Video: An Autofocus Test. Canon vs Panasonic vs Sony vs Fujifilm

Which one: Canon, Panasonic, Sony or Fujifilm for Autofocus?

In response to comments we’ve gotten regarding our complaints about Panasonic’s autofocus, we created a video putting four systems against each other. We put them all in the same situation and had them autofocus on a moving subject. In this case, it was a subject that wasn’t moving very fast. The results? Check out our YouTube video to find out. The results confirm what we’ve known with Panasonic and the L mount alliance in general. Also, Sony is still king.

The Gear

The Test

All the cameras were tested in the same lighting condition. All were set to 1/50th, ISO 1600, and f2.8. They all had their respectful face and eye AF detection settings on. (Plus, we set them to humans just in case.) And all the lenses were set to 50mm as carefully as possible. Unfortunately, Canon decided to cripple video on the Canon EOS R with 4K mode. Why? I still don’t understand it, but it continues to annoy me, and when filming this video, I forgot they did this. However, it’s a feature I pretty much never use with Canon. I’ve instead opted for Sony when it comes to video or sometimes Fujifilm. The video autofocusing capabilities we’re demonstrating in this test prove what we’ve been saying. And when shooting stills, we continued to see similar performance.

All these cameras and lenses were all given their fair shots. I recorded with them a few times and selected the best options.

Conclusions

Here’s what we found:

  • Sony is king when it comes to autofocus.
  • Canon has an unfair advantage with the extreme crop of the sensor.
  • However, Canon isn’t really a slouch with video autofocusing.
  • Fujifilm is close to behind the pack. The Fujifilm XH1 is incredible at it.
  • Panasonic is behind the most. The L mount alliance has work to do when it comes to autofocusing.
  • Leica lenses on Panasonic bodies don’t perform as well.

We found these problems in video mode, but we also found them in stills shooting too. If you’re a video shooter, you all probably know there are great options out there, but it’s a different story when it comes to autofocus. This test helps demonstrate a real situation: keeping people in focus while photographing as a photojournalist. When shooting events, news, etc. you need to have a camera that can track subjects. It’s a real occurrence, and what I experienced with these cameras is pretty much in line with what I got with them when shooting in stills mode.

But, we’d like to hear more from you. Which one did the best? What system do you own? How has it performed for you? We’d love to know.