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Thread: Spot AF - Canon 1D Mark IV

  1. #1
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    Default Spot AF - Canon 1D Mark IV

    Hi all,

    I have been trying to make use of the Spot AF feature on the Canon 1D Mark IV, where you can assign it to the AF stop button on the big whites. The AF point apparently flashes brighter when Spot AF is enabled. Trouble is, no matter how many times I press the AF stop button, I donít notice nay difference in the brightness of the AF point when it flashes, so have no idea whether Spot AF is enabled.

    I have just read that apparently Spot AF only works if you hold down the AF Stop button whilst you are focusing. If this is the case, then the feature is pretty useless if you ask me as itís not easy to hold the AF stop button down while focusing Ė you would need pretty long arms and it would make tracking birds, etc very difficult.

    As the AF points on the 1D Mark IV cover a fairly large area, I have difficulty sometimes maintaining focus on a moving bird against a busy BG as the AF point wants to grab the BG. I have the focus speed set to slow and Continuous AF track priority enabled and have it set so that focus tracking takes priority over everything else; this negates the effect somewhat, but thought Spot AF would help even more. If I have to keep the AF stop button held down to achieve this though, then I wonder why Canon bothered having it as a feature in the first place?

    I guess part of this message is asking how others use Spot AF (if they use it) and how they use it, and of course having a bit of whinge at the same time Have any of the other Mark IV uses successfully utilised Spot AF?

    Thanks!
    Aust. Life List (IOC) - 315 (Rufous Owl- 11/09/2014)
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Spot AF - Canon 1D Mark IV

    As the AF points on the 1D Mark IV cover a fairly large area, I have difficulty sometimes maintaining focus on a moving bird against a busy BG as the AF point wants to grab the BG.
    Does that mean you are trying to use all focus points (all 45 points) when tracking birds in flight etc?
    If so, I would suggest just using the central focus point.
    As for Spot AF, I have no idea about it, sorry mate

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    Default Re: Spot AF - Canon 1D Mark IV

    Quote Originally Posted by wingsonwire
    As the AF points on the 1D Mark IV cover a fairly large area, I have difficulty sometimes maintaining focus on a moving bird against a busy BG as the AF point wants to grab the BG.
    Does that mean you are trying to use all focus points (all 45 points) when tracking birds in flight etc?
    If so, I would suggest just using the central focus point.
    As for Spot AF, I have no idea about it, sorry mate
    Sorry mate, should have clarified there. What I meant by that was the each individual AF point covers a fairly large area - that is they cover an area almost to the edge of the next AF point (apparently), whilst Spot AF narrows this range down to pretty much just inside the red square. I have used centre point AF only and centre point AF with expansion with success on busy BGs, so long as I keep up my end of the bargain by tracking accurately

    I have never used all 45 points, just use centre point with expansion at most as it's too hard to change between all 45 points (which would probably only have success agaisnt uniform BGs) and back to centre point only/centre point with expansion. By the time I change back, the photo opportunity could have long gone
    Aust. Life List (IOC) - 315 (Rufous Owl- 11/09/2014)
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    Default Re: Spot AF - Canon 1D Mark IV

    Coming from a fellow Mark IV user and simultaneous admirer and complainer. The Spot AF function is virtually useless. You will not gain any advantage using it for BIF shots with AI Servo. I think you gathered that it was hard to use, and it is.
    Even if there was spot AF, in my experience with BIF shots (admittedly most handheld) it is very difficult to correctly obtain focus on an irregularly moving target by using a REDUCED area of focus. Lets face it, BIF shots are not easy any way you are doing them, but I tend to not really worry if the bird is so far away against a (say, forest) background that it is smaller than the central AF focusing area. If you continually pump the AF button in those circumstances, though, it does sometimes get onto a small bird in the way that you might be surprised.
    I occasionally use Spot AF when a bird is so far away that the main focusing point just misses or if it is between branches/twigs etc, but it is generally on stationary targets. I agree, though, that there is NO DECENT reason why Canon didn't include Spot AF in the way that you can select it normally on the lesser 7D. No DECENT reason. They said something about it being slower than normal AF, but being a Pro camera, you would think the photographers would be more away of its ads/disads as opposed to the people who use the 7D which has it normally selectable as an AF mode.
    For me, that has been my experiences with the MKIV. It will miss quite a few shots that would expect it to get, but it will get shots that I wouldn't believe really possible. It does not appear to me to be ultra consistent. Lets get some more MKIV whinge going!!
    Tobias Hayashi
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    www.flickr.com/photos/callocephalon

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    Default Re: Spot AF - Canon 1D Mark IV

    Oh, and just to say, I do use the full 45 points expansion all the time. It doesn't make any difference in my mind, because it will always use the centre focusing point to acquire the target, and then attempt to track it with the other 45 points. In my experience, the 45 points do not interfere with tracking the bird normally, against a more complicated background, and in fact does help when a fast approaching bird comes in against a blue sky (in which case it will use those outer points as well, meaning that if the bird is accidentally out of the middle square, it still functions, or is meant to.
    Tobias Hayashi
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    www.flickr.com/photos/callocephalon

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    Default Re: Spot AF - Canon 1D Mark IV



    Nothing like getting the MK IV whinge going! I should also praise it as it is a nice camera, but much easier to just jump on the bandwagon and say ďCanon should have done this, what if they did thisĒ, etc. I found Spot AF great on the 7D for nailing focus on a birdís eye. You knew that if the AF point was on the eye with Spot AF enabled, you would nail the focus on the eye every time. For BIFs, I did find it slightly better for obtaining focus initially, but not much change, or any, in maintaining that focus (in fact, I think it may have been a little worse at maintaining focus as it was a tad slower at tracking).

    I guess it would just be good to have it easily enabled, otherwise I donít see the point in having it as a feature
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    Default Re: Spot AF - Canon 1D Mark IV

    This link might prove useful for BIF:

    http://www.naturescapes.net/phpBB3/view ... F#p1699747
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
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    Default Re: Spot AF - Canon 1D Mark IV

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisRoss
    This link might prove useful for BIF:

    http://www.naturescapes.net/phpBB3/view ... F#p1699747
    Thanks Chris - great to see the techniques others use! The link provided some good information which I will most definitely take on board!
    Aust. Life List (IOC) - 315 (Rufous Owl- 11/09/2014)
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