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Canon 70D - Impressions, Discussion, etc. - Page 6

post #51 of 60
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips Sean, I'll give those a whirl!
post #52 of 60
Thread Starter 
PP attempt #2. Lost the sky for the most part, but the bird looks decent.

20140217205242-00c8c04e.jpg

(Using HSL sliders allowed the bit of blue there is to come back, otherwise it would be just white.)
post #53 of 60

Hokie - AWESOME thread and great start. I am floored by the bird pictures and want to go try something smilarwhenever the opportunity arises.

 

I might sound like a giddy school girl, but I am so glad to see someone post about the 70D here! I just picked one up and am smitten! Last summer I had bought my wife a T5i and after this past year of messing around I decided I really needed my own DSLR. So I picked up a 70D because it was step upstream from the T5i.

 

WOW... maybe I didn't realize it and all the upstream cameras in Canon's lineup are this awesome but my first impressions with only spending 3 hours last night with it out of the box are that this thing is a BIG step up in useability. The button layout and setup alone make me feel like I went from driving a neutered automatic sports car to driving a souped up 6 speed manual muscle car. Maybe I am overstating it because on paper it didn't seem to be that many differences, but just enough to convince me.

 

So far for the most part (again only spending a limited 3 hours in a dimly lit game room) I love it, I love the back auto-focus button, I love the AF points button just above the shutter button. I like how FAST the AF seems to be and when paired with the STM lens amazing in side by side to the T5i... My wife might end up killing me and taking my camera from me if she gets her hands on it!

 

I know I am NOT as seasoned as you guys and I am purely a hobbyist at BEST... but I feel like Christmas just came a full 10 months early for me!

 

Now I noticed that there are 3 autofocus groups. Single Point, a group one with all the points in a grid pattern, and one that appears to use all the AF points inside an ellipsis.  I am trying to understand best use of each of those because it is so markedly different than the T5i cross points. More importantly I used to find it excruciating to ever look through the viewfinder on the T5i but last night I pretty much ONLY wanted to use the viewfinder on the 70D because it LOOKED so nice viewing through it, I could easily tell where my focus points were, what the shooting information and settings were... and with the buttons on the camera, even barely knowing them, I was able to still make adjustments to those settings without taking my eye off the eyepiece.

 

Do you all suggest using the single point one or will that create too sharp/small of a focus point on subjects? Would one of the other two modes work better? Also how do these three focus groups translate to the AF modes that are in Auto+  (aka the face tracking, area, quick focus etc) or are they kind of separate in application since you have to be outside of auto+ in order to switch amongst the 3 Focus point groups?

 

Sorry for adding my noobness to the convo :)

    
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post #54 of 60
Thread Starter 
1st, thanks for the kind words!

2nd, don't ever be sorry for adding to this conversation. I'm a full on n00b myself. smile.gif

3rd, congratulations on the new camera!! As I understand it, the xxD (and xD full frame) bodies have always been this much better than the Rebels. Not necessarily for image quality (they can all take great images), but for the controls. You're right, it's like a whole new world for people that will use the controls. The T5i is a great Rebel, but it's still a Rebel and doesn't hold a candle to the xxD cameras with regard to usability. You're also spot-on about the viewfinder. It is a night-and-day difference, especially from the T3 that I had previously.

Now, on to your question - regrettably there is no simple answer. It all depends on your situation.

There are three focus modes to use - One Shot, AI Focus and AI Servo. You can forget AI Focus; it's supposed to be an automatic mode, where it starts off as One Shot, but if your subject moves it switches to AI Servo. It has never done me any favors and here's why...

Situation one: Static subjects - typically single point focus in One Shot mode. In this situation I currently tend to use the center point (which is the most sensitive double-cross type point that can also focus in extremely low light if the need arises), focus and re-frame.

The problem with that is that it will meter for the frame you're focusing and not for your final frame, so this may not be the best option. It works for me when I'm getting snapshots and don't have time to fool with the camera. When I have a couple seconds to do so, I will select the autofocus point I want it to use outside center, that way it's focusing where I want and also metering for the frame I want. This is the best of both worlds and selecting your focus point in this manner will always get the focus and metering you're going for. As I get more used to selecting the point I want, I'll move further and further away from the center-point-and-re-frame model except in low light when that extra sensitivity is needed.

Sometimes I will alternate to the groupings and move the group around rather than the specific single point. I'm still experimenting with which one of these two I like best. The OCD person in me that wants to make sure I get it right specifically on the one point. The lazy person in me wants to use the groups so I have fewer options when selecting where to focus. Both seem to work pretty well.

What I do not do in One Shot is use the 19 point full on auto. It always defaults to the closest item in the frame with enough contrast to focus on. Many times that is ok, but many other times it is not. For instance with good composition, you often want something in the foreground....but you don't want it to be the main focus point. Try telling that to the 19 point autofocus system. For that reason alone it's worth getting to know the smaller grouping and/or single-point options better.

Situation two: Moving subjects - typically all 19 points in AI Servo mode. Here is the reason you want AI Servo instead of AI Focus. When you shoot AI Servo with all 19 points available, you'll see something that isn't present in One Shot - the center focus point is also lit up, inside the full focus bracket. AI Servo is very intelligent. What you do is hit your subject with that center point, and half-press the shutter (or hold AF-ON, if you use back-button focusing). From that point on, your camera is locked onto that subject (in theory; practice is always harder, especially if anything jumps in front of your subject for too long) and will chase it around all of the 19 points, so long as you keep the subject inside the autofocus frame.

This is how you get in-focus bird shots. Pick your bird, half-press with the center point where you want to focus (typically the bird's eyes) and then follow it around with the camera, making sure to keep the focus point somewhere inside the 19 points. It doesn't matter where, as long as you're inside the frame the camera will happily track your chosen subject intelligently and quickly. You will see the different AF points lighting up as the camera sticks with them within the frame. It's actually pretty neat to behold, but not something I can really show since it only occurs looking through the eyepiece.

This will work for sports too - pick your subject, lock on them and keep them in the frame to track them around.

Of course, nothing is perfect - sometimes another bird/person will jump in your frame. If they stay too long, the camera will move its focus point to the person who's in your way. There are several options you can adjust that are quite advanced with regard to how hard it locks focus and how long it stays there in the event something does get in the way. Those options are beyond the scope of a post like this, but they're there in the "C.Fn II: Autofocus" menu; page 362 in the manual.

The behavior of AI Servo is exactly why I do NOT like AI Focus. With AI Focus starting out as One Shot, that center focus point is not lit up. The 19 points act just like Single Shot and will lock on the closest object. Without that center point, you're back to being at the mercy of the camera rather than selecting your own subject.

So the moral of the story with regard to focus modes - know your situation and select your focus mode to fit. It's not hard to move between One Shot and AI Servo. Don't think that AI Focus can properly select between the two, because in trying to be a jack of all (ok, both) trades, it ends up being the master of neither.

Hope this helps. smile.gif
post #55 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by hokiealumnus View Post


So the moral of the story with regard to focus modes - know your situation and select your focus mode to fit. It's not hard to move between One Shot and AI Servo. Don't think that AI Focus can properly select between the two, because in trying to be a jack of all (ok, both) trades, it ends up being the master of neither.

 

 

Great and detailed response. Definitely helping me come to grips with the settings. Much better than my understanding of them.

 

So after messing with the camera last night was able to take what you put here and what little I knew into some practice. I know some things I am working on are not Body specific but may just be good practice or lens specific in conjunction with body functions.

 

1. Messing around I now fully understand the 3 focus modes - now I realize they were fully hidden away in the T5i menus and on the 70D it is on the lcd and easy to access and switch on the fly. Very helpful for using the viewfinder. Made it easier to now connect what the manual states to what I see and do. You are right as well I found myself spending a LOT of time using One Shot mode and some time in AI Servo as I was never quite happy with any of the results in AI focus and it ended up frustrating me more often than not.

 

2. Minor annoyance on my part though or maybe a misunderstanding is why are the AF modes so different from viewfinder to Live View? As I was messing around shooting with my "test subjects" aka my 3 year old and 1 year old. I realized I was going to spend more time in Live View mode than using the eyepiece just due to the nature of how they move and act. Most of the pictures I will be taking of them are purely spontaneous so getting them to stay still and pose is not part of what I try and get better at currently lol. OK back to the Live View AF options.

 

   a. Face+Tracking mode - I am assuming this is AI Servo - are the main 3 AF modes connected to the live view modes? I am assuming they are but due to the differences I felt it best to ask out loud...

   b. Flexi-Zone- Multi - I know this one acts similar to AI Focus - is that a correct assumption? I try it out and I rarely can get the camera to choose the same focus points over and over again from same position and composition. Most of the time I can not get it to focus on what I WANT in the frame and have to recompose and hope the subject is in reasonable focus by the time I recompose.

   c. Flexi-Zone - Single - This one again I assume is like AI Focus except the Box it limits focus to a smaller area?

   d. AF Quick Mode - this one is most similar to what I prefer using in the viewfinder with one caveat. In the viewfinder, switching the chosen focus point is as simple as a quick spin of the flywheel and it is FAST. But in Live View I seem to have to swing down to the dial on the back of the camera in order to choose a new AF point. It responds slowly (slower than the viewfinder obviously) but the big issue is just that if I could adjust those points using the flywheel behind the shutter button it would be so much more comfortable and intuitive - for me at least.

 

So do I have the understanding on the modes correct basically? Is there any way to get Live view to act more like the viewfinder - specifically like in d. ?

 

My next question is going to be about aperture but I need to grab and upload a couple of the sample shots I took of my kids last night with the nifty fifty before I ask the specific questions. Honestly I spent more time in manual focus mode last night just because I was able to have greater control but I do want to master the AF modes since everyone seems to talk about that is the mode you will be in most often for candids and that using manual focus you can miss more shots due to the speed difference... plus I want to take advantage of the quick AF speed of the 70D!

 

Also - is it normal for when you are in full on automatic mode that focus points behave wildly different when you switch lenses? I notice that on my 18-135 STM at 50mm focal length it always chose greater amounts or better focus points than when I had the 50mm f1.8 attached (again this was on full auto as I wanted to compare what the camera chose on settings and the IQ difference). I could see how for full auto the STM lens is a draw but since I am attempting to learn more about other stuff I am finding the prime lens to be more useful and fun at the same time...


Edited by werds - 2/20/14 at 6:31am
    
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post #56 of 60
Thread Starter 
1. YES, you're right; these modes exist on every Canon DSLR down to my former lowly T3. You hit on the main difference between Rebels and xxD cameras - control.

2. One thing to remember is that Live View and Viewfinder AF are completely, 100%, different systems altogether. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Viewfinder AF uses a separate AF system solely for AF. In between your lens and your eye resides the focusing screen. It is a system solely dedicated to autofocus (and it's very good at it). This is how it is laid out (image from Imaging-Resource.com's 7D review)

ZPOLYNETLCD.JPG

Using that system, you have the three focus modes referenced in my post.

In Live View, that entire system is literally moved out of the way. The mirror is locked up and everything with regard to Live View focus resides on the sensor itself. The 70D's live view autofocus is better than any Canon that has come before, and is in fact better than most (all?) DSLRs on the market that aren't mirrorless, but it is still not the same thing as the dedicated AF system above. In Live View, unless you turn it off, you can basically think of everything as being in AI Servo - but it doesn't have the same ability to select one subject and track it around like the dedicated AF system. It is constantly looking for focus anywhere it can within the selected AF mode's frame. The main similarity with the dedicated AF system is that it will tend to focus on the closest object/person to the camera, whatever the mode (except face detect, which will then focus on the closest face).

In my experience, the best way to get Live View to focus how you want is to use Flexi-Zone Single. Touch the screen where you want it to focus and it complies, then take your photo.

AF Quick is a different animal. It used to be a requirement on older Canon DSLRs because live view focus was soooo slow. What it does is physically drop the mirror (your screen probably goes blank for a second when you half-press), use the dedicated AF system to find focus, then pull the mirror back out of the way. The 70D's live view focusing system has made AF Quick obsolete and (for the first time on Canon cameras) it will take more time to drop the mirror, acquire focus, get it back out of the way and take the shot then it would to just use the live view focus system.

All of that is getting around to answering your question at the end of 2.: No, there is not a way to get live view to act more like the viewfinder AF (except for AF Quick), because they are completely separate systems and are mutually exclusive.

In my particular case, I wanted the better live view system for two reasons - video for me and live view for my wife. I never use live view unless it's to record video or to take a shot at an angle that's too uncomfortable and/or impossible to get with my eye to the eyepiece. My wife prefers live view as it's what she's used to with our S95, and she's welcome to it. The dedicated AF system on this camera is so stellar I don't want to be without it.

As to your last question, sorry, I have no idea because I've never used full auto on this camera and couldn't tell you how it behaves. When I got this one, it was a DSLR upgrade, so I already had enough practice with my old camera to use what Canon calls the 'creative' side of the mode dial (Av, Tv, P, M & B). 95% of the time my camera stays in Av. 4% in Tv and 1% in M when I can't get what I need in the other two.

What I do know is that it is always more difficult for any camera to focus at f/1.8 then at f/5.0 (I think that's the minimum aperture at 50mm on the 18-135). The depth of field is so thin at f/1.8 that autofocus can be a challenge. Well, technically the 70D (IIRC) only focuses down to f/2.8, so at f/2.8 and larger, the autofocus behavior shouldn't change. That and the nifty is known to hunt in low light. If you're shooting in relatively low light conditions, it isn't as strong as it is with better light.
Edited by hokiealumnus - 2/20/14 at 7:33am
post #57 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by hokiealumnus View Post

What I do know is that it is always more difficult for any camera to focus at f/1.8 then at f/5.0 (I think that's the minimum aperture at 50mm on the 18-135). The depth of field is so thin at f/1.8 that autofocus can be a challenge. Well, technically the 70D (IIRC) only focuses down to f/2.8, so at f/2.8 and larger, the autofocus behavior shouldn't change. That and the nifty is known to hunt in low light. If you're shooting in relatively low light conditions, it isn't as strong as it is with better light.

 

Cool, so now it all makes even more sense. I also did notice that AF quick was much faster than on the T5i but good. Yea, with my kids still being young I have to keep both eyes open and hold a larger field of view for safety reasons lol

 

You are correct I do think the minimum aperture @50mobberfor the 18-135 is f/5 as when I set them to auto I consistently saw the 70D choose f/5 on that lens (I was test shooting a Mountain Dew Can in the kitchen at a marked off distance just to see).

 

Cool beans though. Thanks for all the great explanations :)

 

As to the second part, so basically any aperture size larger than f/2.8 would result in similar AF. So f/2 and f/1.8 would still provide similar autofocus results basically?

 

So maybe I should test the aperture using the 50mm @ f/5 to compare the AF results better...

Yes I have noticed the 50mm's tendency to hunt at very poor light, but fortunately I am getting very comfortable with manual focus and distances to where I am in the right ballpark with a quick flip atm.  I just need to learn the aperture size to shutter speed ratio since I am thinking about testing out more shots in the f/4 to f/5 range in the next couple of days. (I spent most of last night testing out f/2.0 nice results but sometimes the focus point was too narrow for my liking on the resulting pictures.)


Edited by werds - 2/20/14 at 8:51am
    
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post #58 of 60
Thread Starter 
Yes, you're correct, at f/2 and f/1.8, the camera doesn't see any difference with the lens. Its auto-focus system effectively stops at f/2.8. Sorry, I don't remember where I saw that, but my mind really wants to say that's the maximum aperture it uses for autofocus.
post #59 of 60
70D Bad Focus Issues demonstration.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cA6JnzYSDJE
post #60 of 60
Thread Starter 
Yep, I've been doing my own testing with a Nifty Fifty, I just haven't cross-posted it. See my comments on that video for links.
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