Back Button Focusing with Olympus IBIS?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Mohun, May 28, 2014.

  1. Mohun

    Mohun Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Sep 19, 2012
    As a Panasonic GX1 user who is considering moving on to either the GX7 or one of the E-Ms (10, 5 or 1, for the more comprehensive in-body stablization and I would hope a beter EVF, using eyeglasses, than the GX7, and although the plethora of complaints about Olympus breakdowns and subsequent repair issues are a bit off-putting), I'm wondering how well the IBIS systems of the 3 E-Ms work with back button focusing which will continue to be a must with me (and is currently quite straightforward on my GX1 and my Nikon DSLR).

    Can the in-body IBIS always be on and independent of the focusing since I would be using the back button method, or does it actuate when and during the shutter release?
     
  2. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Mu-43 Veteran

    462
    Jun 21, 2012
    Mississippi, USA
    IBIS engages when you AF, although there's an option in the camera settings to turn off IBIS until you actually take the exposure. So back button or not, you should be good to go.
     
  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Yes, I concur. I use back button focus most of the time and IBIS kicks in so long as you've got "stabilisation with shutter half press" enabled.
     
  4. gugarci

    gugarci Mu-43 Veteran

    304
    Jul 8, 2012
    Lyndhurst, NJ
    Bill
    Boy you sound angry. I use a GX7 with eyeglasses with no issues. And if you have an issue you can always buy the extended eyecup. I have one but don't use it all the time. Having said that please buy the Olympus and stay on this side of the forum.
    Good luck with your decision.
     
  5. Mohun

    Mohun Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Sep 19, 2012
    I've not foreclosed the possibility of the GX7. I've been a little hesitant to purchase the EVF extender for what would likely be a very brief preview of the GX7. My local store's rental department does not rent the GX7, which is probably best tested by walking around with the GX7 for a day, and that's something I'd prefer not to do by mail order, which is offered by the only brick and mortar store alternative in my area. I don't know why I seem to have received a DPR-like characterization as angry; however, on the issues of mechanical/electronic reliability of the Olympus choices and the hassles reported about repair issues with Olympus, I'm a bit concerned.
     
  6. gugarci

    gugarci Mu-43 Veteran

    304
    Jul 8, 2012
    Lyndhurst, NJ
    Bill
    Best advice I can give you is to try to handle them both before you buy. They're both great, no wrong choices here. I bought the GX7 over the E-M10 & E-M1 because it just felt best in my hands and I love the smaller size without the hump. But if I can find a used or refurb E-M10 down the road I might pick one up. Will be looking at Cameta, that's where I bought my refurb E-P3 over 2 years ago which has never let me down once.
     
  7. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    699
    Feb 2, 2012
    I have used the GX-7 and the EM-1 and as a lefty with glasses,the GX-7 does have issues with bright back lighting. The Em-1' s big EVF is just much better in these circumstances. By the way ,just what is back button focusing.? I do use touch focusing which is quite helpful on the GX-7 and the EM-1,I don't know anything about breakdowns of Oly cameras. All my cameras have been fine,except I did have to send in a GF-3. By the way I did get a lens hood for the GX-7 but it does not shade the eye as well as the regular EM-1. I like carrying the GX-7 more because it has a more refined look and feel.
     
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  8. gugarci

    gugarci Mu-43 Veteran

    304
    Jul 8, 2012
    Lyndhurst, NJ
    Bill
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  9. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    Back button focusing is simply assigning a button on the back of the camera to achieve focus and relieving the shutter button only to release the shutter. There are advantages to working this way once you become accustomed to it.

    Back focusing is something entirely different where your lens will consistently focus behind the intended target.

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  10. Peterjvh

    Peterjvh Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Apr 7, 2014
    I've become accustomed (a habit) to pressing the shutter button half way for focus lock and have done so for most of my life.
    I read with intrigue that this "back button" focus lock has its advantages. I'm all for that but wonder how/why using two separate buttons (shutter and back button) is better. Also being fairly uncoordinated, I'm worried about missing shots while fiddling to find two buttons to take a shot.
    Can anyone explain the benefits and how to use it in practice, if it's indeed beneficial. I did watch the mentioned video, but ..... Oh, I use an EM1.
    Thanks,
    Peter


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  11. Matero

    Matero Mu-43 Veteran

    455
    Jun 22, 2013
    Finland
    I don't have E-M1 so can't help how to configure or recommended which button would be best, but...

    I started to use this technique recently both on my E-M10 and E-P5, which has better button layout for it, IMO. I've been used to half-press re-compose technique for ages, but then discovered back-button focus technique, and I adapted to it almost totally. Back-button focus is most valuable in situations where there is something distracting your composition and focusing, eg. people walk between you and your subject or there are grass or sprigs which you use framing your picture. But as said I adopted to it almost constantly. It also helps in situations where lag between button push and exposure is a challenge. You can focus beforehand and then just wait for right exposure timing and you don't need to count in time camera needs for focusing before exposure, because in back-button focus technique camera doesn't focus immediately before exposure (although this is a smaller challenge with m43 world). Of course you can do this with half-press technique but I've found back-button more relaxed and I can concentrate on timing and composition :)
     
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  12. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    If you think about it, taking a shot has three fundamental bits - compose, focus, expose. Separating the focus from expose makes a lot of sense. You focus where you want, when you want and then expose when you're ready without the camera refocusing. The only exception to back button focusing that I use is when taking people. Then I use face & eye detect and want the smallest delay between focus and expose to avoid subject movement.
     
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  13. Mohun

    Mohun Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Sep 19, 2012
    Many of us older folks obviously started out with some forms of film cameras and when we graduated from our Brownie Hawkeyes to intrchangeable lens cameras that actually could focus and had to be focused before image capture, we learned the obvious protocol of focus first, then shoot. Of course, we were using manual focus camera/lens combinations.

    When some of took a partly family-induced break from photography between the manual focus era (for me the Nikon Ftn) and the digital era, and returned to photography, we then launched immediately into this era when autofocus is the predominating practice, and many of our early digital adventures began with cameras where it became fairly easy to just let the camera/lens do the focusing work. My digital advent was with the Canon S40, a pretty compact fixed lens body but with that new to me autofocusing lens. That combination quickly became a frustration for me because of the lag between shutter release press actuating the focus and the final execution of the shot. We used to joke that between the time you started to press the shutter release on the Canon in trying to capture the image of a grandchild, that child grow into adulthood, go to a good school, be unable to get a job economically responsive to his/her academic training and end up continuing to live at home.

    This shutter focus/shoot lag became a good incentive to move on to a Nikon D80 and a much faster overall shot execution; however, just as a poster here has had some difficulty in organizing or at least thinking about the coordination of focus and shot between two buttons I, as an old guy fixed perhaps in my ways, never got the "feel" for the half press and, therefore, often fired the shutter before it and I was ready. When I discovered bck button focusing on my Nikon DSLR I never looked back, and have used this method for my subsequent Nikon DSLRs (now reduced to my D610), and my Panasonic GF1 and GX1. Reasonably easy implementation of back button focusing will be a requirement for my final decision on moving to an Olympus or moving slightly up to a Panasonic GX7. Postings here have indicated that at least back button focusing can be "programmed" into the AE/AF button at Olympus camera(s) back(s), if not as intuitive or uncomplicated as can be done on the GX7.

    It's slightly OT, but, as to the "lomng thumb" location of the AE/AF button, presumably in the context of the E-M1, I was never much of a one-hand M4/3 shooter with my Pannys, and the E-M1, if selected, is notably larger and heavier than the other Olympus bodies, let alone the generally smaller and lighter Panasonics, including the GX7. When I purchased the Nikon D610, there was some discussion on the Nikonians' forum website that, since the D610 lacked the "pro" dedicated "AF-on" (back button) of, say, the Ds 800, 700 and 300, and one would logically program the existing AEL/AFL button to serve that purpose, it turns out in practice or real life, whichever comes first, the D610 was enough smaller than those pro bodies to bring the AEL/AFL actally just a bit closer to that right thumb, so I guess it's all in the thumbs of the holder.
     
  14. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    I have mine setup so that I can use back-button focus if I want when in MF mode; otherwise in AF mode the half-press of the shutter focuses (as default).

    Barry
     
  15. shg2

    shg2 Mu-43 Regular

    28
    May 14, 2014
    NY
    I am confused. What is the difference between (1) half press the shutter button to focus then full press it to take the picture and (2) back button focus then full shutter press to take the picture? How does the second one differ from the first and what exactly it achieves that the first method doesn't?
     
  16. Mohun

    Mohun Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Sep 19, 2012
    There are more than on reason to back button focus--for some people, not all--and, to keep it simple, it's all about me. Yes, I admit it. I've tried uncountable times to develop that feel that allows me to use the shutter release to, first, achieve and lock focus, and then somehow hold back my finger from pressing just a little bit farther to release the shutter when that photographic moment arrives, not before and not after. That kin of sensitive touch, I suspect, is bit easier for younger folk who've grown up with a digital camera and simply did not have the alternative way built into their brain/action synapses.

    Now, here's something that, oddly, I haven't tried. Could I make the half-squeeze of the shutter release button, thereby locking the focus, remove my finger completely from the button, and, finally, accomplish one single, smooth squeeze completely through the shutter release travel (i.e., with no hesitation or effect on or by the shutter release at half point) to effect completion of the shutter release?
     
  17. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    The first locks in both the focus and the exposure together. The second allows you keep the two functions separate from each other in that the shutter half press now just holds the exposure meter. Since the focus is now set unless I press the back button again, I can do all sorts of recomposing and testing of exposure variations by quickly half pressing and releasing again as I change my aim slightly. When I find one I like I take the shot. If I move so much that I've lost the critical focus I just hit the back button again to refocus, though often it is just a matter of leaning in or out slightly to make up from the small change in distance I created by recomposing.
     
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  18. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    Unfortunately the camera will always try to refocus as you pass through the half press position on the second press. The advantage of back button focusing is that the focus remains unaffected by anything other than another press of the back button.
     
  19. gugarci

    gugarci Mu-43 Veteran

    304
    Jul 8, 2012
    Lyndhurst, NJ
    Bill
    On my GX7 I'm using the AF/AE Lock button for the AF, but I've been contemplating moving it to function 1 since that works better for my hand. On the GX7 you can assign functions 1-4 and the AF/AE lock button for the AF. Not too mentioned the camera has 9 function buttons, 4 hardware, 5 touch.
     
  20. flikmy

    flikmy Mu-43 Regular

    28
    Feb 20, 2011
    Mohun, don't think that's possible. The camera would try to re-focus, I think.

    One way I've tried to balance with both half press shutter AF and doing a pre-focus is by setting the function button to AF/MF switch. When focused, I can switch to MF and focus is locked. I do this on my EM5


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