Everything in focus and quick shutter - how is this done?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by webmonkey8, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. webmonkey8

    webmonkey8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2012

    I'm having a difficult time with some of my shooting. I have an Olympus EPM1 with the Olympus 12mm and Panasonic 25mm lenses. What I want to achieve is when taking a shot of a group of people, I want the people and the background all in focus, not just the people. I know that adjusting the aperture can compensate for this, such as if I use an f-stop of 8 or something, but when I adjust the aperture to a higher number to get a deep depth of field, the shutter speed is much slower which results in subject blur.

    Can someone please give me some advice to get clear crisp shots? Do I have to change my focus points in my settings?

    Many thanks in advance!
  2. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Real Name:
    You are correct - smaller aperture = slower shutter speed.

    Either increase your ISO, or add flash.
  3. greyelm

    greyelm Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2010
    Real Name:
    You will need to increase the ISO to force higher speeds. The downside may be more noise but it is worth a try.
  4. webmonkey8

    webmonkey8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2012
    Thank you greyelm and Hyubie, I will give that a try.
  5. vtsteevo

    vtsteevo Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 20, 2012
  6. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Real Name:
    In order to get greater DOF you need to use the O12 and not the P25.
    The O12 because of the shorter focal length in also less prone to blur.
    The rule of thumb is to set minimum shutter of the focal length in 35mm, with the 12mm you can go down to 1/25 while the 25 will need 1/50.

    Another option is to use any sort of camera support such as tripod or just a desk or a chair.
  7. OhWellOK

    OhWellOK Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 4, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Could use smaller aperture with a tripod, as well.
  8. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Hyperfocal distance

    Online Depth of Field Calculator

    Find the distance/lens/aperture that works best for your conditions and work at or near the hyperfocal distance.
  9. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    You should learn the exposure triangle... Google those two words and read all the articles that pop up. Then keep reading and playing with your camera and asking us questions until you get it.

    Also, when people are in the photo you often have to keep a higher shutter speed because while you may be able to hold the camera still at 1/25 with a 12mm lens the people in your photo may be moving too much for 1/25 to give a clean shot, even when they trying to stand still.
  10. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    It doesn't really work like that. Either the subject will be much smaller in the frame, or you'll have to get much closer to the subject with the 12mm lens, decreasing the DoF again.

    There's not a good substitute for stopping down when it comes to DoF.
  11. webmonkey8

    webmonkey8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2012
    Thanks for the replies everyone! I will experiment a bit more.

    arentol - thanks for the "exposure triangle" info.
  12. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    What is the background? Why does it need to be in focus? How are you from your subject? What focal length do you need to use (this is driven by framing and the type of shot you want). Can you post a sample? Then some concrete, specific advice can be given.

    Is it a group shot in a restaurant? Have them stand against a wall. Is it some people at Disney land? Use a shorter focal length and get closer (and stop down). Samples and objectives help!
  13. m43dude

    m43dude New to Mu-43

    Oct 3, 2012
    Oh so you need to translate this rule to 35mm? I didn't know that, I have the Lumix 20/1,7 and thought 1/20 was good, but it's actually 1/40, correct?
  14. webmonkey8

    webmonkey8 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 17, 2012
    Basically, it's a group of people with various distances from the camera, plus there are decorative Christmas trees and other ornaments in the background, on the ceiling and everywhere around. I want to get EVERYTHING in focus. As ridiculous as it sounds, my old point and shoot camera did this fine, just not as good of quality - that's why I have a :43: camera. While taking pictures with the :43: is awesome with its shallow depth of field, there are a lot of times I need everything in focus with primary subjects in the shot. However, it's a lot harder to achieve this than expected.

    Focal lengths from my 2 prime lenses are 12mm and 50mm.

  15. monchan

    monchan Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 7, 2012
    Tottori City, Japan
    I know where you are coming from bro.
    My m4/3 camera was a step up from P&S.
    and it is more than I expected but at the same time less.

    I recently had a school halloween party here. and at the end we had
    individual family photos agaist a halloween background. It was quite
    difficult. I got pretty good results in the end. but it wasnt easy.
    Next year for that type of event I`ll be getting a decent P&S again.

    Having said that I am now taking all sorts of photos I`d never really had an interest in before, and love it.
  16. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 29, 2012
    I would try to use the 12mm at f/5.6, 1/60, and set it to auto-ISO.

    However, if I were buying a camera today for that specific purpose I would probably get the Fuji X10. It has a 2/3" sensor, which is a small sensor, but it is still much larger than your typical compact. It has a really high quality lens that is matched perfectly with the sensor, and the sensor is a very good Sony sensor. So the image quality is actually very good, surprisingly close to m4/3rds with pro-level lenses. And best of all, when you want lots of DOF it can provide, even with the lens wide open. For example:

    Below is amount of DOF at 28mm in 35mm sensor size equivalency, f/2.8, point of focus 4 feet from camera...

    Full Frame DOF = 1.05 feet.
    m4/3rds DOF = 2.24 feet.
    Sony RX100 = 3 feet.
    Fuji X10 = 6.1 feet.

    And at f/4 DOF is over 15 feet with the Fuji while m4/3rds is still not much over 3 feet.

    Even at over a year old I feel it is still the best camera around for this kind of use. It just hits exactly the right point between DOF and IQ, and it looks awesome too.
  17. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Got it! Was thnking posed pics.

    Yes, larger sensor generally gives you better high ISO, but shallower DOF (as you know). A strong bounced flash would really do the trick. If this is an important common pic for you, then an FL36 or FL600 would help.

    Depending on the light levels, I actually find my RX100 can be good enough for casual snaps, and it has a good amount of DOF. Personally, I'm also a little more willing to put up with things that are less in focus. I prefer a 3D look anyway. But, if you need everything in focus, and you want the best quality of image and it's low light, thentrying a ceiling mounted flash would help.
  18. FrayAdjacent

    FrayAdjacent Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 5, 2012
    Austin, TX
    Real Name:
    The 1 divided by effective focal length is only to compensate for YOUR movement, not subject movement using slow shutter speeds.

    To freeze the subject, you need faster shutter speeds. You get faster shutter speeds by either using larger aperture or higher ISO, or a combination of both.

    It's all a balancing act.
  19. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Interestingly, when you need a certain shutter speed and a super deep depth of field (DOF) in limited light, none of the formats have an inherent image quality advantage. It's the one condition under which a "point and shoot", Micro 4/3, 35mm format, and medium format all have the same image quality assuming that they are using similar sensor technologies.

    The solution for getting deep DOF is to increase the f-number until you have enough DOF and then either increase the ISO enough to get the shutter speed and/or add light (eg, flash). If you add light and stay at low ISO, then the higher image quality of larger formats is maintained. If you stay with limited light and crank the ISO, the image quality differences between formats is completely eliminated. Even the diffraction effects are the same across formats for a given angle of view and DOF.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Real Name:
    This is one reason why some people (including myself) are junkies for high-ISO performance regardless of system.

    To the OP - you've gotten pretty much all the right info in this thread already. You need to stop down your aperture, but to do that you'll need higher ISO, or more light (flash, more ambient light). With people shots a tripod won't make much difference since the subjects will be moving, so you're looking at either adding some flash, or bumping the ISO up until the shutter speed is reasonable.

    Two suggestions:

    1) Re: the Exposure Triangle, I highly recommend the book Understanding Exposure - it's the best resource I found for understanding the what and why of camera settings so you'll know why photos come out too dark, too blurry, too bright, etc.

    2) Adding flash: I recommend the Demb Pop-Up Flip-It as a cheap way to get better looking flash. It's not as powerful as getting a bigger flash unit, but it's a lot cheaper, and it can easily go in a pocket or camera bag. It just bounces your flash off a white card and/or the ceiling, so that it won't look so harsh and ugly. This is great for getting added light without getting that "deer in the headlights", washed-out look. As far as I know it should be compatible with your EPM1's clip-on flash unit also.