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Messages - cervantes

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@Cervantes: Did you ever try to shoot birds or any kind of sport with AF Expansion mode including 4 or 8 additional surrounding points? I never know which mode is better - Zone or AF Expansion. Can you tell why AF Expension mode would not be appropriate for birds or sports?

Otherwise, very good and informative article!

No, I never use AF Expansion mode for the following reasons:
  • AF expansion is basically single point AF where the camera uses the surrounding points only if the center point can't achieve AF (this is basically what East Wind Photography said).
  • AF expansion covers an area that is too small for my taste - In fact I would love it if I could select an AF mode that uses all 20 points on the left / right side of the frame. Or even better if I could define my own zones via a custom function!
  • When you move the expanded AF point the movement happens point by point (ten clicks from the leftmost AF point to the rightmost AF point) - thus very slowly. Zone immediately switches to the next zone (two clicks from the leftmost Zone to the rightmost Zone).
  • There is an option in the AF menu where you can turn all the modes off that you don't need. For my action setting C1 I turned off everything except Zone AF, 61pt AF and single point AF (which can't be turned off unfortunately - otherwise I would). It is much faster to select what you need when you don't have to scroll through everything.

Thus, if one is tracking a bird with AF Point Expansion in AI Servo mode, this would be quite similar to Zone AF. And try to have the main AF point near the eye, let's say.   Or not?

Probably true. But keeping in mind all the disadvantages above - why don't you simply use Zone AF which will get the job done for sure?

Thanks for the input by the way!

Great article, especially the undocumented features.  I need to try this but theoretically if you enable orientation linked af point you should also be able to set independent af-on settings for portrait or landscape mode...that is have two selectable zone af points in portrait mode and zone af and 61pt in landscape mode.

I tried and used orientation linked AF point but the thing is that sometimes you change AF mode setting (e.g. from Zone AF to 61pt AF) in landscape and these changes are then not in effect when you switch to portrait which becomes kind of frustrating and very complicated - so I stopped using it.

And you can further customize your use modes by recording your ideal BIF fast action settings to custom mode 3 at the end of the mode dial.  This will let you switch to this mode quickly without looking and will also save all of your customized settings....one may actually want to use different af and af-on settings for shooting a wedding or portraits or even bif with a different lens.

Yes, that's exactly what I do. C1 is my action mode. You also said to leave AF case 1-5 in their default state and use 6 for BIF settings - a good idea but not even necessary because when you save your settings to C1 and then overwrite AF case 2 while inside C1 mode, case 2 will only be overwritten in C1 mode and not in Av, Tv, M etc!

Thanks for your input!

Wow, thank you all for the positive response!

@DominoDude: I'm sure that there is some useful info for 7D users also. I would personally be interested if the 7D also supports my 2 zone back button / shutter button AF method. Let me please know when you find out!

@Rienzphotoz: I wrote the article over at dpreview because CR is kind of a pain when it comes to incorporating pictures with captions, a hierarchy for headlines etc. I think a link is the best solution.

Photography Technique / Re: Focusing
« on: February 06, 2014, 08:31:48 AM »

I published an article about Configuring your 5D Mark III AF for fast action.
There is also quite a big section about back-button AF AND a quite different way to use it than most guys do.

You maybe want to check it out!



Photography Technique / Configuring your 5D Mark III AF for fast action
« on: February 06, 2014, 01:18:02 AM »

a week ago I posted some of my pictures to the birds in flight thread and some people asked me how to configure the 5D3 AF to get these results. Since this is a complex topic I wasn't able to simply respond but I took the time to create an article at dpreview.com. If you own a 5D3 or 1Dx you maybe wanna take a look here:


If you own a different camera there will maybe also be some useful tips for you. I would be be delighted if you took a look and maybe even left a comment here or over at dpreview.

Have a nice day!

Animal Kingdom / Re: BIRD IN FLIGHT ONLY -- share your BIF photos here
« on: January 27, 2014, 08:04:06 AM »
@TrabimanUK, candyman: Sure can - but this is gonna be a longer post. I also have to check on how I did it exactly on these shots that I posted.

I could probably create a new topic on how to configure the 5D3 for really fast action in a couple of days if some more people are interested.

Animal Kingdom / Re: BIRD IN FLIGHT ONLY -- share your BIF photos here
« on: January 27, 2014, 03:35:38 AM »
Thanks Viper28, candyman and CarlTN!

@candyman: Yes it is quite incredible what the 5D3 auto focus is capable of when correctly configured.

Animal Kingdom / Re: BIRD IN FLIGHT ONLY -- share your BIF photos here
« on: January 27, 2014, 01:10:22 AM »
And some more...

Animal Kingdom / Re: BIRD IN FLIGHT ONLY -- share your BIF photos here
« on: January 27, 2014, 01:07:58 AM »
Ok, here are some of mine. All taken with the 5D3 + 500L II

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: EOS-1D X Firmware Version 2.0.3 Released
« on: January 09, 2014, 12:42:47 AM »
I can't believe they finally did it!!! Especially #4 was on the wishlist of so many photographers including myself! I WANT THIS FOR MY 5D3 PLEEEEEEEEEASE!  :P

Lighting / Re: Shaping the Lite
« on: December 12, 2013, 04:14:44 AM »
Thanks for the comparison neuro! Is there a chance that you can do the same test with a better beamer attached? Would be interesting to see the beam spread then.


Lenses / Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« on: December 12, 2013, 03:16:03 AM »
Am I the only one around here...

...who thinks a 400 5.6 is not a super telephoto lens?


Animal Kingdom / Re: A lesson I learned the last weekend
« on: December 10, 2013, 03:05:41 AM »
Hi Carl,

well, when I said warm I actually meant the colors are warm - the temperatures here in Austria (NOT Australia) definitely aren't.

I used the 5D3 and 500L II.

Animal Kingdom / A lesson I learned the last weekend
« on: December 10, 2013, 02:38:04 AM »
Hi everyone,

last weekend I was kind of unmotivated when it comes to photography. I didn't have a clue where to go and what to shoot so I simply went to a nearby lake where one can always find lots of ducks. Yea I know - Ducks? BOOORING you might say - which was exactly the thought I had when I strolled there. But at least I got one thing right: I went to the lake at the late afternoon hours because I knew that there would be some gorgeous warm sunlight and intense color.

After looking at the results I was actually pretty impressed. Please take a look for yourself and leave a comment if you like!


I think this shooting was a nice reminder to me (and now to all of you hopefully) that even if you shoot completely ordinary things you can get some pretty cool results. And now go out and shoot if you can.


Lenses / Re: Wildlife Lens feedback - experience with 500mm f4?
« on: November 16, 2013, 10:56:47 AM »
I own the 500II since about half a year and I can only say that this lens cured my GAS. There is simply no room left to improve gearwise, after a V2 supertele lens. I use it exclusively handheld and I have to disagree with Jim Saunders -> I can handhold it all day long. Of course you can't hold it to the eye the whole time but you can usually find a place to support your elbow (your knee for example).

I wrote a post about my experiences a couple of months ago. You can find it here:

Have fun!

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