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Author Topic: 1DX - issues in low light at reception / Edit..use expansion pts, problem solved  (Read 19291 times)

mjcphoto

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Hi gang,

I've been a follower of Canon Rumors updates for years, but this is my first time posting in the forum.

I recently purchased the 1DX.  Let me first say that Canon has done a nice job making improvements over the 1D MK4.  The A/I servo is incredibly accurate, and in well light back lit situations the camera is spot on!

However, I shot a wedding reception in relatively low light this past weekend and I had trouble both acquiring focus at times and with images that were out of focus (after focus had been confirmed).  Assist beam was on and hoods removed when using longer lenses. I normally shoot and ISO 400 - 640 and drop my shutter down to 1/15 and I'm just below the room light controlling what freezes as always.  In this case I was at 800ISO at a 1/15...so it was definitely darker than average.  Prior to the reception (low light situation), the camera and focus performed flawlessly!

I had a similar experience with the 1D MK4, along with many other issues.  CPS couldn't fix it on a couple of attempts so it went back.  I've been with the 1D MK3's since early 2007.  While they have their own issues (minor), during an indoor wedding reception they can acquire and be extremely accurate with focus when using an on camera Canon flash (fill / with assist beam) and triggering a Q flash as my main light (most of the time).  99% of the time I nail the shot.  This was not the case with the 1DX.  Any others out there experience this as well?

I should also point out that outdoors, the 1DX has performed flawlessly!  Focus is spot on 99% or more of the time.  I tracked a couple crossing the street in A/I servo at 1/500 at 2.8 with a 135 F2.0 lens and every single shot was amazingly sharp!

I'm hoping this will be a firmware update?  Or is a short coming and/or trade off of the sensor used?  Thinking I'm going to use my MKIII for the reception shots in lower light situations going forward.

thanks,
Michael
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 10:16:34 AM by mjcphoto »

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Studio1930

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2012, 02:33:58 PM »
I noticed that my 1DX was able to find focus in very low light when in one shot mode but not in AI servo mode.  Then I noticed that my 1D4 did the same thing and the 1DX was about 1/2 to 1 stop better than the 1D4 in acquiring focus in low light in one shot mode.

Make sure you are in one shot mode if you are trying to do very low light shots with the 1DX.  Test it in a dim hallway or something and you will see what I mean.
-Darrin
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mjcphoto

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2012, 02:45:37 PM »
Thanks, yes, all 2000 shots in one shot...I tried A/I servo a couple of times but to no avail...


I noticed that my 1DX was able to find focus in very low light when in one shot mode but not in AI servo mode.  Then I noticed that my 1D4 did the same thing and the 1DX was about 1/2 to 1 stop better than the 1D4 in acquiring focus in low light in one shot mode.

Make sure you are in one shot mode if you are trying to do very low light shots with the 1DX.  Test it in a dim hallway or something and you will see what I mean.

Studio1930

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2012, 02:51:02 PM »
Depends on the lens too.  My 135 f/2 doesn't focus well in low light (even though it is f/2) and neither does my 85 f/1.2, but my 200 f/2 is crazy good in low light and the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II is pretty good too.  The 200 f/2 is my go to lens for low light and gives me about 1 to 2 stops more low light focusing ability than my other lenses.  I was surprised and happy when I first tested this.
-Darrin
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mjcphoto

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2012, 03:57:03 PM »
Depends on the lens too.  My 135 f/2 doesn't focus well in low light (even though it is f/2) and neither does my 85 f/1.2, but my 200 f/2 is crazy good in low light and the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II is pretty good too.  The 200 f/2 is my go to lens for low light and gives me about 1 to 2 stops more low light focusing ability than my other lenses.  I was surprised and happy when I first tested this.

Agreed!  The 135 is not the ideal lens for low light!  Nor is the 70-200.  The 24-70, to me has been the most reliable and good all around reception lens and it too was having trouble.  Again, it was dark and there were room lights in the background as well as reception hall dance floor lights that would trigger occasionally.  Like the mark4 I'm finding it has a touch of trouble when indoors with backlight (not nearly as much as my Mk4 body, but it's there).

I shot a wedding a week ago, I was shooting at 500 and 640 later when the lights went down...the room was a little brighter and I didn't notice the out of focus issue...focus acquisition wasn't quite on par with the mark3....man I wish this wasn't the case!  Again, in lighter settings it's always on!  And I use the focusing grid that's designed for 2.8 and wider apertures.

awinphoto

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2012, 04:31:33 PM »
If i may chime in...  please correct me if i'm wrong..  but you got your 1dx, a flash on/off camera, and super telephoto lenses shooting in a dark room at the reception? 

IF this is correct, did you notice the AF assist beam/grid going off?  That would be my first place to look... In one shot, your flash should be using the AF assist light, assuming that you are using a canon compatible flash. I'm assuming you are using flash as i'm sure even you would know that 1/15 would have no shot in hell in freezing motion.  Secondly, did you notice any part of the scene in focus and check that the ambient was too high?  I had a second shooter screw the pooch for me at a wedding reception recently... He had the ambient exposure too high, almost at perfect exposure but way too slow of a shutter, and then he had flash, but he couldn't figure out why the scene was OOF.  The shutter needed to kill enough ambient so the flash exposure can stand out and look "sharp" and not blend in too much with the blurry exposure for the ambient.  When I shot my last reception, it was in a convention room... they killed all house lights after dinner and had these horrid neon trim lights that went around the room.  With my 5d3 and 580 and 430, i had to rely on the assist lights of my flashes to get any focus and exposure and didn't have any problems.  I believe i was at ISO 2000-2500, F4 and 1/200 give or take... Background was typically 2 stops under on portraits and when I did more overall shots with the flash pumping out more light, it looked pretty decent.  If I missed the point and or didn't get your situation correctly, feel free to let me know so I can help you more. 
Canon 5d III, Canon 24-105L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 70-200 F4L IS, Canon 100L 2.8, Canon 85 1.8, 2 430EX 2's and a partridge in a pear tree.

Robert Welch

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2012, 04:36:53 PM »
I have the 5DmkIII, which has similar AF system to the 1Dx as I understand, and have had some issues acquiring good focus in very low light (the emphasis on 'very low'), along the lines of what you have reported. Others I've seen have reported this issue with the 5DmkIII as well, some have remarked that the 5DmkII had much better low light focus when using just the center focus point on that camera.

I also have the 1DmkIII and agree it does an excellent job with low light focus acquisition, better than the 5DmkIII. One thing I notice with the 5DmkIII is it seems to hesitate to engage the AF in low light situation, when you press the button nothing happens for awhile, as if it is processing the information before it starts activating the focus mechanism.

Don't know the 1Dx focus issue you are reporting is related to the similar 5DmkIII issue I've seen, but hopefully performance of both cameras will be improved, ideally with a frimware update.

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2012, 04:36:53 PM »

awinphoto

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2012, 04:53:48 PM »
I have the 5DmkIII, which has similar AF system to the 1Dx as I understand, and have had some issues acquiring good focus in very low light (the emphasis on 'very low'), along the lines of what you have reported. Others I've seen have reported this issue with the 5DmkIII as well, some have remarked that the 5DmkII had much better low light focus when using just the center focus point on that camera.

I also have the 1DmkIII and agree it does an excellent job with low light focus acquisition, better than the 5DmkIII. One thing I notice with the 5DmkIII is it seems to hesitate to engage the AF in low light situation, when you press the button nothing happens for awhile, as if it is processing the information before it starts activating the focus mechanism.

Don't know the 1Dx focus issue you are reporting is related to the similar 5DmkIII issue I've seen, but hopefully performance of both cameras will be improved, ideally with a frimware update.

Are you using a flash for focus assist or just natural light?  Natural light with no flash, it may be iffy if you're getting good focus in low light... but if you have flash and AF assist beam, you should be golden.  I would assume the 1dx would be the same. 
Canon 5d III, Canon 24-105L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 70-200 F4L IS, Canon 100L 2.8, Canon 85 1.8, 2 430EX 2's and a partridge in a pear tree.

mjcphoto

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2012, 04:55:07 PM »
I have the 5DmkIII, which has similar AF system to the 1Dx as I understand, and have had some issues acquiring good focus in very low light (the emphasis on 'very low'), along the lines of what you have reported. Others I've seen have reported this issue with the 5DmkIII as well, some have remarked that the 5DmkII had much better low light focus when using just the center focus point on that camera.

I also have the 1DmkIII and agree it does an excellent job with low light focus acquisition, better than the 5DmkIII. One thing I notice with the 5DmkIII is it seems to hesitate to engage the AF in low light situation, when you press the button nothing happens for awhile, as if it is processing the information before it starts activating the focus mechanism.

Don't know the 1Dx focus issue you are reporting is related to the similar 5DmkIII issue I've seen, but hopefully performance of both cameras will be improved, ideally with a frimware update.

Thanks for the constructive input Robert!  Yes, it's in very low reception hall light.  Nice to hear you agree with my overall review of the 1D MK3 in these settings.  It would be incredible if a firmware update could fix this, b/c outside of this situation it's incredible!

mjcphoto

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2012, 04:58:38 PM »
I have the 5DmkIII, which has similar AF system to the 1Dx as I understand, and have had some issues acquiring good focus in very low light (the emphasis on 'very low'), along the lines of what you have reported. Others I've seen have reported this issue with the 5DmkIII as well, some have remarked that the 5DmkII had much better low light focus when using just the center focus point on that camera.

I also have the 1DmkIII and agree it does an excellent job with low light focus acquisition, better than the 5DmkIII. One thing I notice with the 5DmkIII is it seems to hesitate to engage the AF in low light situation, when you press the button nothing happens for awhile, as if it is processing the information before it starts activating the focus mechanism.

Don't know the 1Dx focus issue you are reporting is related to the similar 5DmkIII issue I've seen, but hopefully performance of both cameras will be improved, ideally with a frimware update.

Are you using a flash for focus assist or just natural light?  Natural light with no flash, it may be iffy if you're getting good focus in low light... but if you have flash and AF assist beam, you should be golden.  I would assume the 1dx would be the same.

Sorry, I misunderstood your comment...yes, I'm using a flash with assist beam.  And you're right, without a flash at 1/15, not a shot in hell!  Now I'm with you!!! :)

awinphoto

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2012, 05:04:08 PM »
If i may chime in...  please correct me if i'm wrong..  but you got your 1dx, a flash on/off camera, and super telephoto lenses shooting in a dark room at the reception? 

IF this is correct, did you notice the AF assist beam/grid going off?  That would be my first place to look... In one shot, your flash should be using the AF assist light, assuming that you are using a canon compatible flash. I'm assuming you are using flash as i'm sure even you would know that 1/15 would have no shot in hell in freezing motion.  Secondly, did you notice any part of the scene in focus and check that the ambient was too high?  I had a second shooter screw the pooch for me at a wedding reception recently... He had the ambient exposure too high, almost at perfect exposure but way too slow of a shutter, and then he had flash, but he couldn't figure out why the scene was OOF.  The shutter needed to kill enough ambient so the flash exposure can stand out and look "sharp" and not blend in too much with the blurry exposure for the ambient.  When I shot my last reception, it was in a convention room... they killed all house lights after dinner and had these horrid neon trim lights that went around the room.  With my 5d3 and 580 and 430, i had to rely on the assist lights of my flashes to get any focus and exposure and didn't have any problems.  I believe i was at ISO 2000-2500, F4 and 1/200 give or take... Background was typically 2 stops under on portraits and when I did more overall shots with the flash pumping out more light, it looked pretty decent.  If I missed the point and or didn't get your situation correctly, feel free to let me know so I can help you more.

I don't know where to start...first off, yes, the assist beam is firing and set to fire in custom functions on both of the Canon flashes I was using.  2nd, I'm pretty experience and technical and yes, I get perfectly sharp images with my MarkII, MarkIIN's, Mark3's at a 1/15 so long as I'm under the room light (what the meter sees).  Happy to give you a tutorial sometime if you need it.  I've won awards and kind of know what I'm doing. 

So, I take it you're not experiencing these issues.  I'm starting to think I may have a lemon...but I'll wait for more comments first.

thanks,
Michael

All things in consideration if you have a method and all of a sudden, it's not working with the 1dx, it could be the 1dx...  I will say what AF mode are you using?  Single point, AF expansion, zone?  Secondly, I know lots of 1d users and 5d2 users who are having troubles with the 5d3 and 1dx AF and losing track where their AF point is focusing on...  If you are shooting all 61 point zone, that could be a problem as well...  If your flash is working correctly and your subject is just plain OOF despite usage of flash, I would check your set up in a controlled environment...  dark room, Manichean, and see if you can get in focus images with your current set up and exposure...  perhaps your camera/lens needs calibrated... if it cant get focus in a controlled environment, then let canon fix it. 
Canon 5d III, Canon 24-105L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 70-200 F4L IS, Canon 100L 2.8, Canon 85 1.8, 2 430EX 2's and a partridge in a pear tree.

awinphoto

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2012, 05:10:58 PM »
I have the 5DmkIII, which has similar AF system to the 1Dx as I understand, and have had some issues acquiring good focus in very low light (the emphasis on 'very low'), along the lines of what you have reported. Others I've seen have reported this issue with the 5DmkIII as well, some have remarked that the 5DmkII had much better low light focus when using just the center focus point on that camera.

I also have the 1DmkIII and agree it does an excellent job with low light focus acquisition, better than the 5DmkIII. One thing I notice with the 5DmkIII is it seems to hesitate to engage the AF in low light situation, when you press the button nothing happens for awhile, as if it is processing the information before it starts activating the focus mechanism.

Don't know the 1Dx focus issue you are reporting is related to the similar 5DmkIII issue I've seen, but hopefully performance of both cameras will be improved, ideally with a frimware update.

Are you using a flash for focus assist or just natural light?  Natural light with no flash, it may be iffy if you're getting good focus in low light... but if you have flash and AF assist beam, you should be golden.  I would assume the 1dx would be the same.

Sorry, I misunderstood your comment...yes, I'm using a flash with assist beam.  And you're right, without a flash at 1/15, not a shot in hell!  Now I'm with you!!! :)

No worries... I know how frustrating it is when your gear isn't working...  As i mentioned in my other post... perhaps run a few calculated controlled tests... see if your camera can get focused... Also on another thought, I heard if you have spot focus for example, it will rarely move off that point so if your shooting a dancing couple for instance and depending on the AF scenario you set it at, if your subject jumps off that point momentarily, if could be enough to lose focus are start looking for a new focus just like that...  AF expansion will get the initial point but will jump from point to point within it's expansion... zone will look for anything within the zone... etc...  Just stuff to consider...  The 7d/5d3/1dx, the latter two especially with the scenarios, are especially more tricky to learn and master...  but i'd check that.. run controlled tests... if all else fails and it still wont work, then send the camera back. 
Canon 5d III, Canon 24-105L, Canon 17-40L, Canon 70-200 F4L IS, Canon 100L 2.8, Canon 85 1.8, 2 430EX 2's and a partridge in a pear tree.

mjcphoto

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2012, 05:22:40 PM »
Yeah, I have my focus grid set up to show just the points that work with 2.8F lenses and wider.  So, focus is accurate when using those points.

I almost always manually select my point and I'm in one shot mode.  Over the years I've trained myself to focus on contrasting clothing or lighter parts of my subject when in low light situations.  Like I said, the 1D Mark3, no problem....the 1DX...in low light...it's having problems!

When it was acquiring quickly in low light, it would look great on the screen after taking the shot.  But, I have the zoom set to zoom at 100% to the focus point used so I can check and I was missing many that were supposedly in focus (and yes, with a Canon flash / 600 or 580EX, assist beam, under the metered light, etc). 

A little frustrating b/c I thought I found the holy grail of cameras!!!  I have a work around (MK3 for the low lit reception halls), but after waiting years for this camera, I feel like I should be able to use it in all situations.  You know???

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2012, 05:22:40 PM »

Robert Welch

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2012, 05:38:10 PM »
I have been using a 580exII with AF assist beam on, and encountered some AF difficulty in low light. I've also tried turning the beam of, which didn't seem to help. I mostly use expanded-spot focusing in single shot mode, I will do more controlled testing in different modes to see if I can get better results in some other configuration. I am normally using the 24-105L on this camera, which isn't the best lens for low light AF. My work around is similar, I switch to a 7D for reception photos typically (would use the 1D3, but it hurts my hand to carry it around all night, which is why I was so happy when the 5D3 was released).

wickidwombat

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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2012, 06:11:24 PM »
in low light i have found the expanded af works better if spot focus is giving trouble you know the mode with the 8 af assist points enabled. this is on a 5d mk3 though also has anyone else noticed how good at focusing the 16-35 f2.8L ii is in very ow light?
its very snappy
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Re: 1DX - issues in low light at reception
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2012, 06:11:24 PM »