Can G1X manual focus be locked to prevent shifting?

Started Aug 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
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W5JCK Senior Member • Posts: 2,547
Can G1X manual focus be locked to prevent shifting?

My new Canon Powershot G1 X is terrific in almost every way in which I use it, except for the flakiness in manual focus. This seems to be a carryover issue (or design flaw perhaps) from the earlier G series cameras, or at least from the G11.

I owned and loved the G11 for a few years. It was a great backup camera but I mostly used it to capture satellite flyovers and wide angle star fields in the night sky. Astrophotography is my passion, but I mostly use my EOS T1i for any telephoto work. But since it takes a bit longer and is quite a bit more trouble to set up the T1i, the G11 came in handy for capturing satellite flyovers and wide angle star fields. It was light weight, portable, quick to set up, and it had a true infinity setting with manual focus.

I sold the G11 due to the small, lackluster 1/1.7" sensor and after a few months of experimenting with various mirrorless cameras including the NEX and a couple 4/3 cameras, I determined they we not for me. So I now own and love the new Powershot G1 X.

Having owned the G11 I'm right at home operating the G1 X as it is mostly the same with a few changes here and there. Unfortunately one of the things that didn't change was the quirkiness of manual focus. I was always annoyed at the G11 when it would lose track of where I set the manual focus, which in my case was almost always at infinity. If I then changed almost any other setting the focus could shift to less than infinity, usually a lot less, and there was no indication that it had happened unless I specifically rechecked the focus. So some photos got screwed up due to being out of focus, though I eventually got in the habit of double checking the focus. On a camera that otherwise had terrific external controls, the manual focus not staying set (locked in place) sucked.

I'm having the same issue with my new G1 X. I was hoping Canon had fixed and/or redesigned the manual focus, but they obviously didn't. I shoot mostly in Manual mode. I've set the following functions:

  • Safety MF: Off

  • MF-Point Zoom: Off

I can find no other functions that logically seem to have any effect on the manual focus process.

If I set up everything for a shot, but then change the exposure time or the ISO, the manual focus can shift to a nearer distance. It doesn't always shift, so it seems a bit flaky just like the G11 was. Now I understand that if I change the aperture or the focal length, manual focus will need to be reset, but changing the exposure time and/or ISO should have no effect logically.

I also tend to save my oft used settings into C1 and C2. Occasionally when I turn the camera off then back on later, the manual focus will shift to a nearer distance. This doesn't always happen, so it is flaky like the above situations.

Okay, I know these manuals were originally written in Japanese then translated into Japanglish. Admittedly the manual is better than many of those for my Japanese made amateur radios, but it is still not great, nor does it go into much detail. It often merely lists the optional settings for a function without explaining what each option does or how it relates to other functions. So I may be overlooking some obvious setting somewhere that allows me to lock the manual focus.

The manual focus inadvertently shifting distance is a royal PITA. Have any of you figured out a viable work-around solution. I get extremely aggravated that I have to constantly verify where the focus is set, and since it does not show up on the screen without pressing a few buttons, it is not obvious where it is set. A manual focus setting indicator that is constantly displayed with other information would help, but a manual focus lock would be ideal, at least for me. Any suggestions?

An astrophotography hobbyist and amateur radio instructor and examiner. Canon EOS T1i and Canon Powershot G1 X.

 W5JCK's gear list:W5JCK's gear list
Sony RX100 III Sony Alpha a7 Sony a6000 Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM +16 more
Canon EOS 500D (EOS Rebel T1i / EOS Kiss X3) Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon PowerShot G11
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