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Rens
20th March 2008, 10:44 AM
Overall Iím really happy with my E3. I like using it and am getting my best ever pictures.
I wouldnít buy a DSLR without articulating live view, so for the last two years I used a Sony R1. Used to its strengths the R1 was a good camera; just about DSLR IQ and an excellent lens.

The E3 betters it in just about every area. For example:

Much faster AF and file writing
Excellent manual focusing in live view
Better higher ISO IQ (yes, really)
Much better low contrast detail (very important for me)
Excellent OVF
IS that works

It took me a while to come to terms with the clunky ergonomics and interface, but theyíre no problem now.

BUTÖÖÖ

Thereís one area Iím not quite happy with. The accuracy of the AF is inconsistent. Usually itís pretty good, 80% spot on and 20% very close. But in some situations the ratio can be much lower than this, even down to fifty fifty.

It seems to vary a great deal depending on the subject and light; itís very choosy about what it can lock onto accurately, and instead of admitting itís unsure, shoots anyway. Iíve read that repeating patterns are known to fool it, and I can confirm AF can be way out on these.

But usually the mis-focus is slight, just enough to faintly blur sharp reflections and fine print. Viewing at 100% confirms the problem. Iíve reproduced results with tripod tests: IS disabled, and two second delay to eliminate body shake.

My old R1 has much slower AF (edge recognition, of course), and while very occasional subjects can fool it, itís accurate most of the time, far more often than the E3.

As the E3 is spot on much of the time, Iím guessing the basic system is OK. Maybe a future hardware update will improve matters.

How do other users feel about AF on their E3s?
How does it compare with other DSLRs in this respect?
Is my experience typical, or are my problems such that the camera should go back to Olympus?

Basically I love it, Iíd hate to send it away and be without it for any length of time.

Hope to hear some thoughts, best wishes to all,

Rens

Jim Ford
20th March 2008, 11:07 AM
I always use centre spot focus - if necessary focusing on an object, half pressing the shutter release to hold the focus and re-framing the shot before pressing the shutter fully.

I've never had any problems with this technique on my E500 or E3, and can't imagine needing any other.

_I'd_ rather decide what I want in focus, rather than the camera take a guess. Olys are smart, but not smart enough to read my mind!

Jim

andym
20th March 2008, 11:21 AM
Hi

I use the same technique as Jim ie centre spot and the recompose but have the camera set to MF and the mode set to 3 for MF.This allow focus with the AEL button,I then swap the AEL with the FN button so the FN becomes my autofocus.
I find this works well for me and stops any errors when recomposing the shot after I have focused ie once its focused my finger is off the FN button.
In this settup the shutter becomes my AEL so if you want to lock exposure you half press the shutter.
This way you can also manual focus after you have use auto-focus.

B.P.S Studios
20th March 2008, 11:38 AM
I also use the Centre Spot focus which I find works perfect for me

PeterD
20th March 2008, 12:45 PM
Hope you do not mind me butting in on this thread.

Virtually all new users of the E3 come across the same problems on settings and each of us has a favourite setting, sometimes to use universally and sometimes used for a particular shoot. The openess of the E3 to select what suits you best means the options are great.

The following thread was started and the table constructed, to help us all but in particular, first time users. It saves having to repeat ourselves in individual posts that just get lost in the passage of time.

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1203

The table is not yet populated but could someone, particularly one of our more experienced photographers please enter some of their settings. You will be helping others and, you never know, may see settings that you might also want to try.

The link we established also in setting up the table also gives access to the Wrotniak article which I think is essential reading for E3 users as it clarifies the manual descriptions and provides more info. If we get this off the ground then we shall have created an excellant resource for all.

PeterD

Ian
20th March 2008, 01:24 PM
Overall I’m really happy with my E3. I like using it and am getting my best ever pictures.
I wouldn’t buy a DSLR without articulating live view, so for the last two years I used a Sony R1. Used to its strengths the R1 was a good camera; just about DSLR IQ and an excellent lens.

The E3 betters it in just about every area. For example:

Much faster AF and file writing
Excellent manual focusing in live view
Better higher ISO IQ (yes, really)
Much better low contrast detail (very important for me)
Excellent OVF
IS that works

It took me a while to come to terms with the clunky ergonomics and interface, but they’re no problem now.

BUT………

There’s one area I’m not quite happy with. The accuracy of the AF is inconsistent. Usually it’s pretty good, 80% spot on and 20% very close. But in some situations the ratio can be much lower than this, even down to fifty fifty.

It seems to vary a great deal depending on the subject and light; it’s very choosy about what it can lock onto accurately, and instead of admitting it’s unsure, shoots anyway. I’ve read that repeating patterns are known to fool it, and I can confirm AF can be way out on these.

But usually the mis-focus is slight, just enough to faintly blur sharp reflections and fine print. Viewing at 100% confirms the problem. I’ve reproduced results with tripod tests: IS disabled, and two second delay to eliminate body shake.

My old R1 has much slower AF (edge recognition, of course), and while very occasional subjects can fool it, it’s accurate most of the time, far more often than the E3.

As the E3 is spot on much of the time, I’m guessing the basic system is OK. Maybe a future hardware update will improve matters.

How do other users feel about AF on their E3s?
How does it compare with other DSLRs in this respect?
Is my experience typical, or are my problems such that the camera should go back to Olympus?

Basically I love it, I’d hate to send it away and be without it for any length of time.

Hope to hear some thoughts, best wishes to all,

Rens

Are you talking specifically about the 12-60 SWD? A batch of that lens was faulty. Check that its serial number doesn't fall into the range:

230005416 to 230010688

See:

http://fourthirds-user.com/2008/02/does_your_1260_lens_need_service.php

Ian

Jim Ford
20th March 2008, 01:31 PM
Hi
have the camera set to MF and the mode set to 3 for MF.

Sounds interesting, but I'm not sure what you mean by 'mode set to 3 for MF'. I'd like to give it a try, so perhaps you'd explain in more detail, please.

Jim

andym
20th March 2008, 01:49 PM
Sounds interesting, but I'm not sure what you mean by 'mode set to 3 for MF'. I'd like to give it a try, so perhaps you'd explain in more detail, please.

Jim

Jim

I'm at work at moment so do not have the camera in front of me at the moment.But off the top of my head if you go to wrench 1 and the to AEL/AFL and select MF you can change the various modes for MF.If you change it to mode 3 it sets the AEL button to auto focus and the shutter half press to AEL.
You now set you camera to MF and you can auto focus with the AEL button.I prefer to swap the AEL with the FN button and hence focus withthe FN button.
I have used all my E ststem cameras like this.It stops you sometimes losing the focus because you have to hold down the shutter button while recomposing.

Give it a try.It works for me.

If you need anymore help let me know and I'll sort it out when I get home tonight.

Rens
20th March 2008, 02:54 PM
(usually but not always the centre one), with small sensitivity selected.

It seems to be the subject that can give the camera problems rather than me. I would never describe myself as an expert, but I've been taking photos for decades and I'm sure using the most suitable settings.

If not, I'll be happy to learn of course.

For my studio guitar pictures I use the excellent live view manual system, no problems there. I'm getting better pictures than ever before

It's almost as though the AF is too fast for its own good. If you take several photos of the same subject, the first can be not quite in focus but later shots improve.

I'm contacting Olympus asking them to examine the system and see if they can offer a firmware upgrade to improve matters (though whether it gets to anyone relevent is doubtful). I'm not the only E3 user to be happy with the camera as a whole but have AF reservations. Along with Louis Dobson saying it must be incompetent usage, others have posted doubts about the AF on the dpreview forum.

By the way, I am using the 12-60 lens, but it's not in the recall numbers, I checked a couple of weeks ago.

Does anyone have information as to how the E3 AF system compares with other DSLRs?

Best wishes to all,

Rens

yorky
20th March 2008, 03:30 PM
Has anyone any experiances at focusing accuratly on moving objects with the 510 and the 14- 54 lens

Jim Ford
20th March 2008, 05:43 PM
Jim

I'm at work at moment so do not have the camera in front of me at the moment.But off the top of my head if you go to wrench 1 and the to AEL/AFL and select MF you can change the various modes for MF.If you change it to mode 3 it sets the AEL button to auto focus and the shutter half press to AEL.
You now set you camera to MF and you can auto focus with the AEL button.I prefer to swap the AEL with the FN button and hence focus withthe FN button.
I have used all my E ststem cameras like this.It stops you sometimes losing the focus because you have to hold down the shutter button while recomposing.

Give it a try.It works for me.


Got it!

Looks like it could be a useful setting for me - thanks.

Jim

andym
20th March 2008, 07:25 PM
Got it!

Looks like it could be a useful setting for me - thanks.

Jim

No problem ,hope it works for you.

I like it as once you are focused there no chance of changing the focus by letting go of the shutter button when you recompose and if you need to tweak the focus manually you can.
The other thing I do is to set the Fn button (which is swapped with the AEL)to My Mode and have the my mode programmed to allow auto focus with the shutter release in case I need it.

OlyFlyer
20th March 2008, 08:48 PM
Hi Rens,

I agree with you. The focus accuracy is not as I'd expect from such an expensive, pro level camera. The fact is, the E-500 was much better when it comes to accuracy. You are also right about the camera triggers the shutter occasionally even when the subject is not in focus. My hit rate is typically about 90%, which is OK and seems like better than yours, but definitely not excellent. My hit rate with the E-500 was ~100% and when the focus was off it was my fault, most often caused by hand shake and too slow shutter speed. That is not the case now, most OOF shots are the cameras fault, not mine. I also agree with you about the AF being too fast for its own good. I wish Olympus added a firmware solution to this called Focus priority, with variables Accuracy or Speed. I'd love to trade the speed for accuracy, so that firmware update would be very welcome.

There is another thing about AF which I am not very happy about. I shoot a lot of macro, and the way I often did with the E-500 was using the focus trap trick. I moved the camera too close to focus, fully pressed the shutter release and that moved the lens to fully extended position. Than I slowly moved my body backwards and the camera would trigger the shutter when the focus was right. Of course, shutter priority was set to OFF. That is not possible any more because the E-3 just moves the lens back and forth forever (it feels like forever) than maybe at some point triggers the shutter, but in that case the magnification is not controlled and it can be triggered anywhere whithin the range, and since the AF is not always right, occasionally totally OOF. Before anybody comments on the ED50 macro being known for hunting I must tell you, mine got repared for it and never once hunted after the repair and during the 1.5 year I used on my E-500. Now it is hunting again, but this time I know it is not the lens, but the camera which causes the hunting.

A lot of people refuse to admit that the E-3 is indeed having some global problems with the AF. It is a nice camera but there are some improvements need to be made. I really hope Olympus is not going to listen to all those saying it is a learning curve, user error or that it is an individual camera that is wrong and so on. I hope they take their work more seriously and do some more serious tests and come up with a better solution than telling us we are doing things wrong.

My normal settings are S-AF, Shutter priority S and C OFF, single AF point (not necessarily the centre one) and small sensitivity. With the E-500 I always used the centre point because that was the only usable point. The E-3 has 11 usable points, but I make the selection manually and still don't believe the camera can make that selection for me.

BTW, I use the 14-54, 40-150 and the ED50/2 macro. I don't have any SWD but a whole bunch of OM, PK and Nikkor manual focus lenses.

Cheers.

250swb
20th March 2008, 10:48 PM
I don't tend to use the central AF target, but rather one of the others.

Somebody on dpreview noted after testing the AF response of the E3 that the central AF target was in fact somewhat larger in area than the little square box, in fact extending towards the outer circle. In many photo's this gives a pretty large area for the camera to choose for itself which bit of the subject it finds a tasty level of contrast to focus on. On the outer AF targets the area is close to the square box size. So I use the central target if I am generally wanting to shoot a landscape at a distance, or obviously flat or unambiguous subjects, and use the other target areas if it is open to question where the AF should focus on. In practice using one of the others is the same action as using the central point, focus lock then recompose, an age old technique.

Rens
23rd March 2008, 11:24 AM
OlyFlyer says:


"A lot of people refuse to admit that the E-3 is indeed having some global problems with the AF. It is a nice camera but there are some improvements need to be made. I really hope Olympus is not going to listen to all those saying it is a learning curve, user error or that it is an individual camera that is wrong and so on. I hope they take their work more seriously and do some more serious tests and come up with a better solution than telling us we are doing things wrong."

He's right, trying to pretend (often out of misguided loyalty) there isn't a problem with at least some cameras will make it less likely that Olympus feel compelled to correct it.

250 swb's point about the outer focus points being smaller than the central one is something I'll investigate. If it's true, seems daft to me.

Best wishes to all, Rens

OlyFlyer
10th April 2008, 06:57 AM
Has anyone any experiances at focusing accuratly on moving objects with the 510 and the 14- 54 lensLate answer for foruming but anyway...

No, not with the E-510, but the E-500. It worked fine for moderate fast movements like a child on a swing swinging back and forth. That was my test scenario for the E-500 kit zooms (14-45 and 40-150) and the ED50/2 macro. With those lenses it did not work in C-AF. With the 14-54 it worked perfectly. I havent tested the E-3 yet, but I expect to be even better since it definitely is faster than the E-500. I suppose the E-510 is somewhere in between, I expect it is faster than the E-500, so you should not have problems with that.

OlyFlyer
10th April 2008, 07:03 AM
250 swb's point about the outer focus points being smaller than the central one is something I'll investigate. If it's true, seems daft to me.

Hi Rens,

Did you manage to investigate? I am thinking of actually testing each focus point to find the borders but I haven't come up with a good and reliable methode to do it yet. Any ideas?

Rens
10th April 2008, 07:40 AM
Hi Olyflyer, sorry, I've been busy and didn't get round to this.

I see there's another unhappy E3 owner on dpreiview with focus issues. Even if it turns out he's not using the AF properly (unlikely, I'd say), there is still an issue when so many people who've had no problems for years with other cameras hit problems with the E3.

Olympus really should realise they have to devise systems compatible with their customers.

I hope they can do something about this, either fix the problems or change the AF system so it's easier to fathom.

My own camera is working better now. I'm sure I haven't changed anything (and I have the images proving there was a problem); very odd. I just hope it stays like this, but it leaves a disquieting uncertainty.

Rens

Ian
10th April 2008, 10:24 AM
Out of interest, do E-3 users tend to prefer the standard or small sensitivity setting for the AF points?

And what about release priority - which setting do you prefer?

Ian

ianc
10th April 2008, 10:34 AM
Out of interest, do E-3 users tend to prefer the standard or small sensitivity setting for the AF points?

And what about release priority - which setting do you prefer?

Ian

I always use small sensitivity and release priority on for continuous and off for single.

Ian C.

OlyFlyer
10th April 2008, 11:20 AM
Out of interest, do E-3 users tend to prefer the standard or small sensitivity setting for the AF points?

And what about release priority - which setting do you prefer?

IanI always use Small sensitivity and release priority OFF for both. Beep switched off most of the time, except when I am alone.

I find Normal sensitivity quite bad and unpredictable, working only for flat images. One never knows where the camera is going to focus when sensitivity is set to Normal. I like to have control and really wish Olympus could find a way to make the AF area narrower or adjustable in a menu.

Cheers.

OlyFlyer
10th April 2008, 11:37 AM
Hi Olyflyer, sorry, I've been busy and didn't get round to this.Hi Rens,

This is as far as I got as well. Just no time for the engineering part of photography.

I see there's another unhappy E3 owner on dpreiview with focus issues. Even if it turns out he's not using the AF properly (unlikely, I'd say), there is still an issue when so many people who've had no problems for years with other cameras hit problems with the E3.Yes, I noted and commented. I even posted some samples out of my own cameras. But honestly, I think in that specific case I suspect user error. The fact that a person has been successful during many years with an E-1 does not exclude user errors with a new and more sophisticated camera like the E-3. In that specific case, he uses LV and I think that is bad, not made for hand held portrait work, especially since he focuses first, recompose and shoot. I believe the camera will focus once again after recomposition, but I can be wrong since I don't use LV and so I am no expert. I am however definitely positive that a camera can be held more stable if held in the classical way, looking through the OVF.

My own camera is working better now. I'm sure I haven't changed anything (and I have the images proving there was a problem); very odd. I just hope it stays like this, but it leaves a disquieting uncertainty.

RensYou mean it got better on it's own? You are joking, right? My camera got better the same day I received the second body but I doubt if I kept #1 it could ever become better...

Anyway, I think I can get better but not my camera. That is as it is made and delivered to me, only I can improve my own style and way of use of the camera, not the opposite. But I am glad if you feel your camera got better and you are happy with it.

Rens
10th April 2008, 01:48 PM
I believe the camera will focus once again after recomposition, but I can be wrong since I don't use LV and so I am no expert. I am however definitely positive that a camera can be held more stable if held in the classical way, looking through the OVF.

You mean it got better on it's own? You are joking, right?

I think you'll find the metering isn't fixed, but you can recompose with the focus fixed even in live view. I do this regularly.

I also find I can hold the camera at least as steadily at waist level as to my eye. Holding it out in front is wobbly, of course, a complete waste of time.

Yes, I know I should be joking, but it's better now, honestly. I checked all the settings over and over, and could find no reason why it was front focusing. Two days later I checked again and it was OK.

I'd changed the battery in the meantime (have to do this a lot I find, but it's not a problem), otherwise I'd changed nothing. Of course there's a possibility I'd done so unknowingly, there always is, but I'm pretty sure not.

But as long as it behaves, I'm not grumbling.

I do like the image quality. I haven't even investigated RAW yet, the jpegs are so good. Much nicer colours than my old Sony R1 and my son's Nikon D70.

Incidentally, live view is well worth investigating. Lots of the time the viewfinder is better, but there are many occasions when live view gives pictures when you just couldn't get your eye behind the OVF. And for taking photos without spooking your subjects, talking to them without a camera in front of your face relaxes them greatly. Give it a try, it's why I first looked at the E3.

Best wishes, Rens

Invicta
10th April 2008, 06:04 PM
Out of interest, do E-3 users tend to prefer the standard or small sensitivity setting for the AF points?

And what about release priority - which setting do you prefer?

Ian

I noticed in C-AF and all target AF mode that the red confirmation mark is not displayed in the view finder nor when playing back pictures. I guess this is due to the time required but it makes me wonder that since you do not know which AF target was used how can you say it is out of focus?

Release priority I have on in C-AF as with fast moving items the predictive focus gives the best chance of getting the shot.

Ideally I would like a quick way to move between standard and small sensitivity, can this be assigned to the fn button?

OlyFlyer
11th April 2008, 11:20 AM
Incidentally, live view is well worth investigating. Lots of the time the viewfinder is better, but there are many occasions when live view gives pictures when you just couldn't get your eye behind the OVF. And for taking photos without spooking your subjects, talking to them without a camera in front of your face relaxes them greatly. Give it a try, it's why I first looked at the E3. I did investigate the LV, that's why I don't use it. It is too slow, noisy and the LCD is just too lousy. At low magnification the image does not have details, at high magnification there is too much electrical noise. IMO, the LV is useful only for emergencies, like high and low angle, or for studio work from tripod.

It also introduces dust on the sensor and just sucks all the juice out of the battery too fast. With the OVF brightness and size of the E-3, I find LV not as necessary as I would have thoght it was in case of the E-500 I had. In fact, even for macro taken from tripod and manual focusing, I prefer the OVF. Maybe the day I am ready to clean my image sensor once a day I will be a more frequent user of it, but not just yet.

Rens
11th April 2008, 01:38 PM
All more or less true except for the emergencies bit. By treating LV this way you lose the option of interesting perspectives in many situations.

And I personally take most of my business pics in the studio with a tripod. Given the choice between LV and permenantly bending down, I use LV and love it.

For landscapes, I find I take lots of low angle photos. The vast majority of pictures I see are taken from head height, to me this can be tedious. Of course there are many other occasions when LV gives no advantage. Then of course I use the OVF.

Why so many photogrophers are quite angrily prejudiced against the use of LV, I can't imagine. With articulating screen (it's worthless without one) LV is a wonderful extra option and doesn't detract from standard OVF use.

It comes down to what each individual feels happy with. I'm happy to use LV frequently while having no problem with those who don't want to. Oddly, some OVF photographers are less understanding of those preferring to use both LV and the OVF.

Incidentally, back to the original thread, I took a series of test photos last night with both my original 12-60 and new 50-200 lenses. I took one manual focus and five AF pictures at both ends of both lenses. The light was good, the subject flat and distinctive, and I used a tripod and two second delay. The camera was set for S-AF, small focus centre spot.

So ideal conditions, really.

I'm happy to say that nearly all were excellent. In fact at the short of the 50-200, all the AF pics were better than my MF one.

My next test sometime in the future will be on a more difficult subject than a distinctive flat box.

Best wishes to all, Rens

DerekW
11th April 2008, 02:24 PM
A good solution is to the VA-1 VariAngle finder, you get optical view and standard shutter releasing. Obviously LV is great for awkward camera positions but if you want low position and quick response then the VA-1 is a useful solution.

Ian
11th April 2008, 02:33 PM
OlyFlyer says:


"A lot of people refuse to admit that the E-3 is indeed having some global problems with the AF. It is a nice camera but there are some improvements need to be made. I really hope Olympus is not going to listen to all those saying it is a learning curve, user error or that it is an individual camera that is wrong and so on. I hope they take their work more seriously and do some more serious tests and come up with a better solution than telling us we are doing things wrong."

He's right, trying to pretend (often out of misguided loyalty) there isn't a problem with at least some cameras will make it less likely that Olympus feel compelled to correct it.

250 swb's point about the outer focus points being smaller than the central one is something I'll investigate. If it's true, seems daft to me.

Best wishes to all, Rens

I think OlyFlyer has rather specialist requirements and preferences.

But he is right, E-3 live view is compromised by the need to flap the mirror so much, but that certainly doesn't - in my view - make it useless and I use it a lot.

Be careful about your observation that the AF is more accurate than your MF shots. That could mean your viewfinder is out of adjustment. You can verify this by using live view manual focus using the magnified critical focus view. This is THE most accurate focus method as you see what the sensor sees.

Ian

Rens
11th April 2008, 09:47 PM
I did indeed use the live view manual focus. Maybe I focused too quickly, but the AF was better for just one of four sets of pictures.

Live view also offers the histogram, which I use a lot.

Yes, the flapping mirror is a pain. But a pain I can live with, the OVF is always there if for when it's more appropriate.

Best wishes to all, Rens

mronen
7th May 2008, 07:08 AM
To all people who use LV a lot, do you encounter the 'High temperature warning' often?

In my experience, I get this warning after 20-30 minutes. To avoid it, I switch LV off whenever possible. This, of course, increases the number of 'mirror dances'. I use only ISO 100 with LV.

Moshe

Rens
7th May 2008, 07:42 AM
To all people who use LV a lot, do you encounter the 'High temperature warning' often?

In my experience, I get this warning after 20-30 minutes. To avoid it, I switch LV off whenever possible. This, of course, increases the number of 'mirror dances'. I use only ISO 100 with LV.

Moshe

I don't think I've come across this, and I use LV a lot (especially indoors), sometimes at higher ISOs. Where is this warning? perhaps I've just missed it.

Rens

OlyFlyer
7th May 2008, 07:42 AM
I don't use LV often, but that is an irrirating problem. The fact is when it happens it is enough to switch off/on the camera and everything is fine. No time for cooling is given, so the sensor or the electronics can not be cooler than before and still, no more warning. I think it is a bug, not a temperature aler. When I use LV, the display is twisted out of the body, so it is not the display.

mronen
7th May 2008, 12:53 PM
I don't think I've come across this, and I use LV a lot (especially indoors), sometimes at higher ISOs. Where is this warning? perhaps I've just missed it.

Rens

You can't miss it, the LCD turns black and the warning is in large red letters!

When it happens, I switch off and wait some time before I turn it back on. I didn't try to switch it on immediately.

EXIF info (with ExifTool), line 367 gives 'Sensor temperature'. The number is normally between 500 and 600. When the warning comes on it's about 250.

Moshe