OM-D Manual Focus Override?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by sgreszcz, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. sgreszcz

    sgreszcz Mu-43 Veteran

    439
    Oct 7, 2012
    Can someone help me better understand how the manual focus override and magnification works?

    I have set the magnification to the front button, and I can control the magnification with the front wheel. I also have the camera set to AF-S + M. When I adjust the manual focus ring on the lens does the camera "forget" the previous autofocus (half-button press) when you fully press the shutter or does it re-focus automatically?

    Any tips, pointers, or links to information about how to best use the manual focus on the OM-D would be appreciated.
     
  2. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sam
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yup, what Sam said... if you don't want the camera to re-focus on shutter release, you have to keep the shutter half-pressed FIRST and let the camera perform an autofocus (as frivolous as it may be) BEFORE starting to manually focus.

    If you're smart though (I'm kidding), then you'll take the AF function away from the shutter release altogether and move it to a back-button. This will prevent you from ever having this AF/MF conflict or other AF "refocusing" issues again. It will also allow you to meter your exposure in a different spot than where you lock your autofocus.

    Rather than me explaining the advantages of back-button focus I'll link you to a handy Canon article on the matter (Canon actually made the first camera which was capable of this): Canon DLC: Article: Back-Button Auto Focus Explained
    The key points are that it allows you to pre-focus without the camera re-focusing on shutter release (which many cameras have a tendency to do even if you use the half-press of the shutter) giving you faster and less frustrating AF, and it separates AutoFocus, AutoExposure, and Shutter Release into 3 separate functions so you have full control over each. This way you don't have to meter off the same subject you focus on.

    So if you decide that's for you, then here are the steps to set it up:

    Go to Menu => Sprocket => Button/Dial => AEL/AFL. There you can set Single AF, C-AF, and MF modes. Mode 3 is the one that assigns any of those AF types to the back-button. If you set MF to Mode 3, then that will still give you MF capabilities with the focus ring, but will add S-AF capabilities to the back-button. If you set C-AF to Mode 3, that will give you continuous AF as long as you hold down the back-button. You can also set S-AF to Mode 3, but in my opinion this is redundant if you have MF set to to Mode 3. You get S-AF + MF by using MF Mode 3 anyways. I just leave S-AF to the default Mode 1 just in case I ever for whatever crazy reason want to switch to shutter-focus. But I never do. ;)

    Next, after you have your AF modes set, all you need to do is assign your AFL button, which will be your back focus button. On the PEN cameras this is in Menu => Sprocket => Button/Dial => Button Function, but this is the one part that can vary between models. For instance, on my old E-System cameras there was only one AFL button but it could be swapped to the Fn button so you had two choices instead (if I remember, I think the E-P1 was the same). With the newer PEN cameras your possibilities are much more expandable, and the OM-D has the most customizable buttons yet, allowing you to use the Fn1, Fn2, or Record buttons which are right by your right fingers for easy access. I would also suggest setting one of these to ISO. ;)

    Of course, you then need to go through your regular control panel to set your camera to use one of the AF types that you have set to Mode 3, or use Menu => Sprocket => AF/MF => AF Mode to do that.
     
  4. d2mini

    d2mini Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Oct 21, 2012
    Fulshear, TX
    dennis
    The only problem with setting up the back button to focus is that you can't take advantage of the OM-D's lightening fast AF (unless you use the touch feature of the rear lcd). As long as your focus point is in the right spot, you don't need to half press the shutter button to focus. Just quickly press it all the way and it focuses/takes the shot with no perceivable lag between the two action. Impressive, and handy for actions. And faster than you could manage to press the rear button then the shutter button.

    Just a thought. :)
     
  5. sgreszcz

    sgreszcz Mu-43 Veteran

    439
    Oct 7, 2012
    Thanks for the replies, it gives me something to experiment with over the weekend.

    I guess what I was finding while playing with the magnified view is that when I enable it, and check/adjust the focus manually, I then need to press the shutter to take the picture and that causes it to (re) autofocus as it jumps back no normal (non-magnified) view in the EVF.

    So the only way that the camera will not adjust the AF when pressing the shutter is to assign it to another button.

    Maybe I'm totally missing out on how to properly use the magnification feature to assist with manual focusing.

    A lot of these features are new to me as I just made a huge upgrade from a basic Nikon D40 which had 3 focus points and that was it. Maybe it is better to keep it simple like that :)
     
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Oh, to add to what d2mini and I said, you can easily set your camera up so you can switch between the standard AF-on-the-shutter and back-button AF with just a couple clicks. If you set your camera up like I do, keeping S-AF on Mode 1 or Mode-2, and setting MF to Mode-3, then all you need to do is switch AF mode to S-AF whenever you want to go back to the default way, or switch it to MF whenever you want AF on the back button.

    Otherwise, by default MF mode disables AF altogether... which is just wasteful. By setting MF to Mode 3, you gain an extra function which you never had there before - without disrupting the original MF function at all.
     
  7. jerrykur

    jerrykur Mu-43 Regular

    81
    Aug 23, 2012
    Northern CA
    Does the back focus button work different than Canon's? With a Canon camera many people set up their camera so that your thumb is used to push the AF button while you eye is in the viewfinder and your index finger is on the shutter release. Pressing the shutter release is often set to have no impact on the focus. This allows you to focus (one shot mode or tracking) with a simple push of your thumb and release the shutter at the critical moment.
     
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, it works the exact same way with Olympus. With the OM-D you have a huge selection of buttons you can use as your AFL button, whatever is most comfortable for your hands. Whichever button you assign to the function of "AEL" will be your AF back-button when Mode-3 is enabled.
     
  9. d2mini

    d2mini Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Oct 21, 2012
    Fulshear, TX
    dennis
    From what i understand (haven't played with it on the om-d much yet) is yes, it works the same. What I was referring to above is for situations where your subject is moving or where a photo opportunity arises so quickly you barely have the time to raise the camera and snap the shot. Instances like that. It all depends how you need to use your camera. It's pretty nice that these options are available, and as Ned points out, you can save these options for quick access.