I also realized that I wasn't waiting for the confirmation light.
I'm not sure if any of these might apply, but hopefully you and others can learn from my many mistakes
Thanks, mayguyver. I was indeed hoping to not only learn from the CR members like you, but also help others who might be in a similar situation in the future, by starting this up. Maybe I should move this to another thread (this being the Lens Gallery after all)?
My former cameras were 10D and 50D, so like you, I never bothered with anything but the center point before. And so far with the 5D3, it's been nailing the focus in non-action type shots.
1. Not waiting for AF confirmation
I could very well be guilty this. However, with current settings (after yesterday night), I am not get any keepers from the "model parade" at the end of the show. It's on my TODO list.
2. Focusing on too small an object
Ugh. I learned this on the 50D the hard way. It shouldn't be a problem here, but it's good to keep in mind.
3. Moving the lens too much during AI Servo lock
4. Selecting a non-cross point as the initial AF point
5. Fussing with the AF settings too much
This is where I am now
6. Not having my lenses microadjusted
I have Focal Pro and AFMA'ing my lenses is about the first thing I do with them. My setup is less than ideal (only about 7-8 EV light, vs Neuro's recommendation of about 11-2EV), but when comparing with real-life photos it looks good enough.
FWIW, my 300/2.8 required +2 without extenders, and +3/+1 with the 1.4x/2x MkIII extenders.
7. Bumping the diopter adjustment
Been there several times It never happened to me on the 10D/50D, but the 5D3.... Good thing is that I rely on the visual focus ack (AF point blink), not that it looks sharp in the VF. I cannot do MF well with the standard focusing screen - I need the old fashioned split prism circle to do MF comfortably, so I ended up buying such a screen for my 50D and still considering it for the 5D3
8. Shooting in the dark
I'm shooting ISO 400, 1/640th, f/2.8, so there should be plenty of light (at least at that venue).
9. Having AF tied to the shutter
10. Depth of field
Hey, I bought the f/2.8 to shoot at f/2.8, not f/4
Seriously, you do have a point about too shallow DoF. But this was my main purpose for the shooting: get acquainted with the lens and the AI Servo system to do those f/2.8 shots. When I understand that, I can always go back to shooting f/4.
After going over almost 5.000 shots from the shows during the last week, I think I can add one more thing:
11. Being too picky about perfect focus - while totally nailing the focus on one of the eyes is ideal, many of the not-quite-nailed shots are probably good enough (at least for web).
As for the AF settings, I kept using the 4-pt expansion, which worked well for me.
I kept using AF Mode 1, but tried pushing the Tracking Sensitivity and Accel/decel tracking from their default level (1) to fastest (2). I believe this was a win, but the jury is still out on this one (I did this in the last part of the show, and the models were goofing around during the Ed Hardy show - see below). However, it is for sure not fast enough for the "model parade" like I wrote above. There, maybe AF Mode 3 (instant lock on whatever comes into the AF point), might be The Right Thingtm.
For the first time ever, I tried and appreciated the separate orientation linked AF points - I used center point for landscape, and a 2nd top row point for portrait shots. When I first set it up and tested the changeover speed, I was a little disappointed that the changeover wasn't instantaneous, but required a split-second. But in real life, it's insignificant and without a shadow of a doubt much quicker than I can move the AF point myself.
Here's two shots of the same model, one where the focus not quite nailed and the other nailed.