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Old April 26th, 2011, 10:35 AM   #1
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Manual focus with push auto?

I thought that I would start a new thread on the subject of focusing the GH2 as the other thread had got around to discussing exposure instead,

I still have problems sorting out the different focus modes on the GH2. Continuous auto-focus mode as it has a tendency to 'hunt' so looks awful & thus is pretty useless to me. The single shot mode is OK but then I sacrifice being able to manually adjust focus (unless I missed some setting in the custom menus). If I set it to manual I have no option like I have on my 'proper' video cameras of single shot push button that will auto focus then get out of my way & let me get back to adjusting focus manually again (unless I missed some setting in the custom menus).

Has anyone figured out a way of using manual focus but with the ability to call up auto focus if necessary while shooting?
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Old April 26th, 2011, 10:43 AM   #2
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

Nigel, what a great question.

With my Sigmas, I can use the on/off switch on the lens, which is very handy, but for the Panasonics this is not an option of course.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 01:59 AM   #3
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
I thought that I would start a new thread on the subject of focusing the GH2 as the other thread had got around to discussing exposure instead,

Has anyone figured out a way of using manual focus but with the ability to call up auto focus if necessary while shooting?
Yes, you can use manual and auto focus at the same time, but you won't get the focus assisting zoom. And yes, this works during recording, not just standbye mode.
Try this:
-Go to manual movie mode (dunno if it works in other modes, I don't use them.)
-Turn the dial on the top left of camera to "AFS"
-In the menus, go to CUSTOM>AF+MF and turn it ON.
-In the menus, make sure SHUTTER AF is ON.

That should do it. Make sure you turn the focus ring with the shutter button half depressed.

Btw, I like the SHUTTER AF mode in the menu. If it's ON, and with the camera recording, you can auto focus on a target and it will hold that focus if the target is stationary. if the target moves, or you do, half depress the shutter button and it will refocus. It will only focus if you tell it to, it won't hunt. So if you have a relatively static scene, you don't have to worry about the camera getting all possessed by the demon of bad focus and have the camera hunting all around in and out of focus. Just make sure you're not in manual focus mode on the top left hand dial.

Another thing, not quite sure what good "MF ASSIST GUIDE" in the CUSTOM menu is. That the feature that turns on a close up to infinity bar in the VF. You can see a cursor roll back and forth as you focus. Now, if only, if ONLY! Panasonic had thought to mark that line bar with numbers, we'd have perhaps a usable follow focus scale. But unmarked, not sure how I'd use it, you can goof around with the VF grids, but that's sketchy.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 11:09 AM   #4
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

Brian, thanks for that description of what is almost the complete opposite of what I would like:-) I wanted manual focus with push to auto-focus whereas apparently what is possible with the GH2 is single shot auto-focus with manual over-ride. The problem is that in order to focus manually you press the shutter half way which will auto-focus & only then will allow you to focus manually.

BTW I hate that automatic focus assisting zoom which is so confusing as it makes you think that you grabbed the zoom ring rather than the focus ring. Luckily it is possible to turn it off.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 12:00 PM   #5
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

But wait! Why won't it work for that? To get what you're after, manual focus with push to AF, just set the camera up as I described, half depress the shutter to focus manually and if you want AF, release the shutter and depress again to AF.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 05:29 PM   #6
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

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Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
-Turn the dial on the top left of camera to "AFS"
When in movie mode, what is the difference between AFS and AFC?
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Old April 27th, 2011, 07:56 PM   #7
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

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When in movie mode, what is the difference between AFS and AFC?
It's been said (wrongly) that these modes are only for still shots, wrongo. But to answer your question,The aforementioned technique of using MF and AF alternately while recording only works in AFS, won't work in AFC and obviously not in MF.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 01:10 AM   #8
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

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Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
But wait! Why won't it work for that? To get what you're after, manual focus with push to AF, just set the camera up as I described, half depress the shutter to focus manually and if you want AF, release the shutter and depress again to AF.
Well I guess that could work but I would rather not have to keep my finger pressing halfway down on the shutter release all the time.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 01:13 AM   #9
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

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When in movie mode, what is the difference between AFS and AFC?
AF Single shot & AF Continuous. The former works when you half depress the shutter button while AFC magically works all the time. I don't find AFC useful as there is far too much hunting for focus. It's nowhere near as good as auto-focus on a proper camcorder.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 01:27 AM   #10
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

How would set the camera for a wedding procession when standing in the front. You want the camera to stay focused on whoever is in the center of the frame.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 05:54 AM   #11
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

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How would set the camera for a wedding procession when standing in the front. You want the camera to stay focused on whoever is in the center of the frame.
Personally I would set it to manual & adjust focus myself as they walked towards me. If you could rely on the auto-focus then you could use that but I am not convinced that it's good enough. AF can be spookily clever at spotting & locking onto a face but then occasionally re-focus at an inopportune moment.

This is where I would like the Push AF feature so that as they enter I can quickly hit the button & be sure that focus is nailed & then adjust manually as they move towards me.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 09:45 AM   #12
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

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How would set the camera for a wedding procession when standing in the front. You want the camera to stay focused on whoever is in the center of the frame.
You could either manual focus or use the procedure I outlined above -- that method does NOT hunt for focus and will only refocus if you tell the camera to do so. And, it will focus on what you tell it to.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 10:02 AM   #13
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

That would be my 'normal' method as well but one of the things that I dislike about a lot of DSLR footage that I have seen (yes, I know the GH2 isn't a DSLR) is the wandering focus that one can get with this method. I suppose the way to minimize this is to shoot at 3200 ISO in order to close down the aperture as much as possible to increase the depth of field.

There are some shooting situations where a regular video camera is the best tool for the job. This is one of them. When you are standing at the head of the aisle during a wedding processional, you need to follow focus as well as adjust the frame size with a slow zoom. Since the lens on a video camera is a par lens, you don't have to worry about adjusting the focus after a zoom. I would love to watch someone attempt to manage zooming and follow focusing at the same time with a DSLR or GH2. The GH2 is a fantastic addition to my 'tool bag' but I will continue to use my EX1R as well. They complement each other very well but this 'one or the other' obsession is weird. It's more like a social disorder.

Before any DSLR purists lecture me about zooming, I'm not talking about wowie-zowie zooms like Uncle Charlie does. I like to refer to it as 'dynamic reframing' to create a phrase. When you watch the video, you aren't even aware than any zooming occurs because it is very slow. You only notice that the frame size is always right.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 10:39 AM   #14
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

Jim, I am going to play with methods for focusing during a processional, but I'm also looking for a videocamera now.

You would be crazy to have an EX1 and use the GH2 for the shots of the processional IMO.

Most guys who use DSLR, etc don't use them as primary camera, but for highlights, etc.

The Sigma 30mm is such a smooth focusing lens, I might try it for use as the primary lens until the processional is over, then switch. I'm going to run tests to find out at the church next door sometime soon.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 10:51 AM   #15
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Re: Manual focus with push auto?

I agree Jeff. To use the golf analogy that I have used before, I would like to be able to turn to my 'caddy' and say, "GH2, Bill" or "EX1R, Bill" depending on the 'shot' that I'm about to make. You don't see very many pro golfers with just one club in their bag. I mention this because there are some that make a huge production about selling all of their video cameras because a "DSLR is so much better." That's their decision to make but some of them are so 'in your face' and condescending about it that it can be really irritating.
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