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r1wigs Feb 26, 2009 5:13 PM

I'm new to DSLR cameras so bare with me on this. On my E-500 with the 40-150mm lens on(the only one that works) when I try to use manual focus, I look through the viewfinder and you can turn the focus ring till your fingers drop off and there is no visible change to anything I can see. I've used regular SLR cameras for years and they are so easy to focus. I went out to my backyard and tried to take a picture of my shed with manual focus, I took about 25 pics and not one of them was in focus. Is there some secret to focusing a DSLR? I have read the manual but there is nothing on manual focusing. I even had a friend of mine look through the viewfinder and try it and he couldn't see any change either.

Brent Gair Feb 26, 2009 7:10 PM

A few things:

What do you mean that the 40-150mm lens is "the only one that works"? Is it the only lens you have or is there a problem with the standard lens?

Does your E500 work OK when using autofocus?

The E500 viewfinder (and most DSLR viewfinders in general) aren't optimized for manual focus. It's not like the good old days with the split image surrounded by ground glass and a fresnel lens. It can be difficult to observe the quality of the focus...especially with a long lens that may display a relatively limited effective depth of field (i.e., it's easier to go right past the point of best focus). Try focussing on a well lighted, contrasty subject just to make sure things are working (something like a chain link fence or numbers on a house).

There is no mechanical linkage between the E500 body and the 40-150mm. It's all "fly-by-wire". Turning the focus ring activates the lens focus motor and it can feel you are continuously turning the focus ring. And that might cause you go right past the focus.

Dumb question but I have to ask: You did specifically select manual focus from the menu? Some people not familiar with the system might assume that turning the focus ring will, by itself, allow focussing...but that's only true if the camera is set to manual focus. Otherwise, turning the focus ring does diddly squat.

fldspringer Feb 26, 2009 7:49 PM

The 40-150 is a "focus by wire" lens, which means there is no mechanical coupling to the focus mechanism. Turning the focus ring just activates the focus motor. If the camera is turned off, it will not focus as it would on nearly any other DSLR. Make sure the camera is turned on and not in a sleep mode by pushing the shutter button half way.

Also make sure the battery is charged.

The focus mode can be accessed by pressing the right arrow on the keypad and make sure its switched to one of the "MF" modes.

Hope it works for you.


Steven R Feb 26, 2009 9:03 PM

Hi: Just to add to what the others have said, I don't recommend using manual focus on an E-500 with the digital lens unless for some reason you can't achieve auto focus on your subject. It much easier to manual focuson a live view Oly, which the E-500 lacks. But I only use manual focuswithmy manual legacy OM lens, which are relativelyeasy to focus thru the viewfinder. Andfor close focus, etc, the live view makes the manual focus even easier. But even with live view,use the auto focus with digital lens. Using digital lens for manual focus is usuallygoing to leave you frustrated.

Good luck,

Steven R.

r1wigs Feb 26, 2009 9:56 PM

Yes,the camera is "on", how could I take 25 pics without the camera on? The camera is set to the "manual" mode, not autofocus. The battery is fully charged. It has also been hooked to the computer and the firmware updated. It has been "reset" upwards of 20 times. I have tried every setting possible. My friend who has excellent eyesight without glasses tried to focus on a knot on a tree and could never get it to where he thought it was in focus. (to make sure it wasn't my eyesight) Shouldn't it be much easier? I miss my old split prism . I guess "auto" is the preferable method of photography these days.

Brent Gair Feb 26, 2009 10:22 PM

r1wigs wrote:

I guess "auto" is the preferable method of photography these days.
Of the few thousand pics I've taken with the E-500 (now supplemented with the E-510), I've probably shot a dozen with manual focus. And those shots were mostly self-portraits where I had to focus to a point in front of the camera where I wasn't actually standing.

Auto focus is not just the preferable method, it's the best method in 99.5% of cases.

Many people think they can focus manually better than the camera can autofocus. They are wrong. They can't focus better. They can't focus faster.

I'm from an entirely manual background. My last 35mm SLR was Nikon F3 which I still own. My medium format system was a Bronics ETR which I still own. I did my own darkroom work with a manual focus Beseler enlarger which I still own.

Until 2 years ago, I'd never owned an autofocus still camera. The Oly DSLR's focus better and faster than I ever did manually (and I have good eyesight). I could manually focus just to prove a point but I've never taken a manually focussed picture that was better than autofocussed.

Still...why do you say you 40-150 is your only lens "that works"?

And are your autofocussed pictures OK?

Steven R Feb 27, 2009 6:44 PM

Hi: I want to take just a few minutes to expand on some of points already mentioned.

You noted that you are new to digital photography, but are apparently experienced in regular SLRs. If you approach the use of your DSLR he same way you have used your old 35mm slr, then you are going to be in for a long learning curve. It's like being a glider pilot, then going to a twin turbo-prop. The turbo-prop gives great performance, but flying it the old way does not really work. The turbo-prop makes a lousy glider. You have to use the engines that comes with the plane.

You are on the right forum; most of the guys here are not only experienced in 35mm, but bring years of current time in the Oly digital "cockpits". Accept the fact that a digital is different than the old cameras, and spend time learning.

Spend a lot of time learning the menus and controls available to you before you ever try the manual aspects of the camera. Start out studying all the menu options that are available. You have settings that allow control of things that were never available in the old film cameras. From white balance, contrast, saturation, to metering modes, gradation, image quality, flash modes, etc. There are literally dozens of setting that you control that were never available in a film camera.

If you don't have the camera manual, then download the e-500 manual from the Olympus web-site. Then take the time to study it; try the different settings, and compare your shots under different conditions.

As Brent noted: "Auto focus is not just the preferable method, it's the best method in 99.5% of cases."

Anyway, the E-500 can take excellent shots. But like anything else, it works best when you know all the features available for your use.

Good luck and keep the forum informed as you become better acquainted with your equipment.

r1wigs Feb 28, 2009 10:33 AM

I think you are correct, I'm was thinking it would be just like regular SLR's only digital. It is not. My friend gave me this camera (a gift from his wife before the divorce) but the 14mm-45mm won't focus. When you press the shutter button down you can hear the lens engaged and it starts to focus but it never completes. The focus light inside the viewfinder remains blinking. The larger lens works fine, it focuses very fast. I originally thought I had the larger lens on when I updated the firmware and I just needed to put on the smaller one and rehooked it up to the computer but it said the camera was already up to date. I guess I'm stuck taking it back to Wolf's where she bought it and see if it is fixable. I am hoping they have a lens just like it and we can try it to see if it works. If it is not fixable I guess I'll have to buy another.

r1wigs Feb 28, 2009 8:42 PM

I took the lens to Wolf's Camera and they looked at it and it was defective. They tried the lens on different cameras and it didn't work. I bought a used 14-42mm lens. I paid a little more than I would have off the internet but went ahead.

dnas Mar 4, 2009 8:32 PM

So far as manually focusing the 40-150mm, have you adjusted the diopter adjustment??

If you try to focus manually, but have not adjusted the diopter adjustment to YOUR EYES, then the manual focus will be out.

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