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Gear Talk => Lenses => Topic started by: Louis on May 02, 2012, 11:33:02 AM

Title: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: Louis on May 02, 2012, 11:33:02 AM
Hello guys, I dont normally post here, but knowing you are all experts makes me want too,

Ive been having a problem with my new lens, I didn't think I had this problem so bad until recently, now it's maybe my own paranoia, or I do have a problem, i'm not sure what to think really, I own a 5D Mark2 and my lens a Canon 24 1.4 II L Lens, I'm finding at 1.4 I have to take 5 or 6 images to achieve focus that in the hope 1 will have achieved good focus, I understand 1.4 is so shallow its going to be tough anyway and on a poor AF camera as the 5D2 i'm going to have problems, but I think this is just 2 soft, and allot of the time, the camera misses completely, I just don't get it, after spending so much money, i'm getting a but sick of Canon, and I maybe to blame, Now I use a center spot focus and lock and recompose, and this may be a problem, or not, I do think the camera used to lock focus better, is it possible a camera over time, lose focus, I have tried front and back focus tests on a tape measure, and the focus seems fine, I know I should stop down the lens slightly, but I don't see why I can get a semi sharp image at the right distance on 1.4, for that money I think you should be able too, last week, I took a picture of a friend at the side of his hair just on a grey bit above his ear, and it missed so much and I achieved focus on his forehead, I did more tests and the camera could not focus on hair, even though it was a good contrast for the camera, so I though maybe there's certain things canon sensors have trouble with, so today, I went for a walk with mum, to a forest to see the bluebells, it was a bad day, and nothing great to photograph, so I took some pretty crappy shots of a bluebell and noticed a ladybird on it, so i though ok this could be nice, anyway, this ladybird was moving very slowly and I have 1/1250 shutter, the first 2 where so bad, I could hardly believe my eyes, you can see the images here,

http://louis-amore.smugmug.com/Other/Test1/22755782_HxNbF7# (http://louis-amore.smugmug.com/Other/Test1/22755782_HxNbF7#)!i=1825217841&k=WqLhrhB


you can hit a large size to see close enough,

what are your thoughts, you can see 2 pictures out of the 4 that are slightly okish, and 2 so badly off,


please visit my website, to understand this isn't user error , or in fact it maybe I have no idea

www.louisamore.com (http://www.louisamore.com)

what do you guys think,

for nearly 3500 pounds worth of kit, should I be getting results like this, Im so deeply unhappy, do i send my camera lens to canon to have a look, i'm not sure, or is this what u get for your money, I believe I would get a better result with a much cheaper micro 4/3rds camera,?

thanks for your time to any one who replies

Kindest regards

Louis


PS sorry for the typos im terrible at spelling 
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: neuroanatomist on May 02, 2012, 11:53:41 AM
Four little letters.  A. F. M. A.  To expand on that a bit, you need to do an autofocus microadjustment.  Read more about it here (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Photography-Tips/AF-Microadjustment-Tips.aspx) (a writeup I posted sometime back).  Or, do as I currently do, and use Reikan FoCal.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: Mt Spokane Photography on May 02, 2012, 12:17:53 PM
It looks like its front focusing.  You appear to be close, and front focus is normal near mfd.  If you are going to take all your images that close, do a AFMA at that distance.  You then might see issues at far away distances, but depth of filed might save you.
 
This has nothing to do with the complaint that the 5D MK II doesn't focus as well with other than the center point, where its supurb.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: Louis on May 02, 2012, 12:29:23 PM
Thanks for your replies guys, would Reikan FoCal. be a good option to buy now? Im not sure how about these things, I've never used them, also, I take allot of landscape, but if Im going to go shallow, I will come in close, I don't want to adjust anything if it means Im going to mess with focus for far away subjects?

regards

Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: Viggo on May 02, 2012, 12:30:19 PM
I had two copies and a customer at my shop tried two copies of the 24 L II that had "random focus". There was a batch that had focus problems.

The issue was as follows; camera tripodmounted, focused with One Shot, and it changed distance dramtically (a couple of feet) from one image to another. Completely at random. Out of 10 images I could have two, one or none sharp, I'm talking WAY off...

My third copy , once adjusted, have been just as stable as my other lenses.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: sparda79 on May 02, 2012, 12:31:44 PM
Reikan FoCal (Pro version) also comes with a 'Focus Consistency Test' that might be useful to you.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: Louis on May 02, 2012, 12:52:22 PM
I had two copies and a customer at my shop tried two copies of the 24 L II that had "random focus". There was a batch that had focus problems.

The issue was as follows; camera tripodmounted, focused with One Shot, and it changed distance dramtically (a couple of feet) from one image to another. Completely at random. Out of 10 images I could have two, one or none sharp, I'm talking WAY off...

My third copy , once adjusted, have been just as stable as my other lenses.

Viggo what did you use to adjust?
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: pdirestajr on May 02, 2012, 01:40:22 PM
I don't know, to me, this just looks like SUPER SHALLOW DOF where a slight body sway, breeze, or from recomposing is moving the subject out of the focal plane. And also wouldn't shooting completely wide open add just the slightest bit of softness to the image in addition to the sliver of DOF- resulting in a photo that looks OOF.

Have you tried the lens on a tripod photographing a static subject?
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: sb on May 02, 2012, 01:45:41 PM
I had two copies and a customer at my shop tried two copies of the 24 L II that had "random focus".

I'm always sceptical when people report these mysterious problems which caused them to go through 3 copies of the lens to find a good one, but I did experience something weird with my 24 II as well which got me thinking.

I was doing AFMA on all my cameras/lenses a couple of weeks ago, and everything was smooth sailing except 24 II. This lens just didn't play well with the 7D at all. 5DMk2 was absolutely fine, but on 7D I would adjust it perfectly, and then after taking a few additional pictures, I realized that AF was all over the place. Sometimes it was as I intended, and sometimes the focus was just way off (even though the camera was locked on a tripod). Eventually I gave up trying to configure it on 7D and decided to only use it on 5Dmk2.

I still don't know what the problem is, I don't really have time to figure it out, so I'm working around the problem for the time being.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: helpful on May 02, 2012, 02:06:17 PM
Louis, I know exactly what you are talking about. Autofocus microadjustment will not reliably fix your problem, although that would be a great option for the 5D Mark III.

Even using the center point will not. The 5D Mark II has a problem with this particular lens in my experience. What will work is using lifeview autofocus (very slow) but that will nail the focus on still objects that the focus selector is centered on.

The lens itself has extremely sensitive and accurate autofocus, but the 5D2's phase-detection autofocus just rushes to an approximate focus  point and then leaves it there despite a slight mis-focus. Focusing on infinity and trying again will result in another slightly random focus shift. That's why you are needing to take a whole bunch of pictures in hopes of probably getting one that is sharp on the desired focal point.

Update: By the way, the same lens works fine with the 5D3 and my 7D cameras.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: helpful on May 02, 2012, 02:17:37 PM
Great photos on your website, Louis. This one is strikes me as better than many famous versions of Yosemite Falls:

http://www.louisamore.com/landscape/2.jpg (http://www.louisamore.com/landscape/2.jpg)

It looks like the ground at the bottom edge is "earth" and the falls are pouring from "heaven."
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: vlad on May 02, 2012, 02:25:45 PM
It's hard to say exactly what exactly is wrong.  You said you were able to focus fine in a controlled environment (on a ruler).  Was that with autofocus?  The photos on your website are quite nice, so you know what you're doing, but I didn't see a lot of super shallow DOF shots.  1.4  is extremely shallow - misfocusing on the wrong part of a person's head is not at all uncommon even smaller apertures than that.  I bought this lens refurb from Canon and I shoot with a 5Dc, and it's quite sharp wide open (and amazingly sharp stopped down), but focus is tough to nail, especially at close distances.  Just breathing in and out can throw me out of focus.  I'd say shoot some more with it - controlled tests as well as regular shooting - and if it's indeed consistently off, send it in.  Good luck!
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: RLPhoto on May 02, 2012, 03:00:16 PM
The 24mm 1.4L II is notorious for having AF issues. I'm fortunate to never run into that AF issue.

Its entirely possible that you have a bad copy and if AFMA doesn't fix it. , you'll have to send it to canon for re-adjustment. Otherwise the 24mm 1.4L II is solid gold when it lands the shot @ 1.4 on your subject.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: bp on May 02, 2012, 03:07:36 PM
I gave up trying to configure it on 7D and decided to only use it on 5Dmk2.
By the way, the same lens works fine with the 5D3 and my 7D cameras.

Wow - I'm not alone!  Weird that you two have had different experiences

I LOOOOOVE the 24II, but I also have had some very weird behavior on my 5D2.  AFMA never seemed to help, so I eventually reset it back to zero and just dealt with it as best I could (like others, I'd usually just take extra shots in case it decided to go wacky on me).  Thus far, I haven't had any of the same random misfocus issues on the 5D3. 
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: Random Orbits on May 02, 2012, 03:08:45 PM
Louis, I know exactly what you are talking about. Autofocus microadjustment will not reliably fix your problem, although that would be a great option for the 5D Mark III.

Even using the center point will not. The 5D Mark II has a problem with this particular lens in my experience. What will work is using lifeview autofocus (very slow) but that will nail the focus on still objects that the focus selector is centered on.

The lens itself has extremely sensitive and accurate autofocus, but the 5D2's phase-detection autofocus just rushes to an approximate focus  point and then leaves it there despite a slight mis-focus. Focusing on infinity and trying again will result in another slightly random focus shift. That's why you are needing to take a whole bunch of pictures in hopes of probably getting one that is sharp on the desired focal point.

Update: By the way, the same lens works fine with the 5D3 and my 7D cameras.

24L II works fine with my 5DII.

You shouldn't focus and recompose when shooting f/1.4.  The DOF is shallow enough that recomposing can result in OOF pictures.  Try shopping down the lens to f/2.8, 4.0 and 5.6 and see if the focus improves for a test target at a constant distance (center point).  Also try it with Live View.  My shots were blurry using phase detect Af but were sharp with Live View.  I had an issue with my 24L II where I was getting blurry pictures (center point) up to f/5.6 on multiple bodies.  I sent it in and Canon had to adjust the focus settings.  The 24L has worked fine after Canon adjusted its settings.  In your case, it might make sense for you to get in the body in as well.  Then they can adjust the lens more precisely without having you do all the AFMA on the body.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: Viggo on May 02, 2012, 04:37:25 PM
I had two copies and a customer at my shop tried two copies of the 24 L II that had "random focus". There was a batch that had focus problems.

The issue was as follows; camera tripodmounted, focused with One Shot, and it changed distance dramtically (a couple of feet) from one image to another. Completely at random. Out of 10 images I could have two, one or none sharp, I'm talking WAY off...

My third copy , once adjusted, have been just as stable as my other lenses.

Viggo what did you use to adjust?

It was no use adjusting, as I said, it was completely random, and they changed the lenses without question, so they were aware of it, but since you ask, I use the Spyder Lens Cal.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: kbmelb on May 02, 2012, 06:20:31 PM
Someone else mentioned it but I'd bet a little cash on the fact that you use center point then recompose is the problem. At 1.4 the DOF is going to be pretty shallow and then intentionally moving the camera is going to definitely affect focus. Just think if the plane on the center point is parallel when you focus and then you tilt, or turn slightly to recompose, the angle of your subject to the center of the lens is going to be different, there for changing the focal plane. This issue is even more of an issue with wider lenses. I'd recommend focusing to in this fashion to get it close and then manually adjusting.

A fun test would be to set you camera on a tripod, manually focus on a subject, take a pic then turn the camera on axis (without adjusting the focus) to slightly recompose the subject to the outer third or so of the frame and then take the pic. I am sure the subject in the second shot will be at least a little out of focus. Remember the lens is not flat and neither is focal plane.

The issue you are having is a major reason I upgraded to the 5DmkIII. The mkII just doesn't have enough AF points in the right places to shoot reliably at wide apertures. Unless you like throwing away a lot of the MPs by cropping in post.

Remember also, like someone else mentioned, any sway or heavy breath is going to throw off the focus when shooting wide open.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: helpful on May 02, 2012, 06:40:00 PM
Agreed. Focus and recompose is a good technique for point-and-shoots or cameras with a single focus point AND a relatively small aperture (big f/number, to clarify for anyone who thinks aperture means f/number and is confused).

But it won't work with a shallow depth of field lens because the plane of focus is designed to be a plane so that the lens will focus perfectly on a flat wall (the famous "brick wall" lens test).

* When you focus and recompose the distance remains the same, so an uncorrected lens would still be in focus.
* But lenses are "corrected" to keep a flat subject in focus, and so when you recompose the shot, the plane of focus is rotated at the same time. The plane of focus doesn't intersect the subject anymore after recomposing the shot. Rotation of a plane shifts one half-plane behind its original distance, and the other half-plane closer than its original distance. Since the subject is at the same distance, things clearly won't line up anymore.
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: Louis on May 03, 2012, 04:18:43 PM
Hey Guys,

I just want to say how much I am grateful for your replies, its a horrible thing when you feel you have something going wrong,  i'm still at a slight cross roads as of what to do 100% but I did go after reading all your comments, down to my local Calumet photographic store and ask to do some tests with my 24mm on a 5D Mark3, here are the shots i took, please don't think you'll see anything interesting here only pieces of focus etc,

(please note the amount of images of the same thing is to prove consistency, I took these very fast recomposing and refocusing, giving the camera a chance to screw up, I did not use continuous drive at all,

(All shots are full resolution, and have been untouched and exported from Lightroom.


http://louis-amore.smugmug.com/Other/Canon-Mark3-with-24-14-TEST/22779891_vhDpHL# (http://louis-amore.smugmug.com/Other/Canon-Mark3-with-24-14-TEST/22779891_vhDpHL#)!i=1827270507&k=DND5ffK

as you can see the first shots of the case, the camera came in, I focused at the hoop and then the corner, i'm impressed, I always focused and then recomposed to put pressure on to the test, next you see my own camera, I focused on the focus diameter, as you can see, spot on as good as it gets i'm assuming,  (Id also like to say, I used center spot focus and one shot for everything I took today, Next you see the poor girl assistant who was great while I took some frames of her eye, again, im impressed as most are spot on, even her lashes are crisp in some, most of these shots of the girl all landed focus, only about 2 where slight soft around the eye, but she did move sometimes and so did i, the next as of the shop itself, not at 1.4 of course, the small black chair was my focus point at first, then the guy walked in and the last shot I focused on him high iso at the end, 2000 iso to get at least a 60th to hold, my tests where also to find if this camera is soft, not at all, in my eyes, and I am very fussy,

back to some corners of plastic and most are spot on, again framing to an extreme edge of frame, results were good,

back to the girl, about 2 feet away, I didn't expect these to be good at 1.4 I would assume this is what I get at that distance, its a shame they cant be sharper, this is a great distance to try and be shallow at, I have to say, even though this whole post is about a 1.4 aperture, I never shoot like this, but I may want too, and this is my argument,

moving on to the assistants hands/nails, even 1.4 from that distance was great, for every picture I dialed up the aperture, as you can see if you take the time, the main finger will get sharper and sharper,

so my test proves what, hmm I believe you need good auto focus for fast lenses, and when I say good, I mean pro auto focus, this cameras AF rarely missed at 1.4, of course the distance has to be fairly near to be sharp of course, but with my 5D Mark2 i would of liked to see how many of the same shots I would of missed,

This has been interesting, the very bad soft images of the 5D3 at the launch of the camera, has now been cleared, was that happening with early prototype models, i will never know, but this camera I had, was as sharp as my 5D2 and that's what I always wanted,

and of course the lens test, AF, is very very nice,  I felt confidant with this camera, and if I had to take a fast shot at 1.4  i walk off knowing if got decent focus, with my 5D2 id have to take 5 minimum,


thanks again for all your help,

comments are welcome


Louis
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: bp on May 03, 2012, 04:42:10 PM
Ah - I shoulda read your post more thoroughly before jumping to the gallery - heh - I'm thinking "uh, these all look pretty well focused to me"

For me, the 5D3 has breathed new life into both my 24 II and my 85 II.  They're like completely different lenses on this body, both of which were often very inconsistent on my 5D2.  I still loved using them both on my 5D2 - heh - but never felt like I could really trust them wide open.  The 85II, wide open in servo mode on the 5D3 makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.  haha   It actually nails things like I want it to.  Somehow almost seems faster too, which I don't think is possible - probably just my imagination, like when a car feels like it drives better after you vacuum it out

A while ago I bought and quickly re-sold a 50L.  Found it to be soft and very inconsistent focus...  I can't help but hear this little voice in the back of my head say "buy it again - maybe things will be different on the 3!!!"  heh
Title: Re: Trouble with my Canon 24.1.4 ii lens at 1.4
Post by: Louis on May 03, 2012, 04:56:05 PM
So bp you noticed that also on your 5D2? thats so interesting, its pushing me to invest in the 3 100%