04-27-2018 11:38 PM
Please forgive me if this issue has already been addressed. In using the search tool, I didn't see this particular problem addressed, but I might have missed it.
For the past 6 months, I've been using a 6D combined with an EF 400mm 5.6/L for shooting birds in flight. Wanting more reach and a higher burst rate, I bought a 7D Mark II this week and paired it with my existing 400mm lens. I set the camera to 1/2000, f/5.6 and ISO auto (limited to 800). I selected Case 3 in the AF section (tweaking the parameters a bit) and the center AF point with 4 surrounding points. I've taken about 200 images in decent light and have yet to get an acceptable image - they're noisy and extremely soft.
I'm new at this; so, my bag of troubleshooting tools is pretty slim.
I would appreciate any help.
A good weekend to all...
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04-28-2018 05:54 AM
Try taking some shots of a static subject with a normal background. It is possible that your lens/camera combination might need some AFMA which would cause the softness and you may need to modify your metering method with BIF shots if the sky is upsetting the exposure settings which could exaggerate the noise.
If you can get good shots of static subjects, preferably using a tripod, then you will know it isn't the equipment.
04-28-2018 09:35 AM
I think you made the right choice to upgrade to the 7D Mk II. It is leap and bounds better then the 6D. Now let's figure out why you aren't getting better shots!
"... my bag of troubleshooting tools is pretty slim."
Whenever you have issues like this, always go back to basics. That is the first troubleshooting rule. The suggestion to take static shots from a tripod is spot on. Do this first. That will confirm the camera/lens is good together. That will mean you have some BIF settings that need to be tweaked. Or, it means you need to change your technique. Remember as your magnification goes up, so does all the mistakes by the same amount.
Another point focus adjustment in the 7D2 does not make the lens any sharper. Not one bit, or perhaps a more up to date word, not one smidgen. Folks still seem to make that false claim. All it does is shift the focus point closer or farther away. When it helps is when your lens shows things in focus in front of or behind what you actually focused on. Make sense?
Do the static test first.
04-28-2018 09:37 AM
Try this! I do not think there is anything really”wrong” with your gear. You probably just need to adjust your camera’s AF settings. In particular, you need adjust your active AF points, and change the default Image Priority.
I get the best results with moving subjects in AI Servo mode by enabling all AF points, enabling AF Assist points, AND then telling the camera to always start with the center AF point. You may also want to enable the AF point display, so that you can see which AF points have the potential to lock on a subject, as the camera tracks.
Next, you may want to adjust the “Image Priority” settings, which only apply when you are in AI Servo and continuous drive mode. Most of the time AI Servo does not wait for a focus lock, like One Shot does. But, this behavior is adjustable with the Image Priority settings.
You can set how much priority the camera places on shutter priority, or on focus priority. You can adjust Image Priority for the 1st shot in a sequence independently of the later shots in a sequence. They are separate settings. I always set my cameras for full focus priority. The default setting is halfway between shutter and focus priority. I see no point in having a high frame rate if all of the shots are out of focus.
Making AFMA adjustments can be deceptively difficult. It is not impossible. It seems to be a straight forward process, which it is. But, it is easier to make bad adjustments than it is to make good ones. You need to be very disciplined in how you take your test shots, because you want repeatable results. A series of tests shots should establish a general trend in the behavior of the camera/lens combo.
Making AFMA adjustments can test your skills as a photographer. I advise taking several test shots and averaging the results. The type of lighting can affect your focusing, so I recommend doing it in bright sunlight, or under the lighting conditions that you expect to encounter.
04-28-2018 09:58 AM
First off, I hope the three contributors are able to view this reply.
I just completed the static shot test. All images are razor sharp! As I move onto the next suggested steps to resolve the issue, I'm breathing a sigh of relief knowing I didn't spend $$$$ on a poor camera/lens combination.
For the time being, I'll steer away from the AFMA arena while I make some of the other suggested tweaks.
For your time and expertise, please accept my thanks.
04-28-2018 05:16 PM
All comments above are good suggestions. When I first got my 7D Mark II (great camera!), Tom Campbell, in this Forum on 5/30/17, sent a link to a 51-page Canon guidebook on the AF functions, which I have found very useful. You can download a PDF onto your tablet or phone. Here is the link:
04-28-2018 11:30 PM - edited 04-28-2018 11:45 PM
Many thanks to each one of you for your fine suggestions. Your collective help has set me in the right direction to make the most of the camera and lens combination. This afternoon, I ventured out the Brazos Bend State Park, Texas to try the suggested settings. The image below is a result my initial attempt to follow your suggestions. The picture is, by no means, five-star, but it's so much better that what I was getting before.
It's a work in progress and happily will always be so.
Thanks for taking the time to help me and I hope you each have an enjoyable weekend.
04-29-2018 04:19 AM
WOW. That is a great shot.
I recommend saving those settings as a Custom Shooting Mode: C1, C2, or C3. I typically have two custom shooting modes saved away. One is “Bird In Flight Mode”, which has the above described settings. The other is “Bird In A Tree Mode”, which uses a single AF point, One Shot focusing, single shot shooting, and back button focusing.
The two shooting modes have a number of very different settings. Although I have given the names, I do use them interchangeably for either use case. Sometimes I just do not have the time to switch modes, so I lean on depth of field to carry me through the moment.
Again, that is a great shot.
04-29-2018 10:34 AM
Thanks for the kind compliment and the suggestions about setting up the C1, 2, and 3. That will prove very helpful in transitioning quickly between moving and static shots.
Thanks for taking the time to help!