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Messages - jaayres20

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I honestly thought there would't be an answer to this issue.  I am so happy that there will be a solution.  I just hope the solution works.  I wonder if this thread made any difference in their action.  I would like t to think so.  I hope so. 

I wonder if our really long thread on here that has been going on for a few months that made its way over to the Canon forum had anything to do with this.  It would be nice to think that something we did made a difference. 

So I've been doing some further testing.  I can create a situation on my mk3 and 600 ex-rt where I can notice a much less snappy AF lock.  I was not able to re-create the lag when trying to focus in a very dark (almost black) setting.  Maybe, that's where I messed up in my prior testing.  Maybe a completely black environment creates enough contrast between the environment and the red focus assist beam to allow focus whereas a dimly lit situation is lit just enough to give the camera trouble focusing because it can't really see the red AF assist beam as well.

I'm able to notice a significant lag when the ambient light is dim (proper exposure in camera at f/2.8, 1/50, ISO 5000). 

Seems to me like I would just turn the beam OFF when I notice the ambient light is about at this level.  Am I still over simplifying the issue?  I get that pros need their focus to be snappy to catch those moments.  Wouldn't that mean a few test shots in the environment first to gauge the settings required....including wether or not to turn the AF assist beam on/off?

Maybe I don't understand the depth of the issue because I'm not coming from a 5D mk2 where the focus is supposed to be faster.  That said, I'm an engineer by trade.  We are trouble shooters by nature.  It seems like there's a pretty easy fix for this (just based off of what I've been able to test).  If this really is an issue for a shooter,  just turn the beam off when you feel like it's slowing you down.  Does ambient light in a reception hall or your venues change constantly for you guys?  Isn't this just a matter of your experience telling you how your camera should be set to capture moments?  I'm not trying to be condescending.  promise.   I still don't understand what the big deal is.

You are right the issue is occurs in very dim but not supper dark situations.  I shoot wedding receptions all of the time and the lighting changes constantly.  It happens during grand entrances and first dances all of the time.  You get set up for certain light and all of the sudden lights go off completely.  I always ask in advance to try to plan for those instances but they often happen without warning.  Different parts of a reception hall are also lit differently or facing different ways.  For example shooting with or against the DJ's lights.  I switch it on and off all of the time and have it registered on my menue settings so I can get to it quickly.  The problem is it still takes 5-10 seconds to do that and there are times you can't waste that time.  The bride and groom in a grand entrance and you loose 5-10 seconds and you may miss everything or most of it.  It is a pain to have to switch it on and off and I can't figure out why I need to.  If Canon gave me a reason then I could live with it but they don't even acknowledge there is a problem. 

no i haven't but i think a pitch black room with no lights on in the middle of the night is pretty much the same thing as far as lighting conditions go.

From what I read the distance of the object lit by the af assist seems to have a significant impact on the focusing ability, next to the lens used... and your "pitch black" setup might sound like a worst case scenario, but not that's necessarily true because in real life the camera has to deal with varying combinations of af and real light.

good point.  I was focusing on something about 5 ft in front me.  I was able to see the AF beam through the camera because it was so dark and the red really stood out.... and yes, when I say pitch black, I mean pitch black.  no street lights shining in through a window... nothing.  pitch BLACK.

so anyways, i tested again with as much distance as I could in the same room... the longest dimension of the room is about 30 feet so I just pointed at the wall 30 ft away, even though i couldn't see a damn thing, waited for focus, and shot.... AF worked fine, like I was in a well lit room.  the wall was far enough away that I sure as hell couldn't see the AF beam on it.  Focus was fine.

I have other thoughts on variables that might be tripping people up:

1) what lenses are we having issues with?  I used both the 24-70 2.8 II and the 70-200 2.8 IS II... both at 2.8 when I did my "testing".  Maybe f/4 lenses are having a harder time seeing the AF beam in low light. 

2) Also, would the color/pattern of what you are focusing on in low light contribute to the camera having a hard time.  For example, if the subject was RED in color, or even had something with red tones in it, maybe there wasn't enough contrast between the subject and the AF beam from the 600.

3) Maybe the problem is in the speed lights and not the 5D mk3.  Low batteries maybe?  maybe without fresh batteries, the AF assist beam isn't bright enough.  or maybe some of the new 600 ex-rt units (remember those are new too) have issues

I'm just trying to find a way to re-create the issue that people are having.  There's obviously enough of a problem (or two) with this combo that a lot of people are noticing a significantly slower focus speed.  I for one cannot re-create the problem.  I swear, it's just about as fast as if i was focusing in broad daylight. 

Can any of the other people who have the issue reply with the lenses they've used, the subject/color they're shooting, and try it with different speed lights with fresh batteries?

I use the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II and it is the lens I have the most issues with.  I have shot 20+ weddings with that lenes two 5D3s and 3 600ex flashes.  I have been in a lot of different lighting conditions.  What I don't like is that the AF assist beam makes focus worse in most cases.  When it is very dark or even black then the AF assist helps and I don't have as many issues.  I have found that there are surfaces that absorb more light that make the af assist almost useless.  For example if the bride and groom are dancing then I focus on lighter areas like her dress or faces.  If I miss and focus on a black tux then there is not hope for the AF assist it is just absorbed by the tux.  My problem is that when it is dark but not very dark the lens and camera focus better without the AF assist.  I have done it a 100 times where I have attempted focus and the AF assist beam will blink 3 full times before I can get a focus lock.  When I turn off the AF assist beam the camera focuses instantly on the same thing in the same light.  These lighting conditions are frustrating because it can range to light enough for no AF assist to pitch black and needing the AF assist in seconds and I am stuck messing with my settings and turning on the AF assist for 10-15 seconds.  In that time I may have missed something important.  Instead I would like to keep it on all of the time instead of switching it on and off.  If I leave it on all of the time I am stuck with the frustrating 2-3 AF assist blinks while the camera locks focus.  I have found a way around that where I have set the camera up to release priority instead of focus priority so it will allow me to take the picture before the red confirmation blink. 90% of the times those shots are in focus but there is always a chance it isn't and I am afraid that I may miss something important especially at a wedding if I rely on it to be focused before it says it is.

EOS Bodies / Re: Error 80 - 5D Mark III
« on: January 11, 2013, 11:38:16 PM »
I have been shooting with 2 5d3s all wedding season.  I shot 146,000 frames with one of my cameras.  I always used 64GB extreem pro Sandisk or 600x Lexar cards.  Both CF and SD.  I never had an issue all season and used the same cards many times.  I sent my camera in to get the shutter replaced and cleaned.  Sure enough my next wedding it locked up on me with the last picture taken frozen on the LCD screen.  I had to remove the battery grip.  I was a little worried because the buffer light was still on.  Has anyone had any of their images damaged or cards corrupted due to this error?  Luckily none of mine had any issues and I had a back up camera to use for a while until I got enough nerve to take the grip off.  It is not fun to have that issue at a wedding.  Makes you look stupid while you are getting it sorted out.  Im like I know you paid me $2,500 but my camera just malfunctioned.  Embarrassing.   

Lighting / 600ex-rt and the dead zone
« on: December 30, 2012, 06:39:41 PM »
I am a wedding photographer and I have shot 26 weddings this year with three 600ex-rt flashes and for the most part am very happy with them.  However, there have been two occasions where there has been an area about 20-30 feet in diamater that the master goes all screwball and the link goes in and out.  I was shooting a wedding last night and my assistant also had three flashes and hers did the same thing in the same "dead zone"  We were both on different channels so we were not interfering with each other.  I did everything I could think of like change batteries turn them on and off and I even did a channel scan to see which one had them most strength.  Still there was that zone where the flash had issues and the link would go in and out.  It was in the middle of a large room with nothing that I could see that would cause issues.  It wasn't next to anything else electrical that I could see.  The only thing was a florescent fixture about 30 feet in the air.  Once I was out of the dead zone everything was fine.  Unfortunately it was the dance floor so it made shooting the reception harder.  I even tried to stand over by the DJ were I figure there would be the most interference and I had no issues.  The dead zone was in the middle of nothing.  Anyone have any insight?

I sent in my 5D3 for a new shutter and I specifically complained about the AF assist beam causing slower focus.  They did not admit there is a problem and after I got my camera back I looked through what they had done and they mentioned that they made electrical adjustments on the AF.  I finally used it at a darkish event and at times I thought it was significantly better but after using it for two hours I came to the conclusion that it has the same old problem.  I went around and found about 50 different places where the camera would focus instantly without the AF assist on my 70-200.  I would then immediately switch the AF assist back and and try to take the same exact shot and noticed a significant lag (sometimes a second).  After it is dark enough where AF is not possible then the AF assist is a benefit to me even if it does take over a second or two to focus so I would just like to keep it on.  Instead I am turning it on and off several times during an event and it is a waste of time and not very efficient.   

I am a wedding photographer and have shot 25 weddings and receptions this year with the 5D3 and 600ex.  I started a thread about this issue about a month ago and I finally sent my camera in to Canon to get the shutter replaced and the light leak issue resolved and I specifically complained about it the AF assist beam.  When they sent it back they mentioned they made some "electrical adjustments" to the shutter and AF.  They never acknowledged there was a problem or said that they did anything to fix it.  I haven't shot a wedding since then so I haven't gotten a chance to really test it out yet but I did some quick tests and sometimes there appears to be some improvement.  Other times it still seems slow.  I don't think there is a way to know until I shoot a wedding again.  I do think it is interesting they didn't even acknowledge there was a problem and always say it is the first they have heard of the issue.   

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 600EX-RT GR Mode
« on: November 25, 2012, 07:35:07 PM »
I have three flashes as well and I have them set up as A master and group B and C as slaves. I don't know if the master can be any other group. All I know is that when I adjust the settings for group A then the master on camera flash is affected.

Just tried the 70-200/2.8L IS II on the 1D X with the 600EX-RT.  Still locks very quickly, albeit a little more slowly than in a brightly lit room (low-contrast subject, approximately 0.6-0.8 s in good light, 0.8-1.1 s in dim light with the AF assist).

For those having the long lag, what's happening?  Repeated AF assist lamp firing, lens hunting back and forth, or just sitting there?

For me the 70-200 f/2.8L IS II without the AF assist will focus in almost an instant even in very low light as long as there is an area of some kind of contrast.  For example at wedding receptions when I am photographing the first dances as long as I can focus on where the white shirt meets the grooms neck then I am fine.  I also feel really comfortable using AI servo to track the bride and groom entering a very dark reception (so dark I may not be able to see a lot with my own eyes).  Again as long as there is some contrast where maybe the white vest meets the black jacket.  Now that is great but what if I accidentally slip off an area of contrast and my focus point hits a the dark flat area of the tux?  When that happens the lens hunts way out of focus and it takes me a few seconds to recover. In that time I may miss something I really need to get like a smile or a kiss on the cheek.  I have tried expanding the point so the surrounding areas are active as well but I found that causes a lot more hunting.  One point works the best for me.  Now when I used to shoot with the 5D2 I seem to remember being able to focus anywhere because the AF assist would work and it didn't matter if I focused on an area of contrast.  That is why I would like the AF assit to work better with the 5D3.  When I use the 5D3 the AF assit lamp will flash 3 times usually before the focus will lock and blink red.  Now most of the time it focuses much faster than the red confirmation but you really can't trust it all of the time.  I would say 90% of the time that area will be in focus before the red confirmation but it may be the time you really need that it will be slightly out of focus.  The AF assist flashing 3 full times before focus is way too long in my opinion especially since it was better than that in the past with the 5D2.  There has to be a reason and I just want to know why.  If there is a trade off because the AF points are smaller I can live with that and like I said before I have learned to work with what I have but part of me feels like I shouldn't have to. 

I am sure this has been discussed before but I just can't figure out why the 5D3 focuses so slowly when the AF assist is enabled on my flash.  Many times I have been at a wedding reception and I get frustrated with very slow focusing issues related to the AF assist beam.  I have messed around with turning it on and off and there is a very noticeable difference.  For example with my 70-200 as long as I find an area of some contrast it will focus almost instantly even dark situations.  As soon as I turn it on it sometimes takes a full second or two to lock focus.  I remember my 5D2 having improved focus with the AF assist from the 580exII.  Is it a flash issue or a camera issue?  I know there are a lot of you who have the same problems.  Anyone find any solutions?  Most of the time I don't need the AF assist but when it is pitch black and I need it it would be nice if I could focus a little faster.  I just don't understand how the AF can be so great in almost all situations except this one area.  Of course when I call CPS they claim they have never heard of an issue.     
I was wondering how the camera was set up to shoot, was it in one shot mode or AI servo? Ps have you tried using center point only? I am interested in this set up myself but now am a little unsure i want to until the issue is solved.

The AF assist only works with one shot.  I usually use the center point if it is really dark because it works a little better.  I would still get the 5D3 and a few 600ex-rt flashes if I were you.  They work great considering this one issue which is frustrating but you can work around it fairly easily.

This issue is a strange one..... I have tested a 5DIII (paired with a 24-70 MII) with the 600rt in a very dark indoor environment and found it to be equally fast (or slow) in acquiring and confirming focus on either single or multiple focus points with and without the aid of the assist beam.

I have one of the first produced 5DMIII's with the light leak (6th digit is 1)

Do you have any other lenses you could test?  My 70-200 f/2.8L IS II is the one that gives me issues.  My 24mm 1.4L does just about the same with or without the AF assist beam.  With the 70-200 there is a very noticeable difference.   

Happens on the 1DX too...
They didn't care tbh - it's not a problem apparently.

Not on my 1D X.  One flash of the AF assist lamp, then the AF confirm beep happens immediately (and the focus is accurate).  Does that in low light with a low contrast subject, does it in a pitch black room with the camera pointed at a blank white wall.  Works with the center AF point selected, works with an edge AF point selected (only difference is the center point just projects a thin, vertical red strip whereas with an off-center point the full grid is projected).  Same behavior, same fast AF lock with the assist lamp on both a 600EX-RT and a 430EX II.

Do you happen to have a 5D3 as well that you could test?

Not of specific relevance to the thread, but, I recently got some 600EX-RT's and because of this thread I tried the AF assist beam with my 1Ds MkIII and my slowest focusing lens, the 100mm IS L Macro with the limiter switch to full range. This is normally an invitation to hunt for what seems like several seconds as it racks from infinity to MFD and back.

 So I went into a completely dark room with a popcorn ceiling and couldn't believe how fast the AF was! MUCH faster than in normal light even when I started the focus at MFD or infinity, I also tried selecting edge points on the AF, all shots were perfectly focused too, seriously, it focused like the 70-200 f2.8IS in normal light, practically instantly.

So that means it is the 5d3 with any kind of AF assist beam that is causing the issue. That is so frustrating because the camera is great in so many ways and this almost ruins it. 

Lenses / 70-200 f/2.8L IS II focus issue
« on: November 18, 2012, 03:12:05 PM »
I have had my 70-200 for almost two years now and it has performed flawlessly up until now.  I have shot about 50 weddings with it and no issues.  Now it it having problems focusing at 200mm.  70-185 it is very sharp but at 200 it almost looks like slight motion blur or just plain out of focus.  I can get it to focus accurately sometimes but most of the time it is just off.  I am sending it in to Canon but do lenses get out of calibration like that?  It has never been dropped or mistreated.  On another note how often should you just send your lens it to get it checked over and professionally cleaned?   Especially if it is used a lot. 

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