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  • E-3 c-af

    Although some folks have expressed dissatisfaction with the E-3's C-AF performance (without actually saying how they are using the camera or its settings or specific issues), there are many people who have used it successfully, myself included.

    I think there may be many people who 'suffer in silence' and just accept 'poor performance' without realising there may be a solution.

    I am starting this thread in order that folk who have successfully used C-AF can share their experience, those who have not can ask for help (preferably with detailed information on what you are trying to do and what your camera settings are) and also to prevent other (off-this-topic) threads being taken over with these sort of discussions. I'll put in a few cents of knowledge in a minute...

    This is not designed to be a place to rant or moan, just a place for, hopefully, some useful advice.

    Andy
    Olympus E-M1 ZD 7-14 f4, 300 f2.8, PL 25 f1.4D
    mZuiko 12-40 f2.8 Pro, 60 f2.8, 40-150 f2.8 Pro
    EC-14, EC-20, HLD-7
    Metz 58 AF-1&2 , Manfrotto 441, Gimbal Head, Velbon Neopod 74


    Gallery: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/elliott.aje.andy

    Website: 361photography.com 361wild.com

    "Oly_OM" @ e_group

  • #2
    Re: E-3 c-af

    Originally posted by AndyElliott View Post
    Although some folks have expressed dissatisfaction with the E-3's C-AF performance (without actually saying how they are using the camera or its settings or specific issues), there are many people who have used it successfully, myself included.

    I think there may be many people who 'suffer in silence' and just accept 'poor performance' without realising there may be a solution.

    I am starting this thread in order that folk who have successfully used C-AF can share their experience, those who have not can ask for help (preferably with detailed information on what you are trying to do and what your camera settings are) and also to prevent other (off-this-topic) threads being taken over with these sort of discussions. I'll put in a few cents of knowledge in a minute...

    This is not designed to be a place to rant or moan, just a place for, hopefully, some useful advice.

    Andy
    Great idea, Andy.

    It's my experience that the C-AF works well when all the AF points are set on the E-3 and and the E-30 (probably E-620 with its 7 points too) as long as there is no overly distracting detail surrounding your subject. And you have to work at getting the right point on your subject locked and recognised by the AF at the start of the tracking session.

    Another method that works well is to use one main AF point with satellite points enabled. If you select the centre point, it will be surrounded by four points in a diamond pattern, for example.

    I also advise the use of a fast shutter speed - 1,000th is probably a minimum advisable speed, so up the ISO or open the lens aperture up and perhaps use shutter priority mode. Ensuring as much depth of field as possible is also a help, so I would only open up the aperture as the last resort.

    Ian
    Founder/editor
    Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
    Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
    Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
    Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)
    Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
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    • #3
      Re: E-3 c-af

      increasing the dof is a bit of an 'if the AF does fail' approach....... ;o)

      personally I use diamond CP normal sensitivity (I find small poor as there are too many gaps between them for this type of shooting) sequential (max) and try to get a good lead (focus) period before pressing the shutter, S priority on. I also stay with it if I think I will want another shot rather than stop and start again. This is based on shooting rugby rather than birds or aircraft.

      the only real downside is that I really loose the detailed viewfinder view too much to shoot a lot like this and it's pretty unnecessary most of the time as I generally snipe my moments with S-AF.

      I only shoot M (auto ISO) for this as well, but I don't think it makes any difference to the AF system.
      E-P1, OMD E-M1, E400
      7-14/12-50/12-60/14-42/17/30(1.4)/35-100/40-150/45/50/50-200
      ec14/ec20/ex25/MMF-1, MMF-3/ RF11/FL50Rs/FL36R/SHV-1/AC-1/AC-2

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      • #4
        Re: E-3 c-af

        I am a habitual back-button focusser. I keep it in CF+MF (CF mode 3) all the time.

        I notice some odd behaviour with the 12-60SWD like sometimes it doesn't budge when its obviously not focussed properly on the center target. This may be because I use the small setting for "AF SENSITIVITY" instead of normal but I have that setting because otherwise it tends to be distracted too easily by clutter. But I can live with these minor irritations.

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        • #5
          Re: E-3 c-af

          Based on an E-3 and shooting birds in flight, some horses cantering and some planes too, with the 50-200 SWD and ED versions:

          - When panning, remember to either turn off IS or use the horizontal pan mode (IS mode 2) or, if you have the setting and are trying to pan vertically, IS mode 3.
          - Setting the C-AF release priority to 'OFF' (so you can only fire when the AF system tells you it is in focus) very often results in more in-focus shots although the firing speed will seem slower in high-speed shooting (C-AF seems to slow down the 5fps on an E-3 anyway)
          - Birds or planes against a sky, all focus points (HP) works fine, but you may find the diamond pattern is better and less easily confused when there are objects front and behind
          - Sensitivity set to normal - small does not help!
          - Generally I use shutter priority mode and AUTO ISO, using the min/max ISO settings to constrain the aperture for expanding the DOF (and thereby allowing more focussing latitude)
          - For blurring the background with most birds, 1/250s to 1/400s seems to be okay when panning. 1/1000s fixes the bird in space and you will have quite a still background too. Remember propellers on aircraft look weird if stationary - so stick to about 1/250s or slower for these
          - For birds flying towards you, too slow a speed and bird will move out of focus before the shutter can fire and close again, so faster speeds are preferred, 1/1000s and faster
          - Keep the 'C-AF Lock' turned on - this really does work - I tested this recently with a pan on a moving horse, part way through, there were other riders in the way, but the lock was maintained on the original horse.

          No matter what the camera, moving things are always tricky - don't expect 100% of shots to be keepers - practice really does make perfect.

          Andy
          Olympus E-M1 ZD 7-14 f4, 300 f2.8, PL 25 f1.4D
          mZuiko 12-40 f2.8 Pro, 60 f2.8, 40-150 f2.8 Pro
          EC-14, EC-20, HLD-7
          Metz 58 AF-1&2 , Manfrotto 441, Gimbal Head, Velbon Neopod 74


          Gallery: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/elliott.aje.andy

          Website: 361photography.com 361wild.com

          "Oly_OM" @ e_group

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: E-3 c-af

            It seems that there is not a whole lot of differences between single point and diamond focus patterns. I never quite undestood the manual on this setting. I used the diamond pattern a lot and have never seen the focus locks elsewhere beside the center point.

            Joe
            E-M1/E-5 / E-500 / OM-1n / FL-50 / OM 50-250 / OM 50 1.8 / 12-60 / 18-180 / 70-300 / 50-200 SWD / EX25 / EC20

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: E-3 c-af

              Originally posted by joeletx View Post
              It seems that there is not a whole lot of differences between single point and diamond focus patterns. I never quite undestood the manual on this setting. I used the diamond pattern a lot and have never seen the focus locks elsewhere beside the center point.

              Joe
              It's biased towards the centre - i.e. only go with the other ones if the centre can't find anything. One thing I have noticed is there is less tendency to 'hunt' with diamond vs centre only - as though the outer four point act as 'helper' points.

              Andy
              Olympus E-M1 ZD 7-14 f4, 300 f2.8, PL 25 f1.4D
              mZuiko 12-40 f2.8 Pro, 60 f2.8, 40-150 f2.8 Pro
              EC-14, EC-20, HLD-7
              Metz 58 AF-1&2 , Manfrotto 441, Gimbal Head, Velbon Neopod 74


              Gallery: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/elliott.aje.andy

              Website: 361photography.com 361wild.com

              "Oly_OM" @ e_group

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: E-3 c-af

                edit - just re-read you post Andy and relised that I missread it - sorry!

                Will leave the following though as it's correct and agrees rather than a correction

                post

                actually it can go beyond those 'helpers' if it feels the need - very easy to prove to yourself.

                S-AF (so you get an indication of the selected point) CP diamond and use a blank wall with a small feature. Point at the blank and move it over until the feature is near an outside point and watch it get selected.

                However, I have only had it pick anything but the cetre point twice in thousands of shots.

                What I don't understand, but really appreaciate, is exactly why CP diamond works so so so much better than single CP in both S and C-AF
                E-P1, OMD E-M1, E400
                7-14/12-50/12-60/14-42/17/30(1.4)/35-100/40-150/45/50/50-200
                ec14/ec20/ex25/MMF-1, MMF-3/ RF11/FL50Rs/FL36R/SHV-1/AC-1/AC-2

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: E-3 c-af

                  Originally posted by photo_owl View Post
                  What I don't understand, but really appreciate, is exactly why CP diamond works so so so much better than single CP in both S and C-AF
                  It does seem to work a lot better - not sure why - it sounds like the 'helper' points on the Canon AF system. I only use the centre single when I'm manual focussing with a chipped adapter and manual lens, otherwise, 95% of the time it's the diamond and sometimes all point for birds in flight.

                  Andy
                  Olympus E-M1 ZD 7-14 f4, 300 f2.8, PL 25 f1.4D
                  mZuiko 12-40 f2.8 Pro, 60 f2.8, 40-150 f2.8 Pro
                  EC-14, EC-20, HLD-7
                  Metz 58 AF-1&2 , Manfrotto 441, Gimbal Head, Velbon Neopod 74


                  Gallery: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/elliott.aje.andy

                  Website: 361photography.com 361wild.com

                  "Oly_OM" @ e_group

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: E-3 c-af

                    If anyone has any doubt about the AF capabilities of the E-3, I spotted a barn owl hunting this week at about 8pm - nearly dark. I tracked it with the E-3 and the 50-200SWD and ran off a set of shots. It was quite far away and I was using ISO 1600, so the results were not stellar, but the point is, of 16 shots fired off (I was tracking with C-AF and firing singly when I thought the view was best - also I didn't have time to swap to multi-frame shooting), 13 were in perfect focus, 2 were obscured by bushes and 1 got confused by some tall grass in the way. And this was at dusk with very poor light...

                    So do not despair, if you can't get it to work, it's probably not set up correctly, or you have dust in the bottom of the mirror box over the AF sensor or most likely you need to practise your panning technique.

                    There is possibly another problem, depending on the lens you are using. Some people have observed that with some lenses, the AF works faster and more reliably with the HLD-4 grip - suggesting the extra battery power may be helping here (the bigger the lens, the heavier the power load, so goes the theory). I shoot with a grip 95% of the time, so this is a possible thing to consider if you are having problems.

                    (This is poor from Olympus that there should be this difference, but sticking to the 'not whinging about it but rather finding a way to sort it out' methodology in this thread, I mention this as a possible helper. If you shoot with the 50-200 or a heavier lens (any of the top-pro or even a 70-300), there are benefits to extra hand-holding ability anyway)

                    Andy
                    Olympus E-M1 ZD 7-14 f4, 300 f2.8, PL 25 f1.4D
                    mZuiko 12-40 f2.8 Pro, 60 f2.8, 40-150 f2.8 Pro
                    EC-14, EC-20, HLD-7
                    Metz 58 AF-1&2 , Manfrotto 441, Gimbal Head, Velbon Neopod 74


                    Gallery: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/elliott.aje.andy

                    Website: 361photography.com 361wild.com

                    "Oly_OM" @ e_group

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: E-3 c-af

                      Digging up an old thread but here is my recently formed opinion (this afternoon) on the C-AF capabilities of the E3. There was a nasty forest fire in the valley below us today. We are on the flightpath bewteen the coast and the lakes for the water carrying helicopters. All afternoon they were flying over the house at a height of about 100 ft. This disturbed my siesta so I had no option other than to get the camera out.

                      Using the E3 with the 50-200 and EC-20 attached I just quickly slipped in into C-AF mode and started shooting. I have just downloaded the files and chucked out anything not in focus.

                      Net result - 250 shots, 110 keepers. Shooting handheld at full zoom (400mm) often with shutter speeds as low as 1/80 to get some nice rotor blur. I am no expert with the techniques involved but I reckon that is pretty good.

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                      • #12
                        Re: E-3 c-af

                        Really interesting thread with lots of good information. Thanks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: E-3 c-af

                          PeterD (on the other Forum) posted some useful tips on bird action with the E3
                          see the 7th post in this thread

                          http://e-group.uk.net/forum/showthre...re+rapid+focus

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