The 70D focus problem

Started Jun 9, 2014 | Discussions
Darren N Regular Member • Posts: 345
The 70D focus problem

Hi,

My new 70D has the dreaded focusing problem regarding the centre focus point, the photos are so soft that the camera is unusable & the micro adjust makes no difference.

so in it goes for repair under warranty my first ever canon camera with a fault,

i will be back to let you all know what they do to solve the problem.

Darren

Canon EOS 70D
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plantdoc Veteran Member • Posts: 3,431
Re: The 70D focus problem

There are a number of internet and u tube posts regarding this type of focusing issue. Also, an exposure problem with bounce flash and diffusers. Common, rare, batch run? Even the dpreview showed some focus issues. I held off purchasing waiting for more specifics. I need accurate focus at 2.8 without using live view and I use bounce and diffuser flash. I am in no hurry.

Greg

skillet01 Forum Member • Posts: 93
Re: The 70D focus problem

Darren N wrote:

Hi,

My new 70D has the dreaded focusing problem regarding the centre focus point...

Hi Darren,

My 70D has this issue as well, and it is also in the Canon repair shop right now.  The 70D is a fantastic camera, and those that do not have this issue should be very happy with theirs.  Unfortunately, it appears that some of us received cameras that were defective.  (Anyone who doesn't use a lens with aperture larger than 2.8 would likely never see this issue, even if their body had it.)

I have a very detailed description of my observations, test setup and some sample images that I posted a week ago on the Canon photography-on-the-net forum.  It can be found here:

http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showpost.php?p=16951440&postcount=770

I know there are always some who question the validity of problems that they are personally not experiencing.  That's fine, but for anyone in that situation, this 50+ page forum thread with nearly 800 posts may help shed some light on the problem that some of us are experiencing.

I also will post the results of my Canon repair experience after the camera is returned.

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RobertoAvanzi Senior Member • Posts: 1,003
Re: The 70D focus problem

Darren N wrote:

Hi,

My new 70D has the dreaded focusing problem regarding the centre focus point, the photos are so soft that the camera is unusable & the micro adjust makes no difference.

so in it goes for repair under warranty my first ever canon camera with a fault,

i will be back to let you all know what they do to solve the problem.

Darren

You are lucky. My experience with Canon's AF systems is nothing short of a horror story.

When I got my 350D, it had a front focus problem, the Canon Service Center in Willich, Germany, did not solve it properly, I sent the camera ago them TWICE, then I managed to solve it myself using the procedure described here: http://www.astrosurf.com/buil/autofocus/adjust.htm

My 40D was also sent to Canon twice, the first time alone, the second time with all my lenses. After this, they would all focus perfectly with the camera and with the old 350D. I brought the equipment myself to Willich to explain to the technicians, with plenty of test pictures. They finally understood what was going on and they fixed it. They calibrated both the camera and lenses to their test equipment at my request - instead of trying to match. And this worked!

And then I bought the 70D. Problems with the center AF noticed only recently because I tried the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8, that worked fine (not perfectly, but fine) on the 40D. Focussing great with all points, except the central one - which is the one I use most.

With the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II it is the same story: the camera cannot focus at all with the center point, but is astonishingly precise with the other 18 points. I tested also my old 40D with that: all points focus precisely

The little Sigma 30mm f/1.4 worked decently on both (but it hunts endlessly with the OSPDFA, well: I do not care - it is an old lens with known problems, I have one of the few exemplars that is actually reliable).

Interestingly, my 70D focuses well with the 50mm f/1.2 L and the 85, f/1.2 as well, but the lenses have also a much larger image circle other than the even larger aperture, so maybe it is a combination of image circle and aperture that determines critical angles for the light to hit the "extra precise at f/2.8" AF sensor, and then throws it off. LOL. If this is the case...

It seems thus that a misadjustment of the diagonal cross in the middle (the center point is actually 2 superimposed points, a normal "+" cross and an additional "x" cross that is extra sensitive and increases precision at f/2.8 and faster) is particularly critical at some apertures, in my case f/1.8 (since focusing is always done at max aperture, the aperture value that counts is the max at the given focal length you are using). When the "+" and "x" parts are not properly calibrated with each other, then the camera can focus badly.  Also, this amplifies miscalibration problems of the lens.

Indeed, I could almost get the Sigma 18-35 to work reliably, playing a lot with the sigma USB dock, but of course this made the lens unusable on other cameras, and the other focus points tended to focus reliably, but in a unpredictable way, on objects that are around the target, usually behind, as if the camera was now prioritising objects "near" the AF square (it is very well known that the sensitive area is much larger than the squares in the VF) that were behind my objects - and focussing PERFECTLY on them and always on the same ones.

Because of this, just today, I sent my 70D for the third time to Canon. Yes THIRD time: apart from this newly discovered problem, there is the fact that the wheel on the back is badly mounted and "tilts", a thing canon has ignored so far, and the thumb rest is moving under the thumb when the camera is warm, something Canon fixed twice by tightening some screws, apparently, and/or replacing the cheap rubber faux leather on the thumb rest, but after a couple of months this disturbing problem returned.

The handler told me that it there are any further problems, then by German consumer protection laws I have the right of getting a replacement, and they would comply immediately. I hope the replacement works. The handler confirmed that they had to send a ton of 70Ds back to Canon for various combinations of these problems.

The camera can easily be a lemon. There are massive quality control problems, and the tolerances at which it is built are orders of magnitude more relaxed than the old 40D. They are not even in the same class. Do not trust anyone that claims it is a well built camera: they live in a delusion, just because they were lucky, or are using only slow glass. Do not buy a used car from people that deny the 70D has problems This camera is not a worthy successor to the 40D. It is built worse than my old rebel.

Now, picture quality and features, when the camera works with your lenses, are light years ahead of the 40D, and it even surpasses the 7D a bit in the field of "quality" of the noise (the noise levels are just a bit better, but they are much more easily processable that it sometimes seems it has a one stop advantage), but I would never recommend it to anybody. As soon as the 7D's successor is out, I will wait a bit, then as problem settle I will dump the 70D on ebay and try to forget such a nightmare ever existed.

Roberto

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skillet01 Forum Member • Posts: 93
Re: The 70D focus problem

RobertoAvanzi wrote:

The handler confirmed that they had to send a ton of 70Ds back to Canon for various combinations of these problems.

Hi Robert,

I'm not holding out any hope on mine actually being repairable (for reasons I noted in my write-up)...but you have to send it in before Canon will even discuss any other options.

Since there are many users who have/are experiencing this problem, and many more (I hope!) that aren't, are you aware of any serial number correlation between "good" and "bad" bodies?

Thanks!

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 11,521
Re: The 70D focus problem
3

RobertoAvanzi wrote:

t the 70D. Problems with the center AF noticed only recently because I tried the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8, that worked fine (not perfectly, but fine) on the 40D. Focussing great with all points, except the central one - which is the one I use most.

With the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II it is the same story: the camera cannot focus at all with the center point, but is astonishingly precise with the other 18 points. I tested also my old 40D with that: all points focus precisely

The little Sigma 30mm f/1.4 worked decently on both (but it hunts endlessly with the OSPDFA, well: I do not care - it is an old lens with known problems, I have one of the few exemplars that is actually reliable).

Interestingly, my 70D focuses well with the 50mm f/1.2 L and the 85, f/1.2 as well, but the lenses have also a much larger image circle other than the even larger aperture, so maybe it is a combination of image circle and aperture that determines critical angles for the light to hit the "extra precise at f/2.8" AF sensor, and then throws it off. LOL. If this is the case...

the 50mm 1.8 is always hit and miss.

the sigma is no great surprise.

what you've described is pretty par for the course - you have a problem with your sigma because of the larger pixel size of the 40D you wouldn't see it as readily as the pixel pitch increase the inherent DOF.  the more modern USM lenses can focus more preciously than the older lenses (such as the 50mm)

RobertoAvanzi Senior Member • Posts: 1,003
Re: The 70D focus problem

skillet01 wrote:

RobertoAvanzi wrote:

The handler confirmed that they had to send a ton of 70Ds back to Canon for various combinations of these problems.

Hi Robert,

I'm not holding out any hope on mine actually being repairable (for reasons I noted in my write-up)...but you have to send it in before Canon will even discuss any other options.

Since there are many users who have/are experiencing this problem, and many more (I hope!) that aren't, are you aware of any serial number correlation between "good" and "bad" bodies?

No correlation. There is a GIGANTIC thread on a german forum http://www.dslr-forum.de/showthread.php?t=1375786 that has now grown to 417 pages (!) and thousands of messages. Cameras until today, with all possible serial numbers, construction dates were affected.

It is not unrealistic to think that this may even be a HW problem as well (in my cases lenses with f/1.8 max aperture, not faster ones, not slower ones? really?) as with the EOS-1D Mark III and good luck Canon admitting anything for a consumer cameras (ok, they replaced the bad rubber on the 60D, so there may be hope).  Or maybe this is just bad calibration...

Roberto

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RobertoAvanzi Senior Member • Posts: 1,003
Re: The 70D focus problem

rrccad wrote:

RobertoAvanzi wrote:

[...]

the 50mm 1.8 is always hit and miss.

the sigma is no great surprise.

what you've described is pretty par for the course - you have a problem with your sigma because of the larger pixel size of the 40D

No, no no and no. Sorry. I am perfectly aware that the 50mm f1/.8 is always hit and miss. YET, on the 40D that particular one was actually pretty reliably in focus, I'd say 9 times out of 10. On the 70D it was the same, with the non-central points. The central point was ALWAYS out of focus, and by about one meter - reliably. Same situation with the old sigma 30mm. On the 40D is pretty much reliable, with some variance in the focus plane, but what do you want. On the 70D, non central points, the same. 70D central point ALWAYS OOF. Again, front focussing by over 1 meter.

When the lens misfocuses by ONE METER OR MORE at very wide apertures, then it is not a problem with the 40D having larger pixels. It should have pixels large as my little finger or even my fist to hide that... And definitely it is not. Linearly, they are about 40% larger than the 70D's pixels.

Roberto

you wouldn't see it as readily as the pixel pitch increase the inherent DOF. the more modern USM lenses can focus more preciously than the older lenses (such as the 50mm)

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skillet01 Forum Member • Posts: 93
Re: The 70D focus problem

rrccad wrote:

what you've described is pretty par for the course -

For those of us that own 70D cameras with this problem, be assured that there is nothing "par for the course" about it.

Anyone seeking further information about the problem may want to read the thousands of posts in multiple forums (referenced in prior posts), and/or the YouTube video reviews about the problem. Or they can look at the testing and pictures that many of us have posted. This is a real, significant problem that makes the affected cameras totally unreliable for use with a large aperture lens - you just can't count on the center-point focus being correct.

If you someday plan to purchase a 70D, you may want to first check it out thoroughly with an f/2.8 or larger lens to ensure it doesn't have this issue.

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OP Darren N Regular Member • Posts: 345
Re: The 70D focus problem

Hi

Just to let you all know that i have had an email back about my 70D focus problem,

They have said they are going to do repairs due to it having a manufacturing defect & will ship it back to me asap.

So all you shooters with 70D focus problems send it to canon it is a defect.

Darren

MisterBG Veteran Member • Posts: 6,664
Re: The 70D focus problem
1

Darren N wrote:

Hi

Just to let you all know that i have had an email back about my 70D focus problem,

They have said they are going to do repairs due to it having a manufacturing defect & will ship it back to me asap.

So all you shooters with 70D focus problems send it to canon it is a defect.

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones - I've only taken just over 300 shots but not a single one is mis-focussed.

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skillet01 Forum Member • Posts: 93
Re: The 70D focus problem

MisterBG wrote:

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones - I've only taken just over 300 shots but not a single one is mis-focussed.

Hopefully you are!

Are you using a lens with aperture of f/2.8 or larger?  If not, you would likely never see the issue.  It's primarily a combination of large aperture lens and distance of about 10' or more that results in inconsistent center point focus on the failing 70Ds.

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pdqgp Forum Pro • Posts: 10,616
No problems here

skillet01 wrote:

MisterBG wrote:

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones - I've only taken just over 300 shots but not a single one is mis-focussed.

Hopefully you are!

Are you using a lens with aperture of f/2.8 or larger? If not, you would likely never see the issue. It's primarily a combination of large aperture lens and distance of about 10' or more that results in inconsistent center point focus on the failing 70Ds.

Intersting. I just got my 70D and a new Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD and have seen zero issues.   I've mainly been shooting at f/2.8 with this thing just falling in love with the Bokeh.   Tried my 50mm 1/8 and 35mm f2 as well.    No issues thankfully.

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RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 29,286
Re: The 70D focus problem
3

Darren N wrote:

Hi

So all you shooters with 70D focus problems send it to canon it is a defect.

Darren

No all this means is your unit has a defect. Don't try and make this into a big widespread problem just because your unit has an issue!

pdqgp Forum Pro • Posts: 10,616
I do think there's some merit but in the end I agree

RedFox88 wrote:

Darren N wrote:

Hi

So all you shooters with 70D focus problems send it to canon it is a defect.

Darren

No all this means is your unit has a defect. Don't try and make this into a big widespread problem just because your unit has an issue!

I agree that from what I've read the issue seems sketchy as to whether it's a mass production issue in Quality Control or perhaps something that needs addressed with firmware.   Mine is fine and I'm assuming you feel it's more particular unit or lens related.  Could be a combination of both right?

However, that said, I must say with so many people reporting the issue, that there must be some merit to something going wrong.    With that I agree that not ALL owners need to send their cameras in.

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RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 29,286
Re: I do think there's some merit but in the end I agree
1

pdqgp wrote:?

However, that said, I must say with so many people reporting the issue, that there must be some merit to something going wrong. With that I agree that not ALL owners need to send their cameras in.

You must remember that people on here represent a small percentage of camera users, and those on here scrutinize their photos, generally, more than average. So if you think say 25 people on here are "many", that's a very, very small percentage of all 70d users!

pdqgp Forum Pro • Posts: 10,616
Re: I do think there's some merit but in the end I agree

RedFox88 wrote:

pdqgp wrote:?

However, that said, I must say with so many people reporting the issue, that there must be some merit to something going wrong. With that I agree that not ALL owners need to send their cameras in.

You must remember that people on here represent a small percentage of camera users, and those on here scrutinize their photos, generally, more than average. So if you think say 25 people on here are "many", that's a very, very small percentage of all 70d users!

Yeah, but it's not just here on DPR. I've read posts from all over and just about every board. Sure there's some overlap, but it's not just a handful of people. Even the folks at the stores here locally know about it. It's even hitting some of the reviewers blogs.

Your point is valid, but so is mine.  I own a Galaxy Note 3 from AT&T and there was a GPS Issue that took the very same tongue lashing about being a small percentage, yadda, yadda.   It spread from one board to the next, then hit the reviewers and main sites blogs just like this issues and with the next OS release (Kit Kat) the problem was addressed and fixed.     It was a valid issue that many saw happening and proved it.  Me included.

The internet is a BIG place so yes, by any stretch or measure, the population reporting such things when compared to the world that owns the device, will always be a small percentage.  That alone however doesn't make or break the reality of the situation.

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RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 29,286
Re: I do think there's some merit but in the end I agree

pdqgp wrote:

Yeah, but it's not just here on DPR. I've read posts from all over and just about every board. Sure there's some overlap, but it's not just a handful of people. Even the folks at the stores here locally know about it. It's even hitting some of the reviewers blogs.

The internet is not a "place" just a lot of owners in the world.  Sure you have, and I know your history of posting in the Canon forums. I need say no more.

skillet01 Forum Member • Posts: 93
Re: I do think there's some merit but in the end I agree

RedFox88 wrote:

You must remember that people on here represent a small percentage of camera users, and those on here scrutinize their photos, generally, more than average. So if you think say 25 people on here are "many", that's a very, very small percentage of all 70d users!

Very true! And extending that same logic, there is therefore a large percentage of camera users that don't scrutinize their photos, nor do they read forums. Most of them also don't likely use f/2.8 or larger lenses. So for that vast population of owners, there could be very few, or very many, that have this camera defect that don't know it, nor ever will. For them it just won't matter.

But, for those of us that do have the issue, it certainly curtails the use of the camera with fast lenses, as you can never be assured that it is focusing on your intended target. By all indications in the VF it is focused correctly, but it may actually be front focused, or rear focused, or spot on. It is totally intermittent.

As a result, I've resigned to shooting with slower lenses until I get word back from Canon as to the problem with my particular 70D and 17-55 f/2.8 lens. I'll post results when I get them, but it may be a while since they've decided to send my camera and lens from the repair center to the engineering group in NY for further analysis.

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riknash Veteran Member • Posts: 6,873
Re: I do think there's some merit but in the end I agree

RedFox88 wrote:

pdqgp wrote:?

However, that said, I must say with so many people reporting the issue, that there must be some merit to something going wrong. With that I agree that not ALL owners need to send their cameras in.

You must remember that people on here represent a small percentage of camera users, and those on here scrutinize their photos, generally, more than average. So if you think say 25 people on here are "many", that's a very, very small percentage of all 70d users!

Yeah, but it's not just here on DPR. I've read posts from all over and just about every board. Sure there's some overlap, but it's not just a handful of people. Even the folks at the stores here locally know about it. It's even hitting some of the reviewers blogs.

Your point is valid, but so is mine.  I own a Galaxy Note 3 from AT&T and there was a GPS Issue that took the very same tongue lashing about being a small percentage, yadda, yadda.   It spread from one board to the next, then hit the reviewers and main sites blogs just like this issues and with the next OS release (Kit Kat) the problem was addressed and fixed.     It was a valid issue that many saw happening and proved it.  Me included.

The internet is a BIG place so yes, by any stretch or measure, the population reporting such things when compared to the world that owns the device, will always be a small percentage.  That alone however doesn't make or break the reality of the situation.

There will be those who must discredit any possible defect as either user error or isolated cases.
It was nice Canon repair can fix it.

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