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Cannot take ANY focused moving object photos using my new 1D X MKII and my EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L


First let me familiarize you with my back ground a bit.  I have enjoyed photography off and on for some time.  However, my previous camera was a 2003 Canon 10D.  I really decided to take a bit of a step up when purchasing a new 1D X MKII, the above listed lense as well an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L  II USM  lense.   I purchased a nice gimble, a shoulder rig, 4 large C-Fast cards, extra batteries, etc...


The 4K 60 FPS videos are spectacular through this setup (could do without the Motion JPEG Codec for sure), and the functionality is a breeze.


But I am far more interested in the still photography side of my Canon 1D X MKII and lenses.   I have read the ebtire manual several times and the on-line available AF setup guide from Canon.   My camera and both lenses, as well as my older Canon lenses, have no prblems when auto focusing on STILL objects, but as soon as there is movement such as a large water bird flying by my position, then I cannot get this camera to focus AT ALL.   I have no issues when maintaining the bird (as an example) in the focus area of the lense, then activating the back button focus while depressing the photo button.   Even at 14 frames per second I end up with zero shots in focus!   I have tried almost every AF area selection mode and all 6 of the Focus Cases  along with everything else that a very inexperienced novice such as I can think of.   I really hope that I am simply missing something that someone here can help me uncover.  I am so frustrated at this point that I am willing to pay someone who owns a similar setup to walk me through their 1D X MKII setup to hopefully get to the bottom of my issue.  Unfortunately I cannot find anyone in my area and we no longer have any camera shops around.


Thank you very much for you help and and understanding in advance.


Lance A.  


I wikk take you up on your offer, Thanks a bunch.



Lance A.

You may want to consider going to a 7D2 for more reach. the 1.6 crop body gets you to an artificial 640 mm when the 100-400 is mounted.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

Did you take the over head shot of the scene with a drone?


I have several drones for over head shots.  Pretty much straight up stills and 4K 60 FPS videos.  I have found out on several ocassions that drones are not waterproof and do not bounce.



@LanceA wrote:

Did you take the over head shot of the scene with a drone?


I have several drones for over head shots.  Pretty much straight up stills and 4K 60 FPS videos.  I have found out on several ocassions that drones are not waterproof and do not bounce.



No that was just a Google Earth screen shot.

I've been following this thread all along. You've all kinds of suggestions some of which require a fair amount of money.


I'll go the unpopular route and say that you already own the hardware that you need to get fantaistic BIF pictures. An extender isn't going to help. In fact, I think it will hinder you. Hand holding long glass can be very difficult. A 1mm movement at the camera end can amplifiy itself at the subject end into a meter or more. Plus it slows AF.


You need to go somewhere where there are a lot of opportunities and practice. I live in the Tampa area and I would be happy to meet with you at a fabulous BIF shooting gallery that I go to quite a bit. Lots of opportunities allows a lot of trial and error. MIstakes are great teachers.With your 1D and the 100-400 II I can assure you success in a short while.


I got these on Sunday.

IMG_9065 PSCR.jpgIMG_9065 PSCR.jpgIMG_8834 PSCRNW.jpgIMG_8771 PSCRNW.jpgIMG_7292 PSCR.jpg


If you'd like to meet up let me know. I go over there every couple weeks or so. I'd love to help you out.

I like to use IS with my monster lens - even with a "fast enough" shutter speed - since it "locks on" and limits the movement that I see, making it easier to focus on a particular point.


IMHO, I would start at the very beginning.  No BBF and no Ai-Servo.  Use One Shot and the normal shutter button.  Don't try adding the 'extra helper' buttons until you better understand what is going on.  Remember KISS ?


You do need certain settings to help.  Like suggested above a higher ISO and a pretty fast SS. Stop the lens down at least one stop, maybe two.  Don't start at the long end at first either.  Concentrate more on focus than composition for now.


Keep in mind AF stops when you press the shutter button half way in this case.  Take several, many, single shots at first. Later, add the high speed frames per second.  BIF is one of the more difficult tasks to master so don't worry.  It will come with practice.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Rather than practising on BIF or sports, just try sitting at the side of a road and capture the passing traffic.

The cars move in a predictable way and they have lots of detail and sharp edges will show any blur due to camera shake much more than fur or feathers will.

Pick your position well or you might get some funny looks from the drivers.

I definately considered that, but considering my Florida address, I felt that sitting on the side of the road with a camera and long lens might just get me killed.


I am working on a continuous automatic flight pattern for one of my Drones.  My DJI Phantom 4 Pro + has such features and the capability to shoot back at my location with 4K 60 FPS or the same 20 mgp stills as my 1D X MKII.  However, I am not so impatient that I cannot wait for some largish water birds to arrive (three acre pond in my back yard), but then I also need lots and lots of practice to get to where the majority of this forum's contributors would consider  the basics.


Thanks again, with this type of help and understanding, I will get there.



Lance A.

Thank you very much.


I needed to first understand what "I" was likely doing wrong/not understanding,  to at least attain a fair percentage of focused shots with moving subjects.  Then at least I will KNOW that it is not faulty equipment and I can move on with my education, for which I could not be more gratefull to this forums' contributors. 


Lance A.

click here to view the gallery