manual focus

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Pap, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Pap

    Pap Mu-43 Regular

    81
    Jun 16, 2010
    Fleetwood, PA
    This may have been discussed but I haven’t found it in search.
    Anyway here goes. How difficult is it to use manual focus on the EPL-1 using the LCD? I really don’t wish to buy the eye level viewer so please eliminate that for at least the moment. I understand for certain situations such as a moving subject manual focus can be a problem. But in those instances where the subject is still or where an area can be pre-focused how difficult does it become?
    Pap
     
  2. et100

    et100 Mu-43 Regular

    80
    Feb 15, 2010
    Chicago area - USA
    Its not too difficult, you can use the magnify button and you get a close look at your subject and make sure you are in focus.
    It helps if you have steady hands and might be tricky if you have the sun behind you.
     
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  3. Pap

    Pap Mu-43 Regular

    81
    Jun 16, 2010
    Fleetwood, PA
    O.K. My concern is with the older Nikon lenses that I have. I know they won't focus in auto and I believe when using them the focus is accomplished with the lens wide open. I was simply wondering how efficient it could be carried out.
    Pap
     
  4. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    780
    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    Real Name:
    Peter
    I have the E-P1 but the process is essentially the same as far as I am aware (although the control setup would be different).

    If you need, you can use the magnification viewing screen (I think it called zoom).

    When you want to focus the lens, open it up to its widest aperture, e.g. f/1.4

    If required, using the zoom screen to magnificy the image and focus the lens. After doing that, zoom back to normal and if required, change the viewing screen to another more appropriate screen.

    Stop the lens down to the taking aperture, e.g. f/5.6.

    Compose and press the shutter provided your exposure is right.

    The whole process doesn't take long but works best in situations where you can pre-focus and then deal with the image taking.

    Cheers

    PeterB666
     
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  5. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    780
    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    Real Name:
    Peter
    For panoramas, regardless of if using HDR or not, I would not use the built in panorma mode (cannot use that with HDR anyway as you cannot bracket) and would normally preset the focus and switch it to manual focus.

    For HDR, you need a minimum of 3 shots but the number I take varies with the scene, i.e. basically the perceived dynamic range.

    As for tripods, the heaver the better but that isn't always practical. My main tripod is a Manfrotto 190 XDB with 391RC2 head. It was good value and does most things well. For me it strikes a good balance between sturdyness and weight.
     
  6. kiynook

    kiynook Mu-43 Regular

    70
    Aug 16, 2010
    you need to train your eyes to confirm focus otherwise you will do nasty contrast focus detects by twirling your focus ring back and forth many times to compare...

    however, the benefit of MF is when you want to add OOF you can choose to aim at a subject in any part of your viewfinder while composing....much like the old one touch zoom and focus except in this case one touch compose and focus

    haa haa....imaging mastering one touch zoom focus and one touch compare focus...you could beat AF... ;-)
     
  7. kiynook

    kiynook Mu-43 Regular

    70
    Aug 16, 2010
    You would want to stitch pictures as if they are viewed through a panoramic camera, i.e. all same exposure and all same focus and most important of all same camera position.

    I failed miserably hand-held on my E-P2 on AF with the Panoramic Scene selected. A one way tripod is needed. Luckily the Panoramic Scene did AEL and AFL so I could still stitch albeit very choppy scene.

    Applying the lessons learned, I would say for MF you can be sure about AFL if you don't touch the focusing ring after first shot but you need to engage AEL and use one way tripod.

    Even on NEX 5 testing, I needed to pan smoothly and horizontally steady.
     
  8. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I found MF on my EPL-1 to be fairly straight forward. Easier on a tripod as the way you hold the camera when looking at the LCD isn't exactly the best way to keep it steady.

    That said, no it's not that difficult.


     
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  9. chylld

    chylld Mu-43 Regular Charter Member

    160
    Jan 13, 2010
    I actually found MF on my E-PL1 quite bothersome (with my 50/1.1, probably an extreme case though)

    Yes it is easy to zoom in to 7/10/14x with the press of a button, but it's obviously impossible to compose your picture at this setting so you either have to compose before or after. While it's easy enough, I felt that the extra step was getting in the way of my photography.

    I postponed my VF-2 purchase for months, trying to get used to the LCD screen but without zooming in I just kept missing. But with the VF-2 it's just so much better - I don't even have to zoom in and my hit rate is 90%+ at print resolution (100% at Facebook res lol)

    So to answer your question, no it is not difficult but it is troublesome. The VF-2 makes it easier and not troublesome at all.
     
  10. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro Charter Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    MF with EP-1 = two problems - the LCD and the Oly controls

    I find MF with MF lenses hopeless, (or should I say "hit and miss"), on the EP cams most of the time when using the LCD
    (I have used and do use RF glass, (CV, Leica and Canon), SLR glass (Nikon, Canon, Pentax and others)

    It is OK when using scale focusing and a wide angle - but then that's not MF really, is it? - and with a crop of x2 - wide angle is expensive

    MF with the EP is very difficult in bright sunlight - and not much better in any other light

    The Oly menu and controls are just a little better than terrible when trying to use MF wide open - the "stupid Oly wheel" is so sensitive that it is "insensitive" to the point that you never really know "where you are" without re checking

    In my view it is a real shame that they do not include (or have a built in), vf and also the lack of focus confirm is surprising

    As far as camera controls are concerned, Oly M4/3 have a lot to learn from other manufacturers - or have they just ignored what the DSLR market, (including Olympus), have designed.

    Pity, but maybe M43 is really only an AF P & S cam - (after 6 months with an EP-1 and G1 - I am gradually moving back to my D300 and I am now tempted towards a used M8)

    I am a M43 fan - in fact I am a fan on all cams - I really welcomed the ability to use MF glass on the G1 and EP-1 - but the MF novelty has just worn off as, for me, it has really become (very) tedious - and I now just stick with the dedicated M43 lenses (which are very good) - 90% of the time

    (One proviso - It is OK/good on a tripod indoors)
     
  11. riveredger

    riveredger Mu-43 Regular

    126
    Aug 30, 2010
    Northern NJ
    much better with viewfinder

    I know you said that you didn't want to talk about the VF-2, but I tried to manually focus with it and without it. Without it, I thought I was focusing properly, but when I got back to my PC I found my pics were slightly blurred. With the viewfinder . . . perfect.

    I am using a Nikon 50mm 1.8 E pancake lens, by the way.


    Oh, and this is my first post here . . . hi everyone!
     
  12. dulaney22

    dulaney22 Mu-43 Regular

    106
    Aug 18, 2010
    I've been having some difficulty with depth of focus on manual lens and it may be because I'm not magnifying and focusing at wide open first. I have been zooming to focus at the aperture setting I plan to use and have noticed say, for instance, I'm taking a shot of my 3 girls one of them may be out of focus a little because she is a touch closer to me.

    What does focusing first at wide open do in this scenario?
     
  13. PeterB666

    PeterB666 Mu-43 Top Veteran Charter Member

    780
    Jan 14, 2010
    Tura Beach, Australia
    Real Name:
    Peter
    It reduces the depth of field to the absolute minimum so you can more accurately find the correct point of focus.

    With wide open, I am referring to the aperture and not the focal length.
     
  14. dulaney22

    dulaney22 Mu-43 Regular

    106
    Aug 18, 2010
    Thank you. I'll try some test shots this evening. I don't yet fully understand how distance and aperture relates to DOF. I see the results of settings and am trying to figure out how to control it.