Canon 7d Focus Problems

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by ron_whitesell, May 7, 2010.

  1. I currently own a Canon 5d mkII and am thinking about purchasing a 7d for a backup camera. I have read a lot about the 7d and the only problem I can find, is possibly a problem with soft focus or out of focus on the camera. I was wondering if any one using this camera has had any focusing problems or heard of anyone having them.
  2. I heard it too from a friend owner of 7D that the focus is bad while photographying Macro and even the ISO is not performing well....
  3. The 7D is a rather sophisticated camera with many possible AF adjustments and tweaks. The problem is that for many people it is too much camera - meaning that they just don't understand how to best use their gear. The AF performance of the 7D is just amazing.
    Compared to the 5DII the 7D does have a disadvantage in high ISO performance, but what else would you expect from an 18MP crop camera? It is critical to get your exposure right with this camera.
    You also need very good glass with the 7D!
  4. This is an interesting topic to me so I wanted to throw up a post here about it.
    First, the only way to judge a camera's AF system is to test it for yourself. That's the only way that you'll be able to determine if it meets your specific needs and demands for accuracy and flexibility.
    Second, the 7D's AF system is complex and very customizable. It's also excellent. The people who are complaining about the 7D AF may not have the AF system configured properly for what they're trying to do. Or, perhaps they did indeed get a camera with a problem and it needs to be checked, but I would imagine that with the attention on Canon with this camera that that's probably a pretty rare situation. Canon has taken a beating on AF performance on some of their recent cameras, so I'm sure a great deal of attention went into the 7D system and ensuring it performs with quality results.
    Third, I have seen soft photos coming from my 7D that made me question what was happening. When I did a little more reading and testing of my own hand held shooting abilities, I discovered something interesting that I wrote about on my blog and link to here so that I don't have to re-type it all:
    Fourth, Canon has confirmed some of what I wrote in my blog post above in a white paper that they issued on the 1D Mark IV in which they specifically mention to watch your shutter speeds when shooting with cameras that have high megapixel APS-C sensors because of the increased effect of camera shake and subject motion blur. You can access the Canon white paper from this post on my blog:
    At the end of the day, I compared my hand held photos to those shot with a tripod, and the tripod-mounted 7D shots are perfectly sharp every time. My hand held shots of the same subjects are simply not.
    I'm not saying that people are or aren't having problems with the 7D AF. All I'm saying is that if you are having problems, be sure of the source of those problems before condemning any particular camera or lens.
    If you do decide to get a 7D, enjoy it! It's an awesome camera.
  5. Good point Juergen...
    I am clearly seeing the limitations of some of my current lenses with the 7D that were not an issue on my older 30D. I have some upgrades to some 'L' glass in mind.... :)
  6. I agree with Juergen . . . I remember a similiarity back with the EOS, Elan 7e with the "eye control focus points."
    Constantly read comments how "undependable & useless" it was!
    I studied the supplied User's manual, understood it, did many, many calibrations as Canon recommended . . . and found it to be a big advantage.
    "Wish my 50D or any of the digital bodies had the Eye Control Focus, it too was "just amazing" when adjusted and tweaked as the manual instructs."
    If the 7D has anywhere near (I know it does) the AF adjustments of my 50D, I can't see any major problems.
  7. @ John,
    excellent summary of the reality of the 7D - like you I find it to be a stunningly capable camera as long as I get it right.
  8. The 7D has the best AF of any EOS I have owned. Like others have mentioned, the 5 AF modes and sensitivity adjustments can be confusing to both noobs and experienced EOS shooters. My first day I thought Zone AF was whack. AFter 2 weeks of experimenting, I figured out manually selected single points and spot AF resulted in near perfect AF for my style. Zone AF was inconsistent for anything but sweeping landscapes and flat objects. But then it's just a reduced area auto-select AF mode and was guessing what I wanted in focus. Eventually I found all 5 modes useful in specific situations
    Spot AF is the most significant focusing breakthrough since the multiple point AF sensor array debuted in the 1992 EOS 5. Why? A normal sized individual AF sensor is so large it may cover both the eye and eyebrow in a tight portrait. More often than not, it locks on the eyebrow (more contrast?). Reducing AF sensor size insures a lock on the eyeball. Spot AF is not for everyone, and many will hate the fiddly placement requirements. However, spot AF is going make a lot of marco and portraits shooters very happy.
    I assigned spot AF to the DOF button and can quickly switch in and out of spot AF. Once I release the button it returns to the prior AF mode.
  9. I personally had issues with mine. The focus was off more often then not (not soft... just off, no amount of sharpening would bring it back). You can read more about it and see some sample pictures at:
    I sent mine in and got it repaired, so far so good. Def. check out the sample pictures tho so you can see what I mean about not soft, but rather, not focused.
  10. Not sure if I should jump into this thread since I don't own a 7D(yet) , but I noticed that the more sophisticated an AF system gets, the more problems you encounter. It could be just a coincidence, but a few years ago, it seemed that my Canon Elan II clearly outperformed my Canon EOS-3 in certain situations, even though the EOS-3 was a semi-pro camera with 45 focusing points, against the 7 or 9 focusing points on the Elan camera.

    Again, the AF on my Canon 30D clearly outperforms the AF on my Canon 5D in "certain situations" even though the 5D has more cross type sensors. I'm not sure why, but it could be operator malfunction, such as not reading the manual.
  11. I have the 5DII and the 7D and find the 7D AF is superior to the 5DII in every way. It is quite complex and different from other Canon systems but works great. The AF on mine is almost as good as my old 1DIIN AF system. The image quality from the 7D is not as sharp as the 5DII. Here I a shot i took this morning of an Osprey flying quite fast over my head. The 7D was used with a 300 F4 IS.
  12. Hi Just to let you all know their are few problems with the 7D mine is on its way to a canon tech.
    1: Pictures tilt to the left.
    2. AF problems got worse as the camera got older as in 3 months old.
    (you should see my last batch of pictures).
    3. I say its at least 3- 4 stops under (owners take a picture in single shot one after the other and you will see for yourself)
    4. Still thinks the speedlite is still attached and pop up flash will not pop up or work.
    Canon need to recall these back.
  13. Hi James...
    Clearly you have some issues with your 7D and are right to send it back. I've not had any strange behavior with mine.....yet.....and I hope I don't.
    That being said, however, I do believe that my current Canon lenses could be focusing better and have always felt that to be the case even when I used them with my 30D. They've been to Canon for a check and they said they were within specs, but I've still always felt they could be better.
    I fiddled with the AF micro adjust feature on the 7D to test out my thoughts yesterday, and for sure the focusing was improved, so maybe my lenses just suck. I don't know... In any event, I'm going to run through the procedure described on this link in full tonight to see if it works for my lenses. If the AF micro adjust causes more problems than I originally had then I'll just reset the adjustments to zero with no harm done. Some people have said that micro adjust on zoom lenses is more trouble than it's worth, but I guess I'll find that out for myself...
  14. Hi John
    Thanks for that link once my 7d comes back I am going over it with a fine tooth comb.
    I have heard that there was a bad batch lower 1000-- serial no's and 7ds are being returned with AF problems. Even when I focused in on manual the veiw find looked clear, sharp and focused but the picture was blurred. So I now await the return...The thing that really up set me was Canon, I have spent many thousands on Canon cameras and lenses and when I spoke to the so-called Canon help line all answers where the same "have you did a firmware update" they seem to have no time for the customer and fob you off with the firmware up-date answer.
    Anyway will keep you posted once it arrives back..
  15. I had a 7D as well with bad AF. It went back...
  16. Brad, just curious....What symptoms were you seeing? Was it fixed?

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