Problem with Focus Lights on Canon 30D

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by NJMAN, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    I have tried google and Canon's website to research this problem, but I have found nothing. About a month ago, I noticed that every time I use auto focus on my 30D, only the center focus light shows up and nothing else. It doesnt matter what lens Im using, and it happens regardless of how the aperture or zoom is set. It also happens on my prime lenses. So, Im guessing its something with the camera.

    Has anyone else experienced this problem? Is there a control on the camera that I might have set wrong accidentally? Is something damaged on the camera?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    NJ
     
  2. FidelCastrovich

    FidelCastrovich TPF Noob!

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    Something's not clear.
    Do you try to set a different focus point and the camera refuses?Or do you expect it to change on its own?

    Consult your manual regarding the AF point switch. Usually it's the button right under your thumb coupled with the wheel at your finger.
    But it could be the big wheel on the back of the camera, or the joystick right above.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You can set it to just use the centre AF point...or any other specific point...or you can set it to have all of them active. Press the 'joy stick' button and that should reset it to use all of them.

    Personally, I always set it to only use the centre one anyway.
     
  4. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Fidel, I expect it to change on its own, just as its always done before this problem began. Usually when I set the zoom to the widest angle possible, such as when I am setting it to 18mm on the 18-55mm lens, then pretty much all the focus points light up. Ever since this problem started, only one focus point lights up no matter what I do, and it doesnt matter which lens Im using.
     
  5. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Mike. I usually only need the center point if Im doing portraits, But when I need to do a wide angle group shot or need to have a a person's full body in focus, its nice to have more than one focus point light up, so that I dont mess up the focus and then find out later that it was off.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The focus won't be any different if one or multiple points are lit up. It just confirms that those points are in the same plane of focus.

    If you have a group, make sure to use a small enough aperture to get them all in focus. I usually focus on the closest person's face (with the centre point) then shoot at something like F8.
     
  7. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Ok, but if that is true, dont you think the multiple focus points concept is a little confusing then? Aside from the group shot, the main thing I am trying to accomplish is for full body portrait shots. I need to get a person's face and body both focused correctly, while still getting a nice shallow depth of field. For one thing, its difficult to get good bokeh when I have the aperture set to f/8.

    Example: I am taking senior portraits, and I want to get good focus on the entire subject, but she is sitting down and her body is lying across the right and bottom of the frame, and my focus point is in the middle only. I dont see how I can make use of only one focus point in this case.
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well in that case, the other lights wouldn't light up anyway. They only light up when the objects in front of them are in the same plane. I don't think that the focus lights take into account the aperture you are using...and they won't change your DOF in any way.

    Use your centre focus point and lock onto something. I usually aim for the eyes, then recompose and shoot. If you want her whole body in focus, then you may have to use a smaller aperture. If there is something that is a lot closer than her eyes, say a hand, then it might be out of focus with a large aperture...so in that case, you could use a smaller aperture or focus on the hand...but make sure that your aperture is small enough to at least keep the eyes in focus.

    What I'm trying to say...is that you don't need multiple focus point...especially for a static subject. If you are focused on the eyes and her body is about the same distance from the camera...then you can be sure that her body will also be in focus.

    The real benefit of having all those points...is when trying to shoot a moving subject and you can't be sure that it's in the centre of the frame...or when you need to raise the camera, focus and shoot very quickly. When you are still and the subject isn't moving...just focus, recompose and shoot.
     
  9. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    So, for a full body shot when the eyes are NOT in the center of the frame, when you say 'focus and recompose', do you mean get the center focus point to lock right on the eyes, then while holding the shutter down half way, move the camera so that the entire body is in the frame, and then shoot?
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, that's pretty much the technique. I use 'focus and recompose' on just about every shot I take. The only down side is that sometimes I forget to recompose and end up with photos where the subject is right in the centre. :er:

    Now, here's another tip for you. Go into your custom functions and change CF#4. I don't recall which option number I use....but what this does, is move the Auto focus away from the shutter button and to the * button. It's a bit weird at first, but trust me, you will love it.

    So with that set, I point the camera at the eyes, use my thumb to activate autofocus, then release the button, then recompose and shoot. I don't have to worry about the camera focusing on something else while I shoot and I don't have to hold down the shutter button. And as long as I don't change the camera-to-subject distance, I don't have to refocus.
     
  11. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Very cool! I have some practicing to do this weekend now....

    Thanks a million! :)
     
  12. Deadeye008

    Deadeye008 TPF Noob!

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    So did you figure out what was wrong with your camera NJMAN? Sounds to me like maybe it accidentally got switched to AF just on the center mark and you just have to switch it back.

    Mike, I had no idea that you could switch the camera to be able to use the * button for AF. That is pretty cool. I have been doing the whole center focus and then recompose thing but your method sounds good. I'll have to try it out. You have to be in single shot mode correct?
     

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