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Olympus E-3 E-3 specific discussion.

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  #16  
Old 13th September 2008
photo_owl photo_owl is offline
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

thanks for the honesty - back to formulating a test bed.

the local train station should do it perfectly..........
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  #17  
Old 14th September 2008
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
I was using the five centre points in the diamond arrangement.
Ian
Note to self - go and read the manual !

I would certainly like to be able to take photos like that if I had that lens too

Lovely pictures Ian - the sort I can only aspire to, even with my kit !
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  #18  
Old 14th September 2008
Jim Ford Jim Ford is offline
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

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Originally Posted by PeterD View Post
Great shots Ian. 5 point AF certainly works. APAF certainly does not but I can live with that for the time being.
Is this true? I generally take images of static subjects and use single point and single focus.

Is it suggested that if I want to use continuous AF on a moving subject, it would be no good using all 11 points, but 5 points would be OK?

Jim
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  #19  
Old 14th September 2008
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

Great shots by Ian, demonstating a terrific combination of optical excellence, professional quality camera technology and good old-fashioned photography skills with a perfect eye for timing!

Man and machine in pefect harmony - don't be fooled into thinking it was easy because of the lens. It still needed someone to aim it in the right direction and start the motordrive sequence at precisely the right moment!
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  #20  
Old 15th September 2008
Dick Bowman Dick Bowman is offline
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ford View Post
Is this true? I generally take images of static subjects and use single point and single focus.

Is it suggested that if I want to use continuous AF on a moving subject, it would be no good using all 11 points, but 5 points would be OK?

Jim
I'm puzzled that this seems so difficult for so many people...

The camera has no idea what you want to focus on - all it knows is that you are pointing "somewhere".

If you are using single point it tries to find the best focus within that area. If the area contains objects both near and far it may not be able to make a good choice.

If you are using multiple points it will either select one area where it can get good focus - or maybe (if we're lucky - or not) there's some sort of averaging. Clearly a subject against a busy background - which is at a different distance - is not a good candidate for multiple points (3 or 5 or 11 or whatever). But as the man from Olympus said a few days ago, with an isolated subject like a bird or aircraft against an even sky, if the camera is set to use multiple points it is able to select "the best", and this is good if the subject is moving around. Seems like common sense.

But - that said - I do think that here (and elsewhere) the camera manuals are not necessarily well-written.
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  #21  
Old 15th September 2008
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Bowman View Post
I'm puzzled that this seems so difficult for so many people...

The camera has no idea what you want to focus on - all it knows is that you are pointing "somewhere".

If you are using single point it tries to find the best focus within that area. If the area contains objects both near and far it may not be able to make a good choice.

If you are using multiple points it will either select one area where it can get good focus - or maybe (if we're lucky - or not) there's some sort of averaging. Clearly a subject against a busy background - which is at a different distance - is not a good candidate for multiple points (3 or 5 or 11 or whatever). But as the man from Olympus said a few days ago, with an isolated subject like a bird or aircraft against an even sky, if the camera is set to use multiple points it is able to select "the best", and this is good if the subject is moving around. Seems like common sense.

But - that said - I do think that here (and elsewhere) the camera manuals are not necessarily well-written.
Taking an extract from Wrotniak under AF Mode
Focusing Mode

The choice here is between Single AF, Continuous AF, and Manual Focus (two more modes, S-AF+MF and C-AF+MF, use AF in conjunction with MF). Usually the selection will not be done from the menu, as the two other ways to do it (Control Panel, direct button) are more convenient.

Single AF makes a good default, as it works best in most cases, except for rapidly moving subjects, but then you can switch to Continuous AF as needed with an external control.


and again under AF Point Selection
On the first level, this menu entry allows you to choose between the full 11-point array (when the camera decides where to focus), a five-point cross pattern (referred to as Dynamic Point, just to make it harder to guess), and a single spot. Suit your preferences here; I've settled down on the cross, but many users prefer a single point as giving them most control, while some go for all points, a kind of snapshot mode.

and again under Continuous AF Lock
You are photographing a sports game, using the C-AF mode. From time to time someone a few feet in front of you gets up to bring himself a beer; your AF system is desperately trying to change the focus, then to change it back. This feature disables such an adjustment when the focus change would be large and sudden. I would keep it On, even if my experience in continuous AF is very limited, as I use it very rarely.



These descriptions are useful. For C-AF shots I use the 5 point and AF Lock settings. The background clutter may well be a problem in some shots but its not a case of point and shoot blindly. You ensure you get the focus first with the confirmation beep and that the target achieving focus is illuminated on the wanted subject. Then go ahead with the shutter release for as many shots as you want.
I had hoped that more people would have tried this when I first raised this rather than debating the pros and cons. There may be someone out there with additional information based on practise to squeeze the best out of this mode of operation. Come on, we are not paying for film, lets get out there and take some shots. You may be surprised and pleased with your results.

Peter
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  #22  
Old 15th September 2008
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ford View Post
Is this true? I generally take images of static subjects and use single point and single focus.

Is it suggested that if I want to use continuous AF on a moving subject, it would be no good using all 11 points, but 5 points would be OK?

Jim
Jim,

When taking images of a moving object, the best option is to use the 5 point array. Why? - because its very difficult to get that centre spot directly on the subject unless its virtually on top of you. When panning a moving subject, I would defy anyone to keep the subject dead centre of the lens.

I have managed to get some great shots using single spot (small) S-AF but the dof and accuracy of targeting a subject makes it difficult. This is the reason for looking at C-AF again.

My experience tells me that the use of all targets is just not controllable and there is a greater tendancy for the camera to mis-focus. 5 Point is a very good compromise.

Peter
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  #23  
Old 15th September 2008
JohnGG JohnGG is offline
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

I am still learning about C-AF with the E-3 and have had rather mixed results so far. I tried quite a few shots of gulls in flight during a holiday in Pembrokeshire this year but it was frustrating. For instance, I shot I sequence of 14 shots, with the E-3 + 50-200 SWD, of a gull as it flew along the cliff from left to right, turned towards me and then flew back along the cliff in the other direction. The 1st (cliff background) and 2nd (blue sky background) shots were oof even though the gull was close to centre-frame but the E-3 got focus on the 3rd and 4th shots; here is the 4th.



The 5th, 6th and 7th are either just oof or possibly a combination of oof and camera shake (I was using IS2). The 8th is definitely oof as the camera has focussed beautifully on the cliff behind the bird

Focus was re-acquired on the 9th shot and all were in focus after that; here's the 11th and 14th.





I don't quite understand what Olympus Master is telling me about the EXIF on these shots. It says I used MF when I actually had AF+MF+C selected and I think I was using the centre 5-diamond AF points although Master says nothing on the subject that I can see

I am sure it is just a matter of practice and familiarity before I get the hang of C-AF. I felt that I was having better success on the Isle of Man with the motorcycle racing a few weeks later, a few shots from which I posted the other week.

All shots were processed using Master; levels, sharpening and cropped to use about 2/3rds of the image. Top image cropped to portrait orientation.

Cheers,

JohnGG
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  #24  
Old 16th September 2008
PeterD PeterD is offline
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGG View Post
I am still learning about C-AF with the E-3 and have had rather mixed results so far. I tried quite a few shots of gulls in flight during a holiday in Pembrokeshire this year but it was frustrating. For instance, I shot I sequence of 14 shots, with the E-3 + 50-200 SWD, of a gull as it flew along the cliff from left to right, turned towards me and then flew back along the cliff in the other direction. The 1st (cliff background) and 2nd (blue sky background) shots were oof even though the gull was close to centre-frame but the E-3 got focus on the 3rd and 4th shots; here is the 4th.



The 5th, 6th and 7th are either just oof or possibly a combination of oof and camera shake (I was using IS2). The 8th is definitely oof as the camera has focussed beautifully on the cliff behind the bird

Focus was re-acquired on the 9th shot and all were in focus after that; here's the 11th and 14th.





I don't quite understand what Olympus Master is telling me about the EXIF on these shots. It says I used MF when I actually had AF+MF+C selected and I think I was using the centre 5-diamond AF points although Master says nothing on the subject that I can see

I am sure it is just a matter of practice and familiarity before I get the hang of C-AF. I felt that I was having better success on the Isle of Man with the motorcycle racing a few weeks later, a few shots from which I posted the other week.

All shots were processed using Master; levels, sharpening and cropped to use about 2/3rds of the image. Top image cropped to portrait orientation.

Cheers,

JohnGG
Well done John. Its good to see your use of C-AF. A couple of things puzzle me though, were you really using AF+MF+C? and I do not think IS2 is a good setting. I keep IS1 active.

I took a series of shots today and I, like you, got mixed results. The subject was a flock of birds flying along the shoreline. Analysing the shoot I found that the focus point switched between the birds - not surprising really as they were close together and I might have lost a couple of frames due to reflections from the sea in the bright sunlight.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt a re-run with the aperture at f12 (was f8) and see if I can get sufficient dof for a flock of birds. Please let me know how you get on. It would be great to crack this once and for all. Single birds have proved to be pretty good but flocks - thats not so easy.

Peter
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  #25  
Old 16th September 2008
tlove
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

Whether I should or not, I use C-AF when photographing birds in flight .

Birds in flight are a really difficult thing to capture anyway, as they move pretty fast, and go from cluttered to clear background in the blink of an eye (or should that be shutter?). I always take loads of 'duffers' before I get anything remotely usable, but it's always pleasing when I do.

I also normally use IS1 when taking birds in flight, but recently decided to try IS2 for this subject, and it seemed to work quite well for me. Perhaps I just got lucky this time, but here's my effort using C-AF and IS2:



Thanks for looking
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  #26  
Old 16th September 2008
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

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Originally Posted by tlove View Post
Whether I should or not, I use C-AF when photographing birds in flight .

Birds in flight are a really difficult thing to capture anyway, as they move pretty fast, and go from cluttered to clear background in the blink of an eye (or should that be shutter?). I always take loads of 'duffers' before I get anything remotely usable, but it's always pleasing when I do.

I also normally use IS1 when taking birds in flight, but recently decided to try IS2 for this subject, and it seemed to work quite well for me. Perhaps I just got lucky this time, but here's my effort using C-AF and IS2:



Thanks for looking
Well done Thea. Great shot.

I think that some of us are still stuck in the days when we had to purchase film for our cameras and expect 100% success with our shoots. You have summed the situation up precisely when describing shooting birds in flight. It was the reasons that you give that I started out again with C-AF. If you lived through the times we early purchasers of the E3 had when focussing was a major issue you would understand why it is that we had been reluctant to use anything but S-AF.
That said, looking at it logically, its the only way to get that special shot by taking a series of C-AF images and examining them to select the best. Single shot S-AF is just like a roll of the dice - have you timed it well and has the camera captured the moment you intended. Some things happen so quickly that you do not get a chance to react.
I did not manage to get a flock of birds in flight but did manage to capture a herring gull fishing and eating its catch. I shall post some frames later.

Peter
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  #27  
Old 16th September 2008
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

Thanks Peter

When it comes to focusing, my main problem is my 50-200mm lens (which this picture was taken with, which makes it even more amazing ).

For birds in flight I use not only C-AF and IS1 (or 2), but I also set the camera to sequential shooting (high). Even so, when I press that shutter, I don't know if the lens is going to 'play ball', or decide to go hunting again (I lose more shots that way ). It's just one of the limitations of my kit - particularly if there is not enough contrast for the lens to latch on to.

Then, if all goes well I can get some shots (my husband is usually highly amused - says I look like a crazed gunner, frantically following these birds round the sky . I beg to disagree ). Rather than rattle off loads of shots, I usually fire off short sequences, which also gives the images time to clear the buffer (I shoot in RAW).

My methods probably go against all the 'rules' of photography, and yes, in reality you should make each shot count, but subjects such as birds in flight are difficult to achieve. I also take the view that the beauty of digital photography is that you do have the luxury of taking enough shots so that you do get something you're happy with without wasting a lot of hard earned dosh on film!
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  #28  
Old 16th September 2008
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

I've only played about with C-AF once or twice but must do again.

I have a question to you all who have been doing this type of photography,how do you have the C-AF lock set(wrench A)?Does it make any difference?
The manual seems to say that if anything passes in front or behind the camera should maintain focus on the subject.
I think the default is off.

Sorry if this has been covered before.
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  #29  
Old 16th September 2008
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

Quote:
Originally Posted by tlove View Post
Thanks Peter

When it comes to focusing, my main problem is my 50-200mm lens (which this picture was taken with, which makes it even more amazing ).

For birds in flight I use not only C-AF and IS1 (or 2), but I also set the camera to sequential shooting (high). Even so, when I press that shutter, I don't know if the lens is going to 'play ball', or decide to go hunting again (I lose more shots that way ). It's just one of the limitations of my kit - particularly if there is not enough contrast for the lens to latch on to.

Then, if all goes well I can get some shots (my husband is usually highly amused - says I look like a crazed gunner, frantically following these birds round the sky . I beg to disagree ). Rather than rattle off loads of shots, I usually fire off short sequences, which also gives the images time to clear the buffer (I shoot in RAW).

My methods probably go against all the 'rules' of photography, and yes, in reality you should make each shot count, but subjects such as birds in flight are difficult to achieve. I also take the view that the beauty of digital photography is that you do have the luxury of taking enough shots so that you do get something you're happy with without wasting a lot of hard earned dosh on film!
No Thea, you are not going against the grain. In fact its the short burst technique that I am adopting. One question though - what af target scheme are you using? I have a couple more but first I thought I would ask this one.

Peter
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Old 16th September 2008
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Re: Continuous AF on the E-3

Quote:
Originally Posted by andym View Post
I've only played about with C-AF once or twice but must do again.

I have a question to you all who have been doing this type of photography,how do you have the C-AF lock set(wrench A)?Does it make any difference?
The manual seems to say that if anything passes in front or behind the camera should maintain focus on the subject.
I think the default is off.

Sorry if this has been covered before.
Andy,

I set this to ON. It seems to work as you pan. I have included extracts from the Wrotniak website which I think pertain to this type of shooting in an earlier post in this thread. The choice IS 0,1 or 2 I have not decided on yet. Feedback from others may help me decide.

Peter
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