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Olympus E-620/600 An Olympus 12.1MP mid-range compact DSLR, the E-620 and the feature-reduiced version, the E-600.

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Old 17th September 2010
Kittykat23uk Kittykat23uk is offline
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focusing indoors question

Hi all,

This is probably a dumb question. I've noticed that when I'm photographing my bunnies indoors on auto, that sometimes the strobe keeps flashing before I can shoot whereas other times it locks focus quickly without the strobe going off. I would prefer for the strbe not to go off as much as I think it disturbs them. Also the shutter speed and aperture numbers flash in the viewfinder. I would have thought with the camera set to auto it would be able to select the most appropriate settings automatically, so why does it flash?

I tried setting the ISO manually to a higher value in case that was restricting the settings and making the shooting conditions sub-optimal (I tried 100-400)but that didn't seem to make any difference to the shutter speed and aperture that the camera was selecting.. Any idea why this is and how to prevent it?

This is the sort of scene I was shooting:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittyka...n/photostream/


Bunneh in a basket- Widget and Sprocket by kittykat23uk, on Flickr


Many thanks,

Jo
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Old 17th September 2010
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Nick Temple-Fry Nick Temple-Fry is offline
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Re: focusing indoors question

I guess you are trying to photograph without flash, but have the flash raised.

The flash is being used to focus assist, get enough light so the focus works, my recollection is that this can be turned off under the custom menu.

The real issue is that we don't often appreciate just how 'dim' indoor light really is, our eyes adjust in a way the camera can't. I suspect the camera wants to shoot at a much higher iso than 400, probably higher than you have the auto range limit set on your camera, so the camera can't get high enough to give you what it thinks is both a good exposure and an appropriate shutter speed.

The real answer is more light, though reducing the dof (increasing the aperture) and using centre weighted exposure metering may well help, that way the camera wont be trying to capture the shadows in the background.

Unfortunately I couldn't see the exif data (details about how the camera is set) so I may have missed a few suggestions.

Nick
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Old 17th September 2010
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Re: focusing indoors question

Here you go Nick, I stole this from the flikr site..

Camera Olympus E-620
Exposure 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture f/4.7
Focal Length 24 mm
ISO Speed 200
Exposure Bias 0 EV
Flash Auto, Fired
Exposure Program Creative (Slow speed)
Max Aperture Value 3.5
Metering Mode Multi-segment

Pete
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Old 17th September 2010
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Re: focusing indoors question

Can't think of anything else - other than use A priority and centre weighted metering.

Nick
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Old 17th September 2010
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Re: focusing indoors question

Yes, I go with Nick's suggestions. Using Program mode might be spoiling the party: I don't recall, but Auto and Program may well allow auto flash pop up as standard.

For myself I almost never use the camera flash, I have auto pop up disabled, and that also disables the autofocus assist from the flash, which is probably what is causing your problems.

Not using flash has its benefits and problems.

Non flashed pictures tend to look more realistic, but indoor shots away from the window and daylight can be almost impossible. As Nick says, the primary need is for more light, then go for Aperture priority and centre weight metering :-)

Pete
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Old 17th September 2010
Kittykat23uk Kittykat23uk is offline
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Re: focusing indoors question

Thanks everyone for the tips. The flash was up but I believe I had to pop it up myself at the time. You are right too the room was fairly dimly lit. I'll give your suggestions a go.
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Old 17th September 2010
Ulfric M Douglas Ulfric M Douglas is offline
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Re: focusing indoors question

Not a dumb question at all, in fact that strobing flash is the freakiest thing!
It could probably kill weak-willed bunnies stone dead on occasion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kittykat23uk View Post
... sometimes the strobe keeps flashing before I can shoot whereas other times it locks focus quickly without the strobe going off. I would prefer for the strbe not to go off as much as I think it disturbs them....
...I tried setting the ISO manually to a higher value in case that was restricting the settings and making the shooting conditions sub-optimal (I tried 100-400)but that didn't seem to make any difference ...
I think there's a 'dimness' level at which the strobe fires if the AF unit can't get an AF lock without it.
My advice would be to use 'A' mode with the widest aperture set ... and the flash 'strobe' set OFF in the menu. If the cemera can't get an autofocus lock just use manual focus, sorry : easier said than done.
When trying higher ISO go for 800 then 1600, no piddling about with 400 and the like.
Next step would be to buy a flash for the camera (I recently got a cheap METZ) which has inbuilt red-light focusing illuminator : works great.
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Old 17th September 2010
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Re: focusing indoors question

Thanks, I suppose coming from a Panny FZ18 I'm reluctant to use higher ISO!

Widget (bun in picture), doesn't like the noise of the shutter let alone a strobe going off in her face!
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Old 18th September 2010
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Talking Re: focusing indoors question

Cute bunnies, she looks young. I have a house rabbit, and was taking a few pics of him recently, and he took a massive dislike to the flash, and hurled himself at the camera
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Old 19th September 2010
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Re: focusing indoors question

Thanks yes they are about 5 1/2 months old.
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Old 19th September 2010
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Re: focusing indoors question

I'm always annoyed by the strobing flash too and did find that setting C-AF stops it. Not an ideal solution I must admit, but it works!
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Old 20th September 2010
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Re: focusing indoors question

Thanks I'll try your suggestions.
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Old 24th December 2010
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Re: focusing indoors question

..I had the same problem while in Xmas party last weekend
I was unable to get focus lock first with built in pop up flash ( a bit annoying while hunting for focus ) then I tried Olympus 36R but unfortunately that failed too for those moment capture
Honestly it was frustrating enough while my friends with point &shoot cameras did well
Lens: 14-42 at wide end with f3.5. ISO1600

I could't figure out the reason for AF failure in this instance ?
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Old 24th December 2010
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Re: focusing indoors question

I have got to say this problem is one that realy niggles me, if olympus were to change one thing about the E620/600 it would be to add a focus assist lamp. I also have a panasonic fz8 that does have a focus assist lamp and it gets accurate focus in very low light levels 99% of the time, unfortunately this doesn't help you much but just my 2 peneth. ATB Martin
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Old 24th December 2010
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Re: focusing indoors question

Hi one thing you could do if you need flash on turn off AF assisst, and if you need extra light to help with focus try using a flash light torch a low powered one that has a narrow beam shine it at the fur set fn to focus lock hold fn button in half depress shuitter button then adjust you point of view then fully depress the shutter, this should work without disturbing the rabbit.

Dave
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