7D AF issues - how real are they?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by romuald.janik, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. I have been looking at the DPReview forums and saw numerous threads on AF issues that people had there with the 7D. Some were attributed to user error but there seemed to be (alarmingly many?) which seemed serious.
    I wonder whether any of you had problems with AF on the 7D, returned it to Canon etc..
    A motivation for my question is that here (Japan) there is only local warranty - I was considering risking it and buying it here (I live elsewhere and wont be here long enough for servicing) since I never had any problems with previous cameras/lenses - but all those AF stories make me seriously hesitate - especially as its a camera that has just come out and may (?) still have some rough edges..
  2. I can using my 7D last night, in the early evening the camera hunted twice in 160 capture, at the local boo at the zoo.
    Was the first time, I've tried the Auto ISO and low light... I was extremly happy.
    My old XTi, would have been 50/50 perhaps 60/40 in the kind of light I was shooting in.
    I think some of the issues we are reading about, is due to some folks not understanding how the new AF settings.
    I love mine and see no reason to worry about the AF issues. Sometimes people spend too much time testing and not enough enjoying new gear by using it... IMO
  3. The day the dpreview.com forums represents a statistically significant sampling of camera owners is the day light stops obeying the laws of physics...
  4. Last night I covered a fashion show with my 7D, and out of 443 pictures, there might be a maximum of 10 out of focus pictures. The camera hunted only one time, and it was when all the lights were turned off. I was using AI Servo, and the pictures came out incredibly good.
    Erwin Marlin.
  5. Sure my 7D misses focus every once in a while, but nails it 99% of the time. The main problem was getting used to the new AF choices. Spot AF is amazingly accurate while area AF often grabs something in front of my intended point of focus. It's mostly about choosing the AF pattern appropriate for your subject and style of shooting. People often forget the person behind the camera is supposed to be in charge and blame the camera when they fail. Whatever, the 7D has the best AF I've used this side of a 1D series.
  6. I'm one of the DP Review posters who had to send his 7D back to Canon. Here's my story: brand new 7D purchased retail from B&H. I've tried three zooms on it, the 17-40 f4L, the 24-105 f4L and the 70-200 f4L and, simply put, can't get a sharp shot. Here's an example (four links) that show a shot taken in live view that is in focus (full and crop) and a shot taken in multi-point AF (full and crop). The shot is of a page of newsprint secured to a wall. I did this because I wanted to present something that would NOT challenge the camera. Tripod mounted, flash, NO IS engaged.
    As you can see, the shots clearly show the focus points in use on each shot. The RAW files were processed in Canon's DPP and no "odd" settings were applied. The AF in my camera was unable to focus on a static, high contrast, well-lit subject. I repeated the test using a single focus point, and using the cluster mode for each cluster of focal points. Same result, sometimes worse. But the photos linked above shot it all, really. The lens is good, and works perfectly on my other Canon body, as do the other two. I get razor sharp images using all three lenes on the other body, but none focus properly on the 7D. I've read the manual, and tried default settings, and many, many combinations of settings to get it right. I've upgraded the firmware, and performed the "hard reset" that seemed to work for others, but no luck. I've been shoting Canons since my 20D several years ago, and this is the first issue I've ever had with a Canon camera, but I assure you it is all too real. My 7D, now on it's way to Canon service in NJ, just can't focus. And no amount of microadjustment could correct it; I tried everything. And I'm jealous that Peter's 7D is working well, but in response to his comment, I'm not spending time testing the camera because I want to, it's because the damned thing just does not work.
  7. Still further evidence of the general validity of "Gate's Precept"-- never buy version 0.0 of anything.
  8. I loaded the new firmware; no change.
  9. Pretty clear yours is one of the (rare) FUBAR bodies, David, but as Rob B says, what happens on DPR does not reflect what the Real World looks like.
  10. Sorry David you got a lemon. Although rare, it happens. Hopefully Canon will straighten it out shortly. Some years back I had a 70-200 4L which was blurry only on the left side and I upset a few people on this forum by suggesting a IQ problem for such a revered optic. I guess some thought I was a friggen quack. Whatever, one trip to Canon Hawaii and it was healed in 10 days and all was well.
  11. David, are you sure that your lenses are properly calibrated on your 7D. I have one that needed to be tweaked on mine. Fine on my other bodies, but a bit off (10 units) on the 7D.
  12. Puppy Face - thanks for the link to your review.. David - let us know if there would be any comments from the Canon service..
    Btw. do many of you perform the microadjustments of your lenses? How come that a certain lens on one camera can be OK while on another it is systematically off in some direction?
  13. Craig,
    I tried microadjusting all three lenses (a 17-40, 24-105, and 70-200) and in all three cases no luck. Even at maximum + and - settings, they would not focus. The frustrating part is that every sooften I'd get a sharp shot, and I could get sharp shots using live view. So I know what the camera CAN do, and not being able to get that using standard AF is irritating. Anyway, I make no claim that all 7Ds are bad, but I did want the OP to know that not all claims of problems are hysterical whining, and some are based on facts. As others pointed out, I got the rare lemon, and it does happen.
    Anyway, in the meantime, I'll suffer with a 5D II, which focuses perfectly and did not require any microadjustment for any lens. I have no reason to believe that the 7D can't focus as sharply as the 5D II.
  14. David,
    Sorry about your 7D. One thing I noticed that is different about your post is that you actually tried to test it in a proper manner. You then posted examples. We can clearly see the problem. We also know that you tried the micro-adjust and also that you got good results from live-view.
    It is too bad that you are forced to suffer along with only a 5D II. Let us know if the trip to Canon does any good.
  15. For me it has been a matter of becoming familiar with the AF choices and settings on my 7D. The camera itself is amazing and the AF system is extremely good, but there's quite a bit to learn in order to get the most out of it and fully realize the camera's potential. I've not had mine very long, but it has impressed me during the short time I have been getting to know it and I think maybe, just maybe I might actually have found a camera I like as much as my 1VHS.
    David, I hope you get your 7D sorted out. I read your post on dpreview as well, and I'm sure the whole situation is a huge let-down. Keep us posted.
  16. Marc,
    Thanks, and so far I'm bearing up well under the strain of the 5D II and the 24-105, which is simply an amazing combination. I took a few foliage shots over the last few days, and printed a 13x19 of a scene I shot using a Hassy 500 C/M about 20 years ago. Well, nothing would get me to give up the Canon and go back to the Hassy, that's for certain. it's incredible.
  17. I'm in the same camp as David. I have issues with the 7D AF as well. I am not new to canon DSLR as this is my 4th. I started on the 300D, then moved to the 40D and T1i. Now the 7D.
    I also get results just like Davids. Every once in a while, I'll get 1 great shot, but 99% are not sharp, just like his example. Live View Contrast Detect worked wonderful in 1.0.7, tack sharp. But when I upgraded to 1.0.9, some regular AF images worked, and the CD images were a tad soft.
    I returned the first 7D body, and got a second one. It too is not sharp.
    I tried microadjust, but one lens needed more than -20. A second lens needed -10 once, then +5 the next time, then -5, then -10. It never focused the same, so MA would not work.
    I can attest that when the AF works, the camera takes a GREAT image. But I suspect that some early production models have some issues. I'm not saying that all of them are bad, but probably just a few batches.
    But since I'm paid $$ for photos, and my current $800 T1i takes razor sharp photos, I may just return the 2nd 7D and wait a few months for Canon to fix the issue. It's too bad, since I love the camera besides the AF.
    BTW: I only shoot raw, so I can rule out in-camera sharpness settings. Funny thing, the first 4 or 5 test shots I did, I changed the RAW sharpness up to +7 to get something nearly sharp. Of course that is too much artificial sharpening but I was thinking "why is this photo not sharp"? Then I went out and shot 2 paid shots. When I got back... that's when I found all the AF problem threads on DPR.
    Steve Hong
  18. David and Steve - thanks a lot for your input. It seems that indeed its not prudent to risk buying the 7D without warranty... Although its a real shame because I would really like to..
  19. I really want to get back to taking photos instead of testing the camera. I can get 99% keepers with the T1i, but the first 7D body I got 10%. This body is currently running about 75% keepers. I may just stick with the T1i for a while longer since the AF performance is clearly much better.
  20. I'm afraid I'm also in the same boat as David and Steve. I had the 7D for two weeks and as much as there were many things I loved about the camera, I could not find a way to conquer the focus issues and returned the camera (thank God for Jessops here in the UK who happily refunded me without question). I had moved to the 7D from a Nikon D80 which, although returning tack sharp images in almost all shots, was frustrating me in low light situations by not acheiving focus lock and essentially locking up.
    I foolishly assumed I could buy my way out of the problem with a faster/newer/more accomplished camera with advanced AF and better glass, and it was the purchase of Canon's 17-55 2.8USM that brought me to the 7D in he first place. Alas, after over 1,500 shots, reading and re-reading the manual late into the night, focus tests alongside the D80, hours trawling the forums, I came to the conclusion either I had one of the bodies with 'focus' issues or that the camera claimed focus when in fact it had not acheived it. For me at least, less than 10% were keepers.
    I was/am very disappointed. I really wanted to love the camera - everything I had read in reviews for the camera was so positive and the glass has almost no detractors over hundreds of user and professional reviews. I'm sure most will assume that it must be user error, but I really consider I did all I could do to understand the camera to discover what I could do to rectify the situation, including taking over 500 shots employing all its different AF configurations. Sometimes it was spot on, at others just plain soft for the exact same shot. Manual focus was fine, BTW. There was also an annoying issue with the 'busy' message coming up for between 2-20 seconds every now and again and locking the camera. I use UDMA Extreme Sandisk (60 Mb/s) cards.
    What a frustrating fortnight. Having spent out >£2,200 on body and glass I was willing to expend whatever time I had to to qualify my purchase but this was just too hard and I wasn't about to start returning the camera to Canon for checking. I'm not a pro by any standard but I take a lot of pictures (the D80 has racked up over 60k in 2 years), so I'm not a complete novice. Lucky people who got good ones, I think it must be a great camera but for me I came away just feeling let down. I didn't really explore the video at all (for me it was nice add on but not my primary reason for getting the camera).
  21. Folks -
    I bought the camera, EOS-7D two weeks back, an upgrade from EOS-20D. I am tried using with my 50mm, 24-105mm,L IS, 70-200 2.4 IS L lens. with any of these lens camera is hunting for auto focus. Is there any setting I have to look for? some sites mentioning about lens calibration (http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/cameras/1ds3_af_micoadjustment.html) which I am not before. Do I have to do this? OR is this some issues with camera?
    Not related to this issue : a sample from last night :[​IMG]
  22. So, it seems that there really is a problem and I have got one of them. Like Rod, Dave and Steve, my camera just cannot focus reliably. Even straightforward, well illluminated landscapes are way off: all the distance is out of focus, but a bush at the edge of the frame about 2m away is (just about) sharp. I, too, am not a novice: where I would happily have shot away on my old 20D and got all shots in focus, it's just not happening. In a sequence of 7 shots of the same subject using 70-200 f4 L IS USM, only one is vaguely in focus. three are noticeably out of focus and three way out. In most cases the focus points indicated are on the subject, or in a similar plane (and then the point is off focus). There is no issue with camera shake either, not when exposure is at 1/2000 with a four-stop IS lens attached. I am sure we are all experienced enough anyway to recognise the difference between shake and out of focus. As with the 1D mkiii, Canon have got a problem. Worse, I am sharing it.
  23. I know this is an old thread but I just discovered it. I appear to be having the same AF problem with my 7D. I've spent the past several months trying to figure out what I was doing wrong until I decided perhaps the problem is the camera, not me.
    I haven't done the extensive testing that some others have done but I can say that the percentage of my photos that are somewhat out of focus is significantly greater with my 7D than with my 40D using the same lenses.
    I'd appreciate hearing from others who have resolved the problem either on their own or by sending it back to Canon? What did you do - or - was Canon able to fix the problem?
    Thanks, Peter
  24. I will send my 7D back tomorrow after almost 12 months of doubts. I have found the autofocus always hesitating much more than in any other camera I have been using (5D, 40D). A recent trip however lead to a loss of 60% of my pictures and decided to send the camera back. I never manage to repeat the circumstances of it, swapped lenses and bodies but there is definitely something wrong with my 7D, at least in conjunctions with the Canon 100-400 mm. The resulting pictures look somehow smoothed badly through some averaging function of the pixels. Yo will find here a cropped picture showing clearly the smoothing effect.
    I have seen on a few forums that somehow rebooting the camera (remove all batteries including the one of the clock) would help but I gave up on testing myself all possible solutions.
    I hope to get soon a reliable 7D.
  25. My 7D has also had focus issues for months .. and I finally diagnosed the problem as follows:

    the central and left-most and right-most focus points work fine. But the top-most and bottom-most front-focus badly - so much that a +20 AF microadjustment isn't quite enough to get them tack sharp. The other focus points above and below the center have varying degrees of error. I found the focus points consistently focus the same - the trippy part is they are different to each other as they move up and down from center.

    I reproduced this on both an 85mm f/1.8 prime and 17-55mm f/2.8 lenses. Also tested these lenses on my older 40D and had no issues with the various focus points.

    I don't know what the fix entails, but I am sending my camera in for repair and I hope the issue will be resolved. I'll post back the results here.
  26. though an old thread let me add:
    don't waste your time sending your camera to Canon services hoping it will come back fixed. I send mine 3 times and every time the paper say they fixed something but in fact there is nothing fixed.
    you will read the problem on so many forums about this camera, when it was released on the market up to now.
    Canon seems to hide the problem because I think it would cost them too much money, many suggest that the user is at fault and will give you suggestion on focusing, in many cases I believe so, users is at fault, but others no. also there is not much attention to it since this not a 1D pro series where press would bring up the problem like they did with the markIII, then Canon would listen!
    the problem is that some well known professional have tested few of the 7D and come to the conclusion that AF get a problem of focusing, I'm talking of the erratic back and front focusing, while live view will focus perfectly. the micro adjustment is a waste if you have one with the problem since the focusing is random.
    Of course I do think some 7D are really good, but it is a 1500-2000$ gambling
    I've read all forum(most) google so many hours on the subject over the years to find solutions and here is the best and if you listen you will be happy with your 7D :
    - if you are new to slr don't get this one first, get another to familiarize with the focusing system of an slr, you may realize the problem year after when you know how to use it.
    -you know how to use slr focus : then double make sure the place you buy has a return policy (10 days depends of the store) and that they have a reputation to respect it. test test test and test, if you find result inconsitent don't hesitate to return, and test another one until you find one you like, sometimes they sell you already returned camera hoping you will be the fish to buy it, Canon makes good product but they are shark after all, they want your money not your satisfaction, for the ordinary people of course, since they want to give satisfaction to big people, it helps to sell their products.
    hopefully I have other canon slr that I can rely on with good AF, now I use my 7D with a tripod shooting in manual or live view where I'm sure to achieve 100% focus, of course non moving things. but 8frames/s is a complete waste for mine.
    I will stick to canon because I've got so many L prime and zoom lenses, but next time I buy I test test and test and return if not satisfied
  27. Please see and feel free to sign the petition at:

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