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Photography Question 
Tammy Scott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/10/2004
 

Focusing with the 20D


I asked a question about focusing with the 20D and got some good info. I put out an example of what I was talking about but eventually the thread turned into a battle about "who is Andy or Jerry or whatever his name is" and I really didn't care. All I really wanted was another set of eyes to look at the shot to see what I was talking about. Since I switched to the 20D, I seem to have more shots than normal come out looking a little soft on the focus.


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12/30/2005 5:17:10 AM

 
Tammy Scott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/10/2004
 
 
 
Here is an example of one of my shots. Here are the settings I used:

Shooting Mode - Manual Exposure
Shutter - 1/60
Aperture - 9.0
Metering Mode - Evaluative
ISO Speed - 100
Lens (Canon) 18.0 - 55.0 mm
Focal Length - 55.0 mm
Image Quality - RAW
Flash - Off

I was set on One Shot for focusing.



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12/30/2005 5:17:54 AM

 
Joe Jarosz   Hi Tammy, did you use a tripod and which focus points were active? Also is that lens the 18-55 lens that came with the camera, what is referred to as the kit lens? Or is it the upgraded one??


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12/30/2005 5:31:04 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  Tammy, I thought I explained it pretty well. If you could provide a full-res image, I could take a look at it. But, it's pretty much the issue I described.

Some people have had luck with sending it in to Canon. But, the 20D generally has this issue.

The thing you have to remember is people here and elsewhere will tell you that it's you or something you are doing. But, the fact is you are sitting there looking at the image and it is OOF. You said you didn't have this before. That's my experience too. My 20D images are OOF alot. But, my 1D images are sharp as hell with the exact same lenses.

Shoot in single shot mode, and use the shutter button to focus. This solves about 90% of the problem. Although, I still experience it even on a tripod with flash. So, I know it's not movement. I think the 20D's (this is my opinion) have a flimsy shutter that moves. There is probably a bit of play or something in the shutter, and this gives it that OOF look. That's my opinion anyway. Canon deny's any issue with the 20D. But, like I said, sending it in might help. I know some photographers who have had good luck with sending it in.

Good luck!


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12/30/2005 5:33:50 AM

 
Joe Jarosz   Have you tried mirror lock up to see if the vibration from the mirror is causing a little shake?


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12/30/2005 5:49:38 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  Hey Joe, that's a great suggestion. It wouldn't be practical for my style of shooting to do that all the time, but it is a great way to help isolate the problem.

Thanks.


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12/30/2005 6:23:59 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  (a) More relevant than shooting mode or even AF mode is which AF sensors were active. Did you manually select a particular focus sensor, or leave it to the camera to automatically chose? Leaving focus sensor selection on AUTO, the camera tends to chose the closest, most contrasty subject, so is likely to have focused on the tall grass in the foreground rather than the wood grain wall.

(b) Agree with Andy that a focus problem cannot be determined from the sample posted. It is too small. At this viewing size, the depth of field renders both the grass stems and wall in apparent focus.

(c) Any sharpening applied in post-processing or with the Sharpness parameter in-camera? Digital cameras have an anti-alias filter over the sensor to counter digital artifacts such as moire and stair-step diagonals, but it also acts to soften the image. Sharpening must be applied to restore clear sharp focus. Like most DSLRs, the 20D's default settings do little or no sharpening to the JPEG files saved, especially in the Creative Modes (P, Tv, Av, M), and the RAW image is without any in-camera processing.

(d) Expanding on (a), even if the active sensor is on your intended subject, autofocus is not exact. With f/3.5-5.6 lenses the AF on EOS cameras functions in normal precision mode, which gives focus confirmation if the perceived subject is within the range of depth of focus (related, but not the same as depth of field) at maximum aperture. With f/2.8 and faster lenses the 20D and higher level EOS cameras have one or more center AF sensors with high precision AF that will focus within 1/3 of the depth of focus. If a particular camera is consistently focusing in front of (or behind) the subject by more than the depth of focus, then it can be returned to Canon Service for recalibration.

(e) Andy's theory of a "flimsy shutter that moves" or has play in it is utter nonsense. It simply isn't so, and even if there were such a fault would have no effect on focus.


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12/30/2005 6:44:53 AM

 
Tammy Scott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/10/2004
  I had it set on the center focusing point. Is it better to use all of them if the the entire subject is in the same DOF?

If you click on the example, it will shot you a larger view.

I guess the entire reason for my question is that I had the Digital Rebel and never noticed this until I started using the 20D.


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12/30/2005 7:07:55 AM

 
Craig  Paulsen   I have 2 20d's and no problems. At first I did, but I took a some time and did a bunch of test. The sensor isn't the greatest(cheap camera, what do you expect) so try to focus on something that has a real defining line. Letters are the best. If you are alone, take a board with a letter on it(with a post at the height you like and stick in the ground) Now use the foucs point closes to what you want(camera on a tripod). Foucs on your letter, now turn the autofocus off and shoot the picture. If it isn't crisp, send it in. Since my 20d is backup I keep my 50mm(prime lens) on it and the picture always come out tact sharp.
If you are shooting people do not focus on the eyes(unless you are really close up). The eyebrow or hairline are much easier for the lens to see.


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12/30/2005 7:18:50 AM

 
Craig  Paulsen   Abandoned

I would focus on the door right on the line between the white strip and the trim. Your lens will see this really well. Now use your dop preview button and roll your f/stop till you get the effect you want on the weeds, out of focus but still be able to tell what they are. Now set your ISO to get the right expsoure. Sharpen in PS

Take two gigs and call me in the morning
Craig


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12/30/2005 7:30:52 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  Jon, I wouldn't say it's utter nonsense. It's just a personal theory I have. I have worked on this for over a year. Many of my peers have the same problem and we all complain about the same thing.

I have given some suggestions to reduce the problem, but it still exists.

I can't tell if it's OOF, or shake. But, it's not crisp and clear. And, it's way too often to be a fluke. Again, I also shoot with 1D's and 1V's and have no problems.

Everyone keeps ignoring that last thing I said. With all my exact same gear, shooting with my other bodies, I have no problems. With all 3 20D's I have issues with the images not being crisp.

I just can't figure out why. I use them on a tripod, remote shutter release, with flash and manually focus and they still come out fuzzy and unclear. The same shot, hand-holding, with a 1D, no flash, comes out clear and crisp as a bell. WHY? It makes no sense at all.

There is a problem. Not with all the 20D's, but with a ton of them. It is the case with all 3 of mine.

Canon has asked me to send them in with my 24-70 lens, but that's just utter nonsense to me. What difference does that make? But, to be fair, I have had photographers who have done that and claim that the problem went away.


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12/30/2005 8:13:28 AM

 
David Earls   #1: tripod
There are solid tripods and less than solid tripods. There are solid tripod heads and less than solid tripod heads. The solid/solid combo gives you tack sharp.

#2: remote shutter release
I'm amazed at how easily I can introduce focusing softness that replicates yours almost perfectly simply by pressing the shutter with my finger. Remote shutter release = tack sharp.

I'm curious, andy, why you would have three of these cameras if you have the exact same problem with all three?


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12/30/2005 1:00:21 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  Bought them all at the same time when I switched to digital from film at the end of 2004/beginning of 2005. Am using 1D's now, so I let my assistants and 2nd shooters use them. Plus, I keep them for back up emergency situations. Weddings can be freaky at times.

Anyway, as I said, sometimes they work fine. I solved some of it by switching the focus from the * button back to the shutter button. For some reason, the * button was causing some of the problem. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. However, interestingly, I found this same issue with the 1D's.

I just thank god for Focus Magic. That software saved my butt.


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12/30/2005 2:05:19 PM

 
Tammy Scott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/10/2004
  Thank you very much! I will try focusing on that spot!


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12/30/2005 4:36:31 PM

 
David Earls   andy,

You are the pro's pro.

If you can get the 20D to return motion blur with the camera on a tripod, using a remote shutter release and mirror lockup, then your capabilities - and the capabilities of of your secondary shooters - are far beyond us here. My sincerest congratulations. We all wish we were you.

On the other hand, if you're resorting to a software solution to poor camera technique...well, let's not go there...


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12/30/2005 6:44:10 PM

 
Craig  Paulsen   Hey Tammy, if this is an angeled shot and the window is closer to the camera then the door, then focus on the line of the dark inside and the trim


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12/31/2005 12:04:31 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/28/2003
  David, not sure what the problem is, I've admitted that many times here. I don't know why the images are soft. But, they are OOF. What I am trying to explain is that there is absolutely no reason they should be. I take every precaution.

This is exactly the crap, we as a group, get from Canon too. They just don't believe it. You can take images in and show them, and they will tell you that you are doing something wrong.

When literally hundreds of us are having these issues ONLY WITH THE 20D, there is absolutely a problem. I'm not a camera tech, so I can't tell you exactly what's going on. But, it doesn't work quite right. That's all I know. And it's extremely frustrating, not to mention a bit insulting, to sit here and get this kind of biting sarcasm back from an internet board of people who have an interest in cameras and photography.

I understand that you may not be having problems. As I have said, there are some good ones out there that don't seem to hae the focus problem (or whatever it is). But, I do. And, so do many, many others that I speak with. It sucks.

I am dropping the 20D as a tool because I don't believe they live up to my standards. Had I purcahsed some good ones, I probably would feel differently.

Obviously Tammy is having similar problems. I am sharing with her what I have found and my experiences.

If you guys who have perfect working ones think it's nonsense, that's fine. While Canon doesn't acknowledge this issue, they do ask you to send in the body along with a lens that seems to be the problem and they will calibrate them together. As I have said, some say that this has solved their problem. I refuse to do this because it is nonsense.


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12/31/2005 5:24:26 AM

 
Tammy Scott
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/10/2004
  Thanks Craig. I was trying to shoot it straight on but I may have been at an angle. I did some more shots yesterday with my macro lens and the shots came out fine.


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12/31/2005 5:26:06 AM

 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  I know it'd take some time but it'd be interesting to see what you would have to do with the other lens to get a good image.


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1/1/2006 11:08:19 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Has anyone ever thought to get another camera? I am just curious with two 20D's myself and experiencing the same probs. What about the 5D?


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1/1/2006 4:26:27 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  No comments on how things look in the view finder instead of the print.


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1/1/2006 4:59:18 PM

 
Debbie Nelson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/19/2001
  Hey all, The title of this thread "Focusing with the 20D" caught my eye. I have the 20D and at times I also experience "softness" in my pics.

The lens I use most often came with the camera. It is a Canon EFS 17-85mm 1:4-5.6 Image Stabilizer. Whe I use this lens I do not notice any softness.

I'm hoping the "pic softness" is my fault and not the cameras. It is much heavier than my film camera and the last pics I took seemed soft to me. Anyway, since I was not using a tripod at the time, I'm attributing this softness to My unsteadiness, and I was useing a longer heavier lens, the Tamron 28-300mm. Hummmm maybe should have used the tripod or monopod.

I have a wedding to do in 3 weeks. I already have a Tamron 28-300mm 1:3.5-6.3 Macro. Does anyone have any comments on this brand of lenses? Do I need to purchase something better? I have decided to only purchase Canon lenses with Image Stabilizer from now on. I know they are more expensive, so of course I will have to save up, but I'm not sure purchasing other brands is the way to go with digital. I have used Tamron with my film camera and never had any focusing issues.

I plan on using a sturdy bogen tripod with a pistol grip throughout the wedding. Also have a monopod, although I'm not sure if I will use it or not. I never used a tripod much with my film camera, but find I use both with digital. The Minolta, with lens and flash attached is still lighter than the 20D. I have only had it a year and my old Minolta for 20 and am very comfortable with it.

I shoot jpeg as I have not figured out how to get the Raw converter into PHCS2. Argg, More to learn:)
Deb


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1/1/2006 7:17:14 PM

 
Debbie Nelson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/19/2001
  Oh, I forgot....I also have the Speedlite 580EX.
Deb


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1/1/2006 7:28:53 PM

 
Oystein    This thread caught my interest as I was googling to see if other owners of Canon 20D had OOF problem. I have had this problem a year now, but was thinking I did something wrong, but this new year I had a wedding shot, and around 50% of the pictures were OOF. OK I must admit some were not the cameras fault, but others that clearly should have been in focus were not.

I was quite shocked when I got back from the wedding shooting with all these shots OOF. I was using an old canon 50mm 1,8 lens + 18-55mm that came with the camera. I have had exactly the same problem with my 70-200L IS 2,8 lens. Maybe I'll try to send it to Canon. I will hardly take on another wedding shot before this is fixed.


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1/4/2006 2:40:34 AM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  WOW...I am now getting a bit concerned about the 20D and OOF pictures. I am beginning to wonder if I should go with the 5D?


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1/4/2006 8:14:35 PM

 
Debbie Nelson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/19/2001
  Lisa, I took a look at your gallery and the pictures there taken with the 20D look wonderful to me. It does seem that there might be a problem with some of the Canon 20D's, but I do not yet know if my OOF pics were my fault or the cameras.

I plan on taking it out this weekend and using every lens I have in the same settings while mounted on and off the tripod and check the results.

Now that I look back on the last shoots I did, I realize that I did not have it on center focus. That also could have caused my OOF problems.

Anyway, I plan on making sure I have everything set properly, write it down, and run my own tests. Surely I will know then where the fault lies.

Don't know what to tell you about the 5D!! Good luck.

Deb


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1/4/2006 8:43:02 PM

 
David Earls   Just curious here.

Has anyone having these OOF problems thought to shoot the same shot using manual focus?

I'm not always thrilled with my 20D autofocus, but I'm never disappointed with 20D manual focus. It seems to me that if there were actually some significant problem with the camera, you couldn't manually focus.

Obviously, lacking autofocus would be a problem for some shots, but then again, in the old days....


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1/4/2006 9:53:06 PM

 
Lisa Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2004
  Thank you Deb. I have had wonderful results with the 20D but I have also had many unpleasant results. Mostly due to OOF images. I am working diligently to see if it is more me or the camera. I think I will hold off on the 5D to see what the real problem could be. It just seems that many people are mentioning the same problems. David, I am going to start practicing more with manual focus. It is just very difficult to do so when you have moving children. Or need to act quicly. But try try try again and again!!!!!!


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1/5/2006 8:29:14 AM

 
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