Will OLY 17mm 1:8 solve my problems?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Soapysyrie, May 13, 2013.

  1. Soapysyrie

    Soapysyrie Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 16, 2012
    Hi Guys,

    I still have a OOF problem (it's probably me not my equipment) but here goes. I spend most of my time trying to get cute photos of 1 small child. I'm using a GX1 which allows me to focus on her, but most of the time my lens is a 20mm 1.7. Good low light performance for parties, restaurants etc. But with the lack of continuous AF and grain at high ISO I am struggling to keep her in focus.

    Would faster the faster AF and possible use of AF-C of the 17mm 1:8 help with this?

    See example:
  2. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Possibly. But before investing in a new lens, try shooting in a slower burst mode rather than C-AF. That might increase the number of keepers ... unless your subject's moving too much.

    Sent from my phone. Please pardon my brevity!
  3. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I'd try switching to single point focus and make the focus box as small as possible. By doing so, the 20mm will only concentrate focusing on that small box, allowing it to focus faster. See if that helps before switching to the 17mm 1.8. The 17mm definitely focuses faster, but I've been able to get good kid shots with the 20mm using the technique previously mentioned.
  4. supermaxv

    supermaxv Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 20, 2011
    I actually don't think a new lens is going to help as much as you think. I found that learning how to bounce flash with a external flash helped capturing my toddler immensely. I can now use a faster autofocusing lens with greater depth of focus to take pictures in darker environments.
  5. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Yes! I shoot this way by default, so it didn't occur to me to mention this. My bad.... :smile:

    Sent from my phone. Please pardon my brevity!
  6. yekimrd

    yekimrd Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 14, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Based on my experience with both the 20/1.7 and 17/1.8, it will. The slower AF on the 20/1.7 is OK for everything BUT action shots in low light situations, which seems to be your main issue here. The faster AF on the 17/1.8 should help except at the end of the day, even with the 17/1.8, you might still struggle if you can't increase your shutter speed to around 1/100 to 1/125 minimum (life moves at 1/60 sec so I imagine you need to at least double this for fast moving kids :tongue:).

    I know the GX1 already has a new-ish sensor but have you given thought into purchasing any of the newer Sony sensor offerings with higher ISO performance up to 1600 (e.g. E-PM2, E-PL5)?
  7. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    For me it did.

    The reasons for getting the 17mm and selling my 20mm were:
    1) Faster AF, I missed way too many shots because of the AF in lower light with the 20mm
    2) I own a 25mm, and the 12mm, (had the 14mm, and sold it because it was too close to the 17mm), 20mm just didn't get used enough.
    3) Pancake's don't really do it for me. Nice to have, but not a necessity.
    4) I like that the 17mm is slightly wider, much more preferred for me over the 20mm.

    I liked my 20mm a lot, it was the first "wow- awesome!" lens for µ4/3, so it was sentimental, but it shows it's age with AF/Internally focusing lenses spoil me. I'd like a MkII of the 20mm, that could AF as fast as the 14mm, I wouldn't care if it wasn't a pancake lens, µ4/3 lenses are pretty small to begin with.

    Of all my lenses, it's the one I use the most.
  8. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Have you tried turning facial recognition on?
  9. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Try the tips in this thread first before investing in another lens.

    I had the luxury of not starting out in m4/3 in its earlier years so I didn't get the 20mm when I bought into the system. The brief moments that I did try it, I noticed that its focus failed to lock in poor light. Just about every other lens in the system was better at auto focus.
  10. mh2000

    mh2000 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    The way that the 17/1.8 might help you is with zone focusing. Back when I shot film, I used a Minox 35GL (had 35mm FF lens) and found that shooting with zone focusing was really good for my kids. I got really good at estimating 3, 5 and 6 ft and just anticipated where they would be when I hit the shutter.

    Also, I think that people relying on AF for moving kids misses the point. Photos of running kids, even when you nail focus, are rarely that interesting. Better to anticpate where they are going to momentarily pause and snap that photo.

    Good luck!
  11. mcumeda

    mcumeda Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 25, 2011
    The 17mm definitely focuses faster, but when there is some action going on, I don't half press. The single autofocus is fast enough that I just let her rip. I also set the camera to focus priority not release priority...otherwise you will get out of focus shots. I generally have pretty good luck chasing the kids around. Also, don't be afraid to bump up the ISO. A grainy, noisy shot is better than an out of focus one.
  12. trelch

    trelch Mu-43 Rookie

    May 30, 2012
    My experience with 20mm and a small moving child is not good, esp indoors.
    The 20mm is too slow to focus, and you will likely miss my photo opportunities.
    The 17mm 1.8, however, is a very speedy lenses, and focuses much faster. I think you can get more usable shots.
  13. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Definitely agree on using burst mode in place of C-AF and using a small focus box.

    Another (potentially cheaper) option is to try a fast adapted nifty-fifty. A f1.4 or f1.8 can be had pretty cheaply from all manufacturers (apart from the native offerings :)

    Then theres not AF delay - just use burst mode and adjust focus with your feet/hands.
  14. Soapysyrie

    Soapysyrie Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 16, 2012
    Thanks everyone,

    The facial recognition software is not good with people with darker skins (even the iphone is better) so it only catches her if she is looking directly at the camera in good light. I shoot with the single focus point with the box at the smallest size and use the screen to pinpoint her eyes. This is excellent if she isn't moving!

    Indoors (which is where I take most of my pics cause we live in Britain and I'd only get pictures of coats otherwise!) I try to keep the speed up above 125, but GX1 is very grainy with high ISOs so it feels like I'm stuck between a rock and hard place. I can try bouncing the integrated flash. I'm trying to avoid carrying extra stuff with me if I can, I keep the camera in my coat pocket at the moment.

    So maybe the 17mm will help and maybe not...
  15. danimal

    danimal Mu-43 Supporter

    Dec 31, 2012
    Oakland, California
    I am completely missing something here. Can you elaborate on the focus priority vs. shutter priority? I've looked through the electronic manual and I don't see that, but then I'm probably being too literal.

    Thanks, Dan
  16. DeoreDX

    DeoreDX Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 13, 2013
    Don't know where it is off the top of my head but with focus or shutter priority the camera will or will not snap the picture based upon if the camera detects focus or not. With focus priority the camera will not take an image if it is not in focus. With shutter priority the camera will take the picture no matter what as soon as the shutter button is depressed.

    Custom Menu C Release Priority S and C on my E-PM1
  17. danimal

    danimal Mu-43 Supporter

    Dec 31, 2012
    Oakland, California
    Thanks! I was thinking that's what it might be, but I was not sure.