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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎07-12-2015

How to set up an initial AF point when using automatic tracking with the Canon 7D M2?

[ Edited ]

I have tried is to setup my initial AF point to a specific location on the screen using the manual single-point AF mode with the multi-controller, then switch to 65-point automatic selection AF mode having enabled continuous shooting drive mode, AI Servo AF mode,  and EOS iTR AF.

 

I guess that that way, the Canon 7D Mark II would automatically track the moving subject beginning on my previoulsy selected AF point achieved manually.

 

For example, if my initial AF point is placed on the middle left of the screen, that should help the camara focusing system to track a bird flying from left to right, comming into the screen from the left side, not moving the camera.

 

However, in practice, that doesn´t seem to work in any AF pre-set case (trying with different tracking sensitivities) as the camera tracks from the begining other moving objects in the frame that are not placed at my initial AF point.

 

Is there any other method to get this to work correctly?

 

Probably my initial AF point setup method is incorrect and this should be done an other way.

 

I need to track flying objects for aerobic flying models photo sequences like this one I captured last year on a Canon EOD 7D:

 

http://i729.photobucket.com/albums/ww295/rhidalgo/Image%20Sequences/IMG_060_zps7cd7346e.jpg

 

Thanks,

 

Ricci.

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 766
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: How to set up an initial AF point when using 65-point AF for AF tracking with the Canon 7D M2?

There is no "initial AF point" when using All Points/Auto Selection or in either of the Zone Focus areas or patterns.

 

In those focus patterns, any active AF point can initiate focus. The camera chooses which AF point to use automatically. Usually it will choose to focus on whatever is closest and covered by an active AF point. It might also be more "attracted to" a larger, higher contrast or moving subject. These auto patterns should work pretty well picking up, focusing on and tracking a bird flying by, for example, so long as it's against a relatively plain background such as the blue sky or distant clouds. However, if there are any obstructions between you and the subject, the AF may jump to that instead.  Also, for example, may not want to use these for a bird flying close by the camera when it would be a problem if it focuses on the nearest wing tip, while the bird's head and farther wingtip are out of focus (due to relatively shallow depth of field because of a long focal length and/or large aperture).

 

If you want to set up an initial AF point, use Single Point, or use one of the two Expansion Point  patterns, or Spot Single Point (which is more precise, tho a little slower). This puts you more in control of where the camera focuses, and should give more consistent results, but also requires more care and input from you.

 

For small, fast moving subjects where it's difficult to keep a single AF point right on target, try using one or the other of the two Expansion modes. In one of these patterns, besides the chosen, center point, four additional points are "allowed" to take over and handle AF:  the two on immediately on either side and the two immediately above and below the pre-selected point. In the other Expansion pattern, the eight points that surround that chosen starting point are able to take over. The Expansion focus areas or patterns can maintain focus on a subject, even if you let the subject move out from under the initial, selected one. (I kind of wish there were a third, even larger Expansion pattern... which would even further increase the number of available surrounding points.) In either of the Expansion patterns, if your selected starting AF point is right at the edge of the AF point array, some adjacent AF points won't be available.

 

There are various further tweaks you can do to optimize performance in certain situaitons. One that confuses people sometimes is AI Servo Tracking Sensitivity. What this does is govern how quick the camera will be to jump to another point of focus, should you let the active AF point(s) slip off the subject, or if the subject momentarily passes behind some sort of obstruction. If you want the camera to remain locked on, dial this toward the "slow" setting. The only problem with that, I think it causes the camera to be a little slower to respond to radical changes in subject direction, so with a more erratic moving subject you may need to dial it more to the "fast" setting.

 

Also there are two "priority" settings... 1st image and 2nd image. With these you can tell the camera whether you want to emphasize focus accuracy, even if it means that the shutter release is slowed a little. 1st image is just what it sounds like... governing release of any single image of the 1st image in a burst. 2nd image just what it sounds like, too, plus governs how the camera treats any subsequent images in a particular burst. Personally I set these to emphasize accuracy, because images that miss focus are not of much use to me, although shutter release and shutter speed may slow a little.

 

I don't use the pre-set "Cases" so can't really comment. I doubt I'd ever use them because I prefer to make my own settings and tweaks.

 

Hope this helps!

 

***********


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
FLICKR & EXPOSUREMANAGER 

 

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,967
Registered: ‎02-26-2015

Re: How to set up an initial AF point when using automatic tracking with the Canon 7D M2?


@Ricci wrote:

I have tried is to setup my initial AF point to a specific location on the screen using the manual single-point AF mode with the multi-controller, then switch to 65-point automatic selection AF mode having enabled continuous shooting drive mode, AI Servo AF mode,  and EOS iTR AF.

 

I guess that that way, the Canon 7D Mark II would automatically track the moving subject beginning on my previoulsy selected AF point achieved manually.

 

For example, if my initial AF point is placed on the middle left of the screen, that should help the camara focusing system to track a bird flying from left to right, comming into the screen from the left side, not moving the camera.

 

However, in practice, that doesn´t seem to work in any AF pre-set case (trying with different tracking sensitivities) as the camera tracks from the begining other moving objects in the frame that are not placed at my initial AF point.

 

Is there any other method to get this to work correctly?

 

Probably my initial AF point setup method is incorrect and this should be done an other way.

 

I need to track flying objects for aerobic flying models photo sequences like this one I captured last year on a Canon EOD 7D:

 

http://i729.photobucket.com/albums/ww295/rhidalgo/Image%20Sequences/IMG_060_zps7cd7346e.jpg

 

Thanks,

 

Ricci.


First if you don't already have a copy be sure you download the EOS 7D Mark II AF-Setting Guidebook

 

The 7D Mk II is unique, most Canon cameraas when in AIServo and auto AF point selection mode start tracking from the preselcted AF point. The 7D Mk II can do this too, but, it also has an auto initial point mode similar to using auto AF point selection in One Shot or AIFocus modes.

 

To choose between auto initial AF point selection, and manual inital AF point selection in AIServo, see page 42 of the Settings Guidebook.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎07-12-2015

Re: How to set up an initial AF point when using automatic tracking with the Canon 7D M2?

[ Edited ]

Thanks Martin, yes I do have the EOS 7D Mark II AF Setting Guidebook on my computer, in fact the "Initial AF Point" is mentionned in there, but not how to set it up.

I did some further research reading in "Canon 7D Mark II Experience - The Still Photography Guide to Operation and Image Creation with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II" book from Douglas J. Klostermann and also reading carefuly the information linked to the "initial AF point selection" AF4 menu item in the same camera.

 

Can you please explain me the difference between  the "Initial AF pt selected"  "Manual AF pt" menu items? It is a bit confusing to me.

 

"Initial AF pt selected: AI servo AF starts with the AF point you selected as the initial point when switching to 65-point auto selection AF."

 

"Manual AF pt: AI Servo AF continues from the AF point you selected for single-point AF, spot AF, or AF point expansion."

 

Thanks,

 

Ricci.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎07-12-2015

Re: How to set up an initial AF point when using 65-point AF for AF tracking with the Canon 7D M2?

[ Edited ]

Alan, in case of the Canon 7D Mark II, you can setup an initial AF point previous of using the "All Points/Auto Selection" mode, so this option does exist!

 

I did some further research and found out what was my problem, in menu AF4, I was using the "Initial AF pt selected" instead the "Manual AF pt" option.

 

I know how to use "Singe Point" or "Expansion Points" modes, but in the shooting situation I deal with (photo motion sequences), I will have a still camera set on a tripod, tracking on a very fast and random motion of the subject on a high contrast background (the sky) that can get closer or farther from the camera lens, so there will be no camera tracking movement and I believe that this is the more suitable AF mode to use.

 

Thanks,

 

Ricci.

 

 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,809
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: How to set up an initial AF point when using automatic tracking with the Canon 7D M2?

On my 5D III you only get the initial point and iTR tracking if you 

 

(a) set the camera to either full auto-select mode or zone mode (but tracking can only happen with the points in that zone so it's less useful than full mode.)

 

AND

 

(b) set the AF type to AI-Servo (it will not work if the camera is using One-Shot AF).

 

If I do both of those, then the camera gives me an intiail AF point when I activate focusing.  I can use the multi-controller (little joystick nub) to move the initial point around and put it where I want it to start.

 

You do have to get the camera to lock focus on your subject at that initial point... but then the camera will follow the subject per the settings in your AF "case" mode.

 

On the 7D II you can also link the iTR to metering, color, and face-detection (but I think that's in the custom settings.)

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Super Contributor
Posts: 246
Registered: ‎11-11-2012

Re: How to set up an initial AF point when using automatic tracking with the Canon 7D M2?

[ Edited ]

Thanks everyone. I'm familiar with 1st and 2nd pritory, how to set up the initial AF pioint in zone and how the parameters work. I had the 7D for 5 years and by chance set it up so it matches Case 2 on the 7D2. My go to birding set up. This was to ignore other ojects entering the frame scarifcing sensitivity.

 

My only question was always about how AF switching works in the expansionm modes. Makes sense in zone and not so much in expansion. I have to step out but I will re read all of these posts.

 

Thanks

                    

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎07-12-2015

Re: How to set up an initial AF point when using automatic tracking with the Canon 7D M2?

[ Edited ]

Thanks Tim for your answer, I will give another try this afternoon when back at home testing the initial AF point, with full auto selection on AI Servo mode, because I have not seen the 65 squares displaying with that setup.

Ricci.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,967
Registered: ‎02-26-2015

Re: How to set up an initial AF point when using automatic tracking with the Canon 7D M2?


@Ricci wrote:

Thanks Martin, yes I do have the EOS 7D Mark II AF Setting Guidebook on my computer, in fact the "Initial AF Point" is mentionned in there, but not how to set it up.

I did some further research reading in "Canon 7D Mark II Experience - The Still Photography Guide to Operation and Image Creation with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II" book from Douglas J. Klostermann and also reading carefuly the information linked to the "initial AF point selection" AF4 menu item in the same camera.

 

Can you please explain me the difference between  the "Initial AF pt selected"  "Manual AF pt" menu items? It is a bit confusing to me.

 

"Initial AF pt selected: AI servo AF starts with the AF point you selected as the initial point when switching to 65-point auto selection AF."

 

"Manual AF pt: AI Servo AF continues from the AF point you selected for single-point AF, spot AF, or AF point expansion."

 

Thanks,

 

Ricci.


The automatic hand off to other AF points for tracking occurs only in automatic point selection modes. So 'Initial AF pt selected' is what you are looking to do. Select a starting AF point for tracking, which will then handoff to the other AF points as needed to maintain tracking.

 

In single-point AF or spot AF the camera doesn't hand off the tracking to other AF points so you are selection the AF point to be used, and if the subject moves out from under that AF point tracking may be lost. So in Manual FP pt  selection you are simply choosing the AF point to be used the entire time.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎07-12-2015

Re: How to set up an initial AF point when using automatic tracking with the Canon 7D M2?

[ Edited ]

OK, I can now move the initial AF point with the multi-controller through all 65 positions in full AF Zone and AI Servo mode, this is the first time I see this on my camera, not sure what setup was avoiding me to do this.

 

That is also the reason I was not understanding very well how to setup the initial AF point for full AF Zone tracking.

 

Thank you Tim and TTMartin for your help, I am really happy now.

 

Ricci. 

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