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Missed Focus - Human error and camera/lens

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by oto02, Jul 27, 2015.

  1. oto02

    oto02 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    Melbourne, VICTORIA, AU
    Past weekend went for a photo session with an actress - something outdoor like hipster mood session:
    - Weather was overcast and sort of dark-ish
    - Cameras: 2 x EM5 Mk1 and 1 x E-PM2
    - Lenses: Oly 75mm, Lumix 25mm 1.4 and Oly 12mm f2
    - Additional lights CN 160 LED

    The outcome was terrible, from aprox 300 shoots IF there are 20 usable it's a big thing.
    Most of them are missed focus especially the ones from Oly 75. When are missedfocused they look very grainy too like more noise than you'd normally expect from ISO 3200.
    I was totally in disbelieve when I downloaded on my comp. On that little camera screen they looked okay, but once I magnified on the laptop - the result was shocking.
    Now, I know it's not cameras fault, it's me, but I wonder how and what happened on that day that I ended up with such a great number of photos (the majority) missed focused.

    I will upload photos tonight from home, but any comments and hints would be much appreciated.
  2. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    We're you using f1.8 with the 75mm? If so, the focus plane will be extremely tiny. Depending on what your focus locked on, you may have virtually nothing in focus.

    ISO 3200 in out of focus areas is going to look grainier than the in focus bits.
  3. oto02

    oto02 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    Melbourne, VICTORIA, AU
    You are spot on, looks like virtually was nothing in focus. And yes, I was using f1.8 on 75mm and f1.4-2 on the Panaleica 25mm.
    And I used the smallest focus point and screen focus most of the times (as the bigger rectangle).
  4. oto02

    oto02 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    Melbourne, VICTORIA, AU
    And here are the row examples that I was referring to, all out of focus with different focal lenses 12, 25 and 75.
    Not happy Jan at all.

    Attached Files:

  5. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 26, 2014
    The bits you focussed on look quite sharp to me. Those are the bits with the writing on...
    Did you try to focus on an eye?

    When you use these very wide apertures on a three dimensional subject almost nothing is in focus, that is the whole idea of wide apertures. Focus on an eye and the nose and ears are blurred. (I prefer to use a smaller aperture such as 5.6 but I know wide open is fashionable.)

    What shutter speed - there is no EXIF data here.
  6. panonski

    panonski Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 13, 2014
    I also have focus problems sometimes ( maybe even often then sometimes ) and I read several things about that.

    First, as I can see for myself, and from what I've read, CAF is not happier solution for best results. PDAF is much better.

    Often I focus right to the head, and yet, head is less sharp, then shoulders, or something else.

    Often I was thinking about "sharp field", and by that, I mean where is the begining point of sharpness, and where is the ending.

    For example,
    You nail it on the eyes with 5.6 apperture.

    Is your nailed spot begining, middle, or near end of "sharp field". ?

    If the sharp field begining about somewhere where you nail your focus point, the subject will be out of focus, if come closer to you, for example, move the body little.

    If the spot is in middle of sharp area ( which is perfect , but I don't know how camera work since I never had tested it ) you have good chances to take a good shoot, even if your model is "swinging" a little.

    We have a third solution, that the focus point is on the end of sharp area, but I beleive that is never the case.


    How I solve this problems?

    Well I must admit, I have to put my apperture higher, on 5,6-8, cause I want to be sure everything I focus, would be in focus.

    It's obviously not the happier solution, but it's the easiest.


    Focus points should be tested somehow, to see what you exactly get.
  7. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    You are too close to subject to use wide open. Parts of subject are in focus.If you use a focal box this is not entirely accurate as camera will pick up near by sharp patterns such as brick wall. Solution,use manual focus. Stop down lens. Some pictures showed motion blur. What camera speed? You may need fill flash
  8. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    You can quickly check DoF with this tool:


    With an "American shot" portrait you have only 4 cm in focus (yes, you have eight, but four are in front of the subject and are usually wasted). And getting closer things get "worse".

    With a DoF so small using "focus and recompose" can be dangerous and is better to place the AF box correctly from the beginning and taking the shot right after the focus is acquired.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2013
    You can also use SAF, Face detection, Eye detection. I use the small single box to focus/recompose. Not sure why you would need ISO 3200 for daylight photos...esp wide open.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    On my E-PM2, if you view the pictures in the camera, you can press a button on the back (I think it might be labeled "info") and the camera will put a little green square where the focus point was. The info is also stored in the raw file but is hard to interrogate out of the camera (there was a thread on here about it a while back). Anyway, it might help sort out what was going on...
  11. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    If I shoot something like this I would most likely be in the f/2.8-4 range. Especially if my subject is moving or it's just fast paced.

    ISO 3200 on an EM5 is good... for 3200. I would go for 800 or lower. Unless I was going for a gritty, grainy look. Even then I'd prefer a clean image that I can add grain to.

    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. oto02

    oto02 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    Melbourne, VICTORIA, AU
    The thing is, I did shoots with 75mm 2.8 with outstanding results, and the talent was all in focus -here's one example:
    This is my problem now, dunno why that happened, with two camera ...
    I'll try with face detection to see if it's gettin any better. Also I'll stick with wider aperture, as I like the look, I wouldn't go pass 2.8.
    As per why I used 3200, it was on Auto and even was during the day, it was a dark one with clouds and bear in mind here Downunder it's winter now, days are grey and short.
    Thanks everyone for your input.

    Attached Files:

  13. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    First lesson, always take time to zoom in on an occasional shot just to check focus.
    I often use the 75mm at f/1.8, about 5 feet from the subject for a head shoulders shots. I use S-AF with the small focus points and I manually set it on the closest eye.
    Must have been pretty dark out for 3200 ISO. I would find the light in my camera bag (a flash or two) and supplement the natural light with them.
  14. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    For the record, PDAF is not automagically superior to CDAF. Missed focus is missed focus, and Oly eye detect AF (contrast based) works quite excellently.
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