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Thread: E-1 can't focus at low light

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    Default E-1 can't focus at low light

    I've been playing with my E-1, so far so good. I did notice that at low light situation (indoor, not brightly lit), my E-1 can't seem to auto-focus. I often have to manual focus. Is this normal? I'm OK with manual focus for now. My len is 14-54mm.

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    Default Re: E-1 can't focus at low light

    It depends on how low the light levels are and how fast/contrasty the lens is.

    My E-1 struggles a bit with the Leica 14-50 f/2.8-3.5 in late evening/night work, but has no problem when I stick the Leica 25/1.4 on it. Of course, when AF doesn't work, I just switch to manual and focus it. ;-)

    Godfrey

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    Default Re: E-1 can't focus at low light

    Quote Originally Posted by PeakDream View Post
    I've been playing with my E-1, so far so good. I did notice that at low light situation (indoor, not brightly lit), my E-1 can't seem to auto-focus. I often have to manual focus. Is this normal? I'm OK with manual focus for now. My len is 14-54mm.
    Yes, this is normal. Olympus' AF modules struggle to acquire targets in low light, especially older systems like the E-1. The only Olympus body that is (supposedly) good with AF in low light is the E-3. The reason I say supposedly is because mine doesn't work well in low light either. It's undergoing testing at Olympus Canada now to see what (if anything) is wrong.
    4/3: Oly E-3, E-1, E-520, 9-18, 11-22, 14-54, 50-200, 70-300, 25/2.8, 35/3.5 | Leica 14-50, 14-150, 25/1.4
    m4/3: E-P3 | G1 | 14/2.5 | 20/1.7 | 14-42 IIR | 17/2.8 | 45/1.8 | Nik 20/3.5
    Nikon: D90, D700, 70-300/VR, 24/2.8, 35/1.8, 35/2, CV 40/2, 50/1.4G, 60/2.8, 85/1.8, 180/2.8 | f/2.8 zooms | Zeiss 25/2.8
    Sony: A55, A900, 24-85, 70-210/4, 20/2.8, 24/2.8, 30/2.8, 35/1.4G, 50/1.7, Zeiss 85/1.4
    P&S: Canon S90

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    Default Re: E-1 can't focus at low light

    I would also make sure that the AF assist light is enabled, and you are not covering it when you hold the camera. Also, the AF assist lights on the FL50 are much better, and can get focus lock on a blank wall in complete darkness. Single AF works better than C-AF in low light as well.
    Pete

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    Default Re: E-1 can't focus at low light

    One of the firmware versions (last but one back IIRC) had some improvements in this area - make sure your E-1 is up to date. Also try with just the one focus point (centre) as it can help.

    Jim

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    Default Re: E-1 can't focus at low light

    Thanks, I updated my firmware and the problem is still there. I'll try to use the one-focus point. I don't have FL50 only FL36. I'm gonna stick with manual right now. Fortunately, indoor, people don't move super fast. I was just surprised at the focusing issue. My co-worker has a E-420, it can focus in the same light situation but not my E-1. I'm not upgrading anytime soon, so I'm wondering if everyone has any little tricks to get E-1 work a little better.

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    Default Re: E-1 can't focus at low light

    The FL36 also has focus assist lamps, they don't work quite as well as the FL50, but still better than the built in lamp.

    The newer cameras are better, but I was never really troubled by the E-1's abilities, particularly if one of the flashes was mounted.
    Pete

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    Default Re: E-1 can't focus at low light

    Make sure that you have the AF Illumination set to ON, that you are in Single AF focus mode. Then in a very dark room press the shutter and see if the red light comes on to illuminate the subject with a red grid.

    With the flash make sure that you have not disabled the focus assistance light - this may be done by telling the flash gun that it is not mounted on the camera hot shoe. (This is based on using the FL50 - I have no experience with the flashgun you have).

    I remember just after getting my E1 how I took a picture at night outside in the dark using the FL50 and the E1 and how the exposure and focus was correct.

    With the E20 the result would have been much more problematical.

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