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Sharper AF tips?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by number17, May 25, 2018.

  1. number17

    number17 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 19, 2011
    Maybe it's nitpicking, but recently when I blow up my photos for editing I find that maybe ~ 30-40% of them aren't perfectly in focus, even for rather stationary objects. There are photos they are taken at even 1/10000 (outdoor pics, direct sunlight) that aren't 100% sharp. In fact, some are out of focus to a point I can't use them.

    At 1/10000 I'm sure it's not the photographer (me!) ... any tips on how to improve the focus?

    I have tried switching from S-AF to S-AF with manual adjust, and I manually zoom in on EVF and focus before I take the photos. The problem with that is, for a lot of pictures where I don't have the luxury of time to manually adjust the focus, I accidentally touch the focus ring on the lens and put the AF picture out of focus.

    I am using single point focus (in the center) with the finer AF point (25 x 25 vs 9x9? ... the smaller focus point anyways)

    And it is definitely lens specific ... I get much better result with the Panny-Leica 25mm f1.4 instead of the Panny 20mm f1.7 lens.

    Any tips I can try?
  2. alex g

    alex g Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Mar 30, 2016
    New York / Bath
    Do you wait for the little green focus confirmation dot to appear before releasing the shutter? One thought I have is that because the 20/1.7 has a relatively slow AF mechanism, you may be releasing the shutter before it's reached the correct focus position. There is a menu option to select which has priority: release or focus. In this case, "focus" would be better, because then the camera won't release the shutter until it HAS acquired focus.
  3. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    What camera are you using?Also if you blow up pic too big they all look out of focus. Also process pics first before you judge. JPEGs look sharper at first glance.
  4. MNm43

    MNm43 Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 19, 2014
    Just to be clear -
    What model camera are you using?
    What F-stop(s) are you seeing this at?
    What IBIS mode (if any) are you using?
    How much are you "blowing up" your photos?
    What ISO are you using?
    JPEGs or Raw?
    Are you doing any post processing?
  5. RyanM

    RyanM Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 16, 2017
    Some example photos (and accompanying 100% crops) would be helpful, along with the info requested above.
  6. Stop using the centre focus point with focus-recompose, this isn't a DSLR with centre point being 'better'. Select the right focus point, focus, and immediately release. Don't give you or the subject time to move, and don't shift focus by recomposing.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  7. FWIW, I've had two Panny 20mm 1.7 and wasn't satisfied with either of them. It may just be that like me, you have a bad copy. Also, and despite m43 being more forgiving than other formats, as wjiang points out, recomposing after focusing can put you out of focus
  8. Frances McMullen

    Frances McMullen New to Mu-43

    Oct 4, 2017
    I was have that trouble when using the H setting for multiple shots per second. When using single shot, every frame is as sharp as can be.
  9. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
    Thanks, that's solved one of my problems.
  10. number17

    number17 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 19, 2011
    I see ... so that's interesting to know. So you can't do the DSLR trick and 'lock' focus with the center point and re-compose (within a reasonable range of motion obviously)?

    It will take longer time to focus though, if I have to move the cursor around with the D-pad
  11. That old DSLR trick never really worked... Mirrorless is no different. It was only sort of okay earlier because the circle of confusion on lower resolution sensors meant you could fudge the DoF. You'd be silly to try the same now on something like a 5DS or D850.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. JNB

    JNB Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2014
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Focus and recompose was a standard operating method in the days of the rangefinder. You couldn't move the central rangefinder spot! But lenses can have field curvature (some fairly extensive), which leads to sub-par focus when you focus on a subject in the centre, then shift that subject to a corner in the frame. Modern Oly/Panasonic cameras have LCD touch-screen focusing (and focus/shoot), but photographers like me want to use the EVF. Some camera models allow you to use the EVF and touch-LCD for focusing (with your thumb, but hopefully not your nose). This is often faster than buttons or wheels. Unfortunately, my E-M5 II doesn't seem to support this (please, someone tell me how if I'm wrong). Another "kludgy" way to focus and recompose is to use continuous-AF-tracking mode. Half-depress to obtain focus, then hold that half depress while recomposing.

    Edit: Almost forgot about face/eye detection when photographing people. Seems to work pretty well on my E-M5 ii.
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  13. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    f4 - f8
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. BrentC

    BrentC Mu-43 Veteran

    May 31, 2017
    Brampton, Ontario
    You are wrong.

    There are multiple ways to move focus point while looking through the EVF. Through the SCP, directional pad and touch screen. I can't remember the setting for the touch screen because I keep mine off but the setting is there.

    **Edit - maybe you are not wrong. I just realized you meant using the EVF while using the touch screen. Maybe only for EM10 and Pen.

    ***Another edit - more research and looks like the EM10, Pen and EM1mkII will do this but not the EM5mkii or EM1mki. I have no idea why they are selective on this feature.
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  15. number17

    number17 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 19, 2011
    moving the focus point with the D-pad sounds like a cool idea but having tried it for weeks, it's very slow, especially when you finally got to your focus point with your thumb, you take your thumb off the screen, and the cursor would always move just when you take your thumb off just to piss you off.

    D-pad is probably the fastest but still nothing compared to the center spot - lock focus - recompose method ... too bad it doesn't work ;) 
  16. number17

    number17 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 19, 2011
    What was explained to me, was when you use the center point to lock focus, usually everything within those 6" or so (depending on your focal length, can be even deeper) would be in focus, so as long as you don't move the subject off by 6" or more when you re-compose you would still be in-focus after. I guess that isn't really true.

    I primarily compose using the EVF so while clicking on the LCD screen to focus and snap picture is a good idea, I don't typically compose that way (Not 100% of the times anyways).

    And the fact detection doesn't work very well, especially if there are multiple faces in the picture.
  17. Agree. Unless you're sitting on top of your subject, recomposing whilst keeping shutter button depressed after focusing shouldn't make much difference to focus when stopped down. One of the major attractions for me when switching to m43 was the added DOF
  18. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 24, 2018
    Face detection is nice in theory.
    In practice, I found that it focuses on the WRONG faces too many times. And the more people in the scene, the worse it is.
    It is best when ONLY your subjects are in the scene, so that it won't focus on another face.
    I have not figured out a way to tell the camera which face to focus on.
  19. Mikehit

    Mikehit Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2018
    Depth of field is about what is acceptably in focus - when focussed there is only ever one plane 'in focus' and whether anything 'looks in focus enough' depends on viewing size and viewing distance (something very few DOF calculators really explain well) which is why an image can look great on the camera LCD and crap on a 24" screen.

    It is all about angles and perpendiculars. This shows it well

    The Problem With The Focus-Recompose Method
  20. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Put the camera/lens combo on a tripod and use a remote or timed release. This will rule out any user error. If it works in this environment, then you need to concentrate on your technique. If not, then time to sell the lens. Also, do you have a second body that you can use with the lens?

    Good luck,

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