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RF 24-70 F2.8 & RF 85 F1.2 Video Autofocus Noise - This Can't Be Normal...

RCH111
Apprentice

Hi, I recently purchased a R6MKII and a RF 24-70 F2.8 and RF 85 F1.2 lens. I think they're fantastic photography tools. However, when using them for video, I'm very surprised at how insanely loud the autofocus is.

 

I tested the autofocus noise of both lenses with the built in mic of the Canon R6MKII as well as the Sennheiser MKE 400, both indoors and outdoors, using several different settings.

 

RF 85 F1.2 Autofocus Audio Test Here - https://youtu.be/NJscWrl7YTE

RF 24-70 F2.8 Autofocus Audio Test Here - https://youtu.be/VNwyQOZ1IP4

 

Listening Volume:
No audio levels were adjusted in post so adjust your computer/phone volume accordingly. I suggest listening as loud as possible and reducing the volume as needed.

 

Backstory:
I recently switched from Sony. I had an A7III with a 24-70 G-Master, a Tamron 28-75 and a Samyang 85 1.4. All of these were totally silent while focusing and shooting video, even with the built-in Sony mic.

 

The only way reduce the autofocus noise is to lower the camera gain and external mic gain, so everything is barely audible (pointless, and the AF noise will just increase if you raise the levels in post) or jack up the camera gain and set the external mic to low (totally backwards and introduces a crazy noise floor hiss).

 

I love the look of RF lenses. Love the functionality. Love the image quality, but Canon really needs to do something about the autofocus noise going forward (and should have already).

Shooting concerts, sports or street probably isn't a problem but shooting in any type of quiet environment (nature, church, gallery, etc) even with a shotgun mic is surprisingly problematic.

 

Before Losing Your Minds:
I realize you can manually focus. That's not really the point.
I realize you can take it off Servo AF (it still makes the same noise when you do choose to focus)
I realize you can get off camera mics (lavs, etc) but again, that's not really the point.
It’s not IBIS.

 

I'm a professional photographer - https://www.robharrandphotography.com, but there is no denying video is equally, if not more important to a lot of people in 2023 and I think Canon needs to up their game in this department.

 

Thoughts? Suggestions? Did I get lemons?

 

Much appreciated.

 

Rob.

8 REPLIES 8

Waddizzle
Legend
Legend

The fast primes, both EF and RF versions, have accurate focusing.  But that focusing accuracy comes at the price of focusing speed.  In other words, the faster prime lenses are not the best lens choices for using Movie Servo AF.

As for the RF constant aperture zoom, I have not used one.  It has a USM drive system like its EF predecessors, which were also known for not having the best performance with Movie Servo AF.  Most of the EF series USM lenses do have audible motor sounds, which are easily picked up by a built-in microphone.  EF series STM zooms are much quieter and were specifically designed for use with Dual Pixel AF images sensors in Movie Servo AF mode.  

My recommendation is to use an external microphone if you require using Movie Servo AF.  If you wish to use the built-in microphone then use an RF lens with STM motor drive.

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

RCH111
Apprentice

The focusing speed and accuracy is fine. It’s actually very good. It’s the insanely loud motor noise that is a problem. It’s not just primes, either. It’s very loud on the RF 24-70, even with the nano motors.

These are $2500-$3000 premium professional lenses. They shouldn’t be making noise like this. I’ve used Sony GM lenses (zooms and primes) as well as Tamron and Samyang. None of them make noise anywhere close to this. They’re all virtually silent.

Even with a shotgun mic such as the Sennheiser MKE400 that I ran tests with, the autofocus noise is a real problem. I’m just very surprised Canon is this far behind it’s competitors in this regard.

Canon DOES NOT USE linear Focus motors like Sony does. Currently in the RF Mount Canon is using Ring Type USM, Nano USM and STM. In the EF or EF-S Mount Canon has used several different AF motors. Such as Arc-Form Drive (AFD) (1987-1992, Discontinued), Ring Type USM (1987-Present), Micro Motor USM (1993-2012, Discontinued), Micro Motor USM (1992- 2013, Discontinued), Nano USM (2016- Present) & Stepper Motor (STM) (2013- Present).


-Demetrius

Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF F/2.8 Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D

Ya I know. That’s my point and why the lenses are so noisy. They probably should.

Ring Type USM was originally designed for high speed AF. So the AF motor being noisy isn't a problem for stills. It was NOT designed or intended originally for video purposes. That's where STM comes into play. Nano USM combines Ring Type USM and STM together for faster and quieter AF. 


-Demetrius

Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF F/2.8 Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D

Well they should probably adopt the type of motors that Sony uses for their GM lenses because they’re just as fast if not faster and totally silent. 

Older EF or EF-S Mount Ring Type USM lenses released prior to 2009 DO NOT support Slow Focus Transition during movie mode. Those lenses will snap back and forth from subject to subject. Newer Ring Type USM lenses can transition smoothly from subject to subject. Canon was the first company to use Ring Type USM in 1987. In fact Canon was the first company to use AF motors in the lens with the new EOS system. Instead of a one size fits all motor in the camera body. Minolta A Mount/ AF (now Sony A Mount/ Alpha) was the first company to use a new dedicated mount for AF in 1985. But Minolta (and Sony in the beginning) were heavily dependent on screw drive AF and continued using it. Sony mainly pushed motorized lenses to the A Mount (note these lenses used Micro Motor). Not all of Minolta's SLRs can AF motorized lenses. Minolta only released 3 motorized lenses that utilized SSM (Super Sonic Motor) or Canon's Ring Type USM. But were quite expensive and most people opted for screw driven lenses for AF.


-Demetrius

Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF F/2.8 Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D

AtticusLake
Mentor
Mentor

So I assume it's the sharp clicking noise in the video.  (I kept waiting for you to move the focus to the background to give it a real workout, but I think I get it.)

So I have the 24-70 f/2.8, and I have never noticed this problem.  I can hear the clicking, if I put my (one good) ear right on the lens, but that's about it.  I tested it with the Canon C70, with the build-in mic gain set to high, and I can't hear anything on the video -- or maybe *just* at max volume.  Here's the vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5paL74nnMM4

BTW, lens stabilisation was ON for that test.  (C70 doesn't have IBIS.)  The "whine-down" noise at the start is the fan stopping -- I have fan on auto.

So do you have a duff lens, or does the R6 somehow make this louder?  I don't know.

I do have to say that I NEVER use any built-in mic for any real audio.  However, I note that you get the same issue with the shotgun, and that makes it seem like you're definitely getting more noise than me.

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