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

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Growltiger, Jul 9, 2014.

  1. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 26, 2014
    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?
  2. christofp

    christofp Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 21, 2012
    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 ..
  3. garryf

    garryf Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 11, 2012
    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
  4. RenaudVL

    RenaudVL Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 21, 2011
  5. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 26, 2014
    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.)
  6. garryf

    garryf Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 11, 2012
    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
  7. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 26, 2014
    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:

  8. shg2

    shg2 Mu-43 Regular

    May 14, 2014
    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?
  9. Growltiger

    Growltiger Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 26, 2014
    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.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Real Name:
    Nice crisp shot. I almost always dial in extra exposure when shooting BIF with bright skies. Eventually it became a habit.

    Good luck,

  11. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    E8044257-quail crop16-9 RT.

    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).

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

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

    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.

  12. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    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.