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Fast AF zoom for e-pl2

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by klrman, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. klrman

    klrman Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 11, 2011
    My 14-42 is good but creates many blurry shots when someone is moving or birds flying etc. Is this a camera thing or can I get another zoom lens since I shoot mostly landscape that is really fast and can capture those moments when I need them or do I need another camera?
  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    blurry usually means one of two things

    1) too slow a shutter speed

    2) not keeping the camera steady enough

    No camera is a magic device... they have limitations...

    At the long end of your current zoom you probably should be aiming for a shutter speed of at least 1/125th a second.... you need to learn how to adjust aperture and/or ISO to achieve this

    keeping the camera steady is of prime importance... if you are framing on the LCD and are hold ing the camera at arms length then you are not going to have a very steady picture at the longer end of your zoom

    Suggest you post some of your problem pictures with as much info about shutter speed, aperture and ISO... then maybe we can make a more informed decision

  3. klrman

    klrman Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 11, 2011
    Thanks Kevin. OK I will post the shots so that I can learn to use my camera better. Often it was on auto mode and I was hoping it would be smart enough to capture moving things, but guess it's not going to be that simple!

  4. klrman

    klrman Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 11, 2011
    Here is a typical example of an indoor shoot. My wife and cousins look blurry but furniture looks fine. Many shots like that with a steady hand, but since I did not know what I was doing, I did have the camera on auto. Any tips for family shots would be greatly appreciated :smile: They all were moving a little, but I just thought my camera would have no problem with that.

    e-pl2, f3.5, 14-42 kit lens@14mm, iso-1600, 1/25 sec
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    On bird pic, was focusing on first one, but would have liked a clear capture of the one landing
    e-pl2, f9, 14-42 kit lens@42mm, iso-200, 1/250 sec
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Jelly fish shot looks fine, no movement at all..those shots are easy for me:biggrin:
    e-pl2, f11, 14-42 kit lens@42mm, iso-200, 1/400 sec
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  5. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    A a glance I would guess that this has mostly to do with the type of auto focus setting you are using. Also, I think i-auto overrides and decides where to focus. So P program mode type auto gives you more control. I had these problems often as well whenever I tried the I-auto mode.

    My suggestion would be to shoot on p or a or s mode, to set up your auto focus to be spot focusing and choose the centre spot. Then whenever you want to focus on something NOT in the centre, you can centre it only to half-press the shutter and lock in focus, then move it and press down to expose.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 App
  6. klrman

    klrman Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 11, 2011
    I need to open up my Oly software and see which mode I used. I think maybe it was p mode and always using center focus but could be wrong.
  7. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    1. The low light picture of the family shows motion blur.
    2. Depending on the speed at which the bird lands, 1/250 might not be fast enough.

    Just my guess anyway.
  8. klrman

    klrman Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 11, 2011
    is it better for birds to use 1/1000? If so, what negative effects will that have on the image if any?
  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    All things being equal, there's no disadvantage to a higher shutter speed. But generally except in very bright conditions, you'll also need to boost the ISO to get very high shutter speeds and higher ISO makes for lower image quality. Your lens only goes to 42mm on the long end, so I'd say 1/500 should be plenty fast for birds. 1/250 may even be fast enough. It's with the longer lenses that you need the really high shutter speeds.

  10. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    Some thoughts that may help...

    Looking at the EXIF on those shots seems to indicate that you were using iAuto on all three of 'em. That's okay, but when you use iAuto, you relinquish almost all control to the camera, so it'll do whatever it thinks it should do to capture what it thinks you want to capture.

    On the E-PL2 (don't know about the other Olys but I assume they're the same in this regard) the one thing you can change when using iAuto is the focus point. More on this later, though. First let's consider your first two photos above...

    DH is mostly correct about your bird shot: a higher shutter speed will more effectively stop motion and 1/250 should be fast enough for a 42mm lens on m-43. But that doesn't seem to be the true problem you asked about with this photo.

    Look closely at the photo and you'll see that the camera has focused on the nearest bird; depth of field for this lens at 42mm (even at at f9) is insufficient to keep all three birds in focus. Look closely at the railing and you'll notice that it becomes progressively out of focus from near to far. And that's why your landing bird is blurry. The challenge here is focus more than it is stop-motion.

    Looks like the same effect hit your family photo, too: the camera focused on the contrasty highlights of the near top edge of the sofa. Almost everything else is blurred to some degree. A higher shutter speed could have helped, but maybe not... people don't usually move quickly in static situations like that, so at least someone in the shot should have been clear if the camera had focused on the people instead of the couch. The fact that the camera chose ISO 1600 for this shot doesn't help the apparent bluriness, either, because it's introducing some visible noise at that ISO and this, too, can make the image appear blurry. A higher shutter speed would make the camera select a higher ISO because the lens is already wide open. But you don't want that because a higher ISO would mean even more noise. More light on the people would help here.

    So, with the family shot, the most likely solution is definitely two-fold: 1 - put the focus on the people; and 2 - use more light (but not necessarily flash).

    With the bird shot the answer is simpler (maybe): put the focus where you want it to be, not where the camera decides it should be.

    Your E-PL2 (even in iAuto) will allow you to set the focus point to any one of eleven areas. I usually set mine on the center of the screen. When I take a shot, I point the center of the camera to the place I want focused then press the shutter halfway to lock that focus. Then I re-frame the shot to include all the stuff I want in the frame.

    You can use the Super Control Panel (SCP) to set your focus point. (You did enable the SCP when you set up your camera, didn't you? If not, go back to your user guide to see how it's done.)

    From this point on, I'm assuming that you haven't changed the camera's other default settings since it left the factory. If you have, you'll need to check your user guide to figure out what I'm describing below.

    Here's how to set your camera to center area focus in iAuto:

    First put the camera into the iAuto mode. Next, call up the SCP display --- how you do this will depend on your initial camera settings, but it will involve one or more presses of the "OK" and "INFO" buttons.

    Once the SCP shows on your LCD, navigate to the rectangle that shows eleven small dots. It's just to the right of the S-AF rectangle and just to the left of the smiley face. Press OK and the LCD will display eleven squares outlined in green. Use the left-right arrows on the control wheel to select the square in the center. Press OK again and your camera is now set to use that specific area for focusing.

    Once you set this focus area, you can point the center of the camera to the place you want your focus to be and half-press the shutter button to lock the focus there. Then re-frame your shot and complete the button press to take the shot.

    A word of caution here... this setting will stay where you put it if you make the setting while in P, A, S or M mode. But when you're using iAuto mode it'll reset itself whenever you change to another mode and shut the camera off. So you'll have to check it each time you turn on the camera when using iAuto mode.

    The above drill should get you started. As Asher suggests though, learning to use the "P", "A", and "S" modes of your camera will give you more control over what your camera does. But a great thing about your E-PL2 is that you can start with iAuto and build your skills from there.

    Hope this proves helpful. Have fun shooting and learning!
  11. klrman

    klrman Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 11, 2011
    Well I learned something new today,thank you dhazeghi :smile:
  12. avidone

    avidone Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 24, 2011
    Rome, Italy
    Thanks Bob; you said basically what I was trying to say quickly and typing on iPad, but more clearly and in detail.

    I honestly do not see much reason for iAuto in general. First of all, that "i" does not live up to its presumed "intelligence" and even if you change settings within it, it defaults back to what it likes ASAP, the bugger.

    Even for a beginner, the P mode is very "automatic" and will at least keep any tweaks you set it up with when turning the camera on and off or switching to other modes.

    As a general point I recommend reading the manual several times through carefully, with the camera in front of you so you can try various settings as you read through it. Even better is the "Dummies Guide" if available (I have it at least for my E-PL1). Before long, you can see that shooting even in A or S mode is not so difficult. But most importantly you can get the adjustments set up in a way that gives you a better chance of getting good results.

    One reason I recommend the Dummies guide (though I hate the naming) is that it frequently gives subjective opinions and actual explanations as to the "why" of choosing one setting over another, unlike the manual which just tells you what the possible settings are and (sometimes) what the factory default settings are.
  13. klrman

    klrman Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 11, 2011
    Thanks very much for your detailed post barefoot, I really appreciate it. I need to read it quite a few times to absorb it all, but I did set up my SCP as I find it easier to work with and I mostly use the center focus as it makes more sense to me too most of the time.

    With the birds, they were everywhere and you're right, I focused on the first bird and that's it as things were going on all over the place. I was hoping there was some "special" camera setting that would keep all things in focus, but I guess it's just not going to be that easy for a newbie like me!!!

    Will use your post and the others as well as the manual to keep learning until I feel somewhat comfortable with it all. Thanks again for taking the time with all the helpful advice.
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