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Author Topic: 6D Autofocus not impressive  (Read 81905 times)

TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #270 on: June 23, 2013, 08:16:14 AM »
P.S. Not trying to be disrespectful, but it seems to me that the primary posters that keep questioning the AF system on the 6D are those that don't actually own the body.

That would be me? The general problem as I see it is that people who have shelled out a lot of $$$ for a dslr might have a bias toward liking the camera, as of course it's a good camera, as is any current dlsr. Fortunately have a very matter-of-fact approach and seem to have a lot of experience with the 6d, but in general I'd be hesitant to prefer any given "owner" opinion over a few hours of "non-owner" testing, esp. if people don't also own the competition (7d, 5d3).

Testing one in shop or using a friends' is not really a substitute for having the camera, calibrating a lens, and becoming familiar with using it.  I'm not saying that you can have no knowledge, but you certainly don't have the knowledge that I have acquired by owning two the cameras and taking thousands upon thousands of photos with them in a variety of conditions.

My contribution to this thread was that the af point spread is far smaller than on the crop cameras, and thus focusing & recomposing might get trickier with a small dof, lowering the keeper rate with spot-on af @100% crop. I explicitly suspected that my problems when trying the 6d also have to do with a lack of experience/technique - but even your two cameras are bound to have the af points in the same place as all the other 5d2/6d. So I really appreciate your great input and reviews, but in this case I don't see how extended usage of a camera changes the position of the af points :-o

Here is my one issue with your contribution to this thread:  I think you are very knowledgeable and well informed (that isn't the problem).  My problem is that you while you say you are planning to get the 6D, I read you doing little other than continually criticizing it.  If you really want the camera, fine, then buy it.  If you don't really want it, then buy another a different camera...and that's also fine.

And, with all due respect, the implication that owner's bias trumps the experience they have through ownership is fallacious.  If I own something that isn't actually good, I quickly sell it and replace it with something that is.  It's that simple.
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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #270 on: June 23, 2013, 08:16:14 AM »

Marsu42

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #271 on: June 23, 2013, 09:25:11 AM »
My problem is that you while you say you are planning to get the 6D, I read you doing little other than continually criticizing it.

In this case, you really might want to try to read again, I even often put a disclaimer under my posts to prevent just what you implied now. - I went out of my way writing about the 6d being a good camera over crop or 5d2, even topping the 5d3 in some things: http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=11309.0

If you really want the camera, fine, then buy it.  If you don't really want it, then buy another a different camera...and that's also fine.

Or if I simply want to wait some for the prices in Germany to drop (€100 in the last *week*, here it's still *more* expensive than the d600), that's also fine. While I'm doing that, I feel free to contribute to any threads here from people wondering about the same thing I wondered about, often pointing to my positive 6d fact list mentioned above. In fact, I'd feel free to post even if I'd decide never to buy a 6d because I'd think crop is sufficient for me and let other people know about my decision making process :-)

And, with all due respect, the implication that owner's bias trumps the experience they have through ownership is fallacious.  If I own something that isn't actually good, I quickly sell it and replace it with something that is.  It's that simple.

Without putting too fine a point on it, in my very humble opinion you are mistaken because there is no alternative to the 6d with Canon and in this price range except for the outdated 5d2. So what would someone who's unhappy with the 6d replace it with? Sell all glass and buy Nikon? Spend €1000 + 6d loss more and get a 5d3? See - it isn't that simple. Plus many people are simply attached to things once they bought it, I know I am.

As for what trumps what - I'd take my privilege to evaluate this on a case by case basis. In your case, experience certainly trumps owner's bias (if there is any at all). In other cases where someone does low light photography, then reads about lacking servo af performance, goes outside, snaps something and posts the (one?) keeper saying "it's just fine" I'm not so sure.

TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #272 on: June 23, 2013, 09:34:49 AM »
Fine.  I stand by my points and opinion, and you are equally entitled to yours.  I will argue no more - I've got better things to to do  8)
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Marsu42

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #273 on: June 23, 2013, 09:37:58 AM »
Fine.  I stand by my points and opinion, and you are equally entitled to yours.  I will argue no more - I've got better things to to do  8)

Actually, I also have :-p (not that I'd think you'd wanted to imply otherwise), I just felt the need to reply to your criticism since I value your contributions to CR, have fun shooting!

TWI by Dustin Abbott

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #274 on: June 23, 2013, 12:46:12 PM »
Fine.  I stand by my points and opinion, and you are equally entitled to yours.  I will argue no more - I've got better things to to do  8)

Actually, I also have :-p (not that I'd think you'd wanted to imply otherwise), I just felt the need to reply to your criticism since I value your contributions to CR, have fun shooting!

Agreed!
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robbinzo

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #275 on: June 23, 2013, 01:29:30 PM »
I've had a play with the 6D and it seems reasonable. Just playing with it in the shop, I did manage to get a 24-105 lens to hunt for focus using the centre point when I aimed it at a black poorly lit cupboard door. However, I doubt that I will be taking many shots of black poorly lit cupboard doors in my life.
I also realise that lenses make a big difference to the autofocus. On my current 550D for example, the 100L macro focuses in an instant whereas the 50 f/1.4 is relatively slothful.
I've been humming and hawing over the 5D III and the 6D for a while and I will probably go for the 6D just for the wifi capabilities. Sometimes I don't have time to faff about with RAW images and it would be nice just to be able to send some jpegs direct to my tab.
What has been putting me off the 6D is the autofocus. I was not expecting the 5D III autofocus system but I do think that cross type points should be standard - like on the latest rebel body. 11 cross type autofocus points would have been perfect for this camera and would have quietened down the nay-sayers. And yes in some situations the 6D autofocus system is just fine but in others it is wanting. I have small children. They rarely sit still. My 550D rarely copes with them running towards me when I think I'm sneakily photographing them. My Samsung smart phone compares favourably with my 550D in terms of nailing focus. Think about that. Granted, image quality is nowhere near but the best camera is the one you have with you and frankly carrying around a 5D III just on the off chance of getting a snap of my son on a swing in the park is not going to happen.
For me as a non-pro, I want one body. I also would like full frame so I won't be getting the 7D.
For us lowly amateurs, a camera needs to be a bit of a jack of all trades because we just can't be spending thousands on gear when it doesn't get used enough to justify having it (read: the missus would kill me).
Therefore, it is my humble opinion that Canon could have tweaked the autofocus system for the 6D to be just a little bit better.
Let's not forget that the 6D is an expensive camera. At £1500 in the UK, that to most people is a very expensive camera.
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Sporgon

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #276 on: June 23, 2013, 04:37:53 PM »
I've had a play with the 6D and it seems reasonable. Just playing with it in the shop, I did manage to get a 24-105 lens to hunt for focus using the centre point when I aimed it at a black poorly lit cupboard door. However, I doubt that I will be taking many shots of black poorly lit cupboard doors in my life.
I also realise that lenses make a big difference to the autofocus. On my current 550D for example, the 100L macro focuses in an instant whereas the 50 f/1.4 is relatively slothful.
I've been humming and hawing over the 5D III and the 6D for a while and I will probably go for the 6D just for the wifi capabilities. Sometimes I don't have time to faff about with RAW images and it would be nice just to be able to send some jpegs direct to my tab.
What has been putting me off the 6D is the autofocus. I was not expecting the 5D III autofocus system but I do think that cross type points should be standard - like on the latest rebel body. 11 cross type autofocus points would have been perfect for this camera and would have quietened down the nay-sayers. And yes in some situations the 6D autofocus system is just fine but in others it is wanting. I have small children. They rarely sit still. My 550D rarely copes with them running towards me when I think I'm sneakily photographing them. My Samsung smart phone compares favourably with my 550D in terms of nailing focus. Think about that. Granted, image quality is nowhere near but the best camera is the one you have with you and frankly carrying around a 5D III just on the off chance of getting a snap of my son on a swing in the park is not going to happen.
For me as a non-pro, I want one body. I also would like full frame so I won't be getting the 7D.
For us lowly amateurs, a camera needs to be a bit of a jack of all trades because we just can't be spending thousands on gear when it doesn't get used enough to justify having it (read: the missus would kill me).
Therefore, it is my humble opinion that Canon could have tweaked the autofocus system for the 6D to be just a little bit better.
Let's not forget that the 6D is an expensive camera. At £1500 in the UK, that to most people is a very expensive camera.

There's a reason why the smart phone copes 'reasonably well' in your situation. The tiny format has massive depth of field.

I know you were joking about focusing on a black door, but try manually focusing on something with no definition; it's all but impossible. A cameras 'range finder' style AF is no different, whether it be x type or not.

I agree this you that the 6D is, in its own right, an expensive camera.

It's also a damn fine one. And there's no 'owners pride' with me. I don't actually buy or own the gear I use.

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #276 on: June 23, 2013, 04:37:53 PM »

Wildfire

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #277 on: June 23, 2013, 05:35:27 PM »
What has been putting me off the 6D is the autofocus. I was not expecting the 5D III autofocus system but I do think that cross type points should be standard - like on the latest rebel body. 11 cross type autofocus points would have been perfect for this camera and would have quietened down the nay-sayers.

I agree with you on this, however I will say that all points work great in good light. It's only when things get darker do I start to rely on the center point only. I recently got a few 600EX-RTs and the AF assist grid really makes focusing in the dark with the outer points no problem at all now.

I believe that Canon made the decision to leave out the cross-type AF points to make room for the WiFi and GPS. Unfortunately, I don't use either of those features often so I would have preferred the superior autofocus instead.

robbinzo

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #278 on: June 23, 2013, 06:20:55 PM »
Sporgon, I agree that the 6D is a lovely camera. That's not in doubt. I have almost made up my mind to buy one. For me IQ, ISO performance and wifi are all excellent 6D features.
I should have also said that the focus seemed quite snappy to me indoors in average shop lighting. I only managed to get the focus to hunt on something, like you say, that is very difficult (and frankly pointless).
All the AF points seemed pretty good to me. But then again the autofocus on my 550D has mostly worked well, except in low light.
Personally my own opinion (opinions are like belly buttons - everyone has one but they don't hold much water) is that the 6D should have a better AF system. If it did I'd already own one.
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robbinzo

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #279 on: June 23, 2013, 06:50:33 PM »

I believe that Canon made the decision to leave out the cross-type AF points to make room for the WiFi and GPS. Unfortunately, I don't use either of those features often so I would have preferred the superior autofocus instead.

+1
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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #280 on: June 23, 2013, 06:58:34 PM »
FWIW, I picked up a 6D from GetItDigital on ebay for $1542 during a recent price war. USA warranty already registered with Canon. I already owned a 5Dll, a 7D and a few older bodies. I have only shot with it a few days now, in fact I haven't even gotten around to doing AFMA with FoCal yet. It is a great camera ergonomically and in low light. While the AF is not overly impressive, it is plenty good enough for me. I will be selling the 5Dll (hopefully for more than I paid for the 6D).

Marsu42

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #281 on: June 23, 2013, 08:35:03 PM »
I believe that Canon made the decision to leave out the cross-type AF points to make room for the WiFi and GPS.

I hope I'll not be reprimanded for mentioning this, but the af array is on the *bottom* of the camera- afaik major space (and production costs) saving only occur due to making the af array smaller, i.e. like 5d2 and not like 5d3 ... here's good article on this by our very own Dr. Neuro: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/photography-tips/Canon-EOS-DSLR-Autofocus-Explained.aspx

As for the top: Canon didn't include a flash (like in the Nikon d600) because that's where the gps/wifi antennas are, for the same reason the casing is not full metal unlike the other Canon ff cameras.

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #282 on: June 23, 2013, 10:28:37 PM »
As for the top: Canon didn't include a flash (like in the Nikon d600) because that's where the gps/wifi antennas are, for the same reason the casing is not full metal unlike the other Canon ff cameras.

Other way around.  They put the GPS and Wi-Fi antennas there because they didn't include a flash.  I work for a company that builds devices that include GPS and Wi-Fi in them.  Although it is true that you can't place the antennas just anywhere, for the most part, it really doesn't matter much where you put GPS or Wi-Fi antennas so long as it isn't wrapped in a Faraday cage (metal case) on all six sides.  They certainly don't need to be on top for any particular reason.

Similarly the case is plastic because Canon was trying to hit a price point.  There's no real problem with putting antennas inside a partially metal case.  Look at an iPhone 5 or any model of MacBook Pro for great examples of this—metal back, glass front.  Wi-Fi and (on the iPhone) GPS work just fine, and GPS does not stop working if you hold the thing vertically, i.e. there's no need for the GPS antenna to be on top.

Canon could have just as easily put the antennas under a slightly enlarged plastic display bezel on the back face like Apple does, and they could have made the body out of metal, and they could have included a flash.  They didn't bother to do so because they were making it out of plastic to hit a price point anyway, and they had all that extra body real estate where the flash would have been had they decided to include one.

I would assume that a non-full-frame DSLR with GPS would not make the same tradeoff with regards to the flash.  However, I would expect such devices to still be made of plastic, not because of the antennas, but because it is the difference between ten or twelve cents of moulded ABS plastic and tens of dollars worth of milled magnesium alloy.

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #282 on: June 23, 2013, 10:28:37 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #283 on: June 24, 2013, 03:10:42 AM »
I would assume that a non-full-frame DSLR with GPS would not make the same tradeoff with regards to the flash.  However, I would expect such devices to still be made of plastic, not because of the antennas, but because it is the difference between ten or twelve cents of moulded ABS plastic and tens of dollars worth of milled magnesium alloy.

Great information, thanks! Though for my 2ct you are putting too much weight into production costs: how much metal there is in this price class is mainly marketing because it's the perceived "sturdiness" of the camera, even if this probably isn't backed by reality. And the primary reason for Canon leaving out the flash out of their ff cameras will be that's it's their tradition and thus they can get away with it: it's generating even more profit to make users buy a €300-€500 unit just to serve as a flash master than to leave out some metal. For this reason, I'm not so sure they won't add a pop-up flash in the 70d/7d2 if it's possible to include it alongside gps/wifi with no (big?) loss of signal strength.

dgatwood

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #284 on: June 25, 2013, 12:02:52 AM »
Great information, thanks! Though for my 2ct you are putting too much weight into production costs: how much metal there is in this price class is mainly marketing because it's the perceived "sturdiness" of the camera, even if this probably isn't backed by reality.

Fair point.  There's certainly a prestige factor.

That said, I wouldn't underestimate the additional manufacturing costs.  I haven't actually seen any of the metal cameras personally, but I'm assuming that a single piece of metal makes up the entire shell or very nearly so.  If so, then in addition to the manufacturing cost, you also have the cost of assembling the guts inside a one-piece case instead of being able to assemble the case in pieces around the guts.  Depending on what their manufacturing processes look like, the additional costs could be considerable (or not), particularly if the milled design requires a lot of hand assembly where the plastic design does not.  Obviously I don't know whether that's an issue or not.

That said, there's a pretty easy way to know with some degree of certainty.  Compare price points and sales volume.  If price differences map neatly onto materials differences, it is probably almost pure marketing.  If volume differences map neatly onto materials differences, it is probably a manufacturing constraint.  If price and volume map neatly onto one another, guess, and you'll be right about half the time.  :D


And the primary reason for Canon leaving out the flash out of their ff cameras will be that's it's their tradition and thus they can get away with it: it's generating even more profit to make users buy a €300-€500 unit just to serve as a flash master than to leave out some metal. For this reason, I'm not so sure they won't add a pop-up flash in the 70d/7d2 if it's possible to include it alongside gps/wifi with no (big?) loss of signal strength.

Quite true, hence my comment to the effect of "They didn't think the target market cared".  :-)

Edit: Hmm.  It looks like I actually deleted that comment in the midst of rewriting that previous post.  Oh well.  But yes, that's almost certainly exactly the reason they didn't include a flash.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 12:06:13 AM by dgatwood »

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Re: 6D Autofocus not impressive
« Reply #284 on: June 25, 2013, 12:02:52 AM »