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Archive 2011 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance
  
 
dgdg
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


I have a 5D classic that I truly love but I would like to shoot more all purpose general wildlife but find with my 400 mm lens +/- teleconverter that I have some issues with:
1. back focus (I will send lens and body in for calibration to avoid needing MF adjust),
2. getting object in focus if branches are in adjacent areas, and
3. difficulty tracking birds in flight.

I tend to use only the center autofocus point with the 5D. I have some great photos already, but want to improve my number of keepers basically.

The 1D IV offers tracking, but it is a big stretch $$ since I am not a pro.
I will keep the 5D for landscape since I like wide angle photos.

Any recommendations about getting the 7D in terms of the wildlife situations I have mentioned?



Sep 16, 2011 at 03:21 PM
samandsandy
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


The 7d has a function to slow the tracking focus.

I bought the 7d to use primarily with my 70-200 and 1.4x/2.0x tc. I think it would be a good move for your above stated requirements. Here is a pic that I took with the 1.4x using the spot focus at 4.0.

I think the tracking performance is quite good. I just got the body on Tuesday so haven't had a chance to track birds, but got some Monarchs in my garden on Wednesday (was very qindy) and gave it a shot.








Sep 16, 2011 at 03:27 PM
artsupreme
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


The 7D, 1DII, or 1DIII are all great options. I would start with a used 1DII and spend the rest on glass if I were you. I own them all so that's my unbiased opinion.


Sep 16, 2011 at 03:43 PM
kevindar
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


I have a thread showing my experience with spot focus here
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1044013/0#9921653
I also own the 5d2, and used to have original 5d.
the center focusing and tracking of 5d with the 6 invisible point activates is actually quite good. the 7D had 3 advantages.
1. better and faster focus chip which does a better job staying on track.
2. customizable tracking function which does a much better job of not switching to background in BIF, once you lock focus on the bird
3. Spot focus. Amazing for getting good focus with busy background.
I also find in wildlife, I am almost always focal length limited, and having more pixels on the subject is nice.



Sep 16, 2011 at 03:48 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


Thanks!


Sep 17, 2011 at 01:16 AM
dgdg
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


The 1Ds II does look attractive but there is no micro af adjust. So the 7dmay be the best compromise to the 1DIV. I see you point about spot focus and BIF.

Does the IDIII or 1DSII have the equivalent of spot focus and tracking? I do not see that feature in reviews I have read.



Sep 17, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Ernie Aubert
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


Even the 1D IV doesn't have spot AF; at least, I can't find any reference to it in the manual. I think the 7D is the only one so far that has it.


Sep 17, 2011 at 01:50 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


I believe the iv does but only for super telephotos with the mf buttons near the end of the lens


Sep 17, 2011 at 01:56 PM
zzziippyyy
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


^ correct but it's not always the best use of autofocus with this body. Center point AF outperforms it in certain situations bif is one.


Sep 17, 2011 at 01:57 PM
SeverianTL
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


dgdg wrote:
Does the IDIII or 1DSII have the equivalent of spot focus and tracking? I do not see that feature in reviews I have read.


Only for super telephoto lenses with IS and an AF stop button. Seems an odd way for Canon to (partially) cripple their flagship camera.



Sep 17, 2011 at 02:06 PM
 

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dgdg
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


I think that the spot af is the killer app of the 7d for me along with tracking. So it is the choice for me. Just means two bodies. But the 5d1 and 7d are still cheaper than the ideal one size fits all 1DIV.
Maybe in a couple years the IV will be cheaper used.



Sep 17, 2011 at 03:05 PM
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


kevindar wrote:
I also own the 5d2, and used to have original 5d.
the center focusing and tracking of 5d with the 6 invisible point activates is actually quite good. the 7D had 3 advantages...


+1

Two bodies is a real advantage with scenery + wildlife photography and the 5D + 7D make a great pair. Expect a bit of learning curve with the 7D, both with the many tailorable features and also with processing the raw images compared to the 5D. I find original 5D images the easiest to deal with. The 7D is really pushing sensor technology, its roughly equivalent to cropping a 28 MP FF image. Canon has done a good job, mind you, but you have to keep this in mind when working with it.



Sep 17, 2011 at 03:47 PM
kevindar
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


Jeff, its actually a 40MP full sensor equivalent.


Sep 17, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Jeff Nolten
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


Yes, I stand corrected, its a squared multiplier. Much more resolution to get perfectly focused and hold perfectly still


Sep 17, 2011 at 05:19 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


Spot AF mode only exists on the 7D and 1D4. On the 7D you can select it or disable it via a menu. On the 1D4 it can only be enabled via the AF Stop buttons on the super tele lenses. The 1D4 approach is dumb and has drawbacks such as (1) it won't work with most lenses, (2) you have to keep pressing the button on the lens while you want it to work and that introduces unwanted vibration, (3) you cannot use the AF Stop button for anything else while you're using it for Spot AF. Given that the 1D4 came out after the 7D it should have at least as good an implementation of Spot AF and yet it does not.

Spot AF is no impediment to AF tracking but can slow down initial focus acquisition.


These days it seems unwise to buy a camera that does not have AF microadjustment. Higher density sensors reveal focus errors more than the older cameras do. It is a great pity that the MA is somewhat crippled, working only for one focal length and focus distance per lens/TC combination - even a zoom lens. One day they'll let us have greater control.


If you're having difficulty tracking birds in flight then the most likely reason is that your aim / tracking is not so good. In such cases the use of AF expansion can help considerably and the more closely the sensors are packed together the finer the control you will have. A higher AF sensor density also helps prevent birds falling between sensors. Just be sure that you have the chosen sensor on target when you initiate AF or else the system will try to track the wrong thing. This is very important and partly why many people prefer using only a single AF sensor - because they can get poor results with multiple AF sensors without realising why.


Another reason to rule out the likes of the 1D2, 1Ds2, etc., is the lack of in-built sensor cleaning (vibration) system. That results in many more dust spots spoiling your photos more often.

- Alan



Sep 17, 2011 at 05:38 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


Alan321 wrote:
Spot AF is no impediment to AF tracking but can slow down initial focus acquisition.


Which is a major impediment to photography of birds in flight, as an example.



Sep 17, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


But if you already have acquired the focus and accurate aiming before you start shooting then it ought not be a problem at all. It depends on how you operate (which varies with subject) and how much time you have to let the camera get its act together with predictive focus before you actually begin shooting.

The closer the focus is to being right when you start the AF the less chance there is that the spot mode AF will be a problem. If the initial focus is too far off then there is a better chance that the smaller AF sensors will not be able to achieve focus without forcing a lens focus search. That also happens without using spot mode AF but presumably to a lesser degree as there will be a small range of distances in which normal AF works without a lens search and spot AF does not.

I guess the obvious question is why you would need the spot mode AF for birds in flight but it might help if the birds are big enough and slow enough that you can maintain accurate aim. More likely, though, is that once set up in the 7D menu you can't turn it off mid-flight while you are shooting. So if you use it to isolate focus on a stationary bird in a tree and then it takes off you are pretty well stuck with it being on.

- Alan



Sep 18, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Dave Bachrach
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance



I haven't used the spot af mode that much for bif on my 7D. I find it too small of a target when shooting bif. I use the center focus point only and have found that it does work well.

I attached a cropped example taken with a using a 300 2.8 IS at f4, 1/2500. As you can see it tracked very well as the hawk flew behind some branches.

Also keep in mind that the 7D af needs a lens that is capable of f2.8 or faster to take full advantage of the center af point cross-type sensor. See page 91 of the 7D manual ,which you can download from the Canon website.

The 7D isn't prefect, but it's a darn good camera for the money!

Dave








Sep 18, 2011 at 05:40 PM
dgdg
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Canon 7D spot AF and tracking performance


I appreciate everyones' tips.
Allan, yours' are especially plentiful and concise.
I see the spot focus not as much for BIF but BIW (Birds in Woods) or if I am "focal length deficient" but can still capture a reasonable image.

I came across someone with real world, easy to digest write up comparing the 1DIII against the 7D which helped me make my decision for the 7D.
http://iwishicouldfly.com/iwishicouldfly/journal/pdfs/Canon%207D%20vs%201D%20Mark%20III.pdf

I am sure his small test can be debated, well anything can, but seeing some real world results reassures me that I stand to benefit more from the 7D.

Except for spot focus implementation quirks on the 1DIV, I think it would be the one camera takes all for me, but just too pricey still. I never even thought about spot focus until I started using my 400mm lens with/without a 1.4x converter.
Think I'll just have keep my 5Dc until it dies, along with a 7D. I have nice EF glass, so I am excited about getting outside to shoot more pics.



Sep 18, 2011 at 06:11 PM





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