Canon 5D Mark II Focusing


TPF Noob!
Dec 27, 2008
Reaction score
Belleville, IL, USA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Has anyone else had an issue staying in focus in video mode with the Mark II? Low light scenarios especially have been tricky to keep things in focus. I'm doing my focusing manually right now. Any tricks or a decent "auto-focus" trick in video mode?
Keep in mind this is a complete shot in the dark, but does it have like a continuous focus mode similar to what you would use to take photos in sports?
In video mode, the 5D uses a contrast-based auto-focus system. So, even in good lighting the focus will be slow and perhaps inaccurate. Bad lighting compounds the situation. There's not a whole lot you can do about it aside from manually focusing.
I thought I read that it didn't autofocus at all in video mode.
It's got autofocus, the same kind that it uses in Live View, but Canon suggests not using it while shooting the video because of the liklihood that it will dodder or hunt, messing up your video. It's not much unlike movie shooting where focus is preset and changes are scripted-- if it had a smaller sensor like that in a camcorder then I think the AF would be ok but you don't want risk sliding between huge differences in focus.
You have a photo camera that makes vidoes. It makes OK videos, nothing special. If you want to integrate video to your commecially available product line, purchase a proper video camera.

Just like we advocate not to use a point-n-shoot to do weddings with... the same rule goes for video. Don't use a photo camera to make videos with professionally.

Once you rent and test and learn (and perhaps later purchase), to use a professional video camera, you will find that the video capabilities are truly the same as comparing a "5D MKII to a G10". ;)
With concern to depth of field, a 5D2 offers a lot more flexibility than comparable video cameras. So it is plenty reasonable that, given the HD output, someone would integrate it into their shooting for at least some situations. If Canon releases the rumored firmware upgrade to allow more control over the settings, then this will be even more significant.
In Video Mode, you can select either Quick, Live, or Face focus. With quick mode, you can't be *recording* at the time, but while between recordings, you can hit the AF button (if quick mode is specified) and the normal SLR AF system will kick in. While recording, you are limited to a live mode. The live mode works fine for the family things, but acts like an AF system on a point & shoot digital camera. It hunts in low light or low contrast.

I just got back from a week in San Francisco, the video mode served me extremely well since I could take stunning video without the need for a video camera. Hooked up the mini-HDMI when I got back to a 1080p LCD, and it's incredible to come back from a vacation with incredible video. But, this is not a wedding videographer's primary camera! I used the Live mode, since hunting was OK for the few videos I was using on vacation.

The rumor about the firmware upgrade for more controls is bogus IMO. It won't happen.

Most reactions