Is the AF really that bad on the 5Dmk2

CowGummy

EOS 80D
Aug 18, 2013
172
0
Oxford, UK
www.smrphotoart.com
neuroanatomist said:
yellowkamper said:
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.

CowGummy said:
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.
 

Kernuak

EOS 6D MK II
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.
 

pwp

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 25, 2010
2,520
13
K-amps said:
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
 
B

briansquibb

Guest
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.
 
W

willrobb

Guest
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.
 
P

Picsfor

Guest
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 ;)
 

ejenner

EOS RP
Nov 28, 2011
205
7
lbloom said:
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

EOS 6D MK II
Jun 23, 2011
904
0
London
www.bycostello.com
kenraw said:
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..
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,094
649
bycostello said:
kenraw said:
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..
I'll second that! Same I say about the 50 L. A truly wonderful lens, but if you shoot test-charts at mfd, it seems to suck, but put it on a 5d and it will blow your mind.