Do you find focusing while shooting video challenging? It’s one of the things I’ve struggled with over the past couple months, especially when using Lumix lenses on the OMD. Firmware updates have helped some but it still seems more challenging than the Olympus lenses. I tend to use manual focus quite often when shooting video for my food projects.
There is a feature on some cameras called focus peaking which helps get the focus spot on. Unfortunately the only micro four thirds camera that has the feature at this time is the Panasonic G6. However, the new Olympus E-P5 will have focus peaking. I’ve seen videos of it in action on a pre-release model. Unfortunately it only works on stills and not video, at least the pre-release camera. Everyone, including me, is hopeful that the production camera will include the feature in video mode too. The Olympus OM-D does have a filter called Line Art that many people are using as a focus peaking cheat by assigning the filter to a function key. It seems to work pretty well actually but alas it doesn’t work in video mode.
So what’s the best way to focus manually in video mode? What I’ve found works for me is to actually put the camera in autofocus mode and half press the shutter to select focus and then switch back to manual. This works really well when the camera is on a tripod and whatever you are taking a video of isn’t moving closer or further away from the camera. Another option is to use the OMD’s function buttons. It has two function buttons and when in video mode they can be assigned to do something different than what is assigned in picture mode. I don’t have anything assigned to function 1 and I recently discovered if it’s unassigned it acts like a focus button and works as a focus button while in manual mode. So that saves from having to go back and forth between auto focus and manual focus like I used to. I have function 2 set up to digital Tele-converter which is a 2x magnification which can also aid in focusing.