Sony please don't introduce any more SSM lenses

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markkubis
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Sony please don't introduce any more SSM lenses

Unread postby markkubis » Sun May 27, 2007 3:26 pm

My experience with my 70-200 f2.8 SSM on my film 7 is that it focuses significantly more slowly and hunts more than my 70-210 f3.5-4.5. It is a useless lens if you need to focus in a hurry. It's not just Minolta lenses. I have tried Canon USMs on their bodies and they focus noticeably more slowly than equivalent screw-driven lenses on my film 7 body. Yes, SSM/USM focusing is more quiet but my priority is getting the picture. Anybody else disappointed with focusing speed/hunting on their SSMs?

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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sun May 27, 2007 6:29 pm

The 7, and the 800si, drive screw lenses like lightning (so does the Dynax 9). Depending on the lens it's almost a jolt when focusing, not a smooth movement, and they are very fast - the 7 beat almost all the competition in its day. I tested the Dynax 9 alongside the Nikon F5 and Canon EOS 1n, and is consistently found and locked focus faster - this was pre-SSM, but the Canon has a USM 70-200mm I'm sure, one of the first ones.

My 70-200 SSM seems pretty good on the film 7, but I have no reason to use it. On the 7D, 5D and A100 it is faster focusing than any other similar tele I own, but I don't have a 70-210mm f3.5-4.5, which is an 'i' generation lens and pretty zippy. I don't know why you would get hunting to any extent. We have a big car rally on tonight in the town, I hate motorsports shooting (pointless, all the pix look the same) but might take the 70-200mm for a few minutes and see how it tracks in evening light.

David

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Unread postby markkubis » Sun May 27, 2007 6:47 pm

Perhaps 'hunting' is an incorrect technical term for what I experience with my SSM. With the SSM if I focus on something using the central focus sensor, the lens sometimes fails to lock focus (more frequently than the 3.5-4.5 lens) and travels to the end of the distance scale and returns again for another attempt. By this time I've missed my shot. I would rather have the right shots in the can even though they may have slightly more distortion (that nobody other than a photographer would ever notice) than optically perfect shots from the SSM where I have 'missed the moment'.
Last edited by markkubis on Fri Jun 01, 2007 2:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sun May 27, 2007 7:53 pm

I've just gone out for a few shots. The rally was over, but I found a dad and his daughter about to launch on the river in a rubber raft to shoot our 'brown water' rapids, and did a quick sequence of an approaching car on 3fps in the town. The car was on centre focus, and though it looked poor through the finder, the lens managed to lock on and hold until another car passed by in front of it and the SSM immediately shifted to that - missing the next shot after the intruder had passed, but very respectably locking back on after that. The rafting was on wide area focus and all but one of the shots hit the target, one was apparently distracted by the very sharp turbulent river behind the subject and shifted for a single frame to back focus.

But, overall, it did as well as I would expect, and no hunting as you describe it.

David

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Unread postby markkubis » Sun May 27, 2007 8:29 pm

Thanks for your input David. To further clarify my experience:

1) If both lenses are at the infinity focus position and I try to focus on something 2 metres away using both lenses and neither lens fails to lock focus during its first attempt at locking focus then the 3.5-4.5 lens focuses significantly faster. The SSM lens is the slowest focusing speed lens I have. Even my Tamron 28-300 focuses faster in this condition.

2) The SSM fails to lock focus on first attempt more frequently than my 3.5-4.5 lens. The more dark/lower contrast conditions the greater the failure of the SSM to lock focus relative to the 3.5-4.5 lens. This sounds odd because you would think that the SSM would let more light in so would focus more reliably. But not with this SSM.

3) When focusing with non-SSM lenses on my film 7 I notice that often there is a micro adjustment of focus just before the lens locks focus. With the SSM lens this does not happen as often. I wonder whether the "in focus" tolerance is wider with the SSM lens so as not to make it slower still to lock focus.

4) Slow focusing speed on the SSM lens could be explained by it having such huge and heavy elements that there is a high degree of inertia when moving the elements about during focusing operations. Perhaps there is not enough electrical power available for a beefy SSM motor. It would be interesting to hear from users who have both the 70-200 SSM lens and also a screw-drive 70-200 f2.8 to see whether with heavy glass screw-drive or SSM is faster.

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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sun May 27, 2007 10:30 pm

I have now done a quick check of as many lenses running to 200mm as I can. Both the 70-200mm SSM and the original 70-210mm f4 are chipped to reset focus to 4 metres when the camera is turned on. The lens parks at infinity on turn-off, but sets itself to 4m on switch on. The SSM is no faster in focusing than the 70-210mm f4, nor very much quieter, but it tracks moving subjects better. The unit being driven by the SSM is large, and I would not compare the action with a typical Canon USM. It could be that an 80-200mm HS Apo (the final generation of that lens) is faster. I don't have one to check. The 70-200 SSM does not make any audible micro adjustments. The 70-210mm f4 does micro-adjust.

The 200mm f4 Apo Macro calibrates to near infinity when switched on. It is relatively fast but hunts badly, being unable to stop in time to lock focus in dim light. It micro adjusts focus.

The surprise in my bunch is the 35-200mm f4.5-5.6 Xi Power Zoom. This one calibrates to 4 metres, I think, but has no focus scale to confirm it. It focuses extremely rapidly and locks focus reliably. The operation of the 35-200mm is not to my taste but I know it's optically one of the best, so I may pull it out or retirement - it is currently living in its leather case, boxed, with all its original papers. It does not do much micro-adjusting of fine focus after locking on.

The 100-300mm Apo may be the noisest of the lot, but actually, it focuses pretty fast and locks on readily, with micro adjustments. It calibrates to 25 metres focus distance on switch-on.

I also checked my CZ 16-80mm to see how that calibrates - it stays firmly at 'absolute infinity' on switch on. It is interesting that several lenses move straight to 4m focus distance when switched on. This does give the impression, with the 70-200mm SSM, that it is focusing twice on any distant subject if you raise it to your eye and then switch on.

David

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Re: Sony please don't introduce any more SSM lenses

Unread postby jozphoto » Sun Jun 17, 2007 10:10 am

markkubis wrote:My experience with my 70-200 f2.8 SSM on my film 7 is that it focuses significantly more slowly and hunts more than my 70-210 f3.5-4.5. It is a useless lens if you need to focus in a hurry. It's not just Minolta lenses. I have tried C*n*n USMs on their bodies and they focus noticeably more slowly than equivalent screw-driven lenses on my film 7 body. Yes, SSM/USM focusing is more quiet but my priority is getting the picture. Anybody else disappointed with focusing speed/hunting on their SSMs?


That's odd, I used both versions of 80-200mm HS APO Gs (white & black), as well 70-200mm SSM APO G, the SSM is most definitely spot on when coupled with Maxxum 9; on 5D & A-100, it sometimes misses the first shot but always catch on the 2nd one.

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Unread postby Philip » Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:22 am

I have both the Minolta 80-200 APO and the new Sony 70-200 SSM APO. The 80-200 is marginally slower in focusing, much noisier, BUT the image is sharper when viewed at 100%. There are slight differences in colour rendering between the two, but comparing the differences in the lens groups, not suprising.(The differences are not vast, and both look natural, but when viewed side by side the differences are there.) The speed with which the 70-200 focuses does mean that it occasioally overshoots, however its overall speed in use makes it better for action shoots then the 80-200.
In short, if I am taking pictures of a stationary or slow moving object I use the 80-200 because of the better image quality. If I am taking pictures of faster moving objects (or I need to minimise the noise I'm making) I take the 70-200.

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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:03 pm

I did some more tests (on A100) and the 70-200mm SSM takes about 1/5th of a second to focus between 2m and 20m (approx), set to 70mm, while the CZ 16-80mm set to 70mm takes about 1/15th sec. The SSM lens is three times slower. It also is much slower than my 70-210mm 'beercan'. Very quiet, very smooth, and good at tracking movement - but by no means a fast focusing lens.

David

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Unread postby jozphoto » Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:47 pm

David Kilpatrick wrote:I did some more tests (on A100) and the 70-200mm SSM takes about 1/5th of a second to focus between 2m and 20m (approx), set to 70mm, while the CZ 16-80mm set to 70mm takes about 1/15th sec. The SSM lens is three times slower. It also is much slower than my 70-210mm 'beercan'. Very quiet, very smooth, and good at tracking movement - but by no means a fast focusing lens.

David


David, could this have something to do with the focusing module on the A-100, it's piss poor.

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Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:36 am

As it is faster than the 7D or 5D, that does not really worry me. It is nowhere as good as the faster film models - 8000i, 800si, 9, 7, 600 si.

Why is a mystery, you would have thought an existing module and motor would be an economic proposition for newer bodies.

David

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Unread postby ianmiddy » Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:44 am

David Kilpatrick wrote:As it is faster than the 7D or 5D, that does not really worry me. It is nowhere as good as the faster film models - 8000i, 800si, 9, 7, 600 si.

Why is a mystery, you would have thought an existing module and motor would be an economic proposition for newer bodies.

David


Recalled some info another user received from P Ganzel on Dyxum - may be of interest:

http://www.dyxum.com/dforum/forum_posts.asp?TID=9583&KW=focus+speed+module+size&PID=78359#78359

Cheers

IDM

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The SSM lenses focus well for me.

Unread postby Sol » Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:42 pm

There is not any sort of major difference in the AF speed of the SSM lenses versus other late model lens designs, once you're into the upper tier lenses. Such as the Sigma EX lenses.
For example, I owned the Sigma 70-200 EX before my 70-200 SSM. Speed-wise the Sigma more than holds it own with the SSM model on fast AF speed. But, and this is fairly huge, the glass on the Minolta SSM is absolutely stunning!! It's bright, extremely clear, and just an overall cleaner color tone, IMO. The build quality is as good as it gets, and it's extremely quiet. When you focus it for the first time with it, you can't help but smile.
My 300 SSM versus my old Tamron 300 2.8 Pro model, is pretty dramatic in the AF speed. It of course shares all the other aforementioned good features of the 70-200 SSM model. And is just simply beautiful glass!
Interesting effect of the added weight of the 300 SSM versus the Sigma 100-300 F4 EX that I own as well. I find it far easier to hand-hold the SSM lenses steady compared to the much lighter Sigma models that I've used. The added weight simply gives more resistance to subtle hand movements. And that does apply to the 70-200 model as well.

Sol


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