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How can I reset my Rebel T5i to it's original factory settings?

My Rebel t5i is having a really hard time focusing in automatic lately.  Am new to the camera and relatively inexperienced photographer anyways so am wondering if I just turned on some setting that's causing this.  How can I restore the camera to the orginal settings? Thanks!

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Re: How can I reset my Rebel T5i to it's original factory settings?

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John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X, Rebel T5i, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic
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Re: How can I reset my Rebel T5i to it's original factory settings?

"My Rebel t5i is having a really hard time focusing in automatic lately."

 

Although a reset is a good idea and I encourage it, has anything out of the ordinary or traumatic happened to the T5i?  Latlely?

You might want to test it outside on a bright day.  Make sure the lens is set to AF and not MF.  Set the T5i to one shot and put the T5i on the green square.

 

Does it work as it should?

Dark or even just less than ideal lighting can slow the AF considerably.  There is nothing wrong as that is normal. Also the subject itself can effect AF even in bright daylight.  For instance try to AF on a blue sky.  It likely can't.

A good reason there is a MF option!

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Re: How can I reset my Rebel T5i to it's original factory settings?

[ Edited ]

@jojuan wrote:

My Rebel t5i is having a really hard time focusing in automatic lately.  Am new to the camera and relatively inexperienced photographer anyways so am wondering if I just turned on some setting that's causing this.  How can I restore the camera to the orginal settings? Thanks!


I kind of doubt a reset will help. It depends upon how you have set up/changed the camera. There actually are few settings in the menu of a T5i that directly effect AF. In other words, not much you can change and set incorrectly, that might be "fixed" by doing the reset.

 

Exactly what do you mean by "focusing in automatic"?

 

For example, your camera has "autofocus"... so your statement might just mean that autofocus is struggling for some reason. But it also might mean a specific mode you've set up, where you are seeing trouble. Problem is, there are "full auto", "auto exposure", "creative auto", "auto AF point selection" and probably some other "automatic" settings possible, any of which might be what you're refering to when you write "focusing in automatic".

 

Let's walk through camera setup, starting with the Mode Dial on the lefthand shoulder of the camera. Some of the settings there can effect how autofocus works.

 

Your camera has what I call "highly automatic modes"... Canon calls them Scene Modes... such as "Sports" (running man icon)... and "Scenic" {mountain icon).... and "Portrait" (person icon)... etc. These are very highly automated modes. There are also the "Green Box" and/or "A+" modes, which are general purpose, but also highly automated. And these are not just auto exposure modes. They also determine the way autofocus is configured (possibly overriding other settings you've made), what type of image file the camera will save, whether or not the flash is used, how the image will look and more. Scene modes are sort of a carryover from compact, non-interchangeable lens, point-n-shoot camera models, such as the Canon Powershot A and (to a lesser extent) G-series.

 

 If you want to learn to use your DSLR well, I'd suggest getting out of these highly automated modes. Frankly, these are way too automated for me, overriding decisions about my photos that I want to make myself and in roughly 15 years shooting with Canon gear, I don't think I've ever used any of the Scene modes, Green Box or A+ with any of my DSLRs.

 

For a new user who wants to learn the camera, there is an interesting choice on later models such as T5i. It's called "CA", which stands for "Creative Auto". In this mode, the camera displays sort of a "wizard" on the rear screen, walking you through making the various settings. It's a good learning tool. Eventually you won't need it, the settings it helps you make will become second nature. But new to DSLRs and photography in general, it can be a big help.

 

I... and probably most more experienced users.... usually shoot in one of what Canon calls the "Creative Modes". These are M, Av, Tv and P on that Mode Dial. These are exposure modes too, but they leave the other camera settings alone, up to the photographer's discretion. I won't get into setting up exposure with each of these (it pays to learn to use all four). That's a whole different subject. Just know that these four "Creative" exposure modes will not effect autofocus that we're discussingbelow.

 

Next, on your camea there are a couple ways to access and set up the camera's autofocus. For simplicity sake, I'll refer to using the Q button (also serves as Direct Print, if the camera is in image review mode and connected to a compatible printer). This calls up a screen showing all the camera settings in a glance. You can navigate around this screen and change most of the settings from this screen (even though many things also can be changed and set in other ways, with various buttons and dials).

 

The selected Autofocus Mode is shown one box up from the lower, lefthand corner and reads either: One Shot, AI Servo, AI Focus or M (Manual  Focus).

 

One Shot autofocus is primarily used with stationary subjects. It achieves focus, then stops, locks, and gives you focus confirmation (a green LED in the viewfinder lights up and, if you have it enabled, an audible "beep").

 

AI Servo is intended for use with moving subjects. It will continuously track and update focus, as the subject moves, so long as you maintain half-press on the shutter release button (or use Back Button Focusing technique) and keep the active AF point right on the subject, where you want the camera to focus. Since it doesn't stop focusing until you release the button, AI Servo doesn't lock and there is no focus confirmation in this mode. You have to learn to trust the camera and yourself!

 

AI Focus really isn't a focus mode... It's a more automated setting where the camera is supposed to decide for you whether or not the subject is moving, then select for you either One Shot or AI Servo. Personally, I tried it about 15 years ago and haven't used it since. Don't know how well it works on newer cameras, but I prefer to make my own choice because using this auto setting seemed to cause a slight delay and sometime it chose wrong or had trouble when a subject stopped or started moving. (Note: If you do a reset or use one of the Scene Modes, likely you will find this focus mode being used.)

 

M (Manual) is pretty obvious. This actually isn't set on the camera. It only displays here on the Q screen if you have AF turned off on the lens.  

 

Of the above, I use AI Servo most of the time with both moving and stationary subjects (only possible in some situation when used in combination with Back Button Focusing). One Shot can be more accurate at times, and focus confirmation can be reassuring, but One Shot generally cannot be used with moving subjects (or if the photographer is moving and changing the distance to the subject).

 

So it basically boils down to AI Servo/moving subject or One Shot/stationary subject. Once you have made this selection, next you choose the Focus Pattern to use. There are essentially just two patterns available on a T5i: All Points/Auto Selection or Single Point/Manual Selection.

 

In All Points, just as it sounds... makes active all nine of the AF points you see in your camera's viewfinder. This leaves it up to the camera to choose one (or somtimes two or more) points to use for autofocusing. It will usually choose whatever is closest to you and covered by any of the AF points. The active AF point will flash red (and can be displary during image playback or shown in the Canon software back on your computer later).

 

Single Point is usually better to use, since it puts you in full control of where the camera focuses. It's more work for you, of course, but IMO is a lot better than just hoping the automation gets it right. In this mode you can use the button on the right/rear shoulder of the camera to enter AF point selection mode, then use the dials to select the one point you want the camera to use to focus. Usually the center AF point is the best one to choose, because on most Canon camera it's more sensitive than the other points. (This might make all your photos too centered... there are a couple solutions for that, a simple one being to frame your subject slightly loosely so you an crop the image off-center a little bit, later on at your computer.)

 

Personally I use Single Point about 90 or 95% of the time. I only use All Points (or variations on that my particular cameras have) on certain occasions... such as when great depth of field means focus accuracy isn't all that critical or when a subject is against a very plain background (such as a bird flying against a clear blue sky) or the background is very distant and there are no intervening obstructions that might "distract" AF from the subject.

 

Besides the camera and setup above, two other key components to autofocus performance are the lens and the photographer themselves. Canon essentially uses three different types of focusing motors in their lenses: micro (piezo) motor, STM and USM.

 

Canon lenses that aren't marked either STM or USM use micro motor, which is the most basic of the three. It's mostly found on lower cost lenses, is generally slower and can be a little noisy.  A lot of third party lenses (Sigma, Tamron, Tokina) use this type focus drive motor, too.

 

Canon usually uses USM or "ultrasonic" focus motors in their more premium quality lenses. In most cases this is the fastest and most accurate, particularly good at tracking moving subjects.

 

STM or "stepper motor" lenses are a relatively new design,  faster and a little more expensive than micro motor, though maybe not quite as fast nor as expensive as typical USM lenses. STM are particularly quiet and smooth operating, making them most ideal for videography. The T5i and later models are optimized to take fullest advantage of STM lenses.

 

A lens' "native" or maximum aperture also effects AF performance. Simplisically, the larger a lens' apeture, the more light it allows into the camera for the AF sensor to work with. A lens with f2.8 or larger aperture will usually focus faster and more surely than one with f4 or f5.6 aperture. (Keep in mind, it doesn't matter what aperture you set or the camera chooses to make the exposure.... the lens aperture doesn't actually close down to that setting until the very instant of the exposure, after the focusing has already been accomplished.)

 

There are a few exceptions. For example, macro lenses and lenses with extremely large apertures (f1.2) are designed to focus slower even though they have USM drive and/or admit a whole lot of light. This is to emphasize precision over speed and  because those lenses can render super shallow depth of field, so that focusing needs to be especially precise.

 

Some third party lenses have similar to Canon USM focus drive: Sigma HSM and Tamron USD, for expample. It's possible, but I don't know of anyone other than Canon using STM focus drive at the moment.

 

Some lenses also have special settings, such as a Focus Limiter. This allows the user to select a more limited distance range  for the lens to work within, which can speed up AF performance (just don't forget to reset it, or you might find yourself wondering why the lens can't achieve focus somewhere outside that range). Using a lens in combination with a teleconverter and/or a macro extension tube also can tend to slow down AF, because less light is making it's way through to the camera's AF sensors and because there are a couple additional electronic contacts effecting lens to camera communication.

 

I've heard and read a few comments that lens Image Stabilization might "slow down" autofocus. Mostly I hear this from Nikon users, and maybe it's true with their lenses and cameras. I don't use them and don't know. Having shot with Canon IS lenses for roughly 15 years now, I think the opposite is true with Canon gear... I don't have any fancy lab tests to prove it, but it seems to me that Canon stabilization helps AF performance most of the time, that the camera's AF sensors have an easier time locking onto and tracking a stabilized image of a subject. I know it helps me by stabilizing the image in the viewfinder.

 

One other minor thing that may help is cleaning the electronic contacts on the rear of the lens. I just suggest using a couple drops of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) to slightly dampen a clean, lint-free rag, then wipe them gently with that. This will remove any oils that might be on them, perhaps finger oils from hangling, that could possibly interrupt the minute voltages used for lens to camera communication.  Be gentle with those contacts, they are gold plated to insure they'll never oxidize, and you don't want to damage that plating. While you have the lens off, also look at the pins inside the front of the camera corresponding to the lens contacts. Those are spring loaded and I like to very lightly press them and visually inspect that none are sticking, for best connection between the camera and lens.

 

You, the photographer, are the third key component in autofocus performance. The choices you make setting up the camera, techniques you learn and use, your familiarity with the subject and how (or if) it will move, further familiarity with hwo the camera's AF performs under various conditions, and plain simple practive using it, all will effect your results using the AF system.  

 

There are actually a couple more factors effecting autofocus, but they are generally out of our control. They are ambient light conditions in the location where we're shooting, and the subject's tonality/contrast/detail that can give AF something to lock onto (or not). In lower light conditions, autofocus can struggle. It helps to have a larger aperture lens with USM, but even those have their limits. One thing you can do is use a Focus Assist. Your camera's bulit in flash can provide a form of this (white light flashes)... with some limitations on distance. Some of the accessory Canon... and third party... flashes also can do this (projecting a near IR grid that's less obnoxious)... also with some distance limits. Sometimes you also can simply use a flashlight for focusing, then turn it off during the exposure  (Note: Do not use a laser pointer... That can damage peoples' and animals' eyes... and if reflected back to your camera can even damage the sensor.)

 

Not much you can do if your subject is rather plain, with little detail or contrast, so that AF has a hard time locking on. One possibility is to focus on an edge or something else that's at the same distance, then reframe on your subject (can't do this in AI Servo, unless using BBF).

 

I recommend watching three half-hour videos online, starting with this one at https://vimeo.com/36931479 to learn more about using the Canon AF system well.

 

Then get out and shoot with your gear.... There's no substitute for practice!

 

*********


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3), some other cameras, various lenses & accessories
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