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Video newbie - AF question

Discussion in 'Filmmaking' started by zettapixel, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    First of all, sorry for stupid questions as I'm a complete newbie when it comes to video.
    I took video of my 6yo daughter's first gymnastics performances with E-P1+14-150 on monopod in C-AF mode (center focus area selected) and found AF performing quite badly when I zoomed in or out. Sometimes it took awhile to re-acquire focus. Sometimes I tried to activate AF by half-pressing shutter but, if anything, it seemed to make matters worse. The light wasn't great of course, but the lens didn't have any problems acquiring focus for still shots.
    Was something I was doing completely wrong? Any tips on what's the best way to use AF shooting video?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. MaxElmar

    MaxElmar Mu-43 Regular

    May 18, 2011
    New Jersey, USA
    You may be happier with a dedicated camcorder or one of the GH series Panasonics. I have found that the video capability on most m43 cameras is great but the AF is quite limited in its ability to track movement such as one might encounter in a gymnastics event.
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    :43: cameras are made to be used more like a pro video camera. It has interchangeable lenses, a large sensor, excellent low-light capabilities, and external audio. Like a pro video camera, focus was meant to be done manually, on the lens. I've never even used a pro video camera that had any kind of AF. Focus is always achieved through the ring on the lens (which by the way is so very smooth and clean with most video cameras).

    Camcorders are a different world for a different purpose. They are like the point-and-shoot of the video world, which allow you to hit the record button and just start recording. They feature an AF system which no other video camera can compete with, but lack manual focus, aperture, and control.

    I think what you're looking for is a camcorder to perform the job that you want done right.
  4. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    I believe the AEL/AFL button is used to auto focus when in movie mode.
  5. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    Thank you. I'll try it.
  6. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    Thanks, as a rookie I needed this info :blush:. Let me ask you then, how does one focus video manually? When I use MF for stills I compose the picture, select green rectangle on a focus point, magnify, adjust focus, shoot. Obviously, that wouldn't work for video. So how do people achieve precise focus without magnifying and how does one sync the manual focus with zooming? Just practice?

    Sounds like it, but I was hoping to use :43: low-light advantage. Plus, my (old) camcorder is digital tape so processing is more bothersome.
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, practice. :)  LCDs and EVFs on video cameras aren't too different than those used in the Micro Four-Thirds system, and that's how we've always shot them is manual focusing in full view. Focus for video doesn't need to be as perfectly accurate as focus for still photos, as the resolution is much lower in video. If it looks good on the LCD, it should look good on the screen... not so with a high-resolution still photo which is print quality at over 300dpi.

    Granted, the E-P1 does use a somewhat lower resolution LCD... The E-PL2 for instance uses a 460k dot screen (twice the 230k dot resolution of the E-P1), which is more akin to a pro video camera. However, I doubt the difference will be that much to cause a problem.

    Ah yes, I still have a Panasonic DV tape camcorder, but am missing a battery and haven't taken it out in ages. ;)  I still miss my old Sony DV camcorder, which was the high-end camcorder at the time, before moving onto a semi-pro video camera like the Canon X1 or Sony VX2000... but it was before HD made it into camcorder form. Hard to believe that was a $1000 camcorder in its time, when now a standard def camcorder wouldn't sell for more than $150, lol.

    PS, Sammyboy's post about resetting your focus with the AFL button is correct. Unfortunately, that means you will already have recorded the misfocus, but at least you can get back on track that way. :) 
  8. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2010
    Thank you very much for your help, Ned:th_salute:.
    I guess I'll be trying MF while my wife is handling the camcorder. I don't think the old camcorder attracts me (never did, really) and if practice it takes the practice it shall be :smile:
  9. lotsofkids

    lotsofkids Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 8, 2011
    Northeast Ohio
    Alas, the EPL-1 does not have a dedicated AEL/AFL button. You can however, choose all movie settings by first turning the dial on the top into video mode, then once there, if you press the start/ok button, all your options will appear along the side! You can choose single auto focus (default setting), continuous auto focus, manual focus, single AF & MF, and continuous AF with tracking! (Manual focus "if chosen" can then be achieved by turning the focus wheel on your lens)
    You can also adjust the white balance, hd to sd, etc.... AND if you scroll all the way down.... you can even toggle the sound off & on.

    You cannot do any adjustments if you record only through the dedicated "red" video button and your dial is set to any other mode like: AUTO, SCN etc...
  10. Alain

    Alain Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 21, 2012
    I re-assigned the Fn button to AEL/AFL on my E-PL1.
    I wish Olympus would release a software update with assist manual focus like Sony did for their video cameras. The surface in focus would be highlighted in red for instance. This allow quick reading.
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