EM-1 M2, AF, and Portraits

bjurasz

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Dec 10, 2014
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272
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I'm a bit puzzled as to how to setup my EM-1 Mark II for portrait photography and looking for guidance. Sometimes I get my daughter's eye tack-sharp, but that is usually on close-ups. Other times the camera is obviously grabbing something high-contrast on the shirt instead of her face.

Gear:
* Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II
* Olympus 45/1.8 lens
* Sometimes a Godox flash

Settings:
* Face and eye priority
* C-AF
* Aperture priority, usually about f/2.8 but sometimes 2.0
* Exposure metering on ESP (I understand that meters on the detected face)
* AF target selection varies from single point, to a few points, to whole frame
* Image stabilizer S-IS1 (but should probably turn this off)

My primary confusion is I'm not sure how face priority focus factors in with the AF target selection. Consider if I set a single focus point, center of frame, but the camera detects the face top-left, even giving me the white box around the face. Does the camera focus on the face even though it is not a selected AF point? Should I make it a point to put a small number of active focus points on the spot where my face is, even if that means I'm constantly moving the active focus points around the frame shot to shot?

I'll stop here. I have other questions about portrait technique, but I want to focus right now on: 1) auto-focus parameters, and 2) general camera settings.

Thanks.
 

PakkyT

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Jun 20, 2015
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Massachusetts, USA
My advise is when taking strictly portrait shots (a series of portraits vs. an occational portrait shot while out and about shooting random stuff), is to select single small AF point and then use the arrow keys to put it precisely where you want it, usually on one eye or the other. Then you never have to wonder what the camera is deciding to do since you already made the decision.
 

JonSnih

Mu-43 Veteran
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Mar 26, 2017
Messages
314
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CZE
For portraits I use S-AF, Eye AF + small AF point placed on a person's eye. In case that Face/Eye AF will not lock on properly the camera still has a given AF point where to focus.
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
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The Netherlands
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Roel
Does your daughter counts as a fast moving subject? I do expect it's the case ;)
Maybe it would help to set AF to "S-AF" (so you know what is focused on when you take a picture) or "C-AF+TR" (so the camera will start tracking the face/eye). You can control the tracking sensitivity in the menu (from memory it's called "C-AF lock"). +2 helps with irregular movement vs -2 follows a smaller subject (in a busier setting) more accurate but loses tracking with irregular movement.

Also check if you are using "Single shot" or when using burst if the camera still is able to focus between taking shots (e.g. not the 60 frames/ps burst mode). Although I guess there are many more tips, I'm not the most experienced in shooting moving subjects.
 
Last edited:

bjurasz

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Dec 10, 2014
Messages
272
Location
Cedar Park
Thanks everyone. Will switch to a single small focus point and move it to the eye of interest next time. Will also shoot a few at f/4 before stepping down to f/2.8 or lower to help insure more "keepers". Based on weather will be a few days before I can give this another try.
 

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