E-M1 Phase Detection

PatrickNSF

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I've been reading the threads about capturing sports/action, and doing my own experimenting but wanted to confirm one issue. Is it correct that the E-M1's phase detection when using m43rds lenses only kicks in when you use C-AF with tracking? I've tried tracking with limited success so I've been relying on C-AF only. If I'm doing this, I'm assuming that I'm getting no benefit from the phase detection sensors. Any guidance and/or links to other sources would be appreciated.
 

T N Args

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I can't answer your question, but.....C-AF doesn't do tracking. I'm not sure what you were trying to do with C-AF by itself for tracking.
 

humzai

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Tracking focus on the E-M1 is an acquired skill. You really have to practice to get good at it. There is a setting that limits target jumping and rear button focus helps as well. Turn of auto review, set the limiter to stay on target and practice as much as you can. I have experience with birds in flight and it takes time to get good or even just proficient.
 

GFFPhoto

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I've been reading the threads about capturing sports/action, and doing my own experimenting but wanted to confirm one issue. Is it correct that the E-M1's phase detection when using m43rds lenses only kicks in when you use C-AF with tracking? I've tried tracking with limited success so I've been relying on C-AF only. If I'm doing this, I'm assuming that I'm getting no benefit from the phase detection sensors. Any guidance and/or links to other sources would be appreciated.
I thought I had read that PDAF was used only with 43 glass mounted.
 

PatrickNSF

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Turn of auto review, set the limiter to stay on target and practice as much as you can.
Thanks! I have auto review off, but I missed the setting that limits target jumping. I'm going to try that tomorrow. Could you elaborate on the rear button focus? Do you mean just setting on of the FN buttons to engage autofocus, or something else?
 

Ross the fiddler

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I thought I had read that PDAF was used only with 43 glass mounted.
Except for C-AF+Tracking. This is a quote from the announcement pages from the Global site.

3) Combined usage of On-chip Phase Detection AF and Contrast detection AF
When a lens that conforms to the Micro Four Thirds standard is attached and C-AF is selected for subject tracking and continuous AF, On-chip Phase Detection AF and Contrast detection AF are used together. This results in significant improvement of C-AF tracking performance over traditional mirrorless models, with a maximum sequential shooting performance of 6.5 fps.*3
With that setting though it would appear otherwise if the PD-AF restricted area applying to 4/3's lenses applied to the M4/3's lenses in this AF mode (C-AF+Tracking) as the tracking follows over the entire screen area.
 

OzRay

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I just tried it again on my E-M1 with 17mm f2.8 lens. It 'kind of' works in still mode, but it looks like it's primarily designed for video. When I focussed on an object in still mode, the tracking indicator went red very quickly after moving the target a small distance away from the subject, but in video mode, it stayed locked onto the subject until it went out of view.

I'd just like to add to that, using C-AF Tracking with my 14-35mm f2 lens, I got better results than with the 17mm, but it does not work at all in video mode.
 

Ross the fiddler

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I just tried it again on my E-M1 with 17mm f2.8 lens. It 'kind of' works in still mode, but it looks like it's primarily designed for video. When I focussed on an object in still mode, the tracking indicator went red very quickly after moving the target a small distance away from the subject, but in video mode, it stayed locked onto the subject until it went out of view.

I'd just like to add to that, using C-AF Tracking with my 14-35mm f2 lens, I got better results than with the 17mm, but it does not work at all in video mode.
It might the best for video for you, but it was designed for stills of moving objects (but not too fast), so it isn't primarily for video, but it has also been added for it as well. It probably seems to work better in video because focus speed doesn't have to be as fast as for stills. Also, doubling the EVF frame rate might help here too.
 

OzRay

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It might the best for video for you, but it was designed for stills of moving objects (but not too fast), so it isn't primarily for video, but it has also been added for video as well. It probably seems to work better in video because focus speed doesn't have to be as fast as for stills. Also, doubling the EVF frame rate might help here too.
It's the first time that I've ever experienced C-AF focus tracking and on my E-M1, using a m4/3 lens and in video mode, it appears to work far better than in stills mode whether using a m4/3 or 4/3 lens. All that I can say is that's how it works for me.
 

tomO2013

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I've found that AF tracking performance is heavily dependant on the lens used.
Trying to use it on the Pan 100-300 is an experiment in frustration. Tracking on the Pan-Leica 25 is much better.
Trying it again with the 12-40 yesterday and the Giro d'Italia that went through the centre of Dublin and it worked like an absolute boss. Nailed focus, couldn't have asked for more. The trick I've found is to setup the Af point selection to 9 point cluster or the full cluster area across the screen.
But I was genuinely surprised with how it did yesterday.
Olympus cannot release their 300mm F4 and 40-150 F2.8 soon enough :)
 

humzai

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I've found that AF tracking performance is heavily dependant on the lens used.
Trying to use it on the Pan 100-300 is an experiment in frustration. Tracking on the Pan-Leica 25 is much better.
It's not all that bad with the Panny 100-300. It does have a bit of a learning curve but tracking BIFs isn't solely camera dependent.
 

PatrickNSF

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Thanks for all the tips and suggestions. I'm going to spend more time practicing and experimenting the next couple of weeks. I'm using it for purely home/hobby use – cross country, futsal and dogs – so it's not of critical importance. But I will note that I seemed to have better success (or, at least, an easier time of it) using my Sony A77 that I am with the E-M1.
 

humzai

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One thing you might want to try is using the touchscreen to designate the target. I haven't used that feature much but it seems cool.
 

marcr1230

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I've been reading the threads about capturing sports/action, and doing my own experimenting but wanted to confirm one issue. Is it correct that the E-M1's phase detection when using m43rds lenses only kicks in when you use C-AF with tracking? I've tried tracking with limited success so I've been relying on C-AF only. If I'm doing this, I'm assuming that I'm getting no benefit from the phase detection sensors. Any guidance and/or links to other sources would be appreciated.
my understanding is that PDAF is only active by default for M43 lenses in C-AF mode, whether Tracking is enabled or not.

in S-AF mode - CDAF is used exclusively
in C-AF mode a combination of CDAF+PDAF is used.

if you mount an older 4/3 lens the camera uses PDAF

http://photographylife.com/reviews/olympus-om-d-e-m1/4
 

humzai

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The thing is I think it activates in other modes if needed. Olympus hasn't really been clear about when and how Pdaf is used other then to say 4/3s lenses use PDAF and m4/3 use mostly CDAF. We probably won't know for sure unless olympus tells us or someone does some tests to figure it out.
 

Ross the fiddler

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my understanding is that PDAF is only active by default for M43 lenses in C-AF mode, whether Tracking is enabled or not.

in S-AF mode - CDAF is used exclusively
in C-AF mode a combination of CDAF+PDAF is used.

if you mount an older 4/3 lens the camera uses PDAF

http://photographylife.com/reviews/olympus-om-d-e-m1/4
The thing is I think it activates in other modes if needed. Olympus hasn't really been clear about when and how Pdaf is used other then to say 4/3s lenses use PDAF and m4/3 use mostly CDAF. We probably won't know for sure unless olympus tells us or someone does some tests to figure it out.
As I posted on the 1st page of posts, this is a quote from the announcement pages (for the E-M1) from the Olympus Global site.

3) Combined usage of On-chip Phase Detection AF and Contrast detection AF
When a lens that conforms to the Micro Four Thirds standard is attached and C-AF is selected for subject tracking and continuous AF, On-chip Phase Detection AF and Contrast detection AF are used together. This results in significant improvement of C-AF tracking performance over traditional mirrorless models, with a maximum sequential shooting performance of 6.5 fps.*3
 
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