PDA

View Full Version : HELP! focusing indoors question


Kittykat23uk
17th September 2010, 07:26 AM
Hi all,

This is probably a dumb question. I've noticed that when I'm photographing my bunnies indoors on auto, that sometimes the strobe keeps flashing before I can shoot whereas other times it locks focus quickly without the strobe going off. I would prefer for the strbe not to go off as much as I think it disturbs them. Also the shutter speed and aperture numbers flash in the viewfinder. I would have thought with the camera set to auto it would be able to select the most appropriate settings automatically, so why does it flash?

I tried setting the ISO manually to a higher value in case that was restricting the settings and making the shooting conditions sub-optimal (I tried 100-400)but that didn't seem to make any difference to the shutter speed and aperture that the camera was selecting.. Any idea why this is and how to prevent it?

This is the sort of scene I was shooting:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/4996441968/meta/in/photostream/

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4145/4996441968_107d2b737f.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/4996441968/)
Bunneh in a basket- Widget and Sprocket (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/4996441968/) by kittykat23uk (http://www.flickr.com/people/kittykat23uk/), on Flickr


Many thanks,

Jo

Nick Temple-Fry
17th September 2010, 08:50 AM
I guess you are trying to photograph without flash, but have the flash raised.

The flash is being used to focus assist, get enough light so the focus works, my recollection is that this can be turned off under the custom menu.

The real issue is that we don't often appreciate just how 'dim' indoor light really is, our eyes adjust in a way the camera can't. I suspect the camera wants to shoot at a much higher iso than 400, probably higher than you have the auto range limit set on your camera, so the camera can't get high enough to give you what it thinks is both a good exposure and an appropriate shutter speed.

The real answer is more light, though reducing the dof (increasing the aperture) and using centre weighted exposure metering may well help, that way the camera wont be trying to capture the shadows in the background.

Unfortunately I couldn't see the exif data (details about how the camera is set) so I may have missed a few suggestions.

Nick

snaarman
17th September 2010, 08:55 AM
Here you go Nick, I stole this from the flikr site..

Camera Olympus E-620 (http://www.flickr.com/cameras/olympus/e-620/)
Exposure 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture f/4.7
Focal Length 24 mm
ISO Speed 200
Exposure Bias 0 EV
Flash Auto, Fired
Exposure Program Creative (Slow speed)
Max Aperture Value 3.5
Metering Mode Multi-segment

Pete

Nick Temple-Fry
17th September 2010, 09:36 AM
Can't think of anything else - other than use A priority and centre weighted metering.

Nick

snaarman
17th September 2010, 10:23 AM
Yes, I go with Nick's suggestions. Using Program mode might be spoiling the party: I don't recall, but Auto and Program may well allow auto flash pop up as standard.

For myself I almost never use the camera flash, I have auto pop up disabled, and that also disables the autofocus assist from the flash, which is probably what is causing your problems.

Not using flash has its benefits and problems.

Non flashed pictures tend to look more realistic, but indoor shots away from the window and daylight can be almost impossible. As Nick says, the primary need is for more light, then go for Aperture priority and centre weight metering :-)

Pete

Kittykat23uk
17th September 2010, 12:27 PM
Thanks everyone for the tips. The flash was up but I believe I had to pop it up myself at the time. You are right too the room was fairly dimly lit. I'll give your suggestions a go.

Ulfric M Douglas
17th September 2010, 02:38 PM
Not a dumb question at all, in fact that strobing flash is the freakiest thing!
It could probably kill weak-willed bunnies stone dead on occasion. :D
... sometimes the strobe keeps flashing before I can shoot whereas other times it locks focus quickly without the strobe going off. I would prefer for the strbe not to go off as much as I think it disturbs them....
...I tried setting the ISO manually to a higher value in case that was restricting the settings and making the shooting conditions sub-optimal (I tried 100-400)but that didn't seem to make any difference ...
I think there's a 'dimness' level at which the strobe fires if the AF unit can't get an AF lock without it.
My advice would be to use 'A' mode with the widest aperture set ... and the flash 'strobe' set OFF in the menu. If the cemera can't get an autofocus lock just use manual focus, sorry : easier said than done.
When trying higher ISO go for 800 then 1600, no piddling about with 400 and the like.
Next step would be to buy a flash for the camera (I recently got a cheap METZ) which has inbuilt red-light focusing illuminator : works great.

Kittykat23uk
17th September 2010, 02:46 PM
Thanks, I suppose coming from a Panny FZ18 I'm reluctant to use higher ISO! :rolleyes:

Widget (bun in picture), doesn't like the noise of the shutter let alone a strobe going off in her face! :(

hollyjack0142
18th September 2010, 09:12 PM
Cute bunnies, she looks young. I have a house rabbit, and was taking a few pics of him recently, and he took a massive dislike to the flash, and hurled himself at the camera!!!

Kittykat23uk
19th September 2010, 08:43 AM
Thanks yes they are about 5 1/2 months old.

cinders
19th September 2010, 09:45 PM
I'm always annoyed by the strobing flash too and did find that setting C-AF stops it. Not an ideal solution I must admit, but it works!
*chr

Kittykat23uk
20th September 2010, 07:35 AM
Thanks I'll try your suggestions. :D

sputnik
24th December 2010, 11:54 AM
..I had the same problem while in Xmas party last weekend
I was unable to get focus lock first with built in pop up flash ( a bit annoying while hunting for focus ) then I tried Olympus 36R but unfortunately that failed too for those moment capture
Honestly it was frustrating enough while my friends with point &shoot cameras did well
Lens: 14-42 at wide end with f3.5. ISO1600

I could't figure out the reason for AF failure in this instance ?:mad:

fridgemagnet
24th December 2010, 12:20 PM
I have got to say this problem is one that realy niggles me, if olympus were to change one thing about the E620/600 it would be to add a focus assist lamp. I also have a panasonic fz8 that does have a focus assist lamp and it gets accurate focus in very low light levels 99% of the time, unfortunately this doesn't help you much but just my 2 peneth.:rolleyes: ATB Martin

Daveart
24th December 2010, 07:15 PM
Hi one thing you could do if you need flash on turn off AF assisst, and if you need extra light to help with focus try using a flash light torch a low powered one that has a narrow beam shine it at the fur set fn to focus lock hold fn button in half depress shuitter button then adjust you point of view then fully depress the shutter, this should work without disturbing the rabbit.

Dave

Phaedrus
13th January 2011, 06:18 PM
This strobing flash drives me (and any subjects, human or rabbit) nuts. My E-410 does exactly the same thing, but as said, the AF Illuminate Assist can be disabled via the menus.

Turning off the flash and increasing the ISO to 800 or even 1600 has helped for snaps, but obviously noise prevents any enlargement or publication.

Note that thus far, I've typically left the camera in "P" mode for pretty much all situations, except for using "SPORT" for my son's football matches.

Two things bother me about all this:

1. I don't see other DSLRs doing this, and I know two guys with Canons (350D & 450D) who say it doesn't happen to them - how do Canons & Nikons AF in low light?

2. Those who like to gloat & mock love to see you struggle with your big, flashy "look at me, don't I look like a pro" DSLR, while they happily snap away with their compacts that they got for a fraction of the price of your camera that's supposed to be SO much better . . . :rolleyes:


Mark

Daveart
13th January 2011, 06:45 PM
Hi Mark, I do simpathise with you, I know its quite difficlut to focus in low light with any camera no matter how expensive it is, wether nikon canon or olympus the secret is really using a fast lens f2.8 or faster, prefocus manually. These are not cheap probably the cheapest is sigma 30mm 1.4 which is really bright which helps with the focus.

but if you are looking at a long lens then you are looking at 1500 for the 35 to 100 f2 to 90 to 250mm f2.8 lens at a whopping 4,000 there are the sigma 150mm f2,8 macro lens which you would need to prefocus to something in the distance that you want to capture the object in as these are macro type lenses and slow to auto focus as they are very fine adjustments, and these come out at something like 600 unless you are luky enough to get a second hand one.



Dave

photo_owl
14th January 2011, 10:00 AM
Hi Mark, I do simpathise with you, I know its quite difficlut to focus in low light with any camera no matter how expensive it is, wether nikon canon or olympus the secret is really using a fast lens f2.8 or faster, prefocus manually. These are not cheap probably the cheapest is sigma 30mm 1.4 which is really bright which helps with the focus.

but if you are looking at a long lens then you are looking at 1500 for the 35 to 100 f2 to 90 to 250mm f2.8 lens at a whopping 4,000 there are the sigma 150mm f2,8 macro lens which you would need to prefocus to something in the distance that you want to capture the object in as these are macro type lenses and slow to auto focus as they are very fine adjustments, and these come out at something like 600 unless you are luky enough to get a second hand one.



Dave

I have most of the lenses you reference and would, tactfully, suggest that they make no practical difference in terms of AF performance in the type of situations discussed in this thread.

The nature of the AF target, it's contrast and definition, relation to the AF point size and the AF settings being used are all important factors 'on the night'.

I'm not suggesting that they would never make any difference - just that when you are in difficult marginal indoor situations switching from (for example) the 12-60 at 60mm/4 to the 35/100 60mm/2 won't make a noticeable difference. Equally 12-60 30mm/3.3 to 30/1.4

Daveart
14th January 2011, 01:20 PM
Hi of cause it will make a diiference in being able to focus, its the amount of light that can reach the af sensor, if you are using a kit lens which has f3.5 at its widest f stop it will let in almost 1 stop less light than a lens that is f2 and 2 stops less light that an f1.4, so there for an f1.4 lens would achieve af focus more rederly than the f3.5 lens. to prove this put your 35 100mm f2 lens on set lens appiture to f3,5 press and hold then stop down button and focus at a low light situation and see how hard it is to focus as apossed to focusing with the lens open as normal.

Thats why pro photographer use fast lenses alot to ensure focus lock quickly and accuratly.

Dave

photo_owl
14th January 2011, 04:09 PM
Hi of cause it will make a diiference in being able to focus, its the amount of light that can reach the af sensor, if you are using a kit lens which has f3.5 at its widest f stop it will let in almost 1 stop less light than a lens that is f2 and 2 stops less light that an f1.4, so there for an f1.4 lens would achieve af focus more rederly than the f3.5 lens. to prove this put your 35 100mm f2 lens on set lens appiture to f3,5 press and hold then stop down button and focus at a low light situation and see how hard it is to focus as apossed to focusing with the lens open as normal.

Thats why pro photographer use fast lenses alot to ensure focus lock quickly and accuratly.

Dave

Well, as I do it all the time there's no reason for such a meaningless test.

From your personal experience which 43 lens of yours is best at AF in such conditions, which body and which AF mode?