July 25, 2014, 05:19:19 AM

Author Topic: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM  (Read 23917 times)

mackguyver

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #105 on: April 30, 2014, 12:27:37 PM »
Yep,  that is what I am saying and seeing; and it makes no sense.
That is bizarre!  Does it happen on your 7D?  Also, do you have a grip on the 5DIII?
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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #105 on: April 30, 2014, 12:27:37 PM »

kaihp

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #106 on: May 01, 2014, 01:16:54 AM »
Call me backwards, old fashioned or whatever you like, but I don't really trust the idea of the 61 pt auto point selection.
You're none of those things and I absolutely hate 61-pt for One-Shot AF because it always seems to select the wrong point.

OK, I'm not alone here  ;D

For AI Servo, however, you get to select the initial point, and once you place that on the subject, lock on, and begin tracking, the subject is now tracked throughout the entire AF sensor, not just the zone.

The difference between auto selection in One-Shot and manual pre-selection in AI Servo is the key here.

I will have to work on that some more, because the 61-pt auto seems to go "all over the sensor" for me, even in AI Servo - seemingly regardless of my pre-selected point.

But on to my experiences last night:
As suggested, I did a Clear All Camera Settings and Clear All Custom Functions on the body to get rid of the BIF-optimized settings that I've previously tried and set up the camera to my preferences (BBF, direct selection of AF point on the joystick, AFMA enabled, etc).

When starting to shoot, I found that the AF was doing something really weird on me: it would choose the center AF point for final focus even if I had set the AF point to a different point. After desperately trying to change settings on the fly and understand what was going on, I caved in and gave the body another Clear All Camera Settings. That fixed it. Clearly, I don't understand well enough how all those AF settings work together, and I didn't have the time to sort it out the systematically at the time.

I used AI Servo, High-Speed continuous and shooting short bursts of 2-3 shots at a time. I would vary keeping AF engaged while following the model walking down the runway to stopping/re-acquiring AF with the BBF. Same when they paused at the end of the runway.

AF selection points:
When using both Zone and 61-pt auto-selection, I found that it focused on the "wrong" points, just like mackguyver is describing. I didn't find much difference between the 5 & 9-pt expansion modes, where I had more lenience about following the model with the selected AF point, than when using a single point. No surprises here  :)

AF mode and adjustments:
With the resets, I went back to AF Mode 1, without adjustments. Later I tried to change the Focus/Shot priority from both/both to focus/focus, but since this doesn't seem to be registered in the EXIF, I am unable to distinguish between the two settings. Next time, I should shoot to a new card folder when changing modes.

I didn't spend too much time on chimping during the show, but my impression is that chimping is only good for sorting out the glaring misses: I have to get the pictures up on my computer monitor at 50% or 100% to sort out the shots where the focus is almost there vs the shots where the focus is just nailed.

Looking at several series of shots (each model walking down the runway), it looks like that the tracking speed / snap-on speed is not up to my expectations. This could be the start of a longer investigation, since chimping doesn't seem to be good enough to tell the difference.

mackguyver

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #107 on: May 01, 2014, 10:43:57 AM »
kaihp, thanks for the update and I'm sorry to hear about your latest experience.  The AF in the 5D3/1D X is quite tricky to get the hang of, and the first many times I used it, I had the same experiences.  Until the 7D, I never bothered with anything other than center point AF, and with the 7D, Zone AF was good, but not great with AI Servo.  My first experiences with the 5DIII were with birds in flight and it would always focus on the sky, and not the bird.  I came to realize that the AF points are bigger than they seem and I was focusing on the bird when it was too small in the frame.  I also realized that I wasn't waiting for the confirmation light.

In your situation, it's hard to know exactly what might be happening, but here's a brief list of some of the things I've run into with the 5DIII and AI Servo:

1. Not waiting for AF confirmation (as I said above) -  this requires a split second of patience, but feels like forever in the heat of the moment.
2. Focusing on too small an object (as above as well) - the AF sensors need a reasonably big area to focus on for the initial AF lock
3. Moving the lens too much during AI Servo lock - that makes it easy for the camera to lose the lock.  Smooth pans/movements work best
4. Selecting a non-cross point as the initial AF point  - there's a way to make the AF points blink so you know which are cross, and which are not, make sure this is turned on...
5. Fussing with the AF settings too much - the standard settings work well, as soon as you start adjusting the values + or -, things seems to go sideways
6. Not having my lenses microadjusted - with the 300 f/2.8, I went out the day I got it and was dismayed that all of my photos are slight out of focus.  After FoCal and a +5 on the lens, the photos were all sharp
7. Bumping the diopter adjustment - this is the most annoying issue because it's so easy to do, but only happens often enough for me to forget that it can happen.  I put the camera to my eye, see the AF lock but the stupid frame looks blurry???  After trying a few more shots, I realize what I've done!
8. Shooting in the dark - okay, not really, but unless you use the center point as the initial AF point when the light is pretty low (e.g. ISO6400+, 1/100s, f/2.8 with the 300mm) you won't get too far. 
9. Having AF tied to the shutter - this is the rarest one for me because I use back button AF almost all of the time, but when I allow the shutter button to control AF and then forget I've set it to do that, that always throws me off for a moment.

and particularly with the 300 f/2.8:

10. Depth of field - 300mm at f/2.8 is sometimes too shallow to get everything in focus, which also means that if you don't nail focus, your photos will be blurry.  I will often choose to shoot at f/2.8 to blur out the background, but I know the trade off will be that roughly 50% of my photos might be out of focus in some situations.  Shooting at f/4 is much safer, but may not be practical if the background is a mess.

I'm not sure if any of these might apply, but hopefully you and others can learn from my many mistakes :)
EOS 1D X, 5DIII, M + EF 24 f/1.4II, 50 f/1.2, 85 f/1.2II, 300 f/2.8 IS II || 16-35 f/4 IS, 24-70 f/2.8II, 70-200 f/2.8II || TS-E 17 f/4, 24 f/3.5II || M 22 f/2, 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS || 1.4x III, 2x III

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #108 on: May 01, 2014, 03:22:49 PM »
Yep,  that is what I am saying and seeing; and it makes no sense.
That is bizarre!  Does it happen on your 7D?  Also, do you have a grip on the 5DIII?

I'd have to check the 7D.  Good point.

No grip on the 5Dm3 - yet.

I will run some controlled tests this weekend - see if I can get some real data.
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mackguyver

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #109 on: May 01, 2014, 04:14:10 PM »
Yep,  that is what I am saying and seeing; and it makes no sense.
That is bizarre!  Does it happen on your 7D?  Also, do you have a grip on the 5DIII?

I'd have to check the 7D.  Good point.

No grip on the 5Dm3 - yet.

I will run some controlled tests this weekend - see if I can get some real data.
That sounds good and I asked about the grip because it you leave the vertical controls on, they're mighty easy to bump :)
EOS 1D X, 5DIII, M + EF 24 f/1.4II, 50 f/1.2, 85 f/1.2II, 300 f/2.8 IS II || 16-35 f/4 IS, 24-70 f/2.8II, 70-200 f/2.8II || TS-E 17 f/4, 24 f/3.5II || M 22 f/2, 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS || 1.4x III, 2x III

Menace

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #110 on: May 01, 2014, 04:21:24 PM »
kaihp, thanks for the update and I'm sorry to hear about your latest experience.  The AF in the 5D3/1D X is quite tricky to get the hang of, and the first many times I used it, I had the same experiences.  Until the 7D, I never bothered with anything other than center point AF, and with the 7D, Zone AF was good, but not great with AI Servo.  My first experiences with the 5DIII were with birds in flight and it would always focus on the sky, and not the bird.  I came to realize that the AF points are bigger than they seem and I was focusing on the bird when it was too small in the frame.  I also realized that I wasn't waiting for the confirmation light.

In your situation, it's hard to know exactly what might be happening, but here's a brief list of some of the things I've run into with the 5DIII and AI Servo:

1. Not waiting for AF confirmation (as I said above) -  this requires a split second of patience, but feels like forever in the heat of the moment.
2. Focusing on too small an object (as above as well) - the AF sensors need a reasonably big area to focus on for the initial AF lock
3. Moving the lens too much during AI Servo lock - that makes it easy for the camera to lose the lock.  Smooth pans/movements work best
4. Selecting a non-cross point as the initial AF point  - there's a way to make the AF points blink so you know which are cross, and which are not, make sure this is turned on...
5. Fussing with the AF settings too much - the standard settings work well, as soon as you start adjusting the values + or -, things seems to go sideways
6. Not having my lenses microadjusted - with the 300 f/2.8, I went out the day I got it and was dismayed that all of my photos are slight out of focus.  After FoCal and a +5 on the lens, the photos were all sharp
7. Bumping the diopter adjustment - this is the most annoying issue because it's so easy to do, but only happens often enough for me to forget that it can happen.  I put the camera to my eye, see the AF lock but the stupid frame looks blurry???  After trying a few more shots, I realize what I've done!
8. Shooting in the dark - okay, not really, but unless you use the center point as the initial AF point when the light is pretty low (e.g. ISO6400+, 1/100s, f/2.8 with the 300mm) you won't get too far. 
9. Having AF tied to the shutter - this is the rarest one for me because I use back button AF almost all of the time, but when I allow the shutter button to control AF and then forget I've set it to do that, that always throws me off for a moment.

and particularly with the 300 f/2.8:

10. Depth of field - 300mm at f/2.8 is sometimes too shallow to get everything in focus, which also means that if you don't nail focus, your photos will be blurry.  I will often choose to shoot at f/2.8 to blur out the background, but I know the trade off will be that roughly 50% of my photos might be out of focus in some situations.  Shooting at f/4 is much safer, but may not be practical if the background is a mess.

I'm not sure if any of these might apply, but hopefully you and others can learn from my many mistakes :)

Excellent information there mackguyver - thank you.
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mackguyver

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #111 on: May 01, 2014, 04:46:01 PM »
Excellent information there mackguyver - thank you.
I'm glad it's appreciated :)  Some people have beginner's luck, I have quite the opposite ;D
EOS 1D X, 5DIII, M + EF 24 f/1.4II, 50 f/1.2, 85 f/1.2II, 300 f/2.8 IS II || 16-35 f/4 IS, 24-70 f/2.8II, 70-200 f/2.8II || TS-E 17 f/4, 24 f/3.5II || M 22 f/2, 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 IS || 1.4x III, 2x III

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #111 on: May 01, 2014, 04:46:01 PM »

kaihp

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #112 on: May 01, 2014, 11:00:25 PM »
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
No comments.  :-X

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
BBF forever :)

10. Depth of field
Hey, I bought the f/2.8 to shoot at f/2.8, not f/4  >:(  ;D
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.


mackguyver

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #113 on: May 02, 2014, 10:56:32 AM »
kaihp, I'm glad my post was at least a bit helpful, but I'm sorry to hear that you didn't get any keepers from the model parade.  Maybe you should just turn on the video for that portion :)

It looks like there's good light in the venue (not the norm) so that's helpful, but I'm still not sure about the results.  In terms of DOF, f/2.8 is why we buy the lens, but sometimes it's not needed. The reason I say that is because the photos you've posted all have rather clean and/or dark backgrounds.  In contrast, sometimes you NEED f/2.8 like in the photo below where the background was horrible and f/2 or better would have been nice :).  I would much rather have used f/8 to get the rider and horse in focus but I had to use f/2.8 to blur the background.  I chose to focus on her hand to compromise and got her face about 90% sharp and the horses face about 70% sharp.  My keeper rate was pretty low with this type of shot so I ended up shooting a lot of side shots where the rider and horse where in a much smaller focal plane.  I guess what I'm saying is that if you have the light, don't need to blur the background, and need to up the keeper rate, I'd consider f/4 or f/5.6.  If you're getting paid (and there need to get the shot) sometimes you have compromise your creativity a bit to ensure your photos are sharp.  On the other hand, if this is just personal work and you really want the shallow DOF, you'll just have to live with a lower keeper rate.


On your #11 note, I think that relates to what I was saying, f/2.8 isn't easy with moving objects and there's definitely some room between sharp, soft, and out of focus.  With post-processing tools, you can tweak soft areas to be sharper and if it's going on the web, even fairly soft photos can look sharp when down-sized.

Finally, here's the settings and situations that have worked best for me on the 5DIII:
Case 1: Just about everything except:
Case 2: For shooting birds, animals, and sports where trees, other people, and elements enter the frame while panning.
Case 4: For little birds like swallows that go everywhere at 100mph

Also, have you read the 1D X AF Guide (now in mobile version as well)?

As the two cameras are very similar, it's well worth a read.
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kaihp

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #114 on: May 03, 2014, 03:57:53 AM »
In terms of DOF, f/2.8 is why we buy the lens, but sometimes it's not needed. The reason I say that is because the photos you've posted all have rather clean and/or dark backgrounds.


Ah, but that's because I'm deliberately shooting when there is a clean background :) There was a tree and a piano propped up in the background the other day  >:( so I choose to shoot when there was good seperation from the model to the background as possible (no trees growing out of heads etc).

Also, have you read the 1D X AF Guide (now in mobile version as well)?

As the two cameras are very similar, it's well worth a read.


Thanks for the link. I read the Canon DLC pages on the 1Dx/5D3 AF system back when I got the camera 1½ year ago, but you prompted me to sit down and read the 1DX AF guide. About Case 3 it states:

Quote
Effective when you want to continuously photograph targeted athletes one after the other

So here's my "model parade" setting. I'll try that next time (now what mall has the next show?...)

Thanks for your detailed input, I really appreciate it.

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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #115 on: May 03, 2014, 04:50:05 AM »
kaihp, I'm glad my post was at least a bit helpful, but I'm sorry to hear that you didn't get any keepers from the model parade.  Maybe you should just turn on the video for that portion :)

It looks like there's good light in the venue (not the norm) so that's helpful, but I'm still not sure about the results.  In terms of DOF, f/2.8 is why we buy the lens, but sometimes it's not needed. The reason I say that is because the photos you've posted all have rather clean and/or dark backgrounds.  In contrast, sometimes you NEED f/2.8 like in the photo below where the background was horrible and f/2 or better would have been nice :).  I would much rather have used f/8 to get the rider and horse in focus but I had to use f/2.8 to blur the background.  I chose to focus on her hand to compromise and got her face about 90% sharp and the horses face about 70% sharp.  My keeper rate was pretty low with this type of shot so I ended up shooting a lot of side shots where the rider and horse where in a much smaller focal plane.  I guess what I'm saying is that if you have the light, don't need to blur the background, and need to up the keeper rate, I'd consider f/4 or f/5.6.  If you're getting paid (and there need to get the shot) sometimes you have compromise your creativity a bit to ensure your photos are sharp.  On the other hand, if this is just personal work and you really want the shallow DOF, you'll just have to live with a lower keeper rate.


On your #11 note, I think that relates to what I was saying, f/2.8 isn't easy with moving objects and there's definitely some room between sharp, soft, and out of focus.  With post-processing tools, you can tweak soft areas to be sharper and if it's going on the web, even fairly soft photos can look sharp when down-sized.

Finally, here's the settings and situations that have worked best for me on the 5DIII:
Case 1: Just about everything except:
Case 2: For shooting birds, animals, and sports where trees, other people, and elements enter the frame while panning.
Case 4: For little birds like swallows that go everywhere at 100mph

Also, have you read the 1D X AF Guide (now in mobile version as well)?

As the two cameras are very similar, it's well worth a read.


Mack...you wrote "My keeper rate was pretty low with this type of shot"

Like you, my keeper rate with 1dx and 300 2.8 at 2.8 has always been fairly low with this type of shot. (subject coming straight towards me)

I almost always use AF case 1 with 4 surrounding points.

Does anybody have a high keeper rate with this type of shot when shooting at tele range like this and 2.8?  Or is it just something you learn to live with?
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Re: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
« Reply #115 on: May 03, 2014, 04:50:05 AM »