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DLSR Autofocus buttons and settins


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#1 sunnyboy010101

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 09:19 AM

I have a question for all seasoned DLSR UW photographers.

 

On my Canon 7D and many other modern DLSRs, there is more than one way to engage auto-focus. By default, my Canon has "shutter half-pressed" as a primary way to engage auto-focus, but the AF-ON button will also do this (so-called back focus).

 

I'm having a problem underwater where me and my big cold-water gloves manage to mitt-finger the AF-ON button by accident just when I have the perfect shot all set. While the AF-ON tries to re-establish focus, the shutter is locked out and I miss the shot.

 

Now I could just use custom  functions to disable the back-focus (AF-ON) but before I do that, I wanted to ask - is this common for seasoned DLSR divers to turn off things like the star button (AE Lock) and the AF-ON button? Or with time do you simply learn to avoid pressing the wrong button?

 



#2 Cerianthus

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:42 PM

I won't hurt to try it if it works for you. Quite a few people use the af on button for af only and disable af on the shutter.


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#3 sunnyboy010101

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 01:23 PM

The great thing about my housing is that it's really easy (even in big blue gloves) to invoke the menu and change the custom button functions underwater. So if this is really annoying me again underwater, I can disable that button 'on the spot'. Cudos to Canon for making that change pretty easy, and for Nauticam for making all the buttons pretty easy to use.

 

I'm noticing that there's just enough clearance in the camera mount to allow the camera to 'not be straight' in the housing when mounted, which may have been the cause of the errant AF-ON button pushing. I noticed the front dial was not fully engaged with it's gear, and closer inspection revealed the 'slop' in the mount when you tighten it up with a coin. If you don't ensure it's perfectly aligned when tightening the mount screw, the camera doesn't sit aligned in the housing. The only way this affects things is the front dial gear doesn't fully engage the dial, and the AF-ON button gets pushed a lot.

 

Tomorrow's the test of whether my alignment care pays off, or if I disable that button.



#4 Tom_Kline

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 02:37 PM

I have gone both ways. The shutter release AF-on is quicker so I find it better for getting fish that are on the move - I may use servo AF as well for this scenario. The rear AF-on button works great for non mobile subjects where one may want to focus carefully then leave it there (AF-S mode) without having to resort to the AF lock button.

 

I prefer to use 5-finger neoprene gloves when coldwater diving such as in B.C. for better dexterity. I have been through various dry glove designs and decided it was not worth the struggle, leaks, and accidental removals while under water (The Vikings were especially good at that!).


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Housed digital cameras: Canon EOS-1Ds MkII, EOS-1Ds MkIII, and EOS-1D_X; and Nikon D1X, D2X, and D2H. Lens focal lengths ranging from 8 to 180mm for UW use. Seacam housings and remote control gear. Seacam 150D and 250D, Sea&Sea YS250, and Inon Z220 strobes.

http://www.salmonography.com/

 


#5 sunnyboy010101

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 08:05 AM

Our viz is pretty crappy much of the time, so macro is the way to go for most dives. My current DLSR system has the 60mm lens which takes some really great macro shots, so I'm happy about that.

 

But macro focus can be finicky, so having the camera 'lock up' for 3 secs because that AF-ON button got pushed is extra annoying for me.

 

I've been using the gloves originally sold as Skaana for my dry gloves. Easy to replace the blue atlas glove on the ring, and the ring seal is positive and quite good. I bought two sets when they first came out and they are still going great. I like the new aluminum ring dry glove system, but can't justify the cost. The nice thing about these rings (and the aluminum ones) is they fit on a DUI wrist zip seal easily, so bonus points for quick replacement when necessary.



#6 sunnyboy010101

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 05:59 PM

Figured out the problem today. The whole dive the star button was pressed, so I could not review photos, call up the menu, or anything except take photos. Very weird.

 

Got home and did a full inspection, figuring I'd find a stuck button or key. Nope. Instead I found the flash connector inside the housing has a large connector between the hot-shoe and the bulkhead. That had gotten caught on the front of the camera when I put the camera in the housing. Unnoticed, it caused the camera to move just far enough back to engage the buttons in question during the dive.

 

Why didn't I catch it before the dive? Well, I missed it. I tested on land by taking a photo, which it did even with the button pressed. Now I know I'll both check the cord placement as well as test menu etc. as soon as the housing is closed.



#7 Tom_Kline

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 06:31 PM

Glad to hear to worked it out. Very easy to jamb controls on the inside - I know from experience. I have a fair amount of loose remote control cable in mine so have to always be on the lookout for this issue. Taking blank shots is a good idea too especially now that we are not burning film frames. BTW I have had DUI dry gloves leak on me. Put on a brand new glove and still had a leak. So when I bought my fourth (since 1980's) drysuit a few years ago I decided to say no to dry gloves altogether.


Thomas C. Kline, Jr., Ph. D.
Oceanography & Limnology
Housed digital cameras: Canon EOS-1Ds MkII, EOS-1Ds MkIII, and EOS-1D_X; and Nikon D1X, D2X, and D2H. Lens focal lengths ranging from 8 to 180mm for UW use. Seacam housings and remote control gear. Seacam 150D and 250D, Sea&Sea YS250, and Inon Z220 strobes.

http://www.salmonography.com/

 


#8 sunnyboy010101

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 09:33 AM

It was indeed frustrating to be underwater knowing there was nothing I could do. It just means a more complete check-out on the surface from now on.