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Thread: 5DII focus pocus?

  1. #1
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    5DII focus pocus?

    Despite the whirlpool of criticism looks like many serious photographers are now using the 5DII for weddings, parties, anything without regrets.

    Just as many reckon it is a splendid lemon.

    So like others coming late to this party I would like to know if there really is a "clear and present danger" of the 5DII auto focus system not working right in normal daylight if the focus point is selected manually rather than via auto select? So far I have found sporadic reports of auto focus malfunctioning but no authoritative analysis that explains what is going on.

    I would also like to know if the way this camera is set up to perform well at high iso makes the IQ muddier than say the 5D at base iso?

    And also is there more likelihood of moire than with the 5D mark I?

  2. #2
    mprz32
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    Re: 5DII focus pocus?

    I use my 5D mark 11 for weddings and family portraits. Sadly I have had alot of difficulty with the auto focus system. It seems to work best on center point and varies with lenses, however is still inconsistent. I know that this is not answering your question, but if anyone out there has any tips to help correct the problem I would greatly appreciate it. It is getting pretty frustrating!

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    Re: 5DII focus pocus?

    Well....
    I'm only expressing my own opinion based on my own usage of this camera.
    I think the AF in the 5D2 is extremely sub-par, I only ever use the centre point, the other points have always proved to be inconstant, Actually I think that's a great word to sum up the AF performance of the camera, some days are better than others, and I've looked at more "soft" files than I care to wondering why they are soft, we're talking camera is not moving and model is not moving 8 feet in front of me!
    When the camera is on a tripod and focus is done via live view, the files are great.
    As long as you expose to the right higher ISO's are quite good, and I really don't worry about Moire, I've shot the Nike Golf wear Look Book with it, Over 3k captures and no Moire on the mesh patterns and synthetic fabrics.

  4. #4
    Member Zlatko Batistich's Avatar
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    Re: 5DII focus pocus?

    The autofocus is virtually the same as in the original 5D and the entire xxD series from 10D to 50D. The center point is excellent. The outer points are usable, but not nearly as good as the center. I often use the outer points but will check focus visually in the viewfinder, knowing that the outer points are less reliable. One should never let the camera choose the AF point (unless it doesn't matter which one is chosen).

    The camera is extremely popular and in no sense a "lemon". The autofocus is its weakness, but not because it is defective. It is Canon's second tier autofocus, not as good as in the 1D series. I've used the 5DII so much that I hardly think about the autofocus — it works as designed and using it has become second nature. The camera is not as speedy as the 1D series, but it's speedy enough for weddings and portraits.

    The image quality is not muddy or muddier than the original 5D. The files are slightly different than those of the 5D, as can be expected by difference in years and resolution. When files from both cameras are viewed at 100%, the 5DII files may appear less sharp, but this is only because one is viewing a bigger image. With a good lens, the files are very sharp.

    I've never seen moire from this camera.

    I find it to be a "no regrets" camera — with a great combination of features, performance, size, weight and price. It could certainly be better in some respects, but that's what the 1D series is for.

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    Re: 5DII focus pocus?

    thanks for this useful input. It is good to know what to expect.

    autofocus is virtually the same as in the original 5D

    Could this explain why some people have encountered focusing issues with the MKII, whereas as far as I know no similar concern was raised about the MKI focusing system... ie that "virtually the same" focussing system in the MKII as the MKI has more difficulty dealing with 24MP resolution on the same physical size sensor as the 12MP MKI?

    Wild speculation but could the challenge of getting a "no regrets" autofocus system to work well in a DSLR with a high MP sensor also be one reason why the upcoming Canon 1DX only has 18MP??

    I certainly don't know.

    Meanwhile am not sure if I want to have to deal with an unreliable autofocus system, so maybe better to stick with the MKI or look into a DS system that is not only double the price but also double the weight and has no video... ???

    Or to wait for the 1DX??

  6. #6
    jto555
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    Re: 5DII focus pocus?

    Hi, I use both the 5D and the 5D ii on a daily basis. My findings are that the 5D ii CAN be pin sharp but the camera can sometimes back focus. What I have done to remedy this is micro calibrated all my lenses on the camera and WOW what a difference. It looked like I had gotten a new set of lenses.

    I also changed the screen to the Canon Eg-S Super Precision Matte Focusing Screen. This makes a big difference for manually focusing with my 1.2 lenses but I do use it with a 24 ~ 105 F4 lens and it gets very dark.

    After I calibrated my 5D ii I did a comparison test with my 5D and found it was also back focusing.

    John

  7. #7
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    Re: 5DII focus pocus?

    Tim Jackson has instructions for how to check for back focus issues here -- on his Nikon D70 site.

    He attributes most suspected back focus problems to operator error. Now I would love to know what camera can fix that!

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: 5DII focus pocus?

    My friend does about 125 weddings a year with 5dmk2. I am his second shooter for 4-6 times a year for years. I had him photograph my daughter's wedding. Yes, center point is best. Yes, focus is not always the best. Yes, if you're using that 85 f1.2 wide open you better take a few extra images. But with the higher iso capabilities it's less of an issue than with original 5d since you can bump up the iso, have large dof, and still get better quality. It's a great wedding camera. Sure, all of your 1,000+ images won't be perfectly sharp, but they won't be enlarged more than to an album size. Last wedding I did, the two batteries last 12 hours and 1,200 clicks and didn't change them out.

    It's best to have a good relationship with someone who can check and adjust your cameras and lenses a couple of times a year. I use TF Camera Repair, in E. Brunswick, NJ. Toshio, the owner, has had tens of thousands of repairs outsourced to him from Canon itself, just a few miles up the road. As soon as I see the number of out of focus images go up, I bring him lens and camera. Often just a little adjustment. Last time it was a larger adjustment on my 24-105. I always seem to have less out of focus images after a good service.

    My point is the 5dmk2 is a great wedding camera, but will have a percentage of out of focus images. You can cut this down by servicing your gear. Like a car needs a tune-up, you can't go years without servicing your camera and lenses and expect consistent, professional results.

  9. #9
    Member Zlatko Batistich's Avatar
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    Re: 5DII focus pocus?

    Quote Originally Posted by lowep View Post
    Could this explain why some people have encountered focusing issues with the MKII, whereas as far as I know no similar concern was raised about the MKI focusing system... ie that "virtually the same" focussing system in the MKII as the MKI has more difficulty dealing with 24MP resolution on the same physical size sensor as the 12MP MKI?
    I don't think so. I don't think one has anything to do with the other, but I'm not an engineer. And I really haven't heard of people complaining of any focusing issues specific to the 5DII. When the 5DII was introduced, many people were understandably disappointed that Canon had not significantly upgraded the autofocus, but that doesn't mean its autofocus has issues.

    The 5DII autofocus has some limitations, but so does every autofocus system. You just have to learn how them. It is not "unreliable". Rather, it has strengths and weaknesses. Sticking to the MKI doesn't give you any advantage -- it has the same system -- not more reliable. If the original 5D autofocus is adequate for your photography, then the 5DII would be too. On the other hand, if your photography is so demanding that only the 1D series will do, then none of the 5D, 7D or xxD series will be adequate.

    When people experience bad autofocus with the 5DII, it is likely to be from issues that can affect any camera, such as lenses that need an AF adjustment, user error, etc. Perhaps Canon will upgrade the autofocus in the next model; it would certainly be a good selling point.

  10. #10
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    Re: 5DII focus pocus?

    looking at your portfolio Zlatko, I see what you mean

  11. #11
    Member Zlatko Batistich's Avatar
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    Re: 5DII focus pocus?

    Thanks!

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