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Thread: Focus...Focus!!

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Focus...Focus!!

    Ok, so since day 1 with the E-P1 I’ve been complaining about the focus. Let’s divide the issues and tackle them one by one:

    Issue 1 – My kit lens has no trouble to lock focus, but afterwards when I check the pictures they are NOT focused (I would say 25% of the photos are out of focus even after the E-P1 has locked focus…and I’m talking about plain day light). I don’t know if the kit lens is supposed to be like this or if this may have any influence on the focus but I find its elements to be lose once it’s extended.

    Issue 2 – Ok, this is not really an issue with the camera per se, but it’s something that is bugging me. How the heck have you guys been focusing manually with manual lenses?! I mean, it’s just crazy focusing with the LCD. I now have a very nice collection of Pentax K lenses that I’ve only been using on interiors or under controlled circumstances. Whenever I take the manual lenses out I finish the day with my eyes hurting and 50% of my photos out of focus (I would say it’s my eyes…if I hadn’t had them checked recently).

  2. #2
    JayCee
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Are you sure they're out of focus?...are you maybe confusing out of focus with camera shake?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Hum, the issue is so SO subtle that even though I'm quite convinced it's focus I have to say it couldn't rule out the possibility of camera shake. If it IS camera shake then it would also be a problem, because I must have owned around 10 or more different cameras and I've never got this amount of unacceptable results.

  4. #4
    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Rafa,
    In regards to question 1. At what focal length do you see the problem.
    If you focus and than zoom again... Focus shift will occur.
    Are your subjects moving?
    What shutter speed per focal length are you working...

    I have found the AF good with this camera.
    The focus box is rather large but it seems the camera thinks in terms
    of 3 dimensions and adjust accordingly.

    I would look at the metadata for the problem images and
    see the focal length/ shutter speed to START...
    Don

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    I mostly shoot static subjects at 28mm with high shutter, that's why I would find it strange for this to be camera shake related.

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Maybe you have a bad unit. I have no complaints about focus speed or performance. With either the 14-42 or 17.

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    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Rafa,
    Also check placement of the focus point.
    Maybe it moved from center and is focusing somewhere else....

    Hopefuly it's not a bad copy.

  8. #8
    Burningalive
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    I have been shooting with some manual Canon FD lenses and found that I am also getting some out of focus shots that I could swear are in focus on the screen. I corrected this by using the magnification screen while focusing then recomposing the shot. It took me a bit to figure that out, you have to hit the info button until you get the screen with the square in the middle, them hit the ok button to zoom and ok again to go to the normal view. Hope that helps!

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    Senior Member JBurnett's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Are you set for single auto-focus or continuous?

    Do you have release priority set ON or OFF? Release priority ON means that the focus lock must be achieved before shutter release is allowed. With the Panasonic G1 several photographers reported better AF results with this setting (called Focus Priority in the G1 if I recall) set to OFF, particularly with the 45-200mm zoom. It seems counterintuitive, but it worked.

    Regarding manual focus of legacy lenses, are you using focus assist as discussed above?
    Best regards,
    John.
    http://jburnett.ca

  10. #10
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    I have the camera set to single auto-focus, I half press the shutter button and once it gives me the focus locked signal I shoot. The focus type is set to "All target AF mode".

    As for the manual focus I'll just have to bite the bullet and live without the viewfinder until another brand decides to offer a similar sized camera with the same features. Hopefully Samsungs' NX system shouldn't take long and should carry a Pentax mount.

  11. #11
    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Rafa,
    You just pointed out the problem....
    Set the camera AF to single target....
    Don

  12. #12
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Streetshooter View Post
    Rafa,
    You just pointed out the problem....
    Set the camera AF to single target....
    Don
    That's how I had it before. I've switched because I thought this mode would fix it.

  13. #13
    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Rafa,
    You continually surprise me.
    Has this resolved the focus issue?
    Inquiring minds want to know....
    Don

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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    I should let you try the 25/0.95 I have brought along..

  15. #15
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I should let you try the 25/0.95 I have brought along..
    I'd have to have my eyes checked again afterwards ;-)

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    As for the manual focus I'll just have to bite the bullet and live without the viewfinder until another brand decides to offer a similar sized camera with the same features. Hopefully Samsungs' NX system shouldn't take long and should carry a Pentax mount.
    There's no guarantee that the Samsung NX will have a Pentax (K) mount. Even though the NX has an APS-C sensor, it follows the m4/3rds system in replacing the SLR mirror box with an EVF, significantly reducing the flange focal distance. So existing Pentax K-mount lenses will require an adapter to be used on the NX, just as 4/3rds lenses require an adapter to be used on both the Olympus and Panasonic m4/3rds bodies. And even if Samsung decide to use a "Pentax-compatible" mount on the NX cameras, it's likely that only some K-mount lenses will offer auto-focus on the NX (as is the case with using existing 4/3rds lenses on m4/3rds cameras).

    Given this scenario, Samsung will have to decide whether the benefits of maintaining compatibility with the Pentax K-mount (not offending Pentax/Hoya and "keeping faith" with existing Pentax users) outweigh the advantages of designing a new mount that is unencumbered by any compromises imposed by K-mount compatibility. In other words, an interesting choice for Samsung to have to make and one in which political/emotional issues may cloud technical considerations.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    I've just set the camera to "single target af" to test it again. The difference is that with "all target af" once you half press the shutter a single square shows up over the place the camera is taking as a reference for focus (it might be anywhere in the frame...but it usually is on the center). When you set the camera for "single target af" the focus is always on the center (unless you move the focus square to a different place).

  18. #18
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon Delacour View Post
    There's no guarantee that the Samsung NX will have a Pentax (K) mount. Even though the NX has an APS-C sensor, it follows the m4/3rds system in replacing the SLR mirror box with an EVF, significantly reducing the flange focal distance. So existing Pentax K-mount lenses will require an adapter to be used on the NX, just as 4/3rds lenses require an adapter to be used on both the Olympus and Panasonic m4/3rds bodies. And even if Samsung decide to use a "Pentax-compatible" mount on the NX cameras, it's likely that only some K-mount lenses will offer auto-focus on the NX (as is the case with using existing 4/3rds lenses on m4/3rds cameras).

    Given this scenario, Samsung will have to decide whether the benefits of maintaining compatibility with the Pentax K-mount (not offending Pentax/Hoya and "keeping faith" with existing Pentax users) outweigh the advantages of designing a new mount that is unencumbered by any compromises imposed by K-mount compatibility. In other words, an interesting choice for Samsung to have to make and one that may well be made for political/emotional as well as technical reasons.
    I have no idea if Samsung will go with a Pentax mount or not (I was just speculating, since they always do "copies" of pentax models and I've read somewhere they would base some aspects of the NX on the K7). But I haven't read anywhere that they will adopt the micro 4/3 standard. I’ve actually read that they would NOT adopt the micro 4/3 standard because they feel their approach is better, since it will actually use a DSLR sensor instead of the smaller sensor used by the micro 4/3. This would lead me to believe that the NX system will not have a micro 4/3 mount, and since they already have this “partnership” going with pentax I wouldn’t assume they would come out with their own new mount. Anyway, this is a different thread…and a good one at that Darn I'm curious about this camera!

  19. #19
    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    I have no idea if Samsung will go with a Pentax mount or not (I was just speculating, since they always do "copies" of pentax models and I've read somewhere they would base some aspects of the NX on the K7). But I haven't read anywhere that they will adopt the micro 4/3 standard. I’ve actually read that they would NOT adopt the micro 4/3 standard because they feel their approach is better, since it will actually use a DSLR sensor instead of the smaller sensor used by the micro 4/3. This would lead me to believe that the NX system will not have a micro 4/3 mount, and since they already have this “partnership” going with pentax I wouldn’t assume they would come out with their own new mount. Anyway, this is a different thread…and a good one at that Darn I'm curious about this camera!
    I didn't suggest that Samsung would adopt the m4/3rds standard (which would be extremely unlikely if not impossible since, as I wrote, the NX has an APS-C sensor). I simply stated that there was no certainty that the NX mount would provide the kind of K-mount compatibility that your original post implied.
    Last edited by Jonathon Delacour; 12th August 2009 at 06:43.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    I'm surprised no other thread has emerged regarding the NX system. It is supposed to be out this year and IFA is in September

  21. #21
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    I've just set the camera to "single target af" to test it again. The difference is that with "all target af" once you half press the shutter a single square shows up over the place the camera is taking as a reference for focus (it might be anywhere in the frame...but it usually is on the center). When you set the camera for "single target af" the focus is always on the center (unless you move the focus square to a different place).
    I always shoot single-point/center AF on all my cameras (multi point is trying to read my mind and that is a dangerous thing to try and do). I point directly at what I want to shoot at then recompose if necessary. My EP1 has no problem getting the AF right. Have you tried a different unit?

  22. #22
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    No, I don't know anyone around who has one. I would also have to spend some time with it, since it is not every shot that comes out out of focus.

  23. #23
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    1) No amount of "focus testing" that does not include locking the camera down with a tripod and using a simple, standard target to use as a reference is valid. Without seeing your photos, it is impossible to judge whether the blur you're seeing is focus error, camera shake or lens aberrations. You NEED a reference set up and reference exposures, focused critically, to determine what is going on.

    2) Learning how to focus manually is a skill. I detailed a training exercise for how to learn manual focusing that I've taught to many people successfully. Whether it's the only or the best method is irrelevant. The fact that it works is all that I care about.

    ---
    It's much easier to teach focusing in person. Writing up a procedure to do it is tedious. Happily, with a digital camera, it is easier to practice without wasting a ton of film in the process.

    Here's a short sequence to experiment with:

    - Start easy: Pick a medium focal length lens, a short portrait telephoto, and preferably a fast lens. (you can do it with a zoom set to this focal length too.)

    - Place a target about 2m away, separated from foreground and background. The target should be something with some surface texture to work with, or something with a mix of 6, 9, 12, 14 and 18 point font on it. Light it adequately for a wide open aperture and short exposure time (like 1/200 second). Lock in the exposure manually so it cannot vary on you.

    - Get comfortable with the camera and set it to MF mode.

    - Twist the focusing ring from infinity to closest focus at a medium speed. Then the other direction after a short pause. And again and again. Do it slow enough that you can watch the focus transition from blur to sharp to blur, but fast enough that the transition to critically sharp "pops" for a moment as you turn. OBSERVE the focus transition carefully, over and over again. Get a feel for how much time/how much angular displacement of the focusing ring causes how much focus transition to occur.

    The trick is to look at a subject and know the lens well enough to turn the focusing at the speed which makes the sharp moment pop, and be able to stop PRECISELY at that point.

    - Start trying to achieve that point of focus ... only turn in one direction and try to stop just once, make an exposure. DON'T look at it immediately on the LCD ... it helps if you turn off the review function. You want to repeat from close limit and from infinity ten times each.

    - Then download the image files to your computer and sort them into frame order. Look at them, one at a time, at 1:1 pixel resolution and mark down which are in focus and which are slightly off. Try to remember for each one what you felt as you stopped and made the exposure.

    Repeat this exercise until you get nine frames sharp. Then repeat it again doing 20 frame sequences until you get 19 frames sharp. Do as many as you can but DON'T keep going until you get tired: stop and take a break for a little while. The point is to plant in your finger and eye memory how fast to turn the ring and how to stop instantly when you see the point of best focus, just once.

    - Once you're doing sequences of 20 shots and getting them all in focus, double the target distance with the same lens and do the same exercise over again. Once you get 20 out of 20 with that repeatedly, you can double the distance again. It gets faster as you go along. By the time you get there, you should set up two more targets so you have three ... 2, 4, and 8m ... and do a couple of sequences where you focus on each one at a time ... put it in the center of the frame so you know which you're focusing on ... and do the same sequence of 20 until you get them all in focus through the sequence repeatedly.

    So now you know what it's like to focus that lens quickly and reliably, with your eye alone.

    - Change the lens to a shorter focal length (say, a normal focal length). Start at the beginning but use 1.5m as a starting point. Same rig, same target, different focal length ... the shorter the focal length, the more subtle the focus transition is to observe.

    - Keep doing the sequences with shorter and shorter lenses until you get to the shortest lens you have. Realize that when you get down to the 18-20mm range, you have to accept either a slower pace or a few more erroneous focusing frames to "finish" a sequence.

    This kind of skill does not take exceptional eyesight. It takes the ability to see the motion of the focus transition 'stop' or pop for an instant and the muscular ability to stop turning the focus ring precisely at that instant. I've been able to get perfect critical focus using it even when my glasses were covered with guck after a hot session on a sweaty day or I dropped them and could not stop taking photos for one reason or another. All you're looking for is that point of "pop" in focus as the image moves a tiny bit, and to stop your fingers at that moment ... you're not trying to see the details.

    I'm sure that if you go through this exercise with calm motivation, you'll find your manual focusing reliability, and speed, improve ten fold in a day. I've been doing this so long and with so many different cameras that it just seems to come naturally to me. First thing I do whenever I fit an unknown lens to my camera is switch to MF and just rack it in and out from infinity to close limit focus a couple of times to "calibrate" my eye and fingers. Within a few moments of that, I'm ready ... I rarely get a bad focus, if I bother to look through the viewfinder and focus at all ...

    Which is another story. ;-)

  24. #24
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    I'll try the tests you've mentioned regarding the AF.
    Regarding the manual focus I have absolutely no trouble focusing using a viewfinder. In your method you are forgetting that the E-P1 ONLY has the LCD.

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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    I'll try the tests you've mentioned regarding the AF.
    Regarding the manual focus I have absolutely no trouble focusing using a viewfinder. In your method you are forgetting that the E-P1 ONLY has the LCD.
    Not at all. The same technique works whether you use a ground glass, an eye level viewfinder, or an LCD. The LCD gives you an advantage: magnification focus assist.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Ok, then you might try to explain why this is only happening with this camera after I've owned about 10 different models for years. I don't think all of the sudden I "forgot" how to focus.

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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    Ok, then you might try to explain why this is only happening with this camera after I've owned about 10 different models for years. I don't think all of the sudden I "forgot" how to focus.
    I conjecture that you haven't quite learned how to hold the camera still just yet. Or, perhaps, you haven't quite learned how to use the LCD vs your other cameras' eye level viewfinders yet.

    Beyond that, I have no idea.

  28. #28
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Hahaha. Next thing you'll tell me I haven't learned how to properly see or walk hahaha

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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    Hahaha. Next thing you'll tell me I haven't learned how to properly see or walk hahaha
    You haven't complained about being able to see or walk yet. Nor are those a topic of discussion for a photographic website, IMO.

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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Those are nothing to laugh about and are very relevant to photography.

    Last night, drama at the Ramblas.



    Panasonic G1, Computar-TV 25/1.3, ISO400, 1/30s, f/1.3

  31. #31
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Ah! My loss, Vivek! I ended up staying over at work for around 2 more hours. Lets try to hit Plaza Real and La Boqueria market (if you haven't been yet) next monday or tuesday. Let me know in advance so I may bring the E-P1 along!

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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Will do, Rafa. Evenings are a bit more tolerable, temperature wise. Glad I brought along a few fast lenses.

  33. #33
    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    all this and still not a single image or segment of image from Rawfa to demonstrate his problem. Makes it hard to suggest

  34. #34
    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Pellicle,

    Don't worry about Rafa....

    He's got problems I tell ya....

    And

    It ain't a pretty site....

  35. #35
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    I think he's got a defective unit.




    oh, and the camera might be bad too

    I kid, I kid...thanks, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

  36. #36
    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Dunno....he gets some nice images with that problem camera....

  37. #37
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    You guys are right. Here is a self portrait taken today:


  38. #38
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    well you didn't say you wear glasses. Maybe that is the problem. How big are your groups with that thing? Here's something from the small gun:



    And from the slightly larger gun:



    oh wait, wrong kind of shooting
    Last edited by nostatic; 13th August 2009 at 13:32.

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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Streetshooter View Post
    Pellicle,

    Don't worry about Rafa....

    He's got problems I tell ya....

    And

    It ain't a pretty site....
    I think m3photo should intervene on this one - I hope I haven't made him nervous

    If the site is in English, then we need someone to make sure the English is rite.

    Keith

  40. #40
    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Rafa,
    I see ya found another.....

    Streetshooter

    he he....

  41. #41
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    and my first shot has focus problems. Hmm...coincidence?!?!?

  42. #42
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Give him a break fellows!

    It must be frustrating to sit inside, on top of this shop, working and not being able to access any candy ("happy pills") or do photography.


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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Give him a break fellows!

    It must be frustrating to sit inside, on top of this shop, working and not being able to access any candy ("happy pills") or do photography.
    No wonder his camera shakes, he's drinking too much water and taking too many happy pills. :sleep006:
    Thanks Vivek for getting to the bottom of this - put in an offer for his EP-1 (could get it for a bargain price)
    Sorry

    Keith

  44. #44
    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    So that's where I was yesterday. That explains why I woke up like this:


  45. #45
    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Focus...Focus!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    You guys are right. Here is a self portrait taken today:

    reload takes time ... try a fifty.

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