1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

EM1 Continuous AF "real life" Test - The speedy kid

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by zpierce, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator

    661
    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Zach
    One of the main reasons I was excited about the EM1 was the continuous AF. I have no legacy 4/3 glass, but I do spend a lot of time photographing runners at events and have been waiting for this capability since my first m4/3 camera - the G1. I've managed to work around the lack of good continuous AF with the speed of the recent CDAF systems in S-AF and some good planning of my shots. When I received my EM1, I had tempered but hopeful expectations based on early reviews.

    I took my toughest "subject in motion" - my son - out last weekend to do a few tests. First I did a test with him walking at the camera (hopefully a softball), shooting the 25mm at f1.4. The results looked perfect, everything in focus. This was already more than I would have expected out of any of my previous m4/3 cameras. So I went for broke and had him back up and sprint at the camera. I was shooting at the medium speed (6FPS?) and captured 15 frames in the time it took him to cover quite a bit of ground.

    When I got home I was thrilled by the results - it appeared to nail the focus on every shot except the very last one (first in the set as they uploaded in reverse order), and that one wasn't too far off.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachpierce/sets/72157637104052664/

    Hope this helps anyone else interested in the capability. I realize there are harder tests with longer lenses, shallower DoF, but this seemed like a very promising start as no other m4/3 I've owned would have given me more than a couple in focus in a set like this.

    Thanks,
    ZP
     
    • Like Like x 7
  2. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    983
    Sep 8, 2012
    Chad
    now track them sideways and in and out like kids playing ball with other kids :) that is my issue coming straight at you kinda works most the time unless the background is close and busy like for me at weddings :)
    why I try to make sure folks know for me and my work it does not work :)

    my kids at the fall festival did not work kept picking up other kids around and never would stay on them and sideways at a angle was a major failure ? again open area nothing around I imagine it would be good the test above shows that :)

    sadly still needs to massively improve :)

    not knocking the test good job :) and good to see it working for that :)

    also I am used to FF being so much better :) nothing catches focus like a 1 series except a D series :)
     
  3. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator

    661
    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Zach
    Ah well, I have no such baggage as I've never owned a DSLR. However, this is one of my primary use cases - tracking runners on predictable paths. Like I said, I see it as a huge improvement over previous generations.

    I'm not sure how any camera could pick out the kid you want to track as they dart in and out of other kids... :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    Thanks for the test. I received my E-M1 last week, and was mostly busy testing the 50-200 SWD on it that I didn't have much time to test the tracking function. However, I did manage to test the tracking AF a little bit when I took my daughter to ice-skating. The results were a bit disappointing, primarily because of the crowd there. The camera switches target as soon as someone crosses the path of my daughter. I have no prior experience with DSLR, but I suspect it is going to happen regardless of system. Hopefully, I will get to do more tests on tracking AF of different subjects this weekend...

    In the meantime, I saw in the menu that there is a tracking speed selection that is set to "off" in default, but could be set to "slow", "normal", or "fast". Have anyone tested these settings and how well they work?
     
  5. Ig7

    Ig7 Mu-43 Veteran

    298
    Aug 24, 2011
    Do you turn image stabilization off for during tracking or AF-C?
     
  6. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    Larry
    I have had some very good luck with tracking shooting lacrosse (E-M1 and 50-200) which pretty much defines random motion (well not really but it sure looks that way from the outside).
     
  7. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator

    661
    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Zach
    I just realized that I mistitled the thread. I meant to say continuous AF, not tracking. I haven't tried the tracking as I view that as more of a gimmick. As an software engineer, I'm pretty well convinced that the technology to track a 3D object on a 2D plane is probably not very feasible given the horsepower in our cameras and the lack of sufficient data on what it's tracking.
     
  8. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator

    661
    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Zach
    I have not. Isn't the new IS supposed to detect panning and not compensate? Most of my use cases don't involve a lot of camera movement, just moving subjects.
     
  9. bcaslis

    bcaslis Mu-43 Veteran

    302
    Jul 3, 2011
    Wilsonville, OR, USA
    Brian Caslis
    Have you tried setting the custom function C-AF lock to something like normal (off by default). There was someone on another forum with a problem similar to yours and they said changing the function made a huge improvement. Supposedly this function makes the camera keep the lock on the original target longer and not jump to other targets as quickly.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. lombardispot

    lombardispot Mu-43 Regular

    100
    Sep 19, 2013
    I came from using the Canon 1d mark II. It tracks incredibly well even when someone gets in the way for a moment or they move out of the selected focus point. The em--1 is disappointing for me, but I'll try that C-AF lock function to see if it improves.
     
  11. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    Let us know please.

     
  12. gs3xr_fun

    gs3xr_fun Mu-43 Regular

    70
    Oct 30, 2013
    96817
    juro
    If it is set to "off" then essentially you don't want the camera to track anything. On Nikon which I'm familiar with, CSMa3 settings will let me adjust how quickly the AF will change target.
     
  13. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Mu-43 Veteran

    462
    Jun 21, 2012
    Mississippi, USA
    Thanks so much for sharing. Even within the limited scope of the test this is extremely encouraging as this is something I would never expect my E-M5 to pull off. I hope you get the chance soon to test continuous AF with a more erratically moving target, for instance your son playing soccer. Also in lower light, as that's a big challenge for continuous AF. Looking forward to further reports if you choose to perform them.

    This might be a weird question, but have you tested continuous AF with a relatively still target? My E-M5 is all over the place, very jittery with still targets using continuous AF. I know continuous AF is for moving targets, but sometimes subjects have stop and go motion and it's not practical to keep switching between single and continuous AF.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    983
    Sep 8, 2012
    Chad
    tried normal and off ? had it on normal at the park tried the other settings (high and low I think) a couple times not sure what the main differences are yet ? have not researched it tons :) could not tell the difference but honestly one day one thing a few shots I need to play more :) hahhhaha
    I read one quick thing on it and thought OK normal should work can't remember if it was on miranda or dpr ?

    I did get plenty great shots just using single mode even timing it a bit pre focus on one spot so the next spot things are a bit quicker :) some throw aways of course but this is a reality I think of and and all :)

    going to have to try some more testing at the park with the C-AF lock for fun cause I like to know and learn the camera come money time and work I tend to shoot manual single focus etc.. very controlled

    if you have any links or anything :) can't hurt to read more about the lock thing cause its not super clear the differences :)

     
  15. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    983
    Sep 8, 2012
    Chad
    curious if ya played with that lock mode off low med high setting ? and with C-AF or the C-AF tracking yet ? read this was not tracking just more curious to share thoughts :)

    for me this is my family camera and half work :) so at work I am conservative with playing with settings so park time is when I try to learn it :)
    and yeah great cameras !!! amazing how it has come so far quickly I don't bring any DSLR out anymore unless its work ! that good :)

    not picking out the kid :) sorry bad writing its you have that box on them in tracking mode and they are running and when you pass another kid the box jumps to that other kid :) hahaha
    man having it pick out your kids would be awesome :)
    had one where I had them walking and it jumped over to a kid next to them that was standing there ? that kinda thing :)

    I have thought it would be cool to have a small thin sticker or something and you could stick it on things you want to track ? out of site under the shirt or something :)



    looks cold there :) my girl is 9 so fun to see other kids helping me I do the same thing OK go down there and run to me OK go there sit and do this :) hahahaha
    at girl scouts I forget its not a wedding :) group shot time
    OK everyone looking at my camera no other camera look here OK the rest of you can get your shot now thanks :) hahahaha you can imagine :) lucky everyone knows I am a photographer so they give me slack and want my pics :) hahahahahah


     
  16. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    That's weeks away!

    I just got an EM1 loaner yesterday and tracking action in burst mode is something I really want to check out. I'm not even sure how to set it since m43 basically hasn't been able to do this at all before now. Look forward to checking it out - my dog should be a good test!

    -Ray
     
  17. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Australia
    This might be a stupid question, but can someone explain the difference between C-AF and C-AF + tracking?
     
  18. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Patrick
    This is not stupid at all. Many have made comments about continuous AF without making the distinction between the two. In C-AF mode, you select a focus point on your display and you pan your camera to keep the subject in that one focal point. In C-AF + Tracking, you lock a target on your display, and the camera will try to keep track of the target by moving the focal point, whether you are moving the camera or not. Hope this explanation is clear to you.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    983
    Sep 8, 2012
    Chad
    focus track not GPS though :) ahhaahah

    would be cool each one have a number and be able to swap through them :)


     
  20. bcaslis

    bcaslis Mu-43 Veteran

    302
    Jul 3, 2011
    Wilsonville, OR, USA
    Brian Caslis
    Thread on function explanation: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3560608#forum-post-52329425