Focus help

Started 4 months ago | Discussions
estero
estero Senior Member • Posts: 1,947
Focus help

I tried to focus on a dragonfly sitting on a twig yesterday and had a difficult time getting a focus on it. It is a very thin object and not a lot of contrasting parts. Any help that could give a better focus at this type subject would be appreciated. .

The sun was out so light was good. I used spot area as small as I could.

Here is one sample. I was about 5 feet from the dragonfly.

Here is another different shot different angle.

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Steve

kohinoor Senior Member • Posts: 1,130
Re: Focus help
1

Sorry to say but thats the major weakness of the FZ300. The darn DFD-autofocus!

You will have to "pull" autofocus from something else in the focal plane (same distance as subject). As soon as you have pre-focused on something  close enough to the subject it will then focus correctly on the subject rather than making the bigger jump to the background.

This is also the reason why shooting BIF with other backgrounds than sky ore water (very low contrast) is completely hopeless.
On the FZ200 one could activate the macro focus setting and the cam would allways focus on the foreground even if it was something invisible to the naked eye like a cobweb ore light rain! -Unfortunately, activating macro focus on the FZ300 on the other hand doesn't change a thing in this respect.

Jon_T
Jon_T Veteran Member • Posts: 4,570
Re: Focus help
1

Which AF mode are you using?

Would recommend using the single center AF frame.

I have the FZ200 (FZ1000; ZS100) and frequently use the single center AF frame, and at times reduced size of AF frame to focus through branches or fence openings in front of subject to focus on the subject.

FZ200

FZ1000

Cheers,
Jon

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kohinoor Senior Member • Posts: 1,130
Re: Focus help
1

Unfortunately, in this respect the FZ200 and 300 aren't comparable. At times when there is contrasty background the FZ300 will refuse to focus on the subject in the forground even if that subject is bigger than the focus box size.

Jon_T
Jon_T Veteran Member • Posts: 4,570
Re: Focus help

kohinoor wrote:

Unfortunately, in this respect the FZ200 and 300 aren't comparable. At times when there is contrasty background the FZ300 will refuse to focus on the subject in the forground even if that subject is bigger than the focus box size.

I do not have the FZ300, but the ZS100 and FZ1000 both have the Pany DFD focusing and I had not had the problem you're having focusing on small objects with background and/ or foreground.

You're the first I seen to post this, and other FZ300/ FZ330 users seem to be able to get good Dragon Fly and other small insects pics; e.g.,

"Small dragonfly on wildflower" by estero.

Wait to see if other FZ300/ FZ330 chime in with their experiences.

Cheers,
Jon

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Bassy Forum Pro • Posts: 10,127
Re: Focus help

it might be worth giving pinpoint focus area  a try

you need to be in AFS AFF  mode for it to work

Avian2016
Avian2016 Senior Member • Posts: 4,429
Re: Focus help
1

Dragonfly in-flight - 1-area AF, the smallest box;

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Avian

kohinoor Senior Member • Posts: 1,130
Re: Focus help

Jon_T wrote:

kohinoor wrote:

Unfortunately, in this respect the FZ200 and 300 aren't comparable. At times when there is contrasty background the FZ300 will refuse to focus on the subject in the forground even if that subject is bigger than the focus box size.

I do not have the FZ300, but the ZS100 and FZ1000 both have the Pany DFD focusing and I had not had the problem you're having focusing on small objects with background and/ or foreground.

That's good for you then because I currently own two FZ300 and two FZ200 ( same cams for me and my wife and the two FZ200's not sold yet) and experience wise I'm on my fourth FZ300 now and they all behaved exactly the same. This focus behavior is one of the main reasons why transitioning from 200 to 300 was a difficult back and forth affair for me.

You're the first I seen to post this, and other FZ300/ FZ330 users seem to be able to get good Dragon Fly and other small insects pics; e.g.,

"Small dragonfly on wildflower" by estero.

Yes estero and me too we are able to get good shots of small insects and dragonflies. But occasionally the focusing system can be stubborn under the mentioned circumstances.

Wait to see if other FZ300/ FZ330 chime in with their experiences.

Would be appreciated!

Cheers,
Jon

kohinoor Senior Member • Posts: 1,130
Re: Focus help

Avian2016 wrote:

Dragonfly in-flight - 1-area AF, the smallest box;

Thanks for posting this pic. It perfectly demonstrates the crucial difference to the OP's shot. Your's has plain uniform background while estero's has cluttered contrasty background. If you had had contrasty reeds behind the dragonfly the chances of the FZ300 acquiring correct focus would have been close to zero.

NIce shot btw!

Avian2016
Avian2016 Senior Member • Posts: 4,429
Re: Focus help

You're right. So it would be sensible for him to repeat the shooting by carefully choosing the background. With even background, chances for getting the solid shot would be much bigger. And if possible, with sun behind the OP's back.

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Avian

kohinoor Senior Member • Posts: 1,130
Re: Focus help

Avian2016 wrote:

You're right. So it would be sensible for him to repeat the shooting by carefully choosing the background. With even background, chances for getting the solid shot would be much bigger. And if possible, with sun behind the OP's back.

Well, that's hard to arrange for in most cases. What I usually do is to "pull" focus from something nearby. When the focus is allready much closer to the subject than the background then it will snap rather onto the subject. -Undoable for BIF but for stationary subjects this works well.

estero
OP estero Senior Member • Posts: 1,947
Re: Focus help

I had the Fn2 button set for focus area and used the 1 area. I will try the pinpoint. and some other suggestions.

Thanks for all the help.

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Steve

Castaway
Castaway Veteran Member • Posts: 4,663
Re: Focus help

Small one Area Focus works well for me. The 2nd and 3rd are through glass.

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arrow501 Contributing Member • Posts: 775
Re: Focus help
1

According to the EXIF you didn't have Macro turned on. Without Macro on the FZ300's closest focus distance at 500mm (which is what you first shot is shot at) is 2 metres. With Macro on it is only 1 metre. I think if you were to try again with Macro on you would get the camera to focus. If you can't get focus take a step back and try again, when you get focus creep back in checking for focus each time to get used to the closest focus distance. I like the next size up from the smallest focus box best for insects.

Here is a dragonfly shot I took recently in a similar setting with my FZ330. Macro was On, the camera was at full zoom and I was about 1 metre away from the dragonfly.

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spike29 Senior Member • Posts: 1,962
Re: Focus help

Don't know if the fz300 has a focus button on the side next to the macro af , af, mf selection.

I used that sometimes, place it on mf, and use the button for forced single af  to get a focused area where the critter is in.  after that you can just use shutter. Most change you got with smallest box center area.

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kohinoor Senior Member • Posts: 1,130
Re: Focus help

arrow501 wrote:

According to the EXIF you didn't have Macro turned on. Without Macro on the FZ300's closest focus distance at 500mm (which is what you first shot is shot at) is 2 metres. With Macro on it is only 1 metre. I think if you were to try again with Macro on you would get the camera to focus. If you can't get focus take a step back and try again, when you get focus creep back in checking for focus each time to get used to the closest focus distance. I like the next size up from the smallest focus box best for insects.

If that was the case (too close to focus without macro focus enabled) he would have gotten a bright red warning on the screen telling him he 's too close. -And if he read that he would have known what to do...

In below shot macro focus was enabled and the subject well beyond the min focus distance. The smallest focus box size hadn't covered the entire flower ... enough for the cam to focus on the background.

estero
OP estero Senior Member • Posts: 1,947
Re: Focus help

I am pretty sure I had the macro on. What exif are you using?

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Steve

MelRuh Regular Member • Posts: 441
Re: Focus help

You really nailed it with this answer.  All of the other talk about focus modes and areas is irrelevant.

Briefly focusing on my feet has become a necessary part of my routine.

Jon_T
Jon_T Veteran Member • Posts: 4,570
Re: Focus help

MelRuh wrote:

... All of the other talk about focus modes and areas is irrelevant....

Highly dependent upon shot conditions.

Simple fact as to single center AF frame vs Multi-frame focus when there are items (branches, fence, etc.) in front of the subject that the Multi-frame focus would focus on items in front of subject instead of the subject behind the items as per a couple of simple shots in my post HERE.

Overall the majority of full auto muti-point AF will focus one item closest to the camera and/ or first item AF can established focus on, which may or may not be the 'area' of image 'you' want to be the point of focus.

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kohinoor Senior Member • Posts: 1,130
Re: Focus help

Jon_T wrote:

MelRuh wrote:

... All of the other talk about focus modes and areas is irrelevant....

Highly dependent upon shot conditions.

Yes of course! I'm only talking of situations like the ones seen in the OP. -Small subject with low contrast and at the same time contrasty background.
I'm not bashing the cam here. I'm using two of them and prefering it over the FZ200 !

Simple fact as to single center AF frame vs Multi-frame focus when there are items (branches, fence, etc.) in front of the subject that the Multi-frame focus would focus on items in front of subject instead of the subject behind the items as per a couple of simple shots in my post HERE.

Here again I was only speaking of single central AF-box smallest size ... which is the setting most used by wildlife photographers. And I think when someone is in that setting and such a problematic situation occures then to pull focus is the fastest method to success.
On the other hand I very much doubt Multi-point focus would lead to fewer miss-focused shots in such particular situations.

Overall the majority of full auto muti-point AF will focus one item closest to the camera and/ or first item AF can established focus on, which may or may not be the 'area' of image 'you' want to be the point of focus.

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