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Wednesday, 20 June 2007

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I predict that you're going to get a lot of comments saying "of course AF is janky!" I'm afraid I am joining that chorus. If you want control of focus, there's no substitute for manual. That's why I jumped from digicams to DSLRs. I have yet to see any camera's autofocus do a reliably excellent job.

I for one am glad that Canon's AF sucks. I'm getting tired of all the Canon is "god" reviews out there. It used to be that Canon could do no wrong, but now we know that the company screws up once in a while just like every other camera manufacturer out there.

Well the 1DIII's auto-focus system must at least be better than the system on my M8. I can't get that darn thing to work at all.

Maybe the film is not laying completely flat?

nothing a firmware update can't fix

Auto focus is now mandatory for sports. But how did I ever photograph football, basketball, sports car racing, bike racing and ski racing in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s? "Course in some sports the action is more predictable in its direction and it is possible to prefocus with good results. I feel sorry for Canon and those who bought this camera, however.

just out of curiosity a question to the manual focus camp: you can do the sprinting woman in robs report in manual mode? how?

Yes, you can, it's a relatively steady, predictable movement. It's just a matter of experience, but you need a manual focus camera with a good viewfinder.

I regularly train manual focusing and exposure guessing, and in many situations I can set my camera faster and more precisely than my friends with their AE AF cameras. At the same time, I also tend to think about focus and exposure more often than they do, and I am not certain whether it is always a good thing to fuss about technicalities all the time.

At the same time, I would not want to shoot unpredictable, fast-paced sports with an MF camera.

Yes, the manual focus comments are funny. I'm sure the people who have purchased this $5000 professional-grade turd are chuckling their asses off at how humorous it all is.

"professional-grade turd"?

That's a little extreme...

It's nice to read threads that discuss manual exposure, shutter speed and focus. Any suggestions on web sites, courses or books
which are supportive of those interested?
Thanks for any help.

This review is a model of unblinking candor, and a beautiful counterpoint to the way the release of the Leica M8 was treated in the specialist online press.

This has been the subject of discussion over the last two weeks on several forums, following the publication by Michael Reichmann, of Luminous Landscape, of an essay entitled "A Reviewer's Responsibility."

Reichmann noted problems with the M8, and after consultation with Leica, decided not to mention them in his review.

His essay defends that decision, and says—believe it or not —that his responsibilities are split between his readers and the manufacturers he writes about.

The Rob Galbraith site gave extensive publicity to the new Canon in the run-up to its release, and I believe even accepted a press trip to Canon's HQ in Japan, and yet never felt that it needed to pull its punches about defects experienced with this expensive piece of equipment.
Readers of web sites that offer equipment reviews would be well served by more of this kind of candor and impartiality.

Yes manual focus is one answer - I guess the majority of the best shots ever were produced using manual focus. Sadly modern cameras and lenses are not designed with manual focus in mind (eg. consider the move from one touch to two ring zooms - try doing manual action photography with a modern zoom).

That aside, Rob's are one set of findings. AFAIK no one has managed to duplicate his findings and/or produce a set of notes that would allow someone else to replicate his results consistently. Until this can be done we don't know where we are.

Other reviewers (eg. Andy Rouse) are very happy with the AF.

So far I'm happy with mine. If there is a problem, I will expect Canon to identify and fix it - but at present it is not stopping me enjoying an incredible camera.

For those who asked about MF examples of dynamic scenes... google up Martin Munkacsi. This one he shot around 1928:

http://www.pbase.com/omoses/image/79456726/original

Please, take a look at other pictures in this gallery. I believe this guy was way ahead of his time and deserves to be an icon for all `action` photographers ;-)

I know a number of Mk III owners and none of them have seen this issue. They have been searching for additional reports of this problem and have not found any on the web.

And I don't believe Uwe Steinmueller mentioned it in his four part review on Digital Outback. Rob may just be pushing his cameras to the limit.

Canon will do something about it but it may take awhile.

It seems with AF everyone want ALL the pics in focus...with the high speed motors it will be hard to keep up...get a movie camera it you need that.....remember you're looking for the peak action....I remember when we all used single punch cameras to cover tennis as your timing had to be just right to get the picture...and motors were too loud to use...and it you did use them you would get mirror bounce and cut off half the frame....

Munkacsi was an immense talent, and way ahead of his time in many regards: documentary work, sports and fashion. I saw a major show of his work in Berlin last October and was just blown away. There was a quote in the exhibit from Cartier Bresson saying that it was when he saw Munkacsi's work, specifically of boys playing in the surf in Ivory Coast, that he decided to quit painting and become a photographer.

Manual focus?
By the standard put forth, you should be riding a horse and buggy and living in a house with outdoor plumbing.
Why should we not use the tools available to us and expect them to work? I applaud your abilities but I really believe that a great manual focus photograph is of exactly the same value as a great auto everything photograph.
Rob himself talks about how his previous Canon DSLRs could accurately autofocus - so this is not a question of technology that doesn't work but of working technology that got broken on this particular camera.
I am certainly glad that Rob Galbraith had the courage to document this problem - the junket to Japan might have confused lesser men's ethical stances.

Photographer's equipment preferences are of no consequence whatsoever to the viewer and I don't think anyone on this site would claim otherwise. I just use a manual focus camera because I find it more comfortable to use for the type of shooting that I do. It does not mean that I am a technophobe.

My point was that in many situation autofocus is not necessarily better and that manual focus can also be used for dynamic objects.

I have had the MIII for about two weeks now, not much for using AI Servo, but I did shoot some soccer last week and being that I am a novice at shooting sports I am reluctant to say the misfocusing I got was the camera's fault, more likely mine. However, last night I was shooting portraits of a story teller at the beach for the newspaper I work for and I have SEVERAL shots that are all over the place with the focus using my 70-200IS with IS on. High shutter speeds to negate camera shake, f2.8 to f4 and too many shots out of focus completely... very disappointing to say the least. I am thinking it has something to do with the lens perhaps, because my 50mm f1.4 has given me some spectacular shots at f1.4 that I would have never tried before with my 1dsM2 or my very old 10D. All in all, I am very impressed with the camera, especially because of the dynamic range, the highlight priority and the definite usability of the 3200 and 6400 ISO slots. I am somewhat inclined to send the camera back to Canon for a checkup but the shutter on my 1dsM2 seemingly has just given up the ghost.

*steve

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