Best ways to manage Auto Focusing in NON CONTRAST areas ?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by panonski, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. panonski

    panonski Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Dec 13, 2014
    Hello again,

    I open this thread to ask HOW DO YOU MANAGE AF IN NON CONTRAST AREAS .

    I bought PEN EP-5, and almost immediately I was found out, the AF system is not working in areas where there is no contrast. If I point my camera to sky, trying to catch some birds, there is no easy way for camera to recognize there should be focus INFINITY.

    Or, If I do photos in dark stage, where I have smoke and stage reflectors, camera hardly gets into the right position of accurate focus. I must do some tricks there, and every time I shoot, I must point my AF spot to some clean, and enough contrast area, and with same distance as the subject of my photo.
    Hard, complicate, and non practical. And sometimes also impossible .

    Also, when I do panoramic, day or night pics, I just want to set my camera to infinity, like on my old compact Ricoh, but with continuously rotating AF ring without any stopping positions ( in MF mode ), there is again difficulty with spontaneous touching the lens ring, and possibilities of spoiling everything. / Yes, I know the trick with shutting camera and setting in menu for focus reseting to infinity /

    How do you manage with that?

    Is there any way to Olympus improve this through next firmwares ( is this even possible ? )

    Describe your techniques here, with different lens, and everything else.
     
  2. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Birds -> turn on every single AF point or all the middle points rather than a single one, it will look at all of them and if there's a bird in one it will focus(I prefer middle as using all of them it can lock on the horizon easily). Using C-AF with the lock so pictures are only taken on focus confirmation can help (turning on focus conformation in S-AF and holding the button does much the same thing, however it only focuses once).

    Dark environments -> If I'm really having troubles I'll use magnified view (have it set to 2x, double press the button) which causes it to use a different AF algorithm that works better in the dark, however I don't generally have problems. Shooting raw and using an art mode (ART10 - dramatic tone) with viewfinder boost can make it easier to see areas of high contrast to better focus with however it doesn't change how the AF itself works. In very dark conditions I generally use manual focus however as it's more predictable. Always prefocus, never rely on it to happen at a moments notice.

    For the third I would I use back button focus with AF-S, that way I can press a button to refocus as needed and the focus ring is disabled. If I need manual focus I flip the lever down(E-M1) and I'm in MF mode (which also has the same back button focus if I need it).
     
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  3. panonski

    panonski Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Dec 13, 2014
    I'm not sure about what exact technique you're talking about in third with back button
    ?
     
  4. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Options -> A. AF/MF -> AEL/AFL -> S-AF -> mode 3 (I use mode 3 for both S-AF and MF so they are almost identical with the exception of the focus ring on the lens being disabled in S-AF).

    When you press a button bound to AEL/AFL it will trigger the auto focus, half pressing the shutter will lock exposure settings and white balance (if using an automatic mode), and fully pressing will trigger the exposure. By separating the actions you can do them at different times at your leisure.
     
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  5. panonski

    panonski Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Dec 13, 2014
    not sure, how to get focus here, I try to set this mode 3, but when press button to shoot, or just half way press it, there is no auto focus, as the info told in the menu. . Where is it auto focus then ?
     
  6. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    As above, press the AEL/AFL button (or another button bound to that command).
     
  7. Jfrader

    Jfrader Guest

    Does the EP-5 even have some of those capabilities?

    OP, to use a button for AEL/AFL, you have to program that button to that function. On my EM-5, I use the "red dot" movie button since I rarely ever shoot video anyway. The settings are in the Menu.
     
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  8. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    921
    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    My one button EPM1 can do back button focus well, so yes, an EP5 has those capabilities.

    -In the Custom-A screen set the Manual focus to mode 3, so the third entry comes up as M3. The other two can be whatever you had prior. MF Assist can be on or off.
    -Then program a button to invoke the AEL/AFL.function.
    -Finally set the lens to MF mode.
    Pressing your programmed AEL/AFL button will focus the lens,
     

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  9. panonski

    panonski Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Dec 13, 2014
    ok, guys I figured it up, tnx Eteless for a good tip, it helped a lot :wink: and also tnx to HarryS and Jfrader :wink:
     
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  10. owczi

    owczi nareteV 34-uM

    I don't do birds in the sky too often, but as to low light, it helps a lot if you are already focused close to where you want to focus. If you can't get the camera to focus somewhere, try finding some more contrasty spot near your target or at the same distance plane, then refocus. Chances are that the camera will lock then.

    Well, I guess I just described prefocusing, in a way.
     
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  11. robertk328

    robertk328 Going on a prime spree!

    134
    Feb 11, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    Robert
    I was having similar issues outside just now. We have had some ice today so I was taking my week old E-M10 out to get some shots. Had a tough time focusing on the end of a branch (covered in ice). It keeps focusing beyond it even though I had the focus point right on the thin branch. In order to get it, I backed up to get more in focus and then walked closer to the spot and got what I was looking for. I will share the photo in a bit once I get them from the camera. I think what it was doing was similar to what was mentioned above. It was prefocused to infinity and I wanted closer.

    Bit of a learning curve but I'll get there :)
     
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  12. robertk328

    robertk328 Going on a prime spree!

    134
    Feb 11, 2012
    Northern Virginia
    Robert
    Here's the SOOC jpeg of the image I mentioned above (though resized down in PS, nothing else was done - EXIF should be intact). It's quite sharp, but had a tough time getting there (this is the Panasonic 20/1.7II on E-M10). May need to adjust:

    1. The focus points - coverage, etc. I did turn off face recognition so it wouldn't jump around.
    2. Manual focus - I found it a pain that I have it set to zoom in the viewfinder... since I was focusing off to the side, it zoomed in to the wrong spot, at least as far as I could tell.

    P3010022.
     
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