E-M5: Face Detection quirks

Started May 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
Timur Born
Senior MemberPosts: 3,755
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Re: E-M5: Face Detection quirks
In reply to rrr_hhh, May 7, 2012

Thanks for the feedback!

rrr_hhh wrote:

The main problem I'm seeing in this picture is that you caught a very reflective surface in the flash reach (that TV screen).

It's an oven and I should have cropped it out, because the picture was only meant to demonstrate the skin and gradations hair parts of my report.

The little shiny spot on your child's noose are pretty normal for direct flash. In general I find that the camera meter did a rather good job given the conditions. The shiny highly reflective object in the background would have fooled any of my film cameras.

Combining "Face Detection" with Evaluative/Multi/Matrix metering (enforced on the X10, optional on the E-M5) leads to a special metering mode on both cameras. What happens is that in this one combination you get Spot metering on the focus spot, but only when a face is detected with the focus spot being on the face. I really wished that focus-spot metering were available without Face Detection, too, but it's better than nothing.

I will check my pics and the E-M5 behavior again, thought. It is possible that the last shots used Spot metering and that only Evaluative works like this.

The E-M5 will perform well, if you put it in the right conditions. First you have to avoid reflective objects in the background.

Of course I did not only shot reflective surfaces like that oven.

Secondly, direct flash will always create unwanted shiny faces.

Not always, but only if the camera fires the flash at full strenght and low ISO when a combination of lower powered flash with higher ISO would have been less "in the face" (pun intended). When a camera knows that it's using it's built in direct flash then the firmware can make educated decisions in favor of more natural skin tones. And even more so if metering suggest indoor light instead of bright sunshine.

There is a reason why fashion and portrait photographers put make up on the face of their models and sitters.

And there is a reason why sometimes you have to use built in flash (or the small clip-on coming with the E-M5). I am currently trying out what can be expected from that combination and report it here.

If you find that your P&S works better, then use your P&S. To take good pictures, you have to know your camera well, not only how to customize its buttons and options, but also know how it will react to given situations. After a while you will know instinctively when your camera can take a good picture and when not.

Which is why I am sharing my experinces in this thread.

Concerning focus : each lens has a minimum focusing distance, did you respect it ? Also if the main subject is too tiny in the frame or too near of the edge, it may no work.

As you can see I was testing 45 mm length (to see if the 45/1.8 would suit me), so of course I was not up close to the subjects. And like I wrote, the images' EXIF report that faces were detected, but the images look as if not. One of the possible culprits of face detection systems is when they lose confident in their own assessment and drop detection just the moment when you press the shutter.

I will do some more test shots to better understand the numbering scheme of the face detection EXIF fields.

One thing I don't know is how face detection works with the other focusing options ? Does it takes precedence in all situations ? Or do you have to enable multipoints AF ? What if you have pinpoint focus ? Or center point only ? And suppose you have set AF to a custom button, how does that interfere ? May be all this can influence face detection ?

Face detection is a 'priority' option, which should take precedence in all situations where you see a green box on a detected face. This is another possible culprit, the visual AFconfirmation always comes late (or not at all) after the audible one and thus shutter release allowance (with release priority off).

So lots of things to look for in detail and over time.

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