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How do you focus on what you want?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Johnny1.33, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. Johnny1.33

    Johnny1.33 Mu-43 Regular

    113
    Jun 4, 2011
    When I was in the store playing with the E-PL1 I noticed that is sometimes focus on what I wanted. Say you were taking a portrait, how can you get it to focus on the person? Should the focus point be changed? How can I keep it from front or back focusing?
     
  2. Covey22

    Covey22 Mu-43 Regular

    91
    May 3, 2011
    New England, USA
    For portraits, you can enable Face Detection, which is pretty reliable 85-90% of the time, especially when you're dealing with small groups of persons all roughly in a line perpendicular to you (i.e., they're all side-by-side).

    You can also manually choose your AF point out of the 11-sensor array by pressing the left-hand segment button (the one with the three dots), that will activate the AF array and you can use all four segment buttons to move the array around until you overlay the desired point of interest.

    There is also an undocumented feature to reduce the size of the AF sensor point to allow fine-tuning. Instead of the 11-sensor array that is normally shown, the box gets immensely smaller. Unfortunately, it also means you're having to press the segment keys more to move it around the LCD/VF, but it is a much finer AF approach. You can also leave the AF point at that smaller setting, half-press and the AF picks up more selective contrast targets using that tinier box.

    And of course, with native u4/3 lenses, you can set S-AF plus MF, and every time you grab the focus ring, the LCD/VF jumps to a 10x view to allow you to fine-tune the focus on exactly what you want. Once you stop moving the ring, it zooms out to normal framing view.

    As for front-back focus, I haven't noticed this on my PL1, and I've used the 14, the 20 and the Oly kit 14-42 Mk I. Sometimes contrast detect can't find a decent enough target, but for the most part, it does, even under poor lighting conditions. Suffice it to say, since the AF system opens the lens to it's maximum aperture in order to allow all the light it can and optimize the AF process, it's very helpful to have a fast-aperture lens. Once AF is achieved and you close the shutter button, it stops down to the taking aperture and captures the shot.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    Very useful post, thanks - is the function above also available on the E-PL2 by any chance?
     
  4. st3v4nt

    st3v4nt Mu-43 Veteran

    317
    May 26, 2011
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Of course never heard Olympus remove useful feature from their camera, on the contrary they keep add the new feature...:-D
     
  5. Covey22

    Covey22 Mu-43 Regular

    91
    May 3, 2011
    New England, USA
    It should be available on the E-PL2. Model owners can chime in and confirm.
     
  6. Phil B

    Phil B Mu-43 Regular

    45
    May 13, 2011
    UK
    The first time I took out my E-PL1 without having read the manual first, I struggled with the same problem....halfway round the walk through the woods, and I was beginning to regret buying it.
     
  7. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    DekHog: Yes, but you can't have both the smaller AF box and MF Assist at the same time - MF Assist is only triggered on the E-PL2 when the AF box is at its default size.

    You can enable MF Assist in the Custom Menu "A".
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Are you sure about that? I only use the small AF box, and I use MF Assist all the time. I've never had MF Assist fail to trigger.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    At least on my E-PL2 (firmware v1.0), MF Assist cannot be triggered if the smaller AF box is selected. I can still manually focus, of course.
     
  10. iliakoltsov

    iliakoltsov Mu-43 Regular

    195
    Aug 7, 2010
    Paris
    MF assist :D all the way
     
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Oh yes, you are right. I just tried it out... I've been canceling out the box before manually focusing, lol.
     
  12. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I use center point focus and then compose. 11-point autofocus has been incredibly inconsistent and useless on this camera for me, I dunno. I have two problems with S-AF + MF, though. First off, i have to half press the shutter the whole time or it will simply auto again. Second, it automatically jumps into zoom mode when I turn the ring, but it jumps out way too quickly. I'm new to this, I need some time to check the focus and I can't find a setting to make it wait.

    I go into zoom mode and MF manually instead, so just S-AF.
     
  13. Dave Jenkins

    Dave Jenkins Mu-43 Veteran

    Doesn't work that way on my E-PL1.
     
  14. Kanine

    Kanine New to Mu-43

    8
    May 7, 2011
    How is this enabled? Cheers.
     
  15. Kanine

    Kanine New to Mu-43

    8
    May 7, 2011
    Figured it out. For those who don't know - press the zoom button. That little box is now your AF point.
     
  16. Covey22

    Covey22 Mu-43 Regular

    91
    May 3, 2011
    New England, USA
    Dave - I'm not sure what to tell you. Using the OK button to access the Quick Menu, I can scroll down to the AF mode and change to S-AF plus MF. You may need to rotate the focus ring on the lens one way and then the other, because the way that the focus ring on the lens is activated is also a custom setting.
     
  17. Covey22

    Covey22 Mu-43 Regular

    91
    May 3, 2011
    New England, USA
    It is picky in that regard; there is a very brief timeout (not customizable AFAIK), in that the camera senses you've stopped turning the ring and assumes you've acheived the MF focus point. What is really needed is a true AF/M switch on the lens to disable AF operations so you don't need to maintain the half-press. But given how small the native lenses are now - especially the 14 and the 20, I don't see that happening.
     
  18. walt_tbay

    walt_tbay Mu-43 Veteran

    322
    Aug 24, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    The auto focus was my main frustration with my E-P1, which is now used exclusively with legacy glass and my Nokton. . The "focusing where I want to" issue is exactly why I love my GF2. You touch the screen where you want it to focus and it does :smile:
     
  19. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I managed to find a solution that works for me: the Fn button (the grid looking one) can be remapped to toggle between S-AF and MF. Waaay more useful than S-AF + MF.
     
  20. rex87

    rex87 Mu-43 Regular

    192
    Jun 21, 2011
    winnipeg, mb
    hi, guys im new here and i got epl-1 my question is do you guys use i-auto all the time or the A or M?.

    I dont know how to use A, P, S, and M mode..