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Author Topic: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus  (Read 3577 times)

lilmsmaggie

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Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« on: April 08, 2013, 02:35:29 PM »
A couple of months ago, I bought a new 5D MK II.  I've only been able to play with it recently.  The first time was about a week ago.  I used it for about 3 hrs. with my 24-105.  Initially, I didn't see any major issues.  Images were a bit soft but not overly so.  Then this past weekend, I had an opportunity to visit a flower farm located in the wine country of Amador county, CA.  I originally only planned on visiting the place on Saturday, but I wasn't happy with the results I achieved (handheld) with my 100 2.8L IS Macro so the next day (Sunday), I went back - this time with a tripod.  Long story short -- I could not get the camera/lens combo to focus.  I mean it looked like I achieved focus but viewing the images later on my computer monitor elicited a WTF !!!

Maybe my eyes are going bad and I'm getting too old for this hobby but nothing and I mean not one image was sharply focused.  When I first got the 100 2.8L IS Macro, I put it on my T3i and I was able to get some really nice handheld shots.  Totally different experience with the 5D MK II.
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Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« on: April 08, 2013, 02:35:29 PM »

pdirestajr

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2013, 03:26:07 PM »
Why not post a few sample images with exif info? Otherwise, it's really hard impossible to give a response that means anything.
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steven kessel

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2013, 03:33:25 PM »
Three questions:

1.  When you took those tripod mounted photos, was the IS on your lens turned on or off?
2.  Were you viewing the image through the viewfinder or the camera's digital display?
3.  What kind of lighting were you shooting in.

Leaving the IS turned on while a lens is tripod mounted can cause blurred images.  The IS is "fooled" by the lack of vibration in those circumstances.

I've found that I get much sharper images with a macro lens when I use the camera's video display in lieu of the viewfinder.  When the video display is turned on the camera's mirror is effectively locked up and vibration from mirror slap is eliminated.

Poor lighting can cause soft focus for obvious reasons.

I have an older non-IS 100mm F 2.8 Macro that I've used with my 7D.  Getting a sharply focused image of a macro shot can be a huge chore, the depth of field is so shallow that the slightest error produces a blurred image.  Generally, I bolt the camera to a tripod and shoot using the video display.  I almost never use the AF in those situations, it just isn't sufficiently precise.  I hand focus everything.  What I really find to be helpful when using the digital display is the magnification feature.  I'll magnify the digital image to 10x and focus with that. That generally gets it sharp.

lilmsmaggie

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2013, 03:54:00 PM »
I could post a few shots but really the shots are seriously out of focus.  It was as if I just pointed the camera and released the shutter without bothering to focus.   :-[


1.  I believe the IS was ON with the tripod mounted shots.
2.  I used the viewfinder to compose/focus.  Center focus point was used.  I used the AF but I would manually tweak focus before releasing the shutter.  Maybe that's the problem.  With the T3i and the 100 2.8L, I just used AF.

3.  Daylight outdoors:  Saturday was overcast but Sunday, skies were clear for the most part.  Time would have been between 10am and noon both days.

The Amador Flower Farm is essentially a huge outdoor nursery.


Three questions:

1.  When you took those tripod mounted photos, was the IS on your lens turned on or off?
2.  Were you viewing the image through the viewfinder or the camera's digital display?
3.  What kind of lighting were you shooting in.

Leaving the IS turned on while a lens is tripod mounted can cause blurred images.  The IS is "fooled" by the lack of vibration in those circumstances.

I've found that I get much sharper images with a macro lens when I use the camera's video display in lieu of the viewfinder.  When the video display is turned on the camera's mirror is effectively locked up and vibration from mirror slap is eliminated.

Poor lighting can cause soft focus for obvious reasons.

I have an older non-IS 100mm F 2.8 Macro that I've used with my 7D.  Getting a sharply focused image of a macro shot can be a huge chore, the depth of field is so shallow that the slightest error produces a blurred image.  Generally, I bolt the camera to a tripod and shoot using the video display.  I almost never use the AF in those situations, it just isn't sufficiently precise.  I hand focus everything.  What I really find to be helpful when using the digital display is the magnification feature.  I'll magnify the digital image to 10x and focus with that. That generally gets it sharp.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 04:13:18 PM by lilmsmaggie »
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timmy_650

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2013, 04:15:39 PM »
What F-stop were you shooting at? When I use my 100 L macro I like to shoot at like at least F8 if i am shooting macro. But I will stay 100L macro is a very touchy lens but I have only been using it for a few weeks.

distant.star

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2013, 04:29:25 PM »
.
Sounds like Daffodil Hill. Fun place to shoot.

Perhaps part of the issue is simply DOF difference between crop and full-frame sensors.

I rarely try macro handheld anymore. My rule has become tripod and live view with manual focus.

If I were you, I'd try it again on a tripod, IS off, use live view and f/8.0 aperture with a remote shutter actuation. If you know you achieved good focus in live view and it's not sharp when you view the file on the computer, something else is going on.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2013, 04:41:51 PM »
The first day I get a camera, I check the autofocus.  With the 5D MK II, it is possible an fine tune it, or if its really bad, return it.
 
Many use  Reikan FoCal Pro which will do the check and adjust for each of your lenses automatically on the 5D MK II.  You can also use liveview and live autofocus, which should be very accurate.  If its sharp with liveview, you have a focus error.
 
Its always possible that the camera needs servicing, but see if it needs fine tuning first Its called Autofocus Micro Adjust or AFMA

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2013, 04:41:51 PM »

lilmsmaggie

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2013, 05:57:32 PM »
What F-stop were you shooting at? When I use my 100 L macro I like to shoot at like at least F8 if i am shooting macro. But I will stay 100L macro is a very touchy lens but I have only been using it for a few weeks.

The first time I used the 100 2.8L was about 2 days after I received it.  I attached it to the T3i and went over to Filoli mansion:  http://www.filoli.org   

I used the lens wide open on daffodils and tulips.  This past weekend, I stopped it down to f4 and f5.6 -- thinking I should be able to achieve better results.  NOT   :'(



.
Sounds like Daffodil Hill. Fun place to shoot.

Perhaps part of the issue is simply DOF difference between crop and full-frame sensors.



Daffodil Hill came up in a conversation I had with a fellow photographer on Saturday at Amador  8)

I actually was thinking along these lines since the results I got with the T3i were so much better.

I have some pics taken with both the T3i and the 5D MKII that I can post later.  The differences are quite apparent especially when you consider the T3i/100 2.8L shots are all handheld.  To be perfectly honest, I'm ashamed to post the pics from the 5D MKII -- they're that bad.
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Eli

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2013, 06:35:01 PM »
2.  I used the viewfinder to compose/focus.  Center focus point was used.  I used the AF but I would manually tweak focus before releasing the shutter.  Maybe that's the problem.  With the T3i and the 100 2.8L, I just used AF.

Do you have any shots without manually tweaking the focus yourself?
Shooting macro handheld with such shallow dof, it's best not to focus recompose, use the outer focus points, they're fine for still shooting in good lighting, or crop accordingly.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2013, 07:17:25 PM »
Have you checked the AFMA?  If you're tweaking focus with the viewfinder, is your diopter set properly for your vision?
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Don Haines

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2013, 07:26:45 PM »
There is a small dial beside your optical viewfinder used to adjust the viewfinder to suit your particular eyesight ( diopter adjustment) if you have inadvertently changed it it will make everything look out of focus.... That's the first think I would check.

Second, set yourself up on a tripod, let the camera focus automatically, and use the live view zoomed in all the way to verify focus... If this works, then the camera should be fine.

Thirdly, if you have been playing around with the camera settings and may have changed something without knowing it, you can always force a reset to factory settings.
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wickidwombat

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2013, 07:37:51 PM »
1.  I believe the IS was ON with the tripod mounted shots.

thereis your problem right there
it doesnt have tripod sensing IS you need to turn IS off on this lens when its on a tripod
i hate it when i forget to do this :(
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lilmsmaggie

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2013, 09:27:28 PM »
I'm probably guilty of accidentally hitting the diopter adjustment.  That occurred to me today but at the time I was disappointed and frustrated that it didn't register to check and for some reason I assumed that the IS on this lens was tripod sensing ( Doh!  ::) )    Since I don't have any custom settings, going back to the camera's default settings would at least put me back on a clean footing but I want to play around a bit and see if I can figure out what I might be doing wrong.

I tried uploading some jpegs from the T3i but I think the CR server is experiencing a lot of traffic or the files were too big or both.  I only looked at the 5D MKII files in ACR.  I didn't bother trying to process them.
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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2013, 09:27:28 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2013, 09:31:38 PM »
I'm probably guilty of accidentally hitting the diopter adjustment.  That occurred to me today but at the time I was disappointed and frustrated that it didn't register to check and for some reason I assumed that the IS on this lens was tripod sensing ( Doh!  ::) )    Since I don't have any custom settings, going back to the camera's default settings would at least put me back on a clean footing but I want to play around a bit and see if I can figure out what I might be doing wrong.

I tried uploading some jpegs from the T3i but I think the CR server is experiencing a lot of traffic or the files were too big or both.  I only looked at the 5D MKII files in ACR.  I didn't bother trying to process them.

A mis-adjusted diopter will not cause you to be off when manually focusing.  You still pick the point of best focus.  Its also pretty obvious, since you cannot get a sharp image thru the viewfinder, but the camera image is fine.

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2013, 10:17:06 PM »
Why don't you shoot a shot or two (macro) with the 100L at home. Tripod mounted and do not raise the center column. Oh! And IS off. Shoot one with AF and one manual focus (after fixing the diopter setting). Actually shoot three. One with live view. Same exact target. Then if you still can't figure the issue post them here.

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Re: Maybe I need to relearn how to focus
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2013, 10:17:06 PM »