This is what a defective 7D auto focus system look like

Started Oct 29, 2009 | Discussions
TomFL
TomFL Regular Member • Posts: 123
This is what a defective 7D auto focus system look like

I ran series of pictures tonight on my camera in 19 point AF, zone AF, and spot AF. I'll summarize the data and include all the photo's below. I also took some with my Sony F800, it's a bit above the point and shoot, but not a DSLR.

Would someone who believes they have a working 7D auto focus system please test a similar setup and tell me if their 7D can consistently focus in this scenario?

These were taken on a tripod about 8 feet away.

19 point AF results

  • 1 in focus

  • 2 out of focus

  • 6 badly out of focus

Center spot AF results

  • 5 in focus

  • 5 out of focus

  • 0 badly out of focus

Zone AF results

  • 9 in focus

  • 6 out of focus

  • 9 badly out of focus

Sony had consistent focusing results, with good results, but direct comparisons are difficult to access.

Most of the badly out of focus results ended up front focusing on the near floor which is supposedly out of the AF range. 19 point and zone auto focus seemed to almost be working randomly.

19 point results

http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-34-09.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-34-48.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-35-53.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-36-36.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-37-30.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-38-00.jpg

Center point:

http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-41-14.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-42-03.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-42-45.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-43-29.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-44-19.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-44-57.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-45-28.jpg

Zone:

http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-47-54.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-48-21.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-48-47.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-49-19.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-49-59.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-50-49.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-51-19.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-51-50.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-52-26.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-53-02.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-53-28.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-53-54.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-54-19.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-54-54.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-55-25.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-55-56.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-56-54.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-57-22.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-58-01.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-58-32.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-59-00.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/10-28-2009-10-59-27.jpg

Sony

http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-005.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-006.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-007.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-008.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-009.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-010.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-011.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-012.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-013.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-014.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-015.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-016.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-017.jpg
http://www.scharfengineering.com/images/Focus/SonyFocus-018.jpg

rwbaron Forum Pro • Posts: 14,345
Re: This is what a defective 7D auto focus system look like

I don't know what you did here but either the server you uploaded to is slow or overloaded or your image files are way too large because it loads at slower than a snails pace. Nobody's going to wait for these files to load.

Bob
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stephenmelvin Veteran Member • Posts: 4,547
Re: This is what a defective 7D auto focus system look like

rwbaron wrote:

I don't know what you did here but either the server you uploaded to is slow or overloaded or your image files are way too large because it loads at slower than a snails pace. Nobody's going to wait for these files to load.

Bob

And here I just thought a defective AF system looks like the top of a Vista window.

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tko Forum Pro • Posts: 13,417
couple of quick things

You can't compare a prosumer to a dSLR. The dSLR has much less DOF, you can see everything is in focus almost everywhere for the prosumer, completely different focus system.

Second of all, you can't use zone in that situation. Zone picks the nearest closest focusable distance, but the floor has spots of low contrast that the AF may or may not focus on. If the AF can't focus on the closest spot on the floor, it will look for a spot w/higher contrast.

This is not a good test. What do YOU want the camera for focus on? If it's the box, then you need spot AF so it will focus on the box.

I can't tell if your spot AF mode has problems, you indicate it does, but I couldn't look at all the photos to tell. I suggest you start simple, only use spot AF, put it on a target, and crop to examine for sharpness. Use a tripod or a table, use a high shutter speed, eliminate everything else before posting all those photos!

tko Forum Pro • Posts: 13,417
PS- your focus looks fine

Only a few point AF shots came through, they were all in focus, so I'd say your camera is fine.

Jaims Senior Member • Posts: 2,075
Re: PS- your focus looks fine

IMO, and according to the samples viewable in the OP post, you cannot say the AF system is defective. I'd rather say problem here is having used all points instead single point.

In this setup and using 50D with 9 points active, same results can be achieved, but then again, I would have used 1 single AF point (center, or another one if I wanted to avoid focus-recomposing).

My 0.02

tko wrote:

Only a few point AF shots came through, they were all in focus, so I'd say your camera is fine.

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nothsafoto Regular Member • Posts: 419
My 7D mantra........learn from it.....

RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM RTFM   RTFM RTFM RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM   RTFM

And when you've done that RTFM again!!

Learn about how the AF works on Canon cameras (specifically 7D as it has changed slightly). Learn when to use the different modes and in what conditions they work or don't work.

Robbie
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Canon Can...Can you??

Phant0m0n3 New Member • Posts: 22
DOF issue

Hi Tom,

NO camera can change the way lens optics works .... i.e. if you've opened up your aperture you decrease the depth of field (DOF) which will definitely cause most areas in your picture to be out of focus!!

If your DOF is for example 0.5 meter it means only a region of 50cm out of the whole say 600cm range will be in focus … it is impossible to take one picture with areas differing in distance to your lens to all be in focus when using a low aperture such as f2.8, f4 etc

It is only when you use aperture settings such as f16, f22 etc that you can expect everything to be in focus which is typically what most point-and-shoot cameras use ….

Hope this helps (also to set you at ease that you've got one fine camera in hand - although not a miracle working device!)

Andre

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Whatever you focus on will expand - choose wisely!

Kenneth Ross Regular Member • Posts: 106
Re: DOF issue

I have a certain empathy with the OP, because I felt an equal sense of disappointment with my first DSLR, a 10D bought in September 2003. Frustrated with it, I gave it to one of our church members (I'm a pastor) who was (although now retired) a staff photographer with a national newspaper. He was still using a 30D for most of his work at that stage. He kept the camera for three or four days, and handed it back with a puzzled expression. He hadn't had a single problem! But he gave me a brief tutorial on focus modes, and my problem was solved. (more recently, I suspected that it was front focussing, and a re-calibration confirmed, and fixed that).

NB. The focussing problems due to 'operator error' were much more obvious than the slight degree of front focussing that later developed.

Will I be buying a 7D? I'd love to, but to justify it, I would need (as my teenage children frequently tell me) to get out more!
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Karl Gnter Wnsch Forum Pro • Posts: 11,408
Protective UV filter on the lens?

If yes, you might want to remove that immediately...
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dprsok Senior Member • Posts: 1,422
Re: Protective UV filter on the lens?

Karl,

Is there a known problem?

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Karl Gnter Wnsch Forum Pro • Posts: 11,408
Re: Protective UV filter on the lens?

dprsok wrote:

Karl,

Is there a known problem?

Yepp. hit me with my 10D (some time in the distant past) when I bought a "protected" 70-200 f/2.8L, several other lenses showed this problem as well... At least one guy with the 7D and inconsistent back- and front-focus and the need for quite a big MA removed the filters to have perfect consistent focus without the need for MA.
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parna Regular Member • Posts: 259
I agree with all the comments above

Seems to me to be clear from the pics I saw, (although they are too slow to download to view them all but I looked at about 8 or 10 of different focus points), that this would be your first DSLR? Or am I wrong?

To try to focus on the copy paper with 19 point AF is just not how anyone would do it. The camera in that mode picks the closest thing to focus on. You must learn to direct the focus system to get the results you want.

You cannot blame the camera for you not knowing how to use it. If you are coming from a compact digital, then you are going to have to learn how to use a DSLR focus system. It will not take that long, and the possibilities are so much greater than a compact. You will need to learn to cope with and use to your advantage the narrower depth of field that comes with most lenses on a DSLR.

As some one above said, start simple, select a single focus point over what you want as the main focus area in the pic.

You may have a faulty camera, but all the pics I saw suggested lack of knowledge of the camera. Do not give up though, just a little persistence and in a few weeks, you will be taking great pics.

cheers

peter

TomFL
OP TomFL Regular Member • Posts: 123
Re: This is what a defective 7D auto focus system look like

Sorry about the speed problem. My server runs off of a cable modem, which is typically OK, but I noticed this morning it was way slow. I reduced the file sizes to make it less painful until my cable company shapes up.

I appreciate the input, but I am not looking for:

  • You expert assessment on whether I know what I am doing

  • Your assessment on whether I had read the manual

  • Your assessment on if the zone and 19 point auto focus are working properly in this scenario.

I asked if someone, expert or not, could spend 15 minutes of their day and setup this simple test and see if their 7D camera (or other DSLR) performs better than this.

No need to post detail results, a simple message of whether it could consistently focus on this is fine. I'm trying to get some actual comparison data here.

If you do get a chance to review these pictures, try to figure out:

Why is it that many of the pictures are not focused anywhere in AF zone at all, but the focus plane is near the bottom of the picture?

Why is it when the camera is in zone and 19 point focus that is does not actually focus where it indicates it had gotten focus by the red indicator boxes?

Why is it in the center point focus shots that half of these ended up being out of focus still? Low light difficulty?

We will agree to disagree on whether the AI 19 point and zone auto focus should have the ability to focus on this scenario. I would be OK if it just focuses where it said it is going to.

TomFL
OP TomFL Regular Member • Posts: 123
Re: This is what a defective 7D auto focus system look like

One more note:

The Sony F707 samples were shot wide open at f2.0, versus f2.8 on the Canon. So the DOF may have actually been smaller for the Sony.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydscf707/

I used all 3 of its focusing methods with similar results.

My only goal here is to determine whether I need to return this camera or if it user error. At first I believed it was user error, but the results are too inconsistent, and I don't have another DSLR or 7D to compare with.

photo nuts Senior Member • Posts: 1,364
Re: This is what a defective 7D auto focus system look like

Your concerns are partially valid.

I do not care about accuracy of zone AF or when the camera is allowed to pick its own AF point.

But I will be very worried if only 5 out of 10 shots are in focus when the center AF is activated. Now, THIS is disturbing.

On my 450D, I can easily achieve 100% hit rate with a contrasty target under decent lighting.

Your results indicate your camera + lens need to be calibrated.

My 7D is at the service center now.

Jim Graziano Contributing Member • Posts: 780
Re: This is what a defective 7D auto focus system look like

Anyone can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here, but just because a red box is lit up does not guarantee focus on that point. It only says that is where the camera decided to focus, but if there is not enough detail in that area and it does not have enough to work with, it might be OOF anway.

The shots that have the highlighted AF point on the package look to be sharp. But there is quite a bit of detail there.

If I'm using multi-point (rarely do), I check to see the highlighted points are the ones I want. I don't see anything that terribly unusual.
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Cal Dawson Veteran Member • Posts: 4,810
This is what a defective....

post looks like....

Sorry I can't wait forever for the many (Excessive) pics to download. Maybe just a like instead would suffice....

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Cal

Put a Canon to your head, You deserve it....

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flyingmonkey Senior Member • Posts: 1,180
Re: This is what a defective 7D auto focus system look like

photo nuts wrote:

Your concerns are partially valid.

I do not care about accuracy of zone AF or when the camera is allowed to pick its own AF point.

But I will be very worried if only 5 out of 10 shots are in focus when the center AF is activated. Now, THIS is disturbing.

I share this sentiment. Since the marked AF rectangles are only an approximation of the actual AF point sizes (which are generally quite a bit larger), I'm generally a bit skeptical of any kind of auto-selecting mode. However, there is no good reason that the camera should have 50% failure when a single point is selected. My assessment is that there is something wrong with the camera or camera-lens combination and since it is erratic and can't be fixed by microadjustment, it should be sent to Canon.

Todd Haehn Regular Member • Posts: 287
The Manual Says Grids Mess Up AutoFocus

I noticed your test is on a grid of tiles. The manual says that grids can mess up autofocus. This can be part of your issue.
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Todd Haehn

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