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Canon 7d Focus Points For Sports

By | 20/10/2022

Canon 7D, 500mm f/4 @ f/4, 1/2000sec, iso500.
Custom Function III-1: Tracking set to slowest. Falcon stays in focus.

I bought a Canon 7D in December, and have used information technology for some tough bird in flight (BIF) shooting, likewise equally for perched just flighty songbirds. My hope for the 7D was that I finally had a camera that could nail a high pct of BIF shots, images that my primary camera, the Catechism 5D Mark II, had difficulty. The 7D does indeed take faster auto-focus than the 5D on all points, and that combined with the dense pixel array (18MP on a 1.6x sensor) and eight frames/sec shutter speed brand it a formidable BIF shooter. At the aforementioned time, the i.6x ingather factor and the dense pixel assortment make exacting field technique all the more of import for abrupt images. With the 7D, I’m getting on the bird faster, and I’g getting focus on some tougher shots like BIF moving toward or away at oblique angles (straight on, especially accelerating birds are still a problem, although most of the time information technology’s even so operator error for these tough shots). My percent of keepers overall has marginally improved, and I am going later tougher shots.The 7D offers a number of autofocus controls, some not seen before even on Canon pro bodies until the Canon 1D Mark IV. The default settings serve pretty well for near shooting; be warned that optimizing the camera for one circumstance may be detrimental to another. I like the autofocus (Custom Function Three) control options—it compels you remember nearly what you’re doing. It also makes you lot realize the limitations in a “one size fits all” focus set-up. Accurate, consequent auto-focus imposes huge demands on a command system.

Canon’south published caption of 7D autofocus barely scratches the surface—and left me scratching my head—but the camera’s autofocus tracking (AI Servo Two AF focus tracking organization) is much like the Canon 1D Mark IV, which has an excellent AI Servo Custom Function Guide. I gained a lot of insight reading it; 7D shooters would do well to examine it closely.

Before we get into the AI Servo Custom Functions for optimizing BIF, there’south a few other helpful fix-up options on the 7D. First I would suggest photographing in manual exposure manner unless the light is changing sporadically, as it might on a partly-cloudy twenty-four hour period. Set in RAW, shoot in Continuous drive mode, and of class shoot in AI Servo (AF way) focus. If your telephoto has a distance limit switch, set up information technology appropriately to reduce hunting.

Custom Function IV custom operation list.
Custom Function Iv custom operation list.
Here I’ve elected to use the AF-ON
Using AF-ON button for AF OFF.

AI Servo is a predictive way that keeps the focus irresolute with the moving subject. In contrast is ONE-SHOT way, where you apply the shutter button to larn focus and then focus stops, great for stationary-subject re-composing (Hold down the shutter one-half-way to focus, re-etch, and then capture). In AI Servo the lens will keep on focusing with the shutter push pressed half-way, whether or not you stay on the bailiwick, and, importantly, as you printing the shutter information technology will go along to rail focus every bit it predicts where the subject area will exist at the instant of capture. To address the re-etch limitation in AI Servo—i.e. to add a I-SHOT feature—I’ve reset the AF-ON push button (1 of many Custom Office IV-1 options) to terminate autofocus (AF OFF). Now after acquiring focus, a press of the AF-ON button holds the focus to re-compose and capture, just like ONE-SHOT.

Custom Function III menu highlighted.
Custom Function Three menu highlighted.
Use slow for bigger birds; fast for tiny, frenetic ones.
Utilize irksome for big birds; fast for tiny ones.

The bulk of the Autofocus Drive options are in Custom Function III in the camera menus. Agreement what each one does allows you to effectively alter the settings to fit the situation, helping produce more “keepers”.

Custom Office Three-1. AI Servo Tracking Sensitivity. This determines how quick the focus responds when a large altitude alter is detected, such as a tree crossing the foreground while panning a bird, or if yous momentarily lose the subject and the focus point is suddenly on the groundwork. A Slow setting (one or ii) delays the switch to the new focus altitude; fast (iv or five) gets on it immediately. I like slow for ducks, geese, larger raptors; the (2) setting captures most of that best. I like fast (5) for frenetic kinglets and chickadees.

(0) setting prioritizes focus and tracking
(0) setting for focus/tracking, not speed.

Custom Office Three-2. AI Servo 1st/2d img priority. There are four options here when holding down the shutter for continuous shooting. The question is: Do you desire focus or speed with the first image captured? Exercise you desire focus (tracking) or speed on subsequent images? For BIF, I’m willing to wait to learn focus in both cases, considering I think the predictive AI has a better take a chance of getting a abrupt eye. Especially I think this is true with subsequent images, so I go with the default, (0). In either example it’s tough for AI to react to a quick change, for instance when a bird leaps off its perch and flies toward you or on some oblique bending. If you tin react speedily plenty—I know I tin can’t—y’all might go with (3), become a shot first and then runway. If your pre-focus is authentic y’all may go a college percentage of kickoff-shot keepers that way.

For multiple focus points, I tend to stick with the
I stick with principal focus prioirty (0).

Custom Part III-iii. AI Servo AF tracking method. I believe this only applies when multiple focus points are in play, non unmarried-point or spot, but including unmarried-point plus expansion. When tracking a discipline, the (0) setting switches to a foreground subject if it, say, intrudes from the side, as when i bird flies in forepart of another across the principal focus point. The (one) setting sticks with the original bailiwick by switching the focus indicate to some other active indicate that is still covering the subject. I don’t ofttimes utilize expanded points, only when I do I favor (0). Picture ii ducks in flight: you focus on the lead bird, simply a 2nd, closer bird overtakes it. Almost probable you lot’d want to swap focus to the foreground bird.

Focus search (0) can be useful, but focus stop (1)
Focus terminate (1) reduces lens hunting.

Custom Part 3-4. Lens drive when autofocus is impossible. Sometimes when the subject is wildly out of focus (OOF), a camera can’t find it, and the bigger the telephoto, the more likely this is. For the wildly OOF subject, the default (0) setting will become hunting for information technology, focusing in or out until it finds focus. Since this takes time, with the lens potentially going on a time-comsuming chase for focus, option (i) stops focus, which means y’all must re-find information technology manually, bump/ attempt again (which oft fails), or focus on something other than the subject, and so sort of coax it in. I used the stop (i) setting for a while. Information technology works if you know the judge altitude of your bailiwick, and pre-focus. For BIF, guess the bird’s flying path, focus on something close to that altitude, and—when the bird flies—hit the focus when y’all’ve got the bird on the indicate. For setting (1) to work, you need to be vigilant. I’ve switched back to the default (0). I still pre-focus, merely now if I lose it, I’ve constitute it gets focus back faster by hunting for it. I find this specially useful shooting hand-held, where you lot’d need a third hand to easily focus manually with a 500mm f/4 (and this is often my state of affairs in a kayak). When on a tripod, it’s easier to manually get the focus close, and so crash-land the focus to accurately larn information technology, so that’s when a cease (1) option may make some sense.

You could check all five, but I only use single point,
I employ single point, single/west help and spot.

Custom Function Three-6. Select AF expanse selec way. The 7D has 19 AF points, all cantankerous-sensors. The center point has additional diagonal sensors that work with f/ii.eight and faster lenses. This C.Fn allows you to select from a menu of focus point and area selections. There are 5 options: All (auto), Zone, Point, Spot and Point due west/Expansion. In general, I like going with a single indicate, and I similar the middle indicate best. I remember a unmarried point is faster than multiple points, and the center betoken is both more than authentic and faster than the others, and not merely with f/2.8 lenses (There does not seem to be the huge deviation in focus performance between center and other points on the 7D compared to the difference between center point and surrounding points on the 5D/5D II or 40D. Equally shown on the screenshot, I’ve united nations-checked All and Zone. I think All and Zone are slower, and volition initiate focus with an incorrect foreground chemical element if given the take chances. Single betoken w/expansion may work if you have trouble staying on the bird (Jim Neiger says don’t use information technology for busy backgrounds). Spot is excellent for minor birds flitting about in the bush, both for nailing the focus on the heart, and for avoiding focus on interfering foreground branches.Gary






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