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Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-09-2020

Canon 5D Mark IV AI servo settings for fast cats (moving towards you, changing direction, speed etc)

Hi,

 

I'm trying to take photos of my cats (action/movement shots) but I'm not really getting any shots in focus. Before I declare that "I just need to practice more" I want to make sure I'm using the right settings  (AF system is so complicated and new to action shots as well). Based on these next photos my hypothesis is I have one or more of these issues concurrently:

 

* Shutter speed of 1/1000 just not fast enough for some of these shots (but F2.8 is widest I can go -- I do have a 50 mm F1/4 but that will give me an even shallower depth of field so thinking it would actually cause more out of focus shots?). What shutter speed would you recommend?

 

* F2.8 is not giving enough depth of field to account for movement -- but then if I increase to F4.0 my shutter speed may not be fast enough.

 

* Handover to another AF point not happening quickly enough

 

My settings:

Manual:

* Shutter: 1/1000

* Apperture: 2.8

* Iso: Auto-iso

 

AF - Large Zone AF

AF - Case 5/Case 6 (for erratic subjects moving quickly in any direction / change speed and move erratically)

AI servo 1st image priority - equal

AI servo  2nd image priority - equal

initial AF pt, AI servo AF - AUTO

 

I use BBF (AF-ON button set to metering and AF start). I held this pressed throughout the shoot

 

Here are a few examples with AF points on:

 

AI servo out of focus (1).png

 

AI servo out of focus (2).png

 

AI servo out of focus (3).png

 

AI servo out of focus (4).png

 

Any advice greatly appreciated

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Posts: 10,768
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Canon 5D Mark IV AI servo settings for fast cats (moving towards you, changing direction, speed

[ Edited ]

"My settings:

Manual:

* Shutter: 1/1000

* Apperture: 2.8

* Iso: Auto-iso

 

AF - Large Zone AF - (Enable All AF Points)

AF - Case 5/Case 6 (for erratic subjects moving quickly in any direction / change speed and move erratically)

AI servo 1st image priority - equal

AI servo  2nd image priority - equal - (set this to FOCUS)

initial AF pt, AI servo AF - AUTO - )(set this manual selection, and use the Center AF POINT)

 

I use BBF [AF-ON] button set to metering and AF start). I held this pressed throughout the shoot."

 

-------------------------------------------

 

I have never tried to use my macro lens for action photography.  I do not know if it could focus fast enough to keep up with the frame rate.  For that reason, I would change 2nd Image Priority to FOCUS.  

 

Turn off IS in the macro lens, too.  Doing so may make the view through viewfinder a little more jumpy, but it will train you to steady your hand.  I would use at least 1/1600 shutter speed.  Do not be afraid to let the Auto ISO rise to ISO 3200.  The camera can easily handle it.

 

I would manually select the initial AF point as being the center AF point.  You want to tell the camera where to focus.  Disabling iTR focus tracking may help, too.  But, hold off on doing that just yet.

 

Yes, you do need to practice shooting.  Using the center AF point as a starting point will improve how well YOU can track the subjects, keeping them centered within the viewfinder frame.  For this reason, I am going to suggest that you enable all of the AF points.  If your active AF points slip off the subject, the camera should lock focus on the nearest subject to the camera, which in the sample photos will most likely be the cat.

 

I, too, began using the rear button for [AF-ON].  Over time, though, I found it more useful to set it to [AF-OFF].  If something comes between the camera and the subject a quick tap, will pause AF.  A full press will actually reset AF back to the center Af point.  The big Canon primes have [AF-OFF] switches built onto the lenses.  It is what gave me the idea to try it.

 

Yes, I know that the Case Settings are supposed to take care of that.  But, I do not notice a difference in the settings until they are set to one extreme or the other.  I use Case 1 for everything.  It is what works for me.

 

I think that about covers all that I have to say.  Definitely try a different lens, though.

 

3B354627-9025-4938-863B-126D968D3C41.jpeg

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,192
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: Canon 5D Mark IV AI servo settings for fast cats (moving towards you, changing direction, speed

I really don't think of the 100MM macro as an action lens where it is having to rapidly focus on a subject moving to or away from the lens.  It isn't dreadfully slow but I would never try to shoot sports or a cat who isn't asleep using that lens.  Maybe the latest version is better, my 100MM Canon macro is a few years old.  It is a marvelously sharp lens.

 

DoF is dependent upon distance and focal length and you may find that your 50MM, perhaps stepped down some from wide open aperture, is the better choice.  When you are trying to photograph a cat (and that is a beautiful Siamese!) if you have a shallow DoF setup, then you need to keep the focus point on his/her face and accept that down the body it will not be in sharp focus when you are shooting lengthwise towards your pets.  It is not unlike shooting a football player laid out horizontally to make a catch when he is facing towards the camera, often conditions and your camera setup mean that only part of the player is going to be within critical focus.

 

For the cat action photos, consider for some shots using the resolution ability of the 5DIV and cropping and don't try to fill 90-100 percent of the frame with the subject.  This will generally let you frame your subject so that DoF is going to be deeper instead of being so close to the cat. 

 

I shoot a lot of fast sports and I use AI servo but with a single AF point that I keep where I want it.  You may find that provides the best keeper rate with your cats.

 

Your framing of the cat's motion also determines how fast of a shutter speed you need to perfectly freeze motion.  If it is cutting across the frame, a faster shutter speed is need versus if it is moving towards or away from your position so when light is less favorable try framing it so that the majority of motion is inline and not parallel to your position.  With sports you can often pan to reduce this form of motion blur but I have owned a LOT of cats and none of them have been as predictable even compared to high strung athletes so panning to avoid motion blur is difficult and often a matter of luck  Smiley Happy

 

Of course you can also use a flash which will help to freeze motion while allowing you more choice of aperture, ISO, and DoF.

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
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VIP
Posts: 10,768
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Canon 5D Mark IV AI servo settings for fast cats (moving towards you, changing direction, speed

"DoF is dependent upon distance and focal length and you may find that your 50MM, perhaps stepped down some from wide open aperture, is the better choice.  When you are trying to photograph a cat (and that is a beautiful Siamese!) if you have a shallow DoF setup, then you need to keep the focus point on his/her face and accept that down the body it will not be in sharp focus when you are shooting lengthwise towards your pets. "

 

He would not look at me, so I focused between the eyes.

 

47D9CEC9-8E68-4CEE-836D-63AA7C635C7C.jpeg

 

But, the point is how the body is out of focus because it is outside of the DoF.  Shot with a EF 85mm f/1.8.  

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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