5D Mk2 buyers remorse..

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by jakob_lagerstedt, May 10, 2010.

  1. I just got my first full frame, the 5D Mk2. I've been shooting with a couple of 50mm (Canon 1.8 and Sigma 1.4) and can't seem to get consistently sharp shots. I've definitely gotten some very sharp shots but more fuzzy than sharp. I started googling (this can be unhealthy, I know) 5D Mk2 and focus issue and was a little overwhelmed by the number of unhappy users out there. I did some focus tests and it was a little all over the place but both lenses gave me pretty poor results. $2.5K is a lot of money for me and I am bit concerned that my keeper rate will be disappointing. What do you think? Is it a micro adjustment issue perhaps (seems unlikely since I've used two different lenses) or is it just a matter of getting to know my camera a little better?

    Would greatly appreciate any feedback you might have.
  2. Keep in mind that f/1.4 (and f/1.8, for that matter) are going to give you razor thin depth of field, if you shoot wide open or close to it. Dependin on how close your test subjects are, you could be dealing with fractions of an inch of in-focus working area. That can easily produce that "out of focus" feeling if you were even the least bit on the wrong spot when locking focus, or drift your head by even a centimeter while shooting.

    Are you finding focus to be off regardless of the aperture you're using?
  3. Have you viewed the focus points in DPP? (I don't know if current PS/lightroom does this)
    try with the center only focus point for starters
  4. I have not and I'm not familiar with "viewing" the focus points. I'm using lightroom.

    Matt: you may have a point there. I haven't really gone smaller than f2. I'll give it a shot tonight.
  5. The Canon 50mm f/1.4 is not known for remarkable sharpness at f/1.4 - in addition to the usual issues with very narrow DOF at that aperture.
    Before deciding that the camera has a problem you might want to do some careful tests from a tripod to eliminate some of the variables that might affect your results otherwise.
    Also be aware that if you are looking at 100% crops and comparing them to a camera with fewer MP you are not doing an equal comparison - essentially you are looking "much closer" at a smaller area of the image - and it will seem less sharp, just as if you compared viewing a slide with 5X and 10X loupes.
  6. It might be a micro adjustment issue, but my Mk II is dead on with all my lenses.
    If you Google any problem with virtually any product you will find a lot of information out there.
    Stop one of those lenses down a couple stops and see how well it works. Or concentrate on where you are placing the active focus point. If you are using all the points it may be very difficult to find where the camera is actually focusing.
  7. Matt L pretty much sums it up.
    I remember feeling this way too at first. Full frame seems to make your lenses depth of field shallower then APS-C so its easier to miss when your shooting so wide open. I find using the center point to focus works best most of the time.
    For what its worth I have gotten sharp photos with the 50 1.4 wide open but its very easy to miss.
  8. I used a tripod in my tests. Focusing on a newspaper and a little Buddha statue. A couple of shots (from a particular
    distance) were decent and most others were pretty fuzzy compared to manual focus. I also set manual focus and switched
    on autofocus and the focus definitely re-adjusted. Does this mean it's a lens issue?
  9. I always manually pick the desired auto focus point. If you let the camera choose the point for you, it has a 1 in 9 chance of choosing the correct one. Okay, its a better probability than that, but what I'm saying is that there is a possibility it will choose one of the 8 wrong AF points. If this happens, it will cause out of focus shots. Try manually choosing the points first then see how the results are. If your subject is something that you don't have time to choose points between every shot, then pick the middle point and keep the subject on it until you're ready to shoot, then focus and recompose. Also, be sure you're using the correct AF mode. If you use "al servo", the focus can get knocked off by the slightest movement. I always use "one shot" and lock focus just before pressing the shutter, unless I'm shooting sports or action, then I use "al servo." And last but not least, if you want to see if its a focus issue or just an unsharp lens, take one photo using the AF, then take a photo using manual focus and use Live View magnified 10x to manually get the precise focus (works best with tripod). Then compare the 2 shots. Make sure your focus point is on the exact same spot on both photographs.
  10. I used the center point in my tests and both lenses were a bit fuzzy compared
    to manual focus.
  11. I guess I don't know how much of a difference is acceptable comparing manual to auto.
  12. You should be able to get sharp shots on autofocus. What auto focus mode are you in?
  13. ...5D Mk2. I've been shooting with a couple of 50mm (Canon 1.8...
    A gorgeous camera with a junky lens. Use a real Canon EF lens like the 85 1.8 or similar, or a quality L zoom and my guess your focus issues will disappear.
  14. I've been using one shot mode.

    Well, the siggy is supposed to be sharp and both lenses were very crisp w manual focus.
  15. You should use the micro-adjust feature to optimize performance for each lens. Before you had this feature, you'd have to send the camera in to Canon to have it adjusted. It's very important to use this if you want to shoot with shallow depth of field. Fortunately, you only need to do it once for a given body/lens combination.
    Also, keep in mind that even f/4 requires careful focusing to be really sharp. Just because the lens opens up to f/1.4 or f/1.8 doesn't mean that you have to use it that way.
  16. If you previously used those lens on a crop-sensor camera, they might have been crappy all along, but the 5D MkII is finally demonstrating it to you. To find out, Resize your 5D2 images down to the size that your former crop-sensor produced and then compare.
    The points about using the micro adjust are also potentially part of the problem.
  17. I sent back my first 1dsmkIII for similar reasons and got a new body. I don't mind the micro focus for micro focus, but I want the camera close out of the box. I also sent back one of the 3 lenses I got.
    Also, you will notice that this larger MP requires a little more sharpening in raw than a lower MP camera will.
  18. I think it's obvious that the camera is a bust. I'll be another to post the obvious and banal response: send it to me and I'll dispose of it for you in an environmentally sound way.
    There are many possible sources of "fuzziness" and unsharpness. Many of these are located on the near side of the viewfinder. Others are implicit in the nature of the lenses you are using. Making sure what focus points are on what when shooting is yet another.
    Sometimes minor adjustments are necessary. Some of these can be done by the user, others may require a trip to service. This kind of problem is by no means restricted to Canon or any other marque, but you need to do something about it.
  19. My 5DII AF works fine and rarely misses. Like others have said, you should manually select the AF point if you need consistent focus. Otherwise the camera guesses. With that said, my 50 1.4 USM had quirky AF and missed all the time, especially in low light and was terribly soft larger than F2.8. AF is better on my EF 50 2.5 CM and 50 1.2L, but still not nearly as reliable as any of zooms such as the 17-40L, EF 24-105L or 70-200L.
    You should try other lenses so you can isolate the problem.
  20. Good info everyone, I appreciate it. I know the nifty is not the right lens for the camera and I sent the Sigma back since it's known to have pretty horrid focus issues - that's not what I need right now.

    Any suggestions for decent primes? I have about $1000 to play with. The 135L will arrive as a birthday present next month so what would make a good pair? Or triple?

    I've also considered the 24-70 but I'm hesitant to carry around a brick for street and candid stuff.
  21. I guess I don't know how much of a difference is acceptable comparing manual to auto.​
    If you can't tell an acceptable difference between your two shots, then there isn't a problem.
  22. Do you have any examples ? If I spent 2.5K on anything and I was dissapointed at the results, I would stuff the item back in the box and head for the nearest UPS.
  23. as for lenses, there is nothing wrong with the 50mm f/1.8, even on a 5D II. The 24-70mm f/2.8L is a great lens. The 24-105mm f/4L is also great, it just depends whether you want a 2.8 aperture or IS, more FL, and lighter weight. The 70-200mm L is a must as well. There are 5 versions now, just pick the one that best fits your budget/style/weight requirements. And for a super wide lens, the 17-40mm f/4L is very affordable.
  24. Nathan, I'll post a couple of test shots tonight for comparison.
  25. fwiw, here's a screen shot from dpp with af points "on". the boxes aren't exact, not rocket science, but another way to compare
  26. Jakob,
    I think you may have realised that we all love our 5D2's!
    Personally I love using my L primes with the 5D2. I'm less impressed with my zooms but they have a role.
    I used to be all zooms then I got the 50L. For a $1000 I'd maybe explore a Canon 50 1.4 or save up a bit for the well loved 35L.
    Primes on this camera just blow away zooms. I have the 24L, 50L and 100L and I love using them.
    Oh and stick with centre-point AF or go MF with an EG-S focusing screen.
  27. Ditch those lenses and get yourself a Zeiss ZE 50/1.4 and manual focus that baby. Much better than the Canon and Sigma offerings in this focal length. You won't be disappointed.
  28. Hmmm...yes the 35L has certainly been on my mind. I'm basically stuck btw:
    24-70, 50mm 1.4 and 135L
    35L, 85 1.8 and 135L
  29. it all depends on what you plan to shoot. What you value ( versatility/quality/size etc ) its all a trade off .
  30. Mainly portraits, especially street candids. Some architecture and travel as well. 24-70 owners seem to swear by their lens but it's a 1 kilo monster. I love the speed and size of primes but maybe I've been reading too many prime purist blogs.
  31. Have you tried any of these lenses? I honestly cannot see shooting street candids with a 24-70. I am sure others may disagree but even with a 24-105 I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. I always hear how great the 35L is ( probably my next lens ) but you may want to try a 35 2.0, 28 1.8 or a 50 1.4 before you get an L prime. Much easier to handle, more discrete and much cheaper. I find my non L primes match or exceed my L zooms so its good enough for me.
  32. No, I haven't. That's good advice. I can pick the 35 2.0 at B&H and return it for the L if I fall in love with the view.
  33. Don't get me wrong the 24-70 is sweet, I have long considered getting one but I don't think I would use it as a travel or street lens but its a great range to have 2.8 and on the 5D2 I don't think you need to be much faster.
  34. EVERYTHING looks fuzzy in lightroom unless you sharpen it a LOT and view it as 1:1 (or as part of a slide show).
    Trying opening your images in DPP.
  35. Jakob - when you use AF make sure that you only use the center Af point and re-compose, I find this the most effective way with my 5DII and like others have had no significant Af issues with my 5DII. Before you perform AF microadjust make sure that you have a real problem. A simple test is to focus manually then move to AF and see if the lens changes focus.
    Like others I find my 50 F1.4 rather soft below F2. I have the 35 F2 and find it rather disappointing. I do not shoot street candids but I use the 24-70 and find it performs very well. With the lens hood on this is quite a big lens however and could never be regarded as discreet. In B&H take a few test shots with the 35 f2 and 35 f1.4 at F2 and compare them. If my 35 F2 is representitive than you will probably end up with the F1.4 lens (so perhaps this is not a good idea!)
    Apart from it's size and weight I love my 24-70 (On full frame I rarely use it on my 7D or 1DIIN) and prefer it over the 24-105 it replaced.
  36. Actually, the cost of the "nifty fifty" has nothing to do with its optical quality. It's a decent lens, even if a little better on APS-C cameras than on the 35mm-sensor cameras. You can spend a lot more money than it costs to get a much better lens to be sure, but you can spend a lot more money and get something not even so good. It's cheap, but it's not "junky"
    The wider the lens, the more you are paying for speed, not IQ as such. Thus, it would be astonishing if a f/1.2 lens were as sharp wide open as a cheap f/1.8 lens is wide open. If you stop down the f/1.2 to f/1.8, it might beat the cheaper lens (if you have to know, you can look at results on Photozone.de, where they test for this sort of thing). The astonishing thing about the f/1.2 is its speed (and its "bokeh" and thinness of focal depth).
    The important variable in any case is how well the tool serves its purpose, not what it costs. A $1000 will buy one of a fair number of L lenses, but there are lots of really good lenses in the lineup that cost less and don't have a red ring on them (which may fall off anyhow).
    I don't think your problem is the lens. Not even the Sigma.
  37. a $2500 camera and using a $99 lens?
    If you are going to invest in a full frame 20+MP body, you need to invest in good glass - I would highly recommend sticking with the "L" series lenses
    It's easy to test your lens and focus. Set the focus point to be just the center spot. Get a tape measure and extend out 3 feet (1M) of tape and lock it in place - then put the center spot on the 2ft mark and take a photo. Shoot at the widest aperture. Then when you get it on the computer screen verify that the 2ft mark is in focus.
  38. Ken and Tudor really don't like the "plastic fantastic". Too bad, but, yes, a $99 lens can be a very nice lens on any camera, even a $5K one.
    You can stick with L glass and be pretty sure that you are getting good value. You can also buy lots of non-L lenses that do the job just as well or even better on occasion, depending on what you're trying to do.
    Buying only L glass is a lot like the rich Texas lady of recent wealth who only buys from Neiman-Marcus because she's afraid otherwise she won't get things with "good taste" and will reveal her hill-country background.
  39. I honestly couldn't care less if it said L or Z on my lens; I'm just looking for consistent output. I'm going to run another test.
  40. Btw, JDM, if you think you know what the issue is, please do share.
  41. Well, jakob, I guess I said it too subtly in my first post (and second, too). I thought I had "shared" fairly clearly before responding to the nifty fifty hater's club.
    I think that in 90% of cases like yours the problem is, as HAL in 2001 said, "Human Error". There are are real issues sometimes with cameras but in the vast majority of cases, "unsharpness" is the result of one of a plethora of issues with either how the camera is being used or the results interpreted.
    For example, your earlier statement in response to some of these was
    I'm not familiar with "viewing" the focus points. I'm using lightroom.​
    This does not inspire confidence that you are completely up to speed in how to use the camera yet. If it makes you feel better return the camera or get it fixed, but that may be an extreme response to rather ordinary problems often encountered by people who are new to a particular machine.
    Is that clear enough for you?
  42. JDM, no reason to be subtle, I'm looking for constructive feedback which is effective when given direct and to the point. You can feel entirely confident that I know what a focus point is...I was referring to viewing focus points in DPP. I wasn't aware of the functionality.
  43. OK- here's some direct, unsubtle advice.
    Under no circumstances should you buy any more lenses until you have determined what the "unsharp" problem is. No amount of long distance advice can help you-- you need to experiment with the camera and lenses as you have started to do. Be sure to control variables as you proceed. One step at a time is the answer to diagnosing difficulties.
    If the camera is off, get it fixed or adjust the microfocus (e.g., link).
    By all means see if the problem is solved by using other lenses, if you can, but don't spend a lot of money for that purpose until you know the old lenses are really 'bad'. If a 50mm f/1.8 is unsharp, it is unlikely that buying a 50mm f/1.2 L lens will solve the problem. New lenses will at best have a 'placebo' effect unless you really narrow down what the problem(s) is(are).
    The focus system on the 50mm f/1.8 is the oldest one on any Canon EOS lens (with a metal mount it was the first EOS lens), but it works adequately in good light for everyone I know, and I personally use the lens a lot on a 7 different EOS cameras from an EOS 650 to a 5D (mk i).
    I don't have the Sigma lens in question, but I do know that there is more talk about "focus problems" on Sigma lenses than there are actual focus problems. I have two AF Sigmas, and both work just fine, as they do for most people.
  44. I have a few of these cameras, no focus problem. Do you use a tripod?
  45. Jakob
    There is a simple process of elimination
    1 shoot the 50 F1.8 in MF and at say F11 and see if the image is aharp - use a tripod, live view and zoom in on the screen. Check the picture is sharp right across (your target will need to be flat - say a newspaper on the wall)
    2 Try the same test but at a narrow aperture say F1.8. you may find the edges are less sharp and this is the lens becomming soft (my Canon 50 F1.4 is soft at the edge until F20
    3 Now switch to AF and F11 - you picture should be OK due to the large DOF - if it is not you have an Af issue on the body. Set the Af on one shot and center Af point only.
    4 Now focus the lens manually as in 2 with it set to F1.8 - then carefully switch of live view and set the lens on Af - half press the shutter and see if the lens rotates. If it rotates a small amount then you will need to use micro-adjust.
    Try these 4 tests and let us know.
  46. I know the first time I went full frame I thought the same thing. When I started shooting I couldn't help but to adjust everything I was doing to take the picture. On my 30D and 40D, it's like shooting a .22 caliber and the full frame was like a .44 when the shutter moved, it moved my hands. That was one of my reasons of getting fuzzy shots. Just my 2 cents. I also agree that you should place it on a sturdy tripod and shoot at F4 or 5.6 just to help you troubleshoot. Good luck v/r Buffdr
  47. Ok so I am pretty confident there's no focus issue. I don't believe my previous test was done correctly - although I did use a tripod, lighting was all over the place, too short of a distance (1.5 meters) and camera and object weren't lined up. This time I used a tripod, good lighting, perfect alignement and 2.5 meter distance. Wide open, the Canon did surprisingly well and there was little difference from manual focus (using live view) and autofocus - I could actually barely tell which one was manually focused. The Sigma did much better after a microadjustment of +17. It was decent at 1.4 and at 1.8 sharpness was about the same as the Canon. The Sigma required a lesser micro adjustment as I increased the distance. At 5 meters, it was sharpest with no microadjustment. This is consistent with a lot of Sigmas apparently. The Sigma got dramatically sharper at 2.2 - 2.6. As expected, both lenses were very sharp at 5.6.
    So in sum, this was most likely user error and a dose of Sigma QC. As many of you pointed out, the shallow depth of field takes some getting used to and shooting wide open definitely reduce the keeper rate. The Sigma was by no means terrible but it should beat the nifty fifty at 1.8 for 5 times the cost, bokeh and construction aside. I may give it another shot.
    Thank you for everyones feedback.
  48. Ive had great results with the Sigma 50 1.4. As a matter of fact Ive bought two. my son a combat photographer in the Marines borrowed my first one and would not give it back. I always use the center focus. I don’t know how your testing or shooting but remember the closest focus with this lens is 33 inches.
  49. I essentially exclusively use manual focus now on my 40D, while autofocus is often sufficient, there's still a small amount of quality to be gained form using MF with my setup.
    That being said, doing focus tests is a recipe for finding problems that might not exist. What are the results from the camera in everyday shooting conditions using center point focus?
  50. Jakob - do you still have buyers remorse?
  51. No Philip, I don't. I just need to learn how to handle the speed when shooting wide open.
    Dave, I'd say about 3-40% are keepers with the Sigma (sharp enough to post process).
  52. I had the same problem but it's mostly user error and getting used to shooting more precisely. compared to a less mp body that would not yield such large photos the 50 1.8 was a supperb lens but now with a pro body you blowing up big and seeing the difference. I've tried the 50 1.8 and anything shot f/3.5 or wider did not yield such great results and the depts of focus was only a couple of inches at about 10 feet away. you need to consider if you or the subject is swaying back and fourth even if just a slight bit will effect the image quality. Also learn about the microfocus adjustment. a few of my lenses are best at either a few points back or fourth. consider getting the 50 1.4 as I've seen better results with it. if you want to see my site I have full size photos uploaded and exif data so you could see which lenses I used for shich photos and you could see the focus.
  53. Jakob,
    Although my wife and I do not have Canon cameras, we ran into focusing issues and were able to test our camera with a back focus chart. We were able to see exactly what our problem was and adjust for it. My understanding is that all cameras and lens could be a little bit off and the newer cameras (which I do not have) can be adjusted to be tack sharp one lens at a time.
    The chart I use is at www.dphotojournal.com/focus-test-chart.pdf
  54. Use the depth of field button and stop your lens down as everyone was saying. But here are some more pointers: http://thephoblographer.com/2010/05/11/quick-and-forgotten-tips-for-50mm-lens-users/
  55. Also, Jakob, when you did your manual -vs- AF test and AF "readjusted", I wonder if your vision plays a role in this? Do you wear corrective lenses? What is the diopter setting on the viewfinder? If you manually focus to "sharp", and your vision is off, then of course AF will return a different result.
  56. My vision is fine - I'm a competitive target shooter. As I stated earlier, the Canon 1.8 focused just fine after more controlled focused test. The Sigma also did well from 2.5 meters but required additional adjustment when increasing the distance.
  57. Jakob,
    I have the original 5D and it developed a focus problem. The body was always focusing behind the place where I placed the focus point and I almost always use the center focus point so I know where it is. Fortunately I live close enough to the Irvine service center to drive down an hand carry it in so I was able to talk to the guys there. I was told that it could be the body or the lens and I have 3 L series lens. The way Canon does the auto focus is they take a reading from the focus sensor and then calculate how much the lens should move to be in focus and send the signal to the lens to move "that much". But they don't check to verify the lens actually moved to where it was supposed to go. Also what Canon calls focused is a very loose spec and I'm looking for those specs but can't find them right now. It's something like this - As long as the calculated position lands with in a certain percent of the DOF it is considered with in spec. Also if the lens has a small error in the same direction as the body, the combined effect could make the focus soft.
    I was told they could adjust my 5D to the lens I use the most but the other two lens I have could be way out if I had them do that. So I had them adjusted my 5D to an average the way it comes from the factory and it has been really good since. I believe they replaced the focus sensor. I considered getting the MkII just for the micro focus but decided I wasn't getting enough upgrade for my money so I still have the 5D and I love and would not trade it for anything.
    My suggestion is use the micro focus and fine tune each lens.
  58. I also recently bought a 5D Mk2 and have absolutely nothing but the highest praise for it. It exceeds my expectations. From this, I can only assume that you have a problem with your one, as I get nothing but razor sharp pictures from mine (albeit dependent on my own technique, which means all bets can and frequently will be off)...
    For what it's worth, I use only the centre AF point, and my lenses are 17-40/4L, 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 100/2.8Macro USM and 70-200/4L (non IS). They all work beautifully with the camera, better than they did with the 10D it replaces.
    I wonder if it might be something to do with using multiple AF points? I never have and find that the 5D mk2 focuses quickly (albeit not quite as well as a friend's 1-series or my EOS 3) but many have criticised the focusing and I can only assume that it is due to failings with the multiple AF point focus method...
  59. Could be a bad lens that is causing this problem. I have a 1ds Mark ii and have no problems.
  60. I too recently bought a 5d Mk2. The new camera replaces an EOS-A2 that has been left on the shelf and an Olympus C5050. So far I like the feel of the 5D operation is fairly intuitive after the EOS A2 but I have been unhappy with the 5D’s auto-focus. Images are just not as sharp as I expect. Still, I am not ready to blame the camera. So far I have been concentrating on learning the camera’s features. I need to be more systematic before I can point to the camera, lenses (Canon FEs) or myself, most likely the later.

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