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EOS 90D poor OVF performance


First let me start by saying I love my 90D for stills but the Optical view finder focusing seems to have issues even with my 100-400 is II  especialy birds in flight. I and many others in other forums I belong to have a couple issues. One I call focus hang, for instance if a bird flushes suddenly and I pull up the lens (No matter which I have mounted )starts to focus and then just stops. I then have to point to a high contrast target and the lens will come alive again, and yes I have continue to hunt enabled and face tracking disabled. Also 9 point focus is pretty much unusable single point works pretty well. I upgraded from my 80D for the newer sensor but my 80D way ot performs the 90D when it comes to birds in flight. I am really hoping a firmware update is in the works to make the camera a little more enjoyable for us birders. Again stills it is fantastic need some of that for BIF.


I tried a number of scenarios with my 90D and a number of different lenses.  Pointed at blue sky then at a telephone pole and the lenses snapped right into focus.  You may have a camera with a problem.

View solution in original post


I'm sorry... This is not an unsubstantiated "complaint"  Cross and others have documented this problem acroos many DPR forums trying to chase down what exactly was going on.  My experience is that the Canon Community Board is a last resort, where not much detail is gone into.


Seach Miranda, POTN, and DPR for issues with focus and AF and BIF with the 90D.. There are plenty.



You could think people are nagging at the AF performance of their new 90D’s when they are not enough versed in photography just to handle such an advanced piece of kit. And in many cases you would be absolutely right. Some people ask very stupid questions, indeed, demanding instant results. Some other people try real hard to understand why they can’t get results with the 90D’s, equal to what they got from their 80D’s.

If you’d visit regularly, you’d find a steady stream of those posts.
At I stumbeled on yet another one. And again not some joker who obviously doesn’t know ISO from shutterspeed.

A long time ago I learned in marketing school that for every complaint that makes it to your desk, there are 10 or more dissatisfied customers who do not voice anything to you, but will spread the word that you, your company, brand or product is no good. And they speak with the authority of first hand experience.
So if a score of people seem to have problems with the OVF performance of the 90D, percieved or not, there still is a real problem with the 90D.

Speaking for myself, I started out with grainy, slightly out-of-focus photo’s. I took the time to micro adjust my EF 100-400mm mkII, with and without the EF 1,4x extender mk III, practiced a lot with it and then I was OK.
For me the 90D is a real improvement over my 80D and 7d mkII.
I don’t shoot Birds in Flight very much, just because most of the time I’m too slow to react in the short time available. So this thing is not really a problem I lose much sleep over. But with all the reactions on the internet I think that someone at Canon should.

Life is a learning experience

Ok as promised here are some shots from today. In the first shot is the Eagle that I spotted sitting when I was about 15 yards from it, pull up to shoot its launch from tree 100-400mm is II starts to focus and stops (Single point focus) as I mentioned I know the drill point at high contarts area focus works again and by the time I get on the eagle again its is pretty much out of reach of the lens so I understand no crazy detail  my complaint is A) Focus sometimes never happens at first on  birds in flight as you can see no complaints on sharpness once obtained and B) 9 point focus is just out of the question even on a day like today for BIF for perched and static objects Focus lock woorks as it should no matter how many points I turn on. I am also sharing a green Heron that on the 3rd shot I drifted off the eye so understand the bit of blur. These are pretty much straight ouf camera except  over crop so all can see detail again no complaints there Raw standard mode settings the same on all . Shutter speed 1/2000 ev+.67 ( I was looking for eagles I use plus EV to open wings up a bit against bright skies with auto iso)  Again I di not bother fixing color shadows etc for these examples They are just to show I do have experience with BIF I shoot at least 300 shots  a week and have been for a few years with my 80D . And again not bashing the 90D  just wondering does the AI servo AF need a firmware update to fix the issues I can reproduce over and over no matter the lense2 (1 of 1)small.jpge3 small.jpggh1 (1 of 1)small.jpggh2 (1 of 1)small.jpggh3 (1 of 1)small.jpg

I forgot to mention IS off hand held

@Cross wrote:
I forgot to mention IS off hand held

I checked the first three images, and they are all cropped to 1500 x 1000.  Perhaps the severe crop was necessary to post them in the forum.  I cannot give a pass or fail on the image quality of your photos.  However, I am leaning towards no problem.


Again, I strongly [advise] that all of you contact Canon Support.  A user forum is not the best place to raise your concerns with Canon.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

@Waddizzle wrote:
Again, I strongly [advise] that all of you contact Canon Support.  A user forum is not the best place to raise your concerns with Canon.

I agree. The forum is better suited to helping guys with dials, settings, advice on lenses, gear and software advisories. The issues these people are having can't be resloved by talking about it. They need to contact Canon Support and make arrangements to have their gear checked out.  

As far as BIF I am not complaining about my mistakes heck I have misses with my 80d as well that happens I understand out shooting the reach of my lens I am not going to have tack sharp images . Shooting in dark conditions at high shutter speed even wide open I will not have feather detail etc. I have been shooting BIF for a long while. My biggest issue is not being able to use 9 point focus if I choose that option at all (Won't try to focus ) unless very high contrast. And lens hang even with single point. With my 80D I can use all focus points if I am crazy enough to do it even against flat gray skies.I will post example tonight after I get home that happened today. I spotted and Eagle sitting in a tree it seen me at the same time. I tried to focus at launch 100-400mm is ii F7.1 single point focus ss 1/1600 bright blue skies. Focus hang. Point at gras focus acquired point back at eagle and focus is achieved and as you will see by example Eagle had already made to much space between me and it. So with that being said I of course don't expect to see feather details but I also don't feel I should have to go through all that to take a shot. Doesn't matter which lens is mounted either. As I stated earlier I have read many post with same issue . So thats why I was assuming not a flaw in my body but maybe something a firmware update could fix. Oh and I have first priority shutter focus on lowest setting which I dislike but did that for trouble shooting purposes.

Very strange.  I have an 80D and a new 90D and can't duplicate the problem.  In fact I have been very happy with the camera.   It would help to see an example with the EXIF data.  Without that you will continue to see doubters.  Three pages an still no examples.

I'm sorry for the confusion since I can not post a picture of no focus or as I call it focus hang I shared these to show well in case of the eagle as my post read I could not achieve focus as it was launching from branch i basically had to wake the lens up by pointing elsewhere and then find the eagle again. The pics were also to show I was talking about sharpness those are sharp enough given distance to lens plenty sharp and lastly yes had to crop to upload pretty much straight out of the cameara except crop.i will contact canon as suggested. Today I did a test using AI focus and no issue it only seems to happen in AI servo and in AI focus I could use 9 point all the way up to all points and no issue. Ai servo can only use single point without issue .

I've had my pomt selection go wonky at times. So here's what I do to prime the pump as it were.  


1. Please tell me you are using a fully charged CANON battery

2. Please tell me you have done a low level format so that your card is totally free

3. Turn on the camera

4.  Press the live view on and off to check that the mirror is working

5.  Press the AF point selection button on the top of the LCD and cycle through and make sure thay all work

6.  I then select 9 or 1 and press the AF-on button to acquire... 

7,  Do this again.  

8.   Don't forget to zoom totally out and SLOWLY start to acquire focus.. I rush it at this stage.

9,   Because I shoot AI Servo BBF my manual focus override is available .. on a glary day this REALLY helps.

10.  Forgive the baby steps talk here, but on some days, this is what I have to do.

11.  Also, make sure the lenses are firmly seated!!


Good Luck..  I guess my answer is that if you want a really great camera you have to spend $6K!!!!!