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E-p1 vs E-p3 low light focusing

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Rob1975, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. Rob1975

    Rob1975 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Dec 31, 2010
    I'm not sure if its user error, but it seems as though my e-p3 only focuses slightly better in low light vs my older e-p1. I turned off the AF assist light because it tends to be distracting. The AF seems to hunt terribly in low light. I use the 17mm 2.8 most of the time when I shoot.

    When I tested the speeds, I used the 17 for a straight test between the two bodies. The light metered approx 1/40th at 2.8 with iso 1600. The e-p3 hunted, but usually found focus. The e-p1 struggled, and even gave up a few times. Maybe I'm asking for more than either one of these cameras can deliver in such low light with a slow lens. So the question is, do I go for a better pen, a panny, or a faster prime (17mm 1.8 or 20mm 1.7)?
     
  2. BAXTING

    BAXTING Mu-43 Top Veteran

    806
    Aug 5, 2012
    Los Angeles SFV, CA
    Bradley
    prime! prime! prime!
     
  3. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
    Have you tried to make the green focus box as small as possible to see if it reduces the hunting?
     
  4. Rob1975

    Rob1975 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Dec 31, 2010
    Primes

    Are you recommending I go with a faster prime? If so, which would you recommend... 20mm 1.7 or 17mm 1.8?
     
  5. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    The 17 2.8 is not known for fast focussing, neither is the 20 1.7.

    A more modern lens will focus faster - 45 1.8 or 14 2.5 of 17 1.8 etc etc

    I actually noticed that even a 14-42 mk II focussed faster on my E-P1 compared to the older mk I lens.

    Having said that, I'd expect the E-P3 to be faster with a faster focussing lens full stop.
     
  6. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    481
    Oct 18, 2012
    Dublin
    Ciaran Reilly
    It makes quite a difference how you focus, in order to help out the contrast detection as much as possible. Try setting AF to centre point, and try getting something with clear edges in the box, like the corner of a door or a light switch. Sorry if you already know this!
     
  7. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    481
    Oct 18, 2012
    Dublin
    Ciaran Reilly
    Panasonic 20mm is one of the slowest focussing of the Pana/Oly lenses
     
  8. Rob1975

    Rob1975 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Dec 31, 2010
    I don't really have much of a choice when it comes to subject... I have a 3 year old & 2 month old that get all the attention. Thanks for the advice, though!

     
  9. Rob1975

    Rob1975 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Dec 31, 2010
    So I've heard... Any thoughts on the 14mm Panny?

     
  10. Rob1975

    Rob1975 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Dec 31, 2010
    Thanks for your thoughts. I really thought the e-p3 would much quicker in lower light, even with the slow kit pancake. I did try it with the oly 45mm 1.8 and it was better, but still not great.

     
  11. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    One thing - if you're shooting with good light then crank up the aperture. Use hyper-focal distance so everything in a particular range is in focus regardless of wether you hit exact focus or not.

    http://dofmaster.com/doftable.html

    Even easier with an adapted lens - just pick a distance/aperture combo and shuffle your feet to maintain hyper-focal distance.

    Not ideal but it might save some $$$ on a faster focussing lens.

    I have the E-P1, G3 & E-PM1 - the newer cameras smoke the E-P1 for AF on the newer generation lenses. With my 17 & 20 its a lot more even.

    Good luck !
     
  12. CiaranCReilly

    CiaranCReilly Mu-43 Veteran

    481
    Oct 18, 2012
    Dublin
    Ciaran Reilly
    It's fast to focus in general and being wider produces a deeper depth of field, so more of the scene in focus, but it depends on if you can live with the focal length in terms of perspective distortion. It's also f/2.5 vs f/1.7, a full stop slower...

    Have you tried manual focus with back button focus? Not as hard as it seems, try the instructions here: https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=43696

    You leave the camera in MF and set a button to AF on demand, and balance between the modes when shooting, i.e. use back button focus to focus on your toddler, and tweak focus using MF with magnification before you take the shot.
     
  13. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Maybe dress your children in high contrast clothing. :wink: I'd also suggest the 17 1.8 if AF speed is important.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Rob1975

    Rob1975 Mu-43 Regular

    39
    Dec 31, 2010
    UPDATE

    Tested the two cameras this morning in my office using my 45mm 1.8. The AF on the e-p3 with the 45 is so much quicker. Time to replace the 17mm 2.8. I see the new 1.8 in my future.

    Thanks to everyone for their thoughts!