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View Full Version : Underwhelming CAF - 9 and 5 point modes


Stumpyjock
8th October 2017, 01:55 PM
Hi there, this is my first post on this board so please bear with me if I'm going over old topics or rambling on. I did have a E-M1 until about 18 months ago, and have recently came back on board with Olympus with a E-M1 ii. I'm also a Fuji (XT-2, X Pro 2) and Sony user (A7R2), and some of my CAF observations are in comparison to those two systems.
I'm a bit surprised/dissapointed that when using either the 5 or 9 point AF areas, that the point that initially acquires focus (single box goes green), then remains the selected AF point and acts as a single AF point throughout the burst, or as long as the the shutter button is half depressed. The other AF points available in the group never become active unless the shutter is released and then re-pressed. It essentially acts as a single AF point does, just with the added randomness of selecting from 5 or 9 initially but then on not changing to pick up the best edge/contrast. Throughout the burst the processor doesn't decide to move within the 5 or 9 group, even if the object being tracked moves say from the right side of the 9 box to the left side. However, using CAF with all 121 points, the AF points will 'track' actively, throughout a burst and with a half depression of the shutter, always following the point/object it judges to be the best bet (bird against a clean sky - easy, cluttered background more challenging). I want the exact same performance as the 121 full array, within the confines of a 5 or 9 point group. Both Fuji and Sony systems continue to keep all the selected points active throughout the burst/half depression, I can't remember what the E-M1 did after fw 4.0.
Am I missing something in the AF menu settings? I just want the 5 or 9 points to remain active and constantly select the best edge/contrast point throughout the burst, just as they do when all 121 AF points are selected in CAF. Or at least make it a CAF menu selectable option (along with a 4x4, 5x5 or a customisable AF box option would be nice!).
Any enlightenment as to the the current CAF options available that I'm unaware of will be gratefully received.

pdk42
8th October 2017, 04:56 PM
I've never really looked too closely at the behaviour of the 5/9 point during burst shooting.
Are you using H or L burst?

Stumpyjock
8th October 2017, 07:07 PM
CAF on L burst, either silent of mechanical shutter. All 121 selected, they track fine (check out your display for the moving green boxes of the active AF points). When 5 in a cross or 9 in a 3x3 box are selected, only the initial box illuminates and stay locked on in CAF, with the other 4 (5 in a cross) or 8 (9in a cross) passive throughout the CAF burst.
CAF isn't the problem, it works for the single AF through the burst. It's the ongoing selection of AF points that is the problem.

Miketoll
8th October 2017, 07:34 PM
Did not realize that, plain stupid design then. The whole reason for selecting the 5 or 9 box is when single point is too hard to keep on a fast moving erratic target whilst all 121 could find the scene too confusing to reliably hold the target ie fast moving bird against a busy background. Back to the software engineers please OLympus!

Stumpyjock
8th October 2017, 08:03 PM
I've been doing some more checks of the CAF on 5/9 point modes after discussing it with someone over at DPreview forums. It appears that despite the single static indication of what appears to be the locked single CAF point within the group of 5/9, on review of the full info display that shows the precise focal point used, the focus point does indeed move looking through a burst of images taken. The initial CAF point just stays illuminated (or re-illuminates when focus is re-acquired), but may not actually be on itself but another in the group of 5/9.
It's good that it works correctly in the background, even though the location of focus lock is pants and doesn't give you any kind of clue which of the 5/9 AF points are active when shooting, just that one of them is locked/in focus!

Miketoll
8th October 2017, 08:57 PM
Thanks for the update.

TonyR
9th October 2017, 09:56 AM
I've been doing some more checks of the CAF on 5/9 point modes after discussing it with someone over at DPreview forums. It appears that despite the single static indication of what appears to be the locked single CAF point within the group of 5/9, on review of the full info display that shows the precise focal point used, the focus point does indeed move looking through a burst of images taken. The initial CAF point just stays illuminated (or re-illuminates when focus is re-acquired), but may not actually be on itself but another in the group of 5/9.
It's good that it works correctly in the background, even though the location of focus lock is pants and doesn't give you any kind of clue which of the 5/9 AF points are active when shooting, just that one of them is locked/in focus!

This is correct and quite easy to test. Point the camera at some subject (say a tree against a clear sky) and half press the shutter to activate C-AF. One AF point is highlighted. Now, by moving around the outside of the tree whilst continuing to half-press the shutter, you can confirm that the original AF point lights up whenever any of the 5 or 9 points is over the tree.

Why Olympus chose to highlight the originally chosen AF point, rather than the currently active AF point (like with all-points) is a mystery to me. I don't see any logic or benefit to it so I suspect it is just usual Olympus lack of consistency.

Like you I would like to see a greater selection of AF points available. I find the 5-point and 9 point too small with long lenses. I would like to see at least 5 x 5 and 7 x 7 rectangle point patterns and 5 point across and 7 point across diamond patterns (think of the 5 point as a 3-point across diamond shape and expand it to 5 points across and 7 points across).

And also, I want the smaller sibgle point back for S-AF.

Ross the fiddler
9th October 2017, 11:34 AM
I've been doing some more checks of the CAF on 5/9 point modes after discussing it with someone over at DPreview forums. It appears that despite the single static indication of what appears to be the locked single CAF point within the group of 5/9, on review of the full info display that shows the precise focal point used, the focus point does indeed move looking through a burst of images taken. The initial CAF point just stays illuminated (or re-illuminates when focus is re-acquired), but may not actually be on itself but another in the group of 5/9.
It's good that it works correctly in the background, even though the location of focus lock is pants and doesn't give you any kind of clue which of the 5/9 AF points are active when shooting, just that one of them is locked/in focus!

This is correct and quite easy to test. Point the camera at some subject (say a tree against a clear sky) and half press the shutter to activate C-AF. One AF point is highlighted. Now, by moving around the outside of the tree whilst continuing to half-press the shutter, you can confirm that the original AF point lights up whenever any of the 5 or 9 points is over the tree.

Why Olympus chose to highlight the originally chosen AF point, rather than the currently active AF point (like with all-points) is a mystery to me. I don't see any logic or benefit to it so I suspect it is just usual Olympus lack of consistency.

Like you I would like to see a greater selection of AF points available. I find the 5-point and 9 point too small with long lenses. I would like to see at least 5 x 5 and 7 x 7 rectangle point patterns and 5 point across and 7 point across diamond patterns (think of the 5 point as a 3-point across diamond shape and expand it to 5 points across and 7 points across).

And also, I want the smaller sibgle point back for S-AF.

We can hope that could be changed in a FW update then.

pdk42
9th October 2017, 12:26 PM
I've been doing some more checks of the CAF on 5/9 point modes after discussing it with someone over at DPreview forums. It appears that despite the single static indication of what appears to be the locked single CAF point within the group of 5/9, on review of the full info display that shows the precise focal point used, the focus point does indeed move looking through a burst of images taken. The initial CAF point just stays illuminated (or re-illuminates when focus is re-acquired), but may not actually be on itself but another in the group of 5/9.
It's good that it works correctly in the background, even though the location of focus lock is pants and doesn't give you any kind of clue which of the 5/9 AF points are active when shooting, just that one of them is locked/in focus!

That makes a lot of sense - I've not done a lot of subject tracking with my E-M1ii, but what I did do seemed to work pretty well and I was using the 9-point box. I wasn't really paying much attention to the green square - just trying to keep the subject in the 3x3 box!

bigsambwfc
26th October 2017, 03:18 PM
i agree with stumpy on the focussing points it needs refining for busy backgrounds, also the single spot on S-AF is not small or sensitive enough, for example a kingfisher perched on a branch at 30 to 50 yards away with a 400mm lens it will not lock onto the bird but it does lock on to the branch, so I have to use S-AF-MF with red peaking to get sharp pics, hope oly can improve this with an update.i set C1,C2,C3, with various focus point settings and focus settings for BIF and perched birds, I still think manual focus when mastered with peaking is the most accurate but takes practice.

MJ224
28th October 2017, 09:12 AM
Recent outing at Kidwelly Quays..............

I gave up with C-AF+tracking. Just did not keep on the subject..........

So changed from my single focus point to nine focus points with the following results

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PA270421_Medium_.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/95930)

and

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PA270336_Medium_.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/95928)

and

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PA270381_Medium_.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/95929)

None of 'em are particularly good IMHO. Shutter speeds in excess of 1/800, and ISO's no more that 200. So I think its down to my panning technique. ............:(

TonyR
28th October 2017, 09:20 AM
Recent outing at Kidwelly Quays..............

I gave up with C-AF+tracking. Just did not keep on the subject..........

So changed from my single focus point to nine focus points with the following results

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PA270421_Medium_.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/95930)

and

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PA270336_Medium_.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/95928)

and

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PA270381_Medium_.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/95929)

None of 'em are particularly good IMHO. Shutter speeds in excess of 1/800, and ISO's no more that 200. So I think its down to my panning technique. ............:(

I have just switched back to single focus point. Whilst the C-AF is no more consistent, I think at least some of the shots are much sharper.

I think you would be better using a faster shutter speed and higher Iso. Try to use at least 1/1500 and preferably faster. This shot was taken yesterday at 1/3000, Iso 320 f/4 at 300mm and I think it is okay.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/P2043319_s.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/95935)

MJ224
28th October 2017, 10:19 AM
Thanks for the help Tony.

Alas I am afraid of using higher ISO's, they can just degrade a photo so much. But the ISO setting was on Auto as the sun was shining well for a change, so much so that one of them is at ISO64. Strange for us in Wales!!!

But this shot was good, at a range of about 60 metres, on S-AF...

http://www.e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PA270446_Medium_.jpg

Good detail considering the distance........

mack100
1st November 2017, 09:25 PM
@mj224 are you using any IS mode on the lens?

MJ224
2nd November 2017, 06:25 AM
Yep. I have both camera and lens IS switched on. I am led to believe that when the lens IS is on the camera IS is disabled....

mack100
2nd November 2017, 08:29 AM
Yep. I have both camera and lens IS switched on. I am led to believe that when the lens IS is on the camera IS is disabled....
It might be worth while trying with at least the lens IS being turned off, maybe both body and lens.
I've found that with BIF I get better results with IS off, I am using the Oly 300 F4 though. I see you're using 1000th sec, should be fast enough not to need IS.

MJ224
2nd November 2017, 11:51 AM
Thanks for that tip, I will certainly give that a go...........*chr

GyRob
3rd November 2017, 07:45 AM
The stabilization system on the E-M1 Mark II already offers up to 6.5 stops of shake reduction when paired with an optically stabilized lens, such as the 12-100mm f/4 Pro. That Olympus believes it can improve upon this is intriguing, as the company clarified in an interview with Amateur Photographer (http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/latest/photo-news/exclusive-interview-setsuya-kataoka-olympus-95731) back in September that 6.5 stops was a “theoretical limitation” due to the rotation of the earth.

MJ224
7th November 2017, 10:40 AM
It might be worth while trying with at least the lens IS being turned off, maybe both body and lens.
I've found that with BIF I get better results with IS off, I am using the Oly 300 F4 though. I see you're using 1000th sec, should be fast enough not to need IS.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PB050707_Medium_.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/96073)

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PB050704_Medium_.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/96072)

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PB050711_Medium_.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/96074)

Pics without IS on.

Lighting not perfect, still not sharp enough. Birds were quite close, and I was using the 12-40mm Pro.......................:mad::(*chr

mack100
7th November 2017, 10:52 AM
^ That is disappointing I agree

bigsambwfc
8th November 2017, 09:13 PM
my latest settings for bif in busy backrounds is iso640 to get fast shutter 1000plus, lens IS only on, bbf on ael-afl button using caf with 9 focus points.getting more keepers now using p/l 100-400lens.For clear background I use shutter for focus with all point focus and control speed and iso manually.for perched I use saf on shutter with all stabilisations on using shutter priority keeping iso as low as possible.all these on mode dial programs for quick access.on S mode I have manual focus with peaking on fn buttons if subject is in reeds or branches etc.practice makes perfect with this camera especially bif as its like looking down a pipe on 300mm plus.

bigsambwfc
9th November 2017, 09:28 PM
some recent shots can be seen her

bigsambwfc
9th November 2017, 09:31 PM
some recent photos can be seen here
http://flickr.com/photos/154758547@N03