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Archive 2012 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question
  
 
Dogwalker2720
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Long time lurker here.

First off, a bit of background.
I'm a serious amateur and have been using the 5D classic for the last 4 years. I recently got the 5D Mark III when it was released and am quite pleased in general with the camera.

However, there is one thing that still nags at me about the camera's performance.

The focus performance appears to be soft at times, compared to the 5D classic. At times, the focus performance appears sharp, but I get the nagging feeling that it is not as sharp as the 5D classic. What drives me batty is that at times, it appears sharp, yet at times, on shots that I expect it to be sharp, it appears a little soft (at 100% crop). I've used both the new DPP version and Lightroom to compare images.

I shoot in RAW fyi so any in camera JPEG processing is out of the question I should think.

I've been hesitant to post this question as it could any of the following problems:

1) User error. The new platform has a myriad of new functions over the 5c that it may be that I'm missing a step here. I tend to spot meter and focus separately. If there are any settings and techniques that one has to use to get the focus sharpness, please let me know.i.e. do I need to use a shutter speed above 200?
2) AF Microadjustment- Is this needed for tack sharp images? If so, can the veterans kindly point me to the resources that they use to set the adjustments?
3) My camera is a dud (then I better get on the horn with Canon).
4) My mental expectations color my perception and I'm just being incredibly picky on the new camera.

Has anyone (5D Mark III owners) felt the same way that I have?

Any insight or advice is greatly appreciated.



May 14, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Binh Ly
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Sounds normal. The original 5D has "crispy sharp" RAW files straight from the camera compared to the 5D II and 5D III. My guess is the original 5D probably has a weaker AA filter than the newer camera.


May 14, 2012 at 11:56 PM
AGeoJO
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


The images coming from your 5D Mark III are not as sharp as those from the 5Dc? There are a few factors that can cause that.

It depends on the lens you used, you may get motion movement with longer lenses if your shutter speed is not fast enough. Yes, you have to do micro adjustment on all your lenses. This is a feature that wasn't available with the 5Dc. Your new 5D Mark III has 22MP compared to 12MP of the 5Dc; as such, the new camera will magnify user error and slight misfocusing results, by the camera or by you, the user. Off the top of my head, the combination of the two factors will be the first I would address in your position.



May 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM
clarence3
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Dogwalker2720 wrote:
The focus performance appears to be soft at times, compared to the 5D classic. At times, the focus performance appears sharp, but I get the nagging feeling that it is not as sharp as the 5D classic.

1) User error. The new platform has a myriad of new functions over the 5c that it may be that I'm missing a step here. I tend to spot meter and focus separately. If there are any settings and techniques that one has to use to get the focus sharpness, please let me know.i.e. do I need to use a shutter speed above 200?
...Show more

Yep... something is amiss. I owned the 5D (and 5D2 and now 5D3) and loved it... it seemed like it couldn't take a bad shot. Well, until the subject moved. Then you had to deal with either weak AI Servo or center point focus.

Since you're using the same lenses and the same technique, the same shutter speeds should apply. If you're used to getting sharp photos wide open at 200mm with 1/200" on the 5Dc, then you should be getting the same sharpness out of the 5D3. Even better. Because you don't have to stick with the center point for focus. And you don't have to deal with focus, re-compose. Any focus point on the 5D3 should be sufficient. One shot and AI Servo are both above par.

Dogwalker2720 wrote:
2) AF Microadjustment- Is this needed for tack sharp images? If so, can the veterans kindly point me to the resources that they use to set the adjustments?


FoCal software...
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1068472/0

Automation is better on the 7D and the 1D3, but the results on the 5D3 are still very helpful, even though you have to adjust the settings manually as directed. But it will provide the best setting and show you the before/after results.



May 15, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Dogwalker2720
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


I had read about the AA filter issue and thought that that would mainly impact video shooting.

AGeoJo, good points.
I'll make a note of my shutter speeds
Do you mind me asking which micro adjustment guide you used to fine tune your lenses?

Clarence, just saw your post... thanks!



May 15, 2012 at 12:05 AM
RobDickinson
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


clarence3 wrote:
Since you're using the same lenses and the same technique, the same shutter speeds should apply.


No it shouldnt. What will appear sharp on 12mp may not on 22mp.

Theres a bunch of things that may be going on here.

First take a 5d3 image you think is soft and downscale it to 12mp then compare to the 5d image.

Still soft?

Then its possible your lenses need manual focus (MA) adjustment, and that your 5d was more in the centre of possible range of tolerance than your 5d3.

To Test this take a shot with the 5d3 using tripod, timed shot, live view 10* and manual focus, this should give you the sharpest file you should expect from that lens / aperture combo).

If the downscaled image is the same as the 5d image then look at better glass, MA (again) and better technique if the shutter speeds are lowish.



May 15, 2012 at 12:11 AM
clarence3
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


RobDickinson wrote:
No it shouldnt. What will appear sharp on 12mp may not on 22mp.


True. Maybe it's as simple as that, since the OP says he's viewing at 100%.

Try zooming a headshot form both cameras to where an eye is about an inch wide in shots from each camera. Or resize comparable pictures from each camera to 800x600 or print a 8x10 from each camera.



May 15, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Dogwalker2720
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


I'll run the tests and report back. FYI glass wise, I primarily use L glass mixed with good non L glass. The megapixel difference didn't occur to me.



May 15, 2012 at 12:33 AM
BirdWhisperer
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Never owned a 5D classic or a 5D2. Do own a Mark IV, a 7D, and a Mark III. I'm extremely pleased with the sharpness right out of the camera that I'm getting with the 5D Mark III. Here are a few 100% RAW file crops with default Lightroom sharpening only. These were all shot with a 600mm +/- a 1.4x. I typically use Spot AF on the eye for relatively static subjects like this.














May 15, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Dogwalker2720
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Amazing pictures!

Are those right out of the box or did you do AFMA adjustments?




May 15, 2012 at 04:58 AM
 

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BirdWhisperer
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Dogwalker2720 wrote:
Amazing pictures!

Are those right out of the box or did you do AFMA adjustments?



I've never micro adjusted any of my lenses.



May 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Ralph Thompson
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


I had to MA my 400 2.8 on my 5d3. It was the same amount as all my other bodies....Did it on the fly on my first shoot with it.... It's a really quick adjustment if you know how the system works.....


May 15, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Dogwalker2720
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Ralph did you use FoCal?


May 15, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Ralph Thompson
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


No... I used "second base Cal" . I put center point on the second baseman & took the image... then looked closely at the image.... I then looked at the dirt at his feet to see where the focus plane was. In my case, the lens was front focusing a tad, I gave the MF a +7 and re-shot.... Perfect.... I have a lens align pro, but I find this method many times works just as well and is super quick. I find that second base is my sweetspot when shooting infield action; that's why I adjust at that distance.... Hope this helps.

Ralph



May 15, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Dogwalker2720
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Lol, I should be off to see a Giants game with all my gear then


May 16, 2012 at 02:48 PM
speedmaster20d
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


The files out of the 5D3 should be tack sharp. If not it is either user error or bad calibration/bad lens.

Here is a full size image from RAW (DPP conversion with default settings) so you can see the pixel level sharpness you should be getting if everything is right.

Golden Princess


the 100% RAW of a sharp 5D3 file looks as sharp as a 5DII and a 5DC side by side per pixel. Anything less than that indicates a problem with user/camera/optics.

Edited on May 18, 2012 at 02:00 AM · View previous versions



May 16, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Dogwalker2720
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Thanks for the reference picture. I'm half debating a return or further testing at the moment.


May 16, 2012 at 09:52 PM
philber
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Dogwalker, a number of things may be adding up here.
First, you are looking at 100% crops on both cams. Which means the magnification on the 5D III crop will be greater than on the 5DC crop, because of the higher pixel count. Hence, all other things being equal (which they aren't of course), the higher the pixel count, the less sharp the 100 crop looks. Things right themselves when you equalize size when viewing on a screen or printing.
Next, when you move to a higher resolution system, what was acceptable technique may no longer be quite a flawless. That is true for focusing as well as motion blur or lens performance
Lastly, I always micro-adjust my lenses. It takes me around 5 minutes per lens, and the results are so obvious that it is, in my case, a total non-brainer.
I could see all of the above, if combined, giving someone real grief. As in "unacceptably soft". Hope this helps...



May 17, 2012 at 08:43 PM
cputeq
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Something to try - open a 5DIII image in photoshop and downscale (bicubic sharper) the image to 12MP proportions. Then open the image back up and view at 100%.



May 18, 2012 at 12:15 AM
traveller88
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Canon 5D Mark III focus question


Hi Dogwalker,

Just upgraded to a Canon 5D Mark III myself with 3 new L lenses, and it's not focusing properly at multipoint AF. When I shoot a mountain with all points focusing on it, the focus is several hundred meters off. You can see it in the water. Shot hundreds of tests, all out of focus. Quite pronounced with a brand new 70-200 2.8 L II IS lens. I'm not even talking about any moving subjects or any fancy modes, I'm talking about still subjects with plain vanilla multi-point AF, what the camera is designed for general use. Please don't tell me to use only center AF, I want to use it with multi-point AF as advertised, with fast moving travel photography.

Also, we found at least 4 L lenses defective right out of the box, the lenses are misaligned and one side of the frame is not sharp--really shocking. We're talking defects that should have never passed QC.

Many tests shoot to death indoors on close subjects, but many never tests on distant subjects and don't see this. You may want to try more tests and check your camera thoroughly. Shoot with tripod or with super high shutter speeds to eliminate any possible camera shake. Try to shoot in bright sun with contrasty subject. RAW or Hires L jpeg. View full size 100% on large, good monitor. Would be interested in seeing what you see. Any other 5DM3 owners, I would love to hear from you. I'm hoping I just got a lemon.

Am very shocked and appalled with the results. My 5D Mark II never worked properly with outer AF points, was forced to use center point only and forced to shoot f8 to 11 whenever possible, using tripod even outdoors in bright sun, to get better percentage of sharp images. I pretty much gave up on shooting wide open after seeing thousands of images rendered useless once I got home and saw the results on the monitor.

Canon boasts about this latest and greatest AF system in the 5DM3. I thought the 41 cross type AF sensors will finally solve the issue, but it didn't. This is not minor front- or back focusing, this is major AF misfocusing wherein the entire image looks completely out of focus, unless you have some field in front or back to show where the focus plane is--see samples.

Store doesn't have another body, so am waiting for info from Canon, and/or another body to isolate problem. The official word from Canon is that I don't know how to set the camera properly and it might just be settings. But I've heard the same line before, with another camera which took three trips back and over a year for them to admit is not working properly.

Even the lowest priced SLR with kit lens should provide good AF sharpness. Spending 10K on new pro L gear and getting nothing sharp is ludicrous.

Apparently there are those that flame posters that are critical of Canon products. Please note: I am a long time Canon fan, supporter and promoter., and a full-time pro. I have purchased well over 100K of Canon gear during my career, and have been published thousands of times. I have recommended nothing but Canon to all my colleagues, friends, assistants, workshop students and readers. I reviewed the Canon A2E with eye control AF years ago, for the top Canadian photo magazine, and gave it the highest praise. I tested it with models running towards me with a 300 2.8 L lens wide open and the performance blew me away. I reviewed the original 5D for a British magazine and recommended it highly. I talked a colleague who had over $14,000 of Nikon gear to switch to Canon after showing him my images. But frankly, right now I can no longer recommend Canon, unless things change.

I have no reason to bash Canon, and am just stating facts. I still have tons of expensive glass and would prefer not to switch. I am frankly just wanting to have a Canon camera and lenses that work properly. Maybe I got another lemon. But instead of being quiet and just accepting all the poor customer service and products from Canon, I have decided to share with others, so they know they are not alone if they are having issues. And hopefully help convince Canon that they should really change their arrogant attitude and improve their service and products before they lose even more supporters.

All comments, including constructive criticism welcome.

Good luck,

Travelshooter

PS just found out that I can't upload without having to pay? so will upload to a site and post an address














May 19, 2012 at 09:55 PM
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