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Author Topic: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......  (Read 5139 times)

brought1

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Hello everyone - To get right to the point....

Auto focus points - Is it me or does it seem that canon has jumped on the bandwagon with an overwhelming amount of auto focus points? 

Honestly, when i'm photographing anything from Seniors to Weddings...engagements...the whole sha-bang, I can't stand using just the center point as many photographers do, but rather I am constantly dialing between all points re-positioning my camera to get the shot. 

(a quick note before low-light photographers jump in on the conversation...When I photograph in low-light situations, the primes come out and I use the AF on the back of the camera (center focus) and hold my focal length in order to focus and re-position)

So, here's my beef...what good is it to have 61 auto focus points when you shoot like me...and use them all the time.  Would I have to dial all through them just to get the focus area and then miss the shot?  Is this a gimmick? Similarly to the Megapixel wars? Just to entice those on the fence?

Before landscapers join in, too... most successful landscape photographers are usually shooting in manual, so please don't bother commenting on how they use all their AF points...because that's BS. 

So, let me recap - landscape photogs shoot in manual or set a "Range" to focus on...low light can focus using the center focus and recompose their shot...weddings photogs either use a focus/Recompose or selective AF points...

Is the 61 AF points really just for those who were suckered into purchasing an expensive camera and can only set it to Automatic? 

One last thing....Please don't mistake my humorous demeanor for the need to respond with erroneous and illegitimate information...I am honestly curious how other photographers feel about useless AF Points.

Thx.

J

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neuroanatomist

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2012, 05:40:24 AM »
The more points, the better the AI Servo tracking.  I don't see a problem - the AF functions let you limit the number of manually selectable points to 9 or 15 points (or cross type only, which is 41 with most f/4 lenses).
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AvTvM

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2012, 06:57:26 AM »
The more points, the better the AI Servo tracking.  I don't see a problem - the AF functions let you limit the number of manually selectable points to 9 or 15 points (or cross type only, which is 41 with most f/4 lenses).
+1 exactly the way I see it

As a matter of fact, I am looking forward to in-sensor-plane Hybrid Phase-AF + Contrast-Detect-AF with a nearly "infinite" number of "AF sensors" anywhere in the frame and way further out of centre than currently.

AmbientLight

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2012, 07:09:26 AM »

Autofocus is not only for those unable or unwilling to use manual focus.

More sensor points simply give the camera more information to process, which is quite a good thing. Even if you focus on an area, which is not the center area, you can define a focus zone and use the autofocus points in that zone.

How about an experiment:

Rent a 5D Mark III and a 5D Mark II and run both through autofocus tests involving some moving subjects. You will see your own argument disappear into thin smoke pretty soon. The additional autofocus points actually do deliver functionality.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 07:15:09 AM by AmbientLight »

SandyP

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2012, 02:23:47 PM »
Everyone else is right.

Also, coming from using a 5D2 for 3 years now, and now finally owning a 5D Mark III for a month... and using it for a bunch of weddings and some other shooting, the added AF points are a blessing. I turned off the NON Cross Type ones, so I "only" have 41 AF points now. But I have it set to the very most pin point versions of them, and only 1 at at time, which I can move around (and when I put the camera in vertical mode vs. horizontal mode it automatically switches for me, amazing feature!)...... more points, to GOOD shooters, doesn't mean let the camera do the job for you, it means more options! On the 5D2 you had ONE! AF point that was truly reliable, the center one. Now you have 41 that are just as good or slightly better..... more reliable options all over the frame. :)

Can't beat that. AT ALL. And it helps AI SERVO too.


I got shots at the last wedding, that would have been VERY hard to do with the 5D2. But with the 5D3? It was like... TOO easy. I was laughing to myself while reviewing them.... just ... so good.Thanks to the new AF system.

bdunbar79

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2012, 10:25:18 PM »
Hello everyone - To get right to the point....

Auto focus points - Is it me or does it seem that canon has jumped on the bandwagon with an overwhelming amount of auto focus points? 

Honestly, when i'm photographing anything from Seniors to Weddings...engagements...the whole sha-bang, I can't stand using just the center point as many photographers do, but rather I am constantly dialing between all points re-positioning my camera to get the shot. 

(a quick note before low-light photographers jump in on the conversation...When I photograph in low-light situations, the primes come out and I use the AF on the back of the camera (center focus) and hold my focal length in order to focus and re-position)

So, here's my beef...what good is it to have 61 auto focus points when you shoot like me...and use them all the time.  Would I have to dial all through them just to get the focus area and then miss the shot?  Is this a gimmick? Similarly to the Megapixel wars? Just to entice those on the fence?

Before landscapers join in, too... most successful landscape photographers are usually shooting in manual, so please don't bother commenting on how they use all their AF points...because that's BS. 

So, let me recap - landscape photogs shoot in manual or set a "Range" to focus on...low light can focus using the center focus and recompose their shot...weddings photogs either use a focus/Recompose or selective AF points...

Is the 61 AF points really just for those who were suckered into purchasing an expensive camera and can only set it to Automatic? 

One last thing....Please don't mistake my humorous demeanor for the need to respond with erroneous and illegitimate information...I am honestly curious how other photographers feel about useless AF Points.

Thx.

J

Oh my you don't understand how these other AF points work.  Go shoot sports with a 5D Mark III with either a 50L or 85L prime on it and you'll learn very quickly why they matter, and what each type (vertical and horizontal) does. 
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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2012, 09:19:11 AM »
Hello everyone - To get right to the point....

Auto focus points - Is it me or does it seem that canon has jumped on the bandwagon with an overwhelming amount of auto focus points? 

Honestly, when i'm photographing anything from Seniors to Weddings...engagements...the whole sha-bang, I can't stand using just the center point as many photographers do, but rather I am constantly dialing between all points re-positioning my camera to get the shot. 

(a quick note before low-light photographers jump in on the conversation...When I photograph in low-light situations, the primes come out and I use the AF on the back of the camera (center focus) and hold my focal length in order to focus and re-position)

So, here's my beef...what good is it to have 61 auto focus points when you shoot like me...and use them all the time.  Would I have to dial all through them just to get the focus area and then miss the shot?  Is this a gimmick? Similarly to the Megapixel wars? Just to entice those on the fence?

Before landscapers join in, too... most successful landscape photographers are usually shooting in manual, so please don't bother commenting on how they use all their AF points...because that's BS. 

So, let me recap - landscape photogs shoot in manual or set a "Range" to focus on...low light can focus using the center focus and recompose their shot...weddings photogs either use a focus/Recompose or selective AF points...

Is the 61 AF points really just for those who were suckered into purchasing an expensive camera and can only set it to Automatic? 

One last thing....Please don't mistake my humorous demeanor for the need to respond with erroneous and illegitimate information...I am honestly curious how other photographers feel about useless AF Points.

Thx.

J

You kidding right?  ;D
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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2012, 09:19:11 AM »

RLPhoto

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2012, 09:34:18 AM »
My 7D has all cross type AF points and I use every single one of them. There awesome an make my 5Ds AF look like a clunky film camera.

Ew

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2012, 01:29:30 PM »
On the 5D2 you had ONE! AF point that was truly reliable, the center one. Now you have 41 that are just as good or slightly better..... more reliable options all over the frame.

That is the biggest teeth grinder for me when switching between the 5D2 and 7D
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SandyP

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2012, 04:05:24 PM »
Exactly. But that's why you skip the 7D and the 5D2 altogether, if you can, and save up for the 5D3. Haha.

briansquibb

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2012, 05:50:51 PM »
On a 1 series the selected AF point is also used for spot metering .... so the more options the better the composition and metering in camera

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2012, 06:07:20 PM »
On a 1 series the selected AF point is also used for spot metering .... so the more options the better the composition and metering in camera

Yea, REALLY wish the 5d3 would do this even without the fancy RGB metering/detection sensor.
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brought1

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2012, 03:48:25 AM »
Hey guys...Thanks for all of your great imput.  It was very nice getting a completely different point of view on the topic. 

I do have a couple of questions, especially for those who use Al Servo, for sports. 

When you're tracking someone or something during Al Servo, the camera is constantly focusing.  How do you re-compose your shot while keeping the center focus on the subject and not jumping to an object in front or behind them?  I would assume that with the new 5D3, with the crosshairs being more sensitive, using all cross types or even varients of combinations, it would be easier to accidently jump forward or backwards depending on the contrasted objects...or am I to assume that everything shot is taken in a horizontal orientation and cropped vertically, when needed.   ( I can't wait to get my paws on a 5D3 to test it out or 1Dx)  :)

Please don't be too outspoken when answering, this is the reason I actually find Al Servo mode annoying and not terribly helpful.  For sports, I use my 40D, which has always been much quicker at focusing than my 5D MK2.  And matched with my 70-200 II, it's lightning fast as you guys know.  And to be honest, I have never "NOT" fulfilled my clients needs.  And I do this with utilizing the AF button the back of the camera along with quickburst and oneshot mode - usually tossing the majority of the quickburst as almost always, the first image is usually sharpest. 

Not to take this thread off onto a tangent, I agree...that the 5D MK2 is a turtle, in it's focusing, compared to even my 40D, the 50D I used at a studio I used to work for.   

Thanks for everyone's imput!  Seriously...I appreciate it.

J

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2012, 03:48:25 AM »

briansquibb

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2012, 06:52:45 AM »
Hey guys...Thanks for all of your great imput.  It was very nice getting a completely different point of view on the topic. 

I do have a couple of questions, especially for those who use Al Servo, for sports. 

When you're tracking someone or something during Al Servo, the camera is constantly focusing.  How do you re-compose your shot while keeping the center focus on the subject and not jumping to an object in front or behind them?  I would assume that with the new 5D3, with the crosshairs being more sensitive, using all cross types or even varients of combinations, it would be easier to accidently jump forward or backwards depending on the contrasted objects...or am I to assume that everything shot is taken in a horizontal orientation and cropped vertically, when needed.   ( I can't wait to get my paws on a 5D3 to test it out or 1Dx)  :)

Please don't be too outspoken when answering, this is the reason I actually find Al Servo mode annoying and not terribly helpful.  For sports, I use my 40D, which has always been much quicker at focusing than my 5D MK2.  And matched with my 70-200 II, it's lightning fast as you guys know.  And to be honest, I have never "NOT" fulfilled my clients needs.  And I do this with utilizing the AF button the back of the camera along with quickburst and oneshot mode - usually tossing the majority of the quickburst as almost always, the first image is usually sharpest. 

Not to take this thread off onto a tangent, I agree...that the 5D MK2 is a turtle, in it's focusing, compared to even my 40D, the 50D I used at a studio I used to work for.   

Thanks for everyone's imput!  Seriously...I appreciate it.

J

The AF in servo mode is customisable so that it doesn't jump around when, for example, a bird flies behind a tree and re-appears on the other side.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2012, 07:06:31 AM »
When you're tracking someone or something during Al Servo, the camera is constantly focusing.  How do you re-compose your shot while keeping the center focus on the subject and not jumping to an object in front or behind them?  I would assume that with the new 5D3, with the crosshairs being more sensitive, using all cross types or even varients of combinations, it would be easier to accidently jump forward or backwards depending on the contrasted objects...or am I to assume that everything shot is taken in a horizontal orientation and cropped vertically, when needed.   ( I can't wait to get my paws on a 5D3 to test it out or 1Dx)  :)

First, you don't have to start from the center - you can select any of the AF points to initiate servo tracking. Not only that, there's an orientation sensitive option, so the camera can default to a different specific point in landscape vs. portrait vs. 'reverse' portrait.

Then, as Brian said, the parameters are customizable in lots of ways, including whether it stays locked on the first subject (even if a ref or pole passes in front), or jumps to a new subject entering the frame (which you may want when shooting a race, for example).
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Re: Auto focus points - The more, the better? I don't think so......
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2012, 07:06:31 AM »