Focus bracketing…wouldn't it be nice?

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Phil Rose
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Focus bracketing…wouldn't it be nice?
5 months ago

I recently was perusing Andrez Wrotniak's always-informative site and I came across a bit of surprising information regarding a relatively obscure feature found in at least one "vintage 4/3" DSLR model. Specifically, Wrotniak described the Focus Bracketing capability of the Oly E-500. Who knew? Certainly not I.

Is the E-500 a unique Oly DSLR in this respect? It's a feature I'd dearly love to have available in my E-M1 for making quick exposures for focus-stacking, although the focus-distance increments might need to be somewhat smaller than what's implemented in the E-500 feature.

What a great feature this could be for Olympus to add in a firmware update (e.g., for my E-M1).

Anyway, here's the introductory few paragraph's from Wrotniak's article (which BTW does not discuss focus-stacking), in which he proceeds to demo the bracketing feature and describes how to use it along with AF.

http://www.wrotniak.net/photo/43/e500-foc-bkt.html

Hidden deep in the Camera 2 menu of the E-500 is the Manual Focus Bracketing function, shown as MF BKT. It works only with autofocus lenses used in the manual focus mode. I find this somewhat disappointing: usually the AF system will do a better job than I will, especially taking into account the low-magnification viewfinder.

The principle of focus bracketing is simple: with the option activated, the camera will take the first picture as focused manually, and then 2, 4, or 6 extra frames, moving the focus plane a tad forward or backward in each. This way you can later choose the version focused most to your liking.

The reason why this feature cannot be used with manual focus (legacy) lenses is obvious: these lack the focusing motor, therefore the focus cannot be adjusted by the camera. On the other hand, I would like to see an option to bracket the focus originally set by the AF circuitry.

Only after having used the camera for a month or two, I realized that this limitation can be easily bypassed, in a most convenient and logical way. Here is how.

I usually regard "petitions to Olympus" for this or that as just an exercise in futility, but I think the focus bracketing feature would appeal to many Olympus users (present and potential) and that it deserves some serious "promotion".

Anyone agree?

Phil

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