OM-D E-M1 settings for BIF and things that move

Growltiger

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Opinions please on settings for the E-M1 for BIF and other things that move

There are several variables, and differing opinions.

I use the 75-300 II, set to 300 - not easy.

For example I have used S-AF, single focus point, High speed. Starting point on shutter speed is 1/1000.
It is very hard to get the target in the focus area, but the moment it is there I fire off short bursts and keep trying to track it.
I have had some success - if it got focus there may be some shots in the sequence that are sharp. But there is a lot of luck involved.

I am now going to try C-AF, 9 focus points, Low speed.
The 9 focus points might help me get focus.
The low speed will allow the C-AF to keep acquiring focus during the burst.

The main questions are:
  • one focus point or 9?
  • S-AF and High or C-AF and Low?
  • other suggestions?
 

christofp

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BIF and C-AF

I think as you are already describing the options really good, you have an idea what they are good for.

Anyhow here is my answer:

one focus point or 9?
Depends on the background. If the background has high contrast patterns, chances are good that the AF will lock on the background. But BIF with blue sky might work better with 3x3 focus points.

S-AF and High or C-AF and Low?
If birds stay on the same distance, S-AF or M is best. For action, H-mode is best. But if the subjects come nearer or (most possible) go away then C-AF and L-mode is best.

other suggestions?
Yes, disable shutter prio in C-AF mode. It is enabled by default and does not help at all ..
 

garryf

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So far I've had best success tracking with C-AF low with 9 points, saved as a myset for when I need it, annoyingly some settings don't get saved with it

Other things to check which can make a big difference to CAF

Make sure face detection is off
C-AF LOCK - try on normal
RELEASE LAG-TIME set this to short when using CAF
 

Growltiger

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Thanks for all the suggestions, which I will try.

(garryf: I find pretty much everything is saved with a Myset - but it is a confusing subject. Start another thread if you need help on it.)
 

garryf

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(garryf: I find pretty much everything is saved with a Myset - but it is a confusing subject. Start another thread if you need help on it.)
C-AF LOCK doesn't save but it seems ok to leave it on normal anyways

RELEASE LAG-TIME doesn't save and is probably better on normal most of the time, there's threads about what it does if you search, does seem to improve tracking though on short
 

Growltiger

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I've been trying various settings today.

I found that C-AF is far less good at achieving focus than S-AF in poor conditions. And it is much slower. Looking at the surface of a lake the focus oscillated continuously around the correct focus. S-AF worked perfectly and instantly.

This also meant that using Continuous Low was still too fast for C-AF to maintain focus. However I'm staying with Low rather than High as I find it quite fast enough.

I found that using 9 focus points worked well. I will keep this setting.

I already have face detection off - it wrecked a photo when it detected a house as being a person.

Conclusions for BIF using the 75-300 set to 300
  • 1/1000 as a starting point.
  • ISO 1600 as a starting point.
  • S-AF
  • Continuous Low
  • 9 focus points
  • Technique: Take multiple short bursts.
Here is one from today - not very good as it was against a bright white sky:

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

shg2

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Good subject and good recommendations/findings.

If I may ask, what is the difference between SAF low vs CAF low since the camera will auto focus with every frame when it set on low continuous shooting?
 

Growltiger

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Good subject and good recommendations/findings.

If I may ask, what is the difference between SAF low vs CAF low since the camera will auto focus with every frame when it set on low continuous shooting?
Yes, the camera should in theory auto focus with every frame when set on continuous low. I tried it. But what I found was the C-AF can be slow to find focus, it is much slower than S-AF. Some difficult scenes that S-AF gets immediately, C-AF struggles to get at all. If it is too slow, it just can't keep up with the change in distance of the subject. So what my tests showed was that I was much better off leaving it on S-AF and firing multiple short bursts. You can use continuous low or high.
 

barry13

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Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


California Quail (one of the fastest Quail; up to 50mph / 80kph). These guys don't really have a throttle; they're either walking on the ground or flying full tilt (short distances only).

E-M1
S-AF, single shot (not burst)
Center Focus Point, Small

12-40mm Pro @ 40mm, f5.6
ISO 200
1/400

Notes:
I panned the camera as I shot this.
100% crop; The bird was in the center focus point before crop.
It could probably be a bit sharper (but note this is a 100% crop); I blame myself for not using a wider aperture / faster shutter.

So far I'm having good luck with BIFs with this lens. A tele would probably be (much??) harder.

Barry
 

barry13

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I took the Oly 'kit' 40-150mm to Santa Barbara last week; had a high success rate with it on the seagulls and pelicans.

Haven't tried my ZD 70-300mm yet, but it's not known for fast AF.

Barry
 
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