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Selectable Focus Points "Grid"?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by jloden, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    I am pretty sure this doesn't exist, but thought I'd ask anyway just in case.

    Does the GH3 (or any m4/3 camera for that matter) have the option to select a focus point on a grid of 'focus points' instead of across the whole area? I'm looking to duplicate something like on DSLR systems where you can set the direction pad to only select from the subset of cross focus points. I find using the 4-way controller really slow and cumbersome moving around the scene with a small focus point. I would love to be able to just quickly jump across the frame with a few presses and have it jump to some key points rather than every possible location in the frame.

    And yes - I know you can use the touchscreen to select focus area, which works just fine when that's feasible. I just don't want to always have to take the viewfinder away from my eye, swivel the LCD around and select a focus point :wink:
     
  2. Chrisnmn

    Chrisnmn Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 26, 2012
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Chris
    yes my EPM2 and OMD have that.

    I have set that the left arrow button of the cross pad select a focus point from a grid.

    Olympus calls it the AF Area. you can access it through live panel is next to the AF mode
     
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  3. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Thanks Chris! I'm a Panasonic shooter right now but at least it's good to know it exists on the Olympus models if I ever go that route.
     
  4. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Just to be precise, the grid on Olympus covers about 80% of the whole (effective) sensor area. But it is not in the "sanitary napkin" :biggrin: form DSLRs employ. This is one of the biggest advantages of mirrorless with CD-AF, though I suppose it can be substituted with PD-AF as well (by spreading the AF cells on sensor).

    With the OM-D and grip, you can program the extra thumbwheels of the grid to move the focus rectangle around. You can also define a focus area, like a mini-grid, inside the larger grid, but I have seldom found this method convenient enough for my taste.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Easiest way IMHO is to select center or pinpoint, focus, recompose, shoot.

    You can do it with either the half press or the AE/AF LOCK button
     
  6. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    In fact this is what I'm doing most of the time, it's a carry-over from my DSLR days. Also sometimes face priority with closest-eye focus works well for portraits.

    The recompose technique can get tricky though, if one is not accustomed to it. Even with the deeper DOF of :43:, if you're working with large apertures, sometimes you can get out of focus (it is easily learned, though).

    I don't know about Panasonics but it's a good idea to learn to work with the smaller focus rectangle on Oly bodies. I often use the multi-function Fn2 button for this, although IIRC Olympus made the small box a permanent option with the EPL5? Perhaps an OM-D firmware update is due?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Exactly. On all my Panasonic cams I've used center point, smallest focus box, focus/lock and recompose. I've been doing that for over a year, but now that I have the DSLR to compare it to, I like having the ability to quickly change focus points.

    As you noted, the main issue is with large apertures it's possible that just the act of recomposing can put you out of focus. Aside from that, its just sometimes easier to select a different area with a couple button presses and get exactly what you want as the focal point.

    I'm used to focus lock and recompose at this point, just wondering if there is a parallel to the cross-point only focus grid on my GH3 so I don't have to recompose every shot.
     
  8. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I agree! 90% of the time I set the AF to center spot and focus and recompose. However it is possible to set the focus point other than center. I am pretty sure that all of the m4/3 cameras that have touch screens allow the focus to be set by simply touching the point you want focus on. On the Panasonic models it also works in video mode{not sure about the Olympus models and video}.
     
  9. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    729
    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    I leave the screen turned out and use 23 point focus mode, you can touch the screen to select a portion of the screen that is covered by about 6-9 focus points. However you can assign a fcn button to bring up the focus box then use the pad to move it to a part of the screen you want to focus on. I don't have my camera with me atm but will have a look and confirm later. You can use either multipoint sectional focusing or single point.

    Paul
     
  10. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    729
    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    Ok I checked, if you assign one of the function buttons to Focus Area Set when pressed it shows the focus box and you can move it around the screen or EVF using the pad. This works in multipoint and single point modes. In single point mode you can alter the size of the focus square using the thumb or finger wheel.
    It is reset by pressing the OK button in the middle of the pad.
    It's a good system, the G5 is the same.

    Paul
     
  11. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    The problem I have with using the thumb pad + small focus box is it takes forever to move it around the screen, simply, because it covers every possible area. By comparison on the DSLR I've got it set to use just the cross-point sensors and I can leap around it with just a couple button presses.

    On the GH3 multi-point + direct focus area "on" works *almost* the way I want, since it reduces to 9 selectable points on the screen (with 5 squares each). Unfortunately, then it just decides on its own which of the 5 squares in the area to lock onto, which never seems to coincide with whatever I was trying to focus on :biggrin:

    If I could get the 9 or so selectable points with a single focus box that'd be almost perfect.