View Full Version : Manual Focus assistance on E5/E30

David Morison
13th January 2011, 06:02 PM
Some of my work involves manual focussing on creatures large and small. In poor light I find that getting the exact point of focus a bit hit and miss. Maybe it is my old eyes not functioning as they used to. I have used live view and the magnified focus assistance works well as long as the creature is not fast moving, otherwise the delay can mean missed shots. I remember the days when you could get a variety of focussing screens for the high-end 35mm SLRs, I always favoured the split image ones. Does anyone know if this sort of option is possible on E5 or E30? This is the one biggest drawback of modern DSLRs and really annoys me!


rich s
13th January 2011, 11:28 PM
This may or may not help much - but I think everyone struggles to manually focus on DSLR models, until they reach the level of the E3, or now, E5.

The E3, with its much larger & brighter screen, was the first DSLR that I could use too comfortably focus in MF mode, and get almost 100% keepers in street shooting situations.

When I started using a G1 though, I realised how much better an good EVF was. But the G1 doesn't have Oly colours, and so it wasn't until a few weeks back that I found my most recent solution - EPL-1, VF-2, and suitable manual adapter for my Leica R lenses. I can now use legacy OM, Hexanon, and Leica R lenses, and they give superb results on quite a cheap body that I hear has the same sensor and resolution as the E5!

Focussing on the EPL-1 is both accurate and very quick, with its dedicated magnifying button. I have the E30 as well, and have often used the Leica R 90 f2 on it, with never had the same success rate ... so I would strongly recommend moving to 4/3 if you want to obtain best results, and if a swivel LCD is needed for photography of small creatures, then a G2, or GH1, GH2 might be the better bet.

14th January 2011, 12:41 AM
David, you could always have a word with the good folks at Katz Eye (http://www.katzeyeoptics.com/item--Olympus-E-3-E-30-Focusing-Screen--prod_E3.html)
US only, but they will post for you to fit yourself or by your preferred repair shop.
No idea what it might do to a warranty though.:(

14th January 2011, 07:52 AM
I bought a Katzeye and fitted it myself to my E400 a few years back. At first I thought it was just great, just like the old days. As time went on I started to doubt the accuracy of my manually focussed shots. Either the screen and sensor didn't agree or my old eyes were not up to it. As an aside, the split screen section seemd a bit over large - like they were buying in 35mm screens and cutting them down, or else using screens for Canikon DSLRs cut down for 4/3 format.

In short, I eventually reverted to AF lenses and conventional screens.

However - I am informed that the combination of EVF, m4/3 body and manual focus is a joy to behold, so maybe that is a way forward ??


David Morison
14th January 2011, 01:17 PM
I had considered, very briefly, a m4/3rds camera and EVF before buying the E5 but the main consideration was weatherproofing, compact dimensions being of little matter as I have a 300mm f2.8 which weighs in at 3.5kg on it's own. I have owned a Leica Digilux 2 and a Panasonic with EVFs which were fairly useful.
Interestingly I have a Canon Poweshot SX210 which, although not having EVF, has a function on AF of magnifying the central portion of the image once focus has been achieved, enabling a close check of the sharpness before firing the shutter. If this function could be incorporated in m4/3rds EVFs with AF it would be a very useful additional attraction.