Best Autofocus Mode/Settings for Portraits?

noahtruth

Mu-43 Rookie
Joined
Jun 11, 2014
Messages
15
I've been experimenting with outdoor portrait photography and have been having issues with autofocus on my GX7. At first I was simply using shutter AF/23-Area to focus on subjects but have recently discovered the AF Lock button and have been using that along with Pinpoint mode. The camera seems to focus okay in good and not so great in medium/low light.

I tried experimenting with face detect but it only seems to register faces 50% of the time. I have not tried using 1-area mode.

Which AF mode do you find works best for portrait photography? Do you use AF Lock for portraits? When do you find it's best to switch to manual focus?

Thanks in advance.
 

CiaranCReilly

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2012
Messages
487
Location
Dublin
Real Name
Ciaran Reilly
I generally use pin point AF with a medium box size, and touch to move around the focus point. I wouldn't use AF Lock, as a slight change in position of photographer or subject between focus lock and pressing the shutter can throw focus off. I'd guess the same would be true with manual focus unless you were quick.

In low light, a fast lens is a big help, not sure what you are using.
 

numberpro

Mu-43 Rookie
Joined
May 3, 2014
Messages
21
I've been experimenting with outdoor portrait photography and have been having issues with autofocus on my GX7. At first I was simply using shutter AF/23-Area to focus on subjects but have recently discovered the AF Lock button and have been using that along with Pinpoint mode. The camera seems to focus okay in good and not so great in medium/low light.

I tried experimenting with face detect but it only seems to register faces 50% of the time. I have not tried using 1-area mode.

Which AF mode do you find works best for portrait photography? Do you use AF Lock for portraits? When do you find it's best to switch to manual focus?

Thanks in advance.
Why not use the face recognition option? Seriously, I've taken portrait shots in the studio, and it works really well. I tried other focus methods, but FR does a very good job of keeping the eyes in focus. Of course if it fails to recognize, it defaults to the 23 point focus which is not a good idea. So I will alternate between FR or pinpoint center focus and recompose.
 

noahtruth

Mu-43 Rookie
Joined
Jun 11, 2014
Messages
15
Why not use the face recognition option? Seriously, I've taken portrait shots in the studio, and it works really well. I tried other focus methods, but FR does a very good job of keeping the eyes in focus. Of course if it fails to recognize, it defaults to the 23 point focus which is not a good idea. So I will alternate between FR or pinpoint center focus and recompose.
I have tried using it in the past but like I said it only seems to register about half the time, which sort of makes it a pain in the *** to use during shoots where I need to capture things spontaneously. I'd rather not have to worry about constantly switching back and forth between focus modes if I don't have to. But I'm sort of new to photography so this could be a common practice for all I know.
 

oldracer

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
Messages
2,514
Location
USA
... outdoor portrait photography ...
The GX7's focus peaking is so good, why don't you just use that?

Whenever I have any problems with the AF, I just switch to manual. It is far faster than screwing around trying to coax the AF software into doing what I want. I love it that the AF/MF switch is right there under my thumb.
 

noahtruth

Mu-43 Rookie
Joined
Jun 11, 2014
Messages
15
The GX7's focus peaking is so good, why don't you just use that?

Whenever I have any problems with the AF, I just switch to manual. It is far faster than screwing around trying to coax the AF software into doing what I want. I love it that the AF/MF switch is right there under my thumb.

Good point. Question for you: Do you use focus peaking at the high or low setting more often? If both, which situation do you find works best for each setting?

I'm honestly still getting accustomed to those little dots when focusing. It's sort of weird because they distract you from the actual image sometimes which can be a bit irritating.
 

oldracer

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
Messages
2,514
Location
USA
Do you use focus peaking at the high or low setting more often?
I have it set on "High" but, truth be told, I tried that and it worked for me so I have not done any real experimentation. I do have the automatic magnification turned off. I experimented with that a little bit and it did not seem to make any difference in focus accuracy but using it was a PITA when shooting with a long lens.

If you are disciplined enough to do some testing, please report back.
 

yehuda

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Mar 14, 2013
Messages
200
Too bad you cannot combine single point with face recognition like in the omd em5... It's single point unless it recognizes a face. Defaulting to 23 area focus is kinda silly as this isn't a smartphone camera sensor where the depth of field is huge and focusing is less critical for anything more than 2 meters away...

Sent from my W200 using Mu-43 mobile app
 

CiaranCReilly

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2012
Messages
487
Location
Dublin
Real Name
Ciaran Reilly
I have it set on "High" but, truth be told, I tried that and it worked for me so I have not done any real experimentation. I do have the automatic magnification turned off. I experimented with that a little bit and it did not seem to make any difference in focus accuracy but using it was a PITA when shooting with a long lens.

If you are disciplined enough to do some testing, please report back.
For what it's worth, when I got the Olympus 45mm, "High" mode would hardly register the edges, when I changed to "Low" focus peaking worked as it should. On the other hand, "High" produces better defined edges on the Panasonic 14mm, 20mm and Olympus 40-150mm.
 

oldracer

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Oct 1, 2010
Messages
2,514
Location
USA
For what it's worth, when I got the Olympus 45mm, "High" mode would hardly register the edges, when I changed to "Low" focus peaking worked as it should. On the other hand, "High" produces better defined edges on the Panasonic 14mm, 20mm and Olympus 40-150mm.
I just tried it quickly with a 14-140 and a 45. The amount of visible peaking fringe seems to be correlated to focal length My guess is that it is telling us the obvious: There is less depth of field at the longer focal length, hence there is less stuff in focus so the amount of visible fringing is also less.

In the Old Days, shooting Nikon Fs and screens with split-image centers, the split-image became almost useless beyond 200mm and it was necessary to focus using the ground-glass ring/non-fresnel area around the split-image prisms. I don't know why that was, though. I suppose whatever caused that could also be affecting the focus peaking detection in a similar way. Any lens designers out there?.
 

CiaranCReilly

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2012
Messages
487
Location
Dublin
Real Name
Ciaran Reilly
The amount of visible peaking fringe seems to be correlated to focal length My guess is that it is telling us the obvious: There is less depth of field at the longer focal length, hence there is less stuff in focus so the amount of visible fringing is also less.
That makes perfect sense actually, I thought it might have had something to do with the rendering of each lens but your explanation is definitely more reasonable.
 

fransglans

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
1,213
Location
Sweden
Real Name
gus
Single point here too. If u stand atleast 3m away and shoot wide open with your pl25 I suppose that fov will cover the whole face anyway. Thats one benefit from the m43 sensorsize:)
 

zucchiniboy

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Oct 13, 2010
Messages
147
Location
San Francisco
I use single point focus about 1/3 down from the frame, and move it around with the touch screen to lock on to an eye. This is better than center point an recompose because the focal plane shifts slightly if you do that. I find this also better than just plain 23-point focus (or whatever my GX1 has), because I found that sometimes focused on a shoulder or an ear, and with the PL25 at 1.4 to 1.8 or so that can mean disaster with regards to DOF.


Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2009-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom