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Old Apr 26, 2008, 6:15 AM   #1
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Hi All

I had a chance to just pop in and see Londons Alterantive Fashion show for 45mins mid week with the E3 +35-100F2 and see how well the combo would work.

My positioning wasn't good - I go there early but the central and side areas were already taken by togs who must have been there several hours before. I also didn;t have my FL50 so was shooting wide open. The results were mixed - actually I was a bit suprised by how bad me and the combo did.

Setup : ISO 400-1000, shutter speed at ISO 400 was 1/200s, aperture F2 to 2.8 at ISO640+ I you could shoot at F4-F5.6. SAF and CAF.

Out of 200 shots approx 30 are worth keeping the rest are completely oof or the focusing missed. I wasn;t expecting to get a lot of good pics (30% would have been good) but many of those that look sharp and in focus on the LCD are simply not usuable even though the camera was stating it had a focus lock. Switching to CAF made no difference.

Now I'm wondering if anybody has tried shooting action (people walking, running or cars etc)with their E3's and what kind of hit rate they were getting using either SAF or CAF. I know it was my first attempt at such an event (its not my scene but I thought it would be a nice test) and user error on my part is playing is a factor.

Here's a few pics that were ok:

http://harjtt.smugmug.com/gallery/4794939_u52d3








Cheers

Harj

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Old Apr 26, 2008, 8:26 AM   #2
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HarjTT wrote:
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Setup : ISO 400-1000, shutter speed at ISO 400 was 1/200s, aperture F2 to 2.8 at ISO640+ I you could shoot at F4-F5.6. SAF and CAF.

Harj,

this is the first thing that jumped out at me. 1/200 is really too slow. That's going to cost you a number of images there.

For the rest, low light shooting of even slow moving subjects like a fashion show is tougher than it looks. I'm not familiar with the Oly focus system but it's probably somewhat similar to other systems which require differences in contrast to acquire accurate focus. To that point it's essential in low light to keep a focus point on an area of high contrast not just on any point of the subject. Even more critical in low light where most cameras take longer to focus.

So I'm guessing technique was partly to blame since you state this isn't your normal type of shooting.

That being said, low light focusing was also the one big nit dpreview had on the E3 - and they're testing against completely stationary subjects.

What would be interesting to try is how well the camera does with an external flash and it's focus assist beam. Not sure if Oly flashes have the ability to use the assist beam without firing the flash, but if they do that might be worth a try. I know on my older dslr having the assist beam really improved focus performance.

Just some thoughts!

By the way - I really like that last shot - very cool!
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Old Apr 26, 2008, 9:00 AM   #3
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Harj,

I tested the e-3 at daylight during my capeverde trip, shooting the surfers (see link before). OK, it was dayligt, but the telephoto was extreme (200 mm + EC-20) and I had best results (more than 50% in focus at 200 ISO) choosing central focus point, even when I chickly moved the cam to de-centre the object.

Also I used multiple focus in the cologne arena, observing ice-hockey:

http://barann.zenfolio.com/p955556985/

This was done using the 50-200 most time ISO 200-800. Observing such team-sport, the autofocus most times chose one player.

I tested the continous AF and was NOT convinced.

Regards, Martin



p.s. I liked your examples


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Old Apr 26, 2008, 9:00 AM   #4
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Hi John

Thanks for answering some of my question. I know a large part of the problem was down to me not having shot anything like a catwalk, my positioning right behind the stage, no real previous experience trying to track a moving object with the E3 and its new AF system and the lack of external flash.

I knew the 1/200s shutter speed was a shortcoming but was hoping it would have been enough but clearly its not. I should have tried to aim for 1/400s or higher , although i did try and push the shutter speed but was then seriously underexposing even at ISO1250. I need to test the CAF of the cam and work on a technique on being able to get a better hit rate. Really appreciate the tip regards aiming for a high contrast area - I was mostly aiming for the eyes and in that kind of lighting I can see it wasn;t a good idea.

Your right about the AF assist lamp - I was really wishing that they had left it on the E3 (the e1 has it built in) and I know that if I had the external flash its AF assist would have helped a bit. I could have used the pop up flash to assist - but I personally don;t like it and have found it not to be effective when I've used it. Also the way it fires in a burst to help assist focusing is annoying as heck. I'm in studio doing one of my project shoots soon so I'm going to ask the models to help out with a wee test for me and see how the E3 does - with in built flash, without and external FL50.

John. I was getting a wee bit annoyed and desperate with my positioning when I decided I'd shoot something more interesting than seeing the backs of the models!

Cheers

Harj

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Old Apr 26, 2008, 9:17 AM   #5
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Hi Martin

I'm with you on the CAF - I tried it for the last 15mins I was there and found the lens was hunting before locking focus so gave up and switched back to SAF. However, I do need to test it more before I think its not what it should be. I didn't try the centre AF point, as I was shooting mainly in Portrait and using the top centre AF point.

I did have a quick chat with OLy regards the CAF and they suggested that using a button on the back of the E3 that allows you to focus lock without having to half press the shutter button. John, apparently most Canon's and Nikon;s have this feature if they do have you ever used it and if so does it work ?

Cheers

Harj

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Old Apr 26, 2008, 9:54 AM   #6
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Hi, Harj

In terms of the exposures, to do available light in the lighting you were in I'm wondering if you were simply pushing the limits of a small sensor (4/3 or APS-C, either one). The Full-Frame CaNikons can make useable imagesup to ISO 6400, simply because the FF sensor captures a lot more photons. Even though you give up one f-stop with their F2.8 lenses versus the Oly F2, you'd still be able to bump up the shutter speed. (In fact I believe this better high-ISO performance is why CaNikon doesn'tmake F2 lenses and Oly does.)

In your first photo it looks like at least some of the photographers were using flash. Did you have the sense that the "pro" photographers were also using flash?

Ted
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Old Apr 26, 2008, 11:21 AM   #7
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Hi Ted

Now that you mentioned about the pro togs at the event - they were all shooting with flash and either the 70-200 2.8 IS L or Nikons 70-200 VR. I think the lack of flash, and may be just as much the lack of an AF assist lamp didn't help. I'm hoping I didn;t hit a limit due to the sensor size - personally I think its a combo of things including myself.

Here's an example of the kinds of shots that looking at the LCD even at 100% as if they are correctly focused and sharp but when you check on a mac/pc its soft - seriously soft and nothing really is in focus. I'll try and do some 100% crops so you can see - this pic I think i did a 90-100USM with radious 1.0. I think John's comment regards aiming for a high contrast area might seriously help improve things as I was aiming at the eyes and shooting into the light without using flash.




Looking at the exif -

ISO 400 f2.0 @ 1/200s.

I made a couple of errors. ISO 400 - should have cranked it up to 800 at least. Shutter speed too slow should have doubled it to 1/400.
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Old Apr 26, 2008, 8:52 PM   #8
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..hi Harj,

I cannot offer anything worthwhile except to say, as you know, that I mainly shoot quick happening baseball action and always in shutter mode, SAF and a lot of 2-5 bursts..........(slow mode set to 4), mostly during daylight.

In my beginning with shutter mode most always I was too slow and the hit (success)rate was really low. Now that I turn the wick up at the shutter a lot of good things happened and mostly the result was more usable files once the PP session got started.

So, as John says and I agree...... try stepping up the shutter and punch it on past 400 to 600+. Most of my daylight action is at around 2k - 4k while the walk by and slow dugout stuff cranks back down to 1K+.

I will bet I did not say anything here that is really bright but I feel good having said it. What I don't have a clue about is doing aperture mode and cannot seem to learn it even though my daughter continues to tutor me of it.
__________
boBBrennan

BTW, ..........was wondering where you been. I will follow this thread hoping to learn from it. I just relooked and saw the open toes shoe, that is a neat take.



























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Old Apr 27, 2008, 4:52 AM   #9
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HarjTT wrote:
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Now that you mentioned about the pro togs at the event - they were all shooting with flash and either the 70-200 2.8 IS L or Nikons 70-200 VR. I think the lack of flash, and may be just as much the lack of an AF assist lamp didn't help. I'm hoping I didn;t hit a limit due to the sensor size - personally I think its a combo of things including myself.
I'm not saying you can't do those shots with a 4/3 sensor, only that if the FF guys couldn't get the shot without flashthen it's pretty likely the 4/3 folksneeded flash also.

Ted
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Old Apr 27, 2008, 6:50 AM   #10
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tkurkowski wrote:
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I'm not saying you can't do those shots with a 4/3 sensor, only that if the FF guys couldn't get the shot without flashthen it's pretty likely the 4/3 folksneeded flash also.

Ted
Ted,

Flash is desired for a couple reasons:

1. To get more pop out of colors

2. To be able to use narrower aperture so the subject is sharp

3. Light fall-off from the flash use allows for the subject isolation

It isn't so much that the full frame guys can't get the shot without flash - I shoot full speed action in lighting worse than that without flash and the camera can get the shot. But flash gets a BETTER shot for the 3 reasons above.
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