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Olympus OM-D E-M1 The first Micro Four Thirds camera that offers phase detect focusing so you can use Four Thirds DSLR lenses normally as well a Micro Four Thirds lenses.

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Old 13th April 2015
Olybirder Olybirder is online now
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Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

I am feeling pretty deflated at the moment. I spent a couple of hours attempting to photograph Marsh Harriers in flight on Friday. The light was good and some of them were approaching unusually close. I have just looked at the results and from over 100 images I have kept just 4 and even they are not very good. None of the others were sharp.

I thought that I had set the camera up as advised for C-AF but it just didn't work. A lot of the time it refused to focus and wouldn't let me take the shot. On other occasions it didn't hold the focus as the bird moved.

I honestly can't see any improvement with v3.0 and my best results are still obtained by using S-AF and continually half pressing the shutter button.

Has anyone had any success using C-AF with v3.0 and, if so, would they care to post some images and reveal the settings and technique used? At the moment I feel like lobbing the camera into the bin!

Ron
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Old 13th April 2015
DavyG DavyG is offline
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

Take a look at the images I posted on this thread Ron:

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=36753

I have little or no experience in shooting BIF's however, the images I took of the gulls were the best results I've obtained.

I have a Myset which allows me to use C-AF on Sequential H, I also have the AEL button set up to focus.

Which lens were you using to photograph the Harriers?

Dave
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Old 13th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

Thanks Dave. I was using the 75-300 II, which is the only lens that I have for bird photography, apart from the 50-200 SWD but I find that too heavy to use these days.

What is the advantage of using the AEL button?

Ron
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Old 13th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

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Originally Posted by Olybirder View Post
Thanks Dave. I was using the 75-300 II, which is the only lens that I have for bird photography, apart from the 50-200 SWD but I find that too heavy to use these days.

What is the advantage of using the AEL button?

Ron
Hi Ron,

Setting the AEL button to focus allows you to have the camera set up for "back button" focus.

In practice, this means you use your thumb on the AEL button to obtain and hold focus, you the use the shutter button to take the photograph only.

I hope I've explained this clearly and that it's of some help.

I'm planning a trip to Bempton Cliffs next week and intend to try photographing BIF's with both the 40-150 Pro and the 75-300 Mk II hopefully this will help me to improve.

My wife will als be using a 75-300 Mk II on her E-M10, if things go as normal I suspect she'll get some decent images with her rig set up in the same way.

Dave
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Old 13th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

[QUOTE=DavyG;340005
Setting the AEL button to focus allows you to have the camera set up for "back button" focus.

In practice, this means you use your thumb on the AEL button to obtain and hold focus, you the use the shutter button to take the photograph only.
[/QUOTE]

I've currently got my E5 setup for 'back button focus', but find that "in practice" I often forget and get OOF shots because I only pressed the shutter release button! I'm not sure whether I'll stick with it.

Jim
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Old 13th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

Only you are not alone 75-300 mk 2 out this afternoon got a lot of hunting, focus beep, poor shots. Even for nearly static birds and focus peaking still poor shots can I share your bin? Loath to purchase the 40 - 150 2.8f if this is what I will be getting.
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Old 13th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

I think I am probably going to need a bigger bin Ed.

Ron
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Old 13th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

I think that the 75-300ii is not the best for BIF, it's "slow" to focus and needs great light to keep the ISO down, especially when you'll be wanting a quick shutter speed. Obvious advantage is reach of course.

On larger subjects, the combination works just fine with either L or H mode.
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Old 14th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olybirder View Post
I am feeling pretty deflated at the moment. I spent a couple of hours attempting to photograph Marsh Harriers in flight on Friday. The light was good and some of them were approaching unusually close. I have just looked at the results and from over 100 images I have kept just 4 and even they are not very good. None of the others were sharp.

I thought that I had set the camera up as advised for C-AF but it just didn't work. A lot of the time it refused to focus and wouldn't let me take the shot. On other occasions it didn't hold the focus as the bird moved.

I honestly can't see any improvement with v3.0 and my best results are still obtained by using S-AF and continually half pressing the shutter button.

Has anyone had any success using C-AF with v3.0 and, if so, would they care to post some images and reveal the settings and technique used? At the moment I feel like lobbing the camera into the bin!

Ron
If you are taking shots into less distinct lighting & detail you will get less reliable focus with C-AF (Hi) with the 75-300 (II) lens as it using PD-AF (with all AF lenses). I discovered that last week as well (it was going to be too much weight to take the 50-200 SWD lens so went with the 75-300 II lens instead). The results were quite different using CD-AF in S-AF & Sequential Lo which focusses (& exposes) for each frame. Using C-AF & Hi (fps) in traffic it was quite different as it had something of reasonable detail to work with (as well as good light) & focussed quite well for most frames. I think it's a case of using either one for suitable conditions & low light & indistinct subjects are just not good with PD-AF on the E-M1 (keeping in mind it only uses horizontal sensing & not twin cross types like the E30 & E5) whether it's C-AF Hi or S-AF (for 4/3's lenses).
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Old 14th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

I also read somewhere that with a slow focussing lens like my Panny 100-300 and your 75-300 (II) that in C-AF Hi it is best to limit the FPS to 6 or lower as otherwise the lens can't keep up. This apparently can make quite a difference to the keeper rate but does assume you can get an initial lock in the first place!
The EM-1 is still a long long way behind DSLRs for CAF and I am saving my pennies for an eventual purchase of the Canon 7D II and new 100-400 L lens for just that reason. Unless of course Olympus manage to bring out an EM-1 (II) first with a killer C-AF...
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Old 14th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olybirder View Post
...
A lot of the time it refused to focus and wouldn't let me take the shot...
That sounds like you have Release Priority for C-AF set to Off. Switch it to On so that the shutter can release even if the image is not in focus. Although this sounds stupid (!), it seems to work better when you take a burst of photos.

The other thing that is really important with C-AF is getting the initial focus lock which shows up as a beep and a green rectangle. If you use back button focus, wait until you get the green rectangle before pressing the shutter, and then just keep taking shots for a burst. Sometimes, it takes a few shots before the focus gets really good.

This is a fairly heavy crop of a shot of a Great White Egret taken with the 40-150 f/2.8 + MC-14. One of a burst of about a dozen. It is quite a difficult subject because of the lack of contrast between the bird and the bright sky, but the E-M1 did okay.

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Old 15th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

I was seriously disappointed when I first tried the EM5 with my 300mm f2.8 and 50-200 SWD, compared to my E5, so much so that I sold both lenses and purchased a Canon 7D and 400mm. The M5 still delighted and I, once again, had great hopes for the M1 and bought one of the first available. I very soon realised that, despite better IQ the M1 could not compete with the 7D for BIFs although I have managed some good results using SAF but I'm no longer patient enough to persevere with CAF. The V3 does seem to have MARGINALLY improved CAF when I tried it on a slow flying Buzzard over the house but my newly aquired 7DII is still so much easier to use, and to be honest it is quite possible to MF a Buzzard, so not a difficult target. The upshot of this is that I will still use the EM1 for BIFs on SAF but only when I don't have the 7DII available to hand. It's horses for courses, the EM1 being my camera of choice for landscape and macro with the Canon for birdies.

David
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Old 15th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Morison View Post
I was seriously disappointed when I first tried the EM5 with my 300mm f2.8 and 50-200 SWD, compared to my E5, so much so that I sold both lenses and purchased a Canon 7D and 400mm. The M5 still delighted and I, once again, had great hopes for the M1 and bought one of the first available. I very soon realised that, despite better IQ the M1 could not compete with the 7D for BIFs although I have managed some good results using SAF but I'm no longer patient enough to persevere with CAF. The V3 does seem to have MARGINALLY improved CAF when I tried it on a slow flying Buzzard over the house but my newly aquired 7DII is still so much easier to use, and to be honest it is quite possible to MF a Buzzard, so not a difficult target. The upshot of this is that I will still use the EM1 for BIFs on SAF but only when I don't have the 7DII available to hand. It's horses for courses, the EM1 being my camera of choice for landscape and macro with the Canon for birdies.

David
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Old 16th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

I can't say that I have notice any difference since V.3, Shooting motorsport I use C-AF but have used mainly L-FPS as it is supposed to re focus for each shot, and therefore I probably will not see the improvement Olympus suggest. H-FPS was tried without any success. Pre V.2 I had serious hunting problems with most lens 35-100 F.2 was terrible. V.2 I found was a fix for this.
Since upgrading to V.3 I have used the E-M1 twice Donington park British Superbikes and Olivers Mount Spring Cup. Corner shots mainly head on with a fast enough shutter speed reasonable success rate. Panning is still bad where the bike is getting closer then going away. One of the issues especially with 4/3rds lens, is often it just doesn't focus. Bike tend to have enough lines and shape to pick up a focus on but many shots are missed due to not focussing. I still take the E-5 with me so when I get frustrated with the poor performance from E-M1 I still have good old reliable.
The other issue I have is noise, although better than E-5 I don't find above iso 1600 any good.
Lens I have tried for motorsport 75-300 mk2, 50-200 swd, 35-100 F2, 90-250 F2.8
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Old 17th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

I have given the E-M1 with the V3 firmware a fair chance to deliver, but must say the CAF performance is mediocre.

I tried on gulls, probably the easiest subject, often predictable motion pattern.

With the 300/2.8, from a sequence at most one is pin sharp. Quite often the whole sequence is ruined, none is pin sharp. Tried with various apertures, less bad seems to be around F/4 or F/4.5. Hunting is also an issue but that's another topic.

The results with the 50-200 SWD are, if not great, better with maybe two or three good ones in a sequence - however 200mm has often way to short reach for details. I suppose it has to do with the design of the lens, faster AF.

No way the E-M1 CAF is capable of keeping subject in focus throughout a sequence, not even with clean background or against sky.
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