7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

Started Oct 26, 2009 | Discussions
EricFerguson New Member • Posts: 16
7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

Unfortunately it looks like I've got a 7D that has the much-talked about Autofocus problem. I came back from the cottage last week with about 5 good images out of 600, all of the others were just blurry enough at 50% to make the image unusable, but still look fine when fit to the LCD. There was little consistency between back and front focusing, or the amount of error: AF is all over the place.

I've got to say that I've been a little unimpressed by the quality of people's discussion of the 7D AF issue on these boards and elsewhere: it's clear that a lot of people have defective models with a farily serious and frustrating hardware problem, and meanwhile the experienced experts on this site who have the good luck to have a fully functioning camera have been patronizing and unhelpul, with all sorts of offending comments along the lines of "read the f* manual" "learn to use your camera" and even "stop shaking so much when you take pictures"

Not helpful.

The fact is there is a serious hardware issue with a lot of people's cameras which is hard to diagnose, and the fact that your camera works fine doesn't mean that everyone else is stupid or doing something wrong.

Anyway: to help people understand what the issue is before my Camera goes back to Canon tomorrow, I shot a couple dozen frames this afternoon, just popping off shots of a static scene in full manual on a prime lens, while locked down and shooting with a remote release cable. I shot 5 photos at AFmicroadjustment(CfnIII) intervals of 5, from -20 to +20. Then I shot 5 photos focusing manually. The AF was set to "Zone AF" with the leftmost zone selected, just to the left of the big window on the house.

As you can see, AF misses the mark pretty much every time, with the occasional "OK"ish photo but nothing that approaches the precision of the manually focused shot.

The only other body I have on hand at the moment is a 20D, and I can tell you that my 50mm works flawlessy on it, but I didn't include the 20D in this test because its resolution and AF system is so different. I've also done tests with a 17-85IS and a 100-400LIS and the problem persists with the 7D on those lenses, but is absent on the 20D.

The complete set is on flickr at full resolution HERE: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericferguson/sets/72157622544778671/ The exif is intact, the photos are unedited. Have fun.

VIE Photo Regular Member • Posts: 123
You need both helpful and patronizing replies...

It's called tough love.

You are not doing anyone any favors by blindly consoling them when they are ranting about their "problems."

By hearing both types of replies, one is forced to look inward and re-evalute the issue at hand. ...If I had heard nothing but consoling responses, I would have sent my camera back without further due diligence. ...Instead I worked harder at understanding the camera and it's output and I have now happy with it and get great results.

Internet forums are not for the thin skinned.

Hope your camera comes back fixed.

flyingmonkey Senior Member • Posts: 1,180
Re: 7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

Sorry to hear your 7D has focus issues. I like your do-it-yourself spirit, and hope more people take that example. Test the camera thoroughly for yourself, decide whether or not you're happy with it, return it or send it to Canon if unsatisfied, end of story (hopefully).

I agree there have been a lot of unhelpful and unsympathetic responses to postings about AF issues. There's no need for that. However, there have also been postings universally slamming the AF system without any careful testing like you've done. That's not helpful either. Especially since there isn't much anyone can do to fix a bum AF system - send it in to Canon or return the camera, that's about it. No room for endless debate.

Bottom line? It seems from the postings here and other sites that the 7D does not have "systemic" AF problem but that there are individual lemons out there. This does not reflect well on Canon's quality control, but nor does it mean the 7D AF system is a failure.

woolcan Regular Member • Posts: 442
Re: 7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

No problems with my 7D. Thank God......However, I did send my first camera back to the retail store and they swapped me out another one. This one works just fine. AF is sharp as a tack.

Hendrik123 Senior Member • Posts: 1,555
Re: 7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

i cant understand..why would you take 600 photos if you did notice that almost all of the are not infocus..i mean didnt you use the camera LCD to check your photos..

Horshack Veteran Member • Posts: 8,680
Re: 7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

Eric,

The patronizing and lack of empathy from some posters is disappointing. Guess it's a sign of the times. I ignore the rhetoric and have instead been working hard to troubleshoot my 7D focusing problems and contributing anything I find that might be useful to others. There are a few others of us trying to do the same. You can hit up my handle for my posting history to see the experiments I've run.

Please let us know when you get the camera back and whether Canon was able to resolve your problems. Other posters are in various stages of repair and plan to do the same.

I'm nearing the end of my 30-day return period and my vendor says they can't accept the camera back if it's been handled by a Canon repair center...so for me my only safe choice is to send it back for an exchange.

EricFerguson wrote:

Unfortunately it looks like I've got a 7D that has the much-talked about Autofocus problem. I came back from the cottage last week with about 5 good images out of 600, all of the others were just blurry enough at 50% to make the image unusable, but still look fine when fit to the LCD. There was little consistency between back and front focusing, or the amount of error: AF is all over the place.

I've got to say that I've been a little unimpressed by the quality of people's discussion of the 7D AF issue on these boards and elsewhere: it's clear that a lot of people have defective models with a farily serious and frustrating hardware problem, and meanwhile the experienced experts on this site who have the good luck to have a fully functioning camera have been patronizing and unhelpul, with all sorts of offending comments along the lines of "read the f* manual" "learn to use your camera" and even "stop shaking so much when you take pictures"

Not helpful.

The fact is there is a serious hardware issue with a lot of people's cameras which is hard to diagnose, and the fact that your camera works fine doesn't mean that everyone else is stupid or doing something wrong.

Anyway: to help people understand what the issue is before my Camera goes back to Canon tomorrow, I shot a couple dozen frames this afternoon, just popping off shots of a static scene in full manual on a prime lens, while locked down and shooting with a remote release cable. I shot 5 photos at AFmicroadjustment(CfnIII) intervals of 5, from -20 to +20. Then I shot 5 photos focusing manually. The AF was set to "Zone AF" with the leftmost zone selected, just to the left of the big window on the house.

As you can see, AF misses the mark pretty much every time, with the occasional "OK"ish photo but nothing that approaches the precision of the manually focused shot.

The only other body I have on hand at the moment is a 20D, and I can tell you that my 50mm works flawlessy on it, but I didn't include the 20D in this test because its resolution and AF system is so different. I've also done tests with a 17-85IS and a 100-400LIS and the problem persists with the 7D on those lenses, but is absent on the 20D.

The complete set is on flickr at full resolution HERE: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericferguson/sets/72157622544778671/ The exif is intact, the photos are unedited. Have fun.

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Clint Dunn
Clint Dunn Senior Member • Posts: 1,616
Re: You need both helpful and patronizing replies...

VIE Photo wrote:

By hearing both types of replies, one is forced to look inward and re-evalute the issue at hand. ...If I had heard nothing but consoling responses, I would have sent my camera back without further due diligence. ...Instead I worked harder at understanding the camera and it's output and I have now happy with it and get great results.

This is the kind of post that annoys the heck out of the OP (and I). Unlike YOU we KNOW how to use a camera. The problems with the AF system on the 7D are very obvious (if you have a faulty one), and it is NOT a case of user error. It is extremely frustrating listening to people on here, some of whom can't take a photo to save their life telling us we just have to 'learn how to use the camera'.
Clint
http://clintdunn.zenfolio.com

 Clint Dunn's gear list:Clint Dunn's gear list
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Hendrik123 Senior Member • Posts: 1,555
Re: You need both helpful and patronizing replies...

this is an open forum for all..if you dont like what people are posting..LEAVE lol

Clint Dunn wrote:

VIE Photo wrote:

By hearing both types of replies, one is forced to look inward and re-evalute the issue at hand. ...If I had heard nothing but consoling responses, I would have sent my camera back without further due diligence. ...Instead I worked harder at understanding the camera and it's output and I have now happy with it and get great results.

This is the kind of post that annoys the heck out of the OP (and I). Unlike YOU we KNOW how to use a camera. The problems with the AF system on the 7D are very obvious (if you have a faulty one), and it is NOT a case of user error. It is extremely frustrating listening to people on here, some of whom can't take a photo to save their life telling us we just have to 'learn how to use the camera'.
Clint
http://clintdunn.zenfolio.com

Clint Dunn
Clint Dunn Senior Member • Posts: 1,616
Re: You need both helpful and patronizing replies...

Hendrik123 wrote:

this is an open forum for all..if you dont like what people are posting..LEAVE lol

Clint Dunn wrote:

VIE Photo wrote:

By hearing both types of replies, one is forced to look inward and re-evalute the issue at hand. ...If I had heard nothing but consoling responses, I would have sent my camera back without further due diligence. ...Instead I worked harder at understanding the camera and it's output and I have now happy with it and get great results.

This is the kind of post that annoys the heck out of the OP (and I). Unlike YOU we KNOW how to use a camera. The problems with the AF system on the 7D are very obvious (if you have a faulty one), and it is NOT a case of user error. It is extremely frustrating listening to people on here, some of whom can't take a photo to save their life telling us we just have to 'learn how to use the camera'.
Clint
http://clintdunn.zenfolio.com

Open forum for all yes...that means even the likes of moronic people like yourself get in....makes it very difficult to get any decent information.
Cheers.

 Clint Dunn's gear list:Clint Dunn's gear list
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TomFL
TomFL Regular Member • Posts: 123
Re: 7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

On some of these photo's it is focusing on the telephone / electrical wires in foreground of the picture. I have another thread trying to figure out what the heck it is doing myself. From my testing the automatic focus has a (ridiculous) tendency to focus on foreground objects, regardless of contrast in other parts of the picture.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1019&thread=33484504&page=1

I don't think it is unreasonable to expect the state of the art mid-range DSLR to focus on par with a $150 point and shoot when in generic auto-focus mode. (Yes, I know it has a similar mode in live view). I'm not sure if this is camera hardware or camera firmware or brain damaged user. At least firmware can be fixed later.

Don't get worked up over comments from the Internet masses. Everyone has written a post similar to the one you posted at some point in their Internet life. The advice is free and you get what you pay for.

Homl Senior Member • Posts: 1,514
Re: 7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

You wouldn't by chance have 'protection' filters on you lenses?

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TomFL
TomFL Regular Member • Posts: 123
Re: 7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

Now here is a VERY INTERESTING question:

Why on earth would the AF system be focusing on the telephone wires in this picture sequence if they supposedly ARE NOT in the AF FIELD OF VIEW?

That should never happen!

Bad alignment of AF sensors and image sensor???

Comments?

Searching Veteran Member • Posts: 3,854
I absolutely agree with you Eric

This forum is not very helpful for a lot of situations. Your camera and others have problems that need to be addressed, it wast the same with the 1D M3. I would bring it back and exchange until you get a good one. The camera is expensive enough, and you are paying for an improve AF system not one that is worse than your 20D.

BTW, I look at some of my 20D shots and there is just something about them that I can't part with my 20D. I should have kept my 10D too, but it was so slow.

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rwbaron Forum Pro • Posts: 14,345
Re: 7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

Sorry you are having problems.

What stood out to me is your using "Zone AF" for evaluating the AF. This is probably not the best method. Zone can be somewhat unpredictable on what it will choose so you should do your AF evaluation and micro-adjustment test using center point or even spot center point.

Bob
--
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rndman Senior Member • Posts: 1,595
Re: 7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

If the AF system is problematic the spot Af also does not help. When I tested mine, I always used spot AF, and finally returned.

rwbaron wrote:

Sorry you are having problems.

What stood out to me is your using "Zone AF" for evaluating the AF. This is probably not the best method. Zone can be somewhat unpredictable on what it will choose so you should do your AF evaluation and micro-adjustment test using center point or even spot center point.

Bob
--
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Jerry-astro
Jerry-astro Forum Pro • Posts: 17,377
Amen to VIE's post...

And frankly, this sort of reply annoys the heck out of me (but that's OK, it's a free forum :-)). I don't know you from Adam, so to be honest, in spite of the fact that you claim to be an experienced photographer, it doesn't mean that you might not be making a mistake that leads to AF problems (not you specifically, but any other poster with AF problems). Heaven knows we've seen it before with every one of the xxD series, where people with plenty of experience had problems that ended up being traced back to user error, plain and simple. Or people who received 3-4 cameras and had the same AF issue again and again. What are the chances of that? Well, it's possible... but pretty darn unlikely.

So, I'll side with the previous poster. People need a thick skin and perhaps some fairly tough responses as well to push them into really doing the due diligence to determine where their problem is rooted. I've gone thru exactly the same thing with my own 7D. The learning curve is daunting, and while I could use a much better eye for images, I think of myself as a fairly experienced digital photographer and have owned virtually every xxD model since the 10D. My really looking hard at what I'd done right and wrong, I was able to pretty well determine that the fault behind my rather low keeper rate was me, not the camera. Yet, so many people here rush to blame their equipment and the flood of postings from people describing their problems starts looking like a feeding frenzy more than a real problem with the camera.

Right now, I don't have enough information to say whether Canon has a real issue here, though I'm as concerned as everyone else is about it. But, I'm sure still of a mind to take any post with a grain of salt until I'm convinced that the OP has really root caused the problem as being with the equipment. If that bothers you, well... so be it. I can live with that.

Clint Dunn wrote:

VIE Photo wrote:

By hearing both types of replies, one is forced to look inward and re-evalute the issue at hand. ...If I had heard nothing but consoling responses, I would have sent my camera back without further due diligence. ...Instead I worked harder at understanding the camera and it's output and I have now happy with it and get great results.

This is the kind of post that annoys the heck out of the OP (and I). Unlike YOU we KNOW how to use a camera. The problems with the AF system on the 7D are very obvious (if you have a faulty one), and it is NOT a case of user error. It is extremely frustrating listening to people on here, some of whom can't take a photo to save their life telling us we just have to 'learn how to use the camera'.
Clint
http://clintdunn.zenfolio.com

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Jerry-astro
Jerry-astro Forum Pro • Posts: 17,377
Yes, but...

That's YOU. Others may not be as diligent or may be testing an object that doesn't work well with Zone AF. By using a single point, it helps rule out "user error" as a source of the problem. In your case, you did that bit of testing and determined that the AF simply wasn't working right... same thing I would have done in that situation.

Bottom line, Bob's advice is solid IMHO. Best to rule out all possible variables and keep the test as simple and predictable as possible.

rndman wrote:

If the AF system is problematic the spot Af also does not help. When I tested mine, I always used spot AF, and finally returned.

rwbaron wrote:

Sorry you are having problems.

What stood out to me is your using "Zone AF" for evaluating the AF. This is probably not the best method. Zone can be somewhat unpredictable on what it will choose so you should do your AF evaluation and micro-adjustment test using center point or even spot center point.

Bob
--
http://www.pbase.com/rwbaron

 Jerry-astro's gear list:Jerry-astro's gear list
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James Benet Regular Member • Posts: 330
Re: 7D Autofocus Problems: A controlled test w/ 40 images, on tripod

Jeez, hope this isn't a general problem but a batch problem. Any idea if serial numbers from different batches perform differently as a way to try to better choose a good AF model.

Your copy is messed up, I am scared to order it online and rather pay the extra at a brick and mortar store so i can go exchange it until I get a sharp copy.

Now I am wondering if I should sell my 40D at all!
--
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clknight Veteran Member • Posts: 3,107
To try and be objective,

Clint Dunn wrote:

Open forum for all yes...that means even the likes of moronic people like yourself get in....makes it very difficult to get any decent information.

Where did you give any "decent information"? You haven't from what I've seen in this thread. But the insults are loud and clear.

And other people's comments, whether you like or dislike them, don't make it any more difficult to post your own opinions.

-- hide signature --
Hendrik123 Senior Member • Posts: 1,555
Re: You need both helpful and patronizing replies...

only weak people do name calling..next time try harder..going out and shooting and enjoying my great canon 7D

Clint Dunn wrote:

Hendrik123 wrote:

this is an open forum for all..if you dont like what people are posting..LEAVE lol

Clint Dunn wrote:

VIE Photo wrote:

By hearing both types of replies, one is forced to look inward and re-evalute the issue at hand. ...If I had heard nothing but consoling responses, I would have sent my camera back without further due diligence. ...Instead I worked harder at understanding the camera and it's output and I have now happy with it and get great results.

This is the kind of post that annoys the heck out of the OP (and I). Unlike YOU we KNOW how to use a camera. The problems with the AF system on the 7D are very obvious (if you have a faulty one), and it is NOT a case of user error. It is extremely frustrating listening to people on here, some of whom can't take a photo to save their life telling us we just have to 'learn how to use the camera'.
Clint
http://clintdunn.zenfolio.com

Open forum for all yes...that means even the likes of moronic people like yourself get in....makes it very difficult to get any decent information.
Cheers.

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