PDA

View Full Version : Back to the drawing board!


David Morison
12th May 2012, 04:52 PM
EM-5 disappointment. As most will know, my main interest in photography is wildlife including birds and bugs which quite often requires substantial crops. I took a chance and purchased an EM-5 mainly on the basis that it has extra pixels and better noise characteristics. Both these factors are very evident in the images I have taken so far but another factor has reared an ugly head. As I have mentioned in a previous thread I was disappointed that the single point AF does not have a "small" option which is pretty useful for a lot of wildlife shots. OK I know you can magnify in LV and tap the spot but LV is pretty useless for most moving creatures in bright light with a long lens. So how has this affected me? Having spent a few hours on Ditchling Heath in Sussex I am much disappointed with the inability of the camera to focus on small subjects against a detailed background - bird in a bush, bee on a flower etc. I post here a couple of shots taken of the same subject in my garden, both with the same lens, same aperture and at the same distance, both cropped 100%. One is with the E5 and one the EM-5. This demonstrates the problem and I am looking for guidance whether there is any way round this.

First with the E5:

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/P5123382.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/46447)

Then the EM-5:

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/P5120014.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/46446)

As you can see this has the background well in focus.

Roll on the E7 and lets hope it has a "small" option!

Regards

David

PS: I really don't like the EVF!

peak4
13th May 2012, 09:41 PM
David, I actually do like the EVF, particularly as you can overlay a histogram on it. With a long lens and a bird however, I've been having all sorts of amusement.

In this case I tried it with a Bigma; I know it's not designed for Contrast Detect AF, so I may have been asking too much. I had a go with IS On and Off with various ISO/Shutter settings and struggled tremendously.
In each of the cases below I had the same settings and several attempts at similar shots. They are about 2/3s crops from the original, then resized in Faststone for the net. The centre gull was bang in the middle of, and filling, the green square.
Similarly the Grebe on the nest was dead centre and filling the square.

With the nice contrasty black and white gull, I had a reasonable hit rate on the middle one of the three.
The grebe on the nest had a zero hit rate out of about 40. Sometimes I got the background greenery in focus, but not the grebe.
Each and every time I got the green light for focus confirmation and the beep. ( I was alone in the hide except for Jane :) )
Most of the time with the Grebe shots, nothing in the centre of frame was in focus at all; I was using the centre focus square only. About 25% of the time, nothing was in focus in the whole frame.
Oddly, even having selected centre square only (not the middle nine), if there was a gull within a couple of squares surrounding the centre one, I often got that in focus rather than the nesting grebe in the selected square.

Maybe if it can't grab focus in the selected square, it tries elsewhere.

http://i1089.photobucket.com/albums/i349/peakfour/2012-05-13_00003.jpg
Both cases ISO-640 1/800th @ F8
http://i1089.photobucket.com/albums/i349/peakfour/2012-05-13_00004.jpg

Graham_of_Rainham
13th May 2012, 11:12 PM
May I suggest some good old fashioned Manual Focus.

For Macro, fix the focus and move the camera in and out to get what you want in focus. With magnify on it's even easier, I use it all the time with the OM Bellows and 80mm Macro Lens.

As for long lens work, again I use the 70-300 and even a Sigma 600mm Mirror all in MF and it works very well.

*chr

peak4
13th May 2012, 11:22 PM
May I suggest some good old fashioned Manual Focus.


Graham, I'd agree with you entirely, except that sometimes, particularly when I'm hot and there is high humidity, the mere act of raising a camera to my eye mists up my glasses; it's all I can do to see the bird, never mind focus on it. :(

You should see the performance when I wander into my local and try to order the first pint of the evening; they've got eight or nine to choose from and I can't see any of them. :rolleyes:
One day I might invest in contact lenses.

Nick Temple-Fry
14th May 2012, 12:41 AM
Not sure what lens David was using for the macro shot and, of course, I don't have an E-M5. But I think two things may be happening here, based on my experience with an E-PL1.

1) Contrast detection AF looks to get the highest contrast as in-focus, so if even a little bit of high contrast background impinges on the focus points then it's the background you get in focus.

2) Neither my Sigma 150 nor my 135-400 work well with contrast detection, I just don't think the Sigma chips like the instructions that the AF sends them.

I hope there is a workaround. It's one of the reasons I ended up standing outside of the race to get an OMD.

Nick

David Morison
14th May 2012, 01:57 AM
Thanks all, the lens I used for the bee shots was the Leica 14-150mm which is optimised for Contrast AF but I also had the same issue with the m.Zuiko 75-300mm which is a lens specific to MFT. If this is a characteristic of the OMD in which the centre AF square is too large for most of my work then I'm afraid that I may be offering it for sale, it is too much of an investment to save for landscape use only! Going back to the E5 was an absolute delight for focusing, handling and customising the greater number of buttons than the EM-5 has, that camera just doesn't do what I want. I love the low noise characteristics especially but I can't live with the rest at the moment. I may need to look at Panasonic offerings.

Regards

David

PS. I agree with using MF whenever these sort of problems arise, especially in macro but it isn't ideal with a creature that is fast moving and anyhow I didn't invest in "the fastest gun in the west" to have to do MF for most of my work.

Ulfric M Douglas
14th May 2012, 08:44 AM
My longest lens is the m4/3rds 40-150 but this thread is tempting me to try some similar compositions and see what happens with various settings on a few different bodies (not inc e-M5).
Its a worry if it points to CDAF being ... maybe ... never suitable for such things.

If there's a solution let's find it.

OK I immediately found something awesome, in a bad/good way.
I can fool the S-AF into not focusing on the intended target by pre-focusing beyond it.
As it seeks contrast for focus it tracks back until the background comes sharp then locks.
From a too-far focus I cannot make it focus on the nearer target at all ... like, never.

By focusing infront of the target first I can get lovely spot-on focus on the subject almost every time,
since now the CDAF is tracking forwards until finding the intended target which becomes sharp before the background could.

Now, how the heck can some firmware tweak force the thing to try to find focus infront of everything before tracking backwards into the scene?

Anyway, as a semi-solution just briefly grab focus on something nearer than the target ... then see how many keepers occur on the subject.

Nick Temple-Fry
14th May 2012, 08:58 AM
It may well be something that can be resolved in Firmware, as a focus point is really not much more than an area of the main sensor (for cdaf) on which the camera does 'sums'.

Perhaps we need a route to pose these questions.

Nick

Zuiko
14th May 2012, 09:18 AM
If this is a characteristic of the OMD in which the centre AF square is too large........



Surely the size of the square can be adjusted? Even the E-PL1 can do that. I don't know if it would be the same on the E-M5 but on the E-PL1 you press the magnify button then press the info button then use the arrow pad to increase/decrease the magnification. On The E-PL1 14x gives the smallest square. When this has been achieved, press the OK button to store it.

Ulfric M Douglas
14th May 2012, 09:19 AM
Just a little update : I can force the same behaviour out of my Lumix G1, but at about half the focus speed with this 40-150.
Start too far : hard to get subject in focus.
Start too near : gets it nicely.
Admittedly I'm not using tiny tiny bugs on flowerheads right now but I'm sure I'll get round to it.

peak4
14th May 2012, 09:27 AM
Surely the size of the square can be adjusted? Even the E-PL1 can do that. I don't know if it would be the same on the E-M5 but on the E-PL1 you press the magnify button then press the info button then use the arrow pad to increase/decrease the magnification. On The E-PL1 14x gives the smallest square. When this has been achieved, press the OK button to store it.

John I might be talking rubbish here, but I think that just changes the area that the Magnify button zooms in on when you press it.
i.e you can have anything between 5x & 14x magnification when you press the button; the little icon on the lower right of the screen shows which part of the frame you are zoomed in on.

Chevvyf1
14th May 2012, 09:39 AM
David, I am sorry to hear and see this.

I read an article about this - I forget where ! will look about ... and that is why I decided to cancel my order - as this was my main purpose Wildlife & Macro ! also that whilst 4/3rds lenses would work, they would not be as fast as m4/3 glass!

snaarman
14th May 2012, 10:06 AM
Stupid stupid suggestion, but what happens if you switch face detect on when you are shooting macro... Presumably face detect looks to make some small dark feature (an eye) sharp.

And can't you tell it which eye to go for? Nearest maybe? Can't remember.

I just wonder what face detect would make of your average macro shot...

(Cue some witty replies to my stupid suggestion..)
:)

Pete

David Morison
14th May 2012, 11:02 AM
Surely the size of the square can be adjusted? Even the E-PL1 can do that. I don't know if it would be the same on the E-M5 but on the E-PL1 you press the magnify button then press the info button then use the arrow pad to increase/decrease the magnification. On The E-PL1 14x gives the smallest square. When this has been achieved, press the OK button to store it.

Sounds a good idea but which is the magnify button?

Tried Face Detect to no avail, doesn't even work on my dog.

Pre-focus on something nearer does appear to work although I haven't given it a full trial. Inconvenient though, by the time you've pre-focused the bird or bug has gone.

Just returned from the swamp where I took 60 images with only two in focus!

Regards

David

peak4
14th May 2012, 11:31 AM
Sounds a good idea but which is the magnify button?
David

Personally I've assigned it to Fn2 on the top plate as one of 4 variable options.
I think it just magnifies an area of the screen to aid manual focussing, which it does very well and helps no end for MF.
There's a bit of a knack to getting it to zoom in when you want it to, but I did explain that in another post somewhere. Essentially assign the button; one long press activated the Magnify mode and another short press(s) toggles it on and off.

Sorry for not expanding more, but just off to Messingham & Blacktoft for another play.

Zuiko
14th May 2012, 12:03 PM
Personally I've assigned it to Fn2 on the top plate as one of 4 variable options.
I think it just magnifies an area of the screen to aid manual focussing, which it does very well and helps no end for MF.
There's a bit of a knack to getting it to zoom in when you want it to, but I did explain that in another post somewhere. Essentially assign the button; one long press activated the Magnify mode and another short press(s) toggles it on and off.

Sorry for not expanding more, but just off to Messingham & Blacktoft for another play.

Yes, without having handled an E-M5 I think you have to assign a button to magnify. When you change the magnification to maximum (14x on the E-PL1) it changes (shrinks) the size of the green focus box on the screen. It's true that this box determines the enlarged portion that you will actually see on screen when pressing the magnify button during manual focusing but it also represents the single spot AF focus area.

Once set, this is how it works. When you turn the camera on it will default to the large square focus box. Pressing the magnify button changes it to the small box that you previously set. You can change it's position using the arrow keys or (presumably on the E-M5) use the touch screen. To exit this (on the E-PL1 you need to exit this before you can change any other settings) press the OK button. To re-select small focus point simply press the assigned magnify button.

As I say, I'm making assumptions about the E-M5 based on Pens I have used. It's no good, I really do need to get an E-M5 if only so that I can answer questions about it!

Ulfric M Douglas
14th May 2012, 12:21 PM
...Pre-focus on something nearer does appear to work although I haven't given it a full trial. Inconvenient though, by the time you've pre-focused the bird or bug has gone....
Yeah it really takes the moment away, but if you can try it with your tiny targets let us know how it goes.
I found pre-focus didn't matter how near as long as it was nearer than the subject, so maybe a quick flick to a habitual nearby object could be learned as a habit. (Like your foot, or knee.)
You'll get some wierd looks but ...

Edit : Hmm, took a few photos of my feet by mistake, got some good results but plenty of random failures too.
At least the pre-focus-nearer works most of the time.

Chevvyf1
14th May 2012, 12:58 PM
David and Bill, Maybe this can help you - Robin Wong has a very favourable report on Macro with this (sorry not had time to read all the last posts, in case you solved it :)

http://robinwong.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/olympus-om-d-e-m5-review-butterfly-park.html

David Morison
14th May 2012, 04:20 PM
Well, using the magnify principle expounded here I think I have cracked it! Not had a proper try-out yet, just practiced on a few flowers in the garden but everything has come out perfectly focused. I knew the magnify option was available (not how to activate it though) but thought it was just for image review.

I'll let you know after a proper session but I must thank all those who showed an interest in the problem, hopefully this can help others who have come up against this as well. Maybe I won't be selling my EM-5 now!

Regards

David

Olybirder
14th May 2012, 04:50 PM
An interesting thread. It looks as if it is 'sort of' covered on page 45 of the pdf manual.

"Zoom frame AF/zoom AF
You can also zoom in on an area of the image in the monitor and adjust focus. Choosing a high zoom ratio allows you to use autofocus to focus on a smaller area than is normally covered by the AF target. You can also position the focus target more precisely."

Ron

PeterBirder
14th May 2012, 07:27 PM
Well, using the magnify principle expounded here I think I have cracked it! Not had a proper try-out yet, just practiced on a few flowers in the garden but everything has come out perfectly focused. I knew the magnify option was available (not how to activate it though) but thought it was just for image review.

I'll let you know after a proper session but I must thank all those who showed an interest in the problem, hopefully this can help others who have come up against this as well. Maybe I won't be selling my EM-5 now!

Regards

David

Pleased you've got it sorted David.

Having nothing better to do while( still:rolleyes:) waiting for my silver E-M5 kit to arrive than read the 133 page pdf manual I have concluded that with this camera you do really have to RTFM.:)

Not only does the E-M5 provide the performance etc. that most of us DSLR users felt was missing in the PENs but it has a vastly increased range of customiseable functions and capabilities. Even the additional control wheel and function buttons which should make things easier have themselves had to be made "multi-function" to accomodate all the options. I personaly think Olympus have done a good job of trying to accomodate all the "wish lists" that people have aired. However there is an element of "be carefull what you wish for" in this. All these functions together with the introduction of new technology probably means we will have to take more time "getting to grips" with the new camera and possibly learn new techniques to fully realise all the benefits.

Sorry for the ramble but what else can I do without a camera.:D

Regards.*chr

Ross the fiddler
15th May 2012, 12:23 AM
An interesting thread. It looks as if it is 'sort of' covered on page 45 of the pdf manual.

"Zoom frame AF/zoom AF
You can also zoom in on an area of the image in the monitor and adjust focus. Choosing a high zoom ratio allows you to use autofocus to focus on a smaller area than is normally covered by the AF target. You can also position the focus target more precisely."

Ron

You know how it goes, "If all else fails, read the manual."

Pleased you've got it sorted David.

Having nothing better to do while( still:rolleyes:) waiting for my silver E-M5 kit to arrive than read the 133 page pdf manual I have concluded that with this camera you do really have to RTFM.:)

Sorry for the ramble but what else can I do without a camera.:D

Regards.*chr

Same here. *shrug *ohwell

David Morison
16th May 2012, 07:53 PM
You know how it goes, "If all else fails, read the manual."



Same here. *shrug *ohwell

It's a man thing!

Ross the fiddler
16th May 2012, 11:53 PM
It's a man thing!

Yes, I know. My wife doesn't let me forget that. :o

benvendetta
17th May 2012, 12:43 PM
Takes time to read a manual and we think we know it all anyway!

David Morison
17th May 2012, 01:09 PM
The trouble is that I am comfortable with a printed manual but hate PDF!

David

Ross the fiddler
17th May 2012, 01:13 PM
Takes time to read a manual and we think we know it all anyway!

I've got the time while I wait for mine (silver weatherproof kit) which won't be till the end of May (or later if I'm unlucky), but at least the price was a nice discount.

The trouble is that I am comfortable with a printed manual but hate PDF!

David

I've printed it off with 2 to an A4 page & then it makes great bedtime reading. :rolleyes:

Chevvyf1
17th May 2012, 03:44 PM
The trouble is that I am comfortable with a printed manual but hate PDF!

David

If you like I can print it and punch and ring bind it for you ? :D You pay P&P *yes