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Telephoto Lenses with focal lengths longer than 60mm.

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Old 2nd December 2016
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Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

I have had a problem with the 300mm f/4 on the E-M1 (mark I). It is a beautiful lens, handles nicely and gives great results. It is the first combo I trust enough to try some continuous autofocus for rugby, and it worked really well. But after a while the camera locked up and wouldn't respond until I took the battery out. This is just like when the E-M1 was first out and is very awkward - specially as I shoot with the grip, which has to come off before you can remove the battery from the body. Not fun when it is cold and wet and you're trying to keep up with a game.

I raised it with Oly support who said that they had not heard of any problems like this and suggested sending the body and lens to them. I am none too keen to do this, specially as I can't reproduce the problem under controlled conditions. I sent them a raw file to see if I had any odd options set. They noticed that I was still at firmware 4.0 and suggested upgrading to 4.1, which was released in February. I did, and it had no effect.

So this morning I updated the body to 4.2 and the lens to 1.1 - which may have been unwise, judging by the some of the warnings about 4.2! I haven't had a chance to test it in battlefield conditions yet, it is going to be a nervous first 20 minutes at next weekend's game.

Has anyone else had a similar problem? It works fine with S-AF, which is how I have always used lenses before. It has the same problem on both bodies and I have been trying C-AF with the 40-150 f/2.8 and it seems fine - it is just the combo of E-M1, 300/4 and C-AF that is problematic.

John

Last edited by Bikie John; 2nd December 2016 at 12:58 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 2nd December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

Haven't lockups like this been reported for just about every Olympus body since the E-1? Seeming to be totally random - although my own experiences (E-1 and E-3) suggested some correlation with C-AF and continuous shooting?
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Old 2nd December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

The E-M1 was spectacularly bad at first (or at least some were, mine included) but after a few firmware upgrades (and a replacement body in my case) the problems seemed to go away. As you say, the problem's appearance was too random to be able to assign any obvious cause.

It was a nasty feeling when it came back with the lovely new lens

John
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Old 3rd December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

The main problem occurring with FW4.2 were when the RecView was turned off. Do you have have yours set for 0.3 second or longer, because that would be a good place to start with the 300 F4 lens.
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Old 3rd December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

Thanks Ross. I have always had Rec View turned off - and don't recall ever seeing before that it might be related to lockup problems. If it happens again now that I have updated the it will be something to try.

Ciao ... John
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Old 3rd December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

I've used both manual, C-AF and S-AF fairly extensively while testing out the 300mm Pro and have not had any lock outs on the E-M1. This includes continuous sequences of shots on the highest drive setting.
It sounds similar to issues with the E-M1 that were widely reported, where we were trying to work out if it was certain usage with certain lenses or the type of batteries being used. So I feel that the lens may not be the underlying issue, though I wonder what sort of drain it's IS and AF have on the batteries.
So perhaps try a local set of tests to see if the issue reoccurs or if it doesn't then what causes the change. The following for example might isolate any battery drain issues, to if need be prove or remove any linkage to the shutter locking up.
If there is no link with battery/batteries then the next set of tests would be camera settings, and if no link then it's possibly back to the potential of the camera shutter box issue.
  • Have you tried different batteries and experienced the same problem?
    Are you using a battery in the battery grip (you note having to remove the battery grip to remove the battery)? If not, then it would be worth doing so.
    Is the problem happening after prolonged or continuous sequenciial use?
    If you switch off the 300mm lens IS can you replicate the lock up?
    If you switch off the 300mm lens AF by using the lens Manual focus can you replicate the issue?
    If you switch off the lens IS and use Manual Focus can you replicate the issue?
I hope that you find a solution easily, as the lens lives up to all expectations otherwise
Regards
Chris
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Old 3rd December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

I've had increased problems recently with the E-M1 (FW V4.1) locking up when using the 300/4 with the 1.4x converter - I'm not using the grip. It seems to happen when doing CAF in burst mode. The lens IS seems to take a lot out of the batteries and I wonder if the recent cold weather means that the battery power can dip enough to cause this blip? I'm waiting to see if the Mk2 with its bigger battery solves it.
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Old 4th December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bengeo View Post
I've had increased problems recently with the E-M1 (FW V4.1) locking up when using the 300/4 with the 1.4x converter - I'm not using the grip. It seems to happen when doing CAF in burst mode. The lens IS seems to take a lot out of the batteries and I wonder if the recent cold weather means that the battery power can dip enough to cause this blip? I'm waiting to see if the Mk2 with its bigger battery solves it.
Are you using an Olympus battery?
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Old 4th December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross the fiddler View Post
Are you using an Olympus battery?
Yes, I've got 4 genuine Olympus batteries. The 300/4 does run them down faster than when using other lenses.
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  #10  
Old 4th December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

Quote:
Originally Posted by catkins View Post
I've used both manual, C-AF and S-AF fairly extensively while testing out the 300mm Pro and have not had any lock outs on the E-M1. This includes continuous sequences of shots on the highest drive setting.
It sounds similar to issues with the E-M1 that were widely reported, where we were trying to work out if it was certain usage with certain lenses or the type of batteries being used. So I feel that the lens may not be the underlying issue, though I wonder what sort of drain it's IS and AF have on the batteries.
So perhaps try a local set of tests to see if the issue reoccurs or if it doesn't then what causes the change. The following for example might isolate any battery drain issues, to if need be prove or remove any linkage to the shutter locking up.
If there is no link with battery/batteries then the next set of tests would be camera settings, and if no link then it's possibly back to the potential of the camera shutter box issue.
  • Have you tried different batteries and experienced the same problem?
    Are you using a battery in the battery grip (you note having to remove the battery grip to remove the battery)? If not, then it would be worth doing so.
    Is the problem happening after prolonged or continuous sequenciial use?
    If you switch off the 300mm lens IS can you replicate the lock up?
    If you switch off the 300mm lens AF by using the lens Manual focus can you replicate the issue?
    If you switch off the lens IS and use Manual Focus can you replicate the issue?
I hope that you find a solution easily, as the lens lives up to all expectations otherwise
Regards
Chris
Thanks Chris, all sound advice (requoted in full deliberately as it's the first repeat).

A few answers to these suggestions:

1. It does indeed sound horribly similar to the problems that many of us had when the E-M1 was new, and gave me a horrible sinking feeing in the pit of my stomach when it happened!

2. I too wondered whether it was battery-related. As Bengeo says, this lens does seem to have a great thirst for electrons. I am using Oly original batteries, I usually start a match with fully charged batteries in grip and body and while the grip battery is often blinking orange before the end it rarely switches to the body. I have had the lockups with several different batteries and two different bodies.

3. I have never been able to get my head round sequential shooting (I wouldn't know when to press the shutter) - all these examples have been with single shot.

4. The lockups usually happen fairly quickly - after maybe 10 minutes and a dozen or so shots. But - of course - it is not consistent. The days when it has happened have been fairly chilly but not exceptionally cold.

If it is a battery problem I wonder if it is something to do with current drain rather than charge level. But as I don't understand batteries that could be a very nave interpretation.

I haven't tried things like switching off the lens IS, switching to MF etc. The real problem is that I have been totally unable to reproduce the problem on demand, it waits until I am in the middle of a job when there is no time to sit down and think about options to test. I just have to get it working as quickly as possible. This makes it very difficult to tie down likely causes. It also makes me even more reluctant to send it off to Oly service, as they could spend a couple of weeks with it and find nothing wrong.

One reason for opening this thread was in the hope of collecting evidence from other users, whether positive or negative. Thanks all for your comments so far.

John
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  #11  
Old 11th December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

Some good news. I used it at rugby yesterday and it was fine - no lockups at all. I didn't need to turn IS off or Rec View on or anything like that so I am hoping that the firmware upgrades have fixed the problem. The only thing I did differently was to shoot without the battery grip, just to make it easier to remove the battery in case of problems. I'll put the grip back on again next time - and if that causes the problem to come back it will really be a strange one!

No masterpieces to share from the game though. It was a horrible day, so dark that I was on ISO 3200 right from the start and upped it to 6400 at half-time. And it rained. And we lost

John
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Old 12th December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

I see that firmware 4.2 has been disabled for the time being.
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Old 12th December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

Indeed so David. Unfortunately I had put it on before the warnings came out, and there is no properly supported method of rolling back to 4.1. This means that I have no way of testing whether the lens upgrade to 1.1 would have fixed the problem on its own.

Of course, I have fed all this back to Oly via the original support incident.

Ciao ... John
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Old 12th December 2016
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Re: Problem with 300mm f/4 and E-M1

I was fortunate not to have done the 4.2 upgrade before others identified the problem. I have done the lens but noticed no difference and also did the EM5II.
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