OM System cameras have focus stacking a unique function, which is useful to increase the depth of field in macro photography. But there is another use case for focus stacking, even though the depth of field normally isn’t an issue.
When is focus stacking helpful for landscape photography?
A popular creative means in landscape photography is to place an object in the foreground as this emphasises depth. Always when you do this depth of field becomes relevant in landscape photography, even though wide-angle lenses have a much bigger depth of field than tele lenses. But in landscape photography the distances are enormous. Therefore closing the aperture doesn’t help. Especially as image quality is getting worse when you use a smaller f-stop than 11.
What to consider when using Focus Stacking
In my article “Focus Stacking and Focus Bracketing” I write about the needed settings in detail. In opposite to macro photography you have to consider a bit more. As already said above you should avoid smaller apertures than 11. In case you close it further diffraction will decrease your image quality. In addition, most properly you must experiment a bit with the step size. Which one is fitting depends on the lens, focusing distance and aperture. Therefore a recommendation is hardly possible.
Focus Stacking takes the first image on the focus point you have set. The next image is taken from a closer point and the following will be taken behind the first focus point. Therefore you should not fonearestthe the closest distance which should be sharp, but behind. Also here you must experiment to get the result you would achieve.
Additional sources for this topic
In case you would like to get more information about focus stacking in landscape photography you find additional information on the web. Following sources, I can recommend.
The AF performance of the OM-1 has been, compared to its predecessor, dramatically improved. Why and which techology improvements are responsible for the improvement you can find in my blog post “OM System OM-1 AI detection AF“. However you are able to even improve your auto focus performance when us the AF customisation with the OM-1
Options for AF customisation with the OM-1
Depending on the subject your are shooting, four settings improve your AF performance.
Use your own AF field settings
Adjust C-AF sensitivity
C-AF centre priority
AF home settings
The above mentioned point do have an influence in the auto focus performance. Therefore you should have a look on them. It is important to know, which settings is helpful in which situation.
Own AF field settings
Beside the default AF field settings the user is able to define his / her own presets. Beside size and form you can also define the step size. The step size influence how fast you are able to move the AF fields with in the image area. Therefore this value influences the speed how fast you can react while you are photographing. You can define your AF fields as follows.
1 Open the menu and navigate in the green AF menu to page 5 and select ” AF Target Mode Settings”
2 Press “OK” and select C1. Use the right key to open the settings menu.
3 Adjust the field size to your needs with the forefinger and thumb wheel. Changing the step size is possible by pressing the “Info” button.
4 Confirm with “OK” button. Press again the “OK” button to activate your settings.
Which settings are useful for the AF customisation with the OM-1?
How are those settings helpful to increase the AF performance? Quite simple, it helps the AF algorithm to find the focus when you are using only a part of the image area for focusing. For example when you are shooting birds in flights. Most properly in this case only the upper area is relevant for the AF. When you use in this case AF field which are covering the hole width but only half of the height, then you support the AF.
A second option, is to use only a single AF point. This is helpful when you are shooting small details, like you find in macro images. In addition a single AF point is also helpful when you capture birds in tries.
AF customisation with the OM-1 on YouTube
In case you would like to follow a step by step tutorial you also find this on my Youtube channel here:
Adjust C-AF sensitivity
If you use continuous auto focus you can define how sensitive the AF algorithm. In this case sensitivity means the reaction speed of the AF in case of changes in the image. Adjust the C-AF sensitivity as follows.
1 Open the menu and navigate in the green AF menu to page three. Select C-AF sensitivity.
2 Press “OK” and adjust the sensitivity between -2 and +2. Thereby shortens a high value and increases a low value the reaction time.
When do I use which sensitivity?
You use a high value of +1 or even +2 in case you are shooting object with fast changes. For example when you photograph a squirrel. Those small animals are moving quite fast and you never know what happens in the next second. Also the auto focus must be able to adapt fast in such kind of situation.
You use a low value of -1 or even -2 in case the auto focus should not be disturbed by changes. One example would be soccer. The camera should focus on the player you have selected, even though another player is running through your image. Same is true in case you are shooting birds in flight, which are partly covered by tries.
C-AF center priority
Especially when you use bigger AF fields the C-AF center priority is a topic. It defines which AF fields are used for focusing. Is the C-AF center priority activated the center AF field is prioritized. This means the camera use only other fields, if changes happens in more than one of the other fields. In case you would like to set AF center priority do following.
1 Open the menu and navigate in the green AF menu to page 3 and select “C-AF center priority”.
2 Confirm with “OK” and selcht select the AF preset which should use the C-AF center priority.
In which case is the C-AF center priority helpful?
The C-AF center priority helps to avoid that the algorithm uses the border fields to often. This helps you in case your are not sure that you are able to follow an object. Thus you are not able to keep it in the center of your chosen AF fields
AF home settings
In case you fast moving object speed is important. So you are able to react fast. In this case AF home settings is helpful. In case you would like to use the AF home settings do following.
1 Open the menu and navigate in the yellow gear menu to page 1. Select “Multi Selector Setting”
2 Press “OK” and select “Center Button”
3 Press “OK” again and select “HP” Confirm with “OK”.
Now the camera is coming back to the standard settings, once you press the multi selector button. In case you don’t like the standard settings you can change them as follows.
1 Open the menu and navigate in the green AF menu to page 5. Select “Set Home”
2 Press “OK” and define which AF field and which position you would like to have as home settings.
For all of you, who prefer to have a short move showing how to do the settings I also Lada a small movie on my YouTube channel.
E-M1 Mark III und E-M1X
You don’t have an OM-1 and would like to know how those settings are done for E-M1 Mark III or E-M1X? Then you find a small instruction in my blog post “Customise your AF points“
When using a function like continuous shooting mode, ProCapture or Focus Bracketing you get very fast a lot of images. The SD card gets filled up very fast and not every image is needed. The normal way to delete single images is very time consuming and therefore not helpful. Cameras from the E-M1 series have fortunately do have a fast selection of images to easily select many images in a short time.
How fast selection of images work
1. Press the replay button to see the images on the SD card
2. Use the thumbwheel to switch from the single image view to the thumbnail view.
3. Select the first image, which you would like to select. Press and hold the movie record button.
4. Rotate either the forefinger wheel or thumbwheel to select the other images. You can select up to 200 images.
As soon as you have selected the images you can either delete or mark them as protected or share them with OI.share.
The automatic or preset white balance is useful for normal situations. In case you would like to have a precise white balance or you are working in difficult light situations customized white balance offers you much better results. In case you don’t work with RAW files, which can change white balance in post-processing, with OM-D cameras you could use the One Touch White Balance.
How to use the one touch white balance
1. Press the “OK” button to activate the Super Control Panel. Choose white balance and press “OK” again.
2. Choose a “Custom White Balance” and press the “INFO” button.
3. Shoot a neutral object (i.e. white sheet of paper or a gray card), which covers at least 75% of the image area.
4. As soon as you took the image the camera asks you whether you would like to save the white balance or not.
In case you need to have custom white balance often you could also program a button with the function. This has the advantage that you could save the customized white balance by pressing the button only, without going through the menu.
Focus peaking is an outstanding feature, which supports you in case you would like to focus manually with highlighted lines. In OM-D cameras you can choose between red, yellow, black, and white. Depending on the image content it is necessary to change the color as otherwise, the highlights lines are not visible. Changing the settings in the menu is too time-consuming while you shoot, therefore OM-D cameras have a shortcut to focus peaking setting.
How to access the focus peaking shortcut
1 When you have activated focus peaking in the camera menu, your camera shows colored lines of in-focus areas, as soon as you are moving the focus ring.
2 The shortcuts work as long as the focus peaking is on. Simply press the “Info” button to open the menu to change the setting.
3 Once it opens you can directly change, color, the brightness of the image, and the intensity with the forefinger wheel. Choosing the setting, which should be changed can be chosen with the thumbwheel.