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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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Old 28th February 2015
stevewestern stevewestern is offline
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Very basic question for sports focusing..

I am more than slightly ashamed to admit this, but here goes...

I shoot mainly people, and fairly static ones at that, but the other day wanted to take some pictures of people running towards me.
I managed to get one or two, usually the first in a sequence sharp but the followings ones were pretty blurred.
So, can anyone please advise me how best to set up my camera for this..?

I have tried to make sense of some of the BIF threads and posts but am still confused which may tell you that I am not the most technical or smart person and tend to use the same settings almost all the time (manual, centre weighted metering, single shot etc)
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

I use S-AF, centre spot, single shot and refocus each time. And still miss plenty of shots, but I get a few sharp. I'll be interested to see what others say - there are so many settings and they seem to interact in ways that are sometimes counter-intuitive.

One day I'll be brave and try C-AF and sequence mode - but something lurking in the subconscious still doesn't like the idea of "wasting film"!

John
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

Hi you don't say what camera and lens set you are using, I posted a result of shooting CAF with tracking single point of focus using the EM5 with the 75mm f1.8 lens attached, this was with motorsport cars traveling at speed through tree in the forest below are a sequence with a caf burst at 6frames a second 90 % are sharp.

This is the link to the sequence I posted.

http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=36576
Dave
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

I would tend to use CAF at low frame rate, with single centre spot for that sort of thing (E-M1). Depending on the subject I alternatively use 9 spot. I use rear-button focus and let the focus lock first before shooting.

I've tried repeated SAF dabs, which is OK as well for most subjects, but I find it a bit stressful! I actually haven't tried tracking again recently, but come the new motorsports season I'll give it another go - I had trouble with fast-moving subjects and confusing backgrounds.

I haven't had chance to try out the new firmware yet, but it might now be better to use high frame rate.
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

Sorry for not providing info that might help - Camera is EM1, lens is 40-150 pro, firmware is updated.
I tried using single shot S-AF but centre weighted rather than spot and had hoped that the firmware update would mean that C-AF and low or even high frame rate would be easy.
The event was a cross country race for kids, so there was only one chance to get them as they passed me and no time to adjust anything.

Many thanks for the replies - please keep them coming !
This has to be the main if not only thing I miss about my old Canon gear (5D2, 70-200 f2.8) so a solution that works most of the time would be wonderful !
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

For sequences like you have described I would only ever use C-AF, by the time S-AF has locked and then you've pressed the shutter the subject has moved already. Ok so you might get the odd shot in focus, but you'll likely end up with more misses.

I'd recommend setting it to C-AF or C-AF with tracking and continuous drive mode. Focus on the subject as you would normally and then keep your finger pressed for as long as you want the shots to fire. For metering I'd set it to wide or centre. If you think you can follow the subject well enough I'd stick to single point AF.

Mirrorless cameras aren't renowned for their C-AF/tracking capabilities and you may still get a few misses. Also, practice makes perfect and you should find you get a higher success rate the more you do it.

My guess is that you used S-AF which only focussed on the first image and obviously wouldn't refocus for the other images (assuming you kept the shutter pressed).
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

There have been various threads on this topic and the basic rule to get best out of C-AF is switch off as much other items as possible.

So C-AF with single point. Do NOT use tracking.
C-AF early release on
C-AF Lock Normal.
Face detection off.
Manual Exposure helps a little.
if your using fill in flash use Auto not TTL as it makes shutter much more responsive.

Also remember E-M1 only has horizontal PDAF sensors so you do need to pick a spot to focus on with some clear vertical edges.

Technique I find works best is to use half press on point of interest, wait till you hear beat. If no beep release shutter and half press again. You must wait for the beep. It seems that if focus is not achieved quickly there is little point in waiting for it to lock on. Others also pre focus to close to right point as this gets focus much quicker.

I've not yet tested latest firmware so have no idea how well high speed work but low with 5 frames in short bursts normally get best results.

Gary
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

Quote:
Originally Posted by gazza95 View Post
There have been various threads on this topic and the basic rule to get best out of C-AF is switch off as much other items as possible.

So C-AF with single point. Do NOT use tracking.
C-AF early release on
C-AF Lock Normal.
Face detection off.
Manual Exposure helps a little.
if your using fill in flash use Auto not TTL as it makes shutter much more responsive.

Also remember E-M1 only has horizontal PDAF sensors so you do need to pick a spot to focus on with some clear vertical edges.

Technique I find works best is to use half press on point of interest, wait till you hear beat. If no beep release shutter and half press again. You must wait for the beep. It seems that if focus is not achieved quickly there is little point in waiting for it to lock on. Others also pre focus to close to right point as this gets focus much quicker.

I've not yet tested latest firmware so have no idea how well high speed work but low with 5 frames in short bursts normally get best results.

Gary
Interesting, what's the reason behind not using tracking? And do you hear a beep when using C-AF? Tbh I've only used C-AF on my Olly once as I use my DSLR for tracking.
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

To be brutal Tracking simply does not work and uses processing resources best used elsewhere.

Let me phrase it this way, when you hear the beep initial focus has been achieved.

Gary
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

Quote:
Originally Posted by gazza95 View Post
To be brutal Tracking simply does not work and uses processing resources best used elsewhere.

Let me phrase it this way, when you hear the beep initial focus has been achieved.

Gary
Thanks, I'll get to running proper tests one day. After all there may be a time when I'm out with the Olly and there's an opportune moment that requires using C-AF.
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Old 28th February 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

I think you need to follow this thread from Ian too. http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthread.php?t=36635
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Old 1st March 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

Quote:
Originally Posted by gazza95 View Post
There have been various threads on this topic and the basic rule to get best out of C-AF is switch off as much other items as possible.

So C-AF with single point. Do NOT use tracking.
C-AF early release on
C-AF Lock Normal.
Face detection off.
Manual Exposure helps a little.
if your using fill in flash use Auto not TTL as it makes shutter much more responsive.

Also remember E-M1 only has horizontal PDAF sensors so you do need to pick a spot to focus on with some clear vertical edges.

Technique I find works best is to use half press on point of interest, wait till you hear beat. If no beep release shutter and half press again. You must wait for the beep. It seems that if focus is not achieved quickly there is little point in waiting for it to lock on. Others also pre focus to close to right point as this gets focus much quicker.

I've not yet tested latest firmware so have no idea how well high speed work but low with 5 frames in short bursts normally get best results.

Gary
Hi Gary you wrote that single point CAF doesn't do Tracking, well on the EM5 mk 1 it does if you look back in this thread by me there is a link to another thread that shows a sequence of shots using CAF + Tracking with single point and does extremly well even passing through trees in the FOREST OF DEAN on a motor rally and in dull conditions to.

Dave
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Old 1st March 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

Dave,

The description that has been made about C-AF+TR on the E-M1 by others, including Ian is;

"I may be wrong but I thought that CAF Tr is more for focusing and then re composing and it works well for this. I'm not sure it is meant for fast moving objects."

I regularly photograph rowers and have tried this several times to focus on rowers face/ top. The red square gets horribly confused and simply fails to track the rower. Certainly worth a retest though.

You certainly seem to have found a case where it has worked though for the E-M5.


Gary
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Old 1st March 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

Hi Gary, I'm not saying that it works with BIF, it certainly didn't seem to work before, until I got an update to 2.1, as I was going to this Rally meet thought I'd give it a go CAF tracking with 9 point was as you say irratic all over the place then tried single point with CAF + tracking and it worked on motor sport I have over 515 shots using this, and 489 shots in focus even through trees going diagonally towards me and at varying speeds the long straight down between the tree I was told the were doing on average 80 mph down to the near airpin at 20 mph then towards me upto about 4mts away from me.

As you can see that it was a good all round test, and consistant test.

I was shooting at f2 at around 1/1000 down to 1/320th due to varying light condition oh and iso 200 to iso 800.

Oh and no IS, as with IS ON does interfere with re-focus. IS to off when caf +tracking is in use.

Dave
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Old 1st March 2015
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Re: Very basic question for sports focusing..

What CA Lock setting were you using in that busy visual environment, Dave?
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