Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Em1ii - switching from high res to Bracketing and Back

so, when we last talked, I'd discovered issues with focus bracketing - specifically that of being
 unable to magnify focus right to the very edge of the image, making it difficult to set a start point for the series of images when the nearest thing is at the very edge of the image, a not uncommon situation. I theorized that turning off magnify in manual focus and turning on focus peaking might provide a work around.

well, yesterday over several hours of real shooting,  with switches back and forth from high res to bracketing and back,  I found that while inconvenient, it was hardly a problem and the dive into the menus quickly got faster and easier - and the advantage of rapid reliable focus blending made it well worth the effort.

I'd like to make one quick point - with the Olympus, peaking goes away shortly after you stop focusing - really nice!

Anyway, if I'm currently in high res mode and magnify manual focus, to do a focus blend, I go into the menu and turn bracketing on. I turn off magnify in focus assist. At the beginning of the shoot I set focus to manual in the menu rather than with the focus clutch on the lens thus preventing autofocus when I press the shutter. I adjust the number of images to blend and if need be the focus shift between images (1-9). In reality I leave shift at 2 and the number of images at 12 - its simpler to have too many images than not enough and 12 covers everything but macro so I soon skipped this step. This combination seems to cover all normal focus blends/brackets.

With focus peaking on, I go to the viewfinder and set focus for the nearest part of the subject , even if it is beyond the active autofocus area (I'm in manual focus after all). I press the shutter and the series starts. turns out that peaking is sufficiently sensitive that the smallest rotation of the lens shifts the area of focus in and out so it's easy to make sure that I'm focused at least as near as the nearest item in frame - and maybe a tad nearer to be safe.

After the series is complete I go into playback to confirm I captured both near and far.

Should it happen that the next shot is back to high res, then I go back to the menu, turn bracketing off and magnify focus on, and go about my business.

I guess I could abandon automatic focus bracketing to be able to stay in high res but have to say that I'm perfectly happy with the normal resolution and blended images (blended in Helicon Focus by the way).

Remember that in the bad old days (two weeks ago) focus blending would involve turning the lens a little (sheer guesswork) and wait for the camera to settle, use the self timer, turn the lens again, and did I already turn it, and which way..., repeat till I'm sure I reached the far part of the subject (and invariably I'm not sure) and pray I didn't turn the lens too far in one or more of the shifts - which happened all too often.

Yep, I'm definitely hooked on Olympus focus bracketing - a couple of menu adjustments each time notwithstanding.

And it's far easier to do than read about it!

Overall I'm tickled with the Olympus and the images it produces. My workflow, my camera handling and the size and weight of my backpack are outstanding.

After the canon 5d3 - noisy shadows; NikonD800e - terrible live view and magnified focus, oh yes, and shutter shake, Sony A7r - shutter shake;  and rii ((rented for a week) - no LCD swing for vertical shots; Fuji GFX50s - no equivalent of my favourite 70-200 nor any hint of one coming; the em-1 mark II is a delight to use. Do I miss those enormous high quality files with detail beyond belief - sure, but it comes down to print size - am I willing to compromise in so many ways so that I can make big prints that I don't have a printer for, have no call for, can't display and don't need. Time to get real.

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