Big Oly (E-M1) and Panny Leica 50-200mm Focusing

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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So basically: Got the moment, missed the focus:

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I have been using this cute couple for 2 months now and it seems to be a running theme at the moment. Autofocus is ok but has a tendency to underperform (at least for the lenses price). This was shot with AFC on, smallest point AF, about 3 meters from the bird, in the shade of a narrow public foot path (19:30 time) so the light was a bit low. 1/1000 second to freeze the moment, f 4 for the low light and ISO 800 for a balanced exposure. I had high FPS set for the EVF and I was shooting on Low 5 FPS mechanical with Electronic Front Curtain so the AF can keep up, to have Live View and avoid rolling shutter (even at 1/8000 second you can still get rolling shutter by the way). These were the settings and choices for this particular image. But I have noticed that the Oly E-M1 is not the best pairing for the 50-200mm from Panasonic. Or more accurately I think the Panasonic 50-200mm can do more in terms of performance with the likes of Oly E-M1 Mark II, E-M1 X, GH5 and G9, at least from what I have read from the other forum members.

While I don’t have more example at the moment (pictures) my experience has been that in less then ideal light the pin sharp is around 33% when using 5 FPS with AFC (no tracking active) around 40 to 50% when using 10 FPS with AFC. The second part I’m running on a theory that because the burst speed gives less time for the camera to tell the lens to swing the focus broader then the using lower burst where the AFC has more time to look for focus. I do need to use the camera and lens more the be more sure of that thought.

AFS is super fast but not always accurate. I use smallest AF point often because I tend to shoot through foliage (tree branches, grass blades, etc) and I don’t trust the wider AF selection unless the background is completely at infinity and/or the foreground non existent (which is rare for me). Verticals shooting on Oly E-M1 improves it slight because of the one axes Autofocus detector on the sensor, my margins around 10-20% better.

In ideal light this combo setup works better, as expected, but here in the UK having ideal light is like being more lucky then you could hope. I would say the improvements are around 25% higher then the ones above. But still not the best.

Another aspect I have noticed when shooting this combo pair is the issue with Chromatic Aberrations. As it’s a known issue that Olympus and Panasonic don’t play well together in the correction and profiling of their cameras and lenses with each other’s respective products I am somewhat disappointed to see a 1500£ lens have visible Chromatic Aberrations. I notice them the most in Birds in Flight, where I get a mix of strong yellow and blue hallows on the out of focus range on the subject. Funnily enough it’s the worst when the setup misses focus and it makes a very easy way to tell that a particular picture is unless because it’s out of focus. In focus seems to have less of it. Backlight subjects are a bit more corrected from this but I still need more time and verity of pictures from minimum to infinity focus and different light situations to get a better understanding of the situation.
I have only the big Oly (E-M1 Mark I) and little Oly (E-M5 Mark II) to test this lens with so I don’t know how well the behaviour would be with Panasonic cameras, I am thinking of getting an old uses Panny GX1 to test that out with.

I am still working on a review for the Panny lens and I am getting more and more aquatinted with it, I think a couple of more months before I can put my complete thoughts about it.
 

ac12

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My EM-mk1 would sometime inexplicably focus on something in the background, when I swear I had the single AF point on the subject.
Kinda like on a dSLR when the screen position of the AF point and the actual AF sensor do not match up.
 

panamike

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I wonder if it could be to do with lag in the time it takes for the EVF.focusing and shutter to work, it looks like it could have focused under its right wing, i do have this problem sometimes.
 

ac12

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I wonder if it could be to do with lag in the time it takes for the EVF.focusing and shutter to work, it looks like it could have focused under its right wing, i do have this problem sometimes.
On my EM1-mk1 I found that I was missing a LOT of my softball bating shots. That was because I was timing my shutter press based on what I saw in the EVF. But the EVF was a small fraction of a second delayed, so by the time saw the clue to shoot (based on my OVF experience), it was too late. I have to advance my brain's trigger point to account for the EVF lag.

This EVF lag is nowhere near as bad as the shutter lag on a P&S (which on my P&S is 1 to 2 seconds :eek: ).
 

archaeopteryx

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I am somewhat disappointed to see a 1500£ lens have visible chromatic aberrations.
Mmm, I've more expensive and simpler optics which are known for low CA and still find there's no trouble seeing it. In the case of the 50-200, presumably it's an intentional design tradeoff to employ software CA correction and optimize the lens's light handling for other aberrations. The blue shifting you describe is consistent with the hypothesis is Forster 2015, so the mitigation described there might be an option to consider.

I don’t know how well the behaviour would be with Panasonic cameras
I'm not sure anyone other than maybe a few engineers at Panasonic really does, as Panasonic doesn't appear to have ever indicated one way or another. All the references I'm aware of indicate all Panasonic bodies from the G1 do in automatic camera correction for SOOCs from Panasonic lenses and I've found one source stating Panasonic began supporting the corrections of Olympus lenses with the G5. I don't have the lenses and bodies to test this out. However, additional CA correction can be applied in post on both jpeg and raw editing paths. Either directly or by modifying lens profiles. For example, darktable has a chromatic aberration module and RawTherapee a similar tool.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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From what I remember the burst was around 10 frames. Of those there were 2 sharp enough and the rest slightly out of focus. This is one of those sharp images, just about before the taking flight picture:

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I wouldn’t say the scene is particularly challenging for the AF because it’s still bright at ISO 800 with 1/1000 second. The AF point was on the face of the bird and it wasn’t that hard keeping the point on the bird. Ben though the big Oly cameras have PDAF, to me, they seem to rely a lot on the CDAF because it keeps shifting backwards and forwards in AFC, like Panasonic cameras do.

My EM-mk1 would sometime inexplicably focus on something in the background, when I swear I had the single AF point on the subject.
Kinda like on a dSLR when the screen position of the AF point and the actual AF sensor do not match up.
I noticed that as well. Th cameras does have the latest firmware installed. And I do have set the Autofocus to focus priority in burst but it still makes the pictures with slightly out of focus frames. Not sure if the camera processor can’t keep up with the data needed to properly read and understand the Autofocus.


I wonder if it could be to do with lag in the time it takes for the EVF.focusing and shutter to work, it looks like it could have focused under its right wing, i do have this problem sometimes.
Coming from an E-M1 Mk1, the E-M1 Mk2 is way better at this sort of thing. My 100-300 II has the same sort of OOF C/A problem, it's way less of an issue with the E-M1 Mk2 though since things are more in focus.
On my EM1-mk1 I found that I was missing a LOT of my softball bating shots. That was because I was timing my shutter press based on what I saw in the EVF. But the EVF was a small fraction of a second delayed, so by the time saw the clue to shoot (based on my OVF experience), it was too late. I have to advance my brain's trigger point to account for the EVF lag.

This EVF lag is nowhere near as bad as the shutter lag on a P&S (which on my P&S is 1 to 2 seconds :eek: ).
I have been using Panasonic G1/2 since 2008 and been on mirrorless ever since, I am used to the Electronic Lag that is associated with mirrorless, be it EVF, Shutter, Burst/Capacity, but I do find that E-M1 Mark I has the best performance in that department of all the cameras (limited in numbers I admit, Panasonic G1/2, GX7, Olympus E-M5 Mark II and E-M1 Mark I) though not perfect.

To offset the EVF Lag I use short burst so I let the camera recover some of its buffer but as well as the Live View performance. Somewhere between 5 to 15 shots (I don’t always count them) then 1 second or 2 pause before another burst.

I don’t use back button focus because the big Oly is not wide enough for my hand size. If I grip the camera well the AF/AE lock button fills in the middle of my thumb finger. To shift the thumb to where I can press the button makes my hand concave away from the body grip and makes holding the camera stable for tracking and shooting to uncomfortable and insecure.

Mmm, I've more expensive and simpler optics which are known for low CA and still find there's no trouble seeing it. In the case of the 50-200, presumably it's an intentional design tradeoff to employ software CA correction and optimize the lens's light handling for other aberrations. The blue shifting you describe is consistent with the hypothesis is Forster 2015, so the mitigation described there might be an option to consider.

I'm not sure anyone other than maybe a few engineers at Panasonic really does, as Panasonic doesn't appear to have ever indicated one way or another. All the references I'm aware of indicate all Panasonic bodies from the G1 do in automatic camera correction for SOOCs from Panasonic lenses and I've found one source stating Panasonic began supporting the corrections of Olympus lenses with the G5. I don't have the lenses and bodies to test this out. However, additional CA correction can be applied in post on both jpeg and raw editing paths. Either directly or by modifying lens profiles. For example, darktable has a chromatic aberration module and RawTherapee a similar tool.
It was more of a reflection of my experience with the Olympus 14-150mm f 4-5.6 Mark II and the Olympus 50-200mm f 2.8-3.5 Mark I. I really hated the first lens because the rendition felt to harsh and the Chromatic Aberrations was really annoying, where I would get intense purple fringe that was impossible to fix with Photoshop or Lightroom without having to make a tiny brush and desaturate those areas in the entire image every image. While I loved the Olympus 50-200mm f 2.8-3.5 it had similar issues and at times it made editing the pictures feel like a chore.

The Panasonic 50-200mm feels better behaved but it changes the deep purple and green fringe to yellow and blue. They seem more easy to fix at least. This issue seems to me most affected with birds in flight with sky in the background and focus past 10 meters (to infinity). I might start looking for more specialised Chromatic Aberrations fixing software but I don’t want to overly complicate or extend my workflow.
 
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