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Canon 5D Mark II - Auto focus

Sreehari Sundararajan , Sep 24, 2009; 09:56 p.m.

I bought a new 5D mark II and 16-35 L II lens. I was doing test shooting inside my room with my new toys using wide angle lens and with 24-70L which I already own. Both has the same aperture of f2.8 and AF was working fine with 16-35 L-II in available light but when I tested using 24-70 L AF was searching on. I am not surprised about 5D Mark II is not equipped for low light coz I got ample info abt 5D M-II's Auto Focus with the earlier post. Still I made my mind to go for it just bcoz it's a affordable full frame camera by Canon.
I am just trying to understand the concept. I appreciate all, for your comments in advance Thanx..


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Mark Pierlot , Sep 24, 2009; 10:37 p.m.

Sreehari, the 5D Mark II is one of the two or three finest SLR's currently available for low light photography. Anyone who suggets otherwise either doesn't know what s/he is talking about, or is lying.

Steve Crist , Sep 24, 2009; 10:53 p.m.

The 5D2 has a wonderful sensor, but average focus and metering systems. It's below the 1D3 series bodies which got completely new focus and metering systemss when they went to the 3 series. The 5D2 still has the focus and metering systems from the 3 year old 5D1 body. I think the new 7D is getting updated auto-focus. It's simply Canon marketing. Canon doesn't feel the need to put all their pro level features in the 5D2. For example the 5D2 auto-focus has 1 cross point and 6 assist points (which are constant in the center area of the frame) and only has auto-focus down to f5.6. The 1D3 bodies have 19 cross point sensors and 26 assist points which follow the selected focus sensor. They also auto-focus to f8. I had a 5D1 and a 20D and got rid of both for the 1D3 and the 1DS3 bodies. The 5D and 20D gave good results in "normal" situations but the ability to "get" any shot in difficult situations with the 1D series is amazing. Enjoy your 5D2 as it's a great camera but you need to use it within its designed limits.

Tommy DiGiovanni , Sep 24, 2009; 11:02 p.m.

Is it that bad? worse then a 30D or 40D? I am happy with how my 5D2 focuses. I was just taking some shots with my 5D2 with the much hated 28 1.8 ( I seem to be the only person that likes this lens ) I shot it a 2.2 and the photos look very good. Focus was in an instant and right on. I don't get it, maybe I have never tried a better camera so this all seems normal but its focuses just fine for me and when it don't its most likely my fault. I wonder how much of this is just people reading reviews and then just spreading it around.

Sreehari Sundararajan , Sep 24, 2009; 11:48 p.m.

Steve, after reading your comments I checked the lighting conditions at the point I was focusing with a light meter the Exposure value was f4.0 and AF getting locked perfect. I used 24-70L FYI.... set to f2.8 I am just trying to learn the technical aspects to see where it can fit in to capture quality results but besides I am least concerned abt the brand and model I use. I'd even like to take the pain of getting use with MF as long as I get a clean image result at the end of the day.

Puppy Face , Sep 25, 2009; 04:06 a.m.

I use the 5DII for travel, landscapes and street photography, much of which is at twilight, night and in dark churches, bars and casinos. Sure I try to focus on points of contrast when possible, but it is extremely rare to miss focus under any conditions I can hand hold the camera, including F2.8@ ISO 1600 or 3200.

Elliot Bernstein , Sep 25, 2009; 05:54 a.m.

"ocus and metering systems from the 3 year old 5D1 body" If it ain't broke, don't fix it. My 5D1 rarely (very rarely) missed giving correct focus or proper exposure. In fact I would say its metering is among the best available when it comes to accuracy. And while the AF is not the fastest available, it is certainly fast enough - I never have any issues even when shooting sports.

Steve Crist , Sep 25, 2009; 08:05 a.m.

Sreehari - For consistently best auro-focus results with you 5D2 try to use the center focus spot. This has the 6 assist points to aid focus. The 6 assist points are hidden from view and are located within the center circle in the viewfinder. Canon pros realize the outer focus spots are the poorest under difficult shooting conditions as there are no assist points and the focus spots aren't the high quality cross type. There is an active thread on this very topic (see below) on the Photo.net Wedding site. Again, as I previously stated, the 5D1 and 5D2 are fine cameras but need to be used within their design limits. I used one for a couple years with great results, and learned to "work around" any issues. My 1D's simply allow me to work faster and "get" more shots as auto-focus locks on much faster (with virtually no hunting) than the 5D. The 5D will focus under difficult conditions but you need to compare side by side to realize the difference in AF.
From Wedding forum (Party shots in dark rooms thread):
"On another topic raised in this thread: I continued, last night - (at an award function, by coincidence) - to play with the outer AF points in my 5D, (in low light). For most of the night I had a 35L on the 5D - basically I found the outer AF points useless - I found a similar experience on a 30D which had the 16-35L."

Steve Crist , Sep 25, 2009; 08:19 a.m.

Sreehari - Here is the info I referred to in my prior post. From Photo.net Wedding forum. Party shots in dark rooms thread.
"On another topic raised in this thread: I continued, last night - (at an award function, by coincidence) - to play with the outer AF points in my 5D, (in low light). For most of the night I had a 35L on the 5D - basically I found the outer AF points useless - I found a similar experience on a 30D which had the 16-35L"

Philip Wilson , Sep 25, 2009; 11:44 a.m.

I am surprised that you do not think the 5DII focuses in low light. Mine will focus in low light with either of the two lenses that you mention. Indeed it will focus down to the same light levels as my pair of EOS 1Vs with the full professional AF system. The issue with the 5DII AF is not it's ability to achieve focus in low light but the time it takes to do it. In essence the 5DII AF is slower than the 1 series but works at about the same light levels. The canon AF spec is that the 1DIII works from -1 Ev to 18EV while the 5DII is -.5EV to 18 EV - according to Cannon the 1DIII works in light 0.5EV less than the 5DII.

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