hpr7
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2000 5:39 am

EOS 10D Focusing Problem

Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:10 am

Apologies if this issue has been raised before but I have recently read some alarming posts on several digital photography forums stating that there is a known problem with the focusing on the Canon EOS 10D.

I purchased one in October, and must say that I am not that impressed with the sharpness of the images. It is well known that the images from this camera can benefit from some post processing, but I am starting to suspect that there is a problem with my 10D.

On several occasions, a series of sequential photos have been taken and only 30% are what I would call pin sharp. For most of the time I'm using a Canon 100-400LIS, which has always worked faultessly on my EOS5/Provia combination. The 10D had proved problematical with this lens and a Canon 28-135 IS, and Sigma 70-200APO HSM.

I will contact the retailer in due course, but just wondered if anyone else has had any similar experiences.

Thanks

Rich
 
manzoori
Posts: 1459
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2002 7:08 am

RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

Thu Dec 04, 2003 7:05 am

Hi Rich,

I too have read the various postings about the EOS10D's 'Front Focusing' problems. The tests I've seen seem to suggest that some examples focus in front of where the AF thinks it has focused. Not by much but in some of the shots, noticeable!

Now the question is, are you really like to notice when shooting something as large as an airliner?

Plus, as you say, the image will need post processing to get the best out of it.. a fact of life with Canon DSLRs.

When you say sequential shots, I take it this is of a moving object? Does any camera focus 100% of the time on a moving object? I'm not sure...

Cheers!

Rez
 Big thumbs up
Flightlineimages DOT Com Photographer & Web Editor. RR Turbines Specialist
 
ckw
Posts: 4586
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:29 am

10D focus problem - myth or reality? Yes there has been a lot of comment (particularly on DPreview) regarding this. At one time it seemed that every 10D purchased was a dud. What's going on?

1 - this camera has been scrutinized to death - by amateurs and experts. However, I have yet to read a respected reviewer report a focusing problem.

2 - many users of the 10D have bought it as a step up from a point n' shoot, or even as a first camera (bizarre but true!). I think we can right off many of the reports as user error.

3 - overly high expectations. Perhaps it is not unreasonable to expect state of the art AF in a £1500 camera. But the sad fact is, the AF module is lifted straight out the EOS 30 - a mid-range film camera. No one expects the EOS 30's AF to be as accurate and responsive as the EOS-3 or EOS-1. The EOS 30 is a fine camera, but the AF has its limitations. Its not broken, it just can't cope with every situation.

This is not to say there may not be some problems with some cameras, but not, I think, to the level reported.

So is your's a problem? Well the fact that you claim to have acheived 30% pin sharp makes me suggest not. The so called "front focus" problem is at least consistent - all shots in the sequence will be blurred, not some of them.

I think there are 2 possible explanations:

1 - shooting airliners can sometimes present AF problems - typically there's a lot of flat surfaces with little contrast. AF can't lock on these - in the situation you discribe, it is quite possible for the AF to lock on to say, a window frame in one pick, but lose that edge in the next.

2 - sequence shooting can be prone to camera shake. I'm sure you have experience with appropriate shutter speeds on you EOS 5, however, the crop factor means you are effectively using a much longer lens, and shutter speed needs to be adjusted accordingly. Are you sure you are looking at out of focus shots or could there be a bit of camera shake involved?

Before you return to your dealer, set the camera up on a tripod and shoot some subjects in good light at varying distances and focal lengths. If these are fine, then you don't have an AF problem, but simply need to adjust to the limitations of the AF system in the 10D, and perhaps modify your technique.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
ryangooner
Posts: 956
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RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

Thu Dec 04, 2003 9:34 am

Well said Colin

My sentiments exactly! saves me an essay too!

Ryan (EOS 10D fan)
ooh to ooh to be ooh to be a gooner!
 
lyzzard
Posts: 401
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2003 11:48 am

RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

Thu Dec 04, 2003 10:21 am

Hi Rich,

I've got the same experience using the exact same setup. And like Colin said, I believe the AF is at fault here. Here are a couple of things I've tried which have helped a litte.

  • Manually select the center AF point or any other single point and avoid using the automatic mode. The AF has a mind of its own and I can't predict which AF point it was going to use, drove me nuts whenever it focused on one which I did not want. By selecting your own, you know the AF will focus on what you want want.

  • The AF mode works a lot better in One Shot rather than AI Focus which a lot of folks use, believing that the AF can instantly switch between modes for still and moving subjects. The predictive nature of the Servo mode means that it's really guessing where the subject will move to, and it doesn't seem to make very good guesses to me. Best to use One Shot which will refocus each time the shutter button is pressed.

  • You might also want to experiment by turning the IS off on the lens. I don't know what the idea behind that is, but it does work even though IS is supposed to be an aid. I had a 28-135 IS for a couple of days and experimented with it, the non IS shots of the same test subjects turned out a little better. Btw, that lens is a terribly soft lens, I much prefer my Tamron 24-135 SP.

  • I always try to use at least 1/250 when using the 100-400. Camera shake can be a real problem when using this heavy lens and a higher shutter speed does help.

    Hope you might find some of these pointers useful.

    Terence
  •  
    hpr7
    Posts: 58
    Joined: Sat Dec 16, 2000 5:39 am

    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 4:01 am

    Thanks for everyones comments, and I will answer a few points.

    I nearly always shoot in one shot mode with my EOS5, and this has proved highly successful on moving subjects landing at SOU (which Colin knows well), and I usually fire the shutter immediately focus has locked, then release and fe-focus for the next frame in the sequence. I'm usually getting pin sharp slides with my 100-400 in IS mode at 1/250 sec. I employed a similar method on an MH-53 that visited SOU recently, which did a slow taxy past my camera, and only one in three shots was in focus. I also shot some LHR departures using both one shot and AI Servo, and these were at 400mm at about 1/500 at F7.1 on a crystal clear sunny winter day, and all the shots were blurred.

    As for AI Focus mode, dont even talk to me about it....Nearly all my Concorde photos from 24th Oct were ruined.

    I have used Canon SLR's for the last 20 years and since my first AF model (EOS 600), the focus reliability has always been better than previous models, and I'm sure that their current models should be state of the art.

    The simple fact is, if it is going to prove unreliable in for that once-in-a-lifetime occasion, then I would rather go back to my trusty EOS5.

    As I said previously, I'm not impressed!!!

    Now I will see what Canon have to say

    Cheers

    Rich

     
    ckw
    Posts: 4586
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    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 5:37 am

    One other thing to consider - the AF on the 10D features a wide sensor array - useful in some situations, but an absolute liability in others. I often switch mine to a single focus point so I'm sure the camera knows what I'm want in focus.

    But, from what you say, it does indeed sound like you may have a problem.

    Cheers,

    Colin
    Colin K. Work, Pixstel
     
    qantas744
    Posts: 1658
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    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 5:58 am

    Whilst I have yet to be fully satisfied with the performance of my 10D I have to say that AF is one area where I have no complaints, as for some of the other matters I think it is just a case of following the learning curve.


    BTW good to see you back with us again Ryan Smile/happy/getting dizzy



    Matt
    you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
     
    JeffM
    Posts: 7569
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    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 9:49 am

    Uh oh....trouble in paradise... Someone actually came out and said something " BAD about Canon..... Oh my! Did they not get a copy of the rules?  Big grin

    The AF has a mind of its own and I can't predict which AF point it was going to use, ...

    Servo mode means that it's really guessing where the subject will move to, and it doesn't seem to make very good guesses ...

    You might also want to experiment by turning the IS off on the lens...

    need to adjust to the limitations of the AF system in the 10D...

    it is going to prove unreliable in for that once-in-a-lifetime occasion...

    I have yet to be fully satisfied with the performance of my 10D

    Can I believe my eyes? Just when I was thinking of a new toy for Christmas?
    How many others have had the same things happen?

     Innocent v/r
    Jeff
     
    fireguy274
    Posts: 291
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    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 11:22 am

    Hi I have the Canon 10D and the 100-400L USM IS lens. I have found that I have much better results using one focus point on longer shots. I have taken probably 600 pictures of planes and I would have to say a higher percentage of them are in focus. I learned that with digital you can always take extra pictures and delete them later.
     
    Riley
    Posts: 133
    Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 2:17 pm

    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 11:41 am

    Very interesting thread indeed. I've owned the 10D for six months with no focus problems at all. All of my images are pin sharp and I use the AI Servo mode exclusively, although I have a habit of constantly pressing and releasing the shutter button almost continuously until I'm ready to fully depress it. There are numerous 10D forums all over the 'Net regarding this very issue.

    I experimented with the One Shot mode when I first purchased the camera and 100-400 IS L lens. I tend to shoot moving aircraft as a general rule, with few static shots on this site. One Shot mode just didn't cut it for an aircraft moving at me on approach at 200 knots.

    I have used AI Focus sparingly with little success.

    I have the center AF point manually selected. My theory is the fewer points you have selected and the less data the camera has to process, the better off you will be. Less is more in my book.

    Overall, I am completely satisfied with the camera. I went through the issue with so-called "soft" images also. Maxing out the color saturation setting to +2 will help with softies, along with a good sharpening plug-in such as FocalBlade or one or two 500/.2/0 passes of USM.

    The only real issue I've ever had is the oh-so-tiny viewfinder.

    Ryan U
     
    lyzzard
    Posts: 401
    Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2003 11:48 am

    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 5:52 pm

    For those of you who are discouraged from getting a 10D after reading this thread, don't be. The 10D does have its limitations, but then again, so do other cameras. It's learning how to live with these limitations and working its plus points to full advantage which can be a rewarding challenge. Bear in mind that shooting styles vary from person to person and thus, the problems faced by me may not be evident to you.

    Reviews by others should be used as a guide to your purchase. Case in point was the recent purchase of my Canon EF 28-135 IS USM lens. There were so many positive reviews of this popular lens. I blindly followed the recommendations and bought one without trying it out. I returned it to the store the very next day after running about 100 test shots through it. I found the images to be very soft and lacking a certain degree of detail and colors. My Tamron 24-135 SP was so much cheaper and so much sharper.

    If you ever have a chance of trying a 10D out for a few days before deciding on the purchase, I highly encourage you to do so. Nothing like having hands on experience to determine if it suits your style of photography.

     
    ckw
    Posts: 4586
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    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 6:10 pm

    Jeff -I guess it depends if your a glass half full or glass half empty kind of person. Lots of good things to be said about the 10D, but it ain't perfect (hence the 1Ds  Smile).

    All I care about is the quality of image it can produce - as for the camera itself, there is no doubt that my D60 & 10D are a signficant step down from my previous pair of EOS 3s. But I would never go back - the advantages of digital outweigh the downside. I just have to work a little harder, and think a little more with the 10D.

    Cheers,

    Colin
    Colin K. Work, Pixstel
     
    ryangooner
    Posts: 956
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    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 6:18 pm


    If my memory serves me well the instruction manual on the 100-400 IS USM lens states that you should only use the image stabiliser for still objects in mode 1 and moving objects mode 2. sometimes i forget to switch modes when shooting - something to remember!

    personally i only select the centre AF point and use AI focus on my shots and dont seem to have many problems, i use ISO100 for many shots but if panning for action shots i crank the ISO up a touch, for me this gives that little extra speed in the shutter.


    Matt - feels good to be back after my fall and op! mail me if you got any plans on an LHR trip .

    Ryan Hemmings
    ooh to ooh to be ooh to be a gooner!
     
    qantas744
    Posts: 1658
    Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 6:25 pm

    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 7:53 pm

    Well my main problem with the 10D is the LCD, maybe it needs calibration or something Smile/happy/getting dizzy

    Monday Dec 1st at LHR conditions were poor, the light wasn't good but there was a lot of moisture in the air creating some good contrails etc. I took some test shots and even when I underexposed by a stop they were still ok on the screen so I carried on like that for the rest of the day. I got home and downloaded the pictures and they are all dark as hell-one or two might be saved but it was very disappointing. I've also had no end of problems trying to run the Canon software on my PC-works ok on the notepad though.



    Matt
    you can't buy time but you can sell your soul and the closest thing to heaven is to rock'n'roll
     
    Jan Mogren
    Posts: 2014
    Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2000 2:47 am

    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 8:42 pm

    Check histogram for exposure, not the LCD.
    /JM
    AeroPresentation - Airline DVD's filmed in High Definition
     
    fl350
    Posts: 501
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    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 9:27 pm

    Well I read an article in french magazine 'Chasseur d'Images' November Issue about 10D focusing problems they had a test to see if the combo lens-body had an acceptable calibration on focus.

    I found this link with the explanation off the focus test:
    http://www.photo.net/learn/focustest/

    There's may be an issue with the 10D focus, but I've been using mine for 7 months and I keep learning everytime i go out.
    Run the test and see if the error is acceptable or not, for me I found it ok so no need to send it back to Canon.
    Don't forget that If you do so you have to send all the lenses you use, to calibrate them with your body. If you don't they will calibrate your body with a standard Canon calibration lens, and the focus problem will probably be still there with your telephotos.

    As Colin said work and thinking before shooting is the key to learn and get good results out of 10D

    Fabrice
    Fabrice Sanchez - Brussels Aviation Photography
     
    ckw
    Posts: 4586
    Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:26 am

    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 10:35 pm

    I've also had no end of problems trying to run the Canon software on my PC-works ok on the notepad though.

    Not worth the trouble IMHO - tools like Breezebrowser etc. do what you need, and do it more quickly and better.

    I spent 1 week struggling with the Canon software 2 years ago, and haven't touched it since  Smile

    As Jan says, trust the histogram - it's a wonderful aid - I can't imagine how I ever managed witout one ... I often use it instead of the exposure meter for landscapes and other static stuff. I suspect the LCD output is unreliable as it is optimised to provide as bright an image as possible (so you can see it in as wide a range of conditions as possible). It really only serves to check composition.

    Cheers,

    Colin
    Colin K. Work, Pixstel
     
    fireguy274
    Posts: 291
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    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Fri Dec 05, 2003 11:39 pm

    I just read the article on the 10D focusing issues http://www.photo.net/learn/focustest/ that FL350 posted. If you read all the reader feedback you will find that most of the problems are with non Canon lenses. I had a similar problem with a Sigma 135-400 that I returned after a week. Artie
     
    Craigy
    Posts: 1076
    Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2001 6:24 am

    RE: EOS 10D Focusing Problem

    Sat Dec 06, 2003 8:50 pm

    Matt,

    It is not possible to effectively calibrate the LCD, since it has a brightness control in the settings menu and you set it yourself from 1 to 5.

    Craig.

    [Edited 2003-12-06 13:04:08]

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