sqpax
Topic Author
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:52 pm

Canon 80D - Focus Issues

Tue May 16, 2017 6:03 pm

I have very recently gotten back into the our hobby after over ten years away. My most success in the past was with a Nikon D70 in 2005 - 2006. That camera was well used and well traveled by the time I retired it. It even got me over 350 photos accepted here on a.net. Following that I bought a Canon 40D but never did much aviation photography with it. I have now purchased the Canon 80D and have bought the Canon 70-300 mm f4 - 5.6 L and I also got the Canon 55-250 mm f4 - 5.6 with IS and USM. The latter is great when shooting thru a chain link fence.

I've been out several times in the three weeks that I have had the new equipment. The weather hasn't been the greatest to say the least. A lot of overcast, cloudy days. Significant rain. Also, at this time of year here in the Toronto area, the sun is high and the light can be harsh. Regardless, I can work around those hurdles. My issue is with the 80D focusing on moving aircraft. Slow taxiing, slowing down from a landing, or parked, the camera is fine. The shots are beyond my expectations and I'm very pleased. Shooting an aircraft in the air, be it a side shot on short final or more of an action type shot showing the aircraft as it meets the runway or leaves the runway has become a proper challenge.

To give you an example, if I take 20 shots in one sequence, I would think I'm being realistic to say that of those 20, I could choose from any of 13 - 15 shots to use as my final shot. That said, I have never had that many with the 80D. Several have all been either soft (beyond repair) or outright blurry, resulting in no shot for the subject aircraft. Occasionally I will get 3 - 4 of the 20. And when they're focused, the quality is, once again, very satisfactory.

It would appear I'm doing something wrong. I have IS set on with both lenses. I am shooting primarily in Aperture Value mode. ISO generally set at 100. WB on Auto. AI Servo mode for AF. Shooting Back Button Focus, a personal preference. (I had the focus issue before switching to this.) I tried originally in the factory preset mode, I believe all 45 metering points were active. That was bad. I then switched to a single point (set in the centre of the frame) and the results were minimally better. Then I went to nine points in the centre. No real difference.

If you've made it thru this, thanks for taking the time. If you have any comments or suggestions, your input would be appreciated! Thanks again!
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ThePointblank
Posts: 2767
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Canon 80D - Focus Issues

Fri May 19, 2017 5:13 am

What's the shutter speed your camera is picking? It sounds more like motion blur that's causing the problems, not an actual focus issue.

When I shoot animals and aircraft, I generally stay in shutter priority mode and let the camera figure out ISO and aperture. I generally stick with shutter speeds at around 1/125 for prop aircraft, and 1/1000 for jet aircraft.
 
User avatar
glen
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 4:43 pm

Re: Canon 80D - Focus Issues

Fri May 19, 2017 9:20 am

sqpax wrote:
I have IS set on with both lenses.


Although (if I am correct) those lenses have a panning mode (Mode 2 on the 70-300; auto-panning detection on the 55.250) I would try to leave IS off. If they haven't a panning mode, then it is a must to shoot without IS.
"The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view." - Albert Einstein
 
sqpax
Topic Author
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:52 pm

Re: Canon 80D - Focus Issues

Fri May 19, 2017 11:58 am

ThePointblank wrote:
What's the shutter speed your camera is picking? It sounds more like motion blur that's causing the problems, not an actual focus issue.

When I shoot animals and aircraft, I generally stay in shutter priority mode and let the camera figure out ISO and aperture. I generally stick with shutter speeds at around 1/125 for prop aircraft, and 1/1000 for jet aircraft.


Shutter speed is generally 1/1000 - 1/1250 on a sunny day. Motion blur may well be the problem. Since this post, I made a change in settings that I found online. I have slowed down the buffer from its default of 7 fps to the slower setting, it seems to be 2 fps. The results are, for some reason, much more satisfactory. Thank you for your input.
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sqpax
Topic Author
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:52 pm

Re: Canon 80D - Focus Issues

Fri May 19, 2017 11:59 am

glen wrote:
sqpax wrote:
I have IS set on with both lenses.


Although (if I am correct) those lenses have a panning mode (Mode 2 on the 70-300; auto-panning detection on the 55.250) I would try to leave IS off. If they haven't a panning mode, then it is a must to shoot without IS.


I have indeed been using mode 2 on the 70-300. I will turn the IS off when I'm shooting next. Thank you very much for the suggestion!
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Schmave
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:30 am

Re: Canon 80D - Focus Issues

Wed May 31, 2017 12:09 am

What AF mode are you using (One Shot, Servo)? For tracking moving subjects you should be using AI Servo generally. I also second using a faster shutter speed.

I have a 70D and it also has an option in the menus to prioritize focus acquisition when releasing the shutter. So this mode basically makes the camera wait to release the shutter until it has acquired focus. You might want to use that option, assuming you are using viewfinder shooting (non-Live View mode).

It might be interesting to try LiveView shooting with the 80D. AFIAK the 80D can do focus tracking in LiveView mode. With the DPAF the focus accuracy could be better than when using viewfinder AF since the AF sensor is the image sensor. It would probably be harder to use the LCD than the viewfinder, but you could try it.

You may also want to check the AF calibration of your lens/body combo. Does it look like you are often getting front/back focusing consistently?
 
sqpax
Topic Author
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2003 8:52 pm

Re: Canon 80D - Focus Issues

Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:25 am

It's just so inconsistent in many ways. I'm thinking it's my impatience and not taking the time to learn it properly! AF is in servo mode. I have never nor would I think I could ever shoot using Live View. The thing is that you get those two, three, maybe four or five good shots when you go out and it keeps you coming back for more! Thanks for your input, appreciated.
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