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Best settings for moving subjects

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by f8andbethere, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. f8andbethere

    f8andbethere Mu-43 Regular

    I seem to having a heck of a time getting good focus on moving subjects. I am using a G3 and 45-200mm lens. Some sample images are below. I have tried shooting in both aperture and shutter priority, AFS, AFC and still having mixed results. Stationary subjects come out fine. The shutter speeds for the moving subjects are 1/500 and 1/respectively. Since they are simply going at a normal walking pace this should have been a fast enough shutter.

    I have the latest firmware on both the body and the lens. When I use my 14-45mm lens the images are much sharper. Should I be looking at a different lens such as the 14-140?

    Any and all suggestions are welcome.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    What focal length were the moving subject shots taken at?

    Depth of field is shallow at 200mm, much shallower than it will be at 45mm with your 14-45mm lens, so that means that you really have to get the focus dead right. If the person is moving towards you, it might be possible for them to move out of the depth of field range, especially if you have depressed the shutter half way which locks focus and exposure and paused slightly before pressing it all the way to take the shut. During that pause the person may move far enough for your focus to be off. So that's my first suggestion: don't half press the shutter and wait, just press it all the way. If you want to lock exposure, check your manual to see if there's an option for that. I use an Olympus body and have one of my function buttons set to exposure lock.

    Also, are you using IS? IS corrects for camera movement but not subject movement. Depending on your age and steadiness of hand, 1/500 sec may be close to what you can manage at 200mm focal length. I'm 65 and I think there's been a change for the worse in what I can hand hold in the last year or so. Age may be a factor here as I can attest. Further, if you're not using IS, then the combination of any camera motion and subject motion may together combine to produce a slight blurring, even if one of them on its own would not.

    I have a similar problem at time shooting birds with my Olympus 40-150 mm zoom at speeds of 1/400 sec. I often forget to engage IS when I go out to shoot birds and I always end up shooting at the 150mm setting. The combination of long focal length, no IS, and the fact that I have the bad habit of half pressing the shutter and waiting ends up resulting in a much higher proportion of not quite shots than I would like.
     
  3. f8andbethere

    f8andbethere Mu-43 Regular

    Aperture was f/6.3 and focal length was around 160mm. I had the IS on. I did notice a shutter lag while the lens was trying to acquire focus. I am 66 years old, but I don't have the same problems with my Nikon DSLRs. Granted I am using faster lenses with built in motors which focus very fast. Do the Panny lenses have a BIM, or is it in the body?
     
  4. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    The motor is in the lens body.

    If there was a shutter lag while the lens was acquiring focus I think the shutter would have fired the moment focus was acquired so my idea about the subject moving after focus lock and before shutter release is probably not correct. I also don't know how the IS in Panasonic lenses compares to Nikon's system.

    Nikon uses phase detect for autofocus and that works better for moving subjects than does the contrast detection used in M43 cameras. Moving subjects, especially fast moving subjects, are the weak point in M43 autofocus but low contrast target areas play a part as well. That shutter lag you mentioned makes me suspect that your autofocus target was a low contrast part of the image and I get suspicious about my autofocus accuracy at times when low contrast is involved. The clock face in your final image is high contrast black on white which works great as an autofocus target while, for example, the woman's face in your second shot is in shadow and low contrast and not as good a target. I wouldn't be surprised if one of my lenses had to hunt for focus lock in that case.
     
  5. f8andbethere

    f8andbethere Mu-43 Regular

    If moving subjects are a weakness in MFT then maybe I need to set the camera to 4 fps burst rate in the hopes of getting at least one in good focus. I will give try the next time I go downtown.
     
  6. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    517
    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    Bob
    David A nailed it with his response above. Burst rate may or may not help you, but since memory is free, it's worth trying. If you're "street shooting," the best technique may be to rely on zone focusing.

    When shooting motion, your Nikon DSLR will focus a lot faster than any m-4/3 camera currently does -- especially when objects are moving towards or away from you. It's not so much a matter of the focus motor's efficiency as it is of the focus detection system used. M-4/3 cameras use Contrast Detect autofocus. Your Nikon uses Phase Detect AF. At the current state of the technology, it's much more reliable to detect phase changes than contrast changes of the light from moving objects.

    Best way to improve your hit rate is frequent practice with the m-4/3 camera / lens you will use most.

    And remember, IS doesn't matter when shooting motion. It only corrects camera motion, and even then has a negligible effect (or none at all) at faster shutter speeds.

    Here are a few rules I always follow when shooting moving objects (kids, dogs, birds) with my Olympus m-4/3 cameras and my Panasonic G2 (I really need these rules 'cause I'm now age 66 and nowhere near as steady as I was in my film days):

    1. Always use a shutter speed at least 2 times faster than the lens-length reciprocal (i.e., lens = 200mm shutter at least 1/400). The faster the better.

    2. Always switch-off the half-press focus option. Best way I've found to do this is just switch to manual focus.

    3. Try not to use AF at all when shooting motion with m-4/3 (applies to my m-4/3 cameras only, not my Nikon). My m-4/3 manual-focus keeper-rate is much better than when I rely on the camera's AF. Best results usually occur when I pre-focus on an object that's at or near the same distance as my subject will be when I trip the shutter. But sometimes (rarely) I use the manual follow-focus technique (however this doesn't work in my dotage as well as it did in my youth).

    Try these out for starters. They work well for me, but YMMV. And frequent practice makes them more reliable.
     
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  7. f8andbethere

    f8andbethere Mu-43 Regular

     
  8. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    517
    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    Bob
    I don't know that there is a specific "m-4/3 recommendation" for shutter speed, but I find that the standard "1/focal-length" that I use for full-frame full frame 35mm with my D3 isn't fast enough for m-4/3, hence my 1/focal-length x 2 adaptation.

    As I indicated last time, those "rules" are my personal ones -- they work for me, but I'll be the last person to suggest they're guaranteed to work for anyone else.

    The point of my earlier post was not to preach an absolute truth, but to suggest some starting points that might be helpful and then urge you to practice one thing at a time unti you develop your own set of "rules" that work for you. Those are just the ones that work for me.
     
  9. f8andbethere

    f8andbethere Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks Bob, I appreciate your help. I am going to try working with this lens a bit more. I used the 14-45 at a football game using the burst mode and it seemed to work pretty well there. I have a feeling it's the lens that is the issue.
     
  10. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    477
    Aug 16, 2012
    Shutter speed should be 1/effective focal length = 1/(actual focal length x crop factor) so for a x2 crop camera, you have to double the speed.

    I have no experience using :43: for moving subjects so can't help you on that one.