E-M1 Manual focus settings

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by kosta_cherry, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Currently I'm trying to master manual focus using E-M1 and Oly 12-40/2.8 lens. Never did MF before, because FF has very good AF lens for shallow DOF (like 135/2, 85/1.8 or 1.4, etc). Now, for m4/3 it's very hard to get similarly shallow DOF as on FF - best AF lens are Oly 75/1.8 (which translates to 150/3.6) and new Pana 42.5/1.2 (which translates to 85/2.4). So, I was thinking myself that if can master MF good enough, I can buy and use those Voigt or SLR Magic that are F0.95, which translates to F1.9 on FF - close enough to 1.8, and not too far from 1.4.
    I did set up peaking to "on", as well magnifying also to "on". Oly 12-40/2.8 is very convenient to use in MF - just slide focus ring to MF, and start shooting. Now, that's how I try to MF: choose focus point onto where I want to focus, then rotate focus ring until I see peaking lines to appear and magnifying shows me that subject is in focus, then press "focus lock" button (I assigned that to AEL button), then press shutter button.
    Problem is that no matter how hard I try - handheld or tripod, no matter how deep DOF is - my MF photos are NEVER as sharp as AF ones. At best they come very close, but never, ever I managed to get same sharp results from MF as I'm getting from AF.
    My question is - what am I doing wrong? May be there is camera setting that I overlooked (like may be lens correction needs to be set "off" or something like that)? Or, may be there is different technique I should use?
    Anybody can help?
     
  2. I have one of the programmable buttons programmed to MF. I select MF, then focus, then shoot. Perhaps the focus lock feature is not working and focus is changing when you press the shutter. Sharpness should not be any different from MF to AF assuming the exact same focus spot is used.
     
  3. I had the same experience shooting resolution targets with the camera mounted on a tripod. Sharp lenses on high pixel density sensor cameras, can resolve very high resolution, so long as focus is accurate. Tiny amounts of misfocus have very large impacts on resolution. It's very hard to manually match the accuracy and consistency of current mirrorless camera's CDAF. I don't even bother anymore.
     
  4. >> I don't even bother anymore
    It's nice to see that I'm no the only one having a problem with MF :)
    Oh well, I guess I have to give up on this idea :( It can work only on still subjects anyway, so I'm not missing much. But I had so high hopes to come close to FF shallow DOF :(
     
  5. (A) I have read in a 12/2 review (by Ctein on TOP) that - since MF is still "by wire" - that lens is actually focussed in
    discrete steps. (B) my AF SLR experience is that these lenses are extremely sensitive to even very small turns of the
    focusing ring, since they are designed for "motor" turning with minimal effort. (C) I have used both Nikon and Leica MF
    lenses on an E-PL1 - I do get nice results even on that grainy LCD. Voigtländer m43 lenses are designed for "real" MF,
    so I recommend that you give it a shot - do you have any legacy glass lying around ?? In that case, a cheap adapter won't
    set you back much on eBay.

    Hope this helps :)
     
  6. I gave up on MF when I determined that separating mush from mush on an EVF was pointless. Digital camera are not designed to be manually focused ... it is an relic of the past.
    However if you MUST and want narrow DoF you could focus in front of the subject which means the subject and only the subject is within the depth of field and the background is soft.
    You can use AF in a similar manner.
    I also appreciated awhuile back that without a truely manual focus lens rather than 'by wire' controlling stepping motors absolute focus only occurs if the distance happens to concur with a step of the motor .... couple that with human reaction and MF is unlikely to be better than AF .... but humans like to delude themselves.
    I don't think I have used MF for best part of a decade, since I changed to digital :) The target to aim for is to use AF properly and in this respect the selectable small target area that Panasonic gives us with MFT is the best I have heard about ... and most satisfying for me.
     
  7. Problem is that no matter how hard I try - handheld or tripod, no matter how deep DOF is - my MF photos are NEVER as sharp as AF ones. At best they come very close, but never, ever I managed to get same sharp results from MF as I'm getting from AF.
    My question is - what am I doing wrong?​
    Try turning off focus peaking - I find it gets in the way more than it helps - it can be useful in some scenarios, especially with moving subjects, but try ignoring it for now. And don't use focus lock because it is pointless with the Voigtlanders.
    I use the Voigtlander lenses and I always relied just on magnification. I assigned that to a button so I can press to zoom in and that's pretty much it. BTW, the magnification won't be triggered automatically as it does for the 12-40 lens, because there is no contact with the camera to let it know you're turning the focusing ring. I have more detailed commentary on MF here - you may want to skip the first part referring to SLRs.
    See results for each lens: 25mm, 17.5mm, 42.5mm. I have wide open samples for each but they may be buried among the stopped down versions - here's one sample for each lens: 25mm, 17.5mm, 42.5mm.
    Regarding the comments on the focus by-wire - I don't think that's it. I focused manually the 14-42 kit lens and I never had any issues with it. With the 12-40, the AF is so nice that I didn't spend much time using MF with it, but I did use it a few times and there was nothing special to it. The 12-40 is an excellent lens.
     
  8. That's why I don't want a mirrorless because I have not yet found one that I can MF as well as an SLR
     
  9. I have yet to find a DSLR that has as good manual focus as the EM1! I find the MF aids that the EM1 has are more than sufficient to achieve excellent MF.
     
  10. I have yet to find a DSLR that has as good manual focus as the EM1! I find the MF aids that the EM1 has are more than sufficient to achieve excellent MF.​
    Of course. With an SLR when you manually focus you just focus the image on the focusing screen; you can just hope that it will also get focused on the sensor after you press the shutter, stop down the aperture, and lift the mirror. At least SLRs had focusing screens designed to help with manual focusing so you could get that first step right (assuming you were not trying something more exotic such as focusing in an area away from center). But with DSLRs even that step is hard. It can be done and I did it, but it is much more challenging than with a MILC.
     
  11. I use an number of 35mm SLR's for more than 30 years before getting a DSLR. I manually focus on any part of the screen without any focusing aid like split image. That way I can focus fast and there is no need to focus then recompose. When I say fast it's not as fast as an AF system but less than 5 seconds.
     
  12. I use an number of 35mm SLR's for more than 30 years before getting a DSLR.​
    Yes, but how precisely do you focus? And how large do you print to check your focus? When I used film cameras, I also thought I manually focused reliably - it is only when I moved to digital cameras where I could easily check for misfocusing by examining the images at 100% that I realized all was not rosy.
    For the critical focus I am trying to achieve on digital cameras, a DSLR is harder to use than a MILC.
     

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