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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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  #31  
Old 18th April 2015
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Ross the fiddler Ross the fiddler is offline
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

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Originally Posted by Tordan58 View Post
Here is an example documenting the issue.

Here are the two first frames from a sequence shot at 5 or 6 fps. This is a subject that should not be too much of a challenge to keep focus on. The first is quite nice and in focus, the second is horrible, suffers from severe OOF (back focus).

My recycle bin is full of similar failures.

EM-1 V3.0 ISO 400 1/1600s, 9 central AF squares.
300/2.8 + EC14 F4/0
Tordon. Were you using C-AF at Sequential Lo for these? The C-AF may not be as successful in that case as it might be if using Sequential Hi, at up to 9fps with E-M1 Firmware 3.0 (with Sequential Hi still set at 10fps) or did you lower the Hi fps rate? The one thing that it does need to do is get initial AF lock though as it might not catch up through the following frames. That, unfortunately is the less glorious part of trying to use C-AF Hi. Also, as I said earlier, when using C-AF Hi I realised it was obviously using PD-AF (for the 75-300 II lens) in the way it struggled to find focus on less distinct objects but locked on much better when using S-AF with Sequential Lo which only uses CD-AF for native lenses (like the 75-300). In other words, if the subject is not great in detail & the lighting low, then C-AF Hi that uses PD-AF isn't going to be as successful as it would be when sufficient detail is in the target (subject) & there is reasonable light.

The main problem, I believe, with the E-M1 in this subject is the PD-AF being only having horizontal sensing & not twin cross sensors like the E-5 & E30 (& other DSLRs that perform better).
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  #32  
Old 18th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

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Originally Posted by Ross the fiddler View Post
Were you using C-AF at Sequential Lo for these?
No, I was shooting at Hi. .

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Originally Posted by Ross the fiddler View Post
The one thing that it does need to do is get initial AF lock though as it might not catch up through the following frames.
As is clearly visible from the pictures, the first frame is in focus. This is the usual the case, sometimes it takes until the the second or third frame to acquire focus. And beyond that sharp frame focus is lost.

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Originally Posted by Ross the fiddler View Post
Also, as I said earlier, when using C-AF Hi I realised it was obviously using PD-AF (for the 75-300 II lens) in the way it struggled to find focus on less distinct objects but locked on much better when using S-AF with Sequential Lo which only uses CD-AF for native lenses (like the 75-300).
I don't have any m4/3 lenses except the kit lens that came with the camera, but it's kind of hard to test CAF at 50mm...
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  #33  
Old 18th April 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

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I thought we were discussing the EM1 CAF performance?
oh BTW I was using the Dyson X5 sorry and Hi onV.2 qnd achieved great results
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Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

Bumping up this topic, as I have a few more questions related to the C-AF when used on 4/3 lenses (50-200SWD and 300/2.8) and BIF.


What I did was to change from sequential High to Low. (It wasn't after reading reviews and articles it was clear to me that the C-AF locks on the first frame when shooting in High.) Result is better, I got a higher degree of pictures with correct focus, but still the keeper rate is closer to 0% than 100%, even on subjects that should not pose too much of a challenge.

Turning C-AF Release priority to Off quite often resulted in camera not releasing the shutter at all - a sign that it fails in acquiring focus? What setting would you recommend?

There is a "C-AF Lock" setting (menu A, manual page 91). What value should for the least reaction on sudden changes?

AEL/AFL button (menu A, manual page 98): Some people seem to have programmed it to start C-AF (mode 3 or 4). What is the thinking behind, to me it feels like having one more control to bother about.

C-AF+TR (AF mode, page 73): I cannot manage to have this working at all on 4/3 lenses. The green square quite immediately leaves the subject and turns red. Has anyone managed to take advantage of this feature?

Lastly, a tip: To increase the likelihood of perfect focus, what I did was to assign the F1 button to ... (AF home) with single focus point as AF home. Doing so however increases the risk of losing focus if you fail to keep the subject centred but for those occasions when the subject path is predicatble it seems to help.
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Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

Tordan, Your experience with the E-M1 is very similar to mine. Last weekend I was photographing motorsport, using 75-300 mm, 50-200 mm SWD, 35-100 mm & 90-250 mm. I used C-AF Low sequential as high only focuses on the initial press. Single centre focus point (not the smallest). I also tried it with the C-AF Release priority to Off.
With C-AF Release priority to Off, so many missed shoots the camera would as you experienced completely fail to focus, shutter not releasing.

I know a number of people have tried S-AF and say they have achieved good results, but the issue is with C-AF anyway S-AF isn't much good with a bike head on.
Keeper rate is very low. The only thing which has improved is the lens i.e. 35-100 doesn't hunt as bad as it once did.
If the bike is mainly one colour particularly white, it is a complete nightmare. It is not as if the bike were not filling the frame.

Back button focusing has been tried AEL/AFL button but with no marked difference.

To the point now if I could afford to jump ship I would. Along with the motorsport, I do a number of night photo shoot with aircraft and railways, I'm being blown out of the water with the high ISO quality of Canon and Nikon.
I don't find it usable above ISO1600. Even then it is very poor.
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  #36  
Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

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.... I used C-AF Low sequential as high only focuses on the initial press. ...
This was no longer true since firmware release 3.0! With this firmware release, C-AF H mode uses PDAF focusing once you have started shooting. This is by far the best mode to use for moving subjects.

I suggest the following:-

  • Use back-button focus.
  • Use C-AF H mode.
  • Use an AF area (single or 9 area) that fits on the subject. DOn't cover much background unless it is the sky.
  • Don't use Zoom AF focus box - it doesn't work well with C-AF.
  • Using back-button focus, wait until the AF has acquired the subject (beep) before you press the shutter.
  • Use a good long burst because the PDAF sometimes takes a frame or two to catch up but thereafter, will track well.
The initial focus acquisition uses the hybrid AF of all the other focus modes and doesn't work very well on moving subjects. The trick is to get close enough and then start your burst. If the AF is close enough, the PDAF will then take over and converge on the correct focus.
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Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

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Originally Posted by TonyR View Post
This was no longer true since firmware release 3.0! With this firmware release, C-AF H mode uses PDAF focusing once you have started shooting. This is by far the best mode to use for moving subjects.
...// snipped
I am totally lost now. To my understanding the EM-1 does only use PDAF for 4/3 lenses, regardless of FW version and AF mode.
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Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

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Originally Posted by DerekC View Post
Tordan, Your experience with the E-M1 is very similar to mine. Last weekend I was photographing motorsport, using 75-300 mm, 50-200 mm SWD, 35-100 mm & 90-250 mm. I used C-AF Low sequential as high only focuses on the initial press.
Thanks for confirming I have understood correctly how the system works.

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Originally Posted by DerekC View Post
Single centre focus point (not the smallest). I also tried it with the C-AF Release priority to Off.
With C-AF Release priority to Off, so many missed shoots the camera would as you experienced completely fail to focus, shutter not releasing.
Good to read it's not only me...

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I know a number of people have tried S-AF and say they have achieved good results, but the issue is with C-AF anyway S-AF isn't much good with a bike head on.
And certainly not when photographing a bird following an erratic motion pattern.

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Originally Posted by DerekC View Post
Keeper rate is very low. The only thing which has improved is the lens i.e. 35-100 doesn't hunt as bad as it once did.
I would estimate the keeper rate for the 50-200SWD being 25% or perhaps more, for the 300/2.8 around 10% (with subject filling equivalent amount of frame, the lower limit to render sufficient detail a being around a quarter of the frame). Some hunting occurs, but it is not bad as you write. Prefocusing at expected distance to subject helps a lot.

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Originally Posted by DerekC View Post
If the bike is mainly one colour particularly white, it is a complete nightmare. It is not as if the bike were not filling the frame.
I've experience similar behaviour when focusing on mainly white birds with just few dark features e.g. terns.

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Back button focusing has been tried AEL/AFL button but with no marked difference.
I will try and let you know if it makes a difference.
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  #39  
Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

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I am totally lost now. To my understanding the EM-1 does only use PDAF for 4/3 lenses, regardless of FW version and AF mode.
Well, that's true, but I suggest you try Tony's method. Also, CA-Lock might serve you better perhaps on Low if OFF is not as successful, considering it is the 50-200 SWD lens as it can't focus as fast as a M.4/3's lens like the 40-150 Pro.
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  #40  
Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

There is a book by Darrell Young (Rockynook, Picture and Pen Press) entitled 'Mastering the Olympus OM-D E-M1'. Version 3.0 was released just after it went to press, so he issued a pdf update of the changes to C-AF and how to use them. He explains it very clearly, although I don't know how accurate it is. Unfortunately I can't link to the pdf but you should be able to find it with a bit of googling.

Ron
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Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

I have my E-M1 set up for BiF much as TonyR suggested:

a. Use back-button focus.
b. Use C-AF H mode.
c. I use a single AF point.
d. Rls Priority is set to Off.
e. Full-Time AF is set to Off.
f. S-IS is set to Auto.
g. C-AF Lock is set to Normal.

I've found it can help if I pre-focus.

Using this set-up I've taken a number of reasonable shots of BiF over recent weeks, something I'd rarely tried before, the shots are in my Gallery if required.

I tend to use the 40-150 Pro with the 1.4 TC, I haven't tried my 50-200 (Non SWD) or my Sigma 50-500 for BiF as yet however, just trying these on static subjects shows that they don't focus as quickly as the 40-150 MZ 2.8 lens.

I recently had the opportunity to try both Canon and Pentax DSLR's whilst on the Farne Islands, I'm sorry to say that the C-AF on both of these wiped the floor with that of my E-M1.

The Canon DSLR was fitted with a Sigma 50-500 lens and was used handheld, on my first attempt at using this setup I took four shots and all locked onto the bird I was tracking, something my E-M1 fails to do.

What I have found is that the more I practice with the E-M1, the higher my keeper rate is, the frustration rate has been extremely high at times also.

Whilst I envy the C-AF speeds my friends were getting on their DSLR's, I'll stick with my E-M1 for now.

If Olympus fail to improve C-AF on the next generation of the E-M1 I suspect they'll start to lose those whose main aim is to photograph BiF and/or wildlife, especially if the cost of the 300mm F4 is high.

Dave
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Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

To my mind V3 firmware did improve things with 43 lenses ( 50-200 is now useable with c-af ). However the non cross type focus points are still limiting factor both in direction and dynamic range. e.g white, or light colours on dark back ground. This is when it simply won't find focus.

For 43 lens I found following now gives best results

C-AF lock low or normal
Sequence hi ( 8 fps ) Note focus is is locked above 9 fps.
C-AF early release off
9x9 focus points if non descript background or panning else single point and accept focus acquisition a bit slower.

As others have said, half press shutter or use back button, wait for beep and then press shutter fully for short bursts.

I now take a sequence or 2-3 pictures and get more consistent results and I just accept I have a bucket load of pictures to sort out.

It still won't capture dogs running towards me, but hay ho it does pretty much everything else I need now and image quality is great.

Gary
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Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

I went out to practise photographing gulls in flight this afternoon with the camera set up as follows:

C-AF.
Seq H (8 fps).
9 AF points.
Rls Priority On.
S-IS2 (vertical stabilization).
C-AF Lock Normal.

It seemed to work quite well and I ended up with a few reasonable images. I found the hardest part was keeping the bird in the frame, with the AF targets on it all the time. It helped to stand up and make sure that I could move my upper body easily and smoothly(ish). I also found that, whereas I usually hold the 75-300 lens with one hand under the zoom ring, I could control it better by having my hand between the lens hood and zoom ring.

Ron
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Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

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Originally Posted by Tordan58 View Post
I am totally lost now. To my understanding the EM-1 does only use PDAF for 4/3 lenses, regardless of FW version and AF mode.
Well, prior to firmware 3.0, you are right in that pure PDAF was only used for 4/3 lenses. Micro 4/3 lenses used some sort of hybrid of CDAF and PDAF. Olympus wasn't keen on explaining exactly what.

Version 3.0 firmware introduced C-AF in Sequential H at up to 9 frames per second for both types of lenses. It appears that they did some sort of software hack to achieve this. Not very pretty but it works.

When using a m4/3 lenses, when you select the focus area, you see all 81 possible CDAF positions. Choose a focus point that is inside the PDAF focus area (which you have to do from memory ). Once you press the shutter, you will see the outline of the PDAF area array in the viewfinder. It sort of flashes with each frame taken. It is only the thin black outline of the PDAF area so it is easy not to notice it.

Aaaaaaanyway, the point is that, once you have pressed the shutter in Sequential H, the use of PDAF dramatically improves the performance of AF on a moving subject. But it only happens once you start shooting, not while you are acquiring the initial focus. That is why I consider it a hack.

By contrast, Sequential L wasn't changed with firmware 3.0 and you don't see the PDAF array outline in the viewfinder while you are shooting.

In my view, Olympus should use only PDAF when using sequential L and H, for both 4/3 and m4/3 lenses for both the initial focus acquisition and during shooting. They can use the hybrid crap for S-AF if they want .

The use of PDAF in Sequential H does allow the focus system to select the nearest object to focus on (unlike CDAF) which allows you to get shots like this (not very good) one.

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Old 26th June 2015
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Re: Is C-AF actually improved with v3.0?

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// snipped
...
When using a m4/3 lenses,
...// snipped
Tony,

Thanks for the effort spent on trying to explain but as I wrote, I use 4/3 lenses. And I have fallen back to Sequential Low since with High focus locks with the first shutter release, hence explaining why you get one sharp frame - at most.

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The use of PDAF in Sequential H does allow the focus system to select the nearest object to focus on (unlike CDAF) which allows you to get shots like this (not very good) one.

Nice shot.
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