soft images from new 5D3?

Started Jul 22, 2012 | Discussions
MikeFromMesa
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soft images from new 5D3?
Jul 22, 2012

I just received my new 5D3 the other day and have been busy testing it with some of my EF lenses. I have been looking forward to getting it since I had use of a 5D3 shortly after they came out and I found all of the images to be very sharp with the 24-105 and the high ISO performance to be simply astonishing. To my surprise all of the images from my new camera seem slightly soft. Not very soft, but not at all sharp either.

The camera came from Adorama with the 24-105 and a 50mm f/1.4 (at a nice combined price) and I went to a local river park and took some photos. Several of those were of a dragon fly that settled down on a rock and, surprisingly, some of the images I took were completely OOF. The camera told me it focused properly, but the resulting image had nothing in focus at all. Some of the images were almost OK and probably could have been made more acceptable by boosting LR sharpening to values of 50 or 75, but I don't want to start doing that sort of thing to make images useful.

Here is one of better the dragon fly images. This was taken (as you can see) at a shutter speed of 1/320 using spot focusing with my arm resting on the arm of a portable chair. There is no LR sharpening in this image (not even the default value).

I then bought Reikan Focal to make sure that the lenses were all MFA-ed properly and found that none of the lenses were actually out very much. FoCal told me to set the 24-105 to +1 so that should not have caused this much softness.

I then used FoCal to MFA the 50mm f/1.4 and here is a 1:1 crop of an ISO target made with the MFA-ed 50mm. It also seems slightly soft to me although, perhaps, not quite so much.

I am posting this to ask readers opinions if they think that these photos are a little soft or if I am being too critical and also, if the photos are soft, as I think they are, if this is the sort of thing to send to Canon for adjustment or to request a replacement from Adorama. If I send it to Canon I am not sure what needs adjustment - the camera or the lenses.

My first instinct was to return it to Adorama and ask for a replacement, but I have also returned a lens to Adorama (I ordered the wrong one) and don't want to get the reputation as someone who orders an item, plays with it and then returns it. Adorama has always treated me fairly and I want to do the same in return.

Thanks for your advice.

Mikael Risedal
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Re: soft images from new 5D3?
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jul 22, 2012

try a different lens
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hotdog321
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Re: soft images from new 5D3?
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jul 22, 2012

Well, these definitely look soft. Could be misfocus, could be a poor lens. I like to test suspect gear by shooting multiple sheets of classified ads taped to a wall. Set the camera on a tripod parallel to the wall and shoot some RAW frames with the lens wide open. If you have a lens you know is razor sharp, I would check it against your new lenses to pinpoint if it is the lens or body.

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MikeFromMesa
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Re: soft images from new 5D3?
In reply to Mikael Risedal, Jul 22, 2012

try a different lens

As I said in the post I have tried most of my EF lenses (24-105, 28-135, 70-300 DO and 100-400) and it is the same with all. I know that some of these lenses are sharp or, at least, sharp enough on my wife's 60D.

Of course it could be that the 5D3 is a little off in one direction and the 60D a little off in the other direction and between them the lenses that are OK on the 60D are not so OK on the 5D3.

Basically I wanted some other eyes to tell me if these images looked soft.

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MikeFromMesa
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Re: soft images from new 5D3?
In reply to hotdog321, Jul 22, 2012

Could be misfocus

I am not sure what "misfocus" means on a camera like this. The AF system is supposed to be very, very good so I am surprised that I would get any "focus OK" indication which resulted in a totally OOF image (which I did not post). I could understand if the shot was taken at too slow a shutter speed, but 1/235 with a lens set to 105mm should be fast enough, especially with the IS working. And I might have thought I did not hold the camera steady enough, but my arm was resting on the arm of a chair.

If you have a lens you know is razor sharp

What I have is a lens I know is sharp on another camera, but both cameras could be "off", but in different directions.

I suppose I have only 2 options - return the camera to Adorama or send it to Canon. If I do the former I would have to see what I got in return. If I do the latter I suppose Canon would re-align the body and the lens, but then I could not return it to Adorama. ALthough, I suppose, then I would not have to.

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Denton Taylor
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Re: soft images from new 5D3?
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jul 22, 2012

I have two 5d iii and I saw the same issue. You need to sharpen the images more in mkiii than in mk1 and ii. I don;t know why but it works for me.
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MikeFromMesa
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Re: soft images from new 5D3?
In reply to Denton Taylor, Jul 22, 2012

You need to sharpen the images more in mkiii than in mk1 and ii. I don;t know why but it works for me.

Do you mean in post processing? Or is there some way in the camera menu system?

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Buchanan
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Re: soft images from new 5D3?
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jul 22, 2012

They do look soft. Do you still have the pictures you took from when you were using a different 5DIII and 24-105 several months ago? If you do you might go through them again to confirm they are better than what your new combo is doing. If the prior ones are sharper and you can't MFA to get comparable sharpness I would return it.

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rrccad
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Re: soft images from new 5D3?
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jul 22, 2012

MikeFromMesa wrote:

try a different lens

As I said in the post I have tried most of my EF lenses (24-105, 28-135, 70-300 DO and 100-400) and it is the same with all. I know that some of these lenses are sharp or, at least, sharp enough on my wife's 60D.

Of course it could be that the 5D3 is a little off in one direction and the 60D a little off in the other direction and between them the lenses that are OK on the 60D are not so OK on the 5D3.

Basically I wanted some other eyes to tell me if these images looked soft.

looking soft or very poor contrast.

if it doesn't improve when stopping down then it could be a a post processing requirement .. since you have a 60D..

if the lenses are fine on the 60D then they should be far better on the 5D3 .. assuming you keep the distance / focal the same. if they are worse with the same distance / focal .. then it could be the 5D3 out of calibration .. it can happen.

unless the AA filter on the 5D3 is trash ... it should come in better than that .. heck, that's worse than my IR converted body.

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Schwany
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focus errors
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jul 23, 2012

Is the first shot a crop with only a couple of pixels on it? If it is 100% and reduced, then it is front focused, mostly on the rock. Was it shot hand held? I would use a tripod if I was testing how sharp a camera could be.

The 50mm might be alright, but testing for how sharp your camera is at ISO5000 is not going to make you happy. I would get it on a tripod and shoot at lower ISO values, not to exceed ISO800.

My fancy MFA system includes a yardstick set on edge so I can focus on the measurements with the stick at 45 degrees relative to the sensor plane. I've also used the AA battery AF test (google it) and dialed long telephoto lenses in to perfection.

If I wanted to see how sharp an image my camera could produce, I'd use live view 10X magnification and manual focus. Once satisfied with that, I'd move on to getting my lenses adjusted. If the camera is still producing soft results after using live view on a tripod, then I would be concerned about the camera.

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Denton Taylor
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Re: soft images from new 5D3?
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jul 23, 2012

I was assuming RAW shooting and PP in Lightroom

MikeFromMesa wrote:

You need to sharpen the images more in mkiii than in mk1 and ii. I don;t know why but it works for me.

Do you mean in post processing? Or is there some way in the camera menu system?

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Travelintrevor
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more photos
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jul 23, 2012

Hi Mike,

do you have more photos to post? Also, try shooting a person under the same conditions to see what you get. Turn off all non cross type AF points and try it again. I have had my mark III for a few days and it has missed one shot and that is is. While not every single one is TACK SHARP, most are. The outer AF points do give a little softer focus but I am OK with that (and it has nothing to do with the lens being softer on the outside, it is the limits of the system)

Shoot the same subject with the same lens with both your cameras and compare the shots. If you still keep getting soft photos, call Adorama and let them know whats up. Do not send it to Canon...it should work out of the box.

If you have more photos, do post them. Also, what AF mode are you using for these?

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MikeFromMesa
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Re: focus errors
In reply to Schwany, Jul 23, 2012

Is the first shot a crop with only a couple of pixels on it? If it is 100% and reduced, then it is front focused, mostly on the rock. Was it shot hand held? I would use a tripod if I was testing how sharp a camera could be.

The first shot is a 100% crop and was shot before I MFA-ed the lens. But using FoCal I got a +1 so it should not be that far off. To be honest I did not try my normal method of MFA adjustment - setting up an ISO target and taking a bunch of photos with mirror lockup, a remote release and a tripod. I made the assumption that FoCal would be better. Perhaps I need to go back to the low tech of an ISO target and a tripod.

The 50mm might be alright, but testing for how sharp your camera is at ISO5000 is not going to make you happy. I would get it on a tripod and shoot at lower ISO values, not to exceed ISO800.

I was testing in the late afternoon with ISO set on Auto. My mistake. I had not even noticed. I will try again.

My fancy MFA system includes a yardstick set on edge so I can focus on the measurements with the stick at 45 degrees relative to the sensor plane. I've also used the AA battery AF test (google it) and dialed long telephoto lenses in to perfection.

Yes. I have used similar high tech tests to focus my lenses. This is the first time I tried to do it "properly" with FoCal. As I said I may need to drop back to more normal tests.

If I wanted to see how sharp an image my camera could produce, I'd use live view 10X magnification and manual focus. Once satisfied with that, I'd move on to getting my lenses adjusted. If the camera is still producing soft results after using live view on a tripod, then I would be concerned about the camera.

I assume that if all else fails Canon will re-calibrate the camera. Since it is only about 3 or 4 days old I would assume it is still under warranty and that Canon would include calibration as part of warranty work. I just don't want to be without it for a month or longer.

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PhilPreston3072
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Tried LV focus?
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jul 23, 2012

Have you tried Live view-live mode focus yet? This will show you what is the sharpest focus your lens and body combination can achieve. Ideally the PDAF should be able to achieve the same level of sharpness. Anything less means that some calibration is required.

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MikeFromMesa
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Re: more photos
In reply to Travelintrevor, Jul 23, 2012

do you have more photos to post?

No, but I will take more and post them tomorrow when there is some light.

I have had my mark III for a few days and it has missed one shot and that is is

I don't actually remember when I ever got a focus lock indication from my 7D and had the shot completely out of focus. To have seen this on a new 5D3 stunned me and not with only one image, but several.

Turn off all non cross type AF points and try it again.

I will try this.

what AF mode are you using for these?

They were all taken with "One Shot". I really haven't tried AI Servo or AI Focus. The dragon fly was taken with the center spot focus point, the target with center normal.

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MikeFromMesa
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Re: Tried LV focus?
In reply to PhilPreston3072, Jul 23, 2012

Have you tried Live view-live mode focus yet? This will show you what is the sharpest focus your lens and body combination can achieve

Not yet. But which LV focusing mode? Live View or Quick?

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PhilPreston3072
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Re: Tried LV focus?
In reply to MikeFromMesa, Jul 23, 2012

MikeFromMesa wrote:

Have you tried Live view-live mode focus yet? This will show you what is the sharpest focus your lens and body combination can achieve

Not yet. But which LV focusing mode? Live View or Quick?

Live mode. The camera will use your imaging sensor for focusing.

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MaxN
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Re: Tried LV focus?
In reply to PhilPreston3072, Jul 23, 2012

It is highly unlikely to be a camera problem, more likely technique.

You are shooting wide open at close range handheld, and examining it at 100% Lots of things work against you. The autofocus is not magic, it still requires technique to utilise it to its maximum potential. Stop down a bit if you want to maximise performance.

If you are on servo mode, the camera will still let you take the shot even if you are closer than minimum focus. That might explain some OOF shots.

You should also look at what picture style is selected. Neutral or faithful have no sharpening as a default and images may look softer than expected.

If you are going to analyse your pictures critically, you need to shoot at optimal conditions. Don't send your camera back because my bet is it's fine.

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treepop
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Re: Tried LV focus?
In reply to MaxN, Jul 23, 2012

Might of missed it, but are you shooting raw or jpeg? If jpeg I believe (could be wrong) that the mark 3 has rather agressive anti noise settings by default. Try disabling or reducing the noise correction in the menus. If you're shooting raw, then I dunno.
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MikeFromMesa
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Re: Tried LV focus?
In reply to MaxN, Jul 23, 2012

Stop down a bit if you want to maximise performance.

These were shot mostly wide open. I will keep that in mind.

If you are on servo mode, the camera will still let you take the shot even if you are closer than minimum focus. That might explain some OOF shots.

Shots were taken using One Shot. I have not yet had a chance to test AI Focus or AI Servo.

You should also look at what picture style is selected. Neutral or faithful have no sharpening as a default and images may look softer than expected.

The camera was set for Landscape.

Don't send your camera back because my bet is it's fine.

Thank you for your analysis. I will do more shooting today to see what I find. In particular I am going to do some more MFA testing using less high tech methods and see if I need to change my current settings.

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