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Thread started 15 Mar 2010 (Monday) 20:13
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My 7D went back due to AF issues (images inside)...

 
Catlover
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Mar 16, 2010 06:44 as a reply to  @ post 9805948 |  #16

Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately the camera is on it's way back to the retailer (Adorama) for an exchange so I can't do any further testing.

Focus was always fast and responsive, however you could even tell it wasn't focusing properly when looking through the viewfinder. I would get focus confirmation and be like "ok, that's not in focus...let's try again".

I really hope that I don't get another defective camera when they do the exchange. It really stinks that this was supposed to be Canon's "stepping up to the plate" moment as far as AF is concerned. I shouldn't have to decide between an older 1D series and a 1D Mark IV to get solid AF performance.


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Mar 16, 2010 06:46 as a reply to  @ post 9805948 |  #17

Artyman is spot on. Any time you let the camera select the focus point, you are rolling the dice. That doesn't mean that there isn't a problem in this case, but it certainly means that there is no reason to reject the notion of what is unfairly called "user error."

My theory is that the 7D focus system is a bit complicated to quickly learn, especially with the zone modes, and many users are not bothering to learn it. It seems that for every thread reporting focus issues with the 7D, there is a message from a 7D user stating that they had similar problems until they went back and carefully studied the AF system.


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Catlover
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Mar 16, 2010 11:06 |  #18

sportsshooter50 wrote in post #9804873 (external link)
I'm don't think I'd be using a 35mm at f1.8 for what are essentially portrait shots. The depth of field will be very shallow and to shoot people at 35mm and at close distances tends to exaggerate them somewhat.

The 35L on the Canon 7D is 56mm ;)

Todd


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Mar 16, 2010 11:24 |  #19

Catlover wrote in post #9806229 (external link)
I really hope that I don't get another defective camera when they do the exchange. It really stinks that this was supposed to be Canon's "stepping up to the plate" moment as far as AF is concerned. I shouldn't have to decide between an older 1D series and a 1D Mark IV to get solid AF performance.

Well, I wouldn't be too surprised if you get similar OOF shots shooting portraits w/ Zone-AF. I've never handled a 1D body so I don't know if the 1D also has Zone-AF. But at least according to B&H's 7D video tutorials, All-point (19) and Zone-AF will always look to look on the object/subject closest to the camera. So by that alone, you're already asking for trouble as the camera is programmed that way.

My 24L was always ever-so-slightly soft on my 40D at f/1.4 and I thought that was just me shooting wide open. And then I dialed in the MFA when I got the 7D and it turns out the lens needed a +10 adjustment. So maybe your 35L might be ever-so-slightly off to contribute to the OOF and needs MFA. But whether it does or not, don't test it out using Zone-AF.

As you're shooting people, in those situations, I would've picked Spot-AF to try and focus on the eyes.


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Mar 16, 2010 12:37 |  #20

The 1D doesn't do zone focusing but it does have 7 and 13-point expansion modes plus a 2-AF point selection and all points auto as usual. When you want precise focus you still use one point as the expansion points may grab onto the wrong part. Expansion points/zones have their uses but also pitfalls that the user needs to be aware of. They're great when the ONLY thing with contrast is your subject like birds against a blank blue sky but even there it may focus on the nearest wingtip instead of the eyes so it must be used carefully even there.

In the above examples however, unless focus & recompose was used, it looks like the selected AF points are way out of focus, beyond any micro focus issues. It is focusing forward by a long way.


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Apr 06, 2010 00:12 |  #21

I just came back from a vacation with my new (refurb) 7D and 15-85 IS lens. As I'm going through my shots, I'm noticing there's a lot of slightly OOF images! I've been doing a ton of testing and it seems that the zone AF is part of the problem. I shot a lot of zone AF because it was quick and easy.

When I compare single point spot AF to standard single point AF, there is definitely a big difference, and comparing spot AF to zone is also a noticeable difference. Is this normal for the 7D? I shouldn't have to shoot everything with single point spot AF for exact AF, right? I mean, if everything needs to be spot AF for sharp images, then the other modes are basically worthless. I was considering getting rid of my lens until I figured out these differences, now I'm considering sending back my camera body.

Thoughts?


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Apr 06, 2010 00:16 |  #22

Zone's decent for tracking certain objects/subjects. But it sounds as though you did not view the highly informative tutorial videos at all. Else you would know how the AF reacts in Zone & All-point.


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Apr 06, 2010 07:32 |  #23

Zone AF, just like all 19 point AF mode will focus on the nearest object with decent contrast in the area covered by the AF points (and sometimes even a bit beyond that). So for example if your intended subject is in the upper right corner of the zone area and there is something closer to the camera in the lower left corner of the zone area, it doesn't matter that you want the camera to focus on your subject, the 7D will focus on the closer subject, period. It has to make a decision, it cannot read your mind.
Same with the 19 point AF mode, but results can get even more extreme there due to the much bigger AF coverage area.

Here is a demonstration. My intended target was the pen. AF mode: Zone with the middle 9 points.
Image 1: the wine bottle was closer to me/camera, it was on the right side of the Zone AF area, it doesn't matter that I wanted a nice crisp picture of the pen, the bottle was closer ergo Zone AF focused on that while the pen is obviously out of focus.
Image 2: I just pushed the bottle back a few inches. Zone AF worked exactly as it was designed to work, now it focused on the pen since that was the closest object to the camera with decent contrast, covered by my AF zone area. (Note: the wine bottle is still under the Zone AF area too.)

Now, this is not to say that your 7D wasn't defective, I just wanted to show how Zone AF is designed to work. Which makes sense, the designers had to come up with some kind of auto focus priority and the closest object under the AF zone seems to be the most logical one. Imagine shooting a person in front of a busy background. The AF is designed to pick the person to focus on, which is closer, and not the background which is farther. However, it is possible with a thin depth of field (at wide aperture) that if let's say your subject extends his/her arms towards you it will be the hands that will be in perfect focus and not his/her face since the hands are the closest objects to the camera. It can happen.

I hope this helps.

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Apr 06, 2010 07:53 |  #24

^ great example. Perhaps you could move the wine bottle back in front, move the pen to lean up against the side of the pot, then do a zone example, a center point example, and then a spot center. My guess is that you will see the wine bottle first, the pot design second, and the pen third, if keeping the pen dead center.


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Apr 06, 2010 08:02 |  #25

TeamSpeed wrote in post #9942325 (external link)
^ great example. Perhaps you could move the wine bottle back in front, move the pen to lean up against the side of the pot, then do a zone example, a center point example, and then a spot center. My guess is that you will see the wine bottle first, the pot design second, and the pen third, if keeping the pen dead center.

Thanks Teamspeed.
I don't have the time to do that now but that would also be a good demonstration.


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Apr 06, 2010 08:13 as a reply to  @ gabebalazs's post |  #26

What so what would be a good alternative to to Zone AF..I'm just asking out of curiosity. I'm new to the 7D and want to learn as much as I can about this outstanding piece of equipment


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Apr 06, 2010 08:24 |  #27

The best alternative for non moving subject is of course manual single point selection or manual spot af.


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Apr 06, 2010 08:30 |  #28

yes. single or spot, even maybe AF point expansion. Most times you can focus and recompose (when DoF is wide, small aperture, you don't have much time, etc.), or to be very precise you can move the single AF point around to get best focus on your intended subject.
But even older cameras worked like that when in the all AF point mode. My 40D, 50D, and even my current XTi is so to speak unreliable if I just use the all AF point mode. I can select my intended subject but the camera may think otherwise...
I've found the Zone AF to be a great too for me when shooting birds in flight. I really like it for that application. For normal, casual AF, I mostly use single AF point.


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Apr 06, 2010 08:32 |  #29

gabebalazs wrote in post #9942259 (external link)
Zone AF, just like all 19 point AF mode will focus on the nearest object with decent contrast in the area covered by the AF points (and sometimes even a bit beyond that). So for example if your intended subject is in the upper left corner of the zone area and there is something closer to the camera in the lower left corner of the zone area, it doesn't matter that you want the camera to focus on your subject, the 7D will focus on the closer subject, period. It has to make a decision, it cannot read your mind.
Same with the 19 point AF mode, but results can get even more extreme there due to the much bigger AF coverage area.

Here is a demonstration. My intended target was the pen. AF mode: Zone with the middle 9 points.
Image 1: the wine bottle was closer to me/camera, it was on the right side of the Zone AF area, it doesn't matter that I wanted a nice crisp picture of the pen, the bottle was closer ergo Zone AF focused on that while the pen is obviously out of focus.
Image 2: I just pushed the bottle back a few inches. Zone AF worked exactly as it was designed to work, now it focused on the pen since that was the closest object to the camera with decent contrast, covered by my AF zone area. (Note: the wine bottle is still under the Zone AF area too.)

Now, this is not to say that your 7D wasn't defective, I just wanted to show how Zone AF is designed to work. Which makes sense, the designers had to come up with some kind of auto focus priority and the closest object under the AF zone seems to be the most logical one. Imagine shooting a person in front of a busy background. The AF is designed to pick the person to focus on, which is closer, and not the background which is farther. However, it is possible with a thin depth of field (at wide aperture) that if let's say your subject extends his/her arms towards you it will be the hands that will be in perfect focus and not his/her face since the hands are the closest objects to the camera. It can happen.

I hope this helps.



This is by far one of the best posts I've seen related to the 7D's focusing.

Thanks for taking the time..

Kenny..


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Apr 06, 2010 08:42 |  #30

-AP- wrote in post #9942484 (external link)
This is by far one of the best posts I've seen related to the 7D's focusing.

Thanks for taking the time..

Kenny..

Thanks, it really wasn't a big deal, 5 minutes :)


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