(I was trying to get off of this testing phase on this blog. and back to lighting, but I am still testing…)
In trying a third Canon 5D Mark II body today, it focuses better with the outer AF points, but they are still no good for full figure shots where the target is far off. Lots of out of focus ones.
On a positive note, the outer AF points seem to work ok for waist-up shots. And the color on this one is FAR better than my other 5D2 bodies.
(If the skin tones look a little funny, that’s because they are. The model is going to Japan tomorrow, where they insist that the models be as pale as possible. So she’s been hiding from the sun And thus, copius amounts of spray-on tan were applied.)
Still, if I were shooting something critical and could not be tethered to a computer to check focus, I would not use this camera! The auto focus is just too dodgy on far away objects, even using the center point. Tis a pity.
p.s. Dear Canon: Isn’t the one-shot AF mode supposed to only take the shot when it’s achieved focus at the selected AF point? IF so, maybe part of this problem could be resolved with a firmare fix: make it so that in one-shot AF mode the camera actually does not take the shot if the image is out of focus. Would this work, or can the camera just not tell that the image is not in focus?
**notes on the lighting setup for the above shots will follow shortly**
I recently used the 5D2 on another fashions shoot, but took another camera along just in case. While the focus is still pants (once again I got a bunch of out of focus images,) the image quality looks pretty good. The shots use a combination of daylight and some strobe for fill. They were shot in the NY studio, and the model is Sveta at IMG Models…
So this week I got a change to use the 5D2 for a real shoot, using daylight which is my favorite way to shoot. Unfortunately, for full body shots, I got many frames where the model is out of focus. I counted 50% of the shots out-of-focus using the outer AF points and my 85 1.2 on a tripod! A few were due to movement of the model, but mostly just due to misfocus with the outer AF points which were positioned over her face. Fortunately I noticed this fairly early on and switched to the center AF point, which worked fine.
A week prior I found that these outer AF points work like a charm with the 85 1.2 lens in fairly bright light outdoors, but they apparently are not stellar performers when it’s dim. This is very disappointing in a $3000 camera. You will definitely do better with the 1Ds2 or 1Ds3 if you are shooting dim available light as I often do. However if you are in a situation where you can use the center point 100% of the time the 5D2 AF should work fine.
This was not nearly my most adventurous photography, but the exercise did show me that the 5D Mark II files look fine in low light (when focused correctly,) as the 1Ds3 files do. Though the bad AF is an issue, I think the main problem here is that the red focus indicator lights up as if the shot is in focus, when it’s not. The 5D2 seems not to work better than the original 5D in terms of low light AF using the outer AF points. But at least with the original, the AF point does not light up if the shot is not focused. For $3000 it should indeed be better. Too bad they didn’t have the nuts to put all cross-type sensors in this camera like the $1000 40D has!
here’s one example of the AF issue:
And here’s one which focused ok:
Here is an older shot where the 5D Mark I focused effortlessly, even though it was darker:
OK, so I just combed through a bunch of old shoot using the original 5D in essentially identical situations as the aforementioned bad AF shoot with the 5D2.
Where the peripheral AF points were used on the old 5D, I counted 40 in focus shots, 10 out of focus in one example; 40 in focus vs. 7 out of focus in another; 20 in focus vs. 4 out of focus in a third shoot. The lenses used ranged from the 50 1.4, 70-200 2.8, 85 1.8 – all used in the neighborhood of 1/30 or so, ISO 200, around f 2.8 or 4, and all on tripods. These were all full body shots like the example posted earlier in this thread. Facial features were used as focus points.
As I suspected, the older camera was FAR better at achieving focus with the non cross-type AF points in non-bright situations. So either this particular camera is not right, or something went awry with the AF update in the new camera.
Tried the 45mm tilt/shift lens on the 5D2 yesterday for a few snapshots. It is surprisingly easy
to (manually) focus. I guess this is due to the good job they have done
with the viewfinder in this camera. However, I do look forward to
getting the Precision Focusing screen when it is available.
So, the internet seems to have exploded with “black dot syndrome” complaints about the Canon 5D Mark II.
As it happens I came across a 1Ds3 image from Paris last year – and wouldn’t you know, there are some artifacts similar to this “BDS.” And if you zoom in close enough, and tweak the levels enough, they will become more clear. This image is at a mere 100% view so you can not see them that clearly
Fact is, these 1Ds3 cameras have taken millions of images which have been published untold thousands of times, used for international advertising campaings, etc. And as far as I know, no one has complained about “black dots, lines, etc.” Why? I think it’s because pixel peeping at these levels (200%, 400%,) is not useful and has no purpose out here in the real world. After all, when looking even at a 100 percent view, you are effectively looking at what would be a 6.5 foot print (as rendered on your 72ppi screen) from 12 inches away and then complaining about the image quality. Have you ever looked at a print that large from that close? How’d it look?
Anyway, while Canon may try to fix this “problem,” I do not think any new technical flaw has been uncovered here. I think we are just witnessing a slew of new eyeballs using Photoshop to view images which are zoomed way in, exposures jacked up, over-sharpened, etc. to reveal digital characteristics which for the most part are not really relevant in the real world.
I encourage everyone to zoom their images back out to a proper viewing size, and get back to work. Your time is probably better spend working on improving your lighting skills :-O
I just got the Canon 5D Mark II, along with the 24-105 kit lens. Of course the look and feel of this camera is 99% the same as the Mark I.
However, the LCD is just silly good. Very bright, sharp, sharp. It really helps to see what is in focus at a glance.
Viewfinder: The 5D Mark II’s viewfinder is definitely larger and brighter, and more neutral. The mark I looks yellow/greenish in comparison.
AF is superb so far. Even with the 85mm 1.2 wide open, every image is sharp – indoors, outdoors, and with moving subjects. This is a stunt which even my 1Ds3 has a hard time pulling off. And the AF is working very accurately in the near dark.
The outer AF points are working very well at 1.2 too.
Upon plugging the camera in to the computer, the Direct Transfer window pops up on the LCD, and you can chose New Images and they start transferring to the computer. This is very slick, but it transferred a bunch of images which were already transferred yesterday as well as the new ones. Maybe I’ll have to resort to actually reading the manual
AWB: the auto-white balance seems great too. I have shot in several weird colors of florescent and the shots look very nice. It’s hard to believe.
Overall sharpness of the files as seen in DPP is great, as expected. The camera tethered to DPP 184.108.40.206 with no problems.
Sound: About the same as the original 5D. It’s not louder or quieter, just different, IMO.
Worthy upgrade from Mark I? We’ll see…
Here are 3 snaps shots – RAW. They are available for 7 days only.
*Please do not repost links to these RAW files anywhere else on the web.*
Feel free to post converted jpegs though.
There will be more RAW files posted this afternoon.
This is a sample image showing the Highlight Tone Priority feature…
It has been said that HTP causes noise problems, but I find this issue to be very minor. This is the shadow ares of the same file, with no N.R applied:
A couple samples, ISO 200, HTP enabled:
a few more images: first one daylight, the last two strobe
Well I guess by now that everyone in the world has heard about the Canon 5D Mark II and it’s remarkable video capabilities. This will probably be the millionth link to Vincent Laforet’s video shot with the 5D Mark II.
The super sexy Ellen von Unwerth shoot with Christina Aguilera:
Here’s one called Wendybird with Kirsten Dunst:
I can’t help but imagine that many, many still photographers will be using this camera to do things which they only dreamed of before. If for no other reasons than it got very high image quality, and it looks and acts like a still camera. Sure, the web will soon be flooded with many bad 5D2 videos, but I am sure there will be many great ones too!