….you have to do what you can and work around issues.

Like my Canon 1D Mark 4 camera, which focuses inconsistently.

When I shoot with, say, my 35mm lens at f/1.4, and I operate the camera properly, nevertheless focus is different every time – and rarely right. I am using one focus spot; I focus away, then aim my spot at a contrasty subject; and so on – but it’s a gamble every time.

Look at these five shots – a very typical sequence – where in each case I carefully focused the 35mm lens at f/1.4 (using the centre focus point) on the round red logo on the bottleneck:

Incredible, no? Only one or perhaps two of those images are sharp enough. The reset are focused all over the place, except at the distance I was focusing.

Especially in low light, that is what I usually see. Of course what can I expect, from a $6,000 camera with $2,000 (each) lenses?

Now seriously – as a Canon shooter, I love their equipment, and rather than blog about how unreliable autofocus is, I would be discrete and handle it quietly, but

  • (a) Canon wants me to pay hundreds of dollars a year to get the good service I should get anyway when I spend tens of thousands on their gear (“CPS”, Canon Professional Services, which should be free); and
  • (b) Even when I had CPS, all I ever used to hear from them is “everything is OK” – when clearly it is not. They will never acknowledge problems.
  • A repair would take weeks, even longer.. what do I do in the mean time? Operate without a backup camera?

So why should I waste my time? Instead, I work around the issue. By avoiding close-up shots. By not shooting with large apertures. By avoiding shooting in low light. By choosing subjects that are good whether in focus in one area, or not.

The point is: even with expensive equipment, you will have issues that you cannot solve, but that you must work around.

Oh – my final workaround for Canon’s focus: shoot in bright light, and take every image several times.


2 thoughts on “Sometimes…

  1. Wow, I find this disturbing coming from such an expensive camera. I heard about a similar problem on the 5d mII also. Since Canon is no help I would sell it for the newer mMayberry better yet go with a new Nikon D4 or D800…coming from a Nikon shooter of course ;).

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