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Old Apr 13, 2014, 2:55 PM   #1
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Default London Marathon 2014 - CAF focusing

April 13th 2014 - London Marathon Day and I was there with the E3 + 35-100F2. I took a tonne of pics - 1200 shots from the start at 9am till approx 5pm.

I'm currently looking through the pics and am surpised on the improvement since last year and its possible that the CAF settings that I used could well mean that CAF on other E3/E5/e30's might be useable. However, I have to say that using my E3 today .. I nearly walked away after it started to play up during the early stages:

1. AF in SAF wouldn't lock on the selected targeted
2. Hi or low speed burst modes - basically were not working. Pressing and holding the shutter waiting for a burst of shots to happen and only to hear a single shot and then a long pause b4 the next, was not good.
3. Had to do a full reset before the pro elite runners arrived as it was becoming unusable. When they did show up .. it simply failed - every shot was OOF.
4. Release CAF - On or off seemed to make no real difference. the cam would still take completely OFF pics with nothing in focus. Although less than previously. I'm currently wading through the OOF images.

At that stage .. I was about to put the cam away and head home. I had had enough and I'm glad that I weren't on a paid gig to get those lead runners. My location was spot on but the gear simply wasn't.

the pluse side... in the right temp, specific wind direction and angle of the lens to the ground .. and with pigs flying backwards.. I have surpisingly managed to take some reasonably infocus images - at the time it was frustrating as anything.. worse than previously. Pics to follow in the next reply, once I've selected a few that are in focus and worth posting for CC.

The next sports event - the London Nocturn cycling event, I will be leaving the E-3 at home and will hire a Canikonpentax as I simply can't deal with todays kind of aggro again - to see several D300s with the 70-200F2.8 or a 7D/5DMk2 with the 70-200L and see the shooters not want to smash their kit into the ground was enough.

Update:

I think I have one or two really nice pics.. and I will be posting the low res OOC jpegs later to get your opinions. One of them makes up for not getting Mo Farah running his first ever marathon

Last edited by HarjTT; Apr 13, 2014 at 3:54 PM.
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Old Apr 13, 2014, 3:53 PM   #2
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Must have been a though day, also frustrating.
Canon 7D must be very good for in that situation, dual DIGIC and 8FPS.
Seems there is comming next month a new version of the 7D, 7D Mk II.

Still the 5D will have the better quality pictures.
But you need a III instead of a II for ideal pics.
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Old Apr 13, 2014, 5:54 PM   #3
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Here's a few pics from the day .. all OOC jpegs

1. London Olympic 2012 Marathon Champion - Kiprotich



2. One of the elite females



3. Another of the elite female athletes



4. Brasil's Paralympic Marathon runner - Sena



6. The Dude



6. Kmag




Looking at the pics - its possible for the CAF to work, but its got a mind of its own when it seems to want to kick in. Its possible that as my E-3 is now 6years+ its basically failing.. the shutter definitely felt like that today. That low res LCD doesnt help in trying to work out if something is in focus or not either,

A few other issues come to mind.. :

1. Shooting at F2.0-2.5 the DOF is so razor thin that if the AF was spot on at the chest the face, is OOF on quite a few pics.

2. All AF points was what I was using for 90% of the day .. its got a tendency to just use the centre AF a lot of the time. So chest/wasit in a lot of shots i tack sharp but the face is slightly blurred. The Diamond pattern would have been fine if I had simply stuck to portrairt or landscape but I didnt and move the AF point was getting very difficut.

3. With the 35-100F2 set at 35mm, the lens still has a tendency to hunt - it'll zip back and forth before attempting to focus. Panning at 35mm with it is pretty darm impossible as well .. but then again may be i was asking to much of the AF to track a head on target and then allow me to follow it as they went past.

That pic of Kiprotich .. made me smile.. afte i had totally failed at capturing Mo Farah and the leaders .. the E3 decided it would track the Olympic champion and allow me to take that shot!

Final note - compared to last year, where I think I only managed a single pic (again one of Brasil's Sena), this years been a total improvement from composition, to partial tracking and importantly critically sharp images. Those 6 are 5 more than last year. So far .. infocus pics look to be approx 50% .. how many are critically sharp I don't know but theres many more compared to last year.

Last edited by HarjTT; Apr 13, 2014 at 6:03 PM.
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Old Apr 13, 2014, 7:23 PM   #4
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Harj: the photos which you posted are very good. But the descriptions of your problems sound like your E-3 is in need of repair. I've never had the E-3 problems that you are experiencing. Here in the states, Olympus will check out and adjust/repair the E-3 for a flat $150. It would probably be a similar cost in England. It may be worthwhile to check with Olympus in England and see what they say. Good luck.
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Old Apr 14, 2014, 6:53 AM   #5
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Hey Steve

My E3's definitely got an issue . the shutter looks and feels as if its going to fail but it did the same last year and thats when I should have sent it in to get fixed. I'm not in a position to do that now and I need to check with Oly UK to see how much they charge .. I think it was 250 which is the price of a used E3 at LCE.

Now that I've been through the 90% of the images here's the breakdown (its going to change as I'm working through the in focus pics again to weed out any that are not up to par):

Total of 1668 images
Out of focus images - 806
In focus images - 862
CAF hit rate - 52%

The infocus images are critically sharp where the AF has nailed the focus.

A lot of back focusing when tracking a subject - with all AF points being used I was knew this could be a problem but even with the daimond pattern it was the same. Looking at some of the sequences.. of say 8 shots.. your looking at the 1st being OOF .. he 2nd in .. and the next 4 OOF (back focused) or possibly the next 4 in focus and the last few OOF. Its that random - you can nail one sequence with one or two OOF and the next you get one in focus and the rest OOF.

I think thats the highest number of shots I have ever taken but then again the pro photogrpaher that was near by shot a 1000+ within the first couple of hours. You could hear the Canon he was using just firing away in HS mode. Yesterdays settings were also the highest ever hit rate with the E3 and CAF. Its possible that if it had been in for a service that could easily be 65% or there abouts. My technique was better and I was being selective of the runners as best as I could.

Batterywise - I had 3 BLM-1's with the BG, so that was 600+ for each battery.

I'm going to post a sequence of pics (unforntuanetly I was deleting images that were clearly OOF at the time).

If I was working , I would have been shooting with a Canikon yesterday - Its something that I had decided that I needed to do but the E3+ 35-100f2 has suprised me and also stressed the crap out of me.

Forgot to mention .. I was using back button focusing - which is CAF mode 4 and reassigned the F(n) button for that, so that you can use it wth the BG. Thats something else I noticed with the Canon/Nikon grips.. they have 3 buttons by default, where as the HDL4 only has two - focus point and the F(n).

Last edited by HarjTT; Apr 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM. Reason: Backbutton focusing -
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Old Apr 14, 2014, 2:18 PM   #6
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That are really good pictures you are showing Hartj.
I did check the Exif settings and saw you flowing a lot in speeds 1/5000 till 1/2000.
This makes me wondering if when you should use a FL-50 you CAF not also would be better. I know on my configuration that with FL-50 I have a much faster AF.
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Old Apr 14, 2014, 5:04 PM   #7
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Hey Pascal

It was a very nice day .. and shutter speeds were upto 1/8000 a couple of times esp when shooting wide open at F2.0. My thoughts were the faster I can keep the shutter going the less chance it would break! Those guys are flying past and at break neck speed so it was the faster the better. I think now looking at a lot of the pics, perhaps F2.8 would have been better - or just forced myself to use the diamond AF pattern with the AF point head height as theres a lot of pics that are tack sharp around the centre but fade away towards the face.

Not sure whether the flash would have helped with my E3 .. there's clearly something not right with it but also the CAF tracking ability is totally random but the 35-100f2 is a lot of glass and really should have been updated with a SWD type motor. In fact if Oly had been serious after the 14-35F2 was launched, was to have updated all the SHGs with WSD motors and fixed the AF system.

I'm still checking the pics, and theres no pattern ie. it will focus the first shot, then OOF the next couple but then the next few are in focus and then the next sequence you have the first 2 OFF and then the next 5 are bang on. Thats the seriously infuriating part with my E3, that the CAF is totally random in its ability to CAF are fast moving head on target. Its just totally unrealiable - although when its nailed it .. its tack sharp.

I've installed Oly Viewer on my pc and noticed that a lot of the shots where I was attempting to fire a burst of 4-5 shots, all showing up as 1 in the sequence and rarely, theres 1 -5 or 1-4 in the sequence.

The other problem is when you hit the buffer limit - I wasn't able to do anything till it finished writing all the images to the card.

I think, the 14-54 where I was standing would have been the better lens .. the pro was shooting mainly with a wide a wide angle altogh he had 3 Canon's inc a 70-200 at his disposal and when most of the runners are within the Fl of the 14-54.

Last edited by HarjTT; Apr 14, 2014 at 7:59 PM.
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Old Apr 14, 2014, 8:48 PM   #8
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Hi Hartj,

I kind of wonder how the EM-1 with the 45mm or even the 75mm will work...

However, I don't think you will get better with the EM-1 and the 35-100. You might just having the same problem.

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Old Apr 14, 2014, 9:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarjTT View Post
Hey Pascal

It was a very nice day .. and shutter speeds were upto 1/8000 a couple of times esp when shooting wide open at F2.0. My thoughts were the faster I can keep the shutter going the less chance it would break! Those guys are flying past and at break neck speed so it was the faster the better. I think now looking at a lot of the pics, perhaps F2.8 would have been better - or just forced myself to use the diamond AF pattern with the AF point head height as theres a lot of pics that are tack sharp around the centre but fade away towards the face.

Not sure whether the flash would have helped with my E3 .. there's clearly something not right with it but also the CAF tracking ability is totally random but the 35-100f2 is a lot of glass and really should have been updated with a SWD type motor. In fact if Oly had been serious after the 14-35F2 was launched, was to have updated all the SHGs with WSD motors and fixed the AF system.

I'm still checking the pics, and theres no pattern ie. it will focus the first shot, then OOF the next couple but then the next few are in focus and then the next sequence you have the first 2 OFF and then the next 5 are bang on. Thats the seriously infuriating part with my E3, that the CAF is totally random in its ability to CAF are fast moving head on target. Its just totally unrealiable - although when its nailed it .. its tack sharp.

I've installed Oly Viewer on my pc and noticed that a lot of the shots where I was attempting to fire a burst of 4-5 shots, all showing up as 1 in the sequence and rarely, theres 1 -5 or 1-4 in the sequence.

The other problem is when you hit the buffer limit - I wasn't able to do anything till it finished writing all the images to the card.

I think, the 14-54 where I was standing would have been the better lens .. the pro was shooting mainly with a wide a wide angle altogh he had 3 Canon's inc a 70-200 at his disposal and when most of the runners are within the Fl of the 14-54.
Really good pics mate, even under the frustrating circumstances.

Hey I put a couple of shots like you asked, from the D600 in the Nikon page. under
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Old Apr 15, 2014, 1:08 AM   #10
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I'm a bit annoyed with myself for using the all AF points as there's quiet a few pics that may well have been in focus had I used the diamond AF. The number of in focus pics, has dropped a fair bit as I'm weeding out those that are not up to scratch. Right now I'm 50% of the way through what I initially thought were in focus and the keeper rate is down to 39%

From what I've been reading its worse with the EM1, I had found a site where they did extensive testing and the new AF system basically does the same thing with FT glass esp SHG but I've not been able to find it since.

There's the Horizontal AF line issue with the EM1 and FT glass, it's not fixed and I think it may not be till an EM2 or 3 and then theres the question of whether its a priority for Oly to fix an issue for legacy FT glass ? Then you have battery power, even with the Em1 +BG I don't think it would be enough to hurl the SHG for too long and rapidly, and if I'm not mistaken the grip can only take 1 additional battery and their used in sequence. I've been surprised and a wee bit dissappointed that from all accounts that CAF even with native lenses appears to have the same issue unreliability even now. I've seen quiet a few posts where Caf tracking works but theres also a lot where it simply doesn't. Here's a thread where thier discussing CAF with the ME1 and native lenses and its still not right:

http://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=54733

"I have to agree with you 100%. I love my EM-1 and all the lenses I have with it are very sharp, probably the sharpest ones I ever had, such as Lumix 7-14, Olympus 12-40, Lumix 35-100 f/2.8 but the C-AF or the C-AF with Tracking just does not work well enough to be even acceptable. I had Canon and Nikon professional systems and the continuous AF and focus tracking was excellent. Birds in flight gave me typically 95-100% sharp images. With the EM-1 it is 20-30% sharp images if I am lucky. I feel fortunate that I kept my Nikon D300s with a couple of lenses which nails the focus just about 100% with Birds in Flight. I do not even attempt to use my EM-1 for these type of shots.

Even my wife's Nikon 1 V2 gives me 60-70% sharp images with the 30-110 lens with Bird in Flight shots.
I just can not believe that Olympus with a wonderful professional camera like the EM-1 which has all the features I could dream of, can not come up with a reliable C-AF which could be used for BIF. "

Right now I'm at the stage where I simply want a reliable CAF system for these events, and Olys implementation is not it. It could be in a few years from now but I really can't and don't want to wait that long. I do want smaller and lighter .. but fast glass and esp a fast zoom that isn't software corrected is still going to be big. We're at least 2-3 years away from an EM2 (as the EM1 is now the Pro cam) and may be the new 40-150F2.8 may improve matters but I personally am not counting on it. Oly have had 7 years since the E3 to get a really a good CAF done but its obviously not one of their priorities.

I was looking at one stage at the Pentax K3 because it basically is what an E7 should have been but they have the issue of now having a body with a good CAF system (not as good as Canikon by all accounts) but they don't have the lens AF performance to match.

Rght now.. I'm happy that I was able to get a few good pics.. more than the previous two Marathon attempts.

As John stated post a few years back on the E3/E5s AF for sports settings thread over at Dpr...you need the right tools for the job ..

"If you keep pounding nails with a wrench, don't blame the wrench for not being a hammer. There is no single camera/lens on the market that is the best at everything. Certain tools excel at what they do because they don't try to be..."

Now for these kind of jobs it clearly is Canikon..and it could have been Pentax K3 had they the necessary glass so in the future I will definietly be looking at a dual system kit and one specifically for sports/action or I will simply hire a 5DMk3 or similar for the occassion.

Last edited by HarjTT; Apr 15, 2014 at 4:30 AM.
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