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KevinA

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1DsmkII and focus
« on: August 03, 2009, 04:36:09 pm »

Sorry to bring this one up again but is anyone else still having focusing issues with the 1DsmkIII or is it just me. I've microadjusted  and it's been to Canon twice, still all over the place. I'm about ready to ditch the lot.

Kevin.
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Christopher

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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2009, 12:27:58 am »

Quote from: KevinA
Sorry to bring this one up again but is anyone else still having focusing issues with the 1DsmkIII or is it just me. I've microadjusted  and it's been to Canon twice, still all over the place. I'm about ready to ditch the lot.

Kevin.

I never had any real problems, but it probably depends a lot on what you shoot. (my stuff was mostly wildlife, dark forest and such stuff) Still no question that the 1DsMk2 had abetter AF.
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Christopher Hauser
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francois

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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2009, 06:59:54 am »

I sent mine to Canon for the AF adjustment program and the fix improved AF performances but, as Christopher said above, the Mk2 AF is still a bit better in my opinion.
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Josh-H

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« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 12:58:57 am »

For the flip side of the coin.....

I recently got back from a 12 day shoot in New Zealands South Island where I shot more than 3300 frames with my 1DSMKIII - While I was there I chartered a helicopter  with another photographer and got them to takes the doors off. I shot approximately 1800 frames from helicopter at around 11,000 feet, hovering 25 odd feet off a glacier with the doors off hanging out the side in a harness shooting (wearing lots of clothes - it was -18 degrees C!). In this situation, you cant fiddle with a camera - you put it on whatever mode you want (Aperture priority in my case), auto focus (AI servo for me) and you trust your camera. I did change aperture and ISO throughout the 2 helicopter charters to suit the light.

Out of the approx 1800 frames that were shot auto focus in AI Servo from the helicopter (all with the 24mm F1.4LMKII) I got higher than 99% critically sharp. I only bined about 10 frames for being soft - and I beleive those frames were when I bumped or leaned against the helicopter sides.

Now I may be just lucky.. but I doubt it. I think its far more likely that I bothered to read and understand the cameras auto focus capabilities - specifically the different AI Servo settings, so that I new what optimal settings to use for best results.

I wonder how much of the 1DSMKIII's bad wrap for foucus is really due to user error or not understanding the optimal settings to use when and how (not directed at any of the posters above) and how many really bad focusing cameras there are actually out there.

My camera did go in for the focus adjustment some months ago - but I posted at the time I didnt feel it needed it. Post adjustment in my case I would say I do get slightly sharper images at 100+% on screen more often. So as a 'fix' ('improvement' is a better word I believe) it was worth it.

Anyway.. I just thought I should post as I have been more than happy with the 1DSMKIII focus and have definitely put it to the test in very difficult conditions.
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Christopher

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« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 01:35:02 am »

Quote from: Josh-H
For the flip side of the coin.....

I recently got back from a 12 day shoot in New Zealands South Island where I shot more than 3300 frames with my 1DSMKIII - While I was there I chartered a helicopter  with another photographer and got them to takes the doors off. I shot approximately 1800 frames from helicopter at around 11,000 feet, hovering 25 odd feet off a glacier with the doors off hanging out the side in a harness shooting (wearing lots of clothes - it was -18 degrees C!). In this situation, you cant fiddle with a camera - you put it on whatever mode you want (Aperture priority in my case), auto focus (AI servo for me) and you trust your camera. I did change aperture and ISO throughout the 2 helicopter charters to suit the light.

Out of the approx 1800 frames that were shot auto focus in AI Servo from the helicopter (all with the 24mm F1.4LMKII) I got higher than 99% critically sharp. I only bined about 10 frames for being soft - and I beleive those frames were when I bumped or leaned against the helicopter sides.

Now I may be just lucky.. but I doubt it. I think its far more likely that I bothered to read and understand the cameras auto focus capabilities - specifically the different AI Servo settings, so that I new what optimal settings to use for best results.

I wonder how much of the 1DSMKIII's bad wrap for foucus is really due to user error or not understanding the optimal settings to use when and how (not directed at any of the posters above) and how many really bad focusing cameras there are actually out there.

My camera did go in for the focus adjustment some months ago - but I posted at the time I didnt feel it needed it. Post adjustment in my case I would say I do get slightly sharper images at 100+% on screen more often. So as a 'fix' ('improvement' is a better word I believe) it was worth it.

Anyway.. I just thought I should post as I have been more than happy with the 1DSMKIII focus and have definitely put it to the test in very difficult conditions.

Well I think it depends more on what you shoot. I never have gottan a missed focus image shooting landscapes or people with the 1DsMk3 or 5DMk2, but shooting wildlife in low light is a different story. It has nothing to do with the focus beeing wrong, in these light conditions the Mk3 AF just doesn't lock on the target and hunts back and forth. This happens a lot more often with the 1DsMk3 compared to my old 1DsMk2
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Christopher Hauser
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Josh-H

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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 02:02:48 am »

Quote from: Christopher
Well I think it depends more on what you shoot. I never have gottan a missed focus image shooting landscapes or people with the 1DsMk3 or 5DMk2, but shooting wildlife in low light is a different story. It has nothing to do with the focus beeing wrong, in these light conditions the Mk3 AF just doesn't lock on the target and hunts back and forth. This happens a lot more often with the 1DsMk3 compared to my old 1DsMk2

I didnt own a 1DS MK2 (I had a 5D) - so I cant compare the Mk2 to the Mk3. But when I was shooting from the Helicopter in NZ it was as the sun was setting and light levels were very low - as the sun was setting I was at ISO 1600.

I also shot whales in very low light in NZ from a boat with a 70-200 F2.8L IS and 1.4 Xtender with the 1DSMK3. Out of about 100 frames I bined less than 5 for being less than critically sharp. This was shooting black whale fins against dark water in low light - so not an easy target and definately a stress test.

I dont recall the auto focus ever hunting excessively. Since the auto focus is looking for contrast its simply a matter of ensuring your focus point is somewhere where this at least something for it to lock onto. In my case shooting whales I just made sure that the point I selected for autofocus was where the whales flipper met the sky wherever possible.

But I agree that if you are shooting low contrast subjects in low light you do need to be very careful in how you set-up to take the shot.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2009, 02:07:41 am by Josh-H »
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KevinA

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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2009, 02:41:34 pm »

Quote from: Josh-H
For the flip side of the coin.....

I recently got back from a 12 day shoot in New Zealands South Island where I shot more than 3300 frames with my 1DSMKIII - While I was there I chartered a helicopter  with another photographer and got them to takes the doors off. I shot approximately 1800 frames from helicopter at around 11,000 feet, hovering 25 odd feet off a glacier with the doors off hanging out the side in a harness shooting (wearing lots of clothes - it was -18 degrees C!). In this situation, you cant fiddle with a camera - you put it on whatever mode you want (Aperture priority in my case), auto focus (AI servo for me) and you trust your camera. I did change aperture and ISO throughout the 2 helicopter charters to suit the light.

Out of the approx 1800 frames that were shot auto focus in AI Servo from the helicopter (all with the 24mm F1.4LMKII) I got higher than 99% critically sharp. I only bined about 10 frames for being soft - and I beleive those frames were when I bumped or leaned against the helicopter sides.

Now I may be just lucky.. but I doubt it. I think its far more likely that I bothered to read and understand the cameras auto focus capabilities - specifically the different AI Servo settings, so that I new what optimal settings to use for best results.

I wonder how much of the 1DSMKIII's bad wrap for foucus is really due to user error or not understanding the optimal settings to use when and how (not directed at any of the posters above) and how many really bad focusing cameras there are actually out there.

My camera did go in for the focus adjustment some months ago - but I posted at the time I didnt feel it needed it. Post adjustment in my case I would say I do get slightly sharper images at 100+% on screen more often. So as a 'fix' ('improvement' is a better word I believe) it was worth it.

Anyway.. I just thought I should post as I have been more than happy with the 1DSMKIII focus and have definitely put it to the test in very difficult conditions.

Helicopters is what I shoot out of mostly. I've tried any number of settings (God knows there are many), it's consistency I can't get. Last trip for instance I shot some with the 70-200mm f2:8, I noticed on one site at the 70mm end the subject was not critically focused, at 130mm 'ish it was pin sharp. OK I thought it's not working at 70mm, the next site (both buildings in Sunlight) I look at on the same trip the 70mm is bang on.
It's been a continuing nightmare, I shoot four times more than I need just to get enough sharp images. Canon have had it back twice. I've shot servo, single , multi, centre spot only, I've shot with multi focus points, you name it I've tried it. if anyone knows the magic setting, please tell.

Kevin.
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jmwscot

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« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2009, 05:09:42 pm »

Quote from: KevinA
Helicopters is what I shoot out of mostly. I've tried any number of settings (God knows there are many), it's consistency I can't get. Last trip for instance I shot some with the 70-200mm f2:8, I noticed on one site at the 70mm end the subject was not critically focused, at 130mm 'ish it was pin sharp. OK I thought it's not working at 70mm, the next site (both buildings in Sunlight) I look at on the same trip the 70mm is bang on.
It's been a continuing nightmare, I shoot four times more than I need just to get enough sharp images. Canon have had it back twice. I've shot servo, single , multi, centre spot only, I've shot with multi focus points, you name it I've tried it. if anyone knows the magic setting, please tell.

Kevin.

With the 70-200mm f/2.8L I find that only the centre spot is reliable. The outer 9 focus spots front focus on my 1Ds MKIII and the recent service recall has made no difference. The manual advises to only use the centre spot if an extender is fitted which implies that there is an issue. I have done the micro-focus adjustment but the lens required no adjustment. My 24-105mm f/4 is fine at all focus points.

Hope this helps,
John
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nsnowlin

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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2009, 11:50:26 am »

Quote from: jmwscot
With the 70-200mm f/2.8L I find that only the centre spot is reliable. The outer 9 focus spots front focus on my 1Ds MKIII and the recent service recall has made no difference. The manual advises to only use the centre spot if an extender is fitted which implies that there is an issue. I have done the micro-focus adjustment but the lens required no adjustment. My 24-105mm f/4 is fine at all focus points.

Hope this helps,
John

With my 1Ds3, 28-300/3.5-5.6 micro-focused, high shutter speeds, ISO & aperture the only soft images leaning out from a non-door helicopter were at 300mm where both wind speed and prop wash were factors.  I used center focus and slowed focus speed.  My 1Ds3, like my 1D3, has iffy focus in low light & low contrast.  I use MF here, if I can, and only f2.8 lenses.  My 24-105/4 stays in the bag.  It will not focus at all or will hunt in low light at the worst possible time.  My 24-70/2.8 nails shots in these conditions.  Surprisingly even my 28-300 does better in low light than my 24-105.

Stu
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ashley

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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2009, 01:59:06 pm »

I have a 1DsII and it's a camera that I still rate very highly. It does concern me though that there are instances here of photographers not being able to achieve sharp focus on a regular basis with the 1DsIII and while I have no experience of working from a helicopter I can't help but feeling a distant landscape shot with a 24mm lens is no great challenge for the focussing abilities of a camera.

Several years ago my first digital camera was a 10D and like many others at that time I suffered from very frequent focus problems that were beyond my control, but I remember how incredulous I felt when told that I needed to learn how to use the camera or that I probably wasn't used to viewing the image at 100%. At one point I spoke to a Canon technician who basically said that if I wanted pinpoint accuracy with focus I had to buy a 1Ds. It does seem strange that so many photographers are now complaining of focus problems with the 1DsIII and I can merely say that they have my sympathy because I know how frustrating it can be.
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KevinA

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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2009, 07:24:45 am »

Quote from: ashley
I have a 1DsII and it's a camera that I still rate very highly. It does concern me though that there are instances here of photographers not being able to achieve sharp focus on a regular basis with the 1DsIII and while I have no experience of working from a helicopter I can't help but feeling a distant landscape shot with a 24mm lens is no great challenge for the focussing abilities of a camera.

Yes it is, especially in low light when shooting wide open. I just tested my smkIII against the 5DII and Nikon 700, they both performed better than the smkIII. The smkIII will happily front focus some of the time, missing infinity altogether.
I just did a night flight, I gave up with the smkIII and used the 5dII, the smkIII got to a point where it was completely clueless, the 5DII had no problem, this was with a 35 mm f1:4 attached.
I think I will get rid of the smkIII, in lots of ways it's the best camera I have ever owned, in others it's a @*^!!ing liability.

Kevin.
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ashley

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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2009, 07:35:58 am »

I thought depth of field at a distance with a 24mm lens would hide a lot of defects. What you mention about difficulty focussing in low light is not an entirely alien concept though with the 1DsII either. In normal light it's great, but go in a dark room and it will hunt in situations where my old 20D will focus correctly in a split second and I've always thought it ridiculous that a top of the line camera can't match the abilities of an older camera that cost 5 times less. From memory the focus system incorporated in the 5D was based on the 20D, so what you are saying rings true with my own experiences as well.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2009, 07:42:22 am by ashley »
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nsnowlin

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« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2009, 08:59:03 am »

I had a chance to play with the 85mm 1.2 II in low light on my 1D3.  That combo really got focus with the rare front focus/no DOF problem I normally got.  I have been told that the sensor site is smaller for focusing so critical focus is needed (the bride's eyes when coming down the aisle in a dark setting, for example) with the 1D/1Ds3 bodies.  I have also been told that the center point focus assumption on a horizontal plane part of the algorithm for finding focus on the 1Ds2 was not incorporated in the 3 series bodies.  I have no way to verify this but if these factors are true then absolutely accurate focus with a single focus point with 2 or 19 points assist would be required.  Sooooo, that is what I do and I still get soft focus shots when the bride comes down the aisle (low light, low contrast).  Looking over similar images taken with my 1Ds2 show similar tendencies and a similar number of soft shots, just not as bad as with the new 3 series bodies.  That said, the best IQ I have gotten from any chip comes from the 1D/1Ds3 bodies.  The files also seem to be better processing in LR.  These bodies are keepers until something better comes along.

The first tests that I shall do on the new whatever-it-is-named "1D/1Ds4" will be in low light/low contrast settings.  This HAS to be improved or the camera goes back.

FWIW, shooting fast and close motor sports (outdoors, bright sun) with a high S/N 1D3 and the 24-105/4 & 70-200/2.8 IS, I get spectacularly sharp files.  Nearly 100% keepers.

Stu
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KevinA

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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2009, 09:32:01 am »

Quote from: ashley
I thought depth of field at a distance with a 24mm lens would hide a lot of defects. What you mention about difficulty focussing in low light is not an entirely alien concept though with the 1DsII either. In normal light it's great, but go in a dark room and it will hunt in situations where my old 20D will focus correctly in a split second and I've always thought it ridiculous that a top of the line camera can't match the abilities of an older camera that cost 5 times less. From memory the focus system incorporated in the 5D was based on the 20D, so what you are saying rings true with my own experiences as well.

It depends how far out of focus it is it is. I get inconsistent results in bright light also with some lenses.

Kevin.
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KevinA

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« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2009, 09:37:30 am »

Quote from: nsnowlin
I had a chance to play with the 85mm 1.2 II in low light on my 1D3.  That combo really got focus with the rare front focus/no DOF problem I normally got.  I have been told that the sensor site is smaller for focusing so critical focus is needed (the bride's eyes when coming down the aisle in a dark setting, for example) with the 1D/1Ds3 bodies.  I have also been told that the center point focus assumption on a horizontal plane part of the algorithm for finding focus on the 1Ds2 was not incorporated in the 3 series bodies.  I have no way to verify this but if these factors are true then absolutely accurate focus with a single focus point with 2 or 19 points assist would be required.  Sooooo, that is what I do and I still get soft focus shots when the bride comes down the aisle (low light, low contrast).  Looking over similar images taken with my 1Ds2 show similar tendencies and a similar number of soft shots, just not as bad as with the new 3 series bodies.  That said, the best IQ I have gotten from any chip comes from the 1D/1Ds3 bodies.  The files also seem to be better processing in LR.  These bodies are keepers until something better comes along.

The first tests that I shall do on the new whatever-it-is-named "1D/1Ds4" will be in low light/low contrast settings.  This HAS to be improved or the camera goes back.

FWIW, shooting fast and close motor sports (outdoors, bright sun) with a high S/N 1D3 and the 24-105/4 & 70-200/2.8 IS, I get spectacularly sharp files.  Nearly 100% keepers.

Stu

Agreed with most of that about image quality, that's why I say the best I've ever had, but if as it often does decides to turn in a batch of unfocused images or fail when the light gets tricky, having the best files in the World hardly makes up for soft or downright unsharp. Add that to the fact I have a white line at high shutter speeds (failing shutter) I have fallen out of love with the beast. It's time to dry my tears and move on.
I did shoot the start of the Fastnet Race and everything is biting sharp.

Kevin.
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ashley

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« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2009, 09:40:44 am »

From what you are describing this sounds worse than bad. I can understand your frustration but if Canon are unable to fully rectify this situation I think your only practical option is to get rid of the camera no matter how much you may like it in other respects. As soon as the 20D was released I got rid of the 10D because it couldn't really have been worse but since then I have always waited until new cameras have been on the market for 6-12 months and I hear of no major problems before changing. It's just too much grief and impossible to work that way on paid jobs.
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