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E-M1 focus problem?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Whatiam, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Whatiam

    Whatiam Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2014
    I am having problems with my E-M1 acquiring focus on small things that are some distance from the background, for example a small flower or blade of grass. Even items that completely fill the target box will often fail to focus. If I prefocus manually, it will usually acquire good focus if it's fairly close to being in focus. Switching to the small focus target does not seem to help very much. Both the 25mm and 12-40mm lenses behaved the same. I hauled out my old Canon 20-D to compare, and it does vastly better. Is this normal for the camera, or do I have a defective one?
  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    You need enough contrast but I've never had a big issue. No more than my Canon DSLR would in similar conditions - it's probably technique. Sample photos that were hard to focus might help.
  3. Whatiam

    Whatiam Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2014
    Can't imagine it's technique. I've been doing macro photography for many years, so I'm used to taking photos of small things close up. I'd be happy to show you an example. Can you give me a quick tutorial on sharing images in posts? Thanks.
  4. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    Have you been using CDAF for many years ? Or have you been using cameras that use PDAF ?
    Pros and cons to everything but using CDAF might require you to learn some new tricks :) 

    For posting images where it says FAQ/Rules up top click on that go to FAQ and says how to post :) 
  5. Whatiam

    Whatiam Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2014
    OK, I found the FAQ, so here's my attempt at posting an image. The flower is somewhere between one and one and a half inches long. I used s a single central focus point with normal target size. The target box fit within the width of the flower. In perhaps 1 in 12 attempts with the target dead center on the flower in acquired focus. Otherwise it stayed stubbornly focused on the background. If I manually focused so that focus was in front of the flower, it would focus on the flower fine. Also if focus was fairly close behind the flower it would focus on the flower. I later repeated with a small round flower. If I focused on the background then moved to the flower, it would never get focus until I manually pulled it close. My Canon 20-D would move back and forth from background to flower never missing focus.

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  6. Whatiam

    Whatiam Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2014
    Ha, to tell you the truth I've never known what I've been using, or that there were differences! I've used Canon DSLRs since the first ones, up to the 7D (which I've sold). I'm always willing to learn new tricks, though at this point I may be too old! :) 
  7. 350duser

    350duser Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 26, 2012
    Brisbane, QLD
    What happens with a smaller focus box?
  8. Whatiam

    Whatiam Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2014
    I didn't try for that particular subject, but on others it didn't seem to help much.
  9. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    What about if you tilt the camera slightly...? Does your subject suddenly snap into focus properly?
    Those CDAF focus points are not cross-type...
  10. Whatiam

    Whatiam Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2014
    I don't know. I'll try it out tomorrow.
  11. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    The two focus types for sure behave a bit different CDAF is not as refined in some ways
    And for sure as you are finding might require a few new tricks to use better

    Don't do flowers but details at weddings rings and stuff are about the same sometimes. I can quickly hit something close to the same distance that has strong contrast
    Example might be in that flower the top half vs the lower half having to hit it on the lower half where the white part has more contrast to grab first ? Again rough example

    Maybe some other who shoot flowers can share tips :) 

    Hope ya get it figured out better :) 

    For what little macro work I do I like the rear screen and touch the focus area I want works well for me but not shooting wild flowers with far away backgrounds ?

  12. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    I have been using the camera and 12-40 lens and have bee nailing focus like never before. Try smallest focus point. You can magnify the focal point with settings, you will then see if you are in focus. Or manual focus with magnification assist and focus peaking. Or use touch screen. When you put finger on subject a green box surrounds subject but when you check your photo a tiny green box is right where you focused.
  13. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I have this problem with my Ricoh GR. Different focusing systems have different strengths and weaknesses, and what you describe is similar to what I have experienced from time to time. Then again, I can manually focus with an m4/3rd's body way faster and better than with my D300.

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