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7d soft focus issue

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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 15:03   #1
Richard Ford
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7d soft focus issue

Hi All

Just got myself a 7D and having read reviews and info on the web I was expecting to be ecstatic with the results. I haven’t read much on the web about any issues with this cameras focus though I gather there were some. Could someone either point me to any information about this, or perhaps post a 100% crop showing the detail of what you consider a sharp image taken with this camera.

It is possible that being used to images form my MkIII I am just expecting to much, but from what I have seen images are not as good as I used to get with my 40D!

Auto focus tracking seems brilliant and the camera locks on and stays locked brilliantly but, but looking at images on the PC they just look out of focus. I have used it so far only with my 400mm f5.6, which I know, is sharp on my MkIII.

Thanks in advance for any info

Cheers

Richard
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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 15:41   #2
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are you viewing at 100% if so try 50% they should be as sharp as your mk3 at 50%.
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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 17:37   #3
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I know what your saying Rob, and yes the images look better but it hardly seems worth having 18 million pixels if I have to do that. I may as well have stuck with the 40d, images from that looked better than they do on the 7d at 100%. I realise I am not going to get the quality of a MkIII from a 1.6x sensor but I am convinced It should be better than it is. At the moment i am a tad annoyed with it. Basically if it’s faulty I am glad, because I can get it fixed or replaced. If this is how it’s meant to be then its rubbish.
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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 18:15   #4
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I must admit that I thought at first the 7D images were a little soft compared to the 40D though if you get everything right the 7D captures more detail.

Here's a photo of a Barn Owl taken with the 7D and 400mm f5,6 at ISO 400 hand held with no processing - taken at max jpeg.

The Crossbill is at ISO 200.
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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 18:31   #5
Marcus Conway - ebirder
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Nice one Ian - are they 100% crops?

Here is a 100% crop, straight out of the camera.

It has not been sharpened or processed etc.

However, I do notice a number of soft shots normally when I would least expect it (e.g. high shutter speeds and good light).

User error I expect.
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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 18:37   #6
IanF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Conway - ebirder View Post
Nice one Ian - are they 100% crops?

Here is a 100% crop, straight out of the camera.

It has not been sharpened or processed etc.

However, I do notice a number of soft shots normally when I would least expect it (e.g. high shutter speeds and good light).

User error I expect.
Mine are straight out of the camera as well - though taken at max jpeg. They're just straight crops with no resizing. The Barn Owl was at around 40m and the Crossbill 5m.

I find the same that quality varies between frames for no apparent reason though I do tend to hand hold which may account for at least some of the inconsistency.

Generally I'm very happy with the image quality from the 7D.
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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 18:48   #7
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Ian the detail in the crossbill is brilliant. How much of the original image is this and can you tell me the settings please. Thanks. I think mine may be duff.
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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 19:04   #8
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Originally Posted by Richard Ford View Post
Ian the detail in the crossbill is brilliant. How much of the original image is this and can you tell me the settings please. Thanks. I think mine may be duff.
The exif should be on the photos but it was taken at ISO 200, 1/640, f8, AV mode with EV -0.3 from around 5m. The bird fills about 50% height of the frame though I may have had a 20mm extesnion tube on - I'm afraid I can't recall now and the exif doesn't record it anyway.

In good light it still amazes me the amount of detail the 7D captures. Really I should have posted a better photo of the Barn Owl but I wanted to show the amount of grain at ISO 400. For me it's an area that Canon let themselves down. On the 40D at ISO 400 there's almost no grain at all albeit that may be down to some in camera processing.
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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 19:34   #9
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Here's a 100% crop of a JPEG I captured with my 7D. I shoot JPEG+RAW and normally work with my RAW files, but used the JPEG for this response. Capture data: f/8, 1/750 sec, ISO-400, Lens 100-400 @ 400mm. No sharpening or additional processing (SOOC other than the crop).

I don't know if you find this soft or not - it does meet my needs.

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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 20:47   #10
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One thing to consider when moving to a 18mp Camera Richard is that stability when shooting is more important than with, say, a 10 mp Camera. This is because each pixel is smaller and slight camera shake can easier cause pixel bleed.I read a Canon white paper somewhere where they explained this and advocated using better support (or a higher shutter speed I guess) when comparing with a lesser pixel camera. As you are shooting with a non I.S. lens this may be one reason why you are not getting sharp shots. Just a thought!

For what it is worth I am very pleased with the 7D (when comparing with other xxD Cameras I have owned).

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Old Sunday 27th June 2010, 22:07   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Ford View Post
I know what your saying Rob, and yes the images look better but it hardly seems worth having 18 million pixels if I have to do that. I may as well have stuck with the 40d, images from that looked better than they do on the 7d at 100%. I realise I am not going to get the quality of a MkIII from a 1.6x sensor but I am convinced It should be better than it is. At the moment i am a tad annoyed with it. Basically if it’s faulty I am glad, because I can get it fixed or replaced. If this is how it’s meant to be then its rubbish.
Hi Richard
my point was if they look ok at 50% then it may be to slow a SS or camera not being held still enough.
As Roy C below says pixcel bleed can really show morso at 100% view.
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 04:37   #12
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Ian
As your Crossbill was shot with a Canon 40D and the Barn Owl with a
Canon 7D, I am not sure what you are comparing ?
Could you please explain.
EXIF from pics.
C
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 07:52   #13
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I think that he he is trying to show the 'grain' issue with the 40D and how sharp the 7D is if the exposure is correct

But I could be mistaken and he may have just labelled his images wrong and thought the Barn Owl was taken with the 7D
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 09:58   #14
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Oops! - I messed that up big time!

The Crossbill was taken with the 40D - I should have realised as I didn't get the 7D until a few weeks later

The Barn Owl was taken with the 7D.

If guess if nothing else it shows just how good the 40D is for image quality. Really the only areas I prefer the 7D for are the better focusing for birds in flight and I've grown quite fond of the HD video.

I'd better try that again -

The Black Redstart was taken with the 7D from around 5m - ISO 400, 1/320, f5,6 no manipulation filling around 1/3 frame, handheld though likely resting on the sea wall.

The Chiffchaff was taken with the 7D around around 7m - ISO 200, 1/000 f6,3 handheld.
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 10:03   #15
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Are these 100% crops?
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 12:26   #16
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Yes, all the photos I've uploaded are straight (100%) crops plus saved at 92% jpeg compression so the full jpeg is actually slightly better.
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 13:22   #17
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A mate of mine has just ditched his 7D in favour of a 1D3 - he found the one shot focus was perfect but the Servo was anything but, resulting in soft images.

It was going to be sent back to Canon for a check and fix if necessary but the 1D3 deal came up and for him it was a no-brainer. I've read several reports of this across the web and all were fixed by returning them to Canon.
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 13:40   #18
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Here are three 100% crops from my 7D and 100-400, all unedited as you will see. Unfortunately they were all shot into the light as the clueless f.ckwits at Biggin Hill don't seem to know the first thing about where to position the spectators relative to the sun and the airfield.

Obviously shooting into the shadow side of my subjects at 400 ISO is doing nothing for noise at this level of magnification, but I can't grumble about sharpness on these fast moving subjects. A bit of a tweak with NR and sharpening sliders should have me good to go.

The light was better earlier in the day, but then I was using my 1D3. See the fourth image, for a panning shot hand held at 1/100 and 400mm.

There's nothing wrong with the 7D (other than per pixel noise in anything but perfect light and low ISO) but both lens and photographer must play their part in achieving sharpness at the pixel level. I know I've had to improve my game since getting the 7D. If I screw up then the 7D certainly makes my failings clear. Good light, a solid tripod and an easy subject should allow one to make excellent use of every pixel the 7D offers. As the conditions deteriorate from optimum so it becomes harder and harder to make each pixel count. That's physics and maths at work, not a fault with the camera.
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 13:49   #19
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A mate of mine has just ditched his 7D in favour of a 1D3 - he found the one shot focus was perfect but the Servo was anything but, resulting in soft images.

It was going to be sent back to Canon for a check and fix if necessary but the 1D3 deal came up and for him it was a no-brainer. I've read several reports of this across the web and all were fixed by returning them to Canon.
Thanks for this. This may explain some issues I have. Can you PM me the contact details?

Thanks,
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 13:51   #20
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Completely off thread but at least your post Tim has answered why most of the images I've seen from Biggin are yucky. I'm glad I went to Kemble the weekend before!
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 13:52   #21
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Thanks everyone, I am now prepared to except that I am just expecting to much from this camera, though that does mean I am at the moment a little disappointed with it. I guess I was expecting an improvement over my 40D when it comes to noise levels at higher ISO’s, in short from what I can tell there isn’t one. Some of the first shots I took were at ISO800, which I won’t be using again due to horrendous excessive noise. ISO 400 seems poor too and is probably the max I will go to on this camera in the future, noise probably degraded the whole look of the image for me, and processing the noise also doubtless lost me some IQ as well. I was pleased in many ways to see the Crossbill image Ian, since it is very detailed, knowing now that it is from the 40D I am a little surprised and worried that seemingly IQ is worse on the ‘new improved camera’ !!!!

I shoot RAW so I am used to having to do a bit of processing, once I have made adjustments and applied some sharpening I am used to being pleased with the results, but I am talking about images from my MKIII. The first time I took that camera out I was wowed by the result having only shot with 20D 40Detc bodies before.

On the up side I was very pleased at how well it tracked some Common Terns in good light a few evenings back, I took some near full frame shots that seemed sharp until I got them home. I have looked through these shots again and re-evaluated them; on reflection there are a few that maybe I should be pleased with. Perhaps you can let me know if this is typical. The three images below show a 100% crop showing the noise at ISO800 and then a 100% crop after processing in DPP, followed by and un-cropped edited version so you can see how much of the frame was filled.

I do want to have a backup body though (thank god I’ve kept the MKIII) so I will take the 7D out again today probably leave it on ISO200 and be a little more open minded. I’ll report back here later.

Thanks for the help so far

Richard
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 13:56   #22
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Completely off thread but at least your post Tim has answered why most of the images I've seen from Biggin are yucky. I'm glad I went to Kemble the weekend before!
I went on Saturday, promised blue skies all day by the weather forecast. Well it started out that way, but it wasn't long before the cloud started to build and as the sun moved in front of us (far too early in the day for my liking) it was hard to avoid shooting into backlit cloud while at the same time securing a good angle on the aircraft and shooting at a worthwhile distance. All in all I was appaled at the positioning of the grandstand. It's the first time I've been to Biggin for around 40 years and I don't think I shall waste my time going again. £42 down the drain. Scandalous!
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 13:57   #23
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BTW the Tern shots are at f8, 1/6400, ISO800, handheld (i think handheld is acceptable at that shutter speed :-) .
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 14:10   #24
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The 7D is very unforgiving of underexposure. I always endeavour not to underexpose, preferring when it makes sense to expose to the right. If I had been shooting those terns with my 7D and 100-400 I would have tried my luck at 1/800, f/5.6 and 100 ISO, or maybe 1/1000, f/7.1 and 200 ISO, or something like that. That would have given me the extra stop of brightness that you were missing, and dramatically reduced noise. The question then is how skilled/lucky are you when shooting at "only" 1/800 or 1/1000 with a long lens?

Remember as well that the DOF is reduced greatly when you view a 7D file at 100%. The huge enlargement that 100% viewing causes means that the usual DOF tables (unless they allow you to specify viewing distance and reproduction size) are way off track. Your AF calibration needs to be bang on and your AF tracking must be faultless.

I've attached a shot from my 7D at 3200 ISO, no edits except WB and crop. EXIF is intact. IQ seems acceptable to me, although some tweaks might improve it. Certainly you can use higher ISOs with the 7D, but there are practical constraints on how large you can go with your files when you care capturing less and less light with each pixel.
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Old Monday 28th June 2010, 15:41   #25
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I am most surprised at some post on here with regards to the 7D high ISO noise levels v the 40D. I still have both Cameras and find the 7D far better than the 40D in this respect. Shooting RAW I was always very reluctant to go above ISO 400 on the 40D but have no problem in shooting at ISO 800 on the 7D. As has already been indicated by Tim the 7D is unforgiving if you under expose and then push in processing. Providing you get the exposure right (preferably exposing to the right) I much prefer the noise levels on the 7D, in fact I would say that ISO 800 on the 7D is as good if not better than ISO 400 on the 40D.

Also the comment on about AI servo producing soft results is again strange to my experiences - I shoot in AI Servo 99% of the time and have no problems in getting sharp images. I can only assume that there are some rogue Cameras out there.

The Stonechat shot below is typical of what I am getting at ISO 400 on the 7D, it is a very heavy crop with just a minimal amount of noise reduction on the BG (something I do with just about all my shot no matter what ISO).

The bug , Spadger and Blackcap shots were at ISO 800, again with just minimal noise reduction on the BG. All three were very heavy crops.

BTW all three bird shots were taken in AI servo mode (and all with a 2x tc).

Might not be up to some peoples standards but they are sure better than I was achieving with the 40D.
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