open message to canon exec about 5d AF

Started Oct 7, 2008 | Discussions
ben ob
ben ob Regular Member • Posts: 348
open message to canon exec about 5d AF

hello all

before you start with the T word, i would like to assure you that i DO have a 5d; and that, in many many ways, i have loved having it and using it to take photos (which is how i make my living)

HOWEVER:

the first time i used it for work, i did something i had often done with my old film camera (an eos30; and before that an eos 300)

i asked my models (well, actually, a bunch of thai air flight attendants to be exact) to walk away from the camera and then walk back again. 15 metres in each direction, me lying on the floor to be assured of steadiness

the camera was set on all the allfocuspoints setting (ie. it would choose whichever one happened to be closest, right..?) and the focus was on the servo mode which is meant to track incoming or outgoing subjects

frankly, i was AMAZED / flabergasted / extremely disappointed by how few of the shots were in focus - bearing in mind that i was comparing the 5d to my previous high end amateur film body and, before that, my entry level amateur body

a little bit of of the problem seemed to be that the points weren't spread out enough, but also, the bulk of the problem seemed to be that the camera much preferred to focus on ANYTHING ENORMOUS that wasn't moving in the background (in this case, the wall 70 metres behind the girls)

since that initial shoot, and after lots of tests and similarly disappointing experiences, i have now pretty much given up even attempting basic tracking shots with the 5d; and i have also LOST lots and lots of shots with a wide angle lens and a person who is off centre but apparently covered by one of the outer focus points (unless i select it specifically, which is a bit hard when you hand hold and take photos of people framed differently at great speed)

nowadays, i use the centre focus point (and recompose) almost exclusively; and i have to say that in my opinion - which contrasts enormously with that canon guy dpreview interviewed (which is why i am bringing it up) - the 5d autofocus system is a massive limitation for anyone who EVER composes an image where the subject is not right in the middle of the frame (ie. anyone with any notion of the rule of thirds, for example, or basically anyone who can see and who can appreciate visual art)

in fact, when i say massive limitation, i am probably understating the point. are you listening, mr canon exec..? i got more keepers with a crappy plastic rebel which shot film than i do with the 5d. it is THE MAJOR FLAW of the camera (unless it's drizzling, when it doesn't work at all); and it's the ONLY THING that REALLy needed to be upgraded (though, yes, i LIKE all the other stuff you've included in the upgrade)

anyone else feel the same way..? and don't be calling me a troll or saying i should buy an 8000usd (or whatever it is) 1d: i just want as good as i had with a $100 camera ten years ago.

 ben ob's gear list:ben ob's gear list
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sjordan0228 Contributing Member • Posts: 660
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

my neighbor has two rabbits

boels069 Contributing Member • Posts: 553
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

Did you read the manual?
(About selecting centre focuspoint)

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ben ob
OP ben ob Regular Member • Posts: 348
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

did i read the manual..?

does it explain that despite there being a whole lot of focus points clustered together rather annoyingly near the middle that the only focus point you can really rely on is the centre one..?

for the record, i am posting because of this recent q&a moment with dpreview and the canon exec (who seems to be a liar, no?)

-- hide signature --

> DPR: One of the most common complaints we've seen about the 5D Mark II is that it still has the same AF system as the original 5D. Why is this?

----------> "Firstly the market's evaluation of the 5D's AF system has been very positive; there have been no complaints from users, with everyone saying it's very good. Given that, to a certain extent, we think we shouldn't change it."

i mean, really, he's far more of an annoying troll/fanboy than me and he is really important to us

 ben ob's gear list:ben ob's gear list
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fregence Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

I agree 100% on everything you said...

I will certanly not buy another 5D...
I lost so many...too many shots (unfocused) with the one I have.

the good thing is... some guys are going to sale their 1DS MK II to buy the 5 DII?
I will buy 2 peaces of 1DS II very soon...
HOuRRAH !the arrival of the 5D II is a VERY good new for me.
It allows me to upgrade to the 1DS II !!!

But if If I have the oportunity of saling my Canon lenses... The D700 is a very tempting option too, because yes, this camera does focus properly...
--
jonns fregence
photography workshops
http://www.focusimage.com

pascal b
pascal b Regular Member • Posts: 271
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

here is what I wrote already a "long time" ago
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=22649282

Ben, can I send you an email ?
contact@pascalbarreiro.com

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zsd101 Contributing Member • Posts: 927
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

Sorry for your lost shots. Despite what others here say about 'reading the manual' or 'checking center point focus', the camera's AF didn't fit my shooting style either. The last event I shot was a church youth function with my son, and about 70-80 other kids there. About 1/3 of my shots were out of focus. Like you said, it chose the wall, way in the background, to focus on, rather than the kid(s) only a few feet away. It was at that time I decided to sell my 5D, and while I seriously considered the 1DsMkII, I ended up choosing the 1DMkIII. NOOOOOO, I've not had any AF issues with this camera, after about 600 shots, the only non-keepers were user error (me), such as bad composition, or movement, but not focusing issues. I was also saddened by the fact that, according to specs, the 5DMkII, may not have a much better AF either.

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hunk
hunk Veteran Member • Posts: 3,389
focus and recompose with step-back©

focus and recompose can create AF-errors (mostly backfocus related)... but if you practice enough it's possible to counteract. Lean your body a bit backwards while recomposing or forward while using AF. It may sound strange but it works for me.

ben ob wrote:

hello all

before you start with the T word, i would like to assure you that i
DO have a 5d; and that, in many many ways, i have loved having it and
using it to take photos (which is how i make my living)

HOWEVER:

the first time i used it for work, i did something i had often done
with my old film camera (an eos30; and before that an eos 300)

i asked my models (well, actually, a bunch of thai air flight
attendants to be exact) to walk away from the camera and then walk
back again. 15 metres in each direction, me lying on the floor to be
assured of steadiness

the camera was set on all the allfocuspoints setting (ie. it would
choose whichever one happened to be closest, right..?) and the focus
was on the servo mode which is meant to track incoming or outgoing
subjects

frankly, i was AMAZED / flabergasted / extremely disappointed by how
few of the shots were in focus - bearing in mind that i was comparing
the 5d to my previous high end amateur film body and, before that,
my entry level amateur body

a little bit of of the problem seemed to be that the points weren't
spread out enough, but also, the bulk of the problem seemed to be
that the camera much preferred to focus on ANYTHING ENORMOUS that
wasn't moving in the background (in this case, the wall 70 metres
behind the girls)

since that initial shoot, and after lots of tests and similarly
disappointing experiences, i have now pretty much given up even
attempting basic tracking shots with the 5d; and i have also LOST
lots and lots of shots with a wide angle lens and a person who is off
centre but apparently covered by one of the outer focus points
(unless i select it specifically, which is a bit hard when you hand
hold and take photos of people framed differently at great speed)

nowadays, i use the centre focus point (and recompose) almost
exclusively; and i have to say that in my opinion - which contrasts
enormously with that canon guy dpreview interviewed (which is why i
am bringing it up) - the 5d autofocus system is a massive limitation
for anyone who EVER composes an image where the subject is not right
in the middle of the frame (ie. anyone with any notion of the rule of
thirds, for example, or basically anyone who can see and who can
appreciate visual art)

in fact, when i say massive limitation, i am probably understating
the point. are you listening, mr canon exec..? i got more keepers
with a crappy plastic rebel which shot film than i do with the 5d. it
is THE MAJOR FLAW of the camera (unless it's drizzling, when it
doesn't work at all); and it's the ONLY THING that REALLy needed to
be upgraded (though, yes, i LIKE all the other stuff you've included
in the upgrade)

anyone else feel the same way..? and don't be calling me a troll or
saying i should buy an 8000usd (or whatever it is) 1d: i just want as
good as i had with a $100 camera ten years ago.

-- hide signature --

wild images and such at my website
http://www.x32.nl

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Curator Contributing Member • Posts: 868
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

ben ob wrote:

Were these DPR complaints ever submitted to Canon, or were they random complaints found here...like your open message to Canon?

You might as well write you message on a piece of paper, put it in a bottle, and throw it into the ocean hoping it washes up on the shores of some beach in Japan!

Paul Stout Contributing Member • Posts: 977
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

I have a 1D MK II and a 1K MK III.

No AF system is perfect, no camera is perfect. I am always forced to adjust my shooting style to fit within the limitations of my equipment.

I need fast AF for my style of shooting, so I never use anything but the center AF point. Focus and recompose is not a viable solution, so everything gets cropped in the computer.

Sunday, I shot 700 frames of equestrians in a covered arena. 99% were moving subjects. All but two of the shots were dead on for focus.

Figure out what your camera can do right, and make that work for you.

-- hide signature --

Photography on the Run
http://www.pbase.com/paul42/renaissance_fairs
more than seven million hits!

Curator Contributing Member • Posts: 868
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

ben ob wrote:

anyone else feel the same way..? and don't be calling me a troll or
saying i should buy an 8000usd (or whatever it is) 1d: i just want as
good as i had with a $100 camera ten years ago.

What was the layout of the auto-focus points on your $100 camera that worked so well?

ben ob
OP ben ob Regular Member • Posts: 348
Re: focus and recompose with step-back©

i'm not talking about f1.4 on someone's eye and then recompose only to find it is fractionally out of focus (cos it SHOULD be)

i'm talking about a complete miss using anything other than a centre focus point

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Erik Magnuson Forum Pro • Posts: 12,247
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

ben ob wrote:

a little bit of of the problem seemed to be that the points weren't
spread out enough, but also, the bulk of the problem seemed to be
that the camera much preferred to focus on ANYTHING ENORMOUS that
wasn't moving in the background (in this case, the wall 70 metres
behind the girls)

Are these two statements contradictory? If the points were more spread out, it seems it would be more likely to focus on something else.

Secondly, when you were comparing to your EOS 30, were you shooting in exactly the same position, circumstances, and amount of enlargement? Can you show us examples? Many AF systems will focus on a busy high-contrast background over a low-contrast subject. It's sometimes a tradeoff between quick acquisition of a subject and tracking the same subject. Ideally you might like a CF to be able to tune that parameter (IIRC, the 1DIII has this.)

Lastly, you do know that the outer sensors of the 5D (and the EOS30) are only sensitive to detail in one direction?

-- hide signature --

Erik

Lloyd709 Regular Member • Posts: 118
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

I also agree with you 100%. I also make my living with my 5D and love every aspect of it apart from the focusing. I want to spend lots of money on very fast primes but every time I try them out in the shop - wide open - I get so few sharp images (and I think I know what I'm doing when it comes to focusing!) it's not worth buying them. I was waiting and hoping like you for a new autofocus system, not more pixels.

In light of the AF problems with the 1 series I think Canon might not have revamped the AF of the 5D so not to draw attention from rigorous testers who would have probably still found fault (because I think there is some general underlying problem with Canon's current base AF mechanisms and algorithms that they are only now coming to light because of higher expectations).

Camera Dog Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
do you think execs read dpreview?

go send an email.
or a registered letter.

DaveWC Contributing Member • Posts: 612
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

ben ob wrote:

You do realize that this thread is not a complaint to Canon. It's a complaint on DPR. You assume that Canon reads this board & makes decisions on that basis. I bet they don't. So when you say "Are you listening, mr canon exec..?" the answer is probably no and this does not add a tally of 1 to their list of complaints about the AF system. Find their site, find a "Contact" link and send this message to Canon.

Camera Dog Senior Member • Posts: 1,851
Open message to Ben OB

You are obviously new to this, so I will correct the obvious mistakes. There are other more subtle mistakes, but I will lead that to others.

1. The rule of thirds does NOT apply to digital.
2. Tracking focus does NOT work as well while lying on the floor.

3. Airline stewardess (and stewards) always have issues with getting shots in focus. The reason is that they normally are traveling at like 500 mph (converted to metric that is like 1200 Euros). Not many cameras can focus track at that level.
4. There is no 4.
5. Mr. Canon exec is NOT listening to you. He is too busy working.

6. Exactly what type of shots are you taking of models walking back and forth while you are lying on the floor?

7. If you want the same camera that you had 10 years ago go buy that camera. You can probably find it cheaper now. Check out eBay.

ben ob
OP ben ob Regular Member • Posts: 348
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

i'm not a gearhead

but i'm also not an idiot

so no, i won't be posting photos i took two years ago (or anything since)

i'm merely telling you that, comparatively, i think the the 5d AF system is cr*ppy and i wonder if you concur

as for that plastic camera, i suppose it had fewer points but they covered more of the frame; AND it happened to be able to select the closest thing on any of the points without a problem

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ben ob
OP ben ob Regular Member • Posts: 348
Re: open message to canon exec about 5d AF

good point

i WILL send it to canon

when we've FINISHED (and if we end up with some sort of concensus - or a sufficiency of disgruntled people)

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ben ob
OP ben ob Regular Member • Posts: 348
Re: Open message to Ben OB

new to this i am not; new to your, um, IS IT WIT..? i am

how could the rule of thirds NOT apply to digital..? (i mean, would your art professor when evaluating an image ask if it had been generated digitally or in some analogue fashion before deciding if it was a useful exemplar of the golden sections / rule of thirds compositional philisophy..?)

the point about the wanting a camera that merely tracks as well as $100 did ten years ago was to avoid the inevtiable (though nonsencial given the d700) suggestion that i go buy a one series if autofocus matters to me so much (though, um, not the mkIII right..? ha ha)

as for everything else, err, um, whatEVER. i mean, obviously the tracking function works much better when you're waving the camera around, right..? and and and: no, really, whatEVER

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