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Canon EOS R7 with RF lens Wonky focus


Hello, I can’t figure out why my focus is so off centered. I am an amateur photographer. I have been taking pictures of my daughter’s dance team on a football field in the evenings. They have turned out ok in the past with the zoom lens that came with my kit (EOS R7). Now I have upgraded to a Canon RF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM Lens. I have finally (mostly?) learned how to manually shoot and the pictures below are at ISO800, F4.0, 1/500, at 177-200mm. Huge learning curve for me because the girls dance so they are frequently moving quickly in low lighting, and at a great distance from me sitting up in the stands. Also, there are so many settings on the camera, it is quite overwhelming.

Previously my focus has done what I want it to do for the most part. Now it’s grabbing the person in the center front bottom of my view – not the center of my picture? I want it to grab and focus on the center of the viewfinder – and possibly the dancers in the rows immediately in front of and behind that center focus. Why is it grabbing that individual’s head so very far in front of them in the very, very bottom of my view? Pictures and settings below. Thank you in advance for your help!

These are the current settings:

AF operation SERVO

AF area Around

Subject tracking ON

Subject to detect: People

Eye detection: Enabled

Switching tracked subjects: 1

Servo AF

Case 2 Continue to track subjects, ignoring possible obstacles

One-Shot AF release prior

Preview AF disabled

Lens drive when AF impossible ON

AF beam OFF

Touch and drag AF settings OFF

Limit AF Areas Spot AF – I have the everything checked except the numbers 1,2,3, meaning I have spot, point, expand, around, and whole checked

Sensitivity AF pt select 1

Orientation linked AF point SAME

MF peaking settings OFF

Focus guide OFF

Electronic full time MF OFF

Lens electronic MF OFF







It looks like the camera is focusing on the closest person/subject in each the 3 photos.  

I'm not going to go into each of the settings you set above, becauser quite frankly, I am not familiar everything you listed and not familar with the R7.  But I probably wouldn't let the camera try to figure out how to achieve the results you want. 

My approach would be more along the lines of adjust 3 or 4 basic settings and see what happens.  That is what I would do on my DSLR to get the type of results I think you want.  

Here's what I would recommend:

1) Go into the menu and "Clear all Camera Settings".

2) Go into the menu and "Clear all Custom Functions".

3) For subjects like the above, I would use AV Mode (to get a larger depth of field so more of the dancers will be in focus) probably set the aperture at about f5.6 - f7.1 or maybe even f8 to start with.  

4)  I would select an ISO manually probably using ISO 6400 as a starting point and adjust ISO higher or lower so that the shutter speed sets at 1/250th or higher.  Maybe you could get by with 1/125th, but I'm guessing 1/250th is a good place to start.  

4) I would select the center focus point as the only active focus point. 

4) I would use "Continuous" for the shooting mode.

5) I would focus on a dancer at about 1/3 from the bottom of the frame so my depth of field would cover 1/3 of the frame in front of the dancer under the focus point and 2/3rds of the frame behind the the dancer.  In the case of the line of dancers in the top photo, I would put the focus point on the closest dancer.  

6) Press the shutter button down half way and see what the camera says your shutter speed is.  Adjust the ISO as necessary in order to have the camera set the shutter speed sets at 1/250th or higher.

7) Do the steps described in #5 above, keep the shutter button depressed half way to keep the focus locked, recompose and take the shot. 

Take a few test shots and look at the results on the back screen an make adjustments to the aperture (to get more or fewer subjects in focus) and/or ISO (to get a higher shutter speed to freeze action, etc.) 

Hope that helps!



I agree with the comment that the focus is in the wrong place.  Assuming you started off with the default settings, what is the normal focus is an area focus, but that tends to select the nearest subject, which seems to be what is happening in your images.
I you want to be more selective and have more control, I recommend you do the following:
2. I don't recommend using continuous focus, it drains you battery by working all the time, instead set the camera to SERVO AUTOFOCUS.  This allows you to enable tracking of moving subjects at will.
3.  Got to the Custom Buttons settings and change the default for the shutter button to Exposure only, not with AF.  That allows the AF button on the back of the camera to work - this is called Back Button Focus (BBF), see the following video for setting it up.

So this is how you work with it.
You place the centre focus point, as previously suggested, on someone in the first third of the group, or on a single individual you consider critical.  If they are static, just tap the AF button on the back, if they are moving towards or away from you press and hold the AF button to change the focus as they move.  When ready press the shutter button.
There may be things you need to do with your exposure settings in challenging light, but that is a different issue, and let's get the focus sorted first.

cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris


I agree with the others. I suggest changing the AF point to 1 pt AF or the small 4/9 pt zone. 

"The right mouse button is your friend."

BTW, your sample photos show the foreground person in focus, while the dancers behind them are OOF.

Be aware that when you lock focus on the dancers, then the foreground person may be OOF.  

"The right mouse button is your friend."
click here to view the press release