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E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

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  • E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

    Following yet another trip to the Raptor Foundation today, I've spotted a few more things which might help... As tested with the latest v1.4 E-3 Firmware.

    C-AF Lock ON or OFF?

    Normally, this setting (in the AF/MF menu) would be left 'ON'. This is fine for panning shots where the object being tracked is staying roughly the same distance away from you. If someone stands up in front of you, or your pan crosses a tree in the foreground, the camera doesn't refocus, instead, stays on where the object you were tracking (albeit temporarily obscured) is. It also seems to 'smooth' out the C-AF so it is less likely yo jump in and out of focus as you pan than with the C-AF Lock setting set to OFF. Fine so far...

    The scenario I discovered today almost always confuses the camera with the Lock setting set to ON... If the object is heading straight at you, so the distance from object to camera is rapidly changing (e.g. a bird flying towards you), the camera seems to interpret the next point it 'sees' the object as not the tracked object, but rather as if something had suddenly appeared in the way - so the focus doesn't change, it has 'locked' on the where the object had been a few fractions of a second earlier. Changing the C-AF Lock setting to 'OFF' for these kind of scenarios definitely helps - the object is much better tracked as it approaches you.

    Bit of a pain changing the setting back and forth, but worth it!

    C-AF Diamond vs All Points?

    The 'All Points' setting works very well for C-AF if, when you start to half-press the shutter release button, the thing you want to track is the thing the camera focus-locks on. One such scenario is following a bird or plane in flight, start the panning movement, half press the button to get the lock then fully press to get a run of shots off.

    The problem with 'All Points' is if you don't get this initial lock because of a background or foreground that the camera could more easily lock on. If you don't get that initial good lock, the camera hunts and jumps all over the place to get a lock and generally fails by the time your pan has finished. You can 'hint' the AF by manually approximately focussing (use C-AF+M mode, unless you have an SWD lens, in which case C-AF works fine) to give it a better chance to lock on the correct thing, but this doesn't always help and may take too long to accomplish. (Aside: In this respect, I find the fly-by-wire non-SWD lenses are easier to change manual focus quickly than their supposedly better SWD cousins!).

    Instead, I would recommend using the S-d (Centre plus four outlier points or Diamond pattern). This allows you to precisely position the centre over the thing you want to lock on and hence get the correct lock first time. It does have the disadvantage of limiting the focussing area, so you must ensure you keep the moving object in the centre of the frame as you pan.

    What would be nice - Firmware Upgrade please! - is the option of the All-Points with a heavy weighting to the centre - a bit like the diamond pattern with the additional 3 points either side enabled.

    If anyone knows if these tips are also applicable to the similarly engineered focussing systems of the E-30 or E-6x0, then please let speak up!


    Hope that helps!

    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 more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

    Nice work, Andy, I'll definitely try all this out for myself. Seems the trick is to understand how the camera behaves and you've certainly answered a few questions on that.

    Thanks,
    View my ebook, The Light Fantastic, at: http://store.blurb.co.uk/ebooks/3026...ight-fantastic

    John

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    • #3
      Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

      Originally posted by AndyElliott View Post
      The scenario I discovered today almost always confuses the camera with the Lock setting set to ON... If the object is heading straight at you, so the distance from object to camera is rapidly changing (e.g. a bird flying towards you), the camera seems to interpret the next point it 'sees' the object as not the tracked object, but rather as if something had suddenly appeared in the way - so the focus doesn't change, it has 'locked' on the where the object had been a few fractions of a second earlier. Changing the C-AF Lock setting to 'OFF' for these kind of scenarios definitely helps - the object is much better tracked as it approaches you.

      ...

      Instead, I would recommend using the S-d (Centre plus four outlier points or Diamond pattern). This allows you to precisely position the centre over the thing you want to lock on and hence get the correct lock first time. It does have the disadvantage of limiting the focussing area, so you must ensure you keep the moving object in the centre of the frame as you pan.
      I totally agree with you, Andy! And the above two points I quoted work alongside each other, too. If you're limiting yourself to fewer focus points, then the "unlocked" C-AF is that much less likely to get sidetracked by another object. This is the way I prefer to shoot... Less points, less auto locking. That keeps me in control.
      Olympus E-3 | Olympus E-PL2 PEN | Olympus E-PM1 PEN | Zuiko ED 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD | Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 | Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135mm f/2.8 | Konica Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 | Konica Hexanon 85mm f/1.8 | G.Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 | Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 Macro | Zuiko 25mm f/2.8 | KMZ Jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5 | E.Zuiko 200mm f/4 | Zuiko 75-150mm f/4 | Olympus EC-14 teleconverter | VF-2 and VF-3 Viewfinders | EMA-1 Mic Adapter | Olympus FL-36R and FL-50R speedlights

      cyclopsphoto.ca

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      • #4
        Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

        In sports action shots with the E620, I've found with the help of this forum better keeper rates with S-AF, with only center AF, and spot metering [-], H sequential shooting on the ready, if needed. Track with "halfway" shutter button, and slightly anticipate to capture the moment. The majority is single frame with few bursts as the moment unfolds. I have not tried with the AF light in the view finder turned off, perhaps I'll give it a go.

        My opinion is maybe by minimizing the amount of items the camera has to process before capture of the moment, the more responsive it becomes.

        I agree with the confusion with C-AF on approaching action versus lateral action.
        E-620|14-42|40-150|70-300

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        • #5
          Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

          only observations would be that
          (1) I infer from your post that diamond is only centre based, when of course you can quickly move the diamond to the area you want to frame on (I tend to shoot with action moving into space with C-AF so I have it set 1 point left or right depending on if the team I am shooting for are playing L->R or vice versa). I realise you know this but your post might suggest to others...
          (2) In diamond the other points (outside the diamond) are still active and live - if the only subject in the frame falls outside the diamond they will pick it up. One of the easiest tests to do with a really blank wall and clock - move the camera around bringing AF points to the clock.
          (3) I understand the logic of your lock point but C-AF has a significant predictive element so once it's got the pattern of an object moving through the focus plane it should actually be expecting it at the new place rather than where it was - if you see what I mean!
          So much for theory though - first match of the season tomorrow so it's back to putting it all into practice again.
          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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          • #6
            Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

            Originally posted by photo_owl View Post
            only observations would be that
            (1) I infer from your post that diamond is only centre based, when of course you can quickly move the diamond to the area you want to frame on (I tend to shoot with action moving into space with C-AF so I have it set 1 point left or right depending on if the team I am shooting for are playing L->R or vice versa). I realise you know this but your post might suggest to others...
            True - but with very fast moving birds, it is very difficult to keep the bird in the correct part of the frame for the whole of the pan, so although what you say is correct, in practise, it is more difficult to make use of this sort of finesse to the setting!

            Originally posted by photo_owl View Post
            (2) In diamond the other points (outside the diamond) are still active and live - if the only subject in the frame falls outside the diamond they will pick it up. One of the easiest tests to do with a really blank wall and clock - move the camera around bringing AF points to the clock.
            I didn't realise this - thanks for the info - basically, you are saying it is doing what I think I want already!

            Originally posted by photo_owl View Post
            (3) I understand the logic of your lock point but C-AF has a significant predictive element so once it's got the pattern of an object moving through the focus plane it should actually be expecting it at the new place rather than where it was - if you see what I mean!
            So much for theory though - first match of the season tomorrow so it's back to putting it all into practice again.
            I think it is an issue of speed of the object. If it moves quickly towards you - having the lock turned on mostly works, if it is really quick (i.e. birds at relatively close range), it is better with the lock setting off.

            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

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            • #7
              Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

              Originally posted by Ned View Post
              I totally agree with you, Andy! And the above two points I quoted work alongside each other, too. If you're limiting yourself to fewer focus points, then the "unlocked" C-AF is that much less likely to get sidetracked by another object. This is the way I prefer to shoot... Less points, less auto locking. That keeps me in control.
              I think having the lock setting set to ON does have its merits for panning, if for nothing else, when you have it 'locked on', the focus tends to be more stable.

              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 more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

                Some more nuggets, based on testing this morning:

                Processing Engine Load

                The Truepic processor does everything - the C-AF, the exposure, processing the data and sending it to the CF card...

                I did some simple tests looking at how fast C-AF could get a lock when changing what I was pointing at (from 50m away target to 3m away - a fairly cruel test for the camera) in 'H' mode (up to 5 fps - usually a fair bit less when using C-AF). I then used 'L' mode set at 4 fps. The results were interesting, basically, using 'L' mode results in faster, more reliable refocussing. If you reduce the rate to 3fps, there might be an improvement, but it is marginal. So my recommendation for C-AF and continuous shooting is to use 'L' mode set at 4fps. (Note C-AF Lock set to 'OFF' and C-AF release priority set to 'OFF')


                Hopefully a firmware tweak to improve the algorithm or the relative priority on the processor of the data processing and focussing threads could improve this, but I suspect this is one area where the new TruePic V engine will give significant improvements.

                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


                • #9
                  Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

                  Andy, thanks for your efforts on this - I'm sure I speak for all here that your feedback is valued very highly.

                  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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                  • #10
                    Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

                    Originally posted by Ian View Post
                    Andy, thanks for your efforts on this - I'm sure I speak for all here that your feedback is valued very highly.

                    Ian
                    Thanks, Ian. I think it's important that we understand what's possible rather than just assuming that the camera can't do it.

                    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 more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

                      I popped back to the Raptor Foundation briefly today (I'm a member!) and was able to see the improvement very easily. Lots more keepers now!

                      Here's my favourite - a lucky shot to capture the moment just before this Saker Falcon got her lure:





                      (I should point out the Sakers are really fast!)
                      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

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                      • #12
                        Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

                        Brilliant shot - what a beautiful bird

                        Julia

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                        • #13
                          Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

                          I've just noticed. She has only one leg. This must make it even more difficult to catch the prey.

                          Julia

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                          • #14
                            Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

                            Fantastic action and of course it's in focus

                            I see that you used f/5.6, which seems eminently sensible, but the bokeh looks rather busy in the background.

                            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
                            Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
                            Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/

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                            • #15
                              Re: E-3 C-AF more observations... Possibly applicable to E-30 and E-620

                              Originally posted by Julia View Post
                              I've just noticed. She has only one leg. This must make it even more difficult to catch the prey.

                              Julia
                              I think she tucked it up! She really does have two legs!

                              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

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