August 21, 2014, 09:02:45 AM

Author Topic: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2  (Read 7999 times)

neuroanatomist

  • CR GEEK
  • ********
  • Posts: 13846
    • View Profile
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2012, 02:01:32 PM »
The focusing is ok its the users. its only a tool learn how to use it to its

Briansquibb, is that you?   :P

Let's be clear - the 5DII's AF isn't crap.  It's decent if you know and work around its limitations, which is the same for any tool. 

But your example really doesn't support the AF of the 5DII as being particularly good.  It's a panning shot, and the camera-to-subject distance isn't changing appreciably as you pan.  It's a great shot, like Brian's kart shots, but it would be pretty simple to manually focus and get a similar shot.

The OP is wondering about portraits and weddings.  If he plants himself at the back of the aisle as the flower girl skips toward him, the 5DII's AI Servo AF will likely not be able to track her as she comes toward him with a wide aperture/shallow DoF.  OTOH, a 7D (or a 1-series body) would have no trouble with that scenario.

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.

I certainly agree.  Granted, the specifications are the same - what matters in that scenario is the EV rating of the AF system, and for the 400D,7D and 5DII, that rating is the same: -0.5 EV (by comparison, current 1-series are rated down to -1 EV and the 1D X drops another stop to -2 EV).  But subjectively, my impression is that the center point of the 5DII outperforms the 7D's center point in very low light (and the 500D/T1i I had before, as well).  When I attach a Speedlite, the 7D starts firing the AF assist lamp in light levels brighter than when the 5DII starts needing the help.  But that's the center point only - in dim light, IMO the outer points of the 5DII go from being not-that-good to being nearly useless.
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2012, 02:01:32 PM »

kenraw

  • Guest
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2012, 02:02:07 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.

My existing two bodies are 7d's which perform well. I would like a 5dmk3 when it finally arrives but I've got a feeling it won't be cheap I'm guessing around £2500 - £3000 at least. The 1DX seems like a dream camera but the price tag isn't going to make my images from the 7D over £4000 better especially when I can print 24 x 36inch with the 7D's no problem and in wedding album size the images are superb. I would just like a full frame for the better iso for when I need it and the shallow dof when I want that artistic shot. I feel the 5dmk2 at the moment is a bargain as the IQ is amazing. I'm sure the focussing would be fine it's a shame canon didn't put a new system in it back then like the 7D's. I think Nikon caught them with their pants down regarding AF and now they are playing catch up. However if the hype with the 1Dx is true I'd say Canon have done more than caught up!

Axilrod

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1373
    • View Profile
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2012, 02:17:35 PM »
I don't think its "bad" at all, although it's subjective I suppose.  I think there are a lot of different settings that affect AF performance and lots of different combinations of said settings. If you use the wrong ones for the situation it could lead one to believe that the autofocus is bad.  I remember thinking it was initially, but after messing with the settings I feel it performs just fine. 
5DIII/5DII/Bunch of L's and ZE's, currently rearranging.

7enderbender

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 635
    • View Profile
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2012, 02:46:02 PM »
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


Honestly, my 5DII is my first SLR with AF. I find it "bad" in that it has AF at all and everything that comes with it (smaller and dimmer viewfinder, harder to use manual focus, dependence on more expensive and more vulnerable lenses, etc).

Once I was over that I don't find it "bad" at all - it is way better than this weird reputation that has been building up in various forums. For what it is it works just fine, even in rather bad light.

I understand that the 1-series or 7D AF is better - but then again it's not fabulous either in my view. The spread of the AF points is still rather centered and doesn't even fully hit anything that you might want to place further out when thinking rule-of-thirds. So recomposing often will be necessary anyway.

It all depends on the application obviously. There are probably better choices for sports, bird and other fast action shooters (not just because of the AF). For pretty much everything else I don't see how it makes much of a difference under normal circumstances. And I've gotten decent results even for soccer, sled dogs, birds, etc
5DII - 50L - 135L - 200 2.8L - 24-105 - 580EXII - 430EXII - FD 500/8 - AE1-p - bag full of FD lenses

K-amps

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1512
  • Whatever looks great !
    • View Profile
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2012, 03:09:05 PM »
...... I think Nikon caught them with their pants down regarding AF and now they are playing catch up. However if the hype with the 1Dx is true I'd say Canon have done more than caught up!

and that is why we relish free competition.  ;)

Nikon, please do some more !!
EOS-5D Mk.iii 
Sigma 24-105mm F4 ART; EF 70-200 F/2.8L Mk.II; EF 85mm L F/1.2 Mk. II; EF 100mm L F/2.8 IS Macro, 50mm F/1.8ii;  TC's 2x Mk.iii; 1.4x Mk.iii

CowGummy

  • EOS M2
  • ****
  • Posts: 168
    • View Profile
    • www.smrphotoart.com
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2012, 03:29:44 PM »
The focusing is ok its the users. its only a tool learn how to use it to its

Briansquibb, is that you?   :P

Let's be clear - the 5DII's AF isn't crap.  It's decent if you know and work around its limitations, which is the same for any tool. 

But your example really doesn't support the AF of the 5DII as being particularly good.  It's a panning shot, and the camera-to-subject distance isn't changing appreciably as you pan.  It's a great shot, like Brian's kart shots, but it would be pretty simple to manually focus and get a similar shot.

The OP is wondering about portraits and weddings.  If he plants himself at the back of the aisle as the flower girl skips toward him, the 5DII's AI Servo AF will likely not be able to track her as she comes toward him with a wide aperture/shallow DoF.  OTOH, a 7D (or a 1-series body) would have no trouble with that scenario.

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.

I certainly agree.  Granted, the specifications are the same - what matters in that scenario is the EV rating of the AF system, and for the 400D,7D and 5DII, that rating is the same: -0.5 EV (by comparison, current 1-series are rated down to -1 EV and the 1D X drops another stop to -2 EV).  But subjectively, my impression is that the center point of the 5DII outperforms the 7D's center point in very low light (and the 500D/T1i I had before, as well).  When I attach a Speedlite, the 7D starts firing the AF assist lamp in light levels brighter than when the 5DII starts needing the help.  But that's the center point only - in dim light, IMO the outer points of the 5DII go from being not-that-good to being nearly useless.

Thanks Neuro, and yes, In guess the one fact I omitted from my post was that I only ever use the center point - even on the old 400D. I know this may sound mental to most, but I could totally live with a single center AF point on any DSLR. Well, 98% of times anyway... I guess it's what I feel comfortable with.
5DmkII   |  50 f/1.4  |  24-105L f/4  |  135L f/2  |  70-200L f/2.8 IS II  |  430exII

Kernuak

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1108
    • View Profile
    • Avalon Light Photoart
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2012, 05:23:41 PM »
I also have the 7D and 5D MkII and the 7D is obviously better at tracking in good light. However, when it comes to low light images, I find the 5D MkII focusing, when used on single shot and centre-point, is superior to the 7D. The impression is probably increased, because in low light, you are pushing the ISO higher, which increases the difference in image quality between the two cameras. In October, I was photographing pine martens under artificial light at a feeding station at night, the 5D MkII produced razor sharp images with the 135 f/2, but the 7D struggled. I suspect it was partly due to a microfocus adjustment problem with the 7D as well (which reminds me I still need to sort out, before I need to use the combination again), but the difference was stark, even on the camera screen.
Canon 5D MkIII, 7D, 300mm L IS f/2.8 and a few other L's

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2012, 05:23:41 PM »

pwp

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1486
    • View Profile
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2012, 05:24:44 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.


Agree, the centre point on the 5D2 is brilliant and highly reliable. But it's the only one you'll ever want to rely on. My experience with using the outer AF points, even on bright, high contrast subjects has been consistently underwhelming. With portraits where I really want the focus point right on the eye, the outer points frequently deliver soft results, or results with the focus point in the wrong place.

Next that brings us to the dreaded "focus & recompose". Sometimes you'll get away with it. This is dependent on your current focal length & camera to subject distance. It's best explained in these articles on "Why Focus Recompose Sucks". The only camera where I'll use focus/recompose is on a far more forgiving point and shoot.

http://www.outbackphoto.com/workshop/phototechnique/essay06/essay.html
http://www.digital-photography-school.com/the-problem-with-the-focus-recompose-method

Which brings me to one of the major reasons I choose to shoot most jobs with 1-series bodies with 45 focus points. A 5D3 with a comprehensively expanded powerful AF point array would be an instant buy for me, primarily because of the reduced weight of a 5x vs 1-Series.

Paul Wright



briansquibb

  • Guest
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2012, 06:56:26 PM »
I think theiiogical way to look at this is that the 5DII has been a top seller for the last 3 years or so, If the AF had been bad it wouldn't have lasted a year because all the top wedding and landscape people would not have been using them. So it may have its limitations but within the good zone the AF is very good - particularly in low light.


willrobb

  • Guest
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2012, 07:21:16 PM »
As Paul and Brian say, it has it's limitations but if the AF really was that bad it wouldn't have been such a hit. When you use the centre point it really hits the mark.

The focus-recompose method works OK with most zooms (not great though) but with fast primes at 1.2/1.4 you have such a narrow plane of focus it's hard to nail the focus without a bit of manual readjustment I find.

The 5DmkII doesn't have great AF, I would hope future models sort this out (eye focus would be nice if it's true...especially if it's eyefocus that works well), but all in all it's a great little camera and I love mine.

Picsfor

  • Guest
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2012, 08:25:53 PM »
The AF on the 5D2 is the ONLY down point on this otherwise excellent camera.

For portraits and weddings i could manage very well with it, were that all i used it for.

Sadly, i'm a bit of an all rounder, and have developed a habit of selecting focus points via joystick appropriate to the shot composition and which part i want focused. Outside of the centre focus point, this becomes a bit hit and miss - and it is that unreliability that frustrates the hell out of me - especially as my 40D seemed to do a much better job.
I'm aware of which 'plane' i need to select to get focus point to lock - but that still doesn't get me the lock.

I've recently started undertaking some studio shoots, and in every case my hit rate is 100% - even using outer focus points, no matter what the lighting conditions. I'm thinking of becoming a studio photographer until i can afford a 1DX  ;)

AprilForever

  • 5D Mark III
  • ******
  • Posts: 721
    • View Profile
    • AprilForever.com
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2012, 09:23:08 PM »
Yes it's horrible! The internet says so!!!
What is truth?

briansquibb

  • Guest
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2012, 03:49:24 AM »
Yes it's horrible! The internet says so!!!

 ;D ;D ;D

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2012, 03:49:24 AM »

ejenner

  • Rebel SL1
  • ***
  • Posts: 99
    • View Profile
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2012, 10:12:51 PM »


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

I think that hit the nail on the head.  Is the AF 'bad' - no. Is it no where near as good as the top Af systems out there today, certainly.

I use the outer points in decent light without any problems - but not with Al-Servo, that is a little hit-and-miss with the outer points unless you have good light and the subject isn't moving fast.

I think a lot of it comes down to expectations, but clearly is I were shooting a lot of action/sports I would go for a 1D or 7D body instead.  For anything else I think it is just fine (OK, the outer points could be more widely spaced).

bycostello

  • 1D Mark IV
  • ******
  • Posts: 910
    • View Profile
    • London Weddings
Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2012, 05:16:29 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

No,  c'mon.. almost half the wedding photographers out there use it...  too many people worry about shooting test cards and not enough about real things and people..

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2012, 05:16:29 AM »