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    I shot a wedding yesterday and had rented the Canon 24-70 f/2.8 II (I don’t own one, but it’s crucial to have that lens for weddings). I had borrowed the version 1 last fall for a wedding and version 2 proved to be a huge improvement. And, about a week before the wedding I realized my camera, a 5D Mark II, was definitely having a focusing problem. I’d take a few images of the same pose, same settings, focused on the eyes, faster than necessary shutter speed, etc. and 4 out of the 5 would be very soft while one would be tack-sharp. At first I thought it was back focusing or front focusing, but did a very controlled number-line test and it was very inconsistent across three different lenses. After talking with the experienced photographer who I’ve 2nd shot for before, he was convinced my focusing screen inside was loose and said it could break off and damage the mirror, so I had to mail my camera to him (he has the part and has replaced many before). I was luckily able to borrow a 5D Mark III for this wedding. I’ve never used that camera before a few days ago, but I quickly caught on to the new and improved functions- and wow is it a powerful camera! I’m not sure if it was the camera, the lens, or a combination of both, but the AF was extremely quick and responsive, and out of the 900 some images I shot, only a very few I’ve found were not in perfect focus. I have to give the camera back tomorrow to its owner, sadly. I can’t wait til I can afford one of my own. Hands-down best gear I’ve ever shot with.

    Here are a few examples from the wedding!



    @ Browneyedgirl89  My sister-in-law has an older 5D and had the same issue about random focusing.  One would be tack sharp and the next not so much.

    I looked at her camera and everything seemed to be fine, well in working order anyway, so I re-installed her firmware and the problem was fixed.  Not sure if this would be the same result as yours, but definitely worth the effort, especially if you haven’t updated the firmware in a while.

    Did the same for her 1D Mk III and it seemed to “fix” some issues that she said she was having.

    We also tried swapping my lenses on her camera body in a process of elimination, trying to find the common element in what was causing the issue.  If you have a Canon buddy who has some lenses to try,or a nice camera shop that will let you try out their lenses, this might help out.

    The 5D MkIII is nice, I like it, wish I had one as well.  I have the Version 1 of the 24-70 but haven’t tried out the Version 2, would like to see the improvements they have made to it.

    The wedding photos look nice, I like the perspective and the overall feel of them.

    Hope your camera comes back better then it was.  Good Luck!




    I should look into the firmware…. however, I received bad news.

    That photog called me yesterday after fixing and inspecting my camera. He said yes in fact one of the tabs that holds the focusing screen in place was broken and he replaced it. However, when he tested it, he noticed something weird- after locking focus, he could hear/feel the focusing motor continuing to run! He first tried out his other 5D Mark IIs and they didn’t do that. He said he called up his friend who works at Canon (of course he has a friend who works at Canon… lol). The guy basically told him it is a rare but known problem with the entire AF system, and when a camera arrives there for servicing and is under warranty, they send the customer a whole new camera. Wow. Not what I wanted to hear. He said what happens is the vertical and horizontal electronic focusing mechanisms become out of sync, and it’s not repairable. (well, not for less than maybe $1000). So- basically it will work, but it will be inconsistent. I’ll still have to shoot multiple images to ensure some are in proper focus. He did say it was more pronounced with the broken focusing screen, and discovered also using the back button focus and pressing it about three times before depressing the shutter the rest of the way seemed to help a lot. The worse news is that the problem could get worse and could just stop working altogether. I need to buy a new camera. I’m also ticked because I think this problem might have been there since I bought it and potentially the seller knew there was a problem and didn’t disclose it. I have two backup bodies but neither are really suitable for portrait sessions and they are crops, while my main lens is a 70-200 f/2.8. With good lenses they are ok but don’t shoot high ISO well. And neither are wedding cameras, so if I 2nd shoot any weddings I would have to be supplied a camera.


    Well that kind of sucks.

    I am wondering if that may be the issue with my sister-in-laws cameras as well.  Her focus issues are inconsistent as well so she has been double shooting just to make sure. The only good thing for her cameras is that they are both older models but she really can’t afford to replace one or both of them at the time.

    I had problems with 2 cameras lately, both involving the AF systems.  My 7D decided to try to commit suicide by jumping off the table and landing onto the concrete floor.  Of course it landed in the most vulnerable spot, on the corner by the pop-up flash.  Destroyed the AF drive mechanism and focus screen.  Good thing it was under warranty :-).  The other was my 1DX, it had a service bulletin involving a “potential” problem and my serial number fell within that “potential” group, so I sent it in to Canon.

    I live about 75 miles south of a service center, so the turn-around was very quick.  When I got it back, I thought something was wrong, so I looked into more.  The focus worked fine and was no noticeable difference then before until you used a range selectable lens like the 70-200 2.8 IS.  It would not focus to save its life.  Tried all my other lenses and other camera bodies, only happened on the 1D.  I was pissed.

    Back to Canon it went, and 2 days later, it came back all fixed.

    Wish I could tell you what they actually did, their repair form leaves much to the imagination of what they fixed, repaired or replaced.

    So I think I am in the same boat as you, both my back up cameras are crops, so I don’t know what I would do if my main went down for a bit.  I’m sure you can probably dig up a few smaller jobs to pick up a new 5D MK III or maybe a 60D for the meantime.  I know its now 5DMKIII but at least it is full frame.

    Good Luck!


    Thanks, right now luck is all I need until I can afford a new camera. I have to remember I used to shoot portrait sessions with my other bodies (T2i and 40D) but now that I’ve been doing higher-end and higher-priced stuff I feel like that gear doesn’t bring the same level of quality that I’m expected to produce. The 40D is decent, but the amount of megapixels can affect if someone wants a very large print, and the LCD screen is just not clear and sharp therefore I’m unable to properly check that my focus is spot-on when I do my quick reviews. Plus neither really perform well over ISO 400. I can easily shoot at 1600 or 2000 with the 5DII, and I pushed it to 5000 for a few shots with the 5DIII (the black and white of the bride touching up her lipstick was at 5000, while there is noticeable grain, it’s still pretty nice.) I definitely will not be scheduling any weddings of my own until I upgrade. Only 2nd shooting where I use their camera. I am 2nd shooting on Saturday and will be using a 6D for the first time ever, and I’m not too worried about getting accustomed to it since I’m a super quick learner when it comes to cameras. The first time I 2nd shot I was handed a 5DII the day before, having previously only shot with the T2i and 40D!

    There comes a point when gear really makes or breaks the photographer. A good photographer (which I like to think I am one…) will be hindered when the gear is not working properly or not the best gear. Of course on the same note awesome gear isn’t going to help make a bad photographer good.


    True that!

    I agree with you 100% on the crop cameras being used on higher end work.  Though the images may look fine, but like you said, it may be noticeably different when enlarged to far.

    Like you, I try not to push my ISO too high unless I am going for that grainy look.  I think the highest I have ever taken a shot for someone was @ 2500.  It looked okay, but not something I was super proud of, but the client loved it, go figure.  As long as they are happy, I’m happy.

    I swear I am like a special needs kid when it comes to using cameras other then my own.  It’s like the buttons and controls are all foreign to me.  I was using a friends Nikon D800 and the menus and buttons might as well have been in Chinese.  I figured it out but man, did it take a while.

    I have a T3i and a 7D as a back up, I would probably never use the T3i for a wedding or similar event, unless I threw a nice lens on the front of it.  I rarely ever use it, but it’s there just in case.  The 7D, even though it has the same sensor, is much faster and looks to be more sharp, in my opinion.  I would go with this before the T3i.

    It’s true, gear can make or break a photographer.  I had a lucky set or circumstances which I was able to buy my main camera, otherwise, I would have never bought it, too much $$.  Since I had the chance, I took it and well, do not regret doing it, so far.  I could have probably got 2 5DMKIII’s for the price but too late now, I guess.  In hindsight, I hope that by getting that camera, it has allowed me to explore areas of photography that I am not 100% comfortable with.  I like taking chances and working outside the norm and trying new things, diversifying in a way.



    Yeah, with my 5DII I usually don’t go above 2500 ISO either. the 5DIII has a much more responsive AF system and all the points are cross-type so I don’t have to worry about that.

    I’ve been handed an entry-level Nikon before (my aunt’s, she’s only an enthusiast but shoots on auto) and I could not for the life of me figure out how to change the aperture, lol! Maybe a higher-end model would be easier to find those controls. However I’m sure that would take me a few hours to actually get comfortable with a Nikon since I never actually shot with one.

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