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R5 AF Settings & Understanding?

I have some questions about AF on the R5 (which I’m loving!). I am coming from a 5DIII, and this is my first mirrorless, so please excuse my ignorance; I just want to get clarification on all the AF modes and settings so I can master them all. 

 

ll the questions are about still/photography mode only.

 

  1. With Face+Tracking+Eye-Detect enabled, and being in Servo mode, and with the setting “Initial Servo AF pt for Face+Tracking” in the AF Tab (magenta) Page 5 set to “AUTO” — which I see most people in — the white box automatically goes to the eyes, with the two arrows on both sides so that we can use the joystick to switch eyes with the joystick. Once we press to focus (I use back-button focusing [BB-focus]) the white box turns BLUE when in focus and it will follow the eye/head and sometimes body from afar brilliantly. So, this I get, and it’s wonderful. Now, if I press the joystick IN when I don’t have BB-focus pressed (or just flick the joystick left and right to switch eyes), the box turns into an almost a double-edged box, which I’m assuming means “tracking,” but I don’t understand why; what’s the difference? And then if I press the joystick IN again, the double-box goes back to a single box; what does that mean? And if I try to move the boxes with my joystick … nothing happens. Thus in this mode I see I cannot move the focus-box at all; it automatically goes to the face/eyes, and I seem to only have control of switching eyes or different faces when multiple people are present. Am I correct? 

 

  1. With Face+Tracking+Eye-Detect enabled, and being in Servo mode, and with the setting “Initial Servo AF pt for Face+Tracking” in the AF Tab (magenta) Page 5 set to “INITIAL SET PT SET FOR…” or “AF PT SET FOR…” Different things happen and I then get confused. Now, in the INITIAL setting, when no BB-focus is pressed, there are no longer any boxes with arrows continuously on the eyes; instead, there is a big White Box on the screen. I can move it around to pick my focus, which is cool. I have been practicing with the box right in the center and leaving it there; I then just move the camera to get whomever or whatever I want to be tracked into that center square, then I press BB-focus. From then on it follows, but if it’s not an eye or face it eventually gets confused and seems to snap to an eye if not initially on an eye. Thus, not sure what the point of this setting is since the camera will be searching for faces and eyes no matter what. I guess it can be useful if there are multiple people in the shot and I’d like to choose which to start with? But then in this setting I lose the eye-switching functionality. Am I correct in all this? Any suggestions? 

 

  1. What if I want to track an inanimate object? If I have a scene where I’d like to track, let’s say, a model train, and I’d like it to track the first car as it goes around the track while I take pictures, always keeping that first car in focus. What settings do I use? I don’t think I would be in Face+Tracking+Eye-Detect mode, right? If not, what mode and setup? And how do I choose that first car to track and stick on it? 

 

  1. I believe there’s a feature where one can touch on the screen to lock on a subject. Is that true? If so, where and how? I’ve read the manual but I’m still confused. And if this feature exists, can it be used within the EVF as opposed to the back screen? If so, how? (And I’m not referring to Touch Shutter.) I mean, with my eye viewing through the EVF, can I choose a point to track and have it stick? 

 

I know these are a lot of questions, and maybe some are somewhat ignorant or unclear. So…

 

Thanks in advance. Smiley Happy 

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Posts: 488
Registered: ‎01-31-2017

Re: R5 AF Settings & Understanding?


@dsorell wrote:

I know these are a lot of questions, and maybe some are somewhat ignorant or unclear. So…

 

Thanks in advance. Smiley Happy 


I don't know who on the forum would have the time to provide the level of tutoring and hand-holding you are asking for, but let me see if I can help.

 

Download the full R5 manual if you haven't done so already. Study those sections that address your concerns regarding the AF modes. Take your camera out into the field and experiment. Good luck. 

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Occasional Contributor
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Registered: ‎08-03-2020

Re: R5 AF Settings & Understanding?

I'm having a lot of the same type of issues and RTFM doesn't really help at all. Pretty much the manual just shows screen shots and uses acronyms to identify the functions. There is little explanation of how the AF settings work and what they mean. I did not come from a 5D world and a lot of this is greek to me and apparently I'm not the only one. Most of the manual I understand but the AF (I figured that one out) is a little dense.

 

There needs to be an explanation of what the various symbols mean on the screen. I can't even figure out how to turn the joystick on? Everyone says you need it on but how? Without knowing what an icon means beyond a 2 letter acronym, it is pretty difficult. I've invested over $7,000 so far with another $2,700 at the end of the month and have not been impressed with the documentation. I've been a Canon user since the FT days in the 70's but the R5 is way beyond my 80D in complexity.

 

I've ordered a 5D manual in the hopes of figuring some of this out.

 

We need a Canon R5 for Dummies!

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Posts: 488
Registered: ‎01-31-2017

Re: R5 AF Settings & Understanding?


@VegasCameraGuy wrote:

I'm having a lot of the same type of issues and RTFM doesn't really help at all. Pretty much the manual just shows screen shots and uses acronyms to identify the functions. There is little explanation of how the AF settings work and what they mean. I did not come from a 5D world and a lot of this is greek to me and apparently I'm not the only one. Most of the manual I understand but the AF (I figured that one out) is a little dense.

 

There needs to be an explanation of what the various symbols mean on the screen. I can't even figure out how to turn the joystick on? Everyone says you need it on but how? Without knowing what an icon means beyond a 2 letter acronym, it is pretty difficult. I've invested over $7,000 so far with another $2,700 at the end of the month and have not been impressed with the documentation. I've been a Canon user since the FT days in the 70's but the R5 is way beyond my 80D in complexity.

 

I've ordered a 5D manual in the hopes of figuring some of this out.

 

We need a Canon R5 for Dummies!


I've read your post above in its entirety two times. Increasingly, these kinds of postings continue to leave me stunned. 

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Registered: ‎08-05-2020

Re: R5 AF Settings & Understanding?

Hey, VegasCameraGuy,

 

I don't think I'm having as much trouble as you are. I actually find the manual very clear ... except for some details about AF, hence my long-winded questions.

 

I have shot on the 5D series for years, professionally, so maybe that's why I understand most of it. 

 

Just to help you out, go to the C.Fn (orange menu) on page 3, and go down to "Customize buttons"

 

In there, both on photos and movie mode, scroll down to until you get to the "Multi-controlers," which is the Joy Stick -- there is even a graphic on the left with an orange highlight to show you when you are on the right button, showing you where it is on the camera itself. 

 

Turn that on, which will be the graphic to the right of "Off" -- thus you're turning on the "Direct AF point selection"

 

And that's how you get the joystick to work. Smiley Happy 

 

Actually the R5 manual is quite good, even better than the 5D one, in my opinion. 

 

If you need any more help, let me know.

 

I think I also have figured out the Eye-Detect; I think I got it down pat. Been practicing and I think I have a very strong understanding and handling of most of the main features.

 

I even customized many buttons, like making the Depth of Field button in the front go from normal full crop mode (full sensor) to Cropped 1.6 mode, so I can get reach if I need it. I also programed the AF-On to be my focus button (because I like back-button focusing; been doing it for years), which made me reset the shutter button to only meter and take a picture, with no focusing assigned to it. Then I took the * button to flip from Face+Tracking+Eye-Detect into Spot AF, so I can go from taking pics of people to just taking regular shots of inanimate objects in a matter of a second without taking my eye off the EVF. I cutomized the button to the right of * to switch drive modes, so I can go from single to continuous in a matter of seconds. And then I customized the Set button to go from One Shot to Servo. So far this works amazing for me, so we'll see as I keep practicing and shooting. And ... I never have to take my eye off the EVF to do any of the above if I don't want to. 

 

I also turned off review photos after shooting; I find it a waste on a mirrorless camera because, other than with flash/strobes, I knew exactly what I'll be getting because I see it in real time. If I want to review it, I just press the play button. 

 

By the way, I love this new battery grip! Smiley Happy 

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Re: R5 AF Settings & Understanding?

[ Edited ]

Now, if I press the joystick IN when I don’t have BB-focus pressed (or just flick the joystick left and right to switch eyes), the box turns into an almost a double-edged box, which I’m assuming means “tracking,” but I don’t understand why; what’s the difference?

 

Double-box means you've intentionally selected the "subject" in the center of the frame to track for AF by pressing joystick. It does not activate any type of AF, ONE SHOT or SERVO.

 

And then if I press the joystick IN again, the double-box goes back to a single box; what does that mean?

 

Anytime you press again with double-box active, you turn off the double-box and reset the system unless you also have an identifyable eye, when eye-detect AF is on, or face, when face detect AF is on. In that case, the system goes back to tracking an eye or face automatically with the single-box instead. You can think of single box as automatic subject selection and double box as intentional (manual) subject selection.

 

Whenever you see the left white arrow with a right white arrow in eye-detect AF, then you can use the joystick to swap the eyes on one face if you choose. This can be between any recognizable eyes in frame within the AF area. If you manually swap eyes or face with joystick in this way, then the single-box turns into a double-box to signify that a manual subject selection has been made.

 

The white box, single or double, only signifies the subject the camera is interested in tracking. No autofocusing is actually taking place until you initiate with shutter button or back button AF.

 

With Face+Tracking+Eye-Detect enabled, and being in Servo mode, and with the setting “Initial Servo AF pt for Face+Tracking” in the AF Tab (magenta) Page 5 set to “INITIAL SET PT SET FOR…” or “AF PT SET FOR…” Different things happen and I then get confused. Now, in the INITIAL setting, when no BB-focus is pressed, there are no longer any boxes with arrows continuously on the eyes; instead, there is a big White Box on the screen. I can move it around to pick my focus, which is cool. I have been practicing with the box right in the center and leaving it there; I then just move the camera to get whomever or whatever I want to be tracked into that center square, then I press BB-focus. From then on it follows, but if it’s not an eye or face it eventually gets confused and seems to snap to an eye if not initially on an eye. Thus, not sure what the point of this setting is since the camera will be searching for faces and eyes no matter what. I guess it can be useful if there are multiple people in the shot and I’d like to choose which to start with? But then in this setting I lose the eye-switching functionality. Am I correct in all this? Any suggestions?

 

You are correct. In this mode the camera will search for an eye (eye-detect AF enabled) within the white starting box only. It will never allow you to swap eyes with the joystick as it is not searching for all eyes within the frame automatically. The camera is only looking for eyes within the area of the small white box itself. This is most commonly used for designating non-people, non-animal subjects for SERVO AF as the camera doesn't search for those subjects on its own.

 

What if I want to track an inanimate object? If I have a scene where I’d like to track, let’s say, a model train, and I’d like it to track the first car as it goes around the track while I take pictures, always keeping that first car in focus. What settings do I use? I don’t think I would be in Face+Tracking+Eye-Detect mode, right? If not, what mode and setup? And how do I choose that first car to track and stick on it?

 

For your car example, if you can get a clear view of the car approaching your area of interest, Face+Tracking+Eye-Detect mode is probably still the best choice. Just push the system out of the AUTO for “Initial Servo AF pt for Face+Tracking”. This is best if you care more about a particular car over others or not following the race more generally and focusing on a particular car.

 

The only exception that would come to mind would be if your viewpoint obstructs the car's approach, then I would suggest all the same settings, but just keep the starting white square to the side the cars approach to pick them up as soon as they enter the frame. Auto racing is fairly predictable for pathing and this is helpful for simplifying your AF setup.

 

If you are following the race more generally and don't care so much about particular cars, you might try the horizontal zone mode. The system will now always default to tracking and focusing on the closest subject with detail inside the large white bracket. The system will now grab the closest car within the bracketed area. This is more useful if you have foreground obstructions trackside that might otherwise grab focus on trackside objects or marshalls when using the 100% x 100% frame available for Face+Tracking.

 

I believe there’s a feature where one can touch on the screen to lock on a subject. Is that true? If so, where and how? I’ve read the manual but I’m still confused. And if this feature exists, can it be used within the EVF as opposed to the back screen? If so, how? (And I’m not referring to Touch Shutter.) I mean, with my eye viewing through the EVF, can I choose a point to track and have it stick?

 

There's a tap to track feature available by touching the LCD when it's actively displaying the scene. It will give you the double-box on your manually selected subject. In order to activate a similar function while using the EVF, you need to turn on "Touch and drag AF settings" in AF tab 1 (magenta 1). When touch and drag is active and you are looking through the EVF, if you touch and hold on the active portion of the LCD, you will see a dotted orange circle. You can use your finger to drag this circle anywhere in the frame and release to manually select the subject (white double-box). You can also tap and release to select, but it is more difficult to be precise with placement of your orange circle this way.

 

Hope this helps and it is true that the manual is not very clear on this.

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Registered: ‎08-07-2020

Re: R5 AF Settings & Understanding?

I do not have my R5 yet but if you have not watched this You Tube video it may be of some help. It is geared to sports shooters but i found it helpful in understanding the various focus modes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrZY0ei2unc

Life has an expiration date
Canon 1DX MarkIII, Canon R5, Canon 5D MarkIII, several Canon lenses and a couple of Sigma lenses
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Re: R5 AF Settings & Understanding?

Yeah, watched it before. But his hit rate was lower than expexted. Watching Jared Polin (FroKnowsPhoto) is continually getting amazing hit rates. That's why I think it's settings and/or tehnique, hence why I'm asking so many questions, so I can master it. 

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Re: R5 AF Settings & Understanding?

Apples and oranges videos; Little kid trotting, walking and bouncing in a garden versus running football players (even players crossing one another). But then I do not know what type of photography you are planning to do. 

Life has an expiration date
Canon 1DX MarkIII, Canon R5, Canon 5D MarkIII, several Canon lenses and a couple of Sigma lenses
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Re: R5 AF Settings & Understanding?


@dsorell wrote:

Yeah, watched it before. But his hit rate was lower than expexted. Watching Jared Polin (FroKnowsPhoto) is continually getting amazing hit rates. That's why I think it's settings and/or tehnique, hence why I'm asking so many questions, so I can master it. 


I think I saw a video from Micheal the Maven in my YouTube news feed.  It is a 3 hour tutorial on the R5 and R6 bodies.  He likes to make LONG tutorials.

 

Jared Polin does not know as much as he pretends.  He does not seem able to understand Canon gear, at all.  For example, he was doing areview of a Rebel a year ago or so.  He was using Spot Metering.  But, he was also selecting different AF points.  

 

He was demonstrating how you do not need to focus and recompose.  Just move the AF point to your subject, instead.  His exposures were all over the place both under and over.  He blamed the camera.  He should have blamed himself.  

 

All Canon DSLRs spot meter with the center AF point.  Only 1D Series bodies can spot meter with any AF point.  He did not know that he was focusing here, but metering from over there.  

 

Remember, Jared is a Nikon guy to the core.  Nikon DSLRs are the same way.  Only the flagship camera bodies can spot meter with any AF point.  He is not as smart as he thinks he is.  Nope.

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