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Is Mark 4 focus system inferior FOR STREET PHOTOGRAPHY to the Mark 3?

Streker26
Contributor
 

I have upgraded to the Mark 4 from the Mark 3. I do street photography of people. It seems that the Mark 4 works in a very, very different fashion then the Mark 3 when it comes to autofocus. I have tried every single focus setting or combination of settings but I continue to have problems. I am using exclusively a 50mm 1.4 USM lens as I did on the Mark 3 by the way. So it seems like the Mark 4 takes longer to focus. It sometimes hunts. The shutter button as well is not as responsive. But the biggest problem that is driving me up the wall is very often the camera will focus on the background to the exclusion of foreground subjects. And I don't just mean small figures in the foreground but even when I have a person filling one third of the frame in the center of the field! It is weird because this is not always the case but it is often the case. It is especially bad when I shoot fast. If I am slow and deliberate it is less often a problem. But the thing is that this was NEVER an issue with the Mark 3 for me. So I would love to know what settings people recommend as best to quickly catch in focus a a foreground figure in priority over background subjects. And also if others have had similar issues with this camera in relation to it's predecessor. Thanks

55 REPLIES 55

This applies to 1D X Mark II, but should be helpful for 5D Mark IV as well.

 

http://www.learn.usa.canon.com/resources/articles/2017/eos_1dx_markii_af_guidebook.shtml

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic

For the record aftter trying out different things for some time now I am using AI FOCUS and CASE ONE with expand auto focus area (crossbar - third from left) checked. Expand AF area Surround was a disaster and Auto selection AF did not seem to help the problem much. The settings I just listed seem to be better then all the other combinations BUT I still get an unaceptable number of missed shots that I did not miss with the Mark 3. I have not tried one shot and will experiment but orthodox opinion is that this would not work as well as AI Servo. I will try a bit later to post some of the pictures to illustrate my problem better. Thanks

ebiggs1
Legend
Legend

"I have upgraded to the Mark 4 from the Mark 3." " I am using exclusively a 50mm 1.4 USM lens ..."

 

I have been reading all the 'helpful' replies on focus choices. I am certain they will help?  However, I might suggest you choose a better lens for what you like to photograph.  Primes are nice but have very specific limitations.  They don't zoom in other words. My suggestion is you check out one of these lenses the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens or perhaps the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens.

BTW, on the focus issue I would choose AI-servo and center point priority.

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

However, I might suggest you choose a better lens for what you like to photograph.”

 

I agree, the choice of lens could be better.  In fact, the choice of lens is exactly why you do not want to use AI Servo.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

I have only ever used a 50mm prime since I was a little boy. I like the "normal" look of the field of vision. Still I am unhappy with Canons 50mm 1.4. It would be nice if they updated this lens finally. There is the new cheapo 1.8 they came out with and some say it is faster but it is priced so low one has to doubt the quality of the optics. The L series 50 is too big and heavy for my purposes so I am stuck. I actually went out a bought another new 1.4 I was so frustrated with this Mark 4 focus problem and I thought my old 50 might be defective. But it is something else going on...


@Streker26 wrote:

I have only ever used a 50mm prime since I was a little boy. I like the "normal" look of the field of vision. Still I am unhappy with Canons 50mm 1.4. It would be nice if they updated this lens finally. There is the new cheapo 1.8 they came out with and some say it is faster but it is priced so low one has to doubt the quality of the optics. The L series 50 is too big and heavy for my purposes so I am stuck. I actually went out a bought another new 1.4 I was so frustrated with this Mark 4 focus problem and I thought my old 50 might be defective. But it is something else going on...


The new “nifty fifty”, EF 50mm f/1.8 STM,  outperforms the older EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, IMHO.  It is a real steal.

As others have pointed out, I think your problems are 100% your AF mode selection and the lens choice.  If you were successful with the 5D3 using AI Focus mode, then I am going to scratch my head in amazement.  I do not know what behaviors AI Servo uses in AI Focus mode, but it is a safe bet that it does not wait for a focus lock before firing the shutter.

 

Again, the simplest way is One Shot focusing mode, and Single Shot drive mode, with the center point manual selected.  AF point coverage is actually slightly larger than the little squares you see in the viewfinder.  If you want to activate AF assist points, then go for it.  With One Shot mode, you can get a confirmation beep when focus locks.  You can also have the locked AF point highlight itself.

 

Using AI Servo requires a bit more thought and planning besides simply changing the focus mode.  The camera does not emit a beep for focus lock.  It is up to you to understand what the camera is doing.  There are subtle focus behaviors to consider, and they extend beyond the Case settings.  The Case settings only control tracking behavior, not the actual focusing.  

 

Look in the AF2 menu to set the Image Priority for AI Servo mode to Focus Priority.  There are two settings, 1st Image and 2nd Image.  The 2nd Image setting only applies when the camera is in Continuous drive mode.  It is not clear if the 1st Image setting applies in One Shot mode.  Judging from the name, I would think it only applies to Continuous drive mode, but I do seem to get sharper photos in One Shot mode with it set to Focus Priority.  It is not clear when this setting applies.

 

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."


@Waddizzle wrote:
 

Using AI Servo requires a bit more thought and planning besides simply changing the focus mode.  The camera does not emit a beep for focus lock.  It is up to you to understand what the camera is doing.  There are subtle focus behaviors to consider, and they extend beyond the Case settings.  The Case settings only control tracking behavior, not the actual focusing.  

 

 


The case settings also control if the camera fires the shutter without obtaining focus or only after obtaining focus. If you didn't have this set properly it is no wonder you prefer One Shot over AIServo. I have my camera set up to not fire the shutter in AIServo, unless the camera has achieved focus. When set up like that it actually requires less thought than One Shot, because One Shot does not adjust the focus when your subject moves (no tracking) so you have to repeatedly focus on a moving subject or use a huge depth of field. 

 


The case settings also control if the camera fires the shutter without obtaining focus or only after obtaining focus. If you didn't have this set properly it is no wonder you prefer One Shot over AIServo. . 


No, it doesn’t.  The Case setting in your 7D2 only allows you to adjust three behaviors.  The 5D4 is similar.

 

  • Tracking Sensitivity
  • Accel/DecelTracking
  • AF pt Auto Switching

Shutter control is not set in the Case settings.  The setting is called Image Priority, and it is set in the AF2 menu.

 

49D4E4D4-00D2-4F4A-9CA1-D84BB1AA8A31.jpeg

 

You are making false assumptions about my shooting preferences.  What I might advise is not what I might do in the same situation.  The advice that I give is the “best fit” to the person I am advising, not what I would do.  

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."


@Waddizzle wrote:

 


The case settings also control if the camera fires the shutter without obtaining focus or only after obtaining focus. If you didn't have this set properly it is no wonder you prefer One Shot over AIServo. . 


No, it doesn’t.  The Case setting in your 7D2 only allows you to adjust three behaviors.  The 5D4 is similar.

 

  • Tracking Sensitivity
  • Accel/DecelTracking
  • AF pt Auto Switching

Shutter control is not set in the Case settings.  The setting is called Image Priority, and it is set in the AF2 menu.

 

49D4E4D4-00D2-4F4A-9CA1-D84BB1AA8A31.jpeg

 

You are making false assumptions about my shooting preferences.  What I might advise is not what I might do in the same situation.  The advice that I give is the “best fit” to the person I am advising, not what I would do.  


It’s not in the “case” settings, per se... but there’s a setting for shooting in burst mode as to whether 1st frame should prioritize focus, release, or blend a bit of both... and another setting for the subsequent frames priority.  If you push it to prioritize focus, it does slightly drop the shutter speed on bursts.  This is mostly a consideration for those doing action photography.

 

As for the OP’s original question... I still own both bodies.  The focus system is very similar on both but the 5D IV is a bit more advanced than the III and I find it to be better and more reponsive.  

 

You do have to spend time learning the system.

 

I avoid the use of AI Focus.  I use “One Shot” when I’m shooting non-moving subjects.  I use “AI Servo” when shooting moving subjects.  “AI Focus” is sort of an auto-decide mode where the camera tries to work out which behavior to use, but it’s better to set the mode if you know what to expect.

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da


@TCampbell wrote:

@Waddizzle wrote:

 


The case settings also control if the camera fires the shutter without obtaining focus or only after obtaining focus. If you didn't have this set properly it is no wonder you prefer One Shot over AIServo. . 


No, it doesn’t.  The Case setting in your 7D2 only allows you to adjust three behaviors.  The 5D4 is similar.

 

  • Tracking Sensitivity
  • Accel/DecelTracking
  • AF pt Auto Switching

Shutter control is not set in the Case settings.  The setting is called Image Priority, and it is set in the AF2 menu.

 

49D4E4D4-00D2-4F4A-9CA1-D84BB1AA8A31.jpeg

 

You are making false assumptions about my shooting preferences.  What I might advise is not what I might do in the same situation.  The advice that I give is the “best fit” to the person I am advising, not what I would do.  


It’s not in the “case” settings, per se... but there’s a setting for shooting in burst mode as to whether 1st frame should prioritize focus, release, or blend a bit of both... and another setting for the subsequent frames priority.  If you push it to prioritize focus, it does slightly drop the shutter speed on bursts.  This is mostly a consideration for those doing action photography.

 

As for the OP’s original question... I still own both bodies.  The focus system is very similar on both but the 5D IV is a bit more advanced than the III and I find it to be better and more reponsive.  

 

You do have to spend time learning the system.

 

I avoid the use of AI Focus.  I use “One Shot” when I’m shooting non-moving subjects.  I use “AI Servo” when shooting moving subjects.  “AI Focus” is sort of an auto-decide mode where the camera tries to work out which behavior to use, but it’s better to set the mode if you know what to expect.

 

 


Hi, I am curious to define more clearly what is meant by "moving subjects" Are you saying that Servo is mostly appropriate for "multiple shots" of a single moving subject? What about when the subject is still (or perhaps walking slowly) but YOU are moving quickly past the subject and do a fast grab shot? I ask because this is generally how I work. I rarely if ever take more then one frame of a subject moving or still but "I" am moving quickly myself when I take the picture so that the subject does not see me or take offense. So in this circumstance would you recommend still using Servo or One Shot? Thanks....

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