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Thread started 18 Oct 2014 (Saturday) 07:26
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70D focus issues

 
Henryf
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Oct 18, 2014 07:26 |  #1

Hi there.



Yes, I am aware that there are several thousand pages on the internet relating to possible focus issues on some 70D's but they mostly seem to be centred around issues of very wide aperture lenses struggling to focus using 1pt centre spot AF. I have seen that (the lens seems to focus too far forward) but I'm actually more concerned about focus issues using group focus spots

In discussions with Canon UK who aren't fantastic when it comes to putting product experts front line so though I'd chance my arm on here to see if I could gain some insight.



My old camera is a 600D, great bit of kit, used for stills and videos, works very well within the confines of it's abilities.

First set of photos using the 70D were slightly out of focus so have just spent a load of time getting to know the camera and taking some pictures to work out exactly what's happening.


Manual focus no problem. I love the ability to zoom in on the live view and focus really accurately.

1pt centre sensor seems to focus ok using the kit 18-135mm lens and also my 70-300L lens.

Centre group focus (9 sensors) gives poor results, image doesn't focus accurately. nowhere in the zone is focussed, in fact nowhere in the image is accurately focussed. This is a problem. I was trying to photograph some birds - no, the flying variety and using the single 1pt centre spot it was obviously very difficult to accurately target a bird in flight. When I did hit one the focus results were good.

Using the centre group of 9 spots various spots would flash black squares as I tracked the bird, focus would lock and an image could be taken. The problem was the focus was very soft when zoomed in a bit.

There is also a problem when using the A+ automatic point and shoot setting because it uses multi focus spots rather than the centre 1pt spot and so results are out of focus or "soft focus" to use the polite phrase.




Trying the 50mm f1.4 prime lens using 1pt centre sensor focus seems to be slightly in front of the target not on it. This could possibly be corrected using micro adjustment.



So, my question to you is this; Am I being thick and doing anything wrong? Am I correct in my thoughts re: the 50mm prime lens and micro adjustment? Is poor focus using group focus points on the 70D normal and you have to live with it or could it be indicative of this 70D manufacturing error on some cameras?

At the moment Canon have sent out a standard "we are not aware of any focus issues on the 70D" reply together with the standard take it back to the retailer for a swap / send it in to us for investigation & repair / try micro adjust tips. When I pushed them further and suggested internet evidence might point to a slightly wider problem which they were aware of I was told a "product expert" would be in touch within the next 5 days.

In terms of my expectations I hope I'm reasonable. I've posted a couple of photos showing the results and focussing errors here:

http://s1001.photobuck​et.com …%20problems?sor​t=3&page=1 (external link)

Thanks in advance for your help.



I really want to like this camera but the point and shoot lack of focus is worrying. The multi point focus is also important as improved focus ability was one of the big selling points. I can see that the servo adjusting focus in live view for video work is a vast improvement on the 600D which had a very clunky focus system in video - but I still managed to shoot some great (in my eyes ;) ) footage.



Henry




  
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crbinson
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Oct 18, 2014 08:52 |  #2

What AF drive mode are you using?


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Henryf
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Oct 18, 2014 10:09 |  #3

crbinson wrote in post #17219520 (external link)
What AF drive mode are you using?

One shot, so it isn't the focus re-adjusting it's self unexpectedly. I have also done a series of test shots using tripod, manual exposure settings and so on.

I've had a play with the micro adjustment and can dial out error on the 50mm prime lens which was focussing about 100mm too far in front at circa 2 metres. The problem is when you take pictures closer, say 0.8m away then the micro adjustment sends the focal point too far backwards by 20mm or so. It's not insurmountable because the live view focus is spot on, so just use the back of the camera not the viewfinder.

The problem with group focus points is more serious. If you are tracking a subject then you use the viewfinder and can't use a single point focus because you miss the subject too often. You need group mode to allow the camera to acquire the target and focus.

I have seen and adjustment in the menu to balance speed of focus with accuracy. Tht's my next line of attack.

Henry :)




  
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amfoto1
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Oct 18, 2014 12:03 as a reply to  @ Henryf's post |  #4

One shot, so it isn't the focus re-adjusting it's self unexpectedly....

For BIF?

Well, there's your problem. With any moving subject you must use AI Servo.

One Shot is only for stationary subjects. It achieves focus, then stops ("locks"). If the subject (and/or the photographer) is moving, then by the time you trip the shutter it's no longer in focus. (Incidentally, if using a zoom lens, nearly all modern ones are "varifocal" designs, which means they don't maintain focus when the focal length is changed... So whenever you zoom the lens, it's necessary to re-focus if using One Shot.)

AI Servo is continuous focus, designed to track moving subjects. This is what you need to be using for BIF. (It also will correct for any loss of focus due to changing focal length of a varifocal zoom.)

Centre group focus (9 sensors) gives poor results, image doesn't focus accurately. nowhere in the zone is focussed, in fact nowhere in the image is accurately focussed. This is a problem. I was trying to photograph some birds - no, the flying variety and using the single 1pt centre spot it was obviously very difficult to accurately target a bird in flight. When I did hit one the focus results were good.

Using the centre group of 9 spots various spots would flash black squares as I tracked the bird, focus would lock and an image could be taken. The problem was the focus was very soft when zoomed in a bit.

Yes, it's more difficult to use a single point when shooting a moving subject, but it's the only way you can be certain where the camera & lens will focus.

If using a Zone, the focus is going to be on the closest thing that's covered by one of the active AF points. In the case of a bird, that's often the nearest wing tip... and depending upon depth of field (lens focal length, aperture being used and distance to subject), this can result in the bird's head and body not being sharply in focus. When I'm using Zone Focus or All Points/Auto Selection (which isn't all that often), I will usually stop the lens down a bit to be sure that there's plenty of depth of field, so that some minor focus error won't matter. If, for example, I'm photographing moderately large birds in flight, I might use f5.6 to f8, so that the entire bird will be in focus when the lens is focused on the nearest wingtip.

There is also a problem when using the A+ automatic point and shoot setting because it uses multi focus spots rather than the centre 1pt spot and so results are out of focus or "soft focus" to use the polite phrase.

That's correct... in the fully automatic A+ "point n shoot/snapshot" mode, the camera will only allow auto AF point selection, all points. It also forces the camera to use AI Focus, which is not really a focus mode at all. In AI Focus the camera is supposed to decide for you whether or not the subject is moving, then switch to whichever is appropriate: One Shot or AI Servo. I haven't tried AI Focus in many years, but last time I did it seemed to cause some slight delay and sometimes choose the incorrect mode.

A+ also restricts other things... such as only being able to shoot JPEGs.

Simplest solution, don't use A+ mode. Set the camera up yourself. Don't rely on the automation.

Or, if you must use it, learn to accept that the automation isn't perfect... It can't be with any camera since there are just too many variables in photography. The more complex the camera, the harder it is to fully automate it.

Coming from a camera with a simpler AF system, as you did, it will take some time to become accustomed to how the 70D's AF system works. I went through the same thing five years ago when I switched to 7Ds, which use a very similar AF system. I found that the "KISS" rule applies... Keeping it simple... i.e., using a single point most of the time and the "fancy AF pattern" modes only in very specific instances when they are most helpful... nets me the best results.

I suspect your camera is fine. It's just you learning how to use it, how it works. Spend some time studying tutorials on the 70D's AF system (or similar on 7D).

I went from 50D to 7D (your 600D uses almost identical AF to 50D, and your 70D uses almost identical to 7D)... At first it was a mess. Where I enjoyed 90% plus in-focus with 50D, I suddenly was only getting around 50% with the supposedly "better" 7D AF system! I almost returned the 7Ds and went back to the 50Ds. But I stuck with it and once I learned to use them, I'm now above 95% in-focus in all but the most difficult situations (low light/low contrast).

So stick with it. It gets easier and, eventually, better.

EDIT: Some settings you might try (as they are on my 7D.... your 70D will be a bit different, no doubt, so hopefully the description may help)....

Custom Function III, 1 Autofocus/Drive, AI Servo Tracking Sensitivity - This isn't quite what it sounds... It actually determines how quick the AF is to jump to a different point of focus, should there be a temporary object between you and the subject or even something behind the subject. Most users new to the system find it beneficial to set this slower, so that the camera is less prone to leave the initial subject. (Using Back Button Focus, with practice I can avoid accidental mis-focus by "dodging" the occasional object, by turning AF on and off with my thumb. Similar can be done, but isn't as easy IMO, when using the AF on the shutter release half-press. With practice, I turn this back up to normal or even slightly toward fast when I'm shooting moving subjects that change direction or move erratically.)

CFn III, 2 Autofocus/Drive, AI Servo 1st/2nd Image Priority - Has to do with focus precision when firing a burst of shots while using AI Servo. I leave it set to the default "AF Priority/Tracking Priority". This tells the camera it's okay to slow down frame rate or delay shutter release for a fraction of a second, that my priority is that the first shot be in focus, and that second and all subsequent shots also be in focus (vs speed of release, although focus accuracy might be compromised).

CFn. III, 3 Autofocus/Drive, AI Servo AF Tracking Method - Has to do with tracking in AI Servo, but only when using multiple AF points. If you want to allow the subject to move from one AF point to another, use 1. Continuous.... setting.

CFn III, 4 - I just leave set at the default "Focus Search On".

CFn III, 5 Autofocus/Drive, AF Microadjusment - I set to selection 2. "Adjust by lens". Your camera uses a newer, more powerful version of Microadjust... highly recommended to read up on it and use it.

CFn III, 6 on my camera simply enables or disables different AF Pattern modes (All Points, Zone, Expansion, Single Point and Spot Focus... Your camera doesn't have Expansion or Spot, I believe.)

CFn III, 7 - Merely determines how scrolling through the AF points works... whether or not it stops at the edge, or continues to the other side. Set whatever you prefer.

CFn III, 8 - Just enables or disables VF display illumination, or leaves it to the camera to automatically decide (default). Set as you see fit. This is the "red flash" telling you that AF is starting... and in One Shot, that focus has been achieved and locked.

CFn III, 9 Autofocus/Drive, Display All AF Points - I leave this disabled because I don't want all the black boxes to display all the time. I only want the selected pattern and active AF point to display.

CFn III, 10 Autofocus/Drive, Focus Display In AI Servo/MF - I leave enabled (default) because I want to see the AF point to be sure I'm targeting the subject well. Some might turn this off if they find the display distracting, such as in one of the highly automated modes. But I use those so seldom, and I want to see those AF points to put them on target!

CFn III, 11 - has to do with using the AF-Assist feature of some flashes. I have this set to only do so on external flashes, because I don't use the built-in flash for various reasons and it's AF-Assist is done with a series of bright white flashes... while external flash uses a much less intrusive projected near-IR grid.

CFn III, 12 - Autofocus/Drive, Orientation Linked AF Point - This is an important one. I leave it set to 0. "Same for both vertical and horizontal" (default). I tried it set to allow different selections for horiz. and vert., but it's a bit tricky and I noted a slight delay every time I rotated the camera, while it oriented itself. If you choose to use this, you need to be aware of a couple things. First, there are one horizontal setting and two vertical... vertical with the grip at the top and vertical with the grip at the bottom. If you set these up, you need to remember to set up all three, or the camera will act wonky. Also, be aware that when using this you not only can set different AF Points, you also can choose different AF Patterns, depending upon orientation. If it weren't for the slight delay while the camera is "thinking about it", this might be useful to have a quick way to change from one AF Pattern to another, merely by flipping the camera to another orientation. However I haven't found it practical. OTOH, I haven't used it a lot, so might get more adept at it, given more practice.

Cfn III, 13 - is just the old Mirror Lockup setting. I always hated that Canon buried this deep in the menu. But on the more recent models with Live View, it doesn't really matter since LV does essentially the same thing, and uses a direct access button right on the back of the camera.

Back Button Focusing (external link) is something you might want to try, if you haven't already. It's particularly popular among sports shooters, air show photogs... and birders, especially for BIF. It's super easy to set up on 7D and 70D. All you really need to do is go in and remove AF from the shutter release button. BBF is already assigned to the AF-On button on the back of the camera (I go a step farther and swap the function of the AF-On and */AE-Lock buttons, just because I prefer to use the larger * button for focusing... but this is optional). BBF, if you haven't used it, puts you more fully in control of when and where the camera focuses. It's particularly helpful with moving subjects and AI Servo, allowing you to start focus well in advance of taking the shot, so that it's sharply in focus when you trip the shutter.

BBF takes a little practice, but soon becomes second nature. Once learned, most users never look back and some even wonder how they ever got by without it!


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5DII, 7DII(x2), 7D(x2) & other cameras. 10-22mm, Tokina 12-24/4, 20/2.8, TS 24/3.5L, 24-70/2.8L, 28/1.8, 28-135 IS (x2), TS 45/2.8, 50/1.4, Tamron 60/2.0, 70-200/4L IS, 70-200/2.8 IS, 85/1.8, Tamron 90/2.5 Macro, 100/2.8 USM, 100-400L II, 135/2L, 180/3.5L, 300/4L IS (x2), 300/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, EF 1.4X II, EF 2X II. Flashes, studio strobes & various access. - FLICKR (external link) - ZENFOLIO (external link)

  
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Henryf
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Oct 18, 2014 16:19 as a reply to  @ amfoto1's post |  #5

Hi there Alan

First of all many thanks for taking the time to reply.

If you click through the link in my first post you will see some of the test shots I've done. As you can see I was using a tripod to photograph the bottle so as to iron out any potential errors between shots. Hence the One Shot focus.

With this set up group auto focus performs really badly as you will see from the images. The whole focus group is pretty much perfect for the label and you can obviously see which point is being used so I knew that it wasn't a case of the wrong point being chosen by the camera. I can't believe that this poor performance is normal.

For shooting the birds I was indeed using AI Servo. I hear what you say about wing tips being in focus and so on but I can see which points are being used as I take the pictures and know I'm hitting the body. When looking at the image nothing is in focus, it's the same as those static images of the bottle label. There are some pictures where where a wing tip is more in focus but I ruled them out as a rogue focus point picking up the tip.

I will work through the custom functions. I've already gone in and looked at a few, notably the micro adjust for individual lenses. Clever idea but as mentioned previously it does depend on how far away the subject is. What works for 2 metres doesn't work for 1 metre. You need to decide how far away the subject is going to be and adjust accordingly. In practice I would just use the live view screen rather than the viewfinder as that seems to work well.

For the other functions thanks for explaining them. There are a couple which don't do quite what you expect.

Could you cast your eye over the sample images I posted in the link (opening post) and see what you think re: the centre group focussing. I really can't see what I'm doing wrong there and I also can't imagine Canon would see that as acceptable.

Henry :)

edited to say I will look at the BBF option. I can certainly see why people might use it to get pre-determined focus spots for something like motorsport.

H.




  
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Henryf
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Oct 19, 2014 16:54 as a reply to  @ Henryf's post |  #6

UPDATE ........


Right then, having bought the camera from John Lewis who have a really good returns policy I took it back and asked for another one. They obliged.

I have just taken a quick set of shots similar to the original ones from camera No1 (which showed a terrible focus error when using the centre zone 9 point AF setting). The difference is chalk and cheese.

I have posted the images up with the original ones here:

http://s1001.photobuck​et.com …%20problems?sor​t=3&page=1 (external link)

I've been wrestling with myself over this one, I so much wanted to love the 70D and as I've explored the camera I can see some great features but that inability to focus properly was a worry. There were ways around it but string and chewing gum solutions. Canon stated there are no known focussing issues with the 70D so I'd pretty much given up.

Let the replacement camera results speak for themselves. I've only had the new camera for 10 minutes but for the first time in my 70D ownership there are little or no differences between the various focussing methods.

Fingers crossed I can get on with the business of taking pictures now :)

So if anyone tries to tell you there aren't 70D cameras out there with focus problems they are wrong !

Camera 1 centre zone focus

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Camera 2 centre zone focus

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Camera 1 single point centre focus

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Camera 2 single point centre focus

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Jiggo0109
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Oct 19, 2014 22:03 |  #7

I got one with the lemon and had to send it twice for a repair. On the second attempt, they found out that the viewfinder mechanisms were not properly aligned to the af sensor unit. Meaning, what we target on the af point actually focuses on other field. Mine is fixed now and enjoying my 70D.




  
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Immaculens
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Oct 19, 2014 22:24 as a reply to  @ Jiggo0109's post |  #8

my 1st 70d was a dud and not the typical 'widely reported' issue

my 2nd 70d and I have been enjoying an ongoing honeymoon with no mechanical problems ;) :eek:


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Oct 20, 2014 14:04 |  #9

I have noticed the issue more with EF lenses (Canon 50/ 1.4 and Tamron 150-600) than with EF-S; both the 18-55 and 55-250 versions I have are STM and do not have the VF focus issue with my 70D. Tried the MFA on the 50 /1.4; it has improved some but it needs tweaking. With the TamZooka, its even more challenging given that its a zoom and there are only two MFA settings for the zooms.

I am probably going to sell the 70D with the EF-S lenses and upgrade to a FF. Yes it will expensive but I don't want to be another guy sending the 70D to Canon for repairs and receive it back only to find that the issue is not fixed. CameraRec Toby sent it twice but it did not help. I love Canon but I think they should acknowledge and fix the VF focus issue with the 70D.


Canon 5D Mark III, EF 50 F/1.4, EF 17-40 F/4 L, EF 24-105 F/4 IS L, EF 70-200 F/4 IS L, EF 400 F/5.6 L, Tamron 150-600, Canon Speedlite 430EX

  
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kkgiyer
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Oct 21, 2014 13:31 as a reply to  @ nsnqst's post |  #10

I am having a hard time with Canon and now I in touch with the seller to see if they will help. I have pasted below four links. You could keep hitting the right and left arrows quickly and alternate between the same images (one with LV and the other with VF). Mine obviously seems to be having the issue. I have been owning this camera for about an year and used to think it is the technique or the lens etc...i had returned all the prime lenses - 50mm 1.4/1.8, 85mm 1.8 and the 24mm lenses thinking the lens were not good due to this reason which I never knew of...btw, the images uploaded here taken with the kit lens.

http://s1200.photobuck​et.com …D/OVF.jpg.html?​sort=3&o=2 (external link)
http://s1200.photobuck​et.com …0D/LV.jpg.html?​sort=3&o=3 (external link)
http://s1200.photobuck​et.com …/2-LV.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0 (external link)
http://s1200.photobuck​et.com …2-OVF.jpg.html?sort=3&o=​1 (external link)

The seller has asked me to reach out to this forum to find out if there is anybody who has got some help from Canon in getting this fixed. If anybody has any information please let me know.

Thanks




  
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nsnqst
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Oct 21, 2014 14:07 |  #11

kkgiyer wrote in post #17225496 (external link)
I am having a hard time with Canon and now I in touch with the seller to see if they will help. I have pasted below four links. You could keep hitting the right and left arrows quickly and alternate between the same images (one with LV and the other with VF). Mine obviously seems to be having the issue. I have been owning this camera for about an year and used to think it is the technique or the lens etc...i had returned all the prime lenses - 50mm 1.4/1.8, 85mm 1.8 and the 24mm lenses thinking the lens were not good due to this reason which I never knew of...btw, the images uploaded here taken with the kit lens.

http://s1200.photobuck​et.com …D/OVF.jpg.html?​sort=3&o=2 (external link)
http://s1200.photobuck​et.com …0D/LV.jpg.html?​sort=3&o=3 (external link)
http://s1200.photobuck​et.com …/2-LV.jpg.html?sort=3&o=0 (external link)
http://s1200.photobuck​et.com …2-OVF.jpg.html?sort=3&o=​1 (external link)

The seller has asked me to reach out to this forum to find out if there is anybody who has got some help from Canon in getting this fixed. If anybody has any information please let me know.

Thanks

There is certainly an issue with the camera. Like you, I too thought it was my lack of skill that I got only a few in-focus shots with my zoom (non-STM, IS) or that the 50/ 1.4 I got was defective; only on further reading and conducting these tests is when I realized it was an issue with the camera. I also did more video earlier so the issue wasn't there.

Sorry that I can't help but tell you that we are in the same boat.

I am assuming that the first of all your images are VF and the second (sharper) is with LV, correct? I am surprised that this is with the kit lens; which lens is this exactly?


Canon 5D Mark III, EF 50 F/1.4, EF 17-40 F/4 L, EF 24-105 F/4 IS L, EF 70-200 F/4 IS L, EF 400 F/5.6 L, Tamron 150-600, Canon Speedlite 430EX

  
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kkgiyer
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Oct 21, 2014 14:25 |  #12

This is the kit lens 18-135mm STM lens. They were all taken on the tripod, mirror lock up enabled, 2s timer. If all this cannot get you a sharp picture, forget handheld.

Yes you are right the one which is sharper (LV) is live view and blurred one (with VF in the file name) is through the VF.




  
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moltengold
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Oct 21, 2014 15:04 |  #13

mine with no miss focus issue
and this is the second 70D I bought
but when I'm using the MP-E 65 macro lens and looking from the VF , I feel that I can't see the detail of the target , it's not clear to see the shiny lights on the target makes focusing not easy to catch
so
I sent it for sale and return my new 700D from the seller shop
I'm using now the 700D and the VF very clear with my MP-E 65 macro lens


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moltengold
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Oct 21, 2014 15:07 |  #14

by the way
I always use my big macro lens handheld not on tripod
LV is very important for macro shots when using a tripod ,I know that
but I like using handheld shots that's why I need the clear VF


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kkgiyer
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Oct 21, 2014 15:16 |  #15

Thanks moltengold. If you don't mind, when you get time, could you please help us by doing one thing. Just like how others who are facing the issue are posting the same picture taken using LV and VF (so that we can quickly go back and forth to see if there is an issue), could you please post some test shots (indoors/outdoors) by setting on the tripod and quickly taking two sets of pics (one with LV and another with the VF) with the same shutter speed/aperture/exposur​e/ISO values. Please focus on something far (about 30-40 ft or more).




  
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70D focus issues
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Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.