October 31, 2014, 04:57:42 PM

Author Topic: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it  (Read 61083 times)

J.R.

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #330 on: May 05, 2014, 03:02:59 PM »
Are there really two threads going on about this camera's AF pushing 20 pages now? 

Why can't people just agree to disagree, and accept the fact the 6D is a great camera for what it is - an entry level FF body with great IQ but with simplified AF.

Sometimes one tool is better than another based on needs/wants.

To put things in perspective, my SLRs are playing backup to my EOS M at the moment  :o

Actually there appears to be two threads going on.  One is about the 5D3 (the hostile hijacking of the original thread), the other is about the 6D (the original thread).  I've tried to agree to disagree, but that's not always possible.

Unfortunately there is not a satisfactory amount of practical information about specifically the 6D's autofocus, and how best to use it, in this thread.  I've tried to share my impression of its capabilities (and limitations) based on 13 months' experience and 15,000 shutter cycles, on my 6D.  I have used 8 lenses (9 if you count a TC combination) on it over this period of time.  I feel there are a few others who briefly contributed to this thread, that I could learn more from.  But they might have been soured by the thread's hijacking.

As for your DSLR playing backup to an EOS M, I'm not sure why that would be.  Whatever works for you.

Just to be clear, the OP in this thread DID ask about the 5D3 vs. the 6D.

+1 ... but then, you see what you want to see. Not that it is surprising though.

Well that would make the title of the thread misleading...it should have been "6D vs 5D3 autofocus capabilities, let's bust a hole in one while heaping fanboy praise on the other one."  That is what would not be surprising...And since you want to be clear, how about reading the context of what the OP was saying?  He said he didn't want quirky autofocus behavior with fast lenses, and yet said he also didn't intend to make a living from his photography.  That last part to me, was code for "I don't think I need to spend the extra 1000 Euros to get the better autofocus".  For my part, I posted a difficult shot in very low light with a fast wide angle prime lens, that achieved the focus plane I wanted, via focus recompose on the 6D.  A shot that the OP would never need to attempt, actually...The 6D has its quirks, and the AF sensor is its biggest compromise.  Everybody knows that.  To keep belaboring it, is silly.  But the first post in this thread by the OP, did not scream out a need to buy a 5D3.  Clarity is a wonderful thing.

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #330 on: May 05, 2014, 03:02:59 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #331 on: May 11, 2014, 08:29:25 AM »
Fyi & to probably end this thread in a matter of fact style :-p ... I think I have found the solution to the "abysmal 6d tracking on movement towards the camera" problem. Actually it's not that surprising:

The culprit is the C.Fn II.1 "Tracking sensitivity" setting, it needs to be set to "responsive" for movement that changes the distance slowly and is more within the dof (like a running horse around you) while only a more "locked on" setting gives you >1/3 keepers for quickly changing distance movement (like a horse running towards you).

Personally, I have changed my Magic Lantern installation to link this C.Fn to a key so I can quickly toggle both scenarios - but if you don't know what to expect and have to go into the Canon gui this is a pita. I don't know if tracking on "real" af system like 1dx/5d3 is more intelligent though or just more complex.

mnclayshooter

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #332 on: July 11, 2014, 04:41:09 PM »
Basically I've been waiting a while to see the summary of this thread.  Seeing as how it's an old thread and no new replies (or snipes) have been made in a while...

It seems that the gist of the thread is this:

People who own the 6D and use it (including me) seem to be generally pretty pleased with it's performance and likely (I don't want to speak for everyone, of course) appreciate its price-point to usable value ratio.  I personally haven't been able to generate income (haven't really tried either) using my gear, therefore it hit the right buttons for me to pull the trigger and buy it.  The 6D works fine for what I use it for, so far, mostly landscape but also several nature photos of birds, bugs, and other wildlife running around.  I don't recall any major missed opportunities for photos due to the AF system using any of my lenses.  I'll leave it at that. 

The other camp of people are basically used to the higher-end equipment they carry with them with what has been argued (and usually agreed) to be a faster, more capable and undeniably more expensive AF system. 

Nobody is an idiot for the equipment they bought, no matter what has been implied by some posts either pro or con regarding the 6D.  I can say this, after having used (but unfortunately not owned) all of: 5DIII, 5DII, 7D and now 6D that they have different capabilities and EVERY photographer has different abilities, including financial.

My final 2 cents:  Use your gear.  Spend less time arguing spec data and more time taking photos.  Learn what your gear is capable of and worry less about what someone else says it shouldn't be able to do, despite it still being able to do it or come usually impercievably close to doing whatever it was that they said it can't.  Try borrowing or renting gear and using it.  Take a personal challenge to get an old rebel out and a shorty 40 and walk around shooting all day with it.  Learn to use the gear in your hand, regardless of brand/specs/reviews.  You'll probably be suprised, you might even find yourself enjoying photography in the end.   

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MichaelHodges

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #333 on: July 11, 2014, 07:24:14 PM »
I find the 6D to have better focus than any crop camera (and I've owned them all). If the 6D can nail bighorn rams unpredictably smashing heads, it can keep up with your kids and track race cars.




That was taken at 5 degrees, dawn. My 7D was completely useless in this scenario.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 07:30:48 PM by MichaelHodges »

neuroanatomist

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #334 on: July 11, 2014, 10:49:24 PM »
I find the 6D to have better focus than any crop camera (and I've owned them all). If the 6D can nail bighorn rams unpredictably smashing heads, it can keep up with your kids and track race cars.

Have you tried it on kids?  It couldn't keep up with mine... 

Like the 5DII before it, it does a decent job at tracking subjects moving across the frame, like the bighorns in your excellent image.  Where the 5DII and 6D fail are when a subject is moving toward or away from the camera (away is worse).   I just processed a burst sequence taken with my 1D X and 70-200/2.8L IS II of a gymnast running straight at me and vaulting from springboard onto the pad (which I was standing behind).  All 26 shots in the burst are in crisp focus (lighting was pretty poor, shots were at 1/800 s, f/3.2, ISO 12800).  The 7D would have gotten many of the shots in focus (but they'd have been unusable due to the ISO noise or the motion blur with a slower shutter speed.  The noise from the 6D would have been acceptable, but after the first couple of frames, most of the shots would have been backfocused (and I'd have had far fewer shots, of course). 
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bdunbar79

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #335 on: July 11, 2014, 10:55:24 PM »
I find the 6D to have better focus than any crop camera (and I've owned them all). If the 6D can nail bighorn rams unpredictably smashing heads, it can keep up with your kids and track race cars.

Have you tried it on kids?  It couldn't keep up with mine... 

Like the 5DII before it, it does a decent job at tracking subjects moving across the frame, like the bighorns in your excellent image.  Where the 5DII and 6D fail are when a subject is moving toward or away from the camera (away is worse).   I just processed a burst sequence taken with my 1D X and 70-200/2.8L IS II of a gymnast running straight at me and vaulting from springboard onto the pad (which I was standing behind).  All 26 shots in the burst are in crisp focus (lighting was pretty poor, shots were at 1/800 s, f/3.2, ISO 12800).  The 7D would have gotten many of the shots in focus (but they'd have been unusable due to the ISO noise or the motion blur with a slower shutter speed.  The noise from the 6D would have been acceptable, but after the first couple of frames, most of the shots would have been backfocused (and I'd have had far fewer shots, of course).

I found this to be true in diving and in long jump/triple jump.  If I put zone AF on the 1Dx/70-200 f/2.8L II IS combo, it will track the diver from the jump, up in the air, and all the way down into the water.  In long jump, I can get the entire sequence in sharp focus as the jumper springs off the runway and all the way into the sand, even at f/3.2.  I am not aware of any other Canon camera that can do that, because I tried it with the 7D, 1D4, and 5D3, and none of them could do it as well.  I sold my 7D, 1D4, and 5D3, and bought another 1Dx as a result.
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Dylan777

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #336 on: July 12, 2014, 01:54:17 AM »
I find the 6D to have better focus than any crop camera (and I've owned them all). If the 6D can nail bighorn rams unpredictably smashing heads, it can keep up with your kids and track race cars.

Have you tried it on kids?  It couldn't keep up with mine... 

Like the 5DII before it, it does a decent job at tracking subjects moving across the frame, like the bighorns in your excellent image.  Where the 5DII and 6D fail are when a subject is moving toward or away from the camera (away is worse).   I just processed a burst sequence taken with my 1D X and 70-200/2.8L IS II of a gymnast running straight at me and vaulting from springboard onto the pad (which I was standing behind).  All 26 shots in the burst are in crisp focus (lighting was pretty poor, shots were at 1/800 s, f/3.2, ISO 12800).  The 7D would have gotten many of the shots in focus (but they'd have been unusable due to the ISO noise or the motion blur with a slower shutter speed.  The noise from the 6D would have been acceptable, but after the first couple of frames, most of the shots would have been backfocused (and I'd have had far fewer shots, of course).

I found this to be true in diving and in long jump/triple jump.  If I put zone AF on the 1Dx/70-200 f/2.8L II IS combo, it will track the diver from the jump, up in the air, and all the way down into the water.  In long jump, I can get the entire sequence in sharp focus as the jumper springs off the runway and all the way into the sand, even at f/3.2.  I am not aware of any other Canon camera that can do that, because I tried it with the 7D, 1D4, and 5D3, and none of them could do it as well.  I sold my 7D, 1D4, and 5D3, and bought another 1Dx as a result.

I agree with Neuro and bdunbar79

I've been using my 400mm f2.8 IS II with 1DX last couple weeks to photograph my 5yrs competing in indoor swimming. I got my camera set up at the end of the poor and tracked my 5yrs coming toward me. With 1dx in Ai servo 9point expansion mode, case 2 with some slight tuning, my keeper rate is 90%(20plus photos burst RAW).
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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #336 on: July 12, 2014, 01:54:17 AM »

Marsu42

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #337 on: July 12, 2014, 09:04:58 AM »
People who own the 6D and use it (including me) seem to be generally pretty pleased with it's performance and likely (I don't want to speak for everyone, of course)

Indeed, count me out of this summary. The 6d's tracking is mediocre at best, might work ok-ish with the correct c.fn settings for spatial movement but is a complete failure for towards/away esp. if being forced to track with a single non-cross point... up 50% keepers for running horses if I'm lucky and I really tried about everything.

I find the 6D to have better focus than any crop camera (and I've owned them all).

I'd also tend to disagree here. I've never owned a 7d which has said to have ok tracking capabilty, but my 60d is at least as good as my 6d and you don't have to worry about "oh no, it a non-cross point" but just can use them. The low-light capability of the 60d is very handy, mind you.

MichaelHodges

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #338 on: July 12, 2014, 08:49:37 PM »

Have you tried it on kids?  It couldn't keep up with mine... 


I have no problem with any critter moving towards me or away. I use center point AI servo. 


Quote
Like the 5DII before it, it does a decent job at tracking subjects moving across the frame, like the bighorns in your excellent image.  Where the 5DII and 6D fail are when a subject is moving toward or away from the camera (away is worse).   I just processed a burst sequence taken with my 1D X and 70-200/2.8L IS II of a gymnast running straight at me and vaulting from springboard onto the pad (which I was standing behind).  All 26 shots in the burst are in crisp focus (lighting was pretty poor, shots were at 1/800 s, f/3.2, ISO 12800).  The 7D would have gotten many of the shots in focus (but they'd have been unusable due to the ISO noise or the motion blur with a slower shutter speed. The noise from the 6D would have been acceptable, but after the first couple of frames, most of the shots would have been backfocused (and I'd have had far fewer shots, of course).


The 7D was the worst Canon DSLR I have owned. It was widely regarded as a "wildlife" lens, yet most big  wildlife is crepuscular in nature, a time when the 7D falls flat. I used my 7D and the 6D in that bighorn series, and the 7D failed. Many, many out of focus shots riddled with noise. Something about even light just played haywire with the copy I had when combined with telephotos.

I'm not surprised at the 1DX results. Awesome camera. 

While not the best photos, here are a couple examples of my 6D with a 300 prime and quick animals (much quicker than children). Very low sunset light, too. I've also attached the corresponding 100% crops.














Skirball

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #339 on: July 14, 2014, 01:48:13 PM »
Bonus points to Michael for working the word crepuscular into the conversation.

Dylan777

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #340 on: July 14, 2014, 02:50:50 PM »

Have you tried it on kids?  It couldn't keep up with mine... 


I have no problem with any critter moving towards me or away. I use center point AI servo. 


Quote
Like the 5DII before it, it does a decent job at tracking subjects moving across the frame, like the bighorns in your excellent image.  Where the 5DII and 6D fail are when a subject is moving toward or away from the camera (away is worse).   I just processed a burst sequence taken with my 1D X and 70-200/2.8L IS II of a gymnast running straight at me and vaulting from springboard onto the pad (which I was standing behind).  All 26 shots in the burst are in crisp focus (lighting was pretty poor, shots were at 1/800 s, f/3.2, ISO 12800).  The 7D would have gotten many of the shots in focus (but they'd have been unusable due to the ISO noise or the motion blur with a slower shutter speed. The noise from the 6D would have been acceptable, but after the first couple of frames, most of the shots would have been backfocused (and I'd have had far fewer shots, of course).


The 7D was the worst Canon DSLR I have owned. It was widely regarded as a "wildlife" lens, yet most big  wildlife is crepuscular in nature, a time when the 7D falls flat. I used my 7D and the 6D in that bighorn series, and the 7D failed. Many, many out of focus shots riddled with noise. Something about even light just played haywire with the copy I had when combined with telephotos.

I'm not surprised at the 1DX results. Awesome camera. 

While not the best photos, here are a couple examples of my 6D with a 300 prime and quick animals (much quicker than children). Very low sunset light, too. I've also attached the corresponding 100% crops.

Everything is do able, little challenging that all. I used mirrorless to shoot my kids jump toward me.

This reminded me how egyptian pyramids were built  ::) times and efforts  ::) ::) ::)





« Last Edit: July 14, 2014, 02:58:09 PM by Dylan777 »
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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #341 on: July 14, 2014, 04:15:54 PM »
I've never tried a 6D but a few weeks ago I saw some photos posted in the sports section and said if anyone questioned the 6D's capabilities I'd refer to them to that thread...

The 6D shots start after the women's volleyball pics (if you can get past them lol). 

http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=18490.0



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Marsu42

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #342 on: July 14, 2014, 04:30:30 PM »
I've never tried a 6D but a few weeks ago I saw some photos posted in the sports section and said if anyone questioned the 6D's capabilities I'd refer to them to that thread...

It's not about getting *some* shots right, it's about reliability and the keeper rate. The 6d's tracking is medicore, though as written above it depends on the movement type and it's easier with large targets in bright light so you can use all af points (as there's only the choice between 1 and 11).

I've got top-notch running horses shots from the 6d, and I could say they're taken with a 5d3 or 1dx and everyone would believe it. That's why posting some nice sports shots doesn't mean anything unless he/she states how many shots were missed. For some sports, this should be ok as the scenes get repeated so if the 6d misses you can just try again. But for mission-critical work like tracking a "once in a lifetime" wedding ceremony - no, I'd rather use one shot mode thank you very much :-o

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #342 on: July 14, 2014, 04:30:30 PM »

MichaelHodges

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #343 on: July 14, 2014, 04:54:50 PM »
I've never tried a 6D but a few weeks ago I saw some photos posted in the sports section and said if anyone questioned the 6D's capabilities I'd refer to them to that thread...


Nice shots. However, I don't feel sports shots are a good metric for determining focus quality. Even the cheapest cell phone cameras focus well on brightly colored clothing.

Now, start talking to me about brown grizzly bears feeding on a brown slope on a drab rainy day, and then you've got my attention.

neuroanatomist

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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #344 on: July 14, 2014, 10:37:38 PM »
I've never tried a 6D but a few weeks ago I saw some photos posted in the sports section and said if anyone questioned the 6D's capabilities I'd refer to them to that thread...

It's not about getting *some* shots right, it's about reliability and the keeper rate. The 6d's tracking is medicore, though as written above it depends on the movement type and it's easier with large targets in bright light so you can use all af points (as there's only the choice between 1 and 11).

I've got top-notch running horses shots from the 6d, and I could say they're taken with a 5d3 or 1dx and everyone would believe it. That's why posting some nice sports shots doesn't mean anything unless he/she states how many shots were missed. For some sports, this should be ok as the scenes get repeated so if the 6d misses you can just try again. But for mission-critical work like tracking a "once in a lifetime" wedding ceremony - no, I'd rather use one shot mode thank you very much :-o

Exactly.  As I've said before, I and many others shot sports in the days when focus wasn't auto and your burst rate was limited by how fast your thumb could push the film advance lever...and I got good shots – but the keeper rate was very low.  Getting what amounts to a full 'roll' of exposures of an action sequence with every frame in focus is a real joy. :)
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Re: 6D autofocus capabilites: let's bust some myths about it
« Reply #344 on: July 14, 2014, 10:37:38 PM »