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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old December 6th, 2011, 01:04 PM   #16
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Re: Focusing question

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Originally Posted by Hans Sandstrom View Post
Thanks, this is more complicated than I expected and, according to the link, very close to rocket science.

My main problem with manual focusing is the short distance between focus and unfocus — feels like a fraction of a millemeter. Does a follow-focus use a "gear-box" to handle this?
Enough practice handles this. While the focusing ring on most budget EOS lenses doesn't have the same "silky" feel many older lenses used to have, I've had no problem manual focusing with these. It's a matter of doing it enough until you have your "eye" tuned to what you see in the viewfinder or on the LCD.

For still work, in the viewfinder you have two focusing aids, the autofocus "points" light up as you hit "focus" and the big green dot in the lower right of the viewfinder appears when you hit "point of focus". Don't "stare" looking for these things but study the sharpness or lack of on the focusing screen in the viewfinder and just be alert for when those two things "pop".

For video work, pretty much forget autofocus for now. The contrast detection autofocus used in video or live focus mode can be inaccurate or way to slow to "lock" focus.

You can do it much better.

Get an LCD viewfinder loupe with 3x eyepiece so you see a magnified view. In good to fair light you may be able to see "focus" well enough to "just do it". For anything critical use the 5x magnification to "hit it". The 10x function gives you more magnification but 5x may look clearer.

My advice: Quit worrying about how much more complex this has turned out to be. PICK UP THE CAMERA AND PLAY WITH IT at every opportunity. Focus on things around the room, take it out in the backyard and "play" with focus on things near and far.

Take stills to see how you're doing and build your confidence. Keep the ones you like and delete the rest from the computer. then FORMAT THE MEDIA CARD IN THE CAMERA. Keep at it and you'll master it and have fun at the same time.

Many of us had to learn focus this way DECADES before autofocus came along.
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Old December 6th, 2011, 02:51 PM   #17
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Re: Focusing question

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Are you joking? If I had done that all the torches had burned out before I was ready to shoot...
Don't be silly. :)

You keep the Neutral picture style loaded at all times. You keep the shutter at 1/50 at all times. You set the ISO and WB ahead of time, based on the general conditions. Same with the ND. Put it on for day shots and take it off at night. The only thing left is the aperture. There's a dial for that so you can do it live without going into any menus. Controlling the aperture takes much less time than taking the camera from the bag, turning on the power, removing the lens cap, starting Live View, and hitting REC.

It only feels like a lot because it's unfamiliar. After a week or two of manual shooting, it will feel very comfortable - especially if you prepare the camera (Picture Style, Shutter) for the expected conditions (WB, ISO, ND.)

HDR timelapse? Now that's another story. I have a 35 point checklist for that. Believe me, when you're going to do hundreds of shutter clicks and sit there for an hour, you want nothing less than perfection.

But for normal video shooting, manual is only about one second slower to start than auto. No checklist needed (after a bit of practice.)
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Old December 6th, 2011, 05:49 PM   #18
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Re: Focusing question

Thank you guys for giving me so much of your time. You really have inspired me to leave the auto mode and try the manual settings. I already feel more comfortable with manual focus and will try the other settings according to your advices.
BTW, I now know more about ISO after watching some videos on Youtube...

Hans
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Old December 6th, 2011, 08:25 PM   #19
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Re: Focusing question

Regarding focusing, one thing to play with is being purposefully out of focus. Here's a video that I shot handheld with a 5D2 and an EF 85/1.8 lens (no stabilization), wide open. I would get the focus close with the lens, then move the focus by moving the camera. In this style, being out of focus is as important as being in focus. (If you try to keep sharp focus 100% of the time, missing focus once looks like a mistake. Miss it a lot and it looks intentional.)

You can get a similar look with a $99 50/1.8 lens on a crop camera. :)

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Old December 7th, 2011, 11:35 PM   #20
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Re: Focusing question

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Originally Posted by Hans Sandstrom View Post

My main problem with manual focusing is the short distance between focus and unfocus — feels like a fraction of a millemeter. Does a follow-focus use a "gear-box" to handle this?
Hans there are so many elements that affect focus, many of which were mentioned on here. But what I think your problem is, you need to experience a k/m/a series pentax! What will an older pentax do for you? It will turn that fraction of a millimeter into a centimeter. They have perfect "dampening" I think the word is where the focus ring is firm or solid but not too tight/sticky/etc., More importantly the focus ring has a LOT more travel if thats the right word. Basically the ratio how much the focus ring has to be turned to how much the focus moves forward or backward is drastically different, in the direction you would like. Either way its great! I'm sure there are countless other non pentax lenses with similar dampening, I just personally love the pentax lenses so I use them as an example
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Old December 25th, 2011, 03:21 PM   #21
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Re: Focusing question

Hi guys,
The other night I took my 600D (T3i) to shot some video downtown Stockholm. I just wanted to test how good the autosettings worked. So I used autofocus (quick-mode) and all other settings in auto. My lenses are Tamron 10-24 and 18-270 (first time I used them). All clips are shot hand-held.

My question now - is it possible to get a better result in manual mode? I can see that some clips are very grainy, others are out of focus. Maybe I'll try to do it all over again - this time in manual mode :-)

Happy for your thoughts...

Hans


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Old December 26th, 2011, 09:48 AM   #22
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Re: Focusing question

If you had everything in Auto I guess the ISO is auto as well. That's the source of your graininess. Unfortunately there's not a lot to be done about it in many of those situations. Those two lenses appear to be both f/3.5 at their widest (if my googling serves me). Probably fine lenses. But they're going to have a tough time in a lot of artificial lighting conditions. You'd want much faster options if you want to do a lot of that sort of thing. Although even the "standard" f/2.8 a lot of lens lines aim for struggles a bit.
The Canon 50mm 1.8 is nice and cheap. Limits your shot options a bit, but the light is like night and day, so to speak.
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Old December 26th, 2011, 12:40 PM   #23
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Re: Focusing question

Murray,

Yes, ISO was set to automatic (I should have checked all values but I didn't).
I checked the Canon 50 mm and it is very cheap (best price on Amazon). Maybe I'll buy one when going to Hongkong in February.

So my next mission is to go out again and shoot in manual mode and use the skill I have achieved after following your advices. This time I'll take notes on all settings...

I'll keep you informed.

Hans
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Old December 26th, 2011, 01:06 PM   #24
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Re: Focusing question

Good luck. I think you'll do fine. Just keep in mind it is actually as tough as it seems, it's not just you ;)

There are easier lenses to operate than that one too. I usually start at the bottom thanks to people I talk to often being tired of hearing "Want to do XYZ? Get more lenses."
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Old December 28th, 2011, 02:34 PM   #25
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Re: Focusing question

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Originally Posted by Luke Gates View Post
Hans you need to experience a k/m/a series pentax! What will an older pentax do for you? It will turn that fraction of a millimeter into a centimeter. They have perfect "dampening" I think the word is where the focus ring is firm or solid but not too tight/sticky/etc., More importantly the focus ring has a LOT more travel if thats the right word. Basically the ratio how much the focus ring has to be turned to how much the focus moves forward or backward is drastically different, in the direction you would like. Either way its great! I'm sure there are countless other non pentax lenses with similar dampening, I just personally love the pentax lenses so I use them as an example
In my short experience with DSLR to date - I could not agree more! I discovered this after purchasing an adapter just for the heck of it - to see if I could use my late father -in-law's Vivitar 20mm that has a Pentax M mount.

My wife was showing me some of the images he made with that lens from back in the day, and I thought what the heck, If I can make it work I'll have a Trifecta!

• Wife will be ecstatic...
• I'll have a 20mm that is as sharp as a freeking pin...
• Investment will be $14.00 (usd) to bring a fine piece of glass back to life in a new era.

The ratio and feel on the focus ring, is like driving a Lexus vs. a Forklift!
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Old December 28th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #26
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Re: Focusing question

So I went out again to shoot in manual mode. The good thing was that the temperature was around 15 degrees (centigrade) warmer than normal this time of the year. The bad thing was the outcome of the video...

When shooting in auto mode the camera most often uses a very slow shutter speed (down to 8, which can't be done in manual mode, or...?). The clips are always over-exposed compared to when shooting in manual mode.

So my conclusion is that shooting in manual mode is the way to go if you want to have your clips as close to reality as possible. And, after trying a lot, I'm getting more and more familiar with the camera. Just as you guys have tried to explain to me.

This is the video (not very scientific, though...). The password is DVINFO

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Old December 30th, 2011, 02:56 PM   #27
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Re: Focusing question

Hey Hans...Murray's right. I noticed you're shooting a lot of night shots; you'll definitely need lenses with wider apertures (F/2.0, F/1.8, F/1.4, etc.) to better deal with low light situations. You could continue cranking up your ISO but you'll get granier shots as a result (anything above 1600 and grain will become more evident). And your shutter, for the most part, should always stay the same (unless you were going for some cool moving effect). Shutter should be double your frame rate (24 fps with 1/48 shutter; 30fps with 1/60 shutter; etc.)

Go out and purchase the 50mm F/1.8 II (you can find it now for under $100). Great, cheap starter lens to prove the point. You'll be amazed at the difference! Input your settings manually. Don't let the camera choose for you 'cause it's gonna constantly be adjusting itself to changing settings. The only drawback to the faster lens ironically goes back to your original point about focus issues. The wider your aperture, the narrower your field of focus is. Anytime your subject moves back and forth, they will be out of focus.

Oh, the drawbacks!! But with A LOT of practice, you can overcome that issue, like many on this forum have done. You can also tweak your aperture and ISO to better compensate: don't shoot AS wide open with your aperture and crank up your ISO just a bit to let in some more light, therefore your field of focus won't be SO narrow.

Hope this all makes sense. If not, here's a small home video to demonstrate (Canon 60D, 50mm F/1.8, 24fps, ISO 1600 (I believe), shutter 1/50; F/1.8, dimly-lit living room)

50mm 1 8 Test - YouTube

Good luck...
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