Jump to content
vkalia

Macro and MFT cameras

Recommended Posts

Hi all -

Need some advice - after years of shooting with a DSLR with an Inon 45 degree finder attached to it, i have switched to a MFT system:  Olympus in a Nauticam.   However, i have realized that the screen resolution on the camera is all kinds of crap, and i am not able to judge accurate focus on it: certainly not to the degree i could with an OVF. 

With my Canon, i used to manually focus and the nice Inon 45 degree finder gave me a fantastic view of what was or was not in focus - to the point that I have been able to manually focus on mating mandarins in near darkness.   I knew that to be an issue going into MFT, but figured I could just rely on autofocus.    But i have found i cannot.   I am going to get a focus gear for the lens and see if that helps, but honestly, given how crappy EVF resolution is, i am not sure that is going to do it.

Are there any tips or tricks that help?  

TIA,

Old dog trying to learn new tricks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a few things you can do. But when I deal with super precision focusing like rhinophores of a nudibranch or eye of a shrimp( I mean those that are more passive),

I will magnify and turn on my focus peaking.

First, preset a button as a magnifying button. I use the button on the selector switch.

Secondly, turn on focus peaking from the MF assist menu.

Whenever I switch to MF, the camera will turn on the focus peaking. When I compose a subject, I use the arrow button to move to the focus point, then press the magnify button. then turn my Focus dial till u get the brightest illumination of the focus peaking. And snap.

When the subject is magnify, turn the rear dial to adjust the magnification factor depending on your need.

On the othet hand, u can magnify and AF again. Which will also increase the accuracy of the AF.

I use OM-D E-M5 II and E-M1 II

Hope it helps.

Sent from my SM-N975F using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Tim -

Thannk you very much:  that is very helpful - - these new crop of MLCs have all these wondrous features which i havent even begun to explore.   Might be time to correct that, as i sit at home bored out of my mind.

Ideally, i need to find a way to get focus peaking to work with the back-button AF on the camera - let me play around with the camera and see.

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, vkalia said:

Hi all -

Need some advice - after years of shooting with a DSLR with an Inon 45 degree finder attached to it, i have switched to a MFT system:  Olympus in a Nauticam.   However, i have realized that the screen resolution on the camera is all kinds of crap, and i am not able to judge accurate focus on it: certainly not to the degree i could with an OVF. 

With my Canon, i used to manually focus and the nice Inon 45 degree finder gave me a fantastic view of what was or was not in focus - to the point that I have been able to manually focus on mating mandarins in near darkness.   I knew that to be an issue going into MFT, but figured I could just rely on autofocus.    But i have found i cannot.   I am going to get a focus gear for the lens and see if that helps, but honestly, given how crappy EVF resolution is, i am not sure that is going to do it.

Are there any tips or tricks that help?  

TIA,

Old dog trying to learn new tricks.

Can you describe a bit more your equipment? What camera and lens are you using and do you use a nauticam viewfinder or just the housing? If your camera does not have a high resolution EVF and you have eyesight issue the best option is to use the LCD it won't change the performance of focus and will give access to focus peaking however there are some tweaks needed depending on lens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Interceptor121 said:

Can you describe a bit more your equipment? What camera and lens are you using and do you use a nauticam viewfinder or just the housing? If your camera does not have a high resolution EVF and you have eyesight issue the best option is to use the LCD it won't change the performance of focus and will give access to focus peaking however there are some tweaks needed depending on lens

I am using an EM-10Mk3 - no viewfinder.      I didnt really find the EVFs on any of the OMD series to be anything approaching the resolution of a high quality optical finder in low light but that was admittedly a fairly quick glance.    As such, I havent bothered putting an external finder on it, and shoot with the LCD.

Issue i am having is with the 60mm macro lens - i like to lock focus and then move the camera back and forth till the subject is in focus.    That's simply not working.    

I'll try the focus peaking approach.   Also open to other tips/suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok this lens is a pita because it has a very long focus run
You should switch to manual focus and peaking but activate push AF
Once that is active you can move the camera back and forth


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP what prompted you to abandon the available DSLR options? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, vkalia said:

Hello Tim -

Thannk you very much:  that is very helpful - - these new crop of MLCs have all these wondrous features which i havent even begun to explore.   Might be time to correct that, as i sit at home bored out of my mind.

Ideally, i need to find a way to get focus peaking to work with the back-button AF on the camera - let me play around with the camera and see.

Cheers!

I never use the back button focus... you can try to reprogram the AEL-AFL button as the AF button or peaking button.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I never use the back button focus... you can try to reprogram the AEL-AFL button as the AF button or peaking button.

That is back button focus on a MFT


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Interceptor121 said:


That is back button focus on a MFT


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

yes. But not by default. Need to do some settings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, vkalia said:

Ideally, i need to find a way to get focus peaking to work with the back-button AF on the camera - let me play around with the camera and see.

I can't say for sure with your camera, but it is possible with the E-M1 mk II. The menus may not be the same between the two, so I won't attempt to describe them precisely, but maybe this will help.

First, make sure you have set a single smallest focus point.  Assign back button focus to one button and peaking to another button.  I use AEL/AFL and Fn2 respectively as those are the most ergonomic on my housing. Set AF mode to S-AF. Set the Peaking Settings as you like. I use Red, Highlight Intensity High and Image Brightness Adjust On to make peaking really obvious when underwater. Save everything to a custom mode so you don't have to repeat the sequence every time the camera is turned off!  I have one custom mode dedicated to UW macro.

In use, it is then simple to back button focus, activate peaking, and move the camera back and forth. I find this only works for really still subjects.  If there is surge or a lot of subject movement, C-AF + TR (continuous autofocus plus tracking) often produces better results for me, although Olympus' tracking is not the best and misses as much as it hits and peaking does not work in this mode. 

Happy shooting!

(By the way, for those who are sceptics about back button focus, I will say that in my experience it really depends on the housing whether it is a help or a hindrance.  On my past two rigs, it was a pain and I never used it, but with the current Nauticam housing there is trigger-style button under the right thumb that is super comfortable and enhances the stability of my grip.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Akoni said:

OP what prompted you to abandon the available DSLR options? 

Size, mainly.    In Asia, airlines are getting quite strict about a 7kg carryon limit and a big DSLR, dome port, etc was getting to be a bit too impractical to cart around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, troporobo said:

I can't say for sure with your camera, but it is possible with the E-M1 mk II. The menus may not be the same between the two, so I won't attempt to describe them precisely, but maybe this will help.

First, make sure you have set a single smallest focus point.  Assign back button focus to one button and peaking to another button.  I use AEL/AFL and Fn2 respectively as those are the most ergonomic on my housing. Set AF mode to S-AF. Set the Peaking Settings as you like. I use Red, Highlight Intensity High and Image Brightness Adjust On to make peaking really obvious when underwater. Save everything to a custom mode so you don't have to repeat the sequence every time the camera is turned off!  I have one custom mode dedicated to UW macro.

In use, it is then simple to back button focus, activate peaking, and move the camera back and forth. I find this only works for really still subjects.  If there is surge or a lot of subject movement, C-AF + TR (continuous autofocus plus tracking) often produces better results for me, although Olympus' tracking is not the best and misses as much as it hits and peaking does not work in this mode. 

Happy shooting!

(By the way, for those who are sceptics about back button focus, I will say that in my experience it really depends on the housing whether it is a help or a hindrance.  On my past two rigs, it was a pain and I never used it, but with the current Nauticam housing there is trigger-style button under the right thumb that is super comfortable and enhances the stability of my grip.)

Yup, I am happy to report that on an OMG-ABCDAlphabetSoup 10 Mk3, you can use the back button AF approach (AEL/AFL button on mine as well) and set the FN2 button to turn on focus peaking.   

I have chosen to:

- set the focus to Single Shot + MF

- For Focus Assist, have turned on both subject zoom and focus peaking.  

This way, when i press FN2 activate the focus peaking, i can use that to determine focus accuracy (i dont get the subject zoom for MF assist in this case).     OTOH, if i press FN2 again to deactivate focus peaking under the normal display, i get the benefit the subject zoom and focus peaking as well.   That works great, as i dont always want to zoom in on the subject.

This should work really well.

The only thing remaining now is being able to see that blessed viewfinder well enough to utilize the focus peaking.   It is very faint indeed!

Thank you very much for your help, guys - but i am open to more tips and shortcuts, if anyone has suggestions.     As we all like photos, here is one from Banda, from a few weeks ago.

Banda-Feb2020-122.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, troporobo said:

I can't say for sure with your camera, but it is possible with the E-M1 mk II. The menus may not be the same between the two, so I won't attempt to describe them precisely, but maybe this will help.

First, make sure you have set a single smallest focus point.  Assign back button focus to one button and peaking to another button.  I use AEL/AFL and Fn2 respectively as those are the most ergonomic on my housing. Set AF mode to S-AF. Set the Peaking Settings as you like. I use Red, Highlight Intensity High and Image Brightness Adjust On to make peaking really obvious when underwater. Save everything to a custom mode so you don't have to repeat the sequence every time the camera is turned off!  I have one custom mode dedicated to UW macro.

In use, it is then simple to back button focus, activate peaking, and move the camera back and forth. I find this only works for really still subjects.  If there is surge or a lot of subject movement, C-AF + TR (continuous autofocus plus tracking) often produces better results for me, although Olympus' tracking is not the best and misses as much as it hits and peaking does not work in this mode. 

Happy shooting!

(By the way, for those who are sceptics about back button focus, I will say that in my experience it really depends on the housing whether it is a help or a hindrance.  On my past two rigs, it was a pain and I never used it, but with the current Nauticam housing there is trigger-style button under the right thumb that is super comfortable and enhances the stability of my grip.)

There is no actual benefit to set a single point and this will make it harder to focus. As you are only needing to set a focal distance I set it to middle area then focus on a rock or something higher contrast until I am sure am at maximum magnification and then use peaking on the screen. Peaking works with contrast detection and that needs high frame rates processed by the AF engine of the camera

In terms of tracking that is equivalent to other cameras 3D tracking it relies on motion vectors which means it does not work very well if your tracked object changes shape. So for example if you set it on a feature and this turns away or disappear this may be lost. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:

Peaking works with contrast detection and that needs high frame rates processed by the AF engine of the camera

High frame rates?     Is there a way to tweak that to improve AF performance?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
High frame rates?     Is there a way to tweak that to improve AF performance?

No that’s a feature of the camera body + lens combo


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, vkalia said:

The only thing remaining now is being able to see that blessed viewfinder well enough to utilize the focus peaking.   It is very faint indeed!

 

I am puzzled by this comment.  Do you mean the entire viewfinder is dim, or the peaking highlights?  If highlights, try red vs. yellow, and the settings I described.  If entire viewfinder, make sure S-OVF is turned off and Live View Boost is turned on.

As for single focus points, we will just have to agree to disagree.  With stationary subjects I can focus exactly where I want 99% of the time. 

Regarding frame rates, there is talk in Olympus forums that setting a higher refresh rate for the EVF improves AF performance. I do not know why this would be the case and have not tested it, but some posters swear by it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One other thing to consider is an external monitor.  I exclusively shoot video, so that was essential for me, but it certainly makes it much, much easier to see what is or isn't in focus.  It does add a lot of cost and complexity to your apparatus, though, and adds to the drag of the system while swimming.  So, there are trade-offs, but for me, an external monitor helps immensely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The AF I find varies among cameras, I now have the EM-1 MkII upgraded from the EM-5 MkII a couple of years back now.  The EM-1 has noticeably better AF and the C-AF plus tracking actually works quite well in macro.

I purchased the MF gear for the 60mm macro and gave up on it - you have to spin like crazy on the focus ring to get a noticable change in focus and the this is made worse with a gear - the gearing means your need even more turns on the housing focus knob. 

You will want to assign peaking to a button and turn it up to max in the menu settings - pick a colour that stands out - I use red underwater the settings are in D3 menu on my camera - called peaking settings.  They are most noticeable when the subject has good texture/contrast

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

The AF I find varies among cameras, I now have the EM-1 MkII upgraded from the EM-5 MkII a couple of years back now.  The EM-1 has noticeably better AF and the C-AF plus tracking actually works quite well in macro.

I purchased the MF gear for the 60mm macro and gave up on it - you have to spin like crazy on the focus ring to get a noticable change in focus and the this is made worse with a gear - the gearing means your need even more turns on the housing focus knob. 

You will want to assign peaking to a button and turn it up to max in the menu settings - pick a colour that stands out - I use red underwater the settings are in D3 menu on my camera - called peaking settings.  They are most noticeable when the subject has good texture/contrast

Even if you had autofocus working the depth of field is so small that when you move a little you will loose the focus.

This is why the procedure I suggest is more effective focus once at a given distance and then use peaking. How good the AF will not matter and if the peaking works well it will show on screen the depth of field you have

If you want to rely on auto focus then you need to use some form of tracking and the OMD-EM10 series does not have phase detect and likely has a poor implementation of contrast detect too as it is not a flagship product so it will struggle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 3/23/2020 at 4:30 AM, troporobo said:

I am puzzled by this comment.  Do you mean the entire viewfinder is dim, or the peaking highlights?  If highlights, try red vs. yellow, and the settings I described.  If entire viewfinder, make sure S-OVF is turned off and Live View Boost is turned on.

Sorry for the slow reply, had some life+Covid related stuff that kept me busy.    I meant that the peaking highlights are very faint sometimes (I was testing in macro mode on land, and i was really struggling to see the peaks at times).

On 3/23/2020 at 5:13 PM, ChrisRoss said:

The AF I find varies among cameras, I now have the EM-1 MkII upgraded from the EM-5 MkII a couple of years back now.  The EM-1 has noticeably better AF and the C-AF plus tracking actually works quite well in macro.

I purchased the MF gear for the 60mm macro and gave up on it - you have to spin like crazy on the focus ring to get a noticable change in focus and the this is made worse with a gear - the gearing means your need even more turns on the housing focus knob. 

You will want to assign peaking to a button and turn it up to max in the menu settings - pick a colour that stands out - I use red underwater the settings are in D3 menu on my camera - called peaking settings.  They are most noticeable when the subject has good texture/contrast

 

Yeah, i did notice that the focus takes ages to move - I was hoping to use AF to get it close, MF to tweak and then do the whole rock-it-back-and-forth to get it right.    I dont seem to have an option to boost the peaking color on my EM10Mk3, however.

Thanks for the tip on using C-AF.    Did you mean automatic focus tracking?     That would be a very interesting option but doesnt it require the touchscreen?

Edit - C-AF + Tracking apparently does NOT require a touchscreen.     Doh.  I was convinced it was.    That's also something worth trying, I reckon.   I just wonder if it will be precise enough to focus on, say, the eyes of an eel as opposed to its mouth.

Edited by vkalia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, vkalia said:

Edit - C-AF + Tracking apparently does NOT require a touchscreen.     Doh.  I was convinced it was.    That's also something worth trying, I reckon.   I just wonder if it will be precise enough to focus on, say, the eyes of an eel as opposed to its mouth.

It is easily precise enough in that scenario, as long as you enable the single small focus point

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I shoot EM5ii with the 60mm all the time. I too find that it focuses like a slug, esp if you don't have a video light on.

A suggestion for you to try: Try autofocusing on your hand at a distance you think you'll use, ie really close to the port if you want 1:1, then throw your camera in manual focus, and do the rocking technique at the subject. The em5ii doesn't have great c-af tracking so I don't bother. Another tip is to try the magnify setting. For underwater macro I usually don't have to go more than 5x to get good results. I have not yet adapted back button focus but I might. 

I prefer to use fn1 for MF/AF toggle. fn2 for magnify.

These settings can get me nudi rhinophores.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/26/2020 at 4:56 AM, vkalia said:

Sorry for the slow reply, had some life+Covid related stuff that kept me busy.    I meant that the peaking highlights are very faint sometimes (I was testing in macro mode on land, and i was really struggling to see the peaks at times).

 

Yeah, i did notice that the focus takes ages to move - I was hoping to use AF to get it close, MF to tweak and then do the whole rock-it-back-and-forth to get it right.    I dont seem to have an option to boost the peaking color on my EM10Mk3, however.

Thanks for the tip on using C-AF.    Did you mean automatic focus tracking?     That would be a very interesting option but doesnt it require the touchscreen?

 

The peaking setting in the 1 MkII is under menu D3 called Peaking settings.  It looks like the 10 MkIII you can choose peaking colour but not intensity in menu C1.  If peaking doesn't work you can choose magnify and assign that to a button. 

Yes the option is called C-AF plus tracking it attempts to stay on your focus target even if you move the camera.  It is good on the EM-1 MkII, don't know how good it would be on the 10 MkIII, but worth trying.

You could use back button focus to get in the ballpark switch to peaking or magnify and then rock back and forth for critical focus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...