Canon Community Canon Community
 


Reply
New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎01-21-2017

AF problems EOS 5D mk III

Hi folks,

I've been taking everyday pictures for a while now with my EOS 5D mk III, but when I try to take fast photos in the moment they get blurry and AF doesn't perform as I wish. It works fine when holding in the "take picture"-button a little and letting the focus points go where I want but this process doesn't let me take fast photos. Is there an AF mode better suited for fast shooting? I have the EF 16 - 35mm 1:2.8 zoom lens. I want to be able to shoot instantly when something happens and get good focus.

Thanks!
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,078
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: AF problems EOS 5D mk III

[ Edited ]

Yes.  The short answer is that the 5D III has a very advanced and highly customizable focus system.  

 

It's basically the *same* AF system that the 1D X (flagship) camera uses (with one minor nuance in that the 1D X links the metering system to the subject tracking system and the 5D III does not.

 

There's a guide book you should download and read:  http://cpn.canon-europe.com/files/product/cameras/eos_5d_mark_iii/AF_guide_EOS5D_MarkIII_eng_January...

 

There are also a number of Canon tutorial videos on your camera.   Video #2 covers a lot of the AF options (as well as #3).

 

Start here:  

1 of 5:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d47xUh0uFs

2 of 5:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVoHN4ypLd0

3 of 5:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKmVtBQwo4Y

4 of 5:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLpkMFIIG-s

5 of 5:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39G-WMtKaOw

 

And of course there are lots of videos made by others (not Canon videos but still very helpful).  

 

It's important to recognize that all EOS cameras have a fundamental difference in behavior depending on whether you choose "One Shot" focus mode vs. "AI Servo" focus mode.  

 

In "One Shot" mode (the default) the camera will focus UNTIL it locks focus on the selected AF point (or any active point if you allow the camera to use multiple points) but (and this is the important bit), once it does lock focus, it SHUTS OFF the focus system and remains focused at that distance until you either (a) take the shot or (b) release the focus button and re-activate focus.  It DOES NOT keep focusing on your subject.  A nuance of this mode is that the camera will refuse to take a shot until it locks focus.  So if, for example, it's too dark to focus... it will refuse to take the shot.

 

In "AI Focus" mode, the behavior is the opposite.  In this mode the camera will CONTINUOUSLY focus.  As the distance between subject and camera change, the camera will keep adjusting focus to keep up.  Not all lenses focus at the same speed... so depending on the lens the camera may not be able to change the focus fast enough to keep up.  Generally most (but not all) USM lenses are rather snappy and keep up.   But a nuance of this mode is that the camera WILL take the shot when you fully press the shutter button EVEN IF it isn't focused on anything (it doesn't insist on having focus locked on a subject.).

 

This difference (insisting on a focus lock vs. taking a shot even if nothing is focused) is called "Focus Priority" and "Release Priority".  "One Shot" mode uses "Focus Priority" (camera must lock focus before it shoots).  "AI Focus" uses "Release Priority" (camera WILL take shot when shutter release button is pressed... even if it isn't focused.)    

 

That's an important difference because you can be disappointed if you fully press the shutter button on a subject while shooting sports and assume the camera was going to lock focus before shooting... and it doesn't work that way.  In action photography, it's a slightly different style of shooting where you "track" your subject and follow focus on them... waiting for that decisive moment to press the shutter and start capturing shots.

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 858
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: AF problems EOS 5D mk III


Lundmark wrote:
Hi folks,

I've been taking everyday pictures for a while now with my EOS 5D mk III, but when I try to take fast photos in the moment they get blurry and AF doesn't perform as I wish. It works fine when holding in the "take picture"-button a little and letting the focus points go where I want but this process doesn't let me take fast photos. Is there an AF mode better suited for fast shooting? I have the EF 16 - 35mm 1:2.8 zoom lens. I want to be able to shoot instantly when something happens and get good focus.

Thanks!

The 5D mark III is known for its prowess in focusing...it has tons of features other cameras may not have.  There is a price for that of course...it is harder to understand and use correctly.

 

Canon published a guide for it a while back...see link below.  What you need to do is study and apply it.  After you understand how everything works, you still need to practice.  In general though, for action shots, you should be using AI Servo mode which aids you in maintaining focus lock on a moving object.  Basically, you achieve initial focus and keep depressing the shutter button half way, the camera will continue to focus on the object as it moves.  Of course it helps if you move the camera and keeps the object at the focus point.  I routinely take pictures of fast moving objects including jets and birds with the 5D Mark III without much problems (expect some missed shots, everybody does that).

 

Link to guide:

http://cpn.canon-europe.com/files/product/cameras/eos_5d_mark_iii/AF_guide_EOS5D_MarkIII_eng_January...

 

================================================
Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 858
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: AF problems EOS 5D mk III


Lundmark wrote:
Hi folks,

I've been taking everyday pictures for a while now with my EOS 5D mk III, but when I try to take fast photos in the moment they get blurry and AF doesn't perform as I wish. It works fine when holding in the "take picture"-button a little and letting the focus points go where I want but this process doesn't let me take fast photos. Is there an AF mode better suited for fast shooting? I have the EF 16 - 35mm 1:2.8 zoom lens. I want to be able to shoot instantly when something happens and get good focus.

Thanks!

The 5D mark III is known for its prowess in focusing...it has tons of features other cameras may not have.  There is a price for that of course...it is harder to understand and use correctly.

 

Canon published a guide for it a while back...see link below.  What you need to do is study and apply it.  After you understand how everything works, you still need to practice.  In general though, for action shots, you should be using AI Servo mode which aids you in maintaining focus lock on a moving object.  Basically, you achieve initial focus and keep depressing the shutter button half way, the camera will continue to focus on the object as it moves.  Of course it helps if you move the camera and keeps the object at the focus point.  I routinely take pictures of fast moving objects including jets and birds with the 5D Mark III without much problems (expect some missed shots, everybody does that).

 

Link to guide:

http://cpn.canon-europe.com/files/product/cameras/eos_5d_mark_iii/AF_guide_EOS5D_MarkIII_eng_January...

 

================================================
Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,426
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: AF problems EOS 5D mk III

I cannot be certain what shooting mode you are using to take pictures.  Not sure what you mean by "fast photos", either.

 

One of the easiest shooting modes to use is "P".  The easiest drive mode is "One Shot".  The easiest way to focus on what you want is to manually select the center most AF point, so that camera will default to using just the center AF point.

OES_5D_Mark_III_AF_Point_Selection.JPG

Hope this helps.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 858
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: AF problems EOS 5D mk III


Lundmark wrote:
Hi folks,

I've been taking everyday pictures for a while now with my EOS 5D mk III, but when I try to take fast photos in the moment they get blurry and AF doesn't perform as I wish. It works fine when holding in the "take picture"-button a little and letting the focus points go where I want but this process doesn't let me take fast photos. Is there an AF mode better suited for fast shooting? I have the EF 16 - 35mm 1:2.8 zoom lens. I want to be able to shoot instantly when something happens and get good focus.

Thanks!

I tried to answer this post about 3 times and each time it disappeared on me.  If you are deleting my post please let me know so I don't have to waste my time?

 

The 5D Mark III is known for its prowess in autofocusing...so you shouldn't have a problem focusing.  There is a price for having good focus performance...it's very complicated and requires a certain amount of study and practice to take full advantage of it.  Canon has published a few guides:

 

https://www.learn.usa.canon.com/app/pdfs/quickguides/CDLC_1DX-MarkIII_AF_Point_Mngmt_QuicGuide.pdf

http://cpn.canon-europe.com/files/product/cameras/eos_5d_mark_iii/AF_guide_EOS5D_MarkIII_eng_January...

http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/galleries/galleries/tutorials/eos_5d_markiii_tutorials.shtml

 

In general use all of the 61 point auto AF (don't use single point focus - you're defeating the camera's inherent advantage) and focus should be as fast if not the fastest AF of almost all consumer cameras out there...for action, you might want to consider using AI Servo.

================================================
Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 858
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: AF problems EOS 5D mk III

[ Edited ]

Lundmark wrote:
Hi folks,

I've been taking everyday pictures for a while now with my EOS 5D mk III, but when I try to take fast photos in the moment they get blurry and AF doesn't perform as I wish. It works fine when holding in the "take picture"-button a little and letting the focus points go where I want but this process doesn't let me take fast photos. Is there an AF mode better suited for fast shooting? I have the EF 16 - 35mm 1:2.8 zoom lens. I want to be able to shoot instantly when something happens and get good focus.

Thanks!

Hi Lundmark,

The 5D Mark III is wellknown for having one of the best autofocus Canon has to offer.  So it would be very strange that you're having trouble focusing.  As good as any focus system is, it is near impossible for instant performance.

 

I'd recommend that you select the Auto -focus point (can't remember what it's called) but basically the camera auto-select out of 61 available points.  This is good for something that happens quickly.  The downside is that sometimes the camera will pick a wrong point to focus on (usually the closest point).  Also for objects that are moving...you are better off using AI Servo mode to help track the object as it moves.

 

Read your manual on auto-focus some more and there are quite a few guides on the 5D Mark III auto-focus systems from Canon and others that are quite good. I recommend you download them after searching the internet and try to understand them and practice using various features.  It is worth the time investment.

================================================
Diverhank's photos on Flickr
VIP
Posts: 8,112
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: AF problems EOS 5D mk III

"I have the EF 16 - 35mm 1:2.8 zoom lens."

 

The lens determines how quickly the camera will focus.  The camera can only act on what the lens tells it. Are you doing this under poor lighting conditions.  Like the family room in the evening?  Unlike others here, I mostly recommend you use just the center focus point and keep the 5D Mk III in One Shot.  I bet if you take a 'quick' shot outdoors in the daylight, it focuses faster than you are ready!

A lot of Canon stuff. Along with, a lot of other stuff.
New Contributor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎01-21-2017

Re: AF problems EOS 5D mk III

Thanks for the replies! I'll read the manual and try the things mentioned here. Have a great day!
New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-12-2017

Re: AF problems EOS 5D mk III

Hey there! 

Not a professional photographer here. 
I also have a bit of a problem with focusing and images being sharp.

I bought a used 5D mk III. First, the images were OK. But then my 3-year-old son did something with the camera and the settings, so now... occasionally the images are off. I focus on the nose/eyes or mouth, but they remain un-focused but the hair close to the ears is sharp. 

What has happened and how do I fix it. Would love to hear all suggestions. This picture was shot in: ONE SHOT. 

 

2S8A1725.JPG 

powered by Lithium

LIKE US on Facebook FOLLOW US on Twitter WATCH US on YouTube CONNECT WITH US on Linkedin WATCH US on Vimeo FOLLOW US on Instagram SHOP CANON at the Canon Online Store
© Canon U.S.A., Inc.   |    Terms of Use   |    Privacy Statement