Zoo shots with E-PL2. S-AF+MF mode??

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by RobertS, May 25, 2013.

  1. RobertS

    RobertS Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2011
    What's the best focusing mode for this situation? I'm guessing maybe "S-AF+MF". This allows for better shots through fencing, etc. Whereas the AF setting might pick up on the bars or fencing, or mesh, the MF will allow one to pass right through it. The AF portion may get one reasonably/roughly focused on the subject, with the MF finishing the job. I recently went to the zoo and practiced the MF (only) setting. Did reasonably well, but found that I needed to turn the MF a LOT before achieving focus....and often turning it the wrong way at first. I would think that if the AF portion of this AF-MF mode could get the subject somewhat focused, the MF portion could work a bit faster in finishing off the task.
    That said, and if I'm correct, would there be any reason to NOT leave the focus mode in the setting all the time?
  2. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
  3. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    I just use S-AF. The E-PL2 makes an awesome zoo lens!
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You're on the right track, but any AF mode that activates automatically with the shutter release will frustrate the hell out of you with refocusing all the time. What you want is to separate your AF from your shutter with Back-Button Autofocus. Then when you set your focus, whether through AF or Manual, it will stay where you want it without the camera trying to change your perfect focus for you. With back-button AF you will always have both AF and MF available at your fingertips but will have complete individual control of each.

    Rather than me explaining the advantages of back-button focus I'll link you to a handy Canon article on the matter (Canon actually made the first camera which was capable of this): Canon DLC: Article: Back-Button Auto Focus Explained
    The key points are that it allows you to pre-focus without the camera re-focusing on shutter release (which many cameras have a tendency to do even if you use the half-press of the shutter) giving you faster and less frustrating AF, and it separates AutoFocus, AutoExposure, and Shutter Release into 3 separate functions so you have full control over each. This way you don't have to meter off the same subject you focus on.

    So if you decide that's for you, then here are the steps to set it up:

    Go to Menu => Sprocket => Button/Dial => AEL/AFL. There you can set Single AF, C-AF, and MF modes. Mode 3 is the one that assigns any of those AF types to the back-button. If you set MF to Mode 3, then that will still give you MF capabilities with the focus ring, but will add S-AF capabilities to the back-button. If you set C-AF to Mode 3, that will give you continuous AF as long as you hold down the back-button. You can also set S-AF to Mode 3, but in my opinion this is redundant if you have MF set to to Mode 3. You get S-AF + MF by using MF Mode 3 anyways. I just leave S-AF to the default Mode 1 just in case I ever for whatever crazy reason want to switch to shutter-focus. But I never do. ;)

    Next, after you have your AF modes set, all you need to do is assign the AEL function to a button, which will become your back focus button. On the PEN cameras this is in Menu => Sprocket => Button/Dial => Button Function.

    Of course, you then need to go through your regular control panel to set your camera to use one of the AF types that you have set to Mode 3, or use Menu => Sprocket => AF/MF => AF Mode to do that.

    PS, if you do stick with the default AF modes (activated at shutter release, or "point-and-shoot" as I call it) then I see no reason why you would ever want to enable S-AF alone and not S-AF + MF. Why turn OFF one of the camera's most basic and important functions, which does not affect your AF in any way if you choose not to use it?
  5. RobertS

    RobertS Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2011

    I followed you down to the "PS"...at which point I lost you.

    I guess I don't see the harm in using the camera's option for my needs: S-AF+MF. The time that I tried using only MF to shoot through wires and mesh, I felt I was turning the focus ring a LOT before getting the subject into focus. And I also often was turning the wrong direction before I realized I need to turn the other way. So that took even longer. And I was often starting with the subject so totally out of focus, that I had to turn the focus ring just to try and find what I was looking to focus on. So, I was thinking that if the AF portion of this focus setting could get me at least somewhat close to my subject, I could refine the process via the MF focus ring. Mind you, this would only be used when I was forced to focus on something upon which the AF sensor might pick up on something else. Another example might be something like a deer behind some branches. Obviously the AF will focus on the branch. But then I could resort to the MF to sharpen on the deer behind.

    I guess I'm not totally sold on why this is not logical. And further, I'm not sold on why I should not keep this focus mode setting permanently set on the camera.

    I'm not trying to be difficult (if it sounds that way), just need to be convinced that I'm wrong.....if I am.

    I appreciate your remarks, as always.

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