Canon EOS M

Started Jan 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 4,974
Tip for using EF lenses with the EOS-M AF for complicated scenes.

I bought a new Canon EOS M an adaptor and I have noticed that when I put my EF lens on it has real problems Focusing. I must admit it takes at least 3-4 seconds hunting around trying to focus and eventually it does. I'm just wondering if anyone else has noticed this as I have spoken to Canon professional as I'm a member.

I am REPOSTING this from another thread in another Canon forum here concerning the subject of the EOS-M focus and thought it might be of interest to you as I wrote this in relation to using the EOS-M with EF lenses and how using a little-mentioned feature is quite useful on this camera.

Below a post that I made in this thread here:

EOS-M : Using the 'MAGNIFY' feature with Auto Focus


View: gallery page

If you've read your EOS-M manual, you may recall that page 125 of the PDF [Digital Manual] suggests switching to MF to capture an image with an EF or EF-S lens. But it seems you can achieve great results with the Auto Focus instead of Manual Focus. It's actually fun to shoot this way if you're determined to get the best results out of a complex scene. The image of the lizard above was almost impossible otherwise because I couldn't get any closer to the lizard and I couldn't get a better angle either. The camera wanted to focus on the subject in the foreground... which was a branch with leaves on it. Or it wanted to focus on the background which consisted of grass and twigs. Same as the shot below. I caught a few just by snapping away in P-mode ...but to be sure that I had some keepers, I used the MAGNIFY option and shot a few more shots after I noticed that the camera hesitated on one of my snapshots.

View: gallery page

For anyone using a digital camera today, they may have experienced the usual camera difficulty when shooting a complex shot using the Auto Focus...where there's multiple likely targets within the frame. The camera doesn't know what part of the subject you want to capture but unless you switch to Manual Focus to capture the image.

Digital cameras today have quite a bit of A.I. compared to the cameras available just 10 years ago but they still can't tell what part of the subject the photographer wants to capture. Especially if the scene is complicated. A bird on a branch can sometimes be a challenge. In fact a bird on a banch can confuse even the G1X. Face Detection can help when dealing with portraits but if you want to capture a particular area of a flower etc, the only way to do it properly is with Manual Focus.

But Manual Focus is useless on most compact digitals. Most especially on the IXUS cameras because they don't magnify their subjects well or conveniently. Especially when you are shooting handheld. That little screen is just a little too small to be useful unless you're shooting with a tripod and you've switched to MF.

However, selecting the right area for the camera to focus on is a relatively simple chore when using the EOS-M. You can see the procedure below with some frames that I knocked up on my computer to represent what you'll see on your camera's LCD screen:

View: original size

The first thing to do is line up your shot and frame it. That's easy. If you have an uninterruped view of your target, your camera should focus without any problem, especially if there's a contrasting part of your subject visible in the middle of the targeting reticule. With the EOS-M, just slide the reticule to the area you want to focus on using your finger or thumb. I love that aspect of the touch screen.

The second thing you need to do is to touch the MAGNIFY icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen. (see above). This will lead to a new window that is magnifying the area you were focusing on (see below). If you touch the MAGNIFY icon again you will go from x1 to x5 to x10 magnification. If you hit the MAGNIFY icon yet again it will take you back to the normal window again. Below shows the x5 view of the lizard I was trying to photograph on the weekend.

View: original size

Now you've zoomed in tight on your subject and you can see if it's in focus or not. All you have to do now is half-press your shutter release button and the AF will now lock onto the area within the magnified frame. In this case, my camera was no longer distracted by branches and leaves in the foreground or the background. The AF quickly locked onto the area I wanted to focus on and I took the picture (see below).


View: original size

This lizard was skittish so I couldn't get closer to him at the time without him running away... yet my first attempt to shoot him with the above framing led to the camera targeting the wrong sunbject: It locked onto the leaves in front of me between myself and the lizard.

So the next time you use your EOS-M, you don't have to me in MF to do this if you're worried about missing a shot due to complex scenes. Just hit MAGNIFY, leave the camera lens in AF mode and then just refocus automatically whilst the lens is trained on the enlarged area of interest. It's quick, it's easy and it's reliable. DSLRs tend to have smaller focus zones so they may not be as easily fooled as compact cameras. But the EOS-M can overcome this hurdle quite easily and without a need to switch to MF.

I also used the same method to capture the two following images of a Hibiscus Flower and to target the foremost Pelican in the groupshot (see below) plus a dragonfly on a detailed cactus with vines and spiderwebs cluttering the shot (not shown).

View: original size

These pelicans were not difficult to shoot (they were standing still for me between shots) but I wanted to be assured that the camera wasn't confused by reflections or the wrong pelican, especially since I was shooting in such overcast conditions. I was able to selectively target the pelicans one at a time using the MAGNIFY feature. I lined up the eye of the nearest pelican and took this shot. Each other pelican was slightly more out of focus and diffused than the next.

The same goes for the HIBISCUS flower below and I wanted the stem of the flower to be in focus. A yellow flower is often confusing for the sensor because it blends with green on the grey-scale range... and the camera might have focused on a particular leaf or petal rather than the area I wanted. This scene is normally not a challenge because the camera will usually find it easy to focus on the stem if I want it in focus. But I took this shot using the same method. Sometimes, if the subject is magnified greatly at 10x, you can appreciate just how effecting the Image Stabilizers need to be sometimes because that lizard was shaking all over the place on my camera LCD since I'd been chasing him earlier and I had the shakes. But I had a fast lens with no Stabilizer so I was lucky enough to get a few clear shots quite easily.

I won't bother you with another image but when you look at this yellow flower up close (not shown), you can make out the little spines and hairlike protrusions on the center shaft. The technique works well with the AF lenses I'm using and I'm pretty sure other will get around to trying their more challenging shots this way. You can always switch the MF as well!

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Marco Nero.

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