More about R5 AF stuff

Cracked it..? | 20/11/2021

I wrote yesterday about the fact that my new R5 was demonstrating a very worrying characteristic - it would not acquire focus on anything even remotely lacking in contrast. And indeed, even when there was more than enough to be getting on with, on the face of it.

It's an issue which others have reported too, so it's not just my incompetence.

But I'm a determined little bugger, and I don't automatically assume the worst. I'm also very analytical and methodical when it comes to troubleshooting, so I had at it.

Canon robustly recommends that when using long lenses, a setting called "Lens drive when AF impossible" should be set to OFF. There's logic to the advice, but - seeing as the problem I was seeing was exactly the lens not driving when I was trying to focus - I set it to ON:

I then went back to the same scenarios I was failing dismally to get focus on yesterday, and this happened. Every. Single. Time:

You're looking at a combination of 100-400mm + 1.4x TC (interestingly, I'm using my old Sigma TC for all of these - it works like a charm) and 500mm f/4 + 1.4x TC, handheld, wide open.

I've deliberately gone from minimum focusing distance to distant, in order to be very out of focus from one shot to the next; several of these are in shaded, low light locations; and there are even moving cars here.

The camera locked on quickly, accurately and reliably every time, and in terms of what you might want to see from an AF system, the results (which aren't properly processed from Raw, they've simply been batch resized and converted to jpeg in Irfanview - the batch resize/conversion doesn't retain Exif, hence its absence in these pictures) speak for themselves.

So, as of the time of writing this, I couldn't be happier with what I'm seeing. I was on Eye AF for the soft toy, and the eyes couldn't be sharper - the system works astonishingly well.

Oh - and most of these are 10,000 and 12,800 ISO, with no NR applied. I'm liking the R5's noise handling too.

What a camera it's shaping up to be...

Added:

It's almost dark out, so I decided to try again, in what would be pretty hard conditions for any camera and long lens (the 100-400mm + 1.4x at 560mm here), much less a mirrorless.

Well, not every frame was perfect, but the majority were as good as I could possibly hope for. And yes, this is what the light was like:

This degree of accuracy and consistency in the dark, with me jumping all over in terms of distance to subject, is everything I could realistically hope for and then some.

Remember that these are again just batch converted, with no selective (or in fact any) sharpening added over what came off the camera.


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