PDA

View Full Version : Discovering Personal FN 14!


Asher Kelman
April 2nd, 2007, 01:49 AM
Here's news extracted shamelessly from BIRDS AS ART BULLETIN #227!

Arthur Morris as his last gift to us after switching to Nikon! (A Case of Nikon gear can be seductive!)


CANON PRO BODY AUTOFOCUS TIP

When I had a chance to use the two EOS-1D Mark III camera bodies a while back, I came across a Custom Function that allows the user to turn Autofocus search off. The text in the CF box caught my eye. It went something like t his: Setting this CF may be useful for those using super-telephoto lenses. So, I tried it and was amazed to see that it dramatically raised my percentage of “razor-sharp-on-the-eye” images. A while back, Robert O’Toole suggested that I load the Personal Functions on my 1DN and my 1Ds bodies. He was able to load and activate the Personal Functions on my 1Ds, but despite repeated efforts was unable to do the same with my 1DN. We contacted Canon’s top technical expert Chuck Westfall and he was able to help. (Do note that on all current Canon Professional digital camera bodies the Personal Functions need to be loaded and activated by connecting the camera to a computer. The professional digital cameras come with a 6-pin to 4-pin Fire wire cable, but if you are using a laptop to load the PFn, you will need to purchase a 4-pin to 4-pin Fire wire cable. Note additionally that the Canon software will not communicate via any USB or mini-USB ports.) The e-mail that we received from Chuck appears below.

You may need to turn all of the Personal Functions to “on” in order to activate them. If this is the case, then you need to go to the Personal Functions on the camera menu and turn most of them off.

Why go through all of this bother? Because turning Personal Function 14 “On” will help you make sharper and more consistently sharp flight images across the board with any telephoto or super-telephoto lens. Personal Function 14 on the 1DN and the 1Ds reads as follows: Lens Focus Search Turned Off. In the black text box it continues: When autofocus can’t be achieved, the lens is normally driven to search for the correct focus. P.Fn -14 cancels searching under this condition.

Without P. Fn-14 turned on, the lens will hunt, the AF will rack in and out. As I have done for years, you will make images that are just a hair out of focus as the lens is struggling to acquire or re-acquire focus. With big lenses, and especially with long effective focal lengths, i.e., when you are using teleconverters on super-telephoto lenses, this task is pretty much impossible. With P. Fn-14 turned on, the lens will not search if and when it loses focus. If you lose focus, lift your finger slightly off of the shutter button and press it again; focus re-acquisition will be seemingly instantaneous. I have taken to keeping P. Fn-14 turned “On” most of the time. At times, especially when using TCs, the lens may not “see” the subject at all and may refuse to search. Simply reach up and pre-focus manually. There is no need to focus with perfect accuracy; as long as the AF system can “see” the subject, it will acquire focus easily when you press the shutter button. When photographing off of a BLUBB from your car, it is easier to simply turn P. Fn-14 to off as focusing manually when using a big lens on any bean bag is a pain at best.

The first day that I had P. Fn-14 turned on with my EOS-1D Mark IIN I was astounded with the results. Even when using the 600 IS with the 2X, I was able to make about 85% of the images sharp on the eye. It may be a real pain to get the Personal Functions activated, but it is well worth the effort.

Hi Arthur,

I suggested that Robert update the Canon software on his Windows PC to resolve this issue. Here's the information:

1. At first, do not uninstall any existing Canon software that may be installed on the PC. Some of it may be needed to install updaters of the latest version.
2. Go to the Download Library for the EOS-1D Mark II N on the Canon USA Web site:
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=DownloadDetailAct&fcategoryid=314&modelid=12012
3. Click on the Drivers/Software link and follow the prompts in the resulting new window to download EOS Utility 1.1 Updater for Windows.
4. As noted on the download page, you will need one of the following older Canon software apps to be installed on your PC before installing the updater:

- EOS Utility 1.0
- EOS Viewer Utility 1.0 to 1.2
- File Viewer Utility 1.1 to 1.3
- CameraWindow DSLR 5.1 to 5.3 (If you are using EOS Digital cameras with ZoomBrowser EX 5.x)
5. Install the EOS Utility 1.1 updater.
6. Connect the 1D Mark II N and EOS Utility should launch automatically.
7. Select Remote Shooting/Camera Settings.
8. From the Remote Shooting/Camera Settings window, locate the Set-up menu icon in the lower right (looks like 2 wrenches) and click on it.
9. From the resulting menu, select Personal Functions and go from there.
Hope that that helps!

Last but not least, please be advised that EOS Utility is all you need to upload Personal Functions, but we recommend updating to the latest versions of ZoomBrowser EX or Digital Photo Professional if you use those programs, since older versions may not be compatible with EOS Utility.

Best Regards,

Chuck Westfall
Director/Media & Customer Relationship
Camera Marketing Group/Canon U.S.A., Inc.

Asher Kelman
April 2nd, 2007, 01:22 PM
It seems that what's new is that the function to stop focus search, which has been available via the computer, has now become part of the built in 1DIII choices.

Arthur merely has just had a "Paul on the road to Tarsus" experience in getting more sharp shots of his birds in flight. The camera AF, of course, when it loses the high contrast, now doesn't now have to move the lenses through the whole focus range again and again.

This is described in the White Paper on the 1DIII, but the capability has always been present by simply enabling the function from the computer!

I guess this is a matter of our tendency to just pick up things and assume we know how to use them bec ause we are smart! Mostly we do. However, every so often we find real gems that we have missed.

IOW, RT*M!

Asher

Nill Toulme
April 2nd, 2007, 02:12 PM
I've read that one more than once, and it never sounded very appealing. I wonder if it would help with action shooting in extremely low light, where the Mark II's AF sometimes just seems to doze off completely. It never sounded to me as though it would, but then the descriptions of the subtleties of the various PF workings have never been one of the strong points of Canon documentation...

Nill
~~
www.toulme.net

Paul Bestwick
April 2nd, 2007, 05:32 PM
I have sinned..........again. I am notoriously slack when it comes to manuals. I rarely look at them.
Reading this post prompted me to have a look at the manual for my 1DSMKII, which I faithfully store in the top of my camera bag in the event that Hell freezes over & a quick solution is required.Well what do you know, I discovered a feature by the name of CF13 which allows me to effectively manually select a focus point. This may be the solution to my focus problems (I always lock focus & recompose & it doesn't seem to work very well)
Think of all the great features I wont be aware of when I buy the MKIII.............Ignorance is not necessarily bliss.

Cheers,

Paul

Will Thompson
April 2nd, 2007, 06:49 PM
I wonder if it would help with action shooting in extremely low light, where the Mark II's AF sometimes just seems to doze off completely.

Nill, YES! Absolutely!

Disabling focus searching is Best when you have correct focus but the camera loses contrast and thinks otherwise thus destroying the good focus you had before the contrast changed, I,E low light or low contrast such as tracking a bird or other object with a plain sky background and slipping off of the subject.

I know this has been available since the 1D and may have been since the "1" "1N" and "1V" 35mm film cameras. (I can't seem to find my 1VHS manual at the moment.)

Nill Toulme
April 2nd, 2007, 07:45 PM
Thanks Will, I will try it at tomorrow night's soccer match. Now, where did I put that firewire cable?

Paul, you will enjoy this document (http://www.photoworkshop.com/canon/EOS_Digital.pdf).

Nill
~~
www.toulme.net

John_Schwaller
April 3rd, 2007, 05:57 AM
This is very interesting.

However, why is it in this section, rather than in the 'Canon Pro DSLRs 1D series ' section?

John






Corrected! Asher

Will_Perlis
April 3rd, 2007, 09:03 AM
That CF (or PF, I don't remember) is on the 1V. IMX it's faster to focus manually (or tweak it so the AF works) if the AF doesn't lock on immediately.

MArk Le
April 3rd, 2007, 11:26 AM
I must confess: I had that PF 14 ON since day one (or maybe day two) on a 1Ds and I actually didn't even remember about it if it wasn't for this post LOL

Anyway, I've been using the 24-70 , 24-105 , 70-200 2.8 IS and f4IS with no focus problems whatsoever...

I'm gong to turn it OFF now just to see what I've been missing ..

:)

Jack Joseph Jr
April 3rd, 2007, 10:42 PM
I shot college baseball with P. Fn-14 lens focus search disabled on my 1D mark II N + EF 300mm f/2.8 IS. It might have been a little better but I can't really say that it made a noticable difference (I'm always looking for a miracle cure to bad photography:-). As advertised I had to spin the focus ring on a couple of occasions in order to get the lens to focus. OTOH it didn't cause any problems.

I've got another game tomorrow so I'm going to shoot that one with focus search disabled.

Nicolas Claris
April 3rd, 2007, 11:04 PM
A dum question...
is that P. Fn-14 disactivation will be effective in both "one shot" and "continuous shooting" or just the latter?

I don't need "continuous shooting" and I do like "one shot" as I can see in the viewfinder which focus point is active...

Paul Bestwick
April 3rd, 2007, 11:13 PM
Thanks Nill.......very imformative

Cheers,

Paul

Alan T. Price
April 22nd, 2007, 08:46 PM
Nill, it helps a lot in low light. In fact it is especially helpful in low light. That is because once the lens starts searching in low light the camera has great difficulty in finding focus and stopping the lens before it has moved on.

The drawback of having PF 14 on is that if the lens is nowhere near focused then you must intervene manually. This is quick and easy with a USM lens but more time consuming otherwise.

Usually when you are shooting birds or sports you already have the focus reasonably close to being right. That is not the case if you are taking "grab" shots all over the place.


The good news is that once PF 14 is activated via computer on the 1D2 you can easily switch it off (or back on) from the PF menu on the camera.

Nill Toulme
April 22nd, 2007, 09:13 PM
Well, I've now shot a couple of HS soccer matches in available darkness with it enabled and I think it helps — it's not so dramatic if so that I'm entirely sure — but at any rate it doesn't seem to be hurting. In particular I didn't notice as many instances of the 1D's maddening trick of simply refusing to release the shutter in very low light in AI servo, but that happens very sporadically so again it's hard to be sure.

Nill
~~
www.toulme.net

Jack Joseph Jr
April 22nd, 2007, 09:26 PM
One thing that I did notice was this; Normally I shoot with either an EF 300mm f/2.8 IS or an EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS. I was fiddling around with extenders. When I put the Extender 2.0 II on the 300 the ability to focus got real bad. I had to help the lens quite a bit by getting it close using the focus ring.

I didn't spend much time at the maximum aperture of f5.6 but I was left with the distinct impression that next time I use the 2x I'll disable the lens focus search disable function, so to speak.

BTW I love Canon's menu quirk that disabling disabling means actually enabling as in disabling auto cancel of P mode shift actually enables retaining the shift.

Nill Toulme
April 23rd, 2007, 06:41 AM
You like that? What I like is that enabling the PF means disabling the focus search. ;-)

Nill
~~
www.toulme.net

Robert Catto
April 23rd, 2007, 05:19 PM
Nill, YES! Absolutely!

Disabling focus searching is Best when you have correct focus but the camera loses contrast and thinks otherwise thus destroying the good focus you had before the contrast changed, I,E low light or low contrast such as tracking a bird or other object with a plain sky background and slipping off of the subject.

Okay, so now I'm intrigued by this too - but one question, how do you know when the camera has lost focus and you need to reacquire? Does the red box go out again, or does it stay locked where it thinks it had focus and it's up to our eyes to know different?

I'm thinking mostly this could be useful for the 85L, which is PAINFULLY slow to hunt when hunting...okay, the MkII's not as bad as the original, but it's still a long time when the subject is staring back at you wondering why you're not taking their photo.
R!

p.s. was this really my first post here? Nah...can't be.

Nill Toulme
April 23rd, 2007, 07:00 PM
Well, you just know. And welcome, Robert!

Nill
~~
www.toulme.net

Robert Catto
April 28th, 2007, 03:34 AM
Crikey. Tried it today in both low-ish light (in a fairly dark room lit by windows) and low light (same room after dark, two 100w bulbs in the ceiling).

Why did it take me three years & 200,000 exposures to hear about this PF?
R...

Nill Toulme
April 28th, 2007, 04:43 AM
CAUTION — I lost a three-run homer to PF14 last night. I had the camera on a beanbag on a ladder shooting over the fence, and fiddled with the setup between batters, lost focus, and by the time I got it back, the hero was rounding third.

I'm going back to the default setting. :-(

Nill
~~
www.toulme.net

Robert Catto
April 28th, 2007, 09:19 PM
> CAUTION — I lost a three-run homer to PF14 last night.

So the conclusion overall is PF14 for low-light when the subjects are close (or don't change their distance very much or very often), and turn it off for normal day-to-day use?
R

Will Thompson
April 28th, 2007, 10:06 PM
So the conclusion overall is PF14 for low-light when the subjects are close (or don't change their distance very much or very often), and turn it off for normal day-to-day use?

1/2 Right!

Leave it off except for when You are in a random focus lock situation such as "low light", "low contrast", or "low/no contrast background".

As well make damm sure it is off when you are shooting subjects with sudden large differences in focus distance such as SPORTS and need fast AF refocus from far to near to far.

Jane Auburn
May 5th, 2007, 05:28 AM
Well, I've now shot a couple of HS soccer matches in available darkness with it enabled and I think it helps — it's not so dramatic if so that I'm entirely sure — but at any rate it doesn't seem to be hurting. In particular I didn't notice as many instances of the 1D's maddening trick of simply refusing to release the shutter in very low light in AI servo, but that happens very sporadically so again it's hard to be sure.

Nill
~~
www.toulme.net

I've tried this setting now and find it worse than the default. I've gone back to the way it was.