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Focusing speed on sunny day


Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
13 Jun 2011 10:52AM
Just after some opinions/suggestions:
I have always thought focusing is depends on the light and contrast. The more contrasty the subject is, the easier it is for the camera to lock focus on.
Last Saturday, we went to Skomer for puffin and it was really sunny (same as last year). However, the cameras really struggled to lock focus on the puffins in flight (even when the puffins were hovering for landing, and the puffins were in the frame and centre focus point was right on them) (focusing speed seems to be better when it was cloudy though!).
We have combination of:
5D2 + 70-200 F2.8,
50D + 70-200 F2.8
D3 + Nikon 70-200 F2.8 + Nikon 200-400
7D + 70-200 F2.8 + 400 F5.6

Could someone please explain why that is?

On another note, when I tried to put on the Paulís 400 F5.6 on my 5D2 on al servo, half pressed to lock focus and while keep half pressing, I changed my view to another part trying to see how fast the camera change the focus and lock on the new subject. The camera didnít seem to track and change the focus at all! Very odd.

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User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
13 Jun 2011 7:16PM
By chance I was photographing puffins on Farne last Thursday in a mixture of bright sun and light cloud. Using both a Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 and a Sigma 150-500

No problem with focussing on flying birds with either lens in any light conditions.

I was using aperture priority set to f/5.6 or f/6.3 with the Nikkor or f/7.1 on the Sigma and varied the ISO between 200 and 800 to maintain shutter speeds in the 1/1000 - 1/2000 range.

What is ABSOLUTELY crucial in this type of photography, of course, is to ensure that the VR/IS/OS is firmly turned off. If you leave it on inadvertently, it will make it very difficult for the AF system to lock-on to a fast flying bird quickly enough. But, at the shutter speeds required to freeze a flying bird (apart from the wingtips) there would be no advantage from VR anyway.

This one was 1/2000, f/6.3, ISO400 at 200mm:

puffin2.jpg

Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
13 Jun 2011 7:18PM
IS was definitely off.
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
13 Jun 2011 7:23PM
In that case, I can't think of any explanation for the phenomenon you are observing. AF should work well enough in any bright conditions. It is really only when it is poor light that it might struggle (or when using a slow lens - which you weren't doing).

Strange. Especially as you found the problem with a variety of cameras and lenses.
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
13 Jun 2011 7:26PM
Still trying to think of possible explanations.

You weren't, by any chance, using a polarising filter?
Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
13 Jun 2011 7:30PM
No filters.
Those combination of cameras and lenses were used by other togs went together.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
13 Jun 2011 9:04PM

Quote:I have always thought focusing is depends on the light and contrast


I always believed it was down to the person holding the camera, can`t really blame a camera or lens if you can`t focus.

Smile Smile
Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
13 Jun 2011 9:09PM
I knew someone would do sarcastic comment, but didn't know it will be you, Mr Morgan...Tongue
BTW, I can focus, but the camera can't...LOL
Well, there are 4 of us, including Phil Morgan, Geoffrey Baker and Paul Rosser. I don't think all of us are THAT slow.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
13 Jun 2011 9:13PM
It was only tongue-in-cheek Smile

Could the have been lots of bright shiny scenery fooling the focus, probably something natural if it effected all camera`s.
Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
13 Jun 2011 9:16PM
I know....Wink
I was thinking about the same line, maybe the scenery itself is too contrasty/bright and 'attracting' the focusing more. I don't know.
tomcat e2
9 6.2k 15 United Kingdom
13 Jun 2011 9:18PM
Not sure Cole, but when I first had my 1d Mk III, I knew something wasn't right.
I was very disappointed the first time I tried it at Vinces (B-O-C).

It turned out that by default, the focus settings in Servo were set to "first shot on the subject & then lock onto the next moving object"

I am not saying that my in-flight shots are that good anyway, but it certainly improved themGrin

Might help


Adrian
Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
13 Jun 2011 9:26PM
No such option on my 5D2 , I don't think, can't say for 50D, 7D and D3 though.
strawman 11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
13 Jun 2011 9:50PM

Quote:On another note, when I tried to put on the Paulís 400 F5.6 on my 5D2 on al servo, half pressed to lock focus and while keep half pressing, I changed my view to another part trying to see how fast the camera change the focus and lock on the new subject. The camera didnít seem to track and change the focus at all! Very odd.
I can try and answer on that. In some Canon cameras there is an option to turn off the AF sweep. On long lenses if you are a long way out of focus the camera cannot work out where to focus so goes for a focus sweep to try and see if it spots anything. You can turn that option off in the custom functions. If you are tracking turning it off is a good thing, but you may need to nudge the focus close by hand to start with.

I ran into that problem with a 7D, I guess the 5D also has it.

As for AF problems in bright light, not had that problem.
MeanGreeny 9 3.7k England
13 Jun 2011 9:55PM
Just one phrase.......... "Puffin Electronic Counter Measures"

*taps side of nose, nods and gives knowing stare*
Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
13 Jun 2011 9:58PM
Not sure I understand that, John.
However, it only happens with the 400 5.6; When I have my 70-200 on my 5D2, it works.

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