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Archive 2012 · Canon 1D MK3 Tracking Method

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p.1 #1 · Canon 1D MK3 Tracking Method

For all those MK3/MK4 shooters out there, please tell me that I'm not going crazy that setting the tracking method (C.Fn III-4) to '0' (ie main focus point priority) completely negates the AI servo tracking sensitivity setting (C.Fn III-2). That is, when set to track via the main focus point priority, the focus changes rapidly as the main focus point lands on a new subject. I've seen this happen when shooting soccer. I always shoot with center AF point with expansion. While tracking a player, the focus changed immediately when I pan over another player. As a result, I'm getting unexpected results as the focus changes irrationally.

If main focus point priority truly negates the tracking sensitivity setting would be fine. What's confusing is that Canon (http://www.pressefotografforbundet.dk/fil/eos1dmk3_af_cfn_guide.pdf) suggests different tracking sensitivity setting coupled with main focus point priority under different shooting events!!

A couple of questions:
1. Can anyone shed some light?
2. What setting (CFn III-2, III-4 and III-8) to shoot soccer to track a specific player? to shoot BIF?

Thanks in advance!

Aug 10, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Andrew J
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p.1 #2 · Canon 1D MK3 Tracking Method

Sensitivity is mainly how fast it leaves the subject. So yes this applies to single point, also. Canon has a MKIII video showing a swimmer doing freestyle. With sensitivity half way or higher it hunts every time the swimmer puts their head in the water and gives many shots focused on the water behind them. So I go one click to the left for birds on 1D Classic, MKIIn, MKIII, and 7D. My 50D not having that setting has me fighting to track some bifs.
Very advanced tracking photographers often feel comfortable one click higher on tracking than mere mortals.
For soccer you normally want to be a click or two higher in tracking to get to other players quicker.

Aug 10, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Mike Tuomey
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p.1 #3 · Canon 1D MK3 Tracking Method

Try Les' guide:


I shoot soccer, use ctr point only (no expansion), lower tracking sensitivity only for shooting in lots of traffic. Most of the time I'm med to med-high, pausing just momentarily to get a good lock from the focus point before hitting it.

Edited on Aug 10, 2012 at 09:25 PM · View previous versions

Aug 10, 2012 at 09:20 PM
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p.1 #4 · Canon 1D MK3 Tracking Method

Just from reading your questions i get confused ;-)

Ok so the canon doc you mentioned is a very good starting point.

For soccer when using AI Servo AF Mode follow the settings for Scenario 005
If you find that the focus point jumps too fast when another player momentarily jumps
in front of your main subject then you need to further adjust C.Fn III-2 (AI Servo tracking sensitivity)
make it more (-) or Slow

Then in C.Fn III-4 set that to 1 (Continuous AF track priority)

C.Fn III-8 AF expansions with selected point (set that to 1)

As for C.Fn III-3 AI Servo 1st/2nd image priority
this is more personal preference. I donít machine gun at 10 frames a second
so I choose: 0 which gives
First shot: priority on focus
Subsequent shots: priority on tracking

Aug 10, 2012 at 09:23 PM

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p.1 #5 · Canon 1D MK3 Tracking Method

Hi Gonemad. The Canon guide to the Eos-1D mark III AI servo AF custom functions is very confusing as it is setting the CF. This is why Canon changed it in the newly released cameras.
You are right saying that C.Fn III-4 set to '0' (or "1") negates the AI servo tracking sensitivity setting (C.Fn III-2). However, that is correct only if you have enabled the AF expansion with the CF III-8. With CF III-8 set to "0" (Disabled) the CF III-4 will be inactive and the AF will behave according to setting of the CF III-2.
All this will make no or little difference if you shoot short bursts of frames and regain focus again and so on. That is my style of shooting.
I don't shoot soccer, but I mainly do wildlife, and I use two settings for my BIF.
The first one for birds against a clean bg (the sky) with expanded AF area and CF III-4 set to "1".
The second setting is for use on BIF against a busy BG: Single center focus point and CF III-2 set to "0".
Settings of the CF III-2 should be tested to see which one fits you shooting style.
Hope this helps.

Aug 10, 2012 at 09:24 PM
mark fadely
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p.1 #6 · Canon 1D MK3 Tracking Method

One thing to be aware of is if you are getting out of focus shots using centerpoint on the MK3 it could be a defective camera. If you have a good performing MK3 you can usually get a good percentage of keepers on centerpoint no matter what all the other settings are.

Aug 10, 2012 at 11:14 PM

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p.1 #7 · Canon 1D MK3 Tracking Method

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I was just completely surprised that leaving CFn III-4 as default ('0') invalidates/negates any of the III-2 sensitivity tracking setting. I wonder how many owners of mk3/mk4 find the AF unpredictable due to this dependency.

Aug 10, 2012 at 11:45 PM
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p.1 #8 · Canon 1D MK3 Tracking Method

Socrate, thanks for the explanation. I had noooo idea it worked that way. But I haven't had many problems with AF on 1D3.

Most problematic for me is hummingbirds against a busy background, where they are popping up and down in flight erratically, but it's hard to blame the camera for that one...

Aug 11, 2012 at 02:27 AM

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