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EP3 ROCKS for family and action -- touch screen is incredible

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by WT21, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I just ran some tests for faster action (not motor sports, or any kind of sport really, but bear with me for a moment).

    First, we went to my daughters pony show. All week she was at Pony/Horse camp, and then they have a little demonstration at the end of the week. This is, of course, not at all sports, but they are trotting around a ring, and I am much, much closer than at typical sports. I got a rough estimate of >90% keepers. More specifically, I only had one missed shot due to AF. I would say the AF is as fast as my 5D + 70-210 USM, easily.

    The problem with the m43 cameras now is not AF speed but contrast detect AF. What do I mean by that? With CAF, you usually have to decide -- do you want 1) a center point focus point (so, focus and then recompose) or do you want 2) to use grid focusing.

    The problem with the former (center focus) is keeping up with the action. The problem with the latter is, if there is something MORE contrasty than the subject, the camera is equally likely to lock on to that instead of my subject. So, many more blown shots. When I tried soccer with my EP1 o the end of a telephoto, I ended up with so many in focus backgrounds, and out of focus kids.

    THE EP3 EXCELS HERE with it's capacitive touch screen. Through my daughters riding, my left hand held most of the camera, and operated the zoom, my right hand cradled the camera and fired off pictures via my thumb. I could compose however I wanted, then touch the screen for the shot. If I wanted my daughter to the left, looking right, I'd wait for the shot, touch the screen, and blam. Perfect focus on her face, OOF background, composed the way I wanted it.

    The samples below use the EP3 + 14-150 and ISO1600 (I wanted the highest possible shutter speed to take shutter speed out of the equation).

    Subject is off center. No focus and recompose needed. No fiddling with setting the focus point. I only had to worry about the right focal length, then tap her face.
    [​IMG]

    I don't know about anyone else's experience, but this shot was certainly not possible with my EP1. It would have focused on the background. Subject is off center, and focus point (on the EP1) is too big. The focus point on the EP3 is configurable down to a 14X magnification box. And it's really easy to set.
    [​IMG]

    Now, I ran another, less successful tests when I got home. I brought a dying cicada to our chickens. Chickens love big bugs, and they'll chase each other to kingdom come to get them from each other. So, I was very close to the chickens, and they were moving both switfly AND erratically. My other problem was the day was overcast, and they were hanging around under the bushes, so there's just not enough light for a telephoto at 5.6, ISO around 800. So, no real keepers, but just look at the pictures for a moment. Look at the plane of focus. The camera actually focused RIGHT WHERE It should have, but the shutter speeds were just too low.

    Clearly the shutter speed is too low, but I tapped the black chicken on the right, and look at the grass. The camera focused in the right place, but the shutter speed was too low for these guys chasing each other (shutter speed was 1/50 at 800 ISO. FL=90mm, or a 180mm FOV)
    [​IMG]

    This chicken had the cicada (you can kind of see it in her beak) and was running right by me. The shutter speed was at 1/100 second, and I just tapped on her was she was on the right side of the frame. There was no time to set focus points. These guys were darting all about. NO WAY I got this with an EP1. Off center subject, and an all black chick (no contrast, so the camera would have gone for center point grass).
    20110729-P7290336.


    This chicken is trotting towards me. Again, I just tapped on her head near the top of the frame. The shutter speed was a better 1/250, but you can also see it missed the exposure a bit. If I had this in RAW, I probably could have saved it, but jpgs only for now (until the RAW converters are updated)
    20110729-P7290353.

    I am very, very excited about the possibilities with the EP3.

    My only criticism is that the camera is not setting exposure with the touch point, so you have to manage exposure independently. This is a bad thing. I Oly would add AE to the touch point, I can't think of ANY camera I'd rather have that costs <$2,000 for action (so, I'm leaving out here the Canon 1 series, which I rather think is the top action shooter, but costs >$3,000).
     
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  2. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    807
    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Great stuff, Bill. I wonder if other makes allow the exposure point to move with the focus pt? Only in spot metering, I would guess. I believe face recognition does both focus and set exposure. Is that your experience?
     
  3. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I had face recognition on for the Pony shots, but I've found it sometimes misses faces and sometimes catches non-human objects. I didn't pay close enough attention to it, though. Maybe I will next test.

    I've asked Brian Mosley to see if he can slip the idea to his Oly contacts, and also sent Oly a request via their customer service contact e-mail address. If they had the option to do spot (maybe center weighted) metering with touch, that'd be huge, especially for back lit subjects.
     
  4. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    635
    Jul 17, 2010
    The Exif show, that you had +1 EV. This explains the incorrect exposure.
     
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  5. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Yes, they were mostly under the bushes, so I upped the exposure, but this one came darting out at me, and I wanted to test head-on movement, so I snapped this one quick. Again, if Oly could do AE on the focus point, this shot could have been close to money (assuming you want a picture of chicken running towards you, and I mean, who doesn't, right?).
     
  6. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    I haven't looked at the EXIF of the shots with your daughter, but they look a tad over-exposed, unless you were going for that look.

    I noticed in another post about the historgram you like to expose more to the right. I've found, especially with my E-P1, I actually expose -1/3 EV most of the time to preserve highlights, and then I'll bring the shadows up later.
     
  7. frigidlight

    frigidlight New to Mu-43

    9
    Jul 26, 2011
    SE MA
    I've been wondering how the touch to focus would work with faster moving subjects...

    what is the resolution of the touch like? how small of an object could you tap on for a correct focus?
     
  8. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    Nice write up and observations.

    The contrast focus is one thing I noticed very early on might be an issue with it capturing objects for primary focus that weren't intended. A couple of initial reviewers noted that.

    Nice to see the touch screen is working soooo well. I had doubts but seems to be working out.

    I wonder if Olympus can add a firmware update to add AE to touch focus???

    How have you been finding the onboard flash for indoor or as a fill flash?

    You're shots seem a bit overexposed, did you set a default of +1EV or change any defaults to overexpose on purpose?? just curious if it's an IQ issue or a personal preference you have.

    Also, did you set the wb manually or auto. The skin tone seems a bit off.

    Really confused now if I should sell my EP2 and get the 3.. wish the Mini would launch already so I could make up my mind..
     
  9. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I've tried both. In my tests and they way I shoot, personally I get much better results exposing to the right and bringing it down in post. I tried exposing left, but I struggled with the noise in the shadows. In RAW, some of these would be recoverable, and these 1600 ISO shots would have looked gorgeous. there are no blown areas in the pony riding shot.

    The problem is, I've been shooting that way FORGETTING that I'm not shooting RAW (because there's no RAW developer yet). I can't recover those highlights in post from the jpgs. :eek:

    Ah well. They're good enough for some memories, and some camera testing. :)
     
  10. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    I'm not sure how to describe it. Do you have a Pen camera already? The EP1's focus box is huge. I never had the EP2 or later, but I understand you could get down to a smaller box with the later cameras. The EP3 focus assist can get down to 14X magnification, and that's the size of the green box you can set.

    It's about small enough to be just a frame around the battery level indicator. Not sure how else to describe it. Physically, it's only a couple of mm tall and maybe twice as wide (in it's smallest setting).

    In the chicken pictures, the size of the smallest AF box would be about the size of the chicken's heads.

    Does that help at all?? Not sure how else to explain it. Maybe I should take a picture of the back of the camera.
     
  11. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Good questions. I answered the question about exposure -- that was user error.

    WB is set to AWB. I almost NEVER shoot jpgs, so I'd normally run these through LR with a preset, but I'm constrained at the moment. I think the skin tones might be off due to the over exposure.

    I really had just two goals here: test the AF speed and test the touch screen. Sorry -- the rest of it was secondary.
     
  12. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    635
    Jul 17, 2010
    Olympus offers three kinds of spot metering. If you point the HI spot metering to the brightest area which should not clip, you will expose your picture as far right as possible.

    There is the new version of Olympus Viewer and the Raw Photo Processor (RPP). The latter program is rather special, but there should not be any problem with using Olympus Viewer for a while.
     
  13. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    Ooops. Though the +1EV was for a single shot compensation vs. a global change.

    It's nice to see that a lot of the prelaunch reviews were a bit biased and that the camera is actually much better in hands of actual consumers.
     
  14. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Didn't know that. Thanks!!!


    I tried the Oly stuff yesterday [shudder]. I do have RPP, which is also slow, but I suppose I could try it for just conversion.

    I can wait, though, as long as Adobe doesn't take too long. I suppose I should shoot RAW + JPG for now, just for archival purposes.
     
  15. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    way overexposed
     
  16. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    Exactly it. If you oversaturate the sensor, the information is lost. Even with shadows, if there is some information there, it is easier to take that information and amplify it. Yes, it does increase noise. But I guess after shooting pinhole sensors so long, I suppose I'd rather have noisy shadows than highlights I can't do anything with. I've ruined more pictures by blow-outs than I ever have had with underexposing and bringing up.
     
  17. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Hey Warren, I don't worry about the technical jargon so I'm looking at the pictures and the first one is a killer shot.

    So good in fact, you might like to add it here in b&w:smile:
     
  18. playak47

    playak47 Mu-43 Veteran

    297
    Nov 4, 2010
    You are right about exposing to the right. I read the same thing in photography magazine couple of months ago. Personally I dont shoot enough to test it out but this method is really good for landscape shots.
     
  19. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Expose to the right without clipping is the key.

    When I started looking at the histogram (after reading about ETTR on LuminousLandscape), I realized the cameras metering consistently left me up to 2/3 of a stop headroom to expose to the right. By exposing to the right, it seems like I'm getting far better saturated images, that I then darken in post, and I'm finding I'm getting less noise in the image.

    I'll put this in a different thread, because I'd love to hear other people's opinions/approaches.
     
  20. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Looks like a great feature of this camera for photographers who tend to shoot much action! Very nice.

    +1 on exposing to the right without clipping. And if doing so with RAW, noise is minimized and you have the data you need to pull down the highlights. With each new sensor generation we're gaining a bit more dynamic range... which is the holy grail of sensor development in my view, now that we have all the data we need.