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Olympus E-30 An Olympus 12.1MP upper mid-range DSLR, the E-30.

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Old 2nd March 2011
FlemmingS FlemmingS is offline
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Continious auto focus AF-C

I usually shoot planes,birds and action photo using my E-30 with 50-200 mm SWD (often i combination witg EC-20 extender if bright weather) and occasionally with my 35-100 mm F 2.

AF-S very seldom lets my down but I often have problems with AF-C.
A nikon photographer I known tried my gear, and said it should work fine. he advised my to turn of IS though which I yet have t try.

My normal settings are : Single AF point, Center-weight or spot metering,Shutter priority, ISO 400 or 800 when shooting birds, HI seq, RAW format.

Any advice regarding action,bird and plane photography is highly appreciated

These are my best results using AF-C so far

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/m...n/_A148218.jpg

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/m...61293small.jpg

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/m.../P8061296c.jpg

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/m...049169copy.jpg

http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/m...n/P5316368.jpg
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Old 2nd March 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

You are starting from a pretty good point there. Here's what I use with my E3 & 50-200 SWD for continuous/action shots with the differences from your stated method in bold type:

RAW
Sequential shooting Lo, 4 frames per second. Lo sequential uses less processing power on the camera so it can concentrate on maintaining AF lock.
Central point with the adjacent alternatives activated (diamond pattern)
Centre weighted, ISO 400 and aperture priority, aiming for 1/800th at least.

The rest could boil down to your technique. I focus at the distance I expect the subject to come into view so the motor has less work to do when the subject appears. I try to pick the subject up early when zoomed out to, say 100mm, and then zoom in while tracking the subject as this helps avoid losing it due to the narrow field of view at 200mm. I hold the shutter button half down so the camera can stay locked onto the subject.

I personally don't use my teleconverter as I find it slows down the AF considerably. I am not sure why, possibly because less light hits the focus sensors, maybe a different reason.

Hope this helps,

Nick
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Old 3rd March 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

Hi Nick

Thank you very much for your advice.
I find it very interesting that you use the central point with diamond pattern.
I guess this is the needed for predictive auto-focus ?
Also I forgot to mention that I also pre-focus at the expected distance in order to minimze focus hunting. Regarding technique I found this very useful
"I try to pick the subject up early when zoomed out to, say 100mm, and then zoom in while tracking the subject as this helps avoid losing it due to the narrow field of view at 200mm",
What is your opinion on IS ? I have the impression now that IS can interefere with AF-C operation ?

I will try your advice this Sunday where I plan to visit the local Falcon show
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Old 3rd March 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

IS won't interfer with AF but, generally, C-AF will be used for a moving subject > a moving subject will require panning > IS and panning don't mix......as I say there are generalities in there, as well as IS2/IS3 options, but I rarely mix these shooting elements.

S-t-d (diamond) is not required for predictive AF, it's a function of C-AF. However it's the most powerfull single point AF mode by a long way. This helps with both C-AF and low light AF work.

As Nick, and to a degree your Nikon collegue, highlights - it's then down to technique and practice/implementation.

Finally, I prefer M mode over S in such situations. Generally I know the shutter speed I want for the subject (birds wings, movement, propellor etc), the aaperture I need for the DOF or etreme of lighting, and leave the camera to adjust the ISO for the exposure (with the use of Spot or CW metering to negate the need to dial in any EV adjustment)
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Old 3rd March 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

Quote:
Originally Posted by photo_owl View Post
IS won't interfer with AF but, generally, C-AF will be used for a moving subject > a moving subject will require panning > IS and panning don't mix......as I say there are generalities in there, as well as IS2/IS3 options, but I rarely mix these shooting elements.
I would tend to agree: My jury is out on Image Shaker at the moment. I am coming to the conclusion that it causes more trouble than it is worth. I rely on the "shutter speed greater than the 35mm focal length" guideline.

However I would recommend that you try with panning mode on and off and judge for yourself. It must work at some point otherwise Olympus wouldn't put it in their cameras.

Nick
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Old 3rd March 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

I haven't tried to photograph planes but I am trying to gain some skills with in-flight birds. I have got to the point where I have some limited success with the larger, slower wing-beat birds and I have worked out some parameters for using with the "my mode" or "my set" modes of my E30 and E5 linked to the function button which is held down during the shooting:

Aperture priority

ISO - 400

AF mode - CAF with lock off

AF area - all 11 points

Metering - ESP

Exposure comp. - +1 (this can be backed off if the subject is not against the sky, using the front scroll wheel if so assigned)

Sequential - low 3 fr./sec.

IS - off, mainly because I will be in the higher shutter speed region and I don't want to introduce any more complications

I've done a fair bit of experimentation just photographing the Rooks flying over my house but I may still have some tweaking to these setting to do yet.

These are some I prepared earlier, nearly all larger, slower birds except the Oystercatcher, all taken with E30:

Marsh Harrier:




Common Buzzard:




Greylag Goose:




Oystercatcher:




Osprey:




I look forward to comments and suggestions.

Regards

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Old 3rd March 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

Some great shots thanks for the settings will give them a try I usually just get sky or bits of BIF.
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Old 3rd March 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

Great photos and very good advice

I will defineletly try my luck this weekend !
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Old 4th March 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

I just forgot to mention I also use ISO bracketing 3 x 0.7 to take care of varying lighting conditions that continually effect birds in flight.

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Old 6th March 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

Thank you very much for your very useful input, I now feel more comfortable using CF-AF.
Yesterday I went to local Zoo to attend the bird show.
Unfortunately it was extremely windy so the birds mostly kept themselves close to the ground
A 'funny' thing happened when I turned on the camera: The screen showed the last scenery mode 'Snow and beach' the minitor flickered. I turned the camera off and on and was now unable focus using S-AF or S-AF+MF.
So I was forced to use CF-AF
I used Aperture priority (F.6.3 or 5.6) ISO 400,centre weight metering.

When I get my camera back from repairs I wil try again in Zoo, this time I will experiment with Shutter priority and Manual Shutter/Aperture settings

Here is some of the photos I took (all using CF-AF):


Bird captures piece of meat thrown i the air, it is cropped but otherwise not post-processed so there is room for improvement.





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Old 6th March 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

Well, the bird of prey came out sharp which is good.

I do like the polar bear shaking itself with the light refracting on the water.

Nick
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Old 4th April 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

A big thank you all for your very useful advice.

I have been to the Zoo and is very pleased with the results and will soon visit our local Falcon show with greater confidence




By the way

I won a first prize at our local photo club with this photo:
http://i296.photobucket.com/albums/m.../_A050115C.jpg
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Old 4th April 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

Awesome shots here and Thanks to all contributors for in depth tech info! I shall be trying these out as just got into Birds!
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Old 4th April 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

Congratulations on the sharp falcon shots and winning with the polar bear - the light in those bear shots is wonderful and a testament to the magic quality of that 50-200 SWD.

The bird is in focus from wingtip to wingtip which is great. I have no idea how large the bird is but try using this tool (which I forgot about first post):

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

I use it for working out my aperture for a given depth of field before I go and take photos. I guess the distance and how wide I can get open the aperture before I need to increase the ISO. I put that here if you want to juggle depth of field and shutter speed for more blurred backgrounds.


Nick
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Old 5th April 2011
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Re: Continious auto focus AF-C

Thank you very much Who's E
I will defintely try your link and see how it works out.

Often I resort to Photoshop when I want to throw background out of focus.
But It is way better to compose a shot correctlt rather than do pixel manipulation.
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