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PM1 - fireworks mode?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by chris3cm, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. chris3cm

    chris3cm New to Mu-43

    Mar 3, 2012
    This is my first post here. After reading these forums I plumped for a PM1 with 14-42 and 40-150 lenses (upgrading from FZ38). So far, I've got some great shots, mainly scenery and macro, and am well pleased with the camera, in terms of image quality, size/weight and functionality.
    BUT, last night I heard a fireworks display in the showground across the road, so I grabbed the PM1, set it to fireworks mode, ran outside and ...... nothing, apart from a few blurred shots with a 10 second time lag in between. I have taken fantastic firework shots in the past with the FZ38 (and even the TZ3) set in fireworks mode, so this was disappointing to say the least.
    On closer investigation I noticed that the PM1 fireworks mode is set to manual focus (what??? why???) and I can't seem to override it. Yes, I could set the exposure etc myself (I have an SLR background) but I didn't have the time last night.
    My question - why is the Oly fireworks mode so inferior to the Lumix one, or (most likely as I'm still learning the PM1) am I doing something wrong?
    Any help gratefully received,
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, fireworks should be shot in manual focus. The ONLY reason your P&S doesn't default to manual focus is because there IS no manual focus on that camera. How is your camera supposed to Autofocus on something that exists one second and doesn't exist the next? It'll be focusing in and out repeatedly, never having enough time to lock on.

    Either set your focus to Infinity, or else find something in the sky that's close enough to where the fireworks are going to be set off.

    Second, were you shooting on a tripod? Fireworks are meant to be shot at somewhat longish exposures in order to capture the streaks in an appealing fashion. I don't know exactly what shutter speed the scene mode would default to, but it should be long enough to require a tripod. I shoot mine around 1/10s.

    I would never use Fireworks mode to shoot fireworks. Fireworks require one setting which you keep throughout the entire show. Just set your focus to infinity, your shutter speed to 1/10s, then find an aperture size that gets a nice exposure at that speed, maybe f/5.6 to f/8. When you're dealing with the scattered fireworks in the sky, open up to the widest aperture of your pre-determined range, then when the fireworks get busy and bright, stop down to the smallest aperture in that range. You shouldn't need more than about one stop between those two scenarios, maybe two. It takes no more time to set up in Manual than finding the Scene mode that says Fireworks.
  3. chris3cm

    chris3cm New to Mu-43

    Mar 3, 2012
    Thanks, Ned - that explains it - and a good lesson in the difference between P & S and micro 4/3rds (orCSC) systems. I have used P&S for so many years now that I have got lazy! One of my reasons for moving to the PM1 was to improve my photography and revisit what I learned in my SLR days, and learn new techniques. Looks like I have much to learn, but that's no problem - I'll have fun doing it. Thanks again
  4. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I shoot my fireworks in auto focus.

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

    Then my focus button is not my shutter release button.

    • Like Like x 3
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, good point Gary! I should have pointed out that difference... Scene modes are not made for those of us who use customized functions like Back-Button AF. With Back-Button AF you can pre-focus and set focus with the back-button and the camera will not try to re-focus every time you release the shutter. You can use Back-Button AF to shoot fireworks for the same reason that Manual focus works well, because of the separation between AF and Shutter Release. That's the reason for AF to be disabled in scene mode, not because AF itself is no good but because of its default tie-in with the shutter release and the corresponding need to refocus with every shot.

    Scene modes as well as iAuto, don't allow for your personalized options like back-button AF. It takes over and puts everything to the default settings.
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