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70-200 2.8 USM II sharp only sometimes


Hello, I am looking for a solution in this forum because a few weeks ago I bought a Canon 70-200 2.8 USM II lens (previously I had a 55-250 STM) and I have had problems with it.
I have had the opportunity to photograph football during these weeks and I have not been convinced by the telephoto lens due to different things that I am looking for how to solve:
One of the most recurring problems is that I can very rarely get the image to be sharp enough, at least in 300 images, about 30 or 40 at most are usually sharp, in many of them the focus seems to be nowhere. .
Another problem I have is that even if there are two people nearby, only one will be in focus and the other will not (I think I was able to solve it by changing from f2.8 to f.4, I don't usually worry because I usually shoot during the day and I have enough light).
My camera is a Canon 60D, I take photographs in burst mode and previously in one shot, selection of automatic focus points and all active points, AI Servo mode, the photographs that I will show will contain the EXIF ​​data and have been taken from 1/1250 to 1/6400 so I don't think the problem with sharp focus is due to slow shutter speed, I don't use a tripod but I can stay stable.
Adding that the camera does not have an autofocus micro-adjustment and that neither the lens nor the camera have suffered any blow, fall or any problem, nor has the camera been calibrated, so it could be a problem for that as well.
In the first photo I give as an example the blur of two people standing next to each other.
In the second photo I give as an example the little sharpness I get in the vast majority of the photographs.
In the third photo I give as an example when it is maximum clear.

Problem with focusing two peopleProblem with focusing two peopleProblem with focusProblem with focusFocus working great and good sharpnessFocus working great and good sharpness


Not applicable

In your first picture, the two players are at two different distances from the camera and your depth of field is not enough to capture both in focus. As you stated, using a smaller aperture (F4.0 rather than F2.8) increases depth of field. That is normal for any lens. The second picture has nothing in sharp focus. I don't know what focus point the camera used to focus on, so I have no suggestions.

I believe a lot of your problem is selecting all the focus points of the camera to be active. This allows the camera to choose the focus point, rather than the photographer. I would suggest that you select the center focus point only, and place that point on the desired object that you want in sharp focus. Using one-shot focus may also help your situation. 


View solution in original post


Regarding the EXIF, I apologize for that, the images were too heavy and I didn't have time to reupload them.
Yes, I have focus points enabled and when I look at the gallery, many times they are not directly on the player but rather they are around them, a short distance from them.

The EXIF ​​data was deleted by a program I used to make it smaller in MB, I didn't realize until recently.
It's true about the focused image, they are both almost still, that's why I think it's so easy to focus.
I am using AI Servo focus mode with the Viewfinder


For AF, you generally want a single point for most sports or single point with expansion to 4 corners.  YOU have to put the focus point on what you want; facial recognition won't cut it for sports until AI advances to the point that it knows which player is the subject.

The first photo looks like it is front focused to me, unless you were right on top of those two players it wasn't a depth of field issue.  Focus is more critical with a f2.8 lens but there should be enough DoF for that capture with the image wide open.  That photo also looks overexposed so detail was blown out by the upper dynamic range of the sensor being exceeded.  For sports, I shoot in manual mode with the ISO set to auto.

For bright daylight, I sometimes step the lenses down slightly (f3.2 to f4 range) typically I shoot wide open and just bump the shutter speed as needed.  It is the rare sports shot where you want a lot of depth of field, the goal is generally to achieve separation of the featured players from the rest of the background noise.

The 70-200 f2.8 is my most used sports lens and it is generally wide open unless I am composing a shot where I need more depth of field for multiple players and that is not a frequent occurrence during an event. 

The first two photos were with the 70-200 f2.8, the third with the 400 f2.8 which is my second most used sports lens.



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video


Here as with almost all OOF photos, it is user error. Follow Rodger's advice. One exception, I prefer Av mode over M mode. Stick with One shot until you really understand any auto assisted focus modes. Just the center focus point.

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