Peculiar Focus Problem with TWO Eos 3s and 85mm lens

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Tom Stanworth, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    All,

    I posted some time back after having problems with the 85mm 1.8 not focusing right on my Eos 3. The problem was that focus was fine wide open, but stopped down, while the image was sharp in the VF, it progressively got worse on film with stopping down. These were not small errors but a scene focused, say, at 20m and f5.6 would me completely soft, wheres a cigarette box at 1.2 and close up was nice an sharp.

    I sent the first 85 1.8 back and got a second. The second was the same (but also decentered).

    Fed up, and thinking the lenses were the course of the focus issue, I ordered a 85 1.2L II. Same darned problem with focus.

    Tried my second Eos 3 body. Same problem.

    Tried on my Eos 1n. PERFECT at all apertures and distances. Stunning performance and I have little doubt that had I used the first 85 1.8 on this body, it would have also been perfect. After all, the same 85 1.2L II was completely unusable on EITHER Eos 3.

    What the heck is going on? My Eos 3 cameras are fine with about six other lenses at all apertures, but are simply unusable with the 85 L II and appear to have had the exact same issue with both the 85 1.8 EFs I used. In all cases, focus is very quick and looks perfect through the VF... its only when you see the negs you wonder what on earth has happened. Mush.

    At least I have one body that operates faultlessly with the 85, but why on earth would two bodies that are flawless with every other lens I own wreak such havoc when married to an 85? The eos 3s are tack sharp with my zooms and 70-200 F4 L.

    Any thoughts? Is there some focus module incompatibly? Are my two Eos 3s possessed by the devil?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2010
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Witchcraft :smile:.

    I'd guess that there is a problem with the electrical contacts, such that when you take your photo, the electrical signal that cues the aperture is also reaching the circuitry that adjusts the focus.

    The spacing between the contacts on the cameras and the lenses may interact - and the difference could be in microns.

    You need someone who can service the lens and cameras together.
     
  3. lightdreamer

    lightdreamer Member

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    May be it is due to a in comparison big axial fokus shift of the Canon 1.2 85mm MK II when stopping down. Stopped down to f4 for example more than 50/1000mm at 1m focal distance.

    BG lightdreamer
     
  4. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    Has the 85 ever worked on your EOS 3? I have an intermittent issue with a 28-90 USM on my digital Rebel, it will lock up the mirror at certain focal lengths and throw an Err99 but on my Elan 7Ne it's fine. Same with my friend's EOS 3 and 1v.
     
  5. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    This is very peculiar ! Whatever the problem is,the fact that it appears on several lenses and bodies is puzzling.

    I own a 85/1.8 and an EOS3, and they work very fine together, never had a single problem...
     
  6. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Subscriber

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    100/2, which is more or less the same lens, also works great on my 3.
     
  7. mabman

    mabman Member

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    Just a thought - when were your bodies made and have their firmware versions been upgraded to the latest version? That sounds a bit funny to say on a film forum, but apparently the EOS 3 does have several versions of the firmware.

    I'm not a Canon guy, but at the bottom of this page (3rd party, not Canon) there's a note that says "Firmware prior to 1.6 (bodies manufactured before March 8, 1999) may have metering problems in low light. Firmware may be updated at a Canon Service Center." It doesn't mention focusing problems specifically, but there may be a bug fix that corrects your problem as well. (I don't know how you check the firmware version you've got specifically - maybe a Canon user can answer that.)
     
  8. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

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    Question - were you focussing using only the centre focus point - or did you let the camera pick a AF point?

    Also what happens when you manual focus the lens - is it sharp then?

    From memory when I was a Canon camera technician these problems were uncommon, but they didi happen. The fact that it is only 85mm lenses that are causing an issue is interesting.....
     
  9. debanddg

    debanddg Member

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    If Eye Controlled Focus (ECF) is being used, this type of situations may happen.. used to notice such focus shifts in my prints at times when I was using the ECF on my EOS 50 [Elan II] and after a few such occurrences I shut off ECF and consistently use the central focus point.. never had such problems any more.. reason am putting it here since it's almost the same circuitry that drives ECF in EOS3 as well [my other camera body]..
     
  10. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Thanks for your help so far.

    The problem happened with both Eos 3s with both of the two 85 1.8 AND the 85 1.2L II regardless of:

    Manual focus/AF
    Focus point selected
    Lighting conditions
    ANYthing I could try i.e. it persistently happened to the same extent, all the time, rendering them totally unusable. I never used eye controlled focus.

    With the Eos 1n and 85 1.2L II it focuses fine regardless of what I do. As usual the centre focus point is the most sensitive and in low light I can quite easily fool the outer ones and miss focus, but thats a miss by virtue of the focus not locking on accurately. With the above problem the focus can snap on in an instant and the image will look perfectly crisp in the VF.... but just wait for the neg which looks like its all bokeh i.e. huge focus error.

    I too wondered if it was some weird firmware thing, but the 85 1.8 EF has been around for ages, so should work with any Eos 3 from the get go. After all the Eos 1n is older than the Eos 3 and the 1.2L II newer than the 85 1.8. I have a 135L and I know that also worked perfectly on one of the same Eos 3s that refused to work with all the 85s...

    I am completely stumped as to how the images were crisply focused through the VF at all distances but not even remotely in focus once the shots was developed... but only (thus far) with the 85mm lenses.

    Clearly I will have to run several lenses over each body when I am next in the UK to reconfirm everything. I am writing this from Kabul where I cannot do this sadly. I am just trying to figure out the right course of action for when I get back home. Sounds like the Eos 3s all need to go to the service center with an explanation of the findings and some test rolls. I have a third Eos 3 which I did not even bother to try with the 85 1.2L I just jumped to the Eos 1n in the belief this just had to be something to do with the Eos 3 models I owned. Having wasted two stints out in Afghanistan with this messed up Body/lens combo issue, the Eos 1 and 85 L rewarded me with some wonderful portraits. There is no way that 85 is going anywhere near a service center because it bloody well works! I assume they will have their own 85mm lenses to test with the bodies I will be sending them. It would be just my luck to have the postie play football with the return post and ruin this faultless 85 L!
     
  11. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    85 1.2L is a bad-ass lens it's one of my bucket-list lenses for my Elan 7Ne.
     
  12. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Use the 85mm with the EOS 1N.
    The EOS 3 is a flawed diamond. The ancient EOS 5 has also reportedly had a similar glitch with focus precision with this lens.

    Prey tell, what are you doing in Kabul!? Are you embedded with the forces there?
     
  13. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I wont be letting anyone near the 1n and the 85L as they work beautifully! I am just so annoyed that I lost SIX MONTHS of shooting portraits with anything longer than a 50 due to this issue. I keep some kit in Kabul and exchanged lenses (taking time to get here from the US), exchanged again, exchanged bodies (from home) and lost a lot of time. I've been shooting a long-term project in Afghanistan. See 'Russians and Royals' www.thomasstanworth.com Almost finished now. I have a fair few more portraits printed and waiting for me in the UK.
     
  14. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Tom, your exasperation is felt. The venerated 1N will work beautifully with anything Canon throws at it. Guaranteed.
    The Kabul photographs are reminiscent of the style of MAGNUM lensman Trent Parke: contrasty, moody and atmospheric and full of impact. Just defies belief anybody could get a camera in there and roam around freely without being hunted down by the nasties...
     
  15. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    Some good work there sir. :D
     
  16. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Indeed, nice stuff Mr Stanworth.