Another question related to the Olympus OMD EM5. I bought this camera to replace my Nikon D90 and I'm very satisfied with it.

However, I find very hard to do the focus at night. With the Nikon D90, I could look through the viewfinder and use the focus ring to do a manual focus at infinity.

With the Olympus, the viewfinder is electronic and doesn't catch enough light, so it's impossible to do the focus visually. Not to say that the autofocus doesn't work at night. How do you deal with this? If I take a photo of a landscape, can I just turn the focus ring all the way to the right?



2 Answers 2


Here are a couple of possibilities:

  • When I try focusing with the electronic viewfinder I find it helpful to zoom in on the live view. (Not sure if your camera can do that)

  • Depending on your scene, you can also use a torch to light the scene as focusing aid. If the subjects are too far away, use knowledge of hyperfocal distance to focus on something that is within the reach of your torch or laser pointer.

  • And I would not just put the focus to "infinity" as with most lenses that position is actually focusing beyond infinity most of the time. However as a last resort, you can always start at "infinity" and move the focus point by trial and error.

Update: Okay, here is my final advice after running into similar problems and the tips from my previous answer failed:

First thing is to find out where the actual infinity position is on your lens during daytime. Once you know that (on my Sigma its actually where it should be..) you can manually focus to that position at night.

The second thing is to shoot at high f-stop numbers, where the exact focus isn't that important for a sharp picture.

If everything else fails you can always come to your scene earlier and use your auto-focus with the available light. :-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem is that at night the live view is pitch black. So finding the actual infinity is extremely hard because it's impossible to use a torchlight. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kamchatka
    Apr 20, 2014 at 4:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe you want to utilize hyperfocal distance: then you can light someone/-thing in that distance with the torch to find a focus point \$\endgroup\$
    – thengineer
    Apr 20, 2014 at 5:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ what is it typically? 10 meters? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kamchatka
    Apr 20, 2014 at 5:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ my technique is just having a laser pen in my other hand and focus to it, but that doesn't work with a landscape shot and more with something that has a clear subject \$\endgroup\$
    – ppp
    Apr 20, 2014 at 5:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ depends on a couple of factors, but there's an app for that @PatoSáinz: maybe post that answer? \$\endgroup\$
    – thengineer
    Apr 20, 2014 at 5:23

I'm having similar problems with my E-PM2. I think that you can't escape some trial and error. I was trying to take a photo of someone sleeping in the dark. I found a spot in the room which was enough illuminated to allow me to focus on. I attempted to place myself at the same distance from this illuminated object as I would be from my subject, and focused manually. Then placed myself facing my subject again and took the exposure. You can throw is some aperture stopping down to improve the DOF, if you can afford it. On oly cameras neither the focus distance nor DOF are indicated on-screen and not on the lens either (not on the kit lens anyway). Some other cameras do.


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