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Author Topic: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?  (Read 15568 times)

briansquibb

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #45 on: November 23, 2011, 10:25:34 PM »
I think it was you that said that it followed well going across the frame - and there is the shot that proves it.

It was, but it doesn't.  It wasn't the 5DII's AF that was tracking the car, it was you panning the camera, as the background blur attests.  That shot very clearly demonstrates your skill as a photographer, but doesn't demonstrate effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the 5DII's AF system.

Draw the track of the kart out on a sheet of paper and you will find that it was only parallel to me for a moment - and that the AF had to be locked on at that point - prior to it coming alongside and the photo shows it driving away from me.  The wa photo is not to show the AF but to show where I took the first picture from and how the kart did not come along a straight but in fact straight at me round the corner where it kept the AF locked on when turning at the apex.

DOF is not at all important when panning as the background is going to get blurred anyway.

Sorry if my skill is masking the issue  - after 54 years with a camera I am bound to have picked up something. I did say that with the right technique the 5DII delivered good pictures( and got abused for the comment). Well there is the good picture to prove it. And still people are demying it

The evidence is there for all to see - you cannot claim that the AF is bad as the evidence shows the AF spot on.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2011, 10:29:07 PM by briansquibb »

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #45 on: November 23, 2011, 10:25:34 PM »

Jamesy

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #46 on: November 23, 2011, 10:35:01 PM »
OP said: "How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?"

My questions would be, how does the 40D (which I own) perform next to a 5DII in regard to AF? I have heard they are very similar, is this the case?
I have a 40D as well - I went to a 5D and then the5DII and I dont remember the AF having any differences
Thanks. I have shot with a 5D and 5DII and they seemed similar to the 40D but I only use them in the studio so I do not have an overall appreciation of their AF capabilities under real world conditions.

mp2011

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #47 on: November 23, 2011, 11:32:10 PM »
I recently upgraded from a T1i, and I had a terrible time deciding what to upgrade to. I bought and returned a 7D. I think the 7D AF system is overly complicated for what it provides, but I am also not the 7D target market- I am a "mom with a camera". I also thought the image quality was no better than my Rebel, and that it amounted to a big heavy camera that was still a crop sensor, and frankly, I just didn't like the camera. So I didn't know what to do, and I rented a D7000. The camera had amazing, very fast, AF. Grabbed and locked very quickly, worked well. But, I could not justify selling all my lenses, flash etc. to switch to another crop sensor camera. And most importantly, I do not prefer Nikon colors, or the contrastiness (not a word, I know) of Nikon files. You can address it through editing, but it seemed like it would be a constant struggle.

So I bought a 5DMII, and based on everything I has read about the focus system, I expected pretty much all of my photos to be out of focus. I thought it was going to be just horrible. And I have found that via One Shot or AI Servo, shooting my toddlers, my keeper rate is very high. I do find it hunts in low light. I do not use the center point exclusively, I do toggle, and I find the outer points are ok in most situations. No, I probably would not choose it for a serious birds in flight, sports camera. It doesn't necessarily feel like a "fast" camera. But overall, factoring in the size and weight, and the image quality, and the affordability of the camera relative to other full frame options, it is the right camera for me.  A lot of extra information there, but to address the original post, I don't think the AF is "that bad"- other cameras have better AF for sure, but I think that people make it out to be more of an issue than it is. And I decided I would rather stay invested in Canon and hope that by the time I upgrade, the AF will be better. But the AF is good enough for most situations I photograph.



Old Shooter

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #48 on: November 24, 2011, 02:10:45 AM »
I recently upgraded from a T1i, and I had a terrible time deciding what to upgrade to. I bought and returned a 7D. I think the 7D AF system is overly complicated for what it provides, but I am also not the 7D target market- I am a "mom with a camera". I also thought the image quality was no better than my Rebel, and that it amounted to a big heavy camera that was still a crop sensor, and frankly, I just didn't like the camera. So I didn't know what to do, and I rented a D7000. The camera had amazing, very fast, AF. Grabbed and locked very quickly, worked well. But, I could not justify selling all my lenses, flash etc. to switch to another crop sensor camera. And most importantly, I do not prefer Nikon colors, or the contrastiness (not a word, I know) of Nikon files. You can address it through editing, but it seemed like it would be a constant struggle.

So I bought a 5DMII, and based on everything I has read about the focus system, I expected pretty much all of my photos to be out of focus. I thought it was going to be just horrible. And I have found that via One Shot or AI Servo, shooting my toddlers, my keeper rate is very high. I do find it hunts in low light. I do not use the center point exclusively, I do toggle, and I find the outer points are ok in most situations. No, I probably would not choose it for a serious birds in flight, sports camera. It doesn't necessarily feel like a "fast" camera. But overall, factoring in the size and weight, and the image quality, and the affordability of the camera relative to other full frame options, it is the right camera for me.  A lot of extra information there, but to address the original post, I don't think the AF is "that bad"- other cameras have better AF for sure, but I think that people make it out to be more of an issue than it is. And I decided I would rather stay invested in Canon and hope that by the time I upgrade, the AF will be better. But the AF is good enough for most situations I photograph.

Sounds like a lot more expertise than "mom with a camera"!  I'm curious what lenses you have paired with your 5DII and what you think of the results?
5DIII, XSi, A2, 10s (x2), 20-35L, 24-70L II, 28-70L, 70-200L, 70-200L IS II, 85L II, 135L, 40 Pancake, 50 Macro, 100 Macro, 135 Soft-Focus, Crappy EF-S Kit Lens, 430EX II, Metz 45 CL-4, Metz 60 CT-4 (x2), White Lightnings, and lots of other junk...

bycostello

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #49 on: November 24, 2011, 03:16:35 AM »
only focusing problems i have had is in the pitch dark...  then i use a flash light just to illuminate the subject a bit...  an on camera ste2 or flash would do a similar job..

cdang

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #50 on: November 24, 2011, 03:36:13 AM »
I honestly think the AF system on the 5D isn't bad. I think people make it sound worse than it really is and the reputation of it being bad goes from there and spreads like wildfire online. Its not the best but its not bad either.

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #51 on: November 24, 2011, 06:04:13 AM »
I honestly think the AF system on the 5D isn't bad. I think people make it sound worse than it really is and the reputation of it being bad goes from there and spreads like wildfire online. Its not the best but its not bad either.

Yes, you're right. It's perfectly fine for many applications and shooting conditions.

Criticisms of the 5DmkII AF kick in when compared with the flexibility and speed of the 1-Series bodies with 45 AF points vs nine in the 5DII. Where the difference really kicks in is shooting fast moving, sometimes erratic action. This can be sports, news, fashion, weddings, wildlife or any photographers shooting style that keeps people in motion, especially when shooting longer focal lengths.

The 5DII AF isn't bad...it's just not ideal for action shooting.

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« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 06:06:22 AM by pwp »

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #51 on: November 24, 2011, 06:04:13 AM »

handsomerob

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #52 on: November 24, 2011, 07:04:54 AM »
The 5DII AF isn't bad...it's just not ideal for action shooting.

I think this sums it up pretty well.

S P

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #53 on: November 24, 2011, 07:15:19 AM »
I think the "bad" 5D Mark II AF is one of the most overblown issues on the Internet period.  I use mine for all sorts of things including chasing toddlers around who never sit still, sports, landscapes, and even a wedding once in awhile, and have never had even the slightest bit of trouble.  No it's certainly not as capable or as flexible or as "smart" as the 1-series and other bodies, but it's hardly an incapable AF system.

torger

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #54 on: November 24, 2011, 07:45:19 AM »
I think generally what may cause a bit disappointment around 5Dmk2 is that it is in most aspects except the sensor a less good camera than the 7D. The 7D has better weather-proofing (at least of what I have heard), those spring-loaded bay doors add some extra feel of quality the 5D don't have, and the speed is higher and autofocus is more advanced. Most don't know if they would actually benefit from a more advanced autofocus though.

Personally, the build quality is what disappoints me somewhat. It is really 'good enough' for my amateur needs, but I would rather have something really robust and those nice little details like spring-loaded bay doors, and I would pay for it. Oh, the plastic battery grip is just an insult :-), but I've heard the 7D grip is not too good either...

wickidwombat

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #55 on: November 24, 2011, 06:44:29 PM »
Did a shoot last night at sunset on the beach to test out one of these i just got with a couple of 580 ex2
http://www.hkyongnuo.com/e-detail.php?ID=277

and this little unit throws out a AF assist grid I was only using the center point anyway and recomposing as i have given up on the other points well this little AF assist grid was brilliant I think out of about 250 shots I had trouble achieving lock on about 5 or 6 and that was even shooting directly into the sun, very contrasty and variable light. I was using only f2.8 lenses too I should try this again with the 24-105 f4 and see if there is much difference as the center point is better with 2.8 or faster glass.

Given I wasn't shooting action or movement but I think that af assist beam really helped the AF on the 5D2

other things i love about this little yongnuo unit
its light so it sitting ontop of the camera is very comfy
you can rotate the head 180 degrees to point to your flash setup no matter where you are (yes its IR and line of site)
has a really good range
I found it kept up with recycle times of the flash  fine even using eneloops (apparently if you use lithium 1.5v batterys cycle time improves alot but i didnt have any problem with having flash available for every shot I wasnt shooting at a high rate anyway
it takes AA batterys
Its CHEAP I think it was only about $120 on ebay
you get FULL ETTL and High speed sync
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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #56 on: November 25, 2011, 10:34:23 AM »
Thanks for everyones responses!

I guess my take-away is this: multiple people stated in essence: "I have both the 5D2 and the 7D and I use the 7D for sports."  Obviously for these people the quality of the AF on the 7D outweighs the better IQ of the 5D in a sports setting, and that is what I was asking.  Especially since the nature of what I'm doing is more dependant on keeper rate than getting that one "money shot", it sounds like the 7D is the way to go for me.   :)

Picsfor

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #57 on: November 25, 2011, 01:59:33 PM »
Gosh, have a few days off and the world goes mad.

My take on the 7D is personal experience. When it came out i tested it, at Focus last year Jacobs were almost throwing at me to have one (really - such a good price i almost took the bait), i go on photography shoots with people who have one, and see them get the lock i can't - when using the same lens.

I've also tried in Park Cameras on numerous occasions, i think they smile every time they see me pick it up, and i've tested it at other various industry exhibitions etc.At all of them i come back with a card full of pictures to compare with. Same result every time - the 7D AF is superior to the 5D2.

Really, it just does not sit well in my hand - even with a battery grip.

In my comment, i wasn't trying to compare it with a 1 series camera - that wasn't the question.

Heck i know people with 1D4's who can not wait for the 1DX to come out because the AF on that is soo superior to the 1D4.  Even i'm thinking of trading my 5D2's in for a single 1DX the AF is that good (so is the high ISO and the body).

Is the 7D AF better than a 5D2 - in my personal (have tried both cameras) experience - yes!

In regards to 5D2 against 40D AF, i would choose the 40D every time - much better, but then the 40D was a different camera...

And i am a focus point toggler - always have been since 30D and 40D - select the focus point for the shot!
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 02:04:58 PM by Picsfor »

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #57 on: November 25, 2011, 01:59:33 PM »

UncleFester

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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #58 on: November 25, 2011, 02:23:47 PM »
This is the only wa photo of the track that gives a better view of where the kart was (sorry about the quality) - showing how I had taken it coming stright on and kept it locked in focus. Look for the RENAULT boarding on the right which is behind the kart in the first picture.

I think that answers the question about the AF locking on with real evidence.

Looking at the signage along the side of the frame, it appears that the DoF is rather deep...so, again, I'm not convinced that this is evidence of AF tracking performance.


I think one factor in what you can get in focus in a perpendicular plane is distance. The greater the distance the longer the subject stays in the plane that is in focus. The shorter the distance the faster the suject leaves that plane. Too quick for the 5D to lock on.


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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #59 on: November 25, 2011, 02:27:09 PM »
Thanks for everyones responses!

I guess my take-away is this: multiple people stated in essence: "I have both the 5D2 and the 7D and I use the 7D for sports."  Obviously for these people the quality of the AF on the 7D outweighs the better IQ of the 5D in a sports setting, and that is what I was asking.  Especially since the nature of what I'm doing is more dependant on keeper rate than getting that one "money shot", it sounds like the 7D is the way to go for me.   :)

Sounds like the right choice.

No, the 5DII's AF isn't horrible, but for tracking action it just isn't that good. Great though the go-kart pic is, I remain unconvinced that's the 5DII's AF locking and holding. Panning is not the same as tracking as an oncoming subject. As briansquibb stated, DoF doesn't matter for panning, since the panning blurs the background.  The desire for a long shutter when panning usually means a narrow aperture which means a deep DoF - which masks the ineffectiveness of the AF.  If I shoot my toddler running toward me with a wide FoV at f/5.6, no problem - the shots are sharp, but that's not AI Servo doing the job, that's the 6' deep DoF she's running through.  Knowing the 5DII's limitations, I could shoot WA and narrow aperture, and the 5DII AI Servo would keep up - but not get me the shot I want, which is a tight crop at wide aperture to blur the background.
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Re: How bad is the AF on 5DmkII really?
« Reply #59 on: November 25, 2011, 02:27:09 PM »