M6 Mk II 14fps frame-rate/AF question

Keith_Reeder

I really don't mind offending trolls.
Feb 8, 2014
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Blyth, NE England
Hi all,

I've been getting used to my new M6 Mk II, which I intend to use (with the EVF) as a lightweight alternative to my 1D-x and 500mm f/4 + TC. I'm using it with a 100-400mm Mk II (with and without a 1.4x), as I've been missing the reach of a crop camera: I could have gone for the 90D - or just gone back to my 7D Mk II - but I fancied a real (lightweight) change.

So far I'm very pleased with its performance, and now that I've got the on-the-fly adjustments I usually make into my muscle memory (so I can change EC in Manual/Auto ISO; AF point position/method; and frame rate, without the menus) it's feeling like a properly viable alternative to my DSLR set-ups.

I'll be christening it next week shooting a Red deer rut in North Yorkshire, which I'm really looking forward to: I'm confident that the camera will more than cope with a proper wildlife shoot.

Now: according to the publicity and reviews, the 14fps High speed continuous shooting + Drive Mode maintains AF: the manual does nothing to contradict that impression.

But when the Drive Mode options are displayed on the camera, the 7fps High speed continuous shooting is tagged with the phrase "Tracking Priority", whereas High speed continuous shooting + is described as "Shoot. Speed Priority".

Which rather suggests that it isn't AFing between frames at 14fps.

I can't find a setting which would allow me to assign Tracking as a priority for that Drive Mode (I'm sure I found one initially, but I must have imagined it) and although testing at 14fps (cars coming towards/heading away from me) has been encouraging, I'm not quite convinced yet.

So my question:

has anyone got a definitive, experiential view of whether the 14fps Drive Mode is continuous AF?

Specifically: does "Shoot. Speed Priority" simply mean that it does AF, but that it will prioritise frame rate over accurate focus?


Grateful for any thoughts/experiences.
 
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AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
6,350
4,475
Keith, as an aside, I bought in to your favourite PhotoNinja for processing these .CR3 and CRAW files after converting them via Adobe Camera Raw. to dng. The folks there are a pleasure to deal with and I hope that they will be able to process the RAW files directly in the future. Do you have any advice?
 

JohnC

EOS T7i
Sep 22, 2019
67
57
Gainesville,GA
There is a setting (don't recall exactly where off hand) where you can choose to have AF priority or FPS priorty in continuous AF shooting. I BELIEVE that is what you are seeing.
 

JohnC

EOS T7i
Sep 22, 2019
67
57
Gainesville,GA
Specifically: does "Shoot. Speed Priority" simply mean that it does AF, but that it will prioritise frame rate over accurate focus?

Grateful for any thoughts/experiences.
that was my take on the wording yes. In one mode it will make sure it has the focus regardless of FPS, in the other you will get the FPS regardless of whether it has locked in or not. I may be wrong but it sounds like it to me.
 

Keith_Reeder

I really don't mind offending trolls.
Feb 8, 2014
837
288
60
Blyth, NE England
Keith, as an aside, I bought in to your favourite PhotoNinja for processing these .CR3 and CRAW files after converting them via Adobe Camera Raw. to dng. The folks there are a pleasure to deal with and I hope that they will be able to process the RAW files directly in the future. Do you have any advice?
Hi, Alan.

Nothing startling, I'm afraid. I'm converting the M6 Mk II files to DNG with the free Adobe DNG converter, which Photo Ninja handles really well - much, much better than (say) Capture One, which bollockses up the colours. Photo Ninja does an amazing job of closely matching Canon's defaults from the DNGs.

I'm looking forward to native support too, but it might be worth mentioning that PictureCode is a one-man operation these days - Jim Christian - with backup and support from his wife Dieutam - and in addition to maintaining the current version he's working hard on version 2 (which he tells me is a big update) so he has his hands full.

A bit of advice re: PictureCode: take some time to tweak the Luminance noise reduction settings with higher-ISO files. The "Smoothing" defaults tend to be higher than we'd want for fine feather detail etc. so I strongly recommend following the advice on this page and "training" Photo Ninja to your preferences: it's quick and easy, and can make a big difference.

Oh - and I'd also suggest using the Noise Ninja 4 "engine": it's hardly slower than Noise Ninja 4 Turbo, and clearly superior in quality terms, to Noise Ninja 3.
 
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Keith_Reeder

I really don't mind offending trolls.
Feb 8, 2014
837
288
60
Blyth, NE England
There is a setting (don't recall exactly where off hand) where you can choose to have AF priority or FPS priorty in continuous AF shooting. I BELIEVE that is what you are seeing.
I thought I'd seen that, John (it's readily available in my DSLRs) but for the life of me I can't find it in any of the M6 Mk II menus, nor can I find a mention of it in the user guide (and I'm definitely a "RTFM" kind of guy..! ;))
 

Keith_Reeder

I really don't mind offending trolls.
Feb 8, 2014
837
288
60
Blyth, NE England
that was my take on the wording yes. In one mode it will make sure it has the focus regardless of FPS, in the other you will get the FPS regardless of whether it has locked in or not. I may be wrong but it sounds like it to me.
I was actually suggesting (hoping for, if I'm honest) something in the middle, John: I really want accurate focus as the priority at any FPS, but a middle-ground would be better than nothing. What I don't want is speed for speed's sake.

Time for another trawl through the menus, I guess...
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
6,350
4,475
Hi, Alan.

Nothing startling, I'm afraid. I'm converting the M6 Mk II files to DNG with the free Adobe DNG converter, which Photo Ninja handles really well - much, much better than (say) Capture One, which bollockses up the colours. Photo Ninja does an amazing job of closely matching Canon's defaults from the DNGs.

I'm looking forward to native support too, but it might be worth mentioning that PictureCode is a one-man operation these days - Jim Christian - with backup and support from his wife Dieutam - and in addition to maintaining the current version he's working hard on version 2 (which he tells me is a big update) so he has his hands full.

A bit of advice re: PictureCode: take some time to tweak the Luminance noise reduction settings with higher-ISO files. The "Smoothing" defaults tend to be higher than we'd want for fine feather detail etc. so I strongly recommend following the advice on this page and "training" Photo Ninja to your preferences: it's quick and easy, and can make a big difference.

Oh - and I'd also suggest using the Noise Ninja 4 "engine": it's hardly slower than Noise Ninja 4 Turbo, and clearly superior to Noise Ninja 3.
Thanks Keith, I've been corresponding with Jim, and have been using the 4 engine. Because it works on dng, it makes it pretty future proof and not reliant on regular updates. It's really worth supporting.
 

bhf3737

---
Sep 9, 2015
504
640
Calgary, Canada
www.flickr.com
Specifically: does "Shoot. Speed Priority" simply mean that it does AF, but that it will prioritise frame rate over accurate focus?
Unlike 7DII, in M6II there is no "AF release priority" setting.
I may be wrong but I guess that:
"High speed continuous + (tracking priority)" (H mode) is always focus priority, i.e. focus over frame rate.
and
"High speed continuous + (shoot speed priority)" (H+ mode) is always release priority, i.e. frame rate over accurate focus.
 

Keith_Reeder

I really don't mind offending trolls.
Feb 8, 2014
837
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Blyth, NE England
I may be wrong but I guess that:
"High speed continuous + (tracking priority)" (H mode) is always focus priority, i.e. focus over frame rate.
and
"High speed continuous + (shoot speed priority)" (H+ mode) is always release priority, i.e. frame rate over accurate focus.
Yeah, seems like it, but, I'd argue that this flies in the face of Canon's own statements on the subject (here, for example: https://www.canon.co.uk/cameras/eos-m6-mark-ii/high-speed-and-autofocus/) where they say:
The EOS M6 Mark II can shoot 32.5 megapixel images up to 14 frames per second, with continuous autofocusing.
To me, that implies that focus will be the priority, even at 14fps...
 

koenkooi

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 25, 2015
741
499
Yeah, seems like it, but, I'd argue that this flies in the face of Canon's own statements on the subject (here, for example: https://www.canon.co.uk/cameras/eos-m6-mark-ii/high-speed-and-autofocus/) where they say:

To me, that implies that focus will be the priority, even at 14fps...
No, it's a contrast to how earlier (e.g. M50) cameras worked, where it wouldn't try to AF between shots in hi-speed mode. I have my M6II in H mode and it does a really good job tracking my 3 year old running circles around my wife. H+ performed a lot worse in that specific scenario when it comes to proper focus.
 

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,423
1,065
It’s the same with the R, 5 fps is release priority (speed priority) and tracking priority is 3 fps.

Normally this would be a big deal, my 1dx2 had absolutely horrible hit rate in release priority, and the only option really was tracking priority.

That is not the case with the R, and I assume the M6 also, it’s just as excellent in release priority as it is in tracking priority.
 

Keith_Reeder

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Feb 8, 2014
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So is the consensus that it doesn't support continuous AF in H+ Drive Mode? I think it does, which is why I'm confused about the messages from Canon.

Here's a straight burst sequence from last night - from my front door, of a car about 25m away initially, travelling at c. 30 mph (ignore the white balance):

M6_IMG_0229_1.jpg
M6_IMG_0229_1.jpg
M6_IMG_0230_1.jpg
M6_IMG_0231_1.jpg
M6_IMG_0232_1.jpg
M6_IMG_0233_1.jpg
M6_IMG_0234_1.jpg
M6_IMG_0235_1.jpg
M6_IMG_0236_1.jpg


Although it's only a relatively short burst, the car definitely got though the DoF of the initial image (this is the 100-400mm at 400m, f6/3 - the starting DoF was only 0.93m) and there's something in focus in each image - not always the same part of the image, as I was in Zone AF mode, letting the camera choose what to focus on, and that's the thing: it does seem to have focused in each frame.

This being the case - and I'll do some more testing today, weather permitting - I'm struggling to get to grips with the difference between Canon's public pronouncements, and what the camera tells me is going on.

Anyone got Rudy Winston's email address?

;)

Actually, I've read what he has to say about it, and I'm none the wiser. He disagrees with the camera too (my emphasis):
the EOS M6 Mark II can now shoot continuous images at up to 14 fps — at full resolution, including RAW images — with continuous Servo AF active, using the camera’s mechanical shutter. 14 fps is possible at the camera’s “Continuous H+” Drive setting,
 
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Joules

EOS 7D MK II
Jul 16, 2017
619
576
Hamburg, Germany
To me, that implies that focus will be the priority, even at 14fps...
So is the consensus that it doesn't support continuous AF in H+ Drive Mode? I think it does, which is why I'm confused about the messages from Canon.
I'm not sure what your issue with the wording is.

My understanding is this: in focus priority, if the lens doesn't keep up with the autofocus, the camera waits until the lens catches up before the picture is taken. So your framerate could be lower than intended when used with a slow lens.

In shoot speed priority, the camera still tries to focus continuously but if the lens doesn't keep up, the picture will be taken anyway. So even with a slow lens you'll get the full frame rate, although you won't get as many in focus shots as if you had a faster lens.

If that understanding is correct, I see no issue in calling it speed priority and continuous AF.
 
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koenkooi

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 25, 2015
741
499
So is the consensus that it doesn't support continuous AF in H+ Drive Mode? I think it does, which is why I'm confused about the messages from Canon.
It does, it just doesn't wait for AF lock when taking a picture. If the AF can keep up, you will end up with a lot of keepers.

Also 'Continuous AF' is not the same as 'Servo AF' in the Canon world. 'Continuous AF' is the feature where it always tries to focus, even with no buttons pressed. See Red Menu, tab 7, item 4.
 

Keith_Reeder

I really don't mind offending trolls.
Feb 8, 2014
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Blyth, NE England
It does, it just doesn't wait for AF lock when taking a picture. If the AF can keep up, you will end up with a lot of keepers.
If that's how it works in practice. I'm good: I've never used anything other "tracking priority" before, so I'm not familiar with what to expect in practice from speed priority, but I am aware that historically - in some cases - it has amounted to the camera in question not AFing at high frame speeds. Many Nikons being impacted in this way, for example - even some of the their flagships lacked the ability to AF frame-to-frame at high frame rates.

Also 'Continuous AF' is not the same as 'Servo AF' in the Canon world. 'Continuous AF' is the feature where it always tries to focus, even with no buttons pressed. See Red Menu, tab 7, item 4.
That's why I made the point of not capitalising the word "continuous" when I wrote it: I didn't mean the "Continuous AF" feature in the camera, I simply meant it in the normal English use of the word.

Been in the Canon ecosystem for a long while...
 

Cat_Interceptor

M6 II fanboy
Oct 20, 2019
58
89
alliancemotorsport.org
So as far as I can see the difference in 14fps Shutter Priority and 11? 7?fps Tracking Priority been explained - I can go into a bit more detail what it realliy is like in the real world

(also note that I was using the M6 II for motorsport so yes, the targets were indeed moving fast)

H+ (14fps) - First shot almost always was a keeper and then your results will vary depending on shutter speed and also AF mode afterwards. The faster the shutter, the more keepers you get with the focus system having a bit more time to adjust and also spot AF or 1 point also tended to be more successful in the focus and tracking keeping up. Zone AF was very distinctly hit and miss. Panning was also likewise patchy at best. Lens used - 100-400 II IS L

H (Tracking) - Zone AF becomes very useful with a high hit rate and in this combination it outguns the 7D mk II for keepers. It gets better in Spot and 1 point AF. Didnt notice the camera at any point slow down to wait for tracking. I kinda feel like H(Tracking) is a nice sweet spot frames per sec and results.

http://alliancemotorsport.org/newgallery/upload/2019/10/21/20191021184405-c72b779a.jpg - ZoneAF H(Tracking) - Dont think it quite got exactly where I would have wanted. Also the resulting images are so damn big and detailed that any flaw in focus comes out easily....

(Zone AF can be used like a 1 point expanded to 9 points I guess? You are going to get best results with spot and 1 point. Zone AF is useless for motorbikes do not use. Works okay for cars)

I feel at this point I havent really worked out the best way to use the camera and in fact just in this thread I got an idea to try. So please dont take what I say for 100% fact.
 
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JohnC

EOS T7i
Sep 22, 2019
67
57
Gainesville,GA
I'm not sure what your issue with the wording is.

My understanding is this: in focus priority, if the lens doesn't keep up with the autofocus, the camera waits until the lens catches up before the picture is taken. So your framerate could be lower than intended when used with a slow lens.

In shoot speed priority, the camera still tries to focus continuously but if the lens doesn't keep up, the picture will be taken anyway. So even with a slow lens you'll get the full frame rate, although you won't get as many in focus shots as if you had a faster lens.

If that understanding is correct, I see no issue in calling it speed priority and continuous AF.
In my experience this is how it works. If I have the Sigma 150 macro (which isn't a fast focusing lens at all) I still get the frame rate most of the time, but I will tend to get more OOF shots as well.
 

bhf3737

---
Sep 9, 2015
504
640
Calgary, Canada
www.flickr.com
So as far as I can see the difference in 14fps Shutter Priority and 11? 7?fps Tracking Priority been explained - I can go into a bit more detail what it realliy is like in the real world

(also note that I was using the M6 II for motorsport so yes, the targets were indeed moving fast)

H+ (14fps) - First shot almost always was a keeper and then your results will vary depending on shutter speed and also AF mode afterwards. The faster the shutter, the more keepers you get with the focus system having a bit more time to adjust and also spot AF or 1 point also tended to be more successful in the focus and tracking keeping up. Zone AF was very distinctly hit and miss. Panning was also likewise patchy at best. Lens used - 100-400 II IS L

H (Tracking) - Zone AF becomes very useful with a high hit rate and in this combination it outguns the 7D mk II for keepers. It gets better in Spot and 1 point AF. Didnt notice the camera at any point slow down to wait for tracking. I kinda feel like H(Tracking) is a nice sweet spot frames per sec and results.

http://alliancemotorsport.org/newgallery/upload/2019/10/21/20191021184405-c72b779a.jpg - ZoneAF H(Tracking) - Dont think it quite got exactly where I would have wanted. Also the resulting images are so damn big and detailed that any flaw in focus comes out easily....

(Zone AF can be used like a 1 point expanded to 9 points I guess? You are going to get best results with spot and 1 point. Zone AF is useless for motorbikes do not use. Works okay for cars)

I feel at this point I havent really worked out the best way to use the camera and in fact just in this thread I got an idea to try. So please dont take what I say for 100% fact.
My (unscientific) test with M6II + 100-400LII for BIF was quite similar:
1. H+ mode, with 1-point AF or zone, continuous AF enabled: had 20-40% out of focus in a burst. The first picture always good. Faster shutter produced more keeper. Setting continuous AF to disabled the keeper rate went further down.
2. H mode, with 1-point AF or zone, continuous AF enabled: had smaller number of shots in a burst but keeper rate over 80%. Again the first picture always good. Setting continuous AF to disabled did not noticeably change to the keeper rate.
I could not count the exact number of pictures in a burst because it was dependent to the card speed and buffer capacity.
Threats to validity: lens + camera combo matters, so I expect to get different results with other lenses. Also size of the object and number of them matter. Smaller objects are harder to focus on.
So for me, the setting for birds will be shooting in [H mode], [Servo AF], [1-pt AF or zone], and [continuous AF disabled]. This last one will help preserve battery, hopefully.
 
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