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R6 Issues with autofocus with long lenses

TaraLerch
New Contributor

Recently upgraded to R6 and works great with my Canon 70-200 and Tamron 18-400 lenses.  However, I recently purchased the Canon RF 800mm and I am having a heck of time with the autofocus.  It works sometimes but other times it freezes.  It appears to be focusing and then gets completely out of focus and gets stuck there and will not focus - not matter how long I keep the back button focus button pressed.  I have to turn the camera off and back on again and sometimes that doesn't even work.  I also rented the Tamron 150-600 and I have the same issue with that lens - not as often but it still occurs frequently.  With the zoom len, I can zoom out and focus and then zoom back in again to resolve but that takes time and shots are missed in the meantime.  I thought perhaps it was some settings I made but I recently reset all setting to default settings and I am still experiencing this issue.  I have completed the latest R6 firmware update and this did not help.  Do others experience this?  I've posted in another group and had at least one person with this camera lens combo that does not have the issue.  I'm stumped - perhaps I have a defective R6?

13 REPLIES 13

kvbarkley
Honored Contributor

I know that my Tamron 150-600 gets confused sometimes when focusing on my T6S. I have to focus on something closer to "kick it in the pants". It does not happen often, though.

Thanks so much for the reply!  I did try the trick of trying to get it to focus on something else and it does not work consistently.  I spend more time trying to get the camera to focus than I do taking photos.  And of course by the time I do, the bird has flown away 😞  I would be willing to accept more with the Tamron but as this is occuring all the time with the Canon lens that is specifically built for this camera - I am beyond frustrated.  I am ready to return both the camera and the lens at this point.


@TaraLerch wrote:

Thanks so much for the reply!  I did try the trick of trying to get it to focus on something else and it does not work consistently.  I spend more time trying to get the camera to focus than I do taking photos.  And of course by the time I do, the bird has flown away 😞  I would be willing to accept more with the Tamron but as this is occuring all the time with the Canon lens that is specifically built for this camera - I am beyond frustrated.  I am ready to return both the camera and the lens at this point.


Every long, super telephoto lens has its' own personality.  When people talking about "learning to use a lens", this an example of what they are talking about.  

 

Sometimes the the lens needs help focusing when your focus distances change significantly.  This can happen when you miss your subject, and the focus reverts to something in the distant background.  Now, re-acquiring the much closer subject has become a task.  This is where full-time manual focus override is a godsend.

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

wq9nsc
Respected Contributor

Tara,

 

Do you have the R6 menu item for lens drive when AF is impossible set to on?  This is under AF tab 4 and it should be on or otherwise AF failure will often occur when AF has difficulty.

 

Although the R bodies will autofocus nicely with a f11 lens, this is based upon having decent light and contrast and when either or both are at the minimal end then it is going to have an issue with AF.  So the amount of light, the subject, and the contrast to the background all impact its ability to quickly find and lock focus.

 

If you aren't using the focus limiter switch, use it unless your subject is within 20 meters and this will help it to more quickly focus. 

 

There is a definite learning curve with every model of long telephoto glass.  When I bought an EF 400 f2.8, I was surprised how much more demanding it was than the EF 300 2.8 I had been using for sports because tracking action becomes more difficult and critical and I missed a lot of shots during the first quarter of football I shot with it.  My EF 800 f5.6 was very frustrating to use until I got used to it because framing something took longer because of me, not the gear.  It has very fast AF but until I got a better feel for it the subject was either gone or no longer in a great position by the time I located it. 

 

Rodger 

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Wq9nsc - thanks so much for the detailed reply, I really appreciate you taking the time to help!  I have actually tried all of these setting changes.  I have watched many You Tube videos and read a bunch of articles on this issue.  The fact is the camera/len just freeze in a completely out of focus state and nothing I do helps with the exception of turning it off and back on again.  I am not a pro so would be willing to accept it's user error if the same lens did not work perfectly on my older Canon 7DMii.  (The Tamron 150-600 I mean, I can only use the RF 800 on my R6).  I read an article by a photographer who sent the camera in for service and since she's had it back it has not happened since.  Based on that and feeling I tried everything else, I went ahead and sent it in for service.  Fingers crossed!

wq9nsc
Respected Contributor

Tara,

 

You are very welcome!

 

Sending it in for service was the right thing to do and it does sound like your R6 has an issue with something freezing in the search/seek routine when it is trying to achieve focus.  I am glad that you have both the RF native lens along with an EF plus adapter, with it happening with the RF lens that prevents blame from being assigned to the adapter or third party lens.  And it certainly doesn't sound like user error. 

 

I was hoping that it was the setting of how AF responds to an out of focus issue because I had found with some other bodies that it will give up quickly if the lens overshoots while trying to focus but you checked your setup so your camera has another issue.

 

Canon was caught behind in the headlong rush to mirrorless and it seems they may have tried too much to shorten the development cycle for some of the new bodies and are having to sort out some issues in the field probably related to tolerances of some components used in the build.  I am going through a similar issue with another company that has long been a leader in its field but was late to the table with SDR (software defined radio) technology and got caught up in a fast development cycle.  The transceiver I bought from them cost as much as my 1DX III and giving the manufacturer, Yaesu, proper credit, it is a far more complex device than a camera with far more processing power than most desktop computers.  But in their attempt to correct issues and add features via a firmware update, Yaesu made matters far worse including turning some owner's expensive gear into "bricked" devices.  With Canon, I have never had an issue with a firmware update and never worry about installing one because I know that they don't rush those updates out without extensive testing but with Yaesu I am happy to let others be the test rats.

 

Canon service has been stellar in my experience and I expect they will quickly return your R6 in proper working order.

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Tronhard
Respected Contributor

It might be worth checking out the latest firmware update for the R6: 1.3.1:  Here is a summary of the content.  You may recognize some conditions or settings associated with your issues that it may fix.

Firmware changes:

Firmware Version 1.3.1 incorporates the following functional improvements and fixes.

1. Adds [IPB (Light)] to 4K to enable lower bit rate shooting.

2. Adds [Electronic full-time MF] to the AF tab of the menu. When a lens is attached, manual focus adjustment is always possible with both One-shot AF and Servo AF.

3. The transfer time (estimated value) now displays on the camera monitor during FTP transfer.

4. Fixes a phenomenon, in which in rare instances, the camera cannot function normally when the drive mode is set to "High-speed continuous shooting" to shoot still images continuously.

5. Fixes a phenomenon that may corrupt the image displayed in the viewfinder.

6. Fixes a phenomenon in which the power may become suspended when the camera is powered via USB for an extended period of time.

7. Fixes a phenomenon, in which the camera stops to operate normally when the movie cropping setting is set to [Enable] for performing movie shooting in Firmware Version 1.3.0.

cheers Trevor

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
"A good swordsman is more important than a good sword" Amit Kalantri

Technique will always Outlast Tech - Me

I have already updated the firmware to 1.3.1 and unfortunately that did not fix it.  Thanks for the suggestion!

inorman
New Contributor
Just experienced the same. The rf800mm lens stop focusing. Did the 1.3.1 update-that did not work for refocusing. Read the threads, but suggestions did not work either. Not going to take in for service unless nothing else worked. Perhaps you might try this before taking the lens in for servicing. On the side of the lens are three adjustment buttons. 1.stabilizer on/off, 2.af/mf, and 3.20m-Full/infinity. Mine was set to infinity when it should be set at the other setting. This might help 🙂