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5DSr + Otus 85 NOT SHARP, Live View Problem - NOT HAPPY WITH CANON!


Let me 1st preface with saying about 10 posts down from this one, was my original from last week. Many people contributed help, for which I'm grateful. I still have the problem. I also want to say the 5DSr is new - less than 300 exposures on it. I have many Canon lenses, with many being "L". I am a member of Canon Pro Services, CPS. Using the 5DSr + the Zeiss OTUS 85mm, there's $9000 invested, with no satisfaction. Let me also add that for the 1st time since I'm 18, and that's over 40 yrs ago, I have ventured outside of the Canon system and bought a Fujifilm X-T2 + their 56mm 1.2, and I am in all ways astounded at what else apparently is out there. Quality, performance, functionality - superb. The best money and satisfaction right out of the box (at 1/3 the money of the Canon + Otus) I have ever spent in photography. And the sharpest images I have ever taken. Enough of that, because I think I'm finished with the Canon ride. 


To recap the problem - when using Live View for any lens attached, Canon or Zeiss, the lens automatically stops-down to say 5 or 5.6 or thereabouts. It can be stopped. When the picture is snapped, the lens opens up to whatever I set, say 1.4, makes the exposure, and the  returns to a stopped-down position - cannot be averted in ANY way. Exposure simulation enable, disable, or "during" makes no difference. What brought my attention to this was trying to discover why images viewed at 16X during live-liew, looking razor, razor sharp on the LCD using "the finest lens in photography", the Otus 85mm, result in soft, out-of-focus throwaways every time, regardless of lens. I made the posting last week addressing this problem.


People contributed lots of input - all to no avail. I called CPS phone tech support, and ABSOLUTELY no help there. I attended the Photo Expo show yesterday in NYC, spoke to the Canon techs at their booth + the techs they had there at the CPS booth - and no help there. Nobody's even really sure what the functionality is supposed to be. The only real help, or at least corroboration was had at the Zeiss booth, where a rep mounted the Otus 85 on a 5DSr, in Live-View, and it performed as it should - lens stayed wide open, until the exposure was made. So, my original suspician that there was something wrong with the camera seems true. Luckily is well within warranty, so Canon will be getting it back.


The reason I'm so annoyed at this is because I believe Canon has become the Microsoft of the photo world. They find it hard to support what they're putting out. They'd rather put customers through the ringer, than admit a problem. I did other searches..for the last 4 yrs or so, many people have had issues with Canon DSLR live-view. Now whether it's a defect 100% of the time, is probably not true either, but apparently either the systems are not designed/implemented well, or they can't be explained well enough to operate. People having real frustrations after spending good money with live-view systems either improperly designed or too flaky to operate without lots of heartache. No one on this board will accuse Canon of being the industry's most innovative company, but Canon will have to accept the fact they're the largest and are getting sloppy and complacent. I dread sending this Camera back, as I've read other such horror stories. They don't listen to their customers. And since the 5DS series has been released - NO firmware updates either.


If you're happy in all ways in the Canon eco-system, God bless you - but I believe it's the end of the road for me with Canon.

(And I won't even talk about waiting 4 years for the Mark III's successor, only to see a half-hearted attempt at what should have been a winner)


It's always good to see a man doing what he enjoys, and in your case it appears to be writing long diatribes against capitalist enterprises that don't display the requisite obeisance you feel is due you as a customer. I flatter myself that if I could be 58 years old again, I'd find a better way to spend my time, but it's obviously not my business to try to tell you how to spend yours. So good luck to you, and I hope you continue to appreciate your new "Brand F" equipment.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA


Charles, I decided to put my Otus 85 on the 5DSR. The diafragm stays wide open and doesn't move, both Live View or OVF. Even if I set the F-stop to 5.6, it only closes at the time of actual exposure. Expo-simulation Enabled/Disabled doesn't matter. So you may need to check your lens with Zeiss. Maybe try to reattach the lens, take off the battery, or even take your lens to a local camera store and try on another 5DSR?


The 5DSR is a pretty flawless camera, I'm not sure if it needs a firmware update. IMHO it needs a sensor update to match the recent generation of Canon cameras (with in-sensor ADC) 😉 Based on my own experience the 1DX2 is the camera not fully compatible with the Otus, and either the camera or the lens need a firmware update (see my post, the solution goes to DPReview).


I never had experience shooting Fuji, I came to Canon from the Sony world (A99 -> A7r -> A7r2 -> Canon). To me Canon trully delivers. I'm keeping the A7r2 for the kids 🙂

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

@jrhoffman75 wrote:

That's the OP himself, isn't it?

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

I think so. It shows us suggestions/comments from others.
John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

So, in pursuing a problem encountered on a very precise shoot, with a 5DSr and Otus 85mm 1.4, I pursued 4 different avenues of Canon support, none of which could identify what I was describing; 2 different phone calls to 2 different tech reps at CPS, tech reps at the Canon EOS counter at the recent Photo Expo show in NYC, and 2 techs at the Canon CPS booth at the same show. Fair to say I felt I exhausted all “official” Canon support channels, short of dropping the camera off for in-warranty repair, and losing time.

I described the problem to Zeiss in Germany, and their tech was the only one who instantly, fully understood the operation of all Canon EOS bodies, and EF lenses, and hence Zeiss ZE mounts for Canon, with respect to Live-View operation, which addressed my out-of-focus problem. I don’t like at all how Canon has implemented “live-view” functionality, causing any lens’s diaphragm to automatically stop-down to ambient lighting conditions, despite how the camera’s set to record an image, but it is what it is. Ironic they (Zeiss) knew instantly, and the people who make, sell, and support the camera kept talking to me like I don’t know what I’m doing. Anyway, for anyone who’s trying to do very demanding, hi-res work, and using Canon’s “live-view”, here’s the procedure which MUST be followed (care of Zeiss) to get critically sharp images:

“From my point of view, I see the following details:

-It´s not a lens performance problem, it is just a focusing issue
-when focussed perfectly in live view mode with the pre-selected aperture, the resulting image is sharp exactly on the detail you have focussed to before.

I´m sure you are aware that you have to follow the following procedure for perfect focusing in live view mode with every Canon EOS camera body (and any EF mount lens attached) from a tripod:

-pre-select the largest aperture of the lens (f/1.4 with the Otus) in Av or M mode
-start the live view mode with the button
-use the maximum focus magnification
-PRESS THE STOP-DOWN BUTTON ON FRONT OF THE CAMERA TO FORCE THE EOS BODY TO OPEN THE APERTURE EXACTLY TO THE PRE-SELECTED VALUE (otherwise the camera always stops down the lens randomly according to the lighting conditions and the camera (ISO) settings)
-focus precisely to the desired detail in maximum focus magnification and f/1.4
-release the stop-down-button on the camera. Set another f-stop on the camera if you do not want to shoot a f/1.4.
-release the shutter.

If this procedure does not allow you to achieve a perfectly focussed image with any lens, there must be something wrong with the camera body.

Using the stop-down button on the camera in live view mode is essential, otherwise it is impossible to focus exactly when the camera had closed the iris randomly before.

According to the details you provided so far, there is nothing wrong with the lens itself”.

End of quote from Zeiss. The procedure the rep described above is what I ended up using myself, just to get through the shoot, all the while saying “this is crazy – it must be wrong”.
But no; sadly it’s correct.
Oh, and nothing but snyde remarks from Fat Robert on this very board. Maybe he should brush up on Canon procedures, being an "esteemed" contributor, and actually help people

Did Zeiss say this was a third party lens issue or a 5DSr issue?


I tried this with my two bodies (1D Mark IV and Rebel T5i) Neither one randomly stops down from the preset maximum aperture in LiveView using Canon lenses.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

Their exact quote is above. I don't know what else to say. Make sure you have a lot of light on the scene, then push live view, and actually look at the front of the lens. They say automatically stopping down is normal for Canon EOS cameras; they will always meter the scene.

Automatically stopping down to the preset aperture does occur, but its not random. It goes to the selected Av. Not sure why this is a problem, since it is the image that the camera will take.


I can see why forcing the aperture to max would help focusing on a particular point because DOF is shallower, but isn't the purpose of LiveView to see exactly what the sensor is seeing?



John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic
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