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Olympus E-3 E-3 specific discussion.

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Old 6th July 2014
MichaelShea MichaelShea is offline
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Dynamic single target AF mode

During the past few weeks, I've become the proud and privileged owner of both a low-useage, secondhand Olympus E-3 camera and brand new ZD 35-100mm f2 telephoto zoom lens. Maybe a sensible person would have got used to one before buying the other, but I felt the prices were right on both occasions and so went ahead regardless.

I think my problem is a small one and will probably be resolved by trial and error. But perhaps you experienced four thirds users will save me some time and anguish. It relates to the E-3's focusing system, which I now know to be quite sophisticated, but inherently less reliable than either of the mirrorless systems (micro four thirds and Fuji-X respectively) that I'm more accustomed to.

I took the camera and lens to Lagos Zoo in Portugal on Thursday morning and took nearly 200 photos in sunny overhead conditions, albeit with a great deal of shady cover from trees, bushes and buildings. Ideally less contrasty light might have given a fairer test, especially given my lack of familiarity with the equipment.

I chose 'dynamic single target AF mode' in advance, thinking that it would help the camera to make a choice of suitable focus point in the event of a cluttered and confusing scene. My default method is single target AF with a central focal point, and I invariably focus and then re-compose.

To cut a long story short, the results were patchy at best. I don't think I have a back or front-focusing lens, although I'm not completely sure. Being a mostly wide-angle shooter, perhaps I did not allow sufficient depth of field on occasions, but f5.6 or f6.3 probably ought to have been enough, I feel, when photographing animals at between 35mm and 100mm.

I have read elsewhere, somewhat worryingly, that there is an 'issue' with the combination of E-3 and 35-100mm f2 when it comes to focusing accuracy. Well, all I can say is that my first outing wasn't particularly reassuring in this respect. My intention is to revert to the default position of single point AF next time I take out the lens. I did manage to get some pretty good pictures, but have to admit that the success rate of my focusing left a lot of room for improvement.

I wondered if any of you kind folks could advise me on what to do. An earlier shoot with the 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 mk.1 was more successful and that was mostly with continuous autofocus, which I'd expected to be more fraught with risk.

Dynamic single target AF mode on the E-3 seems a bit of a waste of time to me, but did I simply choose the wrong lens or unsuitable light conditions? Any advice would be welcome. Thank you in anticipation.
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Old 8th July 2014
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Re: Dynamic single target AF mode

Sorry I have not had the pleasure of an E-3 but hope my "posts" bumps yours and you get a reply from an E-3'er

I think Melaka David had this combo
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Old 9th July 2014
gazza95 gazza95 is offline
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Re: Dynamic single target AF mode

Michael, on my E-3 the dynamic single point with C-AF normally gives me the best general results for moving subjects. Single point and moving the focus point is better for stationary subjects. Focus and recomposing is something I try to avoid with E-3. So I am a bit surprised you are having problems.

A couple of things to check;

1) Firmware of camera and lens. Latest for E-3 is 1.4 which had some AF improvements. If memory serves me correctly the original issues with 35-100 were solved with a firmware update. As I don't have this lens I can't be sure.

2) Ensure "Release Priority" is Off.

3) If you use C-AF, wait for focus confirmation before releasing shutter. Even with "Release Priority" Off the there is a tendency to take pictures even if focus not confirmed.

4) Do a static test with target just to check you don't have any back/front focus issues. I would suggest single point, F2.0 and S-AF for this test. Again don't recompose and preferably use a tripod.

HTH

gary
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Old 9th July 2014
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Re: Dynamic single target AF mode

Thank you Gary, that was most helpful and I appreciate it. My firmware is completely up to date, but I now gather that the dynamic AF function is, as you describe, probably more suited to moving subjects. Some of my zoo animals were moving slowly, but most hardly moving at all, and I should perhaps have been a bit more proactive with my settings. I chose the zoo to fit the lens as a first outing because of the expected size and distance of the subjects, but what I hadn't envisaged was the complicated light and shadow variations. To be frank, the camera ought to have performed better in any case.

I'm currently wading through pages and pages of other threads on E-3 focusing and can only sympathise with the people, possibly including yourself, who bought the camera when it was new or nearly new. At that time, Olympus obviously failed miserably to engage with its customers and offer clear advice on the workings of the focus system. Combined with problems on a batch of 12-60mm kit lenses, this made for a frustrating time for a lot of people who invested heavily in the system.

As you know, I joined in very late in the proceedings and am still not sure I did the right thing. I've had far more joy from Olympus lenses than the manufacturer's cameras, but I hope that will change when I become more accustomed to the E-3. With a mostly micro four thirds and Fuji-X background, it amuses me when DSLR owners belittle mirrorless systems because based on my experiences, they produce far more dependable results.

Anyway, thank you once again for your advice. I will try again and attempt to get the best out of the camera.
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