To Canon 10D owners: What has Canon told YOU about focusing "issues"?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by DigitalCameraBasics, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. Since I do a small web site about digicams, over the last couple of months
    I've been getting quite a few emails from people regarding the talked about
    "focusing issue" on the 10D. Since my site caters to mostly first time
    buyers, I don't discuss SLRs on it, but I'm curious about what Canon may be
    telling folks, so thought I'd ask Canon users here.

    I'm a 10D owner myself. When I first noticed the images had a somewhat
    smooth look to them, I called a Canon rep who told me his was an "official
    answer". That being, that the CMOS images and the fact the 10D does little
    in-camera sharpening are on purpose, so that users can use the image editor
    of their choice to sharpen, and bring out details to their liking. Sounded
    logical, as the 10D images do handle sharpening much better without creating
    artifacts, than do consumer level cameras.

    But then I received mails from folks who had also called Canon when they
    first started using thier 10D, and discovered that different reps were
    saying different things to people. If there is indeed an "official answer"
    as I was given, I found it courious the phone reps had not been trained to
    give this official answer.

    Some were told it was a faulty lens they may be using that was causing
    smooth images. A few told me they were told by reps that about 10% of the
    10Ds out there were defective regarding their ability to focus correctly,
    and were told to bring it in to a service center. A couple more were given
    the same answer I was, about less in-camera processing than many other
    cameras being the reason.

    So, I'm curious as to whether the regular 10D-ers on this board ever had
    what they might call "sharpness issues" with their photos, and if they
    called Canon, and if so, what the rep told them.

    - Greg
    DigitalCameraBasics, Nov 3, 2003
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  2. DigitalCameraBasics

    AJ Guest

    If that's the "official" explanation then someone has committed fraud.
    The focus issue is all about something know as 'back focus'. This is the
    fixed focus distance from the rear lens element to the film plane and it can
    vary with different lenses - even from the same maker. With digital SLRs it
    is quite variable but correctible. Canon will correct back focus issues
    under warranty. Good camera Technicians who know what they are doing can fix
    the problem in about 25 minutes.

    Be aware that most of the 'reports' of focus problems are actually the fault
    of non Canon lenses having a focus problem in the first place! Someone
    actually suggested that the 10D has it's own unique 'forward focus error'
    built in at manufacture so as to make non genuine lenses look pretty awful.

    I adjusted my own 10Ds to suit the lenses they have. One is a Sigma which
    before the adjustment could not produce a sharp picture without using
    PhotoShop's unsharp mask. Now the Canon lenses are out of focus on that
    body. Either way, I now do not need to carry out focusing as a function of
    editing unless I substantially change the image size and even then, the
    amount of compensation is very small. It's no good asking a Canon telephone
    consultant. They only respond from a Q&A database. 'Reps' will tell you
    whatever it is they think you want to hear. "Johnny Feelgoods".

    AJ, Nov 3, 2003
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  3. DigitalCameraBasics

    Don Guest


    How did you make such an adjustment?


    Don, Nov 3, 2003
  4. I was under the impression that virtually all digicams, including the 10D,
    focused by various methods of maximizing contrast in (parts of) the image
    from the CCD sensor. If this is true, I don't understand how a given lens
    could tend to focus consistently in front of or behind the sensor.

    Could someone explain what I'm missing here?
    Judson McClendon, Nov 3, 2003
  5. DigitalCameraBasics

    JPS Guest

    In message <20031103102332.392$>,
    I have one lens, a Canon 24mm f1.4L that consistently backfocuses on my
    10D. The amount of correction on the barrel to get it in focus is
    *exactly* the same, whether something 1 foot away is being back-focused,
    or something at infinity is being back-focused, which suggests to me
    that the camera may be trying to reduce the number of motions of the
    motor (starts and stops) by estimating how much to move the focus
    mechanisms in a large jump, rather than using constant feedback on
    JPS, Nov 3, 2003
  6. DigitalCameraBasics

    Chris Brown Guest

    It's not true - the DSLRs don't have the image sensor visible when they're
    focusing - it's behind the shutter and mirror.

    They have dedicated autofocus sensors, like film cameras. ISTM that the
    s-called "problems" with the 10D come down to people having unrealistic
    expectations about how well a consumer-grade autofocus system should be able
    to lock on well-enough to a subject that is close to the shooter, to produce
    an image which is "bang on" at the pixel level (i.e. the equivalent of a
    very large print) with the lens on its smallest DoF setting. I'd expect any
    mid-range film SLR to have similar "issues" if you go around blowing up
    shots of rulers taken with the lens wide-open on high-resolution film to A3
    size. With film, that sort of thing is far-too expensive to waste on
    close-up shots of rulers.

    I just accept that, in difficult conditions (such as close up shots of a
    subject not at infinity, taken in such a way that the DoF is mere
    millimetres, when I want the print to sharp at A4 and above), autofocus may
    not handle the situation perfectly, so I'll focus manually. This is no
    different, in my mind, to accepting that in difficult lighting conditions,
    auto-exposure may not handle the situation as well as a manualy selected
    exposure setting.

    I've also seen a lot of user-error reported as an "autofocus problem". The
    most common one is the old problem of focusing on the edge of a subject, and
    having the camera lock on the background. How is it supposed to know?

    I think the 10D has been rather unfairly picked on in this regard, probably
    because it's the most popular 6 megapixel DSLR. On the majority of
    real-world (i.e. non-ruler) shots, the autofocus will cope just fine. If you
    want EOS-1 class autofocus, then I'm afraid you're going to have to buy an
    EOS-1 (either digital or film).
    Chris Brown, Nov 3, 2003
  7. Greg,

    I've had a 10D since mid-July and I'm happy, and perhaps fortunate, to
    report I've had no sharpness issues. The camera works well.

    If your site is geared toward the novice, then I would attach as a
    caveat the 10D's propensity for losing highlight detail. It is not a
    defect, just a nuance of the digital sensor. I'm sure most neophites
    will be accustomed to the exposure latitude of color print film. The
    CMOS sensor in the 10D - the only digital with which I have personal
    experience - has a similar exposure latitude to slide film. Dealing
    with this particular issue was the longest arc in my 10D learning
    curve. I now routinely set exposure compensation to underexpose by
    one-half stop, or do it manually.

    Also, RAW is the quality setting to go with on the 10D. Anything less
    and you'd be better off with a lower end consumer digital camera.

    street shooter, Nov 3, 2003
  8. DigitalCameraBasics

    RustY© Guest

    Try adjusting the 'sharpness' yourself on the camera. From the menu choose
    parameters and adjust sharpness there. It may solve some
    RustY©, Nov 3, 2003
  9. DigitalCameraBasics

    Kenny Guest

    Greg, first of all you are confusing the softness of images with focus.
    They are two very different things and softness has nothing at all to do
    with camera focus. From day one Canon have publicly said that the 10D
    images were softer to allow the user to decide his/her own level of
    post-processing. I happen to prefer this approach to the over-sharpened
    and over-saturated images that come from some cameras which end up being
    impossible to correct in post-processing. Those that complain about the
    Canon approach have usually upgraded from a camera with aggressive
    in-camera processing.

    The focus issues are to do with some (a very small few) camera and
    lenses exhibiting a degree of front or back focus. This isn't anything
    new by the way, the film cameras have had the same problem but it has
    generally gone unnoticed as most people view 4x6 prints vs digital users
    who zoom in to maximum magnification. Canon will re-calibrate any camera
    and/or lenses as required. I have two10D bodies bought a few weeks apart
    and neither has a focus 'issue'. These cameras have taken nearly 9,000
    shots each in 5 months without problems. I mainly use my L series lenses
    (up to a 500L), but there are also no problems with a wide range of
    Sigma lenses that my wife has for her camera.

    This is an over-hyped issue made to look worse than it is by a
    vociferous minority. The soft image issue has been confused with focus
    problems by people that have little or no knowledge of the system. Other
    focus issues can simply be put down to user error.

    Kenny, Nov 3, 2003
  10. DigitalCameraBasics

    Lionel Guest

    Yes. The AF on the 10D has nothing to do with the image sensor. It has
    separate AF sensors, just like any other SLR.
    Lionel, Nov 16, 2003
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