EM5-III CAF performance

adammaniam

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I recently got an EM-5III after 5 years with an EM-10I. One of the biggest upgrades for me has been the CAF performance. Still learning the ropes but so far very happy. More to come.

The bird shots are heavy crops but just posted to give some idea of how well the CAF works.

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The C-AF improvement is the main reason I ponied up for the MkIII when I already had the MkII. Frankly, if C-AF were as good on the II as the III is now, I would have no real desire to upgrade.... though the 4k video would be nice, since I do shoot a fair bit of video.

So far, the C-AF is good, but I haven't had much opportunity to use it realistically. I've messed around with some video shooting (and found that the 14-150 II is not parfocal, sadly) and it generally does "pretty good". It's not Sony level accurate and fast, but it's pretty damn good overall. I think I'll really like having the 5mkIII as my main/only camera.
 

gary0319

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The C-AF improvement is the main reason I ponied up for the MkIII when I already had the MkII. Frankly, if C-AF were as good on the II as the III is now, I would have no real desire to upgrade.... though the 4k video would be nice, since I do shoot a fair bit of video.

So far, the C-AF is good, but I haven't had much opportunity to use it realistically. I've messed around with some video shooting (and found that the 14-150 II is not parfocal, sadly) and it generally does "pretty good". It's not Sony level accurate and fast, but it's pretty damn good overall. I think I'll really like having the 5mkIII as my main/only camera.
Actually, I’m finding the 14-150 performs amazingly well with my 5.3.... the best of the many Olympus bodies I have used it on. The C-AF is “pretty good” and recently I have been using the C-AF with the High Sequential burst on the 5.3 (30 FPS) to catch birds fishing in the surf. The C-AF is engaged at half press along with the IBIS. Once the green focus confirmation is achieved, I trip the shutter and, assuming I have the focus point confirmed on the birds eye, all images are dead on.

Here's a few from a 12 shot High Sequential burst taken earlier today with the 14-150 (all 12 shots were in focus on the birds eye)
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Oh, my only fret about the 14-150 is that it is not parfocal. If you're shooting video and you zoom in, it loses focus and has to refocus repeatedly. If you're shooting stills and zoom between shots, it may refocus before the next shot... and I have no doubt that it will focus properly.
 

kbouk

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Υοu do know that on CAF High Sequential camera focus and meter only on first photo ? Only L-mode (CAF) focus and meter continuously on target.
 

gary0319

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Υοu do know that on CAF High Sequential camera focus and meter only on first photo ? Only L-mode (CAF) focus and meter continuously on target.
True, and heretofore I have been accustomed to only using the L mode with my E-M1 II. However I decided to try the H mode on my E-M5- III. I just assumed that the C-AF was inoperable in H mode, but not so. The C-AF works just as it should BEFORE the shutter is released, at which time the focusing and exposure is locked. This means I can track (by hand) the birds movements with the green box continuing to confirm in-focus and then get a burst at 30 fps at the most opportune moment. I really don’t need more than about 10-12 images to pick from.

What I am doing is kind of a non-camera controlled pro capture with no buffering of the pre shutter images, that’s all.
 
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Υοu do know that on CAF High Sequential camera focus and meter only on first photo ? Only L-mode (CAF) focus and meter continuously on target.
That doesn't help in video... testing in video is how I found that the lens is not parfocal. Zooming in on an object in my back yard set to C-AF, the image would go out of focus, then refocus, and it did that several times over the whole zoom range, zooming in at a moderate speed.

Shooting stills, it's not an issue at all. The E-M5 III focuses very fast. I'd suspect even in burst shooting it should be able to refocus with the 14-150 if you are for some reason quickly cranking the zoom while shooting, unless shooting in a burst speed that disables AF entirely (I forget if the E-M5 III has a burst speed that won't continually focus... I don't usually use those modes).
 

kbouk

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True, and heretofore I have been accustomed to only using the L mode with my E-M1 II. However I decided to try the H mode on my E-M5- III. I just assumed that the C-AF was inoperable in H mode, but not so. The C-AF works just as it should BEFORE the shutter is released, at which time the focusing and exposure is locked. This means I can track (by hand) the birds movements with the green box continuing to confirm in-focus and then get a burst at 30 fps at the most opportune moment. I really don’t need more than about 10-12 images to pick from.

What I am doing is kind of a non-camera controlled pro capture with no buffering of the pre shutter images, that’s all.
I see, as long as you don’t have a target that moves quickly and you want to refocus or meter between the shots (without lift your finger from-shutter button) the H mode is good enough with short bursts. Also on EM5mkiiii —mode is the only way to have more than 10 fps with electronic shutter. My EM1.2 has an upper limit of 18fps continuous burst rates with C-AF on L-mode so I don’t use H-mode at all.
 

kbouk

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That doesn't help in video... testing in video is how I found that the lens is not parfocal. Zooming in on an object in my back yard set to C-AF, the image would go out of focus, then refocus, and it did that several times over the whole zoom range, zooming in at a moderate speed.

Shooting stills, it's not an issue at all. The E-M5 III focuses very fast. I'd suspect even in burst shooting it should be able to refocus with the 14-150 if you are for some reason quickly cranking the zoom while shooting, unless shooting in a burst speed that disables AF entirely (I forget if the E-M5 III has a burst speed that won't continually focus... I don't usually use those modes).
have you found any other m43 zoom lenses which dont change focus as they zoom in-out (parfocal) on video use ? I don’t think they exist.
 
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have you found any other m43 zoom lenses which dont change focus as they zoom in-out (parfocal) on video use ? I don’t think they exist.

I think the 12-40 is. I'll have to verify that (it's late at night here, it should be sunny tomorrow, I can test it pretty easily). It was a review of the 12-200 that I watched recently that introduced the term 'parfocal' to my photographic vocabulary, because that lens is parfocal.

So I own the 12-40 f/2.8, the 14-42 EZ and the 14-150 II. I'll have to test the first two just for shits and giggles.
 

kbouk

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The real test is to see what happens If you AF and then switch to MF and start zooming. If you see that the image goes way out of focus, the lens it’s not optically parfocal. But as far I know 12-40/2.8 and maybe 40-150/2.8 can refocus very fast (the body keeps the focus from the lens roughly the same) when you zoom in and that gives the same sense as a parfocal lens. The only lens I know to focus good as parfocal was the legacy SHG 14-35/2 SWD and maybe a second one the 50-200SWD (I have the lens but I never test it).
 
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Pluttis

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Think Oly pro lenses use the digital focus adjustment when you zoom...dont think there is any true parfocal m43 lenses, maybe the new Panasonic 10-25 f1.7?
 

gary0319

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I see, as long as you don’t have a target that moves quickly and you want to refocus or meter between the shots (without lift your finger from-shutter button) the H mode is good enough with short bursts. Also on EM5mkiiii —mode is the only way to have more than 10 fps with electronic shutter. My EM1.2 has an upper limit of 18fps continuous burst rates with C-AF on L-mode so I don’t use H-mode at all.
Exactly, it was the 10fps L mode upper limit on my E-M5 III that led me to try the H mode. And, yes I do use it more like a “bracket” single shot with short burst.

I have never even tried the H mode on my E-M1 II, always using the L mode set to 15 fps. I might give it a try now, but I think I’ll drop it down from the 60fps..... yikes!
 
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I don't think there are any tricks. It just works. Be conscious of the mode you're in and the focus area shape and size. I set the direction keys on the back to select the AF area size and shape. Once I tap one of the direction buttons, the top two dials change the focus size and shape and the face priority selection.
 

JDS

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QUOTE="Pluttis, post: 1343911, member: 28648"]
Think Oly pro lenses use the digital focus adjustment when you zoom...dont think there is any true parfocal m43 lenses, maybe the new Panasonic 10-25 f1.7?
[/QUOTE]
Not an accurate test, but zooming in while using manual focus on my 12-40 pro seems to keep the image in perfect focus. Seems parfocal, or at least very close to it.
 

ac12

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Will be following this thread as I just got an E-M5iii after having switched away to Panasonic for a few years. Would love to know any tricks and tips to using C-AF on the PDAF-enabled Olympus cameras.

I did see this on the Olympus site: https://learnandsupport.getolympus.com/learn-center/photography-tips/sports/need-for-speed-shooting-field-sports-on-om-d-e-m1x
WHAT are you shooting?

As Davey in your link said, some of his configurations are specific to his shooting sports.
And shooting high school sports, I agree with most of them. Example, I only use single point AF, because there are too many players around my subject, to use zone/area mode.
You also have to do your part. Don't put the AF point on a solid color jersey, the AF won't have any contrast to focus on; instead the face or number.
 
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Pluttis

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[/QUOTE]
Not an accurate test, but zooming in while using manual focus on my 12-40 pro seems to keep the image in perfect focus. Seems parfocal, or at least very close to it.
[/QUOTE]

Its easy to test...set up a subject quite close, if the subject is to far away the bigger depth of field can "hide" the changes in focus..Zoom in to 40mm and focus on the subject, set it to MF and now see if it holds focus on the subject through the zoom range wile zooming out without touching the focus.
The 12-40 that i have tried where not parfocal.
 

sgreszcz

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WHAT are you shooting?
My kids, dog for photography. Fast-ish moving events with people in them for video (like carnivals, parades, dancing). Having PDAF is new to me for photography and video. I've never used C-AF before, only M-AF + S-AF (back button). So I'm trying to learn more now that I've got the E-M5iii.
 

ac12

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One thing to remember about C-AF, is that the camera will fire, even if the lens has not reached focus.
Example when I shoot volleyball, I will quickly shift players from A to B and FIRE. The lens is still changing focus from A to B when I fire the first shot, and the odd are that shot #1 will be OOF. Shot #2 is usually in focus, as the lens has finally caught up and has subject B in focus.

I don't use BBF. For me, it is not worth the hassle of changing.
I may change my mind later.

You need to RTFM on YOUR camera, because it can be/is confusing. It was for me.
Continuous Low and continuous High may behave different on your camera.
On my camera Low will AF on EACH frame in a burst.​
But High will focus on frame one, then lock focus, so every shot after that will be focused at the same distance as frame one. So if the subject moves closer or farther, it will be OOF.​
On another camera, High will AF for each frame, but ONLY at 9fps. At 10fps, it would lock focus on frame 1. Did I mention it is confusing.​
And mechanical and electronic shutters may behave different, so again RTFM.

Try the various AF area modes, to see which works for your and your specific subjects.
Example 99+% of the time I use fixed single point, it is only for singles tennis that I use 3x3 area mode. Every other sport, other players are too close to my subject to use area mode.​
But a single child or dog, area might work well for you. You have to try it to determine what works best for YOU.
 

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