5d M III Viewfinder illumination and af points!
/forum/topic/1099852/1

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AGeoJO
Registered: Jul 08, 2003
Total Posts: 12099
Country: United States

mtavel wrote:
I've had my 5D3 for 3 days now and have read the manual and played with settings for hours upon hours.

I really think the way focus points are displayed/illuminated on the 5D3 is broken.


I got the hunch that the complaints are from 5D Mark II users and not from users that are used to that system coming from the 7D. That's basically how the 7D works and as far as I know, 7D users didn't have any issues with that overlay system. Maybe I am wrong but not to my knowledge at least. I am used to this setup and I have used it for over a year on my 7D and I didn't see that as an issue, let alone that the display of the camera is broken, like you indicated . Come to think of it, the way it works on the 5D Mark III came naturally to me.

mtavel wrote:
Problem (low light): In low light, the AF point is not visible. It is displayed as a dark square outline in the viewfinder, but in a fairly dark scene, it is impossible to detect. It does not illuminate until it achieves focus on something, and you don't know where on the subject to aim the focus point because you can't see it!


Just push the AF setting/selection button and your AF buttons will be displayed and you can easily tell which one is active for you to put that on your target. You push either the AF back button or the shutter button to focus, if there is enough light or contrast for the camera to focus, then it will. Otherwise, you are out of luck, it is too dark or a blank wall doesn't have enough contrast. You can try to get the AF assist of a flash in that case.

mtavel wrote:
Problem (bright):In bright busy scenes, it can be difficult to see the focus point unless the scene is fairly uniform. The focus point does not blink or illuminate in any way until it achieves focus, so it can be hard to spot until it locks on something. It is easier to see the AF point in bright scenes compared to dark ones, but blinking the AF point when AF starts would be a huge help.


True, the ilumination of the AF point can be hard to see but there are other ways for you to get that. But the AF point itself very clearly visible for you to just put that on your target. You can confirm the AF by either the audible beep or by the round AF confirmation light on the bottom.



Yohan Pamudji
Registered: Jul 17, 2003
Total Posts: 1407
Country: United States

stanj wrote:
Mike Mahoney wrote:
Does anyone have an idea is the fix for the AF illumination problem firmware or hardware?
Seems something that can be addressed with a firmware update?


The last cameras to get this right, the 1Ds3 / 1D4, had different viewfinder hardware. I don't think this is a software fix. I am equally frustrated with this, regardless deepblue's sarcasm.


On the 5DIII doesn't the active AF point flash red when focus lock is achieved? And only the active AF point? If so, I don't see why they couldn't modify the behavior to do this at the beginning of AF as well, i.e., a software fix.



SeverianTL
Registered: May 22, 2010
Total Posts: 315
Country: United States

Try this:


  1. Set the joystick "multi-controller" to direct AF point selection
  2. Set AF manual selection pattern to "continuous"
  3. Set AF point display during focus to "selected (constant)"
  4. Set viewfinder illumination to "on"

With this setup, whenever metering is active and you move the focus point with the joystick it will flash red. (If you also have the viewfinder grid enabled, it will also flash red. Indeed, anything that is showing in the viewfinder LCD will flash red since the illumination is coming from an LED at the edge of the panel.) Once you see where the current AF point is you can very quickly move it to where you need it. As has already been mentioned, you can also press the AF point selection button to have all points displayed and lit up.


mtavel
Registered: Mar 21, 2012
Total Posts: 11
Country: United States

AGeoJO wrote:

Just push the AF setting/selection button and your AF buttons will be displayed and you can easily tell which one is active for you to put that on your target. You push either the AF back button or the shutter button to focus, if there is enough light or contrast for the camera to focus, then it will. Otherwise, you are out of luck, it is too dark or a blank wall doesn't have enough contrast. You can try to get the AF assist of a flash in that case.



I have used the 'trick' with the AF settings/select button... but this is a very limiting workaround since once you start focusing, the points completely disappear again.

You have to press the grid button again if the subject moves or if you are using the AI Servo mode with 61 point tracking... you can't tell where the focus point is tracking if you can't see it, and pressing the grid button at that point just starts you over with whatever point you had selected originally.

It sounds like we just do different types of shooting and not being able to see a selected focus point on your moving target in a low light scene (like a concert) may not be as much of an issue for you. When you're shooting with a large aperture/shallow depth of field to get as much available light as possible... 'close' with the focus points doesn't really cut it. Pressing the AF grid button and 'remembering' where the now invisible point is when you're trying to land the focus point over an eyeball is beyond frustrating.

If you're reading this and you agree this is not ideal, please provide Canon with your feedback:


Online: http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/support/professional/professional_cameras/eos_digital_slr_cameras/eos_5d_mark_iii/form_display/support_by_email (5D Mark III specific link)

By Phone:
Canon Customer Support Center
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 midnight. ET,
Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., excluding holidays
Phone: 1-800-OK-CANON (toll free)
1-800-652-2666
TDD: 1-866-251-3752 (toll free)

If you're happy with your camera as is, enjoy!



arbitrage
Registered: Jun 05, 2011
Total Posts: 6124
Country: Canada

Wow. This system is working 100% the same as the 7D. I've never once heard this complaint about the 7D. Is anyone on here that doesn't like the way it works using a 7D?

So lets get this straight. In bright light with AF illumination set to ON. You won't see any red at all. You will see black squares. You can have all 61 black squares show 100% of the time with the selected one being bigger. You can have only the selected one showing but at all time. You can have the selected one show only prefocusing (so framing the shot) and then reshow up after focus locks. Or you can have the point only show up once you lock focus. I'd suggest using either option 2 or 3. 1 is too busy and 4 seems pointless to me.

Now in darker situations if you have the camera set to AF illumination ON or Auto then you get the red flash when focus locks. If you have the grid displaying then it flashes red too. Now I think what people don't like is that the black box doesn't stay red either during focusing or when focus is achieved. And in bright light it doesn't turn red at all or at least you can't tell it is turning red even with AF Illumination set to ON.

Now the best way for you guys to see a constant red is to hit the button on the upper right next to the AE lock (*) button that will then turn on all the points to red and let you move the point around the 61pt grid etc. This should allow you to have a clearer idea of where the point is and to aim it at what you are wanting to focus on. However, once it locks then it will go back to the same display that you have set as I spoke about earlier (1-4 options).

With all that said I also have to say that you guys are crazy!!! I don't mean to be rude or demeaning but I just went outside in bright sunlight and snow covered ground and then came back inside my fairly dim apartment and went around focusing constantly on random things. I can easily see the black square no matter what type of light I'm in. And even with busy forested backgrounds focusing at infinity and even with focusing at MFD with my 100L on my dark jeans from 10cm away, I can still easily see the black square focus points. If I need to see them better than I just hit the button beside the * button and see all 61 in red with my selected point as a large red square. Then I use the small joystick to move the point around and then focus. I get the red flash and then take the picture.

I just don't see the problem BUT I have been shooting the 7D for 2 years and only have had the 5D2 for 2 months so I am much more accustomed to the red flash than people who have been shooting the 5D2. If the red flash that you see when looking into the lens is a problem then turn off AF illumination and just use the aforementioned button next to the * button to light up the points.

If you are in AI Servo then you don't get as much showing as in One shot. And please tell me no one is using AI Focus. If you are please don't. It is a horrible mode. Use back button focus and AI Servo to get both one shot and AI servo at the same time at your control (either one push or holding down the AF-ON button).

I hope this helps and at least explains how I know it is supposed to work. If you can't get something that I said to work then your camera may have a problem. Otherwise, call/write to Canon and ask for the AF point to stay lit in red after focus is achieved if this is the main problem people are having.



AGeoJO
Registered: Jul 08, 2003
Total Posts: 12099
Country: United States

mtavel wrote:
I have used the 'trick' with the AF settings/select button... but this is a very limiting workaround since once you start focusing, the points completely disappear again.

I have currently 4 different Canon bodies (7D, 5D Mark II, Mark III and 1D Mark IV) and every single one of them does that. The active AF light is not on until it is activated (when you move that around and place it on your target) and it blinks when it achives focus. In single AF mode, that is. Which Canon body did you use before the 5D Mark III?


mtavel wrote:
You have to press the grid button again if the subject moves or if you are using the AI Servo mode with 61 point tracking... you can't tell where the focus point is tracking if you can't see it, and pressing the grid button at that point just starts you over with whatever point you had selected originally.

It sounds like we just do different types of shooting and not being able to see a selected focus point on your moving target in a low light scene (like a concert) may not be as much of an issue for you. When you're shooting with a large aperture/shallow depth of field to get as much available light as possible... 'close' with the focus points doesn't really cut it. Pressing the AF grid button and 'remembering' where the now invisible point is when you're trying to land the focus point over an eyeball is beyond frustrating.


In AI Servo, the AF point is lit when activated and moved and placed on your target. But it is not lit when it reaches focus. In most of my cases, my starting AF point is fairly close to the center, either left or right, if not smack in the center. I try to follow to get my target to be covered by the active AF point (using expansion) that way. The active AF point is not lit on the 7D, 5D Mark II and 5D Mark III and lit only on the 1D Mark IV. However, although not lit, the AF points are contrasty enough to be seen under most lighting conditions. This is indeed where "your mileage may vary" phrase comes in. I don't take pictures at concerts and so far, I am very happy with the 5D Mark III. Of course, it is not a perfect camera but, hey, what is ?



timbop
Registered: Dec 29, 2005
Total Posts: 6408
Country: United States

In addition to the focus point being lit when you change af point, if you hit the AF selection button on a 7d ALL the points light up RED (selected is a box and others are dots). Assume you can do the same with 5d3



AGeoJO
Registered: Jul 08, 2003
Total Posts: 12099
Country: United States

Yes, that's correct to the above. The cross AF points are solid and the horizontal sensitive are blinking. Oh, and the grid is also lit.



pompo
Registered: Aug 11, 2002
Total Posts: 610
Country: United States

I used it for 3 hours today doing headshots and in bright light it's so freaking hard to see the af point that you "move around" to select the one you want; it's always gray, even with VF illumination on in bright light you don't see the dang red thing to see when its in focus either...very bad piece of cr@p, the af is fast alright tho...AND I cant even probably use this cam on sets at night or in the dark because the red led light looks like a traffic light looking it at from the front).

What I wanna know is why they couldn't have made it to lit up just like the 5DM2... ??



Yohan Pamudji
Registered: Jul 17, 2003
Total Posts: 1407
Country: United States

arbitrage,

Thanks for the helpful info. The 7D behavior as you described isn't to my liking, and if the 5DIII is the exact same way that's unfortunate. In dim light I'd rather have a red illuminated box than a black non-illuminated box around the active AF point at the start of AF. I can't speak specifically to the 5DIII not owning one, but I've shot in lighting conditions where the black box would be very difficult if not impossible to see. Obviously it doesn't bother some people, but it would be great to have the option to flash the red box at the beginning of AF.

I remember people complaining about how the 7D behaves with respect to the AF point illumination. I guess people just got used to it because nobody talks about it anymore.



Mike Tuomey
Registered: Jul 23, 2005
Total Posts: 2860
Country: United States

^^^^^^



mtavel
Registered: Mar 21, 2012
Total Posts: 11
Country: United States

The 5D3 is a low light monster. You can take pictures at ISO 12k and 25k that you never would have dreamed of with other cameras. This means, very little ambient light. So in those light conditions, lets say you want to compose a shot where the subject's head is about the size of a focus point in the viewfinder at F/1.8 when you can't even see the focus point in the upper left quadrant of your viewfinder. The subject is moving by the way. By just blinking the selected AF point when starting AF, you can very quickly frame your shot. And by very quickly lifting your finger from the rear AF button and pressing it again, you get another blink so you can make sure you're there (you don't have to toggle out to the grid view using a different button showing all the points to then have to switch back to the AF button to get focus again).

It is a simple and elegant solution for low light shooting that exists on other bodies. It is an interesting fact that the 7d does not have the feature, but that does not make it any less reasonable an expectation that a camera so adept at low light photography (unlike a 7D) would have this feature.



AGeoJO
Registered: Jul 08, 2003
Total Posts: 12099
Country: United States

pompo wrote:
I used it for 3 hours today doing headshots and in bright light it's so freaking hard to see the af point that you "move around" to select the one you want; it's always gray, even with VF illumination on in bright light you don't see the dang red thing to see when its in focus either...very bad piece of cr@p, the af is fast alright tho...AND I cant even probably use this cam on sets at night or in the dark because the red led light looks like a traffic light looking it at from the front).

What I wanna know is why they couldn't have made it to lit up just like the 5DM2... ??



If you cannot see the AF point in bright day light, then either there is something wrong with you eyesight or with the camera . Just kidding. Of course, chances are the later.

Seriously though, the active AF point is the large box and anything else small boxes; in my view it could not be more visible. Are you referring to the lit AF point? In what mode? Single AF or AI-Servo? In the single AF mode, you either turn on the audible beep or look at the lit circle under the viewfinder. In AI-Servo, well, if it doesn't AF, the green circle is blinking, otherwise, you are good to go. Like you said, the AF is good, right? So, we just have to rely on the camera. Even the 1D Mark IV doesn't have any AF confirmation lit anywhere although the active AF point is lit in the AI Servo mode.



AGeoJO
Registered: Jul 08, 2003
Total Posts: 12099
Country: United States

Yohan Pamudji wrote:
In dim light I'd rather have a red illuminated box than a black non-illuminated box around the active AF point at the start of AF. I can't speak specifically to the 5DIII not owning one, but I've shot in lighting conditions where the black box would be very difficult if not impossible to see. Obviously it doesn't bother some people, but it would be great to have the option to flash the red box at the beginning of AF.


There seems to be a misunderstanding here. If you set the AF illumination to "on" it does lit each when you move that around and if it nails the focus. In that respect, it just behaves like a 5D Mark II or even the 1D Mark IV. If you set it to "auto", it will depend on the available light, it may be on, or it may not.



mtavel
Registered: Mar 21, 2012
Total Posts: 11
Country: United States

AGeoJO wrote:

I have currently 4 different Canon bodies (7D, 5D Mark II, Mark III and 1D Mark IV) and every single one of them does that. The active AF light is not on until it is activated (when you move that around and place it on your target) and it blinks when it achives focus. In single AF mode, that is. Which Canon body did you use before the 5D Mark III?


The feature I'm describing was on my T2i (550d). It is called AF Point Activation Indicator. It flashes the selected focus point at the beginning of an AF operation. Seems like a perfectly reasonable option to offer.



Yohan Pamudji
Registered: Jul 17, 2003
Total Posts: 1407
Country: United States

AGeoJO wrote:
Yohan Pamudji wrote:
In dim light I'd rather have a red illuminated box than a black non-illuminated box around the active AF point at the start of AF. I can't speak specifically to the 5DIII not owning one, but I've shot in lighting conditions where the black box would be very difficult if not impossible to see. Obviously it doesn't bother some people, but it would be great to have the option to flash the red box at the beginning of AF.


There seems to be a misunderstanding here. If you set the AF illumination to "on" it does lit each when you move that around and if it nails the focus. In that respect, it just behaves like a 5D Mark II or even the 1D Mark IV. If you set it to "auto", it will depend on the available light, it may be on, or it may not.


Just to clarify, I'm talking about having already set the AF point and just using it, not moving it around. I figured that it would show a red box while you're moving the selected point around, otherwise that would be really insane But if I set the AF point a few minutes ago and haven't moved it around, when I start focusing does the red box flash instead of just when focus lock is achieved? That's what every Canon camera I've used does although I haven't used the 7D.



AGeoJO
Registered: Jul 08, 2003
Total Posts: 12099
Country: United States

mtavel wrote:
AGeoJO wrote:

I have currently 4 different Canon bodies (7D, 5D Mark II, Mark III and 1D Mark IV) and every single one of them does that. The active AF light is not on until it is activated (when you move that around and place it on your target) and it blinks when it achives focus. In single AF mode, that is. Which Canon body did you use before the 5D Mark III?


The feature I'm describing was on my T2i (550d). It is called AF Point Activation Indicator. It flashes the selected focus point at the beginning of an AF operation. Seems like a perfectly reasonable option to offer.


I am not familiar with that body. Sorry. To me it is more important to see that it nails the AF and it is lit then rather than at the beginning of the AF operation. In the 5D Mark III, when you select the AF and choose the one you like/select, then it will lit each time, correct? I guess I am not getting why it is considered a design flaw or whatever.



arbitrage
Registered: Jun 05, 2011
Total Posts: 6124
Country: Canada

Again I understand that some of you want the square to light up when starting to focus or even prefocus. But just hit the button to the right of the * button and your good to go. Canon could probably change it in software to do what you want as we know from hitting that button that it is possible to light up all the points in red and not just flash the one point.

I'm at a total loss as to why pompo can't see the focus point in daylight? It is really dark black on my screen and shows up as I said earlier even when I was focusing from 10cm away from my dark jeans with the jean color filling the entire frame and in a low lit apartment. Outside the thing is so dark that you can easily see it against any background. I will concur though that in outdoor light you won't see any red even with AF illumination ON because the LED is too dim I think to light it up when that much light is entering the lens.

Maybe pompo's camera is defective somehow. It just seems like his problem is way more extreme then the normal limitations we are all talking about.



AGeoJO
Registered: Jul 08, 2003
Total Posts: 12099
Country: United States

Yohan Pamudji wrote:
Just to clarify, I'm talking about having already set the AF point and just using it, not moving it around. I figured that it would show a red box while you're moving the selected point around, otherwise that would be really insane But if I set the AF point a few minutes ago and haven't moved it around, when I start focusing does the red box flash instead of just when focus lock is achieved? That's what every Canon camera I've used does although I haven't used the 7D.


Yes, it will show the red box if you move the AF point around and each time you push the AF back button or shutterbutton, it will be lit again. And it will be lit again once the focus is nailed. Just like any other Canon camera.... That's why I don't understand the big deal that people make this out to be . Not addressed at you, just people at large.



netexpress
Registered: Oct 20, 2004
Total Posts: 2140
Country: United States

Uh Faaah!

Just got my first non-1-series (5D III) too and lit it up an hour or so ago and am going through the same thing.

So in AI Servo? I see a bunch of khaki colored focus points popping around that are hard to see that never turn red.

This is a 1-seris auto-focus system?

Doh!

On my D4 in AI Servo I can clearly see each and every point on each duck as it comes into focus - quack! quack!



I'm going to sit down in the morning and work this out.

Thanks for all the comments so far.



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