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Thread: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    I found out one thing, the E1 frame rate is just not enough to capture horses going past the finishing line (bugger they're fast), even when standing slightly to the front. Practice may help, but I kind of doubt this. If I'm going to do this again and want to catch the winners in motion, I'm going to have to get more face on views. Then again, this isn't what one often sees, so it may provide something different.

    The other thing I found out was that once the race is over, the first five horses across the post are brought to a dismounting area, the jockeys get of and their gone. You really have to be on your toes to catch a good close up of the horse and jockey. And if a jockey hangs arround to be interviewed, you have to jossle around the news camera and reporters.

    Cheers

    Ray

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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    It may be the 50-200mm lens needs an upgrade too, in order to work well with the newer body.
    Quote Originally Posted by windsprite View Post
    I have not heard such a thing, and a quick check of the Oly site didn't show anything. I wonder if any of it is true?
    Neither have I and if it was that easy, I doubt there would be another version soon coming with a faster motor. I think the ZD ED 50-200 is one of Olympus' most important lenses and they really need it to keep pace with the new bodies - both speed-wise and resolution-wise (who knows what is coming this fall...).

    Cheers, Jens.
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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Hi Julie,

    Quote Originally Posted by windsprite View Post
    Looking back at the original post, I see he was using the 14-54. I tried shooting with that lens a few times, because it's generally accepted that the AF is faster, but it only made matters worse. The subject was too small in the viewfinder, and the camera (E-500) has a hard time locking on to small objects. Putting the EC-14 on it didn't help.
    this was one of the first things I tried with my E-1 + 14-54 and I can't complain:

    A sequence of 8 consecutive shots of a skater stitched together in PSP8. I used the ZD 14-54 at 54 mm and f/5.0, the E-1 at ISO 800 and 1/50 second. OK, there is some motion blur in one or two of the frames but the C-AF performed fine in this case despite the low light and I attribute that to the lens.

    Cheers, Jens.
    Motto: Wildlife won't come to me unless I go to it.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    My Wildlife Photos: jensbirch.smugmug.com

    E-5, E-3, E-510, IR-E-1 ,E-P2
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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Hey, Jens, that is a neat and clever panorama, and it looks like the 14-54 performed fine for you.

    In no way did I intend to say you can't do sports with the 14-54. It is a fine, fast-focusing lens, and your image does a good job of showing its low-light capabilities combined with the E-1.

    Still, I see at least a couple of differences between your example and what I (and presumably the DPR thread's originator) was trying to accomplish: first, I wanted to capture my subjects running head-on, which makes a huge difference to the C-AF. Second, we are talking a very different speed of approach; there is no way I can get a remotely usable image at anything under 1/640", unless the dog is running very slowly.

    The reason I was saying the 14-54 is not ideal for shooting fast dogs is, the dogs dart around very nimbly, and if they are small in the viewfinder as they are with a short lens, you are going to have a hard time being precise enough in keeping the AF frame directly over the dog--and the E-cams do need precision. When I tried the 14-54 on my dogs, I went home with a lot of perfectly focused images of the dog park fence.

    Besides that, to get the dog large enough in the viewfinder to make an interesting image, with a short lens the animal has to be very near when you take the shot (say within 2-3 meters at 54mm?), but I find that the pre-X10 cameras tend to lose AF tracking on a fast-approaching object once it gets that close. Or rather than an AF problem, it might be because the dog (hopefully!) darts quickly to the side at that point, in order not to slam into you. Naturally, it's better to avoid this issue by shooting with a long lens.

    If the 14-54 is the only lens you have, then, well, you have to make do. Otherwise, it's just much easier to shoot at 120mm or longer.

    I e-mailed the OP in the DPR thread, by the way (nice guy!), and he recently bought the "classic" 40-150, so we'll see if he has any more luck with that.


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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    I was able to get these aviation shots using CAF on my E-1, with either the 50-200 (Skyraider) or the 150 (Hercules). I finally figured out a technique, where I had to "lock" onto the aircraft while they were way, no, make that waaaay out, and continue to track them, panning, until the desired frame was achieved. Admittedly, this technique took a little cussin' till I figured it out. My camera settings were otherwise at their factory settings (save for selecting a single focus point), and I can't figure why setting AEl/AFL C:mode 7 versus the default setting of 6 would matter, but I've tried it. I'm pretty sure I can't tell the difference. I have to admit moving aircraft usually provide a lot of contrast to help auto focusing, while most critter shots are much more problematic.





    Not sure what I'm trying to say other than that for some shots, the E-1 can come through in CAF mode. The initial reports re focusing on the new 410/510 bodies is very encouraging, too.

    Rocky

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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Hi Rocky, your aircraft shots are very good indeed. However, with respect, if your panning technique is good, and it obviously is, side-on shots of fast moving subjects are not difficult with the E-1, or most slow cameras, in any AF mode. If your panning is good, it's almost the same as shooting a non-moving object.
    Stopping something coming towards the camera is a whole different problem for AF, and the E-1 falls badly there, especially if the subject is erratic.
    Cheers,
    Don

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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Quote Originally Posted by jebir View Post
    Hi Julie,



    this was one of the first things I tried with my E-1 + 14-54 and I can't complain:

    A sequence of 8 consecutive shots of a skater stitched together in PSP8. I used the ZD 14-54 at 54 mm and f/5.0, the E-1 at ISO 800 and 1/50 second. OK, there is some motion blur in one or two of the frames but the C-AF performed fine in this case despite the low light and I attribute that to the lens.

    Cheers, Jens.
    Jens,
    The AF difficulty to shoot this subject with a short lens hardly compares with using AF and a long tele with an E-1. Add to that the 3/4 angle and predictable direction he is following, I don't think this example proves the E-1 to be a good C-AF performer.
    Cheers,
    Don

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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Hi Don and Julie,

    first of all, I never claimed the E-1 is a good C-AF performer - quite the contrary if you recall post #3 in this thread. However, I claim that the E-1 by no means is any bad camera in this respect either - if you know its limitations.

    What I wanted to show with my shot is that the 14-54 is considerably easier to use for this than for example the 50-200. The sequence I made would not have worked with the 50-200 even at the short end because that lens is simply moving around its internal bits and pieces too slowly.

    Of course shooting whippets head-on is a lot more difficult - maybe the hardest one can do in this respect considering the low contrast and high relative speed of the subject. However, I am talking about action shots in general here and I'm glad that the new cameras performs better than the old ones.

    I don't think the size of the subject has any large impact on the C-AF as long as there is a contrasty part within the AF-mark on the E-1. I even find it easier to keep the C-AF tracking on small subjects because one gets less sensitive to erratic motion. And, speaking of which, erratic motion of the subject is hardly any camera problem anyway. If the AF-system is faster, the focus will just be lost to the background tree or fence so much faster if a bird or a whippet gets out of the AF-point. Only a fast photographer can cure that problem.

    Cheers, Jens.
    Motto: Wildlife won't come to me unless I go to it.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    My Wildlife Photos: jensbirch.smugmug.com

    E-5, E-3, E-510, IR-E-1 ,E-P2
    ZD: 7-14, 14-54, 50, 50-200 SWD, 90-250/2.8, 300/2.8, EC-14, EC-20
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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Quote Originally Posted by jebir View Post
    And, speaking of which, erratic motion of the subject is hardly any camera problem anyway. If the AF-system is faster, the focus will just be lost to the background tree or fence so much faster if a bird or a whippet gets out of the AF-point. Only a fast photographer can cure that problem.
    Probably true of Olympus cameras, although possibly other brands have some method of dealing with this problem; I don't know. Anyway, this is one reason why some kind of adjustable focus-limiting feature would be really nice to have.


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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Quote Originally Posted by jebir View Post
    ... And, speaking of which, erratic motion of the subject is hardly any camera problem anyway. If the AF-system is faster, the focus will just be lost to the background tree or fence so much faster if a bird or a whippet gets out of the AF-point. Only a fast photographer can cure that problem.
    Hi Jens,

    I hope this isn't entirely true. I hope that having many more AF sensors (especially when they're all cross-type sensors) will enable the camera to do a better job of following erratic motion.
    Best regards, FL

    Pursuing excellence...

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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Hi FL,

    I think you are right, hopefully that may improve on things. In P&S cameras it is quite common with a following AF target frame. That is possible because the live image off the sensor is used and they programmed some pattern recognition into the camera so that it can recognize if the initial contrast pattern has moved in the finder.

    If the phase detection system used in dSLRs can be designed to recognize patterns, we could get something similar. However, I think there is some way to go before we are there. I can easily see how an AF system utilizing an additional high resolution CCD ( la E-330) in combination with a phase detection could do it.

    Another simpler method, which they may alredy have implemented, is to program a delay for the AF system to make a large change in focus once the C-AF has latched onto something predictive.

    Maybe I was a bit blunt in that statement...

    Cheers, Jens.
    Motto: Wildlife won't come to me unless I go to it.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    My Wildlife Photos: jensbirch.smugmug.com

    E-5, E-3, E-510, IR-E-1 ,E-P2
    ZD: 7-14, 14-54, 50, 50-200 SWD, 90-250/2.8, 300/2.8, EC-14, EC-20
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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Going back to the original post, and reading the DPR one, the ONLY setting there that is different from my "out of the box" E-1 settings is the C-AF AEL/AFL Mode change (to 7, default is 6).

    If one just half-presses the shutter in C-AF mode, does this change actually do anything? From what I gather from page 123 of the manual, if you do NOT use the AEL button at all, then in Mode 7 a half press of the shutter would only track the subject, right? In Mode 6 (default), a half-press would do an AE lock.

    In mode 7, once the shutter is depressed fully, then the AE is actually performed, right? If so, is that better or worse?

    How many actually do use the AEL button to lock anything?

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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4/3_Pickles View Post
    How many actually do use the AEL button to lock anything?
    I do.

    In MF I use it to perform an AF iteration and 'lock' focus
    In S-AF I may use it to lock the lock the exposure

    Cheers, Jens.
    Motto: Wildlife won't come to me unless I go to it.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    My Wildlife Photos: jensbirch.smugmug.com

    E-5, E-3, E-510, IR-E-1 ,E-P2
    ZD: 7-14, 14-54, 50, 50-200 SWD, 90-250/2.8, 300/2.8, EC-14, EC-20
    Peleng 8mm fisheye, shift Tamron SP 17/3.5, Tokina AT-X 300/2.8
    FL-50R, FL-40, FL-20, HLD-2, HLD-4, cleaved ZD EX-25 w. electric bypass, 250D, 500D, KatzEye Plus OptiBrite
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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4/3_Pickles View Post
    ... How many actually do use the AEL button to lock anything?
    Hi Craig,

    I use the AEL button similarly as Jens:

    Manual Focus (MF) mode
    I use the AEL button as an AF (mode 3) button. This is a very powerful feature and turns your camera into an AF-and-hold camera without having to half-press the shutter button.

    Single Auto Focus (S-AF) mode
    I use the AEL button like its namesake as an auto exposure lock (mode 2) button. The reason I prefer mode 2 is because it acts like a toggle---you don't have to hold the AEL button down the entire time. Just tap it once to lock the AE and tap it again if you change your mind and want to release AE before taking the shot. It is very helpful when used in conjunction with spot metering when you don't want to set the exposure dead center in the FOV.

    ----------

    As for the instruction by Rob Bye at the linked topic in the OP, it contains misleading information. The author is sharing how he sets his camera for C-AF operation. The settings he provides for "Release Priority S" and S-AF and MF "AEL/AFL" have nothing to do with C-AF. The only settings that he lists that relate to C-AF are "Release Priority C" and C-AF "AEL/AFL".

    Whenever I see these kinds of mistakes, it diminishes the credibility of the author because he/she doesn't seem to understand their camera. This doesn't mean that their C-AF settings are not good---it just means that they probably don't understand why they work---which is strange for someone who claims to be a "twenty year Canon Pro Service member". (I mean NO disrespect---I'm just pointing out that many of the settings listed in his post have nothing to do with C-AF operation.)

    There is one other setting that he mentioned and it involves both S-AF and C-AF and I'm surprised no one has debated his choice. He said that he only uses the center AF zone. I do the same---but I rarely attempt to use C-AF nowadays unless the subject motion is easy to predict and the subject size is sufficiently large in the FOV. The debate arises because I've read here (at 4/3photo) that several photographers who seem to know their stuff find that using all three AF zones produces better results with C-AF. Perhaps that is the difference between using C-AF with steady, predictable motion (use one AF zone) and erratic, unpredictable motion (use more than one AF zone).
    Best regards, FL

    Pursuing excellence...

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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Quote Originally Posted by First Light View Post
    The debate arises because I've read here (at 4/3photo) that several photographers who seem to know their stuff find that using all three AF zones produces better results with C-AF. Perhaps that is the difference between using C-AF with steady, predictable motion (use one AF zone) and erratic, unpredictable motion (use more than one AF zone).
    FL, I don't know if you would count me among the ones who knows their stuff, but I keep debating that point with myself. I think it depends on the situation. If you have a lot of extraneous objects around your subject (fences, etc.), Auto seems more likely to lock onto the wrong thing. If you have a clear shot at your subject with few or no distractions, Auto seems to lock faster and keep the lock better. An example is shooting birds in flight. If you are aiming up at the sky, the camera seems to obtain a lock much faster if you put the points on Auto. I am talking about the E-500 and beyond, though; I'm not sure about the E-1, but I don't know any reason why it would be different.

    I also use the side points a lot (mostly the bottom one in portrait orientation), and for the subjects I shoot at least, they seem to do as well as the center point.

    The E-510 doesn't seem to do any better with erratic subjects; it is just as likely as the other models to switch focus to the wrong object. But if you have a clear shot, it is just great.

    You were asking before if "image stabilization can improve C-AF performance for less predictable motion." My feeling so far is no. IS doesn't seem to be connected to the C-AF. I have been turning it off for action shooting, except of course I'm looking forward to trying IS 2 for panning. I wonder if anybody else has any thoughts about IS 1 for non-panning action?


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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    You want a real challenge? Try shooting an oncoming train. The headlights will alter your exposure, and the autofocus on your 5-200 will hunt.
    I put the camera on manual, meter the scene to get proper exposure, pre-focus manually on where I predict my shot will look the best, and then fire off about 6 or 8 shots as the freight passes through my focal point.
    Feels as though I'm back to where I started at 20 years ago with my old mf Nikon!
    This shot was taken with my E-1, 50-200, f5.6 at 1/500th. this is the shot right out of the camera

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    Default Re: Tweaking the E-1 for action shots, Ray?

    Yeah, I know the whole thread and its settings are a bit "much" and that it wasn't all about C-AF and how to make it better. I just thought it strange that the only setting out of his whole "package" that was different than the "default" on my E-1 when I got it was the Mode 7 change.

    So it didn't click in my head how it is "better" as for performance. For things like you both mentioned, using the AEL button makes sense, but neither of you mentioned a preferred setting in C-AF mode for it. So, it is a non-issue, or C-AF is not used much. And given the "slowness" of the E-1 in general, the latter is probably the case...

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