S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Started Jul 12, 2010 | Discussions
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Brad Schram Junior Member • Posts: 25
S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Great camera the S90. Only one complaint thus far: Although claiming a 5cm close-focus range in macro mode, I find that I need to refocus multiple times before actually getting focus on the subject (usually a flower). I put the brackets on the most contrasty part of the subject and get rejected (yellow brackets with "!" warning) more often than not. It DOES work, but it takes forever with multiple retrys. This happens whatever the light--which is usually excellent. The template seems to be the camera focusing on the ground or foliage behind the subject, outside the focus brackets. Any thoughts, suggestions from experience S90 users? Many thanks.

sgs_sf New Member • Posts: 6
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Same experience here. I've only been able to work around this by using manual focus.
--
Steve

Jack West Senior Member • Posts: 1,144
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

in the shooting menu [camera shape] change af frame size from default normal to small. i use a tad more contrast as well.

Brad Schram OP Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Thanks for your input Jack. Actually, I already have it set at "small" as you suggest for this reason. I had increased the contrast "a tad" as suggested. Yesterday (after my post) I tried refocusing at a couple feet and then going back to my subject with somewhat better result. The theory being that "refreshing" the autofocus might help. I think Canon has a problem here...or better said, Canon S90 owners with modest macro interests face a continuing annoyance.

dave_bass5
dave_bass5 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,509
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Ive also noticed this happening when ive tried some macro.

I don't know if its coincidence but i find it happens less when i have a decent shutter speed.

For example, i just tried focusing on my ipod that was about 3" in front on the camera at ISO80 and it took three goes. I let it focus on something in the distance, changed the ISO to 800 and tried again and it got it first time.

I tried the same without changing the ISO and it went back to taking a couple of goes.

Maybe just luck.

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Jack West Senior Member • Posts: 1,144
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

well brad - it sure sounds like you know what your doing so my only other thought is having " magnifying focal point" on but thats not what your trouble is really. i have no problems with macro about 80% of the time. i have the g11 as well and for me they both do macro pretty good for p&s cameras. my nikon d300 dslr is killer as expected. good luck in finding your macro focus issue.

Brad Schram OP Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Thanks Jack (again) and Dave. You'll smile, Jack, when I note that I already have the magnifying center point on the display for just this reason--and it's vastly helpful so that I don't show up at my computer surprised by nothing but soft focus. I use 7D and 30D most of the time (strictly an amateur with both), and so the S90's processes are often similar. Dave--your comment about ISO speed may be the key. I find that the S90 is forever warning about camera movement in low light scenics when set at ISO 80, which it always is until impossible. It could be that the macro focus rejection is precautionary when computing speed/light/ISO with IS. That said, it's interesting that I always end up successfully without changing the ISO--it just takes many tries and lots of exlamatory commentary. I'll play with ISO. Thank you both!

schaf Contributing Member • Posts: 731
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

I am fairly new to the S90 and have experienced the focus issue the described in this thread only under the following two conditions:

a) Using the zoom when doing a macro shot

b) When in Program mode and having first not selected the Macro Focus mode. I have not yet used Av, Tv or M but I would expect the same behavior in those modes as well.

If I am doing a macro shot I always start with the lens at 28mm. If I am really within a few cm of the object the camera simply will not focus correctly if the zoom is used. Or at least it has not for me.

Sometimes I use Auto (and it very reliably detects that I am doing a Macro shot) but generally I use Program Mode. If I forget to the first select the Macro Focus mode, yes indeed I get the ugly little yellow box with the "!" and then I instantly realize I forgot to select Macro Focus.

Not sure how that compares with the experience of others.

Schaf

Henry A Greenblatt Regular Member • Posts: 190
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

find it usually doesn't focus well in macro, using P, Av, or T, if I zoom. If I leave it at 28mm and move the camera close to a flower and keep trying to focus as I back away from it, I can usually fill the frame and focus well. If I zoom to fill the frame it just won't focus for me and I get the yellow box with the exclamation point.

Brad Schram OP Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Schaf...like you, I've found macro with the S90 to be impossible when using zoom, so I keep it on 28mm. And I like the result I get when I make it work--it's the many ineffective tries before the focus actually works that is my frustration.

My comments stem from occasions only when it's set to macro mode, not from trying to force it to be macro in standard format setting.

I keep it in Program mode when shooting macro. I suspect, as I noted in a reply above, that my problem MAY occur due to using low ISO, the camera IS and focus not keeping up with the light and camera shake at the required shutter speed.

The S90 can give a very good macro result. It's just frustrating that it often takes so many retries before getting a focused shot. I'm going to work with the ISO/speed issue and see if this changes the frequency of the problem.

Brad Schram OP Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Thanks Henry, I'll try your technique of starting in very close and moving back to get a focus. Interesting idea.

schaf Contributing Member • Posts: 731
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Brad I just read your previous post as well. I find it interesting. May I ask, are you manually selecting ISO? To date I have only used Auto ISO on my Macro shots and other than a few indoor "test shots" they have all been outside in very good daylight. Perhaps I have just been lucky thus far and not run into the same set of circumstances that you have to obtain the error.

I looked through the manual this evening and could not find the "yellow brackets" and "!" error defined anywhere. I was curious to what specifically Canon said this indicated. It may be buried in there, but I could not find id.

I certainly understand the frustration. Obtaining a good macro shot is at least for me typically already a bit of a slow process and fighting with the camera makes it that much slower and is not what one needs.

Schaf

Jack West Senior Member • Posts: 1,144
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

brad - just one more thought on this focus issue. the last thing i do before depressing the button all the way with macro setting is to lean in or out slightly and that will usually help as well. henry's tip is good and actually in a g11 book i have. you probably already knew this [ha] but it might help someone else. best regards, jack

Brad Schram OP Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

No, you got me there Jack. Sounds like you and Henry are suggesting similar things? I tried what I thought Henry was suggesting this morning, but didn't really notice much difference. It's entirely possible I need to revisit the technique and try again. I did, however, note better response in strong sunlight--which may bend the explanation more toward the camera-shake, ISO, shutter-speed, IS mechanism interactions creating the problem at lower shutter speeds--or at least some speed outside the parameters built in. Still trying to figure it out. I appreciate everyone's input.

Henry A Greenblatt Regular Member • Posts: 190
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Brad it seems for me it's key not to zoom. I wonder if others have had similar experience.

Brad Schram OP Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Not zooming may be "a" key, but I don't think it's "the" key. After early trials I never attempt to zoom any more, always shooting at 28mm. With patience I always ultimately get a successful focus, but it seems to me that it shouldn't be almost random. Multiple retries in Program at 28mm in Macro mode and then, magically, a good focus. As I note above, it seems to help by "refreshing" it, focusing at something more distant and then returning to the close macro subject. Ah, well--it's clear that I'm not alone, with a defective unit.

I had less trouble this morning in strong sunlight (with identical settings) than normal, therefore am forming the opinion that I need to up the ISO when it refuses to focus. Thanks to all with your suggestions, it's been useful. A work in progress.........

schaf Contributing Member • Posts: 731
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Brad how long have you owned the camera? With all of the trouble you seem to be having I wonder if the is an issue with the camera. It really should not be that hard for it to focus.

Do you have the AF-assist Beam turned on? If you are at 28mm, have it set on Auto or are in Program Mode with Macro Focus mode selected mode and have Auto ISO selected you should not be having these issues. If you are manually selecting the ISO too low then yes, you may not be getting a good enough exposure for the camera to focus. I myself have not yet used Av or Tv modes but if you have Safety Shift enabled that should prevent you from being under or over exposed and thus you should get a good focus.

I believe if the F-stop and Shutter speed would also be displayed in orange on the screen if the exposure is off and the camera can not focus properly.

Schaf

OhioBowhunter Regular Member • Posts: 261
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

I took this today at lunch time. While I have not had the focus issues you have, I do have problems when trying to use manual focus vs the half push auto. I'm not sure if I am suppose to push the button again (which seems to cause the auto focus to take over). If I hold the button half way, then the manual focus does not seem to work. I have gone ahead and just turned off autofocus in the menu, then used manual to set the distance. When I find a shot, I move the camera back and forward while half pressing with mag on to fine tune the focus. Now if I could just get these suckers to hold still while I shoot.

I am going to mess with it more over the next day or so and if I come up with anything I will let you know.

Did some cropping, and sharping on this one...and the bee had his head hidden.

contadorfan Senior Member • Posts: 1,282
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

OhioBowhunter wrote:
I move the camera back and forward while half pressing with mag on...

What is "mag on"? Explain, please, for this newbie? Thanks.

I'm having the same macro focus problems -- assumed it was me, not the camera.

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OhioBowhunter Regular Member • Posts: 261
Re: S90 Macro Focusing Issues

Sorry....

I have the AF-Point Zoom (Magnification window) set to on. It shows a magnified zoom of the area for fine focus control.

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