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Rawcoll
20th January 2008, 07:40 PM
Hello

Iím new to this forum, though Iíve followed various threads for sometime. In particular Iíve been interested in the ongoing saga of focus issues with the E3 and the 12-60 SWF. Well, I donít really want to muddy the waters here, but I think I am having focus issues with my E-510. This is most evident at wide angle settings. When I acquired my 12-60 SWF lens I took a few quick shots and viewing them on the screen I sort of felt that things nearer the supposedly focused object were sharper than expected. I didnít think too much more about it, but after reading the thread I began to think I should re-appraise the situation.

Iíve done a number of tests, both real world and with the focus test chart, though I have to say that the ongoing dismal weather here in the UK is limiting the former. My rather tentative conclusion is that the 12-60 mated to my E-510 is front focusing a little at 60mm, by perhaps a couple of centimetres. The results arenít very consistent though. The following images show typical results I was getting with the 12-60 at 60mm, firstly with manual focus, and the second with C-AF.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/500_12-60_at_60_MF.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2140)
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/505_12-60_at_60_C-AF.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2144)

Evaluating the situation at 12mm Iím finding to be a good deal more difficult, except at very close range, because of the extent of the depth of field. At close range (about 35 cm) Iíd say there could be a few centimetres front focusing as well.

I tried to contrive a realistic test to see what happens at larger distances. In the following images Iíve focused on the small card stuck between two piano keys. This was about 130 cm distant. The first image is manually focused using live view. In the following image focusing was by means of C-AF, and in this the point of focus appears to shift nearer. Look, for example, at the sharpness of the far end of the piano, and the edges of the piano keys.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/527_12-60_at_12_MF.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2157)
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/529_12-60_at_12_C-AF.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2159)

Swapping the lens for the 14-42 kit lens I found much the same effect. The first image below is manually focused at 14mm, and the following one is focused using C-AF.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/546_14-42_at_14_MF.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2150)
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/547_14-42_at_14_C-AF.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/2151)


These are typical results: other examples are in the gallery.

With both lenses the camera seems to be front-focusing so that the object is at the back end, or slightly beyond, the zone of focus. So, it looks as though I might have a problem with the camera. Unless I am doing something stupid. Any comments will be welcome.

Anyway, I suppose I will need to get in touch with Olympus to see what they think. Although the 12-60 SWD is of course new, the camera is now 6 months old.

Mind you, Iím very pleased with the IQ of the 12-60, where it is in focus.

Ian

tom
20th January 2008, 08:08 PM
Hi Rawcoll - welcome to the forum.

These results are very graphic! Like you, I have a six month old E510, a 14-42 kit lens, and a new 12-60. Also like you, the dismal weather conditions have deterred me from playing with the latter much since I got it. But your results are so striking, I will get round to some serious testing tomorrow.
Having said that, my 14-42 is as old as the camera and I've never noticed any conspicuous front-focusing so far. But in good daylight, the dof available with this lens could well have been masking it. Hmmmm - worrying:confused:!

Tom

Rawcoll
20th January 2008, 08:36 PM
Hi Tom

Well, I wouldn't let it worry you too much. My problem might not be very common.

I hadn't spotted it before either, but then to be honest I haven't been particularly prolific with my picture taking, and when I have taken pictures it's generally been with the 40-150 kit lens. I only found it because of all the talk about the focusing problems with the E-3 and 12-60 SWD, so when I got mine I was probably looking for it. My problem seems worst at wide angle where I guess the comparatively large depth of field, particular when stopped down a bit, could well mask it. It's still there at longer focal lengths, not much but just enough to take the edge off the sharpness.

I'd be interested in what you find. By the way, the images are crops, which you may have realised.

Regards
Ian

tom
20th January 2008, 08:46 PM
Hi Tom

Well, I wouldn't let it worry you too much. My problem might not be very common.

I hadn't spotted it before either, but then to be honest I haven't been particularly prolific with my picture taking, and when I have taken pictures it's generally been with the 40-150 kit lens. I only found it because of all the talk about the focusing problems with the E-3 and 12-60 SWD, so when I got mine I was probably looking for it. My problem seems worst at wide angle where I guess the comparatively large depth of field, particular when stopped down a bit, could well mask it. It's still there at longer focal lengths, not much but just enough to take the edge off the sharpness.

I'd be interested in what you find. By the way, the images are crops, which you may have realised.

Regards
Ian

It's too late now, Ian - I may not be able to sleep ;)
I'm sure - given you've been following the tortuous saga of the E3/12-60 focusing problems - that your E510 and its lenses are all fortified with the very latest firmware versions.
Anyway, will let you know how I get on - assuming the light levels manage to rise above the recent Stygian gloom.

Tom

Glyn R
20th January 2008, 10:51 PM
I think the weather is to blame. If it was better you would be out taking photos instead of obsessing about this issue.:D

tom
21st January 2008, 08:20 PM
I think the weather is to blame. If it was better you would be out taking photos instead of obsessing about this issue.:D

Oh, I don't know. It's better than reading back issues of (for the sake of argument) AP :)

tom
21st January 2008, 08:39 PM
Hi Tom

Well, I wouldn't let it worry you too much. My problem might not be very common.

I hadn't spotted it before either, but then to be honest I haven't been particularly prolific with my picture taking, and when I have taken pictures it's generally been with the 40-150 kit lens. I only found it because of all the talk about the focusing problems with the E-3 and 12-60 SWD, so when I got mine I was probably looking for it. My problem seems worst at wide angle where I guess the comparatively large depth of field, particular when stopped down a bit, could well mask it. It's still there at longer focal lengths, not much but just enough to take the edge off the sharpness.

I'd be interested in what you find. By the way, the images are crops, which you may have realised.

Regards
Ian

As promised - I had a play with my E510/12-60 combination today. The light levels were so appalling that the results are probably invalidated. But I took a few to compare MF to CAF sharpness. Two examples are shown below - CAF first, then MF. As with yours they have been cropped a bit. The focus on each occasion was the blue and cream plantpot close to the centre of the frame. Truth be told, I can't see any evidence of front focusing. If anything, the Autofocus seems slightly more accurate than the (live-view assisted) Manual focus shot. But, as I said, light levels were grim so maybe I need to revisit this in more helpful circumstances.

Tom

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/CAF.jpg
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/MF.jpg

shenstone
21st January 2008, 08:44 PM
Hello

Iím new to this forum, though Iíve followed various threads for sometime. In particular Iíve been interested in the ongoing saga of focus issues with the E3 and the 12-60 SWF. Well, I donít really want to muddy the waters here, but I think I am having focus issues with my E-510. This is most evident at wide angle settings. When I acquired my 12-60 SWF lens I took a few quick shots and viewing them on the screen I sort of felt that things nearer the supposedly focused object were sharper than expected. I didnít think too much more about it, but after reading the thread I began to think I should re-appraise the situation.

Iíve done a number of tests, both real world and with the focus test chart, though I have to say that the ongoing dismal weather here in the UK is limiting the former. My rather tentative conclusion is that the 12-60 mated to my E-510 is front focusing a little at 60mm, by perhaps a couple of centimetres. The results arenít very consistent though. The following images show typical results I was getting with the 12-60 at 60mm, firstly with manual focus, and the second with C-AF.

Evaluating the situation at 12mm Iím finding to be a good deal more difficult, except at very close range, because of the extent of the depth of field. At close range (about 35 cm) Iíd say there could be a few centimetres front focusing as well.

I tried to contrive a realistic test to see what happens at larger distances. In the following images Iíve focused on the small card stuck between two piano keys. This was about 130 cm distant. The first image is manually focused using live view. In the following image focusing was by means of C-AF, and in this the point of focus appears to shift nearer. Look, for example, at the sharpness of the far end of the piano, and the edges of the piano keys.

Swapping the lens for the 14-42 kit lens I found much the same effect. The first image below is manually focused at 14mm, and the following one is focused using C-AF.


These are typical results: other examples are in the gallery.

With both lenses the camera seems to be front-focusing so that the object is at the back end, or slightly beyond, the zone of focus. So, it looks as though I might have a problem with the camera. Unless I am doing something stupid. Any comments will be welcome.

Anyway, I suppose I will need to get in touch with Olympus to see what they think. Although the 12-60 SWD is of course new, the camera is now 6 months old.

Mind you, Iím very pleased with the IQ of the 12-60, where it is in focus.

Ian


Sorry, but I might as well be the one to ask the obvious... You say these are crops, but nor how much - if there any chance you left the focus point on the left hand point rather than in the centre. I know I've done it a few times when I've forgotten to reset it

Sorry if this was obvious and you'd checked, but I thought I would ask as that's the only time I've seen issues on my E510 so far

Regards
Andy

Rawcoll
22nd January 2008, 08:17 PM
Tom, I'm amazed that you managed to get out at all. I thought the weather in the north of England was meant to be pretty abysmal. Anyway, thanks for checking and great news that your system seems to be up to spec. I can't help thinking that it can only improve with better light levels, but then again, if it locks focus that should be it. Sorry if I've caused a few jitters!

Andy, thanks for the suggestion. Don't be afraid to point out the obvious, it's so easy to get carried away and overlook something. The images I posted are about 900 pixels wide, down from the standard 3720, so they do represent just the centre of the frame. So you are right, the left hand focus point would indeed be much nearer, though whether it would manage to lock onto what is essentially a plain black surface I don't know. Although that parameter doesn't seem to be in the EXIF unfortunately (and the EXIF for the crops seems not to contain the full EXIF anyway), I am pretty sure that I was using the centre focus point: I tend not to use the other ones anyway. Actually, that set me thinking: "is AF set to auto?". Phew, no it isn't, just checked!

Since my previous post I have e-mailed Olympus service and have received a tracking number, so hopefully before too long I'll hear from them. I also copied the e-mail to Park Cameras, who supplied my E-510, and have since had a supportive reply. At the end of the day I want a properly working camera. It seems pointless to me to invest ones hard earned cash in good quality glass only to have any benefit gained thrown away because the camera cannot focus correctly. Assuming it is the camera and not me, that is. :D

Thanks for your interest and I'll report back on what transpires.

Regards
Ian

Rawcoll
23rd January 2008, 05:16 PM
I received a response from Olympus support today, and it doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence to be honest. To quote:

"I can not confirm if the lens would be faulty from the images you sent.
Please make sure you use the latest firmware in both lenses and body.....

If you after this still think there is a fault, please contact your local service centre......

The actual focus point will always be in the back of the DOF.
The DOF is normally devided with 2/3 in front and 1/3 behind."

I don't think they've understood the real problem (which is that the focus point is too close with AF such that the object of interest goes out of focus), but there may be a language issue here of course. In respect of the last paragraph they referred me to a Wikipedia link expounding the technical issues of depth of field. In this instance I believe that the information on the Wikipedia site to be correct, but is actually the opposite of what the folks at Olympus are telling me! I've tried to indicate the real nature of my concern in my reply to them, but I guess my next step will be to contact the UK service centre. I must admit to being left rather confused as to the purpose of customer support.

Regards
Ian

Rawcoll
14th February 2008, 07:38 PM
Well, I eventually got around to packing up my E-510, 14-42 kit lens and 12-60 SWD and sending it off to Oly service. According to the on-line repair tracking it seems that the camera has an AF fault and will be repaired. Neither lens is claimed to be faulty, but both lenses have been examined by Oly technicians who "recommend that a full overhaul is carried out". It seems odd that a lens only a couple of months old should need to be overhauled: still, if it means that it is thoroughly checked over that's OK by me. By the way, the lens pre-dates those considered for recall, but it is covered by warranty anyway. I must admit to being rather worried in case Oly couldn't find anything wrong, so I am a little relieved.

I do hope that all these glitches with the 12-60 and E-3 don't harm the Oly name. I for one decided on Olympus after much thought, because issues with Oly optics seemed to be few and far between compared to the other "you know who" manufacturers. These problems do dent the confidence a bit though.

Anyway, here's hoping all is well when I get my gear back.

Regards
Ian

Rawcoll
1st March 2008, 07:24 PM
For those of you who've followed this trail so far, I can report that I received my gear from the Oly hospital this week. Despite the glorious weather here today I've only managed to run off a few quick shots, and I am pleased to say that things are looking good.:)

Even this limited experience builds the confidence, because it's so nice to have what I point the camera at to be in focus. See the pic below: I was actually focusing on the end of the trumpet of the dwarf narcissus in the centre (12-60 SWD at 60mm).

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/P3010738.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/3413)

I guess spring really is here!

Regards
Ian

photo_owl
1st March 2008, 10:45 PM
glad you have resolved things - look forward to many images through the year

Rawcoll
2nd March 2008, 03:27 PM
Thank you Photo Owl. No excuses now!

250swb
5th March 2008, 09:38 PM
Well, I don’t really want to muddy the waters here, but I think I am having focus issues with my E-510.

From the examples you show, the test chart and the piano keyboard, you should read Page 85 of the English E510 Manual, regarding focusing on repeating patterns.

Nearly all DSLR's have a problem focusing on or around a repeating pattern. The new Nikon D3 manual even warns about focus problems with skyscrapers, while the Olympus manual keeps it domestic with venetian blinds as an example. In your case it could well be the piano keys. I can't help but think this is the problem you have, and the focus 'issue' is just down to an inappropriate expectation and test setup?

Rawcoll
6th March 2008, 05:39 PM
Thank you for your suggestion 250SWB. I tried a range of subjects beyond those posted here, and they all showed the same problem. Oly Service reckoned that there was a fault with the AF system in the camera and have since rectified it.

As for those particular examples I personally wouldn't have put them in the category of a 'repeating pattern'. Or rather, I hope that the AF system could cope with such subjects. The piano keys after all are of apparently diminishing size as distance increases, and the test chart was one proposed on the E-3 forum for testing the E-3/12-60 focus issue. My own take is that errors will occur when there is fine repetitive detail, a kind of moire effect occurring with the AF sensor which confuses it. But I'm no expert here and others may know better.

Regards
Ian

250swb
6th March 2008, 10:35 PM
The piano keys after all are of apparently diminishing size as distance increases,

But the E510 has no wonder logic chip to recognise the pattern is diminishing.

It makes no difference if the pattern is roughly square to the camera or at an oblique angle, the focus system has no way of knowing on a repeating pattern which part of the pattern that is within the focus area 'you' want to be in focus. So it just chooses. If there are five contrast edges of receeding piano keys within the focus area there is no way the camera can tell the exact one you want to be sharp. The focus system is based on finding distinct single areas of contrast within the focus area, and to many fool it. I'm glad Olympus fixed it for you

Rawcoll
7th March 2008, 05:43 PM
I take your point, though I'm not convinced that this was the issue with these particular images given the fact that I got the same result with a broad range of subjects. The card was the intended focus, but I suppose it very much depends on the actual extent of sensitive region as to how much of the keyboard is seen by it at the same time. With that in mind I tested with a rather larger card and got exactly the same result.

Regards

Nova Invicta
7th March 2008, 10:49 PM
All lenses have an element of either forward or back focus even if they are sharp at the point you are focusing at lets say 6 ft although depending on the focal length / stop you may not notice it that much.
Professional cinematographers shoot harp tests on each lens and note whether the lens is say 1/3 - 2/3rd front to back focus so they know where to focus for splits. This is not an issue in stills photography unless you want to use the depth of field to direct the viewer in a shot.

yorky
11th March 2008, 02:45 PM
What are the forums views on the best setting for tracking moving objects.

Rawcoll
12th March 2008, 05:35 PM
Hi Yorky

I can't offer any useful advice here, but I suggest that you start a new thread. There'll be more chance of your question being read then.

Regards
Ian