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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


 wrote:

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....


Good question.  I define a “moving subject” as when the distance between the camera and the subject is changing.

If wanted to take a picture of a woman combing her hair as she sits in a chair, would she be a “moving” subject?  I do not think so, because her distance to the camera is not really changing.  A fast shutter should be able to freeze her motion.

Should you use One Shot or AI Servo to photograph the woman combing her hair?  I would think your AF point selection would determine which focusing mode to use, and where you want to focus.  Typically, I have all AF points enabled in AI Servo mode, and just the center AF point enabled for One Shot mode.

I would want to use a single AF point to focus on the face, which for me typically means One Shot mode.  I would not want to have all AF points active.  One could use only one active AF point in AI Servo mode for the shot, too, and take a short burst of shots.

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


 wrote:

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.  

No, you have repeatedly advised people to only use One Shot even for moving subjects, this is BAD advice plain and simple. It is how you do it, and not what is the 'best fit' for the OP asking the question. 

 

One Shot should be used for subjects that will not move. i.e. posed portraits, buildings, still lifes, landscapes, etc.

 

AIServo should be used for moving subjects or subjects that MAY move. i.e. candid photos, wildlife, sports, etc

 

And since someone always wants to point out AIServo should also be used if the camera is moving releative to the subject. 

 

AIFocus should not be used.

 

 

I'd like to point out that Canon Explorer of Light Emeritus Art Morris no longer uses Back Button Focus, but, instead is using the AF ON, reprogrammed to AF OFF, like I have suggested a number of times. 

In the blog explaining why Art states that he used the Canon EOS 7D Mk II, Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. 

From Art's Birds as Art blog:

On all three of my camera bodies, I have assigned AF lock to the AF-On button. So if I am using shutter button AI Servo AF — as I now do 98% of the time — and need to focus on a subject in the corner of the frame, I acquire focus with the shutter button and then reach around the corner and press and hold the AF-On button. This locks the focus and essentially gives me the advantages of using rear focus (without ever having to change any of my settings). Do understand that this technique works best with your rig on a tripod or at least when your gear is well-supported by a railing or as a result of your using the knee-pod technique. If you are straight out hand holding there is a risk that even your tiniest movement will throw off the focus. The same of course is true whenever you are using either One-Shot AF or rear button focus 

Why I Rarely Use Back Button Focus Anymore ...

FWIW, in January 2018 Art announced that he is now using Nikon gear.


Rudy Winston has done an updated AF video specific to the AF Cases on the 7D Mk II. 

 

Controlling AI Servo AF to track your moving subjects with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II


@TTMartin wrote:

@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. 



@TTMartin wrote:

@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. 


I am a little confused. You've made a good argument to use Servo but in order to do so with focus priority one must choose a certain case setting? I don't have my camera in front of me but I thought that was another menu. What case setting do you use when in Servo to not fire the shutter in AIServo unless the camera focus is acheived?

"What case setting do you use when in Servo to not fire the shutter in AIServo unless the camera focus is acheived?"

 

No case setting.  Shutter button 1/2 way down until you see a or several red square(s). Shutter button fully depressed.  Easy.

AI-Servo is so good on these newer models I use it more and more.

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


@Streker26 wrote:

 


I am a little confused. You've made a good argument to use Servo but in order to do so with focus priority one must choose a certain case setting? I don't have my camera in front of me but I thought that was another menu. What case setting do you use when in Servo to not fire the shutter in AIServo unless the camera focus is acheived?


The shutter control setting is called Image Priority, and it is found in the AF2 menu, not the AF1 Case Menu.

 

955F9A28-73A0-4C56-A545-E71314D915C5.png

 

If you are in AI Servo mode, then Case settings apply.  The individual tracking parameters made available in the case settings allow you to adjust the tracking behavior of the camera.  The different Cases are simply a preset.  They are what the engineers have come up with for different shooting scenarios.  You can change them however you wish.

Be aware that Case settings adjust tracking behavior, and have little to nothing to do with actual focusing and subject acquisition.  Case settings apply when you are tracking a subject in the viewfinder, and are using Continuous drive mode.

 

It is not clear to me how the Case settings would apply if you are in Single Shot drive mode.  It would seem that they would not apply.  It is not clear how the 1st Image Priority setting would apply in Single Shot drive mode, if at all.  There seems to be an underlying assumption that if you are using AI Servo, then you also using Continuous Drive mode.

If you are using AI Servo with Single Shot drive mode, it is not clear what impact, if any, the 1st Image Priority setting would have.  Based on my experience, it does seem to have an impact on how the camera behaves in this scenario.  The camera will acquire a subject, and then continuously track it until you fully press the shutter.  If you set 1st Image Priority to Focus, then the camera does seem to acquire a focus lock prior to activating the shutter.

Keep in mind, not every lens is responsive enough, or focuses fast enough, to be useful in AI Servo mode when used with a camera with a high frame rate.  In this case, you really need to set Image Priority to Focus, so that the camera will wait for the lens to acquire a focus lock.

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


@Waddizzle wrote:

@Streker26 wrote:

 


I am a little confused. You've made a good argument to use Servo but in order to do so with focus priority one must choose a certain case setting? I don't have my camera in front of me but I thought that was another menu. What case setting do you use when in Servo to not fire the shutter in AIServo unless the camera focus is acheived?


The shutter control setting is called Image Priority, and it is found in the AF2 menu, not the AF1 Case Menu.

 

955F9A28-73A0-4C56-A545-E71314D915C5.png

 

 



If you are using AI Servo with Single Shot drive mode, it is not clear what impact, if any, the 1st Image Priority setting would have.  Based on my experience, it does seem to have an impact on how the camera behaves in this scenario.  The camera will acquire a subject, and then continuously track it until you fully press the shutter.  If you set 1st Image Priority to Focus, then the camera does seem to acquire a focus lock prior to activating the shutter.


It is not clear to me how the Case settings would apply if you are in Single Shot drive mode.  It would seem that they would not apply.  It is not clear how the 1st Image Priority setting would apply in Single Shot drive mode, if at all.  There seems to be an underlying assumption that if you are using AI Servo, then you also using Continuous Drive mode.

The case settings apply to AIServo in single shot drive mode or multishot drive mode, in single shot drive mode they control the subject tracking of the subject while the shutter is half pressed.

If you are using AI Servo with Single Shot drive mode, it is not clear what impact, if any, the 1st Image Priority setting would have. 
When using AIServo and set 1st Image Prority set to Focus the camera behaves like it is in One Shot, it will not take a photo until the subject is in Focus. The difference is that AIServo will maintain focus if your subject moves between it initially obtaining focus and your fully pressing the shutter button.

 

FWIW, I use AIServo, Case 1, and have both first and second image priority set to Focus, I have focus start on the shutter button, I have AF ON reprogrammed to AF OFF, incase I need to focus and recompose. In that case I focus on the subject press and hold the AF ON button which locks focus, and then I recompose.

 

" I use AIServo, Case 1, and have both first and second image priority set to Focus, I have focus start on the shutter button, I have AF ON reprogrammed to AF OFF, incase I need to focus and recompose."

 

Ditto, me too.  Works great.

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

" I use AIServo, Case 1, and have both first and second image priority set to Focus, I have focus start on the shutter button, I have AF ON reprogrammed to AF OFF, incase I need to focus and recompose."

 

 

I set my camera the same way for AI Servo, with all AF points active, and have it saved as a custom shooting mode.   Using AI Servo with a single AF point is almost like One shot Mode.  

 

I set my camera for One Shot, with just one AF point, BBF, and have it saved as custom shooting mode.  With a fast enough shutter speed, one can shoot anything.  I think that fact was proven years ago, back in the film days, before AF lenses.

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


@Waddizzle wrote:

" I use AIServo, Case 1, and have both first and second image priority set to Focus, I have focus start on the shutter button, I have AF ON reprogrammed to AF OFF, incase I need to focus and recompose."

 

 

I set my camera the same way for AI Servo, with all AF points active, and have it saved as a custom shooting mode.   Using AI Servo with a single AF point is almost like One shot Mode.  

 

I set my camera for One Shot, with just one AF point, BBF, and have it saved as custom shooting mode.  With a fast enough shutter speed, one can shoot anything.  I think that fact was proven years ago, back in the film days, before AF lenses.


Well, I am experimenting with One Shot now and it does seem better generally but yesterday I lined up a picture while moving past a couple sitting and took four frames AS I QUICKLY WALKED PAST THEM. They were fairly central and filled about twenty percent of the frame and were in the foreground. The camera again focused on the store behind them. UGH! 


@Streker26 wrote:

@Waddizzle wrote:

" I use AIServo, Case 1, and have both first and second image priority set to Focus, I have focus start on the shutter button, I have AF ON reprogrammed to AF OFF, incase I need to focus and recompose."

 

 

I set my camera the same way for AI Servo, with all AF points active, and have it saved as a custom shooting mode.   Using AI Servo with a single AF point is almost like One shot Mode.  

 

I set my camera for One Shot, with just one AF point, BBF, and have it saved as custom shooting mode.  With a fast enough shutter speed, one can shoot anything.  I think that fact was proven years ago, back in the film days, before AF lenses.


Well, I am experimenting with One Shot now and it does seem better generally but yesterday I lined up a picture while moving past a couple sitting and took four frames AS I QUICKLY WALKED PAST THEM. They were fairly central and filled about twenty percent of the frame and were in the foreground. The camera again focused on the store behind them. UGH! 


One Shot is NOT the answer to your problem!!!

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