Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?

Started Aug 8, 2019 | Discussions
Redcrown Senior Member • Posts: 1,723
Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?

I bought a little Sony for my wife. It has a focus mode I've been wanting for a long time. I can focus on a subject in the viewfinder and then recompose by moving the camera to put the subject on a third. The Sony will keep the focus on the initial subject, tracking it as I recompose. Of course, it also tracks the subject if it moves.

How can I do that on my Canon 5D4? There are apparently too many focus controls for me to find the answer. Everything I try, when I half-press the shutter, focus on a subject and then recompose, the focus stays on the initial point in the frame, not the subject. So it re-focuses on the background.

If the subject moves the camera can track it, but can Canon maintain focus on a subject when the camera moves, like the Sony?

Ray Chen Veteran Member • Posts: 9,339
Auto Area Focus

Put your camera in the 61-point automatic selection AF and AI Servo mode, and it will do sort of what you want.

Personally, the 5D IV has great AF point selection across the frame, most with cross sensors.  It is best to use the proper AF point with your composition in mind. The only time I've relied on auto selection is for shooting diving, which it is nearly impossible to track a diving sequence when shooting tight.

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apersson850 Senior Member • Posts: 1,754
Re: Auto Area Focus
2

As long as the subject itself doesn't run around, you don't need to do more than the normal thing.
One Shot AF, aim focus point at subjet, half-press, recompose and fire when ready.

To track a moving subject, the safest method is to select an AF point that's on the target, and keep it there. Multi-point selections may work, better the later (and more advanced) the camera is.

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Anders

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Marquee Regular Member • Posts: 331
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?
1

This is certainly possible in live view using the dual pixel AF, just press the back screen on the feature you want to focus on and recompose and the white box will hold on the feature.

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Mika Y.
Mika Y. Senior Member • Posts: 1,474
Re: Auto Area Focus
1

Ray Chen wrote:

Put your camera in the 61-point automatic selection AF and AI Servo mode, and it will do sort of what you want.

In case of 5D mk IV it may also be worth a try to see if enabling iTR functionality to complement the above settings helps. The DPR's original review for the mk IV describes iTR as a bit of mixed bag.

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OP Redcrown Senior Member • Posts: 1,723
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?

Thanks, I understand there are ways around this issue. I can use live view to compose first then focus, or in the view finder, compose first then move the focus point over the subject.

But I'm old and visually challenged (normal bi-focals) so for me, using live view is a PITA unless I'm shooting landscapes on a tripod. Likewise, putzing around to move the focus point is too difficult and time consuming for me. I'm amazed how easy, fast, and accurate the little Sony is (RX100).

It only matters when I'm shooting close up portraits at 150 to 200mm and f/8. That DOF is so small that normal focus-recompose-shoot with the center spot can easily lead to slightly soft images.

http://www.outbackphoto.com/workshop/phototechnique/essay06/essay.html

phototeacher Senior Member • Posts: 1,102
Re: Auto Area Focus
1

apersson850 wrote:

As long as the subject itself doesn't run around, you don't need to do more than the normal thing.
One Shot AF, aim focus point at subjet, half-press, recompose and fire when ready.

To track a moving subject, the safest method is to select an AF point that's on the target, and keep it there. Multi-point selections may work, better the later (and more advanced) the camera is.

The only other method would be enabling back button focus, get focus on your subject, then let go of the button and recompose.   Shutter button will not enable focus with this method, so it does take getting used to.   Other wise  apersson850  probably has the best method.

rmexpress22 Senior Member • Posts: 1,329
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?
3

Short answer is that you can't do what you want to do with the 5D4. It isn't a mirrorless so you won't be able to use the viewfinder like a live view screen. With the M50 you can drag your finger across the screen while you look through the viewfinder because the mirrorless technology allows for this.

The AF system through the mirror is entirely different from what you get in live view with the 5D4. They both work well for different things.

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MarshallG
MarshallG Veteran Member • Posts: 7,452
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?

Redcrown wrote:

Thanks, I understand there are ways around this issue. I can use live view to compose first then focus, or in the view finder, compose first then move the focus point over the subject.

But I'm old and visually challenged (normal bi-focals) so for me, using live view is a PITA unless I'm shooting landscapes on a tripod. Likewise, putzing around to move the focus point is too difficult and time consuming for me. I'm amazed how easy, fast, and accurate the little Sony is (RX100).

It only matters when I'm shooting close up portraits at 150 to 200mm and f/8. That DOF is so small that normal focus-recompose-shoot with the center spot can easily lead to slightly soft images.

http://www.outbackphoto.com/workshop/phototechnique/essay06/essay.html

If you want a camera that's just like a Sony, sell your 5D and buy a Sony.

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KariP
KariP Veteran Member • Posts: 5,531
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus --- easily !
2

You can not use the optical viewfinder like EVF in Sony

Just use live view , choose servo focusing.

Then you just tap with your finger a subject that you want to be in focus. I use AF ON button and press it continuously. The chosen subject is kept in focus and you move your camera as  long as you like to get a good composition. You can even move backward or forward.

I must use reading glasses, but I can do this even without glasses as long I see what is the subject

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pauljames34 Regular Member • Posts: 389
Re: Auto Area Focus

phototeacher wrote:

The only other method would be enabling back button focus, get focus on your subject, then let go of the button and recompose. Shutter button will not enable focus with this method, so it does take getting used to. Other wise apersson850 probably has the best method.

After years of doing it like that I've switched around and now have the back button to disable auto focus and only use in the rare case I need to focus and recompose. My shutter button does normal focusing now and I usually make sure I've got the right focus point selected for the composition.

It's improved my hit rate immensely.

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J A C S
J A C S Forum Pro • Posts: 16,897
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?

Redcrown wrote:

Thanks, I understand there are ways around this issue. I can use live view to compose first then focus, or in the view finder, compose first then move the focus point over the subject.

But I'm old and visually challenged (normal bi-focals) so for me, using live view is a PITA unless I'm shooting landscapes on a tripod. Likewise, putzing around to move the focus point is too difficult and time consuming for me. I'm amazed how easy, fast, and accurate the little Sony is (RX100).

It only matters when I'm shooting close up portraits at 150 to 200mm and f/8. That DOF is so small that normal focus-recompose-shoot with the center spot can easily lead to slightly soft images.

How close? Unless you crop the face, you can safely shoot between 150mm and 200mm even at f/2.8 with focus and recompose. It works with my 135/2 at f/2, too. It could be a problem with fast wider lenses if you are too close.

The 5D4 has so many AF points, there is no reason NOT to use one of them.

Finally, in LV and face detection mode, you can treat your camera as a P&S. No need even to pre-focus. You do not even need your glasses.

BlueCosmo5050
BlueCosmo5050 Senior Member • Posts: 1,620
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?
1

The 5D4 does do this in live view, as live view is similar to what Sony uses being that there is no mirror.

Through the viewfinder it uses a DSLR mirror, so yes it will track but using a different method, the 5D4 has, "back button focus on steroids," look that up on YouTube, it's not normal back button focus, you can quickly get it to do multiple things.

The type of things you are specifically talking about, a little green box following someone no matter if they stay still or move, that is mirrorless technology, which the 5D Mark IV DOES have but not through the viewfinder.

Now there is a way, like I said to do the same thing though the viewfinder but you won't see a box around them or anything, you'll need to set up a default position and perhaps program the AF ON button so that when you hold it, it switches the type of AF that is going on from one box to lots clusters, or Zone AF, switches to Servo and you can track them. And yes you can literally program that one button to do all three of those things, even changing the, "case" number for tracking just by pressing Af ON. You can have a different set up on the star button.

That's personally how I do it but if I didn't want to put in as much effort, say it wasn't a pro photo shoot but if you have kids or animals running around and you just want to get shots of them rather they are still or moving, I'd put it in live view, put the box around whoever's face you want, by touching the touch screen and take photos.

The only downside to dual pixel AF really is it only shoots at 4 frames per second but 4 photos a second is enough for most things, it's only in wild life that that becomes more important.

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BlueCosmo5050
BlueCosmo5050 Senior Member • Posts: 1,620
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?

J A C S wrote:

Redcrown wrote:

Thanks, I understand there are ways around this issue. I can use live view to compose first then focus, or in the view finder, compose first then move the focus point over the subject.

But I'm old and visually challenged (normal bi-focals) so for me, using live view is a PITA unless I'm shooting landscapes on a tripod. Likewise, putzing around to move the focus point is too difficult and time consuming for me. I'm amazed how easy, fast, and accurate the little Sony is (RX100).

It only matters when I'm shooting close up portraits at 150 to 200mm and f/8. That DOF is so small that normal focus-recompose-shoot with the center spot can easily lead to slightly soft images.

How close? Unless you crop the face, you can safely shoot between 150mm and 200mm even at f/2.8 with focus and recompose. It works with my 135/2 at f/2, too. It could be a problem with fast wider lenses if you are too close.

The 5D4 has so many AF points, there is no reason NOT to use one of them.

Finally, in LV and face detection mode, you can treat your camera as a P&S. No need even to pre-focus. You do not even need your glasses.

This is true, before I had a 5D Mark IV and went back to Canon I had to deal with the ORIGINAL 6D for a while, I couldn't afford to go back to the 5D Mark iii I had before switching to Sony for a while.

I tested focus and recompose as I only used the center Af point on the original 6D, the only cross type point it had.

ANYTHING over 50mm and about F/2 I could focus and recompose and it was sharp. Unless there was MAJOR movement I could make it happen.

The further away they are the more you can focus and recompose, even though the DOF might be very slim, you have to move less.

I took tons of photos with that 6D and the 135 F/2 as it's one of my favorite lenses and ALL of them are focus recompose and the eyes are razor sharp.

With the 5D Mark IV there isn't much reason to recompose most of the time, if you do, you are barely doing it.

I only use the cross type points and usually there is a focus point either right where I need it or so close that the recompose doesn't matter.

I personally do not know how close the cross type points are on the rule of thirds, I do not crop much except to get my photos on the rule of thirds or golden ratio, something that looks pleasing to the eye, usually that doesn't take out much of the photo.

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Victor Engel Forum Pro • Posts: 19,053
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?

I don't have a 5D4, nor have I used one, but doesn't it have a face recognition mode? If so, and your subject is a face, I bet it's possible that way.

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J A C S
J A C S Forum Pro • Posts: 16,897
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?

Victor Engel wrote:

I don't have a 5D4, nor have I used one, but doesn't it have a face recognition mode? If so, and your subject is a face, I bet it's possible that way.

It does, and it even detects the eye (in LV).

You do not even need to use it as a phone. Compose through the VF as usual, then quickly press the LV button and fire without taking the camera off your face. There will be a short blackout and the 5D4 will focus on the eye.

dave_bass5
dave_bass5 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,285
Re: Can a 5D4 lock focus on a subject when you recompose?

Redcrown wrote:

Thanks, I understand there are ways around this issue. I can use live view to compose first then focus, or in the view finder, compose first then move the focus point over the subject.

But I'm old and visually challenged (normal bi-focals) so for me, using live view is a PITA unless I'm shooting landscapes on a tripod. Likewise, putzing around to move the focus point is too difficult and time consuming for me. I'm amazed how easy, fast, and accurate the little Sony is (RX100).

If you can manage to hold the camera and turn live view on you could just compose the shot you want and touch the screen where you want the focus to be and the camera will focus and take the shot in one go. You dont have to focus and recompose.

Not ideal, and one reason i prefer to use my M50 over my 5D4 these days. I love what you can do by not using an optical VF.

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