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Author Topic: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2  (Read 7211 times)

kenraw

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Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« on: January 19, 2012, 11:40:51 AM »
Hi I'm considering purchasing a 5dmk2 as a third camera since the prices are really good at the moment, but it seems to get a lot of bad reviews regarding it's auto focus. Can you 5dmk2 owners share your thoughts and is the AF really that bad. I would be using it for weddings and portraits.

Thanks

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Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« on: January 19, 2012, 11:40:51 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2012, 11:51:35 AM »
Uh, oh...look what you've done.   :P



Seriously, the center point of the 5DII is very good - locks on in low light and is accurate, especially with an f/2.8 or faster lens.  The outer points, well, they sort of suck.  AI Servo tracking isn't terribly good with oncoming/receeding subjects, although it does ok with subjects moving across the frame at the same distance from the camera.

For weddings and portraits, the AF of the 5DII will do just fine.
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dstppy

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2012, 11:53:45 AM »
Uh, oh...look what you've done.   :P

[img height=100]
Seriously, the center point of the 5DII is very good - locks on in low light and is accurate, especially with an f/2.8 or faster lens.  The outer points, well, they sort of suck.  AI Servo tracking isn't terribly good with oncoming/receeding subjects, although it does ok with subjects moving across the frame at the same distance from the camera.

For weddings and portraits, the AF of the 5DII will do just fine.

Neuro, which xD xxD xxxD models would you say bracket it (one step better, one step worse).

Just curious :)
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kenraw

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2012, 11:54:56 AM »
Uh, oh...look what you've done.   :P



Seriously, the center point of the 5DII is very good - locks on in low light and is accurate, especially with an f/2.8 or faster lens.  The outer points, well, they sort of suck.  AI Servo tracking isn't terribly good with oncoming/receeding subjects, although it does ok with subjects moving across the frame at the same distance from the camera.

For weddings and portraits, the AF of the 5DII will do just fine.


Thanks Nero

Do the outer points work ok then with static subjects such as portraits as I always select a point I dont really use center spot and recompose a whole lot.

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2012, 12:31:32 PM »
The outer points are the weakness as Neuro says. I use center spot and recompose.. it's second nature now. Center point is accurate. If you do not want to recompose, then it will be a hit/miss scenario.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2012, 12:35:11 PM »
Neuro, which xD xxD xxxD models would you say bracket it (one step better, one step worse).

I'd say the center point is on par with the 7D's center point, the outer points are on par with the 450D-600D outer points, and overall performance is between the 450-600D and the 40-60D (each range has basically the same AF system).

Do the outer points work ok then with static subjects such as portraits as I always select a point I dont really use center spot and recompose a whole lot.

They are ok - just ok - with static subjects.  Sometimes they just plain miss.  The other issue with the 5DII's outer points is their location.  You mention it as a 3rd body - what are the other two?  Probably doesn't matter - the spread of the 5DII's AF points is worse overall than any other xxxD - xD body (except the original 5D, which is the same).  The horizontal spread is good - the same as the 1DsIII, in fact (and Canon highlighted that when the 5DII came out).  But, the vertical spread is very narrow (which Canon didn't mention, of course), and as a result the points which you may care most about - the ones closest to the rule-of-thirds intersections, are nowhere near those intersections.  1-series, 7D, xxD, and even xxxD/Rebel bodies all have points that are pretty close to those intersections.

The image below shows the 5DII AF points in dark blue, compared to the 1DsIII with a rule-of-thirds grid for reference.  The 1DIV and 7D's relative coverage is actually a little greater than the 1DsIII.  Except for those two widely spaced side points, all of the 5DII's remaining AF points (including the invisible assist points) are clustered just outside or just inside the spot metering circle.
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briansquibb

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2012, 12:35:47 PM »
I do weddings with the 5DII and (mostly) the 24-105. I use a lot of flash so low light is never an issue

The outer focus points are fine for f/4 and faster lens.

That said I have just got a 1Ds3 for next year :D

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2012, 12:35:47 PM »

lbloom

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2012, 12:38:51 PM »
I've heard a lot about this, especially from Nikon users :o but this does seem to be the 5D mkII's largest complaint. I bought my 5D mkII back in November (right before it went on sale...) and the photos are awesome but I have to agree with everyone else about the focus points. The outer points are not that accurate and don't always find focus, but the center point works well.

I won't even bring up the issues with the focus-recompose method, but I suppose it's about as good as missing with the outer points :P

I suppose the largest complaints come from those who have experienced excellent autofocus systems, like in the 1D series cameras or the 7D.

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2012, 12:52:48 PM »
As long as you use the center point then the answer to your original question is no, it is not bad at all!  The only two area I find it difficult to use myself as pointed out by others are when using outer points (useless for me) and when trying to shoot moving subject in AI Servo mode - need an aperture of f8 to make it work.

Now that I am used to it though, I dont really think about it.  I no longer miss a lot of shot because of AF...
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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2012, 12:57:32 PM »
I just recently got the 5D mkII for christmas and its not that the AF on the 5D mkII is bad, its just that my old 50D which I got for 1/4th the price of the 5d mkII can focus better, specifically the outer af points. I'm guessing other people like me were dissapointed that a cheaper camera has better af.
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briansquibb

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2012, 01:05:05 PM »
The AF from the 20D to the 50D and the 5D is the same as the 5DII IIRC - which is why my number of keepers fro the 5DII was about the same as the 5D and the 50D

smirkypants

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2012, 01:14:06 PM »
I'm just so used to using the joystick to move the focus point and nailing the focus every time. Stop and recompose? This is 2012! Purposefully crippling a camera makes me think unpleasant things about the Powers That Be at Canon.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 01:35:00 PM »
The AF from the 20D to the 50D and the 5D is the same as the 5DII IIRC

Not quite.  20D/30D are the same, then that AF system went to the 400D and is still used in the current xxxD model.  40D got a new AF (all 9 cross-type points) and that's in the 50D and 60D.  5D got a modified 20D-like system (center f/2.8-f.5.6 cross, 8 outer single-orientation f/5.6 lines, but added 6 invisible assist points).  5DII uses the same system as the 5D. 

So, in specification of the user-selectable points, the 5D/5DII are most like the 20D and the Rebel/xxxD line, with the invisible points aiding AI Servo tracking (albeit not resulting in much improvement - the 40/50/60D with 9 cross-type points does better).
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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 01:35:00 PM »

yellowkamper

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2012, 01:38:52 PM »
The focusing is ok its the users. its only a tool learn how to use it to its best.http://www.flickr.com/photos/robinwarren/6684437725/in/photostream/

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2012, 01:50:40 PM »
The AF from the 20D to the 50D and the 5D is the same as the 5DII IIRC

Not quite.  20D/30D are the same, then that AF system went to the 400D and is still used in the current xxxD model.  40D got a new AF (all 9 cross-type points) and that's in the 50D and 60D.  5D got a modified 20D-like system (center f/2.8-f.5.6 cross, 8 outer single-orientation f/5.6 lines, but added 6 invisible assist points).  5DII uses the same system as the 5D. 

So, in specification of the user-selectable points, the 5D/5DII are most like the 20D and the Rebel/xxxD line, with the invisible points aiding AI Servo tracking (albeit not resulting in much improvement - the 40/50/60D with 9 cross-type points does better).

I know what you say above is true and correct, but I can't help but feel that the AF on my 5DII is a lot better than that from my 400D. It may well be a psychological thing, but I was out last night shooting with the 5DII in rainy/sleety conditions - shooting low light street scenes and there is now way my 400D would have been able to lock AF onto anything, whereas the 5DII performed excellently. At least in my eyes anyway, and compared to the Rebel body. Lowlight AF was always an issue for me on the 400D, even without rain to contend with.
I used to carry around one of those 1,000,000 candle power torches when shooting with the 400D to illuminate the scene so that the camera could find focus... Compared to that the 5DII is stellar in performance!

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Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2012, 01:50:40 PM »