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Thread: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

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    E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    It should come as no surprise to anyone, given the photos I've been showing and my ebullient praise of the E-M1, that I'm pretty happy and satisfied with this camera. ;-)

    What I read a lot of, however, is dissatisfaction with tracking, CAF and CAF+tr, when shooting "birds in flight" subjects. Hmm. Well, I can't say I ever shot BIF very much in the past ... the occasional snap here and there does not make me a BIF specialist. Nor have I used CAF or CAF tracking very much in the past either, with any camera including the E-5.

    But I've been curious about the disgruntled commentary. It seems so at odd with my own experience using the E-M1. I wonder ... was the E-5 really that good at subject tracking in CAF that the E-M1 is far worse? Was it really that much faster to focus a 50-200 or 300mm lens on a moving splotch of bird? I don't remember it being all that fantastic in the first place, certainly a step up from the E-1 but one of the reasons I never used CAF very much was that I never really saw much point to it. I could focus faster and more accurately, more consistently in manual focus mode than the results I usually saw with CAF.

    Well, the E-M1 is a new camera and I'm enjoying exploring what it can do. I'm about ready to explore its AF capabilities with CAF and CAF+tr. By explore, I mean "understand what the settings do" and "see how useful they are in given situations." (Note that I can't compare them against my expectations of what they might do since I have none. ;-) I've played with the CAF and CAF+tr settings using my longest AF-capable lens (Panasonic-Leica Macro-Elmarit 45) and my shortest (ZD 11-22), so I now think I understand how the settings work, how they interact with different AF pattern choices, etc.

    I guess along the way of this exploration I might want to acquire another, longer AF capable lens. That presents a decision point ... I'd love a 150/2: it's kinda pricey and I use such long lenses so infrequently, but it would work with my E-1 as well. Then there's the standby of the 50-200/2.8-3.5 ... a great lens, had one once upon a time, sold it when I realized I only rarely used it. Good news is that good, clean ones are available at a reasonable price, and it would also work with the E-1. Then there are the mFT choices ... haven't looked yet, but I know the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro offering is a while into the future yet.

    No need to rush. I'll start playing with these modes a bit using the gear I already have and comparing them against my time-honored S-AF+MF and MF methodology.

    I'll post when I have something more to say about CAF and CAF+tracking. This might take a while. ;-)
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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    Have fun doing this.
    I hope you enjoy as much as I do these particular features.
    I would love to compare our experiences.
    Indeed in my experience the E-M1 is a definitive improvement over the E-M5 as well in this regard.
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    hmm, so far I have tested the S-AF with manual override capability, and the focus speed is really fast. Coming from owning a Canon 5D, I have to say the focus speed is the same if not faster. The difference being that the 5D would every now and then miss focus, whereas the EM1 gets the focus spot on everytime.

    I tried C-AF and C-AF tracking, with setting high for tracking, and found tracking speeds is not thte fastest say when moving my hand back and forth from the camera. I think Canon's Phase AF is better here still, but maybe with firmware updates, it can be made better?

    Will need to do more tests, have only had the EM-1 for 4 days so far.

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    hmm, so far I have tested the S-AF with manual override capability, and the focus speed is really fast. Coming from owning a Canon 5D, I have to say the focus speed is the same if not faster. The difference being that the 5D would every now and then miss focus, whereas the EM1 gets the focus spot on everytime.

    I tried C-AF and C-AF tracking, with setting high for tracking, and found tracking speeds is not thte fastest say when moving my hand back and forth from the camera. I think Canon's Phase AF is better here still, but maybe with firmware updates, it can be made better?

    Will need to do more tests, have only had the EM-1 for 4 days so far.

    Have you tried OFF instead of high?
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    Karl-Heinz, what a brilliant hint!!! Tried with OFF, and the performance is far improved!!! Even in low light tracking is good
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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    Karl-Heinz, what a brilliant hint!!! Tried with OFF, and the performance is far improved!!! Even in low light tracking is good
    Exactly. When using OFF the camera doesn't have to wait for a fraction of a second for the tracked object to temporarily be obscured by something else, for example a tracked player briefly being behind another player. So, if you shoot sports where that happens you have to experiment with that parameter until it fits the movement pattern of the players.

    Good luck!
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    ahh, so the OFF position means if something obscures the tracked subject, lock will turn off. Also after I capture one frame of a tracked subject the tracking resets. Is there a way to maintain tracking after a frame is captured?

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    ahh, so the OFF position means if something obscures the tracked subject, lock will turn off. Also after I capture one frame of a tracked subject the tracking resets. Is there a way to maintain tracking after a frame is captured?

    Yes. What I do is, press shutter halfway until something is in focus, then press shutter fully and keep it fully pressed until your done. Of course, you also have to set how many frames per second you want. Ten per second may be a bit high. That depends on the subject of course. For hummingbirds nothing is too fast. :-)
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    So the C-AF Lock option changes the sampling rate at which the AF system will resample the scene for a focus target. I notice it has a slightly different effect on C-AF vs C-AF+tr. Turning it on to Normal improves the former's response time, but makes the latter less likely to hang onto a subject.

    Very interesting. This will be a slow study ... there are a lot of interactions to consider.

    G

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    I think I read somewhere that if the 10fps option is selected the AF will use the first track or locked on position and hence no AF continuous possible?

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    I think I read somewhere that if the 10fps option is selected the AF will use the first track or locked on position and hence no AF continuous possible?

    In any case that would not apply to continuous tracking though.
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    ah so you are saying that in continuous tracking C-AF at 10fps is possible?

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    ah so you are saying that in continuous tracking C-AF at 10fps is possible?
    Well, I could be mistaken.
    Have you tried it out?
    What's your experience?
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    no I just thought I read somewhere that when 10fps is selected, the AF cannot re track AF onto a moving subject, whereas the 6.5fps mode does.

    I have only had the EM1 for 5 days so far, so have to find some moving subjects Also I seem to only have the 12-40mm pro lens.
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    Re: E-M1 focusing ... experimentation time

    Quote Originally Posted by mazor View Post
    no I just thought I read somewhere that when 10fps is selected, the AF cannot re track AF onto a moving subject, whereas the 6.5fps mode does.

    I have only had the EM1 for 5 days so far, so have to find some moving subjects Also I seem to only have the 12-40mm pro lens.

    You may be right. I didn't have time to play with my camera today.
    But there is an easy way to find out, even in your living room.
    And congratulations on your lens. It's top notch.

    Here is what I have done.
    Focus on something specific with half pressing the shutter button.
    When in focus a green wireframe should appear if in C-AF TR mode.
    Now completely press down and hold down.
    While the camera fires its shots gentle rock the camera from left to right or something like that. The camera should stay focused on the initial object but the object will move in your frame. Try that for different frame rates.

    I also require for C-AF to be in focus for the camera to fire the shutter.
    So depending how fast you rock your camera firing the shutter may be slowed down. It's quite interesting to watch that.

    Good luck.
    With best regards, K-H.

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