the picture.
In fact in low light-conditions one of the suggests is "freeze AF on a similar distance, compose a new picture and now push down the button".
I hope You understand what I mean.
AF assist-lamp works only on short distance. About 3 meters.

I don't believe You can find any camera which will work "very well" on low light-conditions.

I had Canon A60, Fuji F602 and now Minolta Z1. Every one has problem in this situation. Digicams use an extern lamp.
My Z1 needs a lot of light to focus quickly and under bad light-conditions I must "work" with different solutions to get a good picture or movie. Not always the result will satisfy me.

S1 IS has a very interesting AF-bracketing. You change to manual focus and do the best You can (with enlarged view). Push the button down and You get three pictures with: your focusing, one underfocusing and one overfocusing.
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Old Apr 18, 2004, 4:23 PM   #8
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Default AF for pictures

Does the S1 have AF problems for pictures?
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Old Apr 29, 2004, 1:30 PM   #9
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My opinion is that you'll never get good pictures of a moving car using AF. This is true for yet all digital cameras, cause the fastest one still isn't fast enaugh.
MF is the solution. For that, the S1 has a focus bracketing option. With F8 (good depth of field) and using focus bracketing, you'll get the target in-focus.

Low light focusing... that again can be solved by manual focusing + bracketing. (Or perhaps only with bracketing).

The S1 is not just a point-and-shoot camera, and those targets you're talking about (dark, moving, etc.) are not point'n'shoot targets. You can do it manually.
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