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Hard to focus

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Gerard, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    I found it hard to get this insect in focus.
    I am quite satisfied catching an insect at all, but also with the lightning, the sharpness of the plant, the background and the colours.
    150808 Vlinderhof 3_.
    ISO 100 f2.8 1/500
    shot at 20:07, slightly more than an hour before sunset
    Olympus 12-40 FL 40

    I took several shots of this flower with this visiting bee, this was the best.
    I see so many photo's like this one on this forum, where insects are in focus. What is it that I yet have to learn to get he desired effect?

    I might just as well have started this thread under Olympus cameras
     
  2. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Bees are so small and move around so much, they are very hard to catch in focus. It takes a very good camera to do it, and honestly I'm not sure the E-M5 mkI would manage it easily (possible, but hard).

    That said, technique can suffice. You do have the flower in focus. I would try stopping down my aperture to increase the depth of field, focus on the flower, and wait for the bee to fly into the shot. You may need to increase ISO a little if stopping down reduces your shutter speed too much (at ISO low, you might as well). 1/500th of a second should have been plenty to freeze a bee's movement, most likely.

    I also think the shot, like a lot of macro, would have benefited from flash. The best is off camera, but since the scene is backlit, even on-camera would have helped. Flash would also negate any potential need to increase ISO.
     
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  3. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht

    Thanks for this reply.
    The IBIS of the EM5 gave me far better results than I ever had with my G5.
    Maybe next time bring my tripod. This shot I took less than1 meter high. I was standing there in an awkward position.
    You think 1/500 is not fast enough or just barely?

    If backlit is a 180 degrees, in this scene the sunlight came at about 135 degrees.
    I never considered a flash.
    That will open a totally new chapter in my photography.
    Well, thanks for your tips :) much appreciated
     
  4. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I don't think your problem is camera shake. The flower looks sharp. 1/500th of a second is certainly enough at 40mm with IBIS, so tripod not required. I can't say for sure that it was enough for the bee without being there, but even flying it probably was, and if the bee was hovering or crawling on the flower, it is definitely more than enough.

    DoF is the primary culprit.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    It's also important to use the right AF box size. If you use one too big the camera may choose so focus anywhere inside the box, for example on the flower.
    When focus is tricky it's best to use the smallest AF box placing it exactly on your target. Using "focus and recompose" in this case with small DoF can be another reason for slightly missed focus, so it's better to move the AF box in the right place before the shot.
    And also take the picture as soon as the focus is acquired: while waiting with the shutter button half pressed you could lean a little forward or back loosing the focus, especially in awkward positions. Or a little wind moving the flower, etc. The simple AF-S mode is usually the best mode.
     
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    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. jaclu

    jaclu Mu-43 Regular

    29
    Mar 17, 2014
    I have tried a few bees by putting my 5ii with the 60mm macro on tripod using wifi mode setting it to manal mode with apertures like 7.1 prefocusing it then i just sit in the shade of a close by tree and sip a beer waiting for an insect to land ; )
     
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  7. jaclu

    jaclu Mu-43 Regular

    29
    Mar 17, 2014
    Forgot to say manual mode gives you much less shutter lag, so always good if timing is required and you are not panning or otherwise changing light
     
  8. If the bee had been better lit, the autofocus might have had a better chance to lock on target. Also try single focus point.
     
  9. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    I am curious as to why you say the E-M5 mkI could not easily manage this and what camera you think could? Macro is not easy with any camera because of the narrow DOF and the smallest movement can really change things or cause a photo to be blurry. People think snails move slow but in macro work they can move out of the plane of focus in a second, from lots of experience as they are one of my favorite macro subjects.

    A few shots taken with my E-M5 mkI





    While I mostly use my EM1 now, the EM5 is more then capable and just as capable as any of the µ4/3 cameras when it comes to macro photography.
     
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  10. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Hi Phocal,

    I agree. I use my E-M5 for macro often, and it functions very well. In fact, I wonder why professionals have not really come to M4/3 for macro, particularly the newer bodies, as there are some real positives in the format for the genre.

    It's not the macro aspect that I think the E-M5 MkI would have trouble with. It's catching bees in full motion that I was referring to. Hard for any camera, and the E-M5's AF is not as good at that sort of thing as some (E-M1 for example). Your first shot looks to my eyes like what I was proposing Gerard do to overcome that limitation, focus on the flower and catch the bee as he flies in. The second shot (beautiful, by the way) doesn't look to be challenged by motion.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
  11. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Actually the problem with the OP's photo is that he shot at ƒ2.8 which has little to no DOF in a closeup/macro shot. The bee is just sitting on the flower and moving around on it. So, the only real hurdles for that shot are fast enough shutter speed to freeze movement (which he had at 1/500) and enough DOF to get the bee and flower in focus (at ƒ2.8 he did not have that).

    The only difference in the EM5 and EM1 focus ability will come from using C-AF which will allow the EM1 to use it's PDAF ability. In S-AF (which I am sure most macro photographers would use, or manual) they are going to focus almost exactly the same, unless there is some difference between the CDAF of the two cameras I am not aware of.

    In the bee shot I was actually following the bee (wanted a bee in flight photo) and mashing the button (was using S-AF) to get the camera to focus and shoot as fast as possible, the flower was just a happy coincidence that ended up in the photo. I actually had a number of shots with the flying bee in focus, just this one had the best composition and was the only one I processed.

    The butterfly shot was to show how narrow the DOF is when shooting macro. That shot was at ƒ4.0 and you can see how narrow it was, the OP at ƒ2.8 is going to be even smaller.
     
  12. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Yeah, if you read my posts you'll see that I told him the exact same thing. But having not been there, I wasn't sure how long the bee was crawling around on the flower. If it was there for a few seconds, that's a lot easier. But I've been frustrated before by bees that never seem to stand still... Considering the OP was having trouble focusing and the bee was in front of the flower, motion may have been why the AF didn't lock on the bee as opposed to the flower.

    In my opinion, shooting flying insects is not a whole lot different than BIF. Close focusing lenses are not as ideal as telephoto lenses. The E-M1 with more focus points (81 versus 35) and firmware upgrades is simply more up to that task than the E-M5 in both speed and accuracy. But I was careful not to say the E-M5 can't do it at all.

    That's interesting. I honestly thought the flower was more in focus than the bee (I'm not saying its a bad shot). Perhaps the camera simply locked onto that by accident?

    Well, not exactly. He was shooting at a greater distance for sure, and while I don't know what lens and other settings you were using I suspect his focal length was wider than yours. Both of these factors impact DoF, and is one reason why shooting flying insects is not like other macro. (I personally don't even consider it macro, even though it technically is.) But, I do get your point.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2015
  13. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Manual focus mode, prefocus the lens to a distance from the subject that you can eyeball judge easily and stick to comfortably without getting tired hands, select continuous L or H mode, hold down the shutter button.

    https://www.mu-43.com/threads/40226/page-8#post-789020

    ^ all done on the E-PM2 when for a lot of the time I couldn't see anything at all on the back LCD while shooting. There were about 400 shots of bees, about 30 of which were technically fine and usable but less good than those. Unless the bee is wet, sleeping, cold, or baited with something to feed on, you are making life a lot more difficult for yourself trying to get them with single AF shots at a time.

    And yeah, what everyone else said, 2.8 is getting a bit narrow (even 4.5-5.6 is going to help a lot), use a single smallest size AF box to prefocus if you want to use AF, etc.
     
  14. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Hell yeah, and what LcRunyon also said.

    Getting that bee and that flower in focus so CLOSE with an f2.8 aperture : you might as well try sucking a lion through a straw. :biggrin: (I would assume) :p because the bee is infront of the flower.
    If you got the bee to move across your vision to the flower they would both be in the same focal plane : result!
     
  15. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    I am not a keen AF shooter, MF gives me more control. But I remember using AF to make tis shot; I indeed used the smallest AF box, but it sort of jumpen away from the bee, just a fraction to the right or to the left. Shows that I have to practice AF as well. Sigh.

    Anyway, thank for the advice.
     
  16. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    I looked in the EM5 manual for 'continuous L mode (and -H mode)'. The term 'continuous is only mentioned in conjunction with 'AF'. How does this relate to MF?

    I looked at the link. Stunning! Quite impressive results. I was 'glad' to see that only 5 out of 400 are deemed as keepers. Gives me hope :). The one I posted was the best of 5.

    And yeah, 2.8....... Maybe I thought it's a 2.8 lens, I better use it wide open. No, I must admit that I even didn't think of what aperture to choose, being totally excited to have a bee on a flower in my frame. But a lesson learned, thanks for that!
     
  17. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    This sound strange. The small and the smallest box should never move around by themselves, unless you accidentally pressed the left arrow button with the palm of your hand for example. With smallest I mean the perfect square one.
     
  18. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    Beautifull!
     
  19. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
    Thank you
     
  20. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    Maybe it complicates matters:
    In my initialen post I didn't mention the term 'macro'. One of the reasons for buying the 12-40 are its close focus capabilities.

    So maybe it is to much to ask from a novice such as yours truly, to get macro-results with this lens.

    BTW I visited your blog and found your writing helpfull.