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Autofocus woes

davetong
Contributor

Canon D70, 85mm lens, 1/200 at f2.8

It's not sharp, even though the autofocus claims to have a good lock on. 

Judging by the tiles on the floor it's focused a good 1m too short.

Does the camera need servicing?

 

Also, what's with "the camera reports the distance as being between 2.88m and 11.9m" - that's a massive range given the 0.78m depth of field

 

Screen Shot 2019-02-27 at 5.41.43 PM.png


Original image at https://www.dropbox.com/s/agk1qtakqh9j4iz/_MG_6750.DNG?dl=0

18 REPLIES 18

Well the entire point of the test was to shoot at a wide apeture for narrow DOF, with a fast shutter to rule out camera shake, and to exercise the 19 point AF. It seems odd that the camera would focus on objects outside the range of the autofocus points and still report that those points were in focus, so clearly my understanding of how autofocus is supposed to work is different from Canon's.

From what you guys are saying the only autofocus mode that actually works reliably is one shot with the centre AF point, so I'll stick to that for now.


@davetong wrote:

Well the entire point of the test was to shoot at a wide apeture for narrow DOF, with a fast shutter to rule out camera shake, and to exercise the 19 point AF. It seems odd that the camera would focus on objects outside the range of the autofocus points and still report that those points were in focus, so clearly my understanding of how autofocus is supposed to work is different from Canon's.

From what you guys are saying the only autofocus mode that actually works reliably is one shot with the centre AF point, so I'll stick to that for now.




Your LR plug-in cannot determine which AF point was used to lock focus at the moment the shutter was fired.  It is only able to display which AF points were capable of locking focus.  Also, AF points are little larger than the squares you see in the viewfinder or the LR plug-in display, not a whole LOT bigger, but they do fill in the empty space between squares.

Sorry, but your understanding of DSLR AF systems is a little flawed.  It is not a question of how you feel it should work.  It is a matter of how it actually works.  When you have all AF points active, what critieria should the AF system use to select an AF point for focusing?  Many more times than not, the user is trying to focus on the nearest object to the camera.
At this point we cannot conclude that the camera focused on a tree at the left edge of the frame.  THIS is why you are being asked to use only one AF point, so that a determination can be made which AF point locked focus.  This is why you were asked to use the Canon DPP software to read the AF points.  

A determination needs to be made as to whether or not your camera is focusing accurately.  It could be experiencing what is known as “back focusing” or “front focusing”.  We would like to help you and guide you in making this determination.

 

Additionally, you should only be using the viewfinder for focusing and composing your shots for these tests.  Do not use the Live View method, which uses the rear LCD screen as a viewfinder.  The LCD uses a separate focusing system, which is not as accurate as the AF system employed when you use the viewfinder.

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

Here is a layman’s explanation of AF systems.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autofocus

 

The viewfinder uses the phase detection method.  The LCD screen uses the contrast detection method, but with a major twist that is not important right now.  Suffice to say, the two systems are very different because they are designed to serve two entirely different purposes.  

 

Basically, the viewfinder AF system is FAST, and is designed for photos.  The LCD AF system is slower, whose primary role is for focusing during video recording.  The shutter speeds used by the two recording methods vary widely.  Of course, it is not as simple as that, but it is not far from the mark.

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

Here is another link to the puzzle.  This is what happens when light enters a camera lens.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_single-lens_reflex_camera

The illustration at the link is lacking.  

 

F53AD13F-5F40-4E16-B7B2-BB04D99A2A19.png

 

That illustrates an SLR film camera.  A DSLR, digital SLR, camera includes a couple more pieces.

 

Item #2 is the reflex mirror.  When you fire the shutter, it swings up and out of the way to allow light to reach #3 and #4, the shutter and the 35mm film.  There are two critical components, which are not shown, an AF sensor and a metering sensor.  Light entering the camera is actually split in two directions, straight up and straight down.

 

The illustrations shows the reflex mirror reflecting light upwards.  Some of the light is also reflected straight down, more or less towards where the number 2 in a circle is located.  The AF sensor is located at the bottom of mirror box, looking upwards at the reflected light from the reflex mirror.

 

The other missing component is the metering sensor, which measures the intensity of the light so that the camera can set an automatic exposure.  The diagram shows light being reflected straight up, but not the metering sensor.  It would be located at the top of the mirror box, on the surface between the #7 and the #8.

 

When the camera is in Live View or Movie mode, the mirror swings up, and stays there.  Now, the image sensor, #4, is used for metering, focusing, and image capture.  Because it serves all of these roles, metering and focusing is much slower compared to when the mirror is in its’ normal “down” position for photography.

 

 

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

"...  clearly my understanding of how autofocus is supposed to work is different from Canon's"

 

All the above info is nice to have but all you really need to know is, for the shot you displayed you used the wrong focusing pattern, too wide of aperture and unnecessarily fast SS. The camera will try to grab the closest object. When you have may points for it to select from this is what you get. In certain circumstances it is beneficial to use this. A bird in flight for instance. For a landscape type shot it isn't so great. Close the aperture down to f11 or f16 and select a SS around 1/100. Try again.

 

With the aperture around f11 or f16 the multi-AF point may work, OK, too. Remember the DOF from an 85mm lens at a wide aperture is narrow.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Waddizzle
Legend
Do not clean it. Your photo is in focus. But, there multiple AF points indicating a potential to lock.

You cannot accurately determine which AF point was used to focus the lens. My guess says the AF point over the nearest object to the camera, which would be the tree on the left.
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"The right mouse button is your friend."

It really is not in focus. Here's a closer look. The tree with the focus point is out of focus.
None of the supposed focus points are actually in focus.

The tree to the left of it, which is a good few meters closer to the camera, and the gravestone beside it are sharp.

You can download the full DNG file from the Dropbox link

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ius8xoh48ntrzv0/_MG_7079.DNG?dl=0



Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 12.27.49 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-03-01 at 12.26.10 PM.pngScreen Shot 2019-03-01 at 12.26.45 PM.png

The first pic you showed us did not have the tree on the left, did you crop it out?  Did it have a focus point also.  It appears to be the closest item in the pic, which the camera may have "correctly" focused on.

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