Andrew reaching for bubble, Summer of 2009.

Update August 2, 2011: There is now a petition to gather signatures for all those who feel affected by a 7D focusing issue: Sign Petition

Update April 25, 2011: In total, my 7D had been to Canon 4 times in a year. The last time in for repair, they did exchange it out for a refurbished unit that does not have any focusing issues.

I’ve got a new post that has an interesting graph of user visits that makes me question (along with many others) if the Canon 7D is a lemon: Is the Canon 7D a Lemon?

I’ve had my Canon 7D for 5 months now. I had upgraded from the Canon 40D. At times, I feel the focusing on the 7D is fantastic. Fast and accurate. At other times, especially in low light, I feel like throwing the camera out of frustration. I’ve missed so many beautiful shots! ARRGH!

But, is it just me? I’ve scoured the Internet, I’ve Googled my eyes out, and this is what I’ve found. I’ve compiled the best information so you don’t have to go hunt for it.

The problem

First, if you are having focusing issues, just what type of focus issues are they? I have found people are frustrated in one of two areas:

  1. AF not being able to quickly grab a focus point causing excessive ‘searching’ and lens focus ring actuation.
  2. Photos turning out ‘soft’ even though the 7D finds a focus point with low ISO, fast shutter speed and adequate lighting.

Excessive Searching

This YouTube Video shows what is happening in regards to the excessive search issue.  The person who posted the video was able to fix the issue through a ‘Hard Reset’ of the Canon 7D.

A Hard Reset is simply removing the battery and also (while the battery door is open) removing the ‘watch’ battery that keeps the date/time stored.  You’ll lose your date/time setting as well as your image numbering.  Fortunately, all your custom settings are not lost (including your custom menu).

Once you remove both batteries, let the camera sit no less than 1 hour.  Anything less doesn’t seem to fix the issue.

If a Hard Reset does not fix the issue, the only alternative seems to be sending the unit to Canon for service.  Canon repair site

Soft Photos/Out of Focus (OOF)

Out of Focus issues refers to having taken your photos with a high f-stop, low ISO and plenty of light to only find that in post-production the photos are not adequately in focus.  The last section of this post has some instructions on how to test for this.

There are many (15+ documented) reports I read of people having the OOF issue and after having their camera either ‘Hard Reset’ or sent to Canon service, the issue was solved.

Through all the forum ‘flaming’ smoke, you can clearly see there is an ongoing issue with the Canon 7D that affects the AF mechanism.  The Canon service fix is a simple re-calibration of the AF mechanism and most cases report having the camera back in a week.  One report said it took a month, FYI.

But before sending your camera off for service, there has been some success in just checking and/or tweaking your custom functions on your camera.

Over at, I found this great bit of info from poster ‘timbop’:

Set CF III-3 to 1, which is tracking priority. Also, remember that the first shot in a burst with AI servo can be OOF if you quickly press the release before it actually acquires focus. You can change that behavior as well, with CF III-2

And there is this post by photoframd that speaks to the camera simply not auto-focusing at all.  This was a case of assigning a custom setting and forgetting about it, but sometimes that is part of learning when you get a shiny new toy!

How to do a Focus Test

So how do you know whether your Canon 7D is really having an OOF issue?  Test it of course!

A basic test is to set your camera up on a tripod and make sure that what you are going to photograph is set a minimum of 50 times further away than the focal length of your lens.  The formula for this is:

  • In Meters:  50 * [camera focal length]/1000

35mm Lens:  (50 * 35)/1000 = 1.75 Meters

  • In Feet: (50 * [camera focal length]/1000 )*3.28

35mm Lens:  (50 * 35)/1000 = 1.75 * 3.28 = 5.74 feet

This ensure that depth of field doesn’t produce any softness.  And when taking your shots, make sure to either use a remote trigger or the timer, this ensures no added vibrations to your shot (when depressing the shutter button).

Next, set your ISO to the lowest setting you can (to reduce noise) and set your camera to aperture-priority mode.  Choose the highest f/stop of the lens.

Set your lens to manual focus and manually focus the subject you are shooting to be crystal clear.  Take the shot and it is recommended to take at least 3.

Finally, set your lens to auto-focus and be sure the camera is set to Single-Shot AF.  Now allow the camera to choose the focus point and again take 3 more shots.

Load the shots into whatever software you use to manager your library and compare results.  100% magnification will most likely see some slight variation for Auto-Focus, but anything ‘out of the ordinary’ would need further attention.

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199 Responses to Answer: Fixing Canon 7D Focus Issue

  1. SteelToad says:

    Thank You, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you !!

    I've been going crazy, some shots in good light came out incredible, while others on a cloudy day were soft everywhere. Micro-adjusting the lens was impossible because I couldn't get consistent results across multiple shots. Searching message boards only gave me the typical "Canon sucks" or "You just don't know what you're doing" replies instead of any actual help.

    I found your article after one last desperate online search before sending it back to Canon for another repair. An hour without the batteries, resetting the settings, and I have the camera I should have had all along. It's nice to see the focus tracking doing what it does in the Canon demos instead of hunting and guessing what to focus on.

    Once again, thank you.

    • Michael says:

      Awesome, I'm glad all the hard work of wading through the message boards paid off, sometimes you just gotta stop the madness! Thanks for the kind words!

    • John Richardson says:

      Guys, I have also been unhappy with the sharpness of my 7D after upgrading from a 40D which I still own. I did some test shots with both cameras and for sure the 7D was pretty bad. I sent the 7D along with the test shots, I have just got the 7D back and the difference is quite amazing… I have retested agains the original test shots just to confirm, Canon said they adjusted the autofocus, so I now have a sharp 7D, also the colour balance appears to be much better than before.

      Hope this helps

  2. Lawn Care says:

    I can't find how to subscribe to the comments via RSS . I want to keep abrest of this, how do I do that?

  3. michaelmiles says:

    Update: I've sent my 7D in for repair 3 times now. Still waiting for it to come back, but each time they needed to fix it. The 2nd time they replaced the CMOS sensor. So far, they won't exchange. Will post my findings after I get it back, if ever. Been waiting 2 weeks now as they are waiting for a part. UGH!

  4. e40 says:

    Thanks. Your post described my problem exactly. I've send my 7D off to Canon. Hopefully it will come back like yours, like it should have been in the first place.

    Unlike you, this is my 2nd 7D. I sent the first one back to Amazon within the 30 day return period. That first one could not focus at all.

    While Canon service may be good, this whole situation has seriously damaged their reputation in my eyes. Never again will I buy a Canon camera without doing massive research, waiting for 6 months after it comes out, and I will avoid any camera that has a hint of these types of problems.

    I really wish I had gone with the 5DmkII. I would have had 6 months of pleasurable operation of that camera instead of 6 months of angst.

    • e40 says:

      OK, Canon has finished the "repair", so I called to find out what they did. "Electrical adjustments to AF assembly" was all I could get out of them. Not "we were able to reproduce the problem and fixed it!" Btw, supposed "other adjustments" were also made.

      I'm in software development. I do a lot of direct customer interaction. If I listened to a customer's bug report and sent them a fix without both acknowledging that I reproduced their problem *and* that the new version was tested to work…. that wouldn't go over too well. I'd get yelled at. A lot.

      I keep hearing how fantastic Canon service is. I am not impressed. A little more communication could have made me feel very impressed, though.

      • michaelmiles says:

        I just got mine back for the 3rd time. 1st time was the AF adjustments like yours, 2nd time was CMOS sensor replacement, 3rd time was AF adjustments again. In addition, I sent in 2 of my lenses (the last 2 times) along with the camera. The lenses were both adjusted 1st out, 2nd time the USM was fixed on one of them, the other adjusted. WHEW! That's a lot of work in 6 months time. I'm not a happy camper. Seems like it works when I get the equip. back, but slowly goes back to not working over time…..

        When you send it in again, send it with all accessories, box, cds, everything. You have a better chance of replacement that way (something I learned). Next time I send it back with EVERYTHING!

    • frankie says:

      You wish you had gone with the 5DmkII? I am here because I bought the 5D Mark ii and having sharpness issues and no forums had the answer regarding 5D Mark II. There are a whole lot of people with those focus issues with the 5D Mark II. Looks like I have to sell this and see if Canon can fix the issue with the new one or I could go back to Nikon. It is really a shame.

  5. Josee says:

    They don't want you to sent it back with the box and the accessories… the body only… Mine was back from Canon a month ago. They did a AF adjustement. Was working fine at first, but now, it is worse than ever, focusing one time out of 10. I am shooting at horseshows and pointing the middle AF point on a horse is not an issue. Good thing I don't shoot small birds!!! Now, I am asking for a replacement or a total refund. I am very tempted to go with Nikon right now… Too much issues with Canon the past 3 years… Had to send back both my 40D and the 7D for repair… 2 out of 2. That's enough.

    • Michael says:

      I'm thinking of Nikom too but to much invested in canon equipment. Need to wait until everything is waaaaay outdated, ugh!

    • Scott says:

      I've had the same problems with the focusing as you did, sent it back they say "the AF assembly was incorrect causing focusing to operate improperly" they set to factory specs send it back I take some pictures to see if it's really fixed and guess what now it under exposes everything, I send it back they say they adjusted it to factory specs again (I would like to know what factory specs are) I take some pictures and now the AF is not working. I've sent it back 5 times in the last 4 months the last time I got it back I had both under exposing and out of focus I sent it back the same day I received it. The last 3 times I've sent it back with everything in the box hoping they would just send me a new camera, not yet. I have lost all faith in Canon, 3 out of the last 3 Canons I've owned I've have had to send in for repairs (20D, 40D and now 7D), thankfully all under warranty. I am done with Canon.

      • michaelmiles says:

        Thanks for the comment Scott! I didn't even think the exposure issues I've been having could have been the camera. I just thought it was me! But I couldn't understand why my original 300D was taking better shots than the 7D. Every shot on the 7d is over exposed for me, plus the OOF issues. Oddly enough, it focuses spot on (this round) with live view. Calling canon today for the 5th trip back for me….I just want it to work perfectly so I can box it all up and sell it! Researching Nikons!

  6. Scott says:

    Michaelmiles, I may have good news, Canon called me the other day and asked me what I wanted them to do, when I sent my camera in I had included a note that said don't send this camera back to me. I said I wanted my money back , they wouldn't do that, so I said I wanted a new camera, they told me they would call me back and let me know. Well today, Jennifer in Irvin, CA. called me and said they would send me a Canon factory refurbished camera with a six month warranty, she assured me that a refurbished camera was not a rebuilt camera, the only problem is they don’t have any in stock right now, so I’ll have to wait until they get one, so there might be hope in getting a replacement. I just hope this new camera works!

    • michaelmiles says:

      This is great news! Please keep us informed on how the factory refurb works out! I actually just sent mine back in yesterday for its FOURTH trip. I did happen to put a not on it (along with all original boxing/accessories) that I didn't want it back. The Canon rep also told me that once I get notice it has been accepted for repair to call immediately and ask to speak with a supervisor.

      Again, any info on how long it takes to get your refurb and whether it works as it should would be great, thanks!

  7. Scott says:

    I'll keep you posted when I get the replacement and how or if it works. Does Canon contact you when they get your camera in for repairs because I have never been contacted by canon either by email or phone when i send mine in except for this last time when they called me, all the other times I have had to call them even though they said they would email me when they received it. Good luck and I'll let you know how it goes.

    • michaelmiles says:

      They have never called me even when I requested in the last (3rd) repair. I do receive emails when the camera is 'accepted' for repair. And emailed again when it has shipped. You may want to verify your email account with them. Mine arrived this morning, so good luck to us all!

  8. Callie says:

    My 7d is back to me for the second time after 12 business days in Canon repair. Funny how it was magically 'with one of our best technicians' on the day I called for a status on the repair. I, like many here have researched this and am happy (and sad) to discover this dialogue. First it is some validation that I am not crazy nor am I imagining the issues with this camera. I hate to sell this to some unsuspecting soul (which I told Canon I was going to do…)and I really want to love this camera but I can't continue to wonder when the camera will 'let me down' and pay for shipping for another repair that won't last. Thanks for listening-I will follow with great interest.

  9. Scott says:

    I finally got my replacement 7D from canon last Friday; it didn't come in the original box but one that said refurbished on it, the camera is also marked refurbished. I took the camera out and started taking test shots to see if it was any better than the last one, to my surprise it was not, the pictures were again not focused correctly (soft focus) just like the last 7D I had from Canon. So I took the camera to a camera store that I use and had them try it out with their lenses just to see what they thought of it, just to make sure it wasn't anything I was doing because at this point I was questioning everything. They came to the same conclusion it does not focus correctly. I am again in the same position I was in last year with a Canon 7D that does not focus but now I have one that is marked Refurbished without the original box. Canon will be getting this camera back and I’m not going to be accepting another 7D from them as I cannot trust it, I’m not going to risk being stuck in another state on a photo shoot with a camera that does not work. Great idea Canon but the 7D is junk.

    • michaelmiles says:

      I'm so confused about this 7D. I just got my refurbished as well. I was fortunate to have a loaner (they sent it so I can get a photo shoot done, that was nice!) that I need to send back in a couple of days, but I don't want to send the loaner! I want to keep that one! I'm still doing test shots galore and the Refurb does seem to be acting/focusing well. But I swear the loaner is so much better on focusing, exposure and clarity (@ high iso). So my confusion is simply whether the 7D is 'within specs' and the loaner just happens to be that fraction of a percentage better? My eyes are blurry and my brain frazzled from this whole experience!

      And for anyone to say the 7D isn't having issues, this post averages 1,400 hits a month with people looking for answers to their 7D focusing issues. Wonder if there will ever be a class action lawsuit?

      • adrian says:

        I’d love to organize one, but have no idea how. Also, I’m in Canada and many other owners are in the US and UK, so I’m also not sure how that affects it.

        Class action seems to be the only thing that might make Canon own up to the issue and actually attempt to fix it.

        In any case, your post seems to be one of the more active and informative ones.

        I’m trying to find some way to organize and collect all of these in one place, and also get a list of people who’ve had problems, but also not sure what the best way to do that is.

        If anyone has any ideas, please let me know, I can set up a registry/wiki/something where we could track this.

  10. Scott says:

    Callie didn't Canon send you a shipping label, I only had to ship it at my cost the first time $30 which I didn’t think I should have to do because it was under warranty. My camera was also sent to one of the best technicians to be fixed one of the many times I sent it in but I don’t think they did anything to it that time because it was exactly the same as when I sent it to them. Good luck and I hope your camera is fixed.

  11. michaelmiles says:

    It works! I've been sifting through hundreds of shots from the refurbished camera that is a replacement for my original Canon 7D purchased last November. After 3 repairs and a final 4th shipment back, I received a refurbished camera.

    All I can say is, WOW! This really is an awesome camera….and at the same time I'm sooooo sad/pissed/frustrated/angry that I had to struggle almost an entire year with a sub-performing unit.

    I truly hope that everyone who visits this post can get their camera completely repaired, this has restored my desire in going outside to shoot!

    I hope to find some time soon to write up all the details of what I've learning in this experience, I think the number one thing to note on sending a camera in is to send it in with LOTS of photos showing exactly what your issue is.

    And DO NOT believe a tech is going to do further research/testing other than what you have specifically stated.

    The last shipment of my camera included 2 pages of details descriptions of the photos I sent and they STILL GOT IT WRONG! So that leads to important item two:

    Keep calling in and getting the latest scoop on what the prognosis is, and if at all possible, speak with the tech to review the photos. I don't think this allow this unless you enter the 'special needs' of which my camera entered, meaning that being it's 4th time in the shop, they were a LOT more attentive to my requests to speak to people (tech, supervisors, etc etc).


    (And I hope and pray this camera doesn't break on me ;)

  12. Bob says:

    I wanted to buy this camera soooo badly, but now I feel that it is apparent that Canon has no desire to fix thier Unit , nor thier reputation!!! I have a 30D with no issues and simply wanted to upgrade, concidering the great 1080P video potential. I really wish they would fix these issus, because I don't have the patience to deal with what you all have gone through. God bless you all!

  13. joey says:

    has anyone bought a more recent manufactured 7D? looks like the ones with the issues bought their 7D last year.

  14. Craig says:

    Hey all, the fix so far is to use expansion mode. Here is the article.

    • michaelmiles says:

      Great post, thanks! Keep in mind that expansion mode is derivative of 'Single AF'. You should have best luck with either Single AF or Expansion Mode. Keep away from Spot AF. That is reserved specifically for Macro Photography.

      If you are using Spot AF on moving targets (or even still ones) the camera will NOT perform well. In a nutshell, Spot AF is for focusing on very fine details (macro lenses) and trying to have it compute on a moving target causes focus issues.

  15. Craig says:

    Personally I am still confused. Is everyone having this issue, or only some, and if some should I return my camera for a new one?

    • michaelmiles says:

      To much of what Clint is saying below, you really need to test the hell out of it within that 30 days of purchase so that you can return it to the store and get a new one.

      Dealing with Canon service takes to much time and even when I was demanding new models, there wasn't really much they would do until it went back the 4th time.

      Oh, and make sure you deal with a great camera store. Hopefully nobody buys from the likes of Best Buy and have to deal with them on their return policy (which is 15 days for cameras anyway)

  16. Clint says:

    I too had a 7D that wouldn't focus worth a crap. I knew in the first 2 days that there was something seriously wrong with the camera. 90% of my photos were slightly soft, and it was seriously frustrating. Anyway, I took the camera back the store I bought it from and demanded a new copy which I received. The new copy works perfectly, just like it should.

    My advice, don't waste your time sending a camera back to Canon 2, 3 or even 4 times for repair like some of you are. Demand a replacement from the store where you bought it. Why should we be without a camera that we paid good money for while Canon repairs it?

    I got flamed big time for mentioning this AF issue on other forums where the usual fanbois refuse to believe their precious Canon could have a flaw. I was questioned about my skill and was told I 'just didn't understand' the complex 7D AF. Yeah right. Have a look at my website, I know what I am doing.

    Best of luck to those of you still stuck with a faulty 7D.

  17. William says:

    Finally I find this but too late. I bought this darn thing a year ago and didn't really notice anything wrong with the OOF since it was slightly off (well it is canon and not Leica so I didn't expect it to be super sharp and any slight smudge I attributed it to a cheaper glass) and the 35L was giving me very sharp IQ on nicely lit days. Every time I do night photography I would get this awful OOF (again attributed to my sucky skills plus glass rather than blaming it on the camera).

    One day (last week that is), My friend checked my images and said my 24L needed replacement cos it wasn't as "sharp" as his copy and then I tried his copy. Yup! Same problem, so he took my 24 and tested it on his camera… perfect copy indeed! Now I know why I sucked bigtime during the night and in some badly lit days.

    Didn't bother to send it to Canon since I needed the camera the next day so I sold it to a second hand shop and bought a 5d Mk II.

    I think Canon needs to come up with a 7D Mk II rather than a 5d Mk III first.

  18. Shawn says:

    I purchased my 7D about 2 months ago. I also thought I was doing something wrong, spent days and days reading information and also comments from other users with these simular issues. I could not really work out if it was the focus that was not right or if the images were just soft.

    I posted in a few other places but was shot down with comments like "read the manual".
    I was starting to think perhaps it was just me and some of the others that had the same issues were also doing something wrong. But whatever I did, nothing would give me a super sharp image, just muddy and soft, sometimes even looking a little noisy. TBC….


  19. Shawn says:


    I have not as yet sent mine to Canon. I purchased it from Amazon Marketplace so not too sure if I can just send it back now as it's a couple months in. I was just about to send Canon an email but their web site errors at the moment (it was ok yesterday when I looked but I needed the serial number which I didn't have on me at the time).

    After reading a few of the comments on here about numerous trips to Canon and still not working I am slightly concerned the same will happen to me also. It was very nice reading that a few of you now have perfect working cameras. I will keep you updated if I send it back to them.


    • michaelmiles says:

      Please keep us updated and be sure to send in sample images of what you are seeing. That helps Canon figure it out. Also, do you have multiple lenses? Or friends with other lenses? There was a seriously bad issue with back focusing with my 50mm prime and turned out to be just the lens, not the body itself. Good idea is to test out the same type of shots with different lenses to see if the issue is produced on multiple lenses. I think you get the idea here….I sent my 7D in with both lenses at one point, they adjusted both lenses and the 7D but still had issues 3 months later….

      To many variables to properly write about, but one thing I've noticed is the issue can be 'fixed' but come back a few weeks later, I had discussions w/ Canon on that very point. Something on their check list of questions to figure out the issue.

      • frankie says:

        FYI, the focus/sharpness issue extends to the 5D Mark II also. I am here because I have read so many forums on the sharpness issues and no true fixes so I figure I check for other models for Canon and sure enough. I just got the camera for almost 2 months. If I sell it I will loose at least 300 bucks. I am desperately looking for a solution but seems like there really is an issue and Canon won’t admit it.

  20. peter chon says:

    I owned a 7D, but I got fed up with the problem that the author was describing. I used the following lenses to see if it was the lens – 50mm f1.8, 100 Macro 2.8L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS – all set at f5.6, ISO 200, 1/1250, sitting on tripod on hardwood floor, remote shutter.
    Every stinking lens gave me a soft image – I did the whole "hard reset", Micro AF adjustment, cursing at the lens (intimidation), fancy dinner…nothing worked.

    However, one thing did work – Flash. With flash, everything looked good, clean, crisp.

    What does this mean? I think it's just how the camera takes the picture. Especially with so much pixels packed into the APS-C sensor, in an exaggerated (100%) view, it shows its limitation.

    One thing that I can tell you is that, for me the 7D left a deep scar that is irreparable by Canon. I've since switched to a Nikon D7000 (which left a crater in my wallet,) and have never looked back. I'm starting to enjoy taking photos again without having to agonize about how the final picture will turn out.

    I'm not saying everyone should switch over to Nikon, because with sharp images, it has its own share of problems. But I like the way sharp pictures look.

  21. jean says:

    I'm in the same boat now! returned my camera to Canon last year when I bought it for random focusing 2 or 3 out of every 10 would be sharp, others oof, then 3 weeks ago the camera started again same behavior returned it to canon, they charged me 277$ for repair since warranty was over. last friday I picked it up and tested the camera once home, the same problem very frustrating!, today went to the store and they took the camera with my lens and said they would test it before sending it to canon, the store called me later to tell me the camera had no focus issue. I know they've done the test with the chart number, but wonder why they get all in focus while myself with a tripod, timer, mlu having plenty of light on fixed subject with plenty of contrast and using central af I do get random focus, this happens in many situation with plenty of light so frustrating that they dont see the problem, I have 3 other bodies, and I dont have this behavior. tomorrow will go back to the store with my tripod and will test it right in front of them to show the problem. I'm not crazy too I know there is a problem, because I dont have this with other camera.

  22. Bob says:

    I've been frustrated with focus issues and just did the hard reset. Maybe it's just a placebo, but I feel like everything is much sharper It's definitely not hunting for focus anymore. It's night here, and even in low light and high ISOs things are sharper.

    Great tip!

  23. Rainey says:

    I too have had the same problem with my 7d….I shoot birds with a 100-400mm lens which worked fantastically with my Rebel XTi..then I bought the Canon 40d…sent it back 2 x's and finally gave up, traded it in on the 7d…and at first things seemed ok, not exactly what I thought the 7d should be, but as the next 7 months have gone by the focusing issue is getting worse and worse…I bought a 60d for a second emergency camera, so attached my lens to it and no problems at all. I will try the Hard Reset tonight and see what happens…One of my photographer buddies just got a 7d for her birthday and already she is having focusing problems with the 100-400 lens. This experience is really making me consider changing to Nikon.

  24. Andre says:

    It's very interesting topic here. I do read a few webs and article about 7D. I'm currently use 50D with Tamron 17-50 non VC. I do get erratic focus sometimes. Not as bad as your 7D. I also tried the focus chart thing, and yes I get erratic focus. I tried the hard reset. After pull out both batteries, I switch the power on and leave the camera for about 17 hours to drain the capasitor ( I heard capasitor with still containing power can act like batteries). I heard third party reverse engeneering is not fully compatible as cause they do reverse engeneering. After the hard reset I attached a 17-40 L. And violla!! Focus is spot on. Crisp and really sharp. I never attach a third party lens anymore from now. I don't know if hard reset is placebo but it works for me.
    I do have a plan moving to 7D to video my son. Now I'm not sure anymore. Concidering 550D now…
    Ohw… Almost forgot. I happend to forget turning off my 50D twice. Maybe that's causing 'hang' or something and hard reset maybe the answer. So if you ever did what I did (forget to turn off) Ǿя̲̅ use third party lenses, try that hard reset with turning power on after pulling both batteries. Making sure you drain the power left on the capasitors. How bout newer batch of 7D? I'd like to hear.

  25. Erik says:

    Can you post some examples of your oof issues? I want to compare it to my own 7D problems.

    • michaelmiles says:

      I'm digging for examples now, will post a link soon. This has been close to a year ago, so not sure if I've cleaned up my library or not.

      • Erik says:

        My photos are always just a little out of focus, probably worse in low light. The problem of course is that it looks ok in viewfinder but crappy once I see it on the computer. I've already sent it back to canon once and they returned it with the exact same response you posted. I don't see any improvement since its return.

  26. michaelmiles says:

    As requested, I posted some images to show the types of issues I was having. More than just focus for me as you will see:

  27. Adrian says:

    I've been a professional equestrian/event photographer for some 10 months now and bought the 7D instead of the Canon 1dmk3 with the justification that I could get a couple of L glass lenses to allow me to shoot in low light. I often shoot in huge indoor arenas under harsh lighting with ISO's at 3200+ and apertures at f2.8 and the 7D's fps rate being only 3 less than the 1dmk3 clinched it for me at the time as well as the boast of excellent noise supression. However I seriously wish I'd spent the extra grand at the time and bought the 1D MK3 – I'd have easily made it back by now in additional sales lost!

    I expect my images to have some softness in them due to the settings I regularly use but what frustrated me is the way the camera states its found focus (in one shot mode) but the image is way out. I use centre AF nearly all the time but the camera seems to alweays want to back focus on the advertising boards that surround the arena (which can be as much as 30ft away!).

    However I think I know the cause – the Canon 7D's metering/focus system not only uses contrast to detect focus but also colour shades (so I believe). In most situations the images that are out of focus for me are because a brighter object immediately near the focus point is registerred by the cameras AF system rather than the actaul focus point itself. It's especially noticable if the brighter object has writing on it (such as a white advertising banner with black writing) or the main focus point has a less of a sharp focus point than the brighter object. When I track a dark horse for example that passes in front of a lighter background the camera's focus will jump to the white area – especially if the horse is relatively close to the lighter object (say within 20ft).

    I've yet to find a solution to fix this apart from recomposing the shot without the lighter background which is not always possible if the course designer sticks the best jumps in front of said light banners! In bright lighting (eg when the arena is flooded with sunlight) the cameras seems to operate alright although there have been some occasions when the AF still "hunts" missing key shots.

    I want to love my 7D – it would be a brilliant camera if not for its rubbish AF. When I spend close to £3500 on a camera, batteries, battery grip and 2 L glass lenses I expect images (even in low light) that are sharp enough to cut your finger on. i dont want to have top spend 2 days sharpening images in photoshop after a 2 day equestrian event which I'm currently finding myself doing..

  28. Heres 2 examples of an out of focus shot where the AF system on the 7D has jumped to the background rather than the main subject.
    Both images shot on 13/02/2011 taken using a canon 7D at iso 3200, F2.8 1/400 sec using a canon 70-200 f2.8 L (mk1) in high speed shooting mode and AI Servo AF.
    The tracking was set using the suggested settings on this site.
    In both cases the red square represents the centre AF point (2nd image has been cropped).
    In both cases the white background is not near the AF point but in the frame and the AF has jumped to it being the dominant colour/pattern.
    In both cases the image is the 2nd in the sequence

    Both images are wasted due to the focus being so far out – the 2nd image has actually been sharpened in photoshop.

  29. Erik says:

    I called Canon and they sent me a UPS label to send it in…again. I find it somewhat annoying that they want me to meticulously test and document all the focus problems and send them a cd of example pictures. Shouldn't that be their job?

    • michaelmiles says:

      I understand your frustration! From my experience (4 times in) they want to see what you see. But at the same time, they only fix what you say needs fixing. So, yeah….shouldn't they be able to put it through the paces with some super calibration machine and spit out a perfect camera? lens? Just not the case, I don't if it is from having such a heavy work load or are the cameras today just so complicated you can't just 'fix it'.

  30. Rob Hadfield says:

    A friend if mine bought a 7D last week. We decided to go into the city (Brisbane) to get some shots so he could try out his new toy. I lent him my 24-70mm 2.8L which works perfectly on my 5D MKII and I used my 70-200mm 2.8L. This was the first time I had properly had a go with a 7D, nearly bought it instead of the 7D but compared to the 5D MKII for noise the 5D wins hands down so I got that. Anyway when I shot some images using his 7D they were coming out soft! Focus was almost there but not quite. He was so dissapointed by it compared to the sharpness he was used to on his old 1000D. I decided to investigate as this had happened on my 50D also. Anyway today we found the answer! In the menu's where you can select the type of images you are shooting, eg portraits, landscapes, neutral etc etc you can change the sharpness setting in there. I moved it from 0 to 5 and bang now all the shots were pin sharp. I have no idea why this happens because a soft image cannot be made to be so sharp, unless you reduce the image down a really small size. So this is one thing that people could try out. Also when I went home I did the same on my 50D and now that is in focus too so I am well happy also :)

  31. michaelmiles says:

    Andrew, good question on being a Lemon, I have some insight in a post here on that subject:

    I think the graph of visitors is interesting. People just keep looking for help on that camera!

  32. JCR says:

    I also bought a 7D when i decided to upgrade from my 30D. Very disappointed at how soft the pictures are when i'm doing sports photography. Since there are so many people having problems they should do a "recall" of sorts on this model.

  33. anne h says:

    This thread, and all of the post inside it, sounds remarkably like post I have read about the 5DMii…..I need pin sharp, and does all of Canon's line up have these issues?

    • michaelmiles says:

      I couldn't say, although the last round of body updates seem to have more chatter on the net with issues than any releases prior, but take that with a grain of salt as it is only based on my own research into bodies. I haven't done any research on Nikon's side as I was already 'bought' into Canon with all my glass. Good Luck!

  34. Viperx says:

    I just bought a 7D despite all the chatter about focus issues. It was an upgrade from my T2i- I needed something with a faster FPS. And after 2 weeks of shooting it is going in for repair. The focus is not worth a darn. Thanks Michael for all the tips- they do help improve the "keeper" rate, but in the end soft focus is bad focus…. I found myself manually focusing ALL THE TIME!

    What really makes me see red is that Canon will not pay to ship the camera to them (like most manufacturers of fun and nifty equipment). UPS just charged me 80 bucks to ship my 7D and zoom lens in to the California Repair Depot. Really? That almost makes me wanna say Nikon!

    • michaelmiles says:

      I find that strange unless you bought the camera used? Or, is it our of warranty? They have always paid for shipping there and back on all my under warranty repair jobs. If it is under warranty, I wonder if that is a policy change?

      • Andrew K. says:

        In my recent experience, the first submission to Canon Service is at the owner's expense. But it wasn't too bad, lens and body sent via USPS Priority Mail was only $14.00 (with Delivery Tracking). Now, since I am returning my body for the SAME issue (this is key here), Canon has emailed me a free UPS shipping label, since I am claiming the problem they allegedly fixed, is unsolved.

        So I think this is standard practice: first submission at your expense, any follow-up submissions for same issue are covered by Canon.

        But seriously, Viper… you might want to consider a different shipping service. $80 sounds insane to me to ship a camera… did you Express overnight it or something? I sent in my 7D on a Tuesday, and Canon received it that Thursday (2 days later), for $14 from the postal service. That's hard to beat!

  35. Greg says:

    wow, i just read a dozen plus comments of the EXACT same issues and problems I have had. I thought it was me, I sent mine in last week, and hope to receive a repaired unit this week. My issue was images seeming soft. my XTi took better pictures. I have had to use it on shoots and put the 7D aside because the images were just not sharp. I am PRAYING I do not have to send it back a 2nd time. I am hoping they have no seen this problem enough to know how to fix it. I too wish I had spent the extra money on the 5D.

  36. turion says:

    I removed my battery and CMOS battery as well. Left it outside the 7D's body whole night (took it out around 11PM and put it back around 8AM next morning). Clock was reset and I had to set the clock and the date again which was expected, but I didn't lose image numbering like mentioned here: "…You’ll lose your date/time setting as well as your image numbering…"

    Image numbering continued from the number before performing hard reset.

  37. Andrew K. says:

    Turion – To reset the image numbering you need to start with a blank CF card. If you are using a CF card that was previously used in that 7D body, and it still has files on it, the file numbering will start with the next number in the sequence based on the last image recorded to that card.

  38. Photog says:

    Don't know if Canon reads this but I was seriously considering the 60D and the 7D. I saw the 60D didn't have Microfocus Adjustment so I thought about the 7D. I like the feel but got a hint of problems on POTN then found this web post. No way am I taking a chance. I'm not invested in any system and now it's not going to be Canon….not now anyway.

  39. lshedra says:

    I am having the same issue on mine and this is the first time I read these posts. I ended up paying about $1800 when the camera first came out. I have the 7D, 40D and Rebel and I am very upset with the 7D. I totally moved to manual focus on many of the 3rd party lenses. I get sharp pictures with Canon Lenses in Auto focus. So I am wondering if most of the problems have to deal with the Camera and non-canon lenses.

    If there are plenty of folks who are having this problem and canon is not responding, I think we ought to start filing complaint with the better business bureau and with consumer advocacy and maybe even a class action lawsuit. It seems that the only language the fat corporate CEO understands now days.

  40. Jose says:

    Thank you soo much

    AS any people, I had a soft focus issue and the hard reset has helped immediately, even at f2.8. What a difference!!!!!

  41. Lisa says:

    Same soft focus issues, was wondering whether it was even worth upgrading from my 1000D and whether the problem was with me, did a hard reset and it's fixed. Yay! Now I can really start my relationship with my 7D, the way it was meant to be. Thank you!

  42. elodie chabert says:

    So very glad to have found this site! I’ve had my 7D for over a year now, have some very good lenses, but have been plagued with the soft focus issues no matter what I try! I’ve taken several photo classes and THOUGHT I knew what I was doing…after all, if the camera ‘says’ that it has found and locked focus, shouldn’t I just have to take the picture? Will try the hard reset tonight. Thanks for the info!

  43. roger kennedy says:

    I wish I had found this site before buying a 7d, as a present for my wife. What pile of poo! I get better, more in focus shots, from an old Olympus 100 that I keep in the car in case of accidents and bought for £20 from Ebay. Solicitors here we come!

  44. John Scott says:

    The Canon 7D fiasco is a sign of the times — cramming too darn many marketing-oriented “bonus” features into a cheaply built product. The goal for Canon, and others, is to simply sell as many cameras as possible with little to no regard for QUALITY, PRECISION, and DURABILITY. As long as the “average Joe” thinks megapixels and 100′s of features equate to a quality product, the rest of us are doomed to fight with crappy products.

  45. L Ooi says:

    I too had the same problem with my 7D, I sent it into Canon with a long letter and a lot of images taken with LensAlign to show them the problem. I also sent in 2 lenses. They first lost my gear, then found it. They said there was nothing wrong with the lenses, but the AF Assembly and the Imaging Sensor Assembly were out of position causing all the AF problems. How? I never dropped the camera or even bumped it at all. They did not calibrate my lenses at all, I was still getting inconsistent focus with the camera, so I did another set of the same tests with LensAlign (tripod, mirror lockup, shoot each image 3 times, remote shutter release, etc.), and I am STILL getting inconsistent focus. This is really frustrating. My warranty is running out in a few days, hope it’ll get there before warranty runs out.

  46. L Ooi says:

    Called Canon again this morning, they said the Imaging Sensor Assembly and the AF Assembly being out of position was causing the front and back focus at the same time phenomenon as well as other AF problems. They also said their warranty work was warranteed for 6 months, even though my camera will be out of warranty in a few days, they will still fix it because it’s still under the 6-month period. They’re sending me a shipping label to send it in at their cost and asked me to call in to escalate this issue to a supervisor when I receive the shipping label.

  47. Matt says:

    Can someone tell me how to remove the “watch battery” for the hard reset?

    • Matt says:

      I found it, if there are others like me: it’s right next to the battery in a little black holder labeled CR1616 3V.

  48. JJ says:

    OK, I am preety fresh and new in the photography world. I started with a Canon 20 D It saw it’s last day and I decided to trade it in at Canon for refurbished 7D. I read up on and compared the 50D and 7D. The reviews for the 7D were great and I loved the movie option.Sat. I took the camera to a wedding. With out having played with it yet, I decided to just put it on auto. I was so confused because I assumed that on auto it would shoot like a point and shoot.I liked the Af system when I decided to purchase this camera but I thought it was an option. With every shot I take I have to pick a focus point even on auto. I have a wedding to get ready to shoot in Novemeber. I cannot imagine having to pick a place to focus on with every shot. Am I doing something wrong or is this a sign of issues?? I have a 90 day warranty should I send it back and go with something else??? I have read most of your stuff and it has been helpful but I just need a straight answer.I have a photography course to finish up this summer ,plus I need to learn how to use my camera… I just do not have time to send it back over and over again. I am just starting this and need a reliable camera. I have no back up right now. Please help!!

  49. Sude Soysa says:

    Hi, I came across your site whilst searching for answers to the AF problems of the 7d. I have had the 7d since December 2009 and have not been happy with it. I get sharper images with 350D (my first digital) than with the 7d! I tried microfocus for the lenses (canon) I have with no success. Will try the hard reset and see if that will work (hope it does).

    Glad I found this forum for the tips and comments.

  50. L Ooi says:

    Sent my 7D and 2 lenses to Newport News, VA as directed by Canon. They shipped my gear to their Irvine Service Center instead. I asked them why, they said they didn’t have anyone with the expertise in VA to fix my camera and lenses. Got my 7D back just now, Service Details on the 7D says: “Your product has been examined and it was found that the adjustment of the AF assembly was incorrect. The auto focus did not operate properly. Electrical adjustments were carried out on the AF assembly and product functions were confirmed. Other electrical adjustments and inspection and CMOS cleaning were carried out.” And then on my lenses that I sent in: “Your product has been examined and it was found that the adjustment of the circuit board was incorrect. The auto focus did not operate properly. Electrical adjustments were carried out on the circuit board and product functions were confirmed. Other electrical adjustments, inspection and cleaning and mechanical adjustments were carried out.”

    So how could they have sent me back my 7D and the same lenses last time telling me that they were fixed, and this time they were fixed again because of their mistakes the first time around?! Anyway, I’m going to test out my camera tonight with the lenses they said they fixed, will report back, hopefully everything is fixed now. Really need the AF to work properly.

  51. L Ooi says:

    Tested my 7D again with LensAlign, tripod, ONE SHOT, mirror lockup, center AF point, remote shutter release/2-sec timer, with both the 50mm 1.4 and 50mm 1.8 Canon said were repaired to factory specifications. Got erratic results with the 50mm 1.4, and got unpredictable results with the 50mm 1.8 also, but not as erratic. What have they fixed?! NOTHING! This is the second time I got them back from Canon Service Center, and they fixed nothing. I just want them to give me back my money for all the Canon gear I have and I will switch to Nikon.

  52. David says:

    Wow! I feel slightly relieved to realize the issue is not me, but a bit ‘po’ed to realize there does not seem to be any real solution from Canon. I have sunk a lot of money into lenses and accessories for this camera and now I don’t really know what to do. When over half of what I shoot is out of focus there is no way I can continue down the 7D road.

  53. trevor says:

    Count me in as another person willing to join class action suit against canon.

    Just bought my 7d and the AF is garbage.

    And I bought it at crappy Aden Camera in Toronto who will not give me a refund. Just blew 1600 bucks on a piece of crap – this sucks.

  54. L Ooi says:

    Spoke with a not so nice Canon supervisor tonight, he basically said it was within the margin of errors and that my camera met their factory specs, and that it was normal for it to back focus or front focus at random times. NORMAL????? Count me in for the class action. Not sure who will initiate the class action, but I will do BBB and small claims court first.

  55. Ryuji says:

    When people have focus problem with 7D, do they have problem with all the lenses tested, or only with specific lenses?

    • Michael Miles says:

      Good question. In my research I have found that some lenses simply do not perform well on some cameras. The problem is there is no difinitive database of what works with what! Wish I could tell you more, but I have pretty much gien up hope and stopped researching this…..waiting for new Nikons to be released myself…..

      • frankie says:

        If this is a car, it would be a big problem! Camera should work straight out of the box. There are many disinformation out there causing a lot of delays and apprehensions and doubts. My 7 yr old Nikon D70 is way more reliable than this piece of junk 5D Mark II.

  56. Juanita says:

    oh god Ive been thinking it was me for soooo long! I bought the camera last year, tested it, thought jesus I need more practice as my old 400D was better! Did a portrait shoot yesterday for a friend and Id say 80% of the 400 images were out of focus and thats using Canon 24-105mm L. Gutted. Got a few they could use but when you’re dealing with babies and kids I want to be worried about getting the right expression on their faces not whether the photos will be soft or not. I’ll try the hard reset. If that doesnt work I’ll have to contact Canon. Thanks for putting all this info up. Im not going mad afterall!

  57. Gene says:

    I bought my 7D in October, 2010 and don’t have any focusing issues so far. I’ve taken over 5k pictures with it and took it around the world from US to China. I am happy with my copy, which I use with 24-105mm IS f4L, 50mm f1.4, 30mm f1.4(Sigma), 70-200mm IS f2.8L. It also performed beautifuly with the stock lens 18-135mm IS before I upgraded.

    • Michael Miles says:

      Gene, I would be curious to know how your camera performs with the 24-70 2.8L, I always wonder if my issues were more the combo of the 7D and that lens. I know some lenses simply do not work well with some bodies….

  58. Nens says:

    I am SO glad that I found this forum! And yet at the same time,,very angry and sad. I was so excited when upgraded fromm my Rebel Xti to the 7D..and at my husband’s insistence, at that! I couldn’t wait to get out in my gardens and begin shooting my flowers,,,excitedly expecting a much clearer, crisper photo than even before with my Rebel! We thought we were upgrading to a more ‘professional’ camera …. HA! I have been totally frustrated and disappointed from photo #1! And like many others here,,,I was actually thinking that it was ME! Not that I am not known to take a ‘bad’ photo, but I was seeing photos taken with those little pocket-size cameras being a lot crisper and sharper than mine! Not only the focus,,,but the color doesn’t always want to be spot on…no matter what ‘mode’ I set it to.
    Anyway….I could just cry. My husband loved me enough to insist on me getting a ‘better’ camera so that I can continue up the ladder towards being a better photographer and hopefully, selling them someday…and even though we don’t have a lot of money and really couldn’t afford it, he insisted we spend the $1700 to get this camera. And ever since, I’ve been more pleased with my Rebel than the 7D. :( I thought it was me…I thought it was my EYES!…or wondering if I should take some more classes…or learn more about the camera. Now I have this wonderful new camera that I bought thru B&H photos 3 months ago…and all I want to do with it is throw it at the wall, or leave it rot in my camera bag,,,and take my Rebel back out.
    I am going to try the battery thing,,,and hope that that is all it will take.

  59. Brent Bristol Sr. says:

    I upgraded to the 7D from a Canon film camera, (Elan 7NE), in June. I don’t have the previous DSLR perspective that most folks seem to have, but so far my copy has worked great. The single point or expanded point focus definitely seems to focus faster and more accurately than one of the zone focus options. I did get into a little trouble when I turned C.Fn III to 1. It claims to stop the AF/Drive when AF is impossible, but I found that it gives up altogether when it is able to find focus otherwise. I strongly suggest keeping C.Fn III at 0. I have taken numerous wildlife shots using a too short 70-200mm L IS f2.8 with and without a 1.4 TC and have had a fair number of keepers after some cropping. When taking pics of humming birds with my older film camera there was no hope of catching a final focus on the bird, I had to prefocus and hope that I was close enough. With the 7D I have been able to start with an approximate manual focus and achieve a polish focus when the bird came into view. Again single point or expanded seemed to work best. You can see some of these examples at

  60. Joe says:

    OK, I just returned from a 5 week European trip. It was one of the best holidays I’ve had and naturally I was comforted by the fact that I had purchased a 7D to record the most amazing scenery in places like Chamonix, Cinque Terre, Florence, Rome, Santorini etc.

    Whilst still in Santorini, I stumbled across this post. At first I was alarmed by the posts but then I dismissed them thinking that it couldn’t possibly happen to me, after all I was taking safe shots using low ISO in sunny conditions and the photos in the viewfinder looked great (yeah I know!).

    On Sunday night I returned home from overseas and eagerly downloaded the images from my camera to the PC. I was horrified and gutted to see the poor quality across 1000 images. It was really hit and miss. Most were out of focus and some showed shocking colour imbalance. In short, the photos were terrible. My partner took shots using her $200 compact camera and those photos put the 7D to shame.

    Unfortunately no fix to my 7D will recover the photos taken in that once in a lifetime trip.

  61. adrian says:

    If you’re having/had issues with 7D AF and especially if you’ve sent your camera to Canon, please drop me a comment here:

    I’d like to try to track the number of people this has affected and which service centres have seen this.

    • Tried to leave a comment on your site, but Disqus was acting up and wouldn’t let me.

      Looks like the top photo on your site could have been taken with my 7D. I upgraded 2 months ago from a Rebel xTi via Canon’s Loyalty Program to save some $$$. While expecting a refurbished camera, I was quite happy to receive what appeared to be a brand new camera. I’ve been having AF issues since the day I got it. I’ve lost some important shots (including maternity shots that I can’t recreate) because of this issue. At first I was thinking that I just needed to learn this camera or that I was the problem (I am self-taught and consider my skills to be just over beginner status, though I use manual settings 99% of the time). However, the more I play around with the camera and research this topic, the more I think it’s an issue with the camera. I’ve tried the hard reset without luck and will attempt some suggested test shots, but likely will be sending it in for repair pretty quick. Through the loyalty program, I only have a 90 day warranty. I was expecting so much more with this camera but have been severely disappointed.

    • frankie says:

      I have the 5D Mark II having sharpness issue, do you have room for that model?

  62. Vie says:

    I bought my 7D in May, 2011. I have not got a sharp picture compared to my 6 year old point and shoot. I sent the 7D back to Cannon and received the camera back with the exact same problem. The big piece of 7D paper weight can not focus, produce picture with washed out color and grainy image just like a 1980 Vivitar; count me in for a class action suit.

    • adrian says:

      If you know of a person actually trying to get something together for a class action, please point me in the right direction!

      I haven’t been able to find anything formal, so I’m trying to start collecting relevant information from people who are interested in one place.

      Please drop a comment here:

      I am going to update the post with a list of all of the URLs, like this one where this is a definite body of evidence to suggest there is more than user-error to this problem.

  63. Jon says:

    A few thoughts on this in case it helps, as I too got very annoyed with the 7D. This is just a brain dump to throw in the mix:

    1. There are issues, and my second body was better but not perfect.
    2. Once I got bitten by big focus issues (on the first body) I suddenly got a a lot more critical for any focus issue. To be honest, when I look over my old 350D photos I see more focus issues than previously realised. The photos still print fine at 6×4 or 7×5.
    3. Do micro-adjust. My camera is only set to +3, but that’s a difference of me generally being happy with focus or at 0 generally always not. It doesn’t take a lot to get soft focus – of course annoyed you have to do this.
    4. With 18Megapixels the camera is very good at picking out the slightest motion blur or soft focus. Just to proove a point to yourself try a few test shots with image size at say 10MPs as with the 350D – it suddenly looks sharper. Not that you’d want to do this normally.
    5. Try increasing the ISO to get the shutter speed up. I certainly find that as long as the shutter speed is high, noise isn’t too bad. If slow it will be. I take lots of pictures of my children and need the high shutter speed.
    6. Try manually selecting a focus point. With 19 it’s easy for one of the cross hair focus points to pick on something closer than you want.
    7. Consider using AI Servo for children that move. I change the depth of field preview button to switch to AI to give me quick flexibility.
    8. If the aperature is small – say f8+ – and photo not sharp. Take a look at items behind planned focal plan and in front. If they are blurred to, there is only one possibilty – the camera’s high pixel count has nicely captured some motion blur.
    9. Try shots with flash, both indoors and out. The flash having a very short illumination time (effectively a high shutter speed) allows you to eliminate the possiblity of camera shake. There is a however… the flash produces high contrast picture which are perfect for the camera’s software sharpening process – and so hide soft focus a little. For example someone’s hair.
    10. I miss my 350D ‘PIC’ modes. It’s actually quite hard work to set this camera up correctly for a shot in terms of thought process – when I do slowly plan everything it noramlly comes out good. The ‘P’ or Auto will produce ‘snapshots’ rather than masterpieces. If I go for a master piece shot I so often forget I set something. My own fault but something to watch for – e.g. Av mode, or put a 580EX external flash on and it picks a noisy 400ISO when no need as it has so much output power.
    11. Zone focus great for movement / AI Servo. Forget it for one-shot / stills. Why would you, if you enable the joystick on back to pick where you want to focus.

    As an aside the 580EX external flash is the best thing I have bought as an addition with this camera. The high-sync mode allows shutter speeds way above 1/1000 second, and in harsh high-contrast sunny situations with my kids it’s fantastic.

    One final point. I mention the camera does take work to setup to achieve good results. Much more than the 350D I previouslly had, and perhaps 9 points of focus was suffice. The Canon 1Dx price range pushes if out of the hands of most ametuers. I would love to know two things:

    – If an ametuer such as myself had a 1D would I experience the same problems as camera flexible but relies more on photographer’s skill.
    – How many profressional photographers report issues with the 7D?

    I both love and hate this camera, as it does give me very good results at times but not always. I can’t decide if it’s me or the camera. I really suspect it is me but I won’t admit it.

  64. Martin Chapman says:

    I bought a 7D in October 2009 and have one with the autofocus problem. I’ve only recently tried to analyse what was going wrong with so many shots –I get lots of short focused and long focused images, some that are correct.

    I have been testing the 7D (together with a 5Dmk11 which I bought more recently), but I couldn’t get anything like consistent results from the testing. Some were short focused, some long focused, about 1 in 5 were correct. The 5Dmk 11 had no such problem.

    I then found another method for testing focusing, and used a 70-200 f4 at 1) 100, then 2) 200, and a 100 macro at 3) 100 for testing. This time I found that for each of these three settings on the 7D that the micro adjustment needed was +8, so set the 7D for +8 all lenses in the custom functions.
    I tested the 5Dmk11 similarly and need a minor adjustment for the 100 macro, otherwise 0 settings were perfect.

    Having thought I had resolved the issue I then took some test pictures with the 7D, but when I checked them most were out of focus, 4 out of 5 were focused long. Tried again and 8 out of 10 were focused long. I decided to reset the micro adjustment back to 0 and retest with the test target. This time for all three lens settings tested on the 100 macro and 70-200 lens, were all best at 0.
    This is the problem with the 7D, the autofocus is so inconsistent you don’t know what result you are going to get. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    I have tried a hard reset, removing both batteries for more than 1 hour, but this hasn’t helped either.

    To try and work out if there was any pattern to the problem I went back through previous images taken with the 7D for examples. I wanted ones where there was detail in the background and foreground of the subject, to try and work out if the autofocus was long or short focusing. I normally would only look at my images in Lightroom, but for this exercise I also opened the same image in Canon DPP software, which enables you to look at which AF point was activated when the shot was taken.

    Two conclusions –

    The problem can appear then disappear shot to shot – one image of a subject can be out of focus, the next shot of the same subject with the same focus point activated can be in focus.

    I’ve found that when the autofocus goes wrong, the active focus point is not where the lens is focused.

    Examples –
    From a trip to Africa, an image of a very large bird pretty well in the centre of the frame, a Corey Bustard in an open landscape. Autofocus did not pick up the bird in the centre of the scene for some reason, the two focus points activated are not on the subject but on the distant background. But looking at the image it is clearly focused short, on the foreground in front of the bird.

    Another example, same trip. An Elephant, head on in the centre of the frame. Autofocus picks three autofocus points on the elephant’s head. Great, but the point of focus in the image is clearly in front of the elephant about 4 feet short.

    If it can’t correctly focus on an elephant dead centre in the frame what hope is there?

    My 7D is with Canon UK for repair at the moment.

  65. Martin Chapman says:

    Hi L Ooi, Can see you’ve had as much ‘fun’ testing the 7D as I have. Hope it’s fixed now.

    Spoke to Canon yesterday, the 7D has been assessed and requires ‘adjustment to the AF system’ and charge was £78.
    I said that there appeared to be a number of people with similar AF issues, was there a known problem with the 7D? They went away and checked, said no known problem with 7D AF, and they couldn’t comment on internet/blog reports.

    I said that although the camera is out of warranty the problem had been there since new and I could demonstrate this. Said if I query the charge with Canon Support they cannot go ahead with the repair until it is resolved.

    Emailed them some DPP screenshots, they said will get the technician to look at them and my comments when he repairs the camera, and will give a feedback report on what was found/corrected. In the end I agreed to the repair because I want the camera back, but I will take it up with Canon later.

    I don’t have problem with Canon, I’ve been a Canon user since owning an AE1 and an A1 the 1980’s. And when I get images that have problems I always assume it’s user error, it usually is.
    But I cannot see how this problem on the 7D can be anything like normal, and find it difficult to believe that Canon aren’t aware of it.

    Will wait to see what the technician says,

    Put some of the screenshots on flickr

    • L Ooi says:

      Unfortunately it is not fixed. They’re still telling me that it’s completely normal, even with a tripod, no lighting change, remote shutter release, mirror lockup, center most single AF point, the DOF would be different every time when I took a shot because no camera was perfect, they said. So I’m supposed to accept that answer and go away and have OOF images ALL THE TIME.

  66. Jeff K says:

    How I wish I read this before my $5k trip to Alaska. I decided to upgrade my 40d to 7d for this once in a lifetime trip. Over 4,000 pictures of grizzly bears and almost all are out of focus. I’m about to send my 7d back, but after the camera has been out for so long, how can it still have these issues?

    if this isn’t fixed first time I’m demanding a full refund for all my equipment and switching to nikon. I’d hate to do it but this is stupid.

  67. Chris (Brisbane Australia) says:

    Like many of you out there I have been strugling with my 7D since buying it late last year (2010). Soft/out of focus. Poor colour reproduction. And yes I have been through the “it must be me, I haven’t mastered this wonderfully technical piece of gear” reciminations. In my case, it is not say 1 or 2 shots of of 100 that aren’t tack sharp, it is nearly a 100% failure rate. Hand held, tripod, it just doesn’t seem to matter.
    The body and two Canon lenses have been with Canon for three weeks now. Their response: “we are not aware of any problems with the model, no unusually high return rates on the 7D” etc etc.
    They have agreed there was some front focusing issues in the test shots I sent down after which they suggested I should forward the camera to them.
    A rep called me last week and said that it has been calibrated, had a firmware upgrade and cleaned. He said the tech had taken some shots and his other comments seemed strange to me. “The shots look pretty sharp. When you get it back take a few shots and see what you think.” For my money (body approx $2,000) pretty sharp doesn’t cut it.
    I’m worried my warranty period is running out fast and I’m going to be left with a very expensive camera and glass that a $60.00 point-and-shoot camera outperforms.

  68. Vie says:

    I believed I and other that have the same problem got scammed by Cannon. Look at Cannon advertisement, you would think the 7D is a great technological advanced camera. The true is the picture quality is almost as good as a cell phone camera, at least on mine it is. You want Cannon to fix it? good luck, it is easy for Cannon service center to provide lip service, because there is not much they can do, or if they even know what to do. The more I compare the 7D with my 8 year old point and shoot the more inferior is the 7D. This including pixel peeping where Cannon 18 mega pixels, 17 megabytes sized picture is not as good as the little point and shoot camera. I got scammed by Cannon!

  69. Martin Chapman says:

    Well the 7D is back from Canon repair centre. The invoice just says ‘adjustment AF system’ and ‘general cleanings’. I was hoping for some feedback – if they had seen the same long/short focusing issue, if they had found a problem, and what they had done to correct it.
    Just ‘adjustment AF system’ doesn’t give me a lot of confidence that they have cured the problem.

    Tested the camera on a Gitzo tripod, mirror locked up/IS off/timer etc.
    Used my test target (Canon lens box with ruler alongside @ approx. 45 degrees) and also test image on my laptop (moire test pattern).
    70/200 lens @100
    70/200 lens @200
    100 macro
    100/400 @100
    100/400 @200
    100/400 @400
    Just about all in focus, very consistent, apart from the occasional shot which appeared to be camera shake. So my camera is working normally now, they have fixed it!

    Phoned the repair centre to ask for more feedback on what they had done to the camera. Couldn’t provide any more detail from the repair record, told would normally be able to speak to the technician but not available today.

    I decided to take 20/30 shots a day with the camera for the next week, normal hand held shots just to make sure the problem was resolved and to give me a bit of confidence that I now had a reliable camera.

    With 70/200 lens @ 200 5/5 correct focus.
    Now with 100 macro, 1 in focus, 9/10 are short focused. Switched back to the 70/200, the same with 9/10 short focused. Same old problem.

    Set camera back on tripod, whichever lens I used, different focal length etc, just about everything short focused. Doesn’t seem to matter if you turn the camera off/on lens off/on or change to another lens.

    I’ve been checking the law for consumer purchases in the UK, outside of warranty period the manufacturer is not responsible, it is the retailer I need to go back to, so I’ve emailed the co. I bought the camera from, awaiting their reply.

    I phoned the Canon repair centre to tell them the camera hadn’t been repaired and how unhappy I was. They are sending me free UPS return labels if I want to send the camera back to them again.

    I am sick of this camera, have wasted hours testing it and seem to be getting nowhere. I have a £1400 camera that I can’t use because of its unreliability, I can’t honestly sell it to someone or part exchange it because I know it is faulty, and Canon who made the camera and seem to be unable to fix it.

    Canon are running some adverts in magazines here in the UK at the moment, with the 7D and 1D mk4.
    For the 7D – 2010 TIPA awards best D-SLR and the comment ‘With continuous shooting at 8fps and expandable ISO range to 12800, you’ll never miss natures perfect moment’

    Yes you will

  70. I have been trying to get a refund for my 7D since march this year, I bought it from a camera shop in Cardiff South Wales. It suffers from all problems that have been discussed here. You may find that the only way you will get a chance of a usable image is to be right close to a subject and use flash, this may be the reason that canon technicians are saying the camera works as thats probably how (i guess) they test it, on a tripod using flash.

    My 7D is absolutly usless in normal daylight conditions!No matter what ISO, fast shutter speeds and plenty of depth of field It will not take a sharp photograph and the image quality is p#ss poor!There is no way an online stock agency would accept the images this camera produces and I can forget trying to get a critical focus shot with a wide apperture and shallow depth as this camera is no where near accurate or consistant enough, like others have said before me they can get better shots with a point and shoot camera. My iphone has a rubbish camera but at least I know they are consisntantly rubbish!… Saying that my 7D is consistantly rubbish too but with the very rare exception of a sharp shot but even then no greater than what my 20D can achieve or my 10D’s for that matter!

    I bought this camera to start covering weddings as I was doing pretty well as a portrait photographer and wanted to up my game but there is no way I would rely on this camera, its pretty shocking.

    It has been in for service three times now and each time came back with the usual “Adjustment: AF-System” and each time was extremely disapionted with the results. I cant understand how they keep sending me back a camera that produces such poor images! Do these technicians know what they are doing? Do they know a bad image from a good one? And if they say there is nothing wrong with the camera then why do they need to adjust it every time?!?!

    The third time I sent it in I was asked to include a couple of lenses to calibrate the camera to, I was out of options and a bit reluctant to do so but also at my wits end from testing this camera and not getting any good results so I sent a couple in….

    Got it back and the problems still pursisted but now my worst fears came true when my 70-300mmIS came back ruined!! Not only on the 7D but also on my other cameras! I should have known that they would balls it up because how could they calibrate a lens to a camera that is flawed? This was one of my favourite lenses, it was an absolute gem, tack sharp and accurate but now is extremely soft, back focuses and suffers terrible chromatic abboration! The other lens came back with no apparent change in its performance, always sharp on my 20D and two 10D’s.

    I informed Canon about this direct as I didnt seem to be getting anywhere with the retailer and after numerous emails and phone calls Canon to my supprise said that they were sorry for the inconveniance and if they couldnt help me any further then I should get the retailer to contact their Canon sales rep who can autherise a refund. I hope this is true as im still in talks with the retailer and arranging a date to meet with the rep.

    In all, this whole episode has taken its toll on me and im sure there are a lot of people on here who are in the same boat, I have spent a hell of a lot more time testing this camera than actually using it and it has taken every ounce of joy out of photography for me. It’s not only put my career on hold but also robbed me of my hobbie and my way of getting away from it all!

    Its a worry I could do without right now after just rescently losing my brother and my father, my father being a retired professional photographer before me he seen that this camera was not quite right from the outset but I put it down to user error at first thinking how could the camera be at fault as its meant to be one of the greatest according to reviews and the hype i’m just “gona have to tame the beast” and learn to use it but after WRONGLY doubting my abbilities i saw sence that there are definitely lemons out there!!

    Good luck to you all. (sorry this was so long just needed to get it off my cheast)

  71. Justin Pettigrew says:

    I just bought a 7d after reading the great reviews on dpreview, and was reviewing my shots from my local zoo, and wow, they are bad. I was using center point AF with my 100-400. Some front focus, some are back focused. When I look at the them on the camera, the shots look great. I can zoom in all the way and they look very sharp. Once on my pc, they look okay zoomed out, when zoomed in even 50% you can tell the focus is way off. I kept my shutter speeds high (1/500) so I know it wasn’t that.

    How does this get passed their quality control people? Esp for a camera that’s been out for so long?

  72. Leigh Burgoyne says:

    Good news! I’m getting a refund for my 7D, it’s been a 6 month battle but I got the result I was after!
    A Canon technician came all the way down from Manchester to Cardiff yesterday and deemed that the camera has issues.

    Maybe now I can start enjoying photography again.

  73. Vie says:

    Congrats Leigh Burgoyne. Now you can feel free again after such a bad experience; who would have guessed that buying a Canon camera can cause that much headache.

  74. Jan Privat says:

    Hi all,

    I bought my 7D in december 2010.
    I shot over 2.000 pic with the EF-S 15-85 kit lens and my EF 70-200 f4 L lens.
    Every single picture was sharp (unless I made an error)!

    2 weeks ago I spent all my money on a new EF 24 f1.4 L II lens.
    And everytime I use this lens, only 1 out of 4 pictures is sharp.
    The other pictures all show an inconsistent front focus.
    Only Live-View always nailes it.

    Some examples:

    I called the store and they ordered another EF 24 lens for me.
    I hope to test it this lunch break. Hope its not the camera.

    All the best,
    Jan (Germany)

    • Michael Miles says:

      Jan, sounds like you got a great store to do that for you. Looking at your samples, my 50mm 1.2 prime had the same issues and needed to have the board in the lens replaced. Was under warranty, so no worries for me. Just didn’t enjoy having to send it in….

  75. Mike Quigley says:

    Thank you for this excellent site. I have been battling this 7D issues since it was new 2-1-10. I graduated from a 20D, and a 40 D. This is the 3rd time I will have to send this camera in. I just emailed Canon support this am. Like many of your respondents I have invested thousands in Canon glass and now feel I have to upgrade, D1 or higher at a great expense or sell everything and start with a Nikon system. arrrrrgh!!! It will interesting to hear Canons excuse this time. Any hints on how to handle tis is welcomed. quigsby

  76. Jack says:

    Wow. Reading all of these posts makes me glad I switched to Nikon (D700) when I did.

    I was a prior Canon owner for years. My most recent cameras were a 40D, 5D, 1DMkIII and 7D. In truth, all but the 7D had consistent auto-focus performance. Sure, the 40D had a slight backfocus issue, but that was easily remedied by Canon repair. The 5D, for all of it’s negative publicity had excellent (reliable) center focus point accuracy. The 1D3, once it locked focus, was reliable on virtually all focus points. Then came the 7D…

    The 7D…what can I say…excellent color rendition, nearly perfect metering in almost all situations, very good High ISO performance (with proper exposure), deep buffer, fast shutter, great battery life, and….horribly inconsistent auto-focus. It’s one thing if the auto-focus has a single repeatable flaw that can be diagnosed and corrected (back/front-focus, consistent soft focus), but not this camera. It tricks you into believing it is wonderful by providing a handful of remarkable images. But then, when you need it the most, it turns sinister and rewards your best efforts with soft, blurry, OOF images that cause you to question your photographic skill level. Good light, bad light, hard light, soft light, it didn’t matter…I could never rely on the camera to produce the same images repeatedly in the same given setting. Imagine trying to capture peak moments of action with football players, gymnasts, figure skaters, and kids at play with something that arbitrarily chooses to focus (or not) on the point you’ve selected. It is maddening and tiring!

    Yes, I sent my 7D to Canon, and got the same boilerplate responses from their technicians that you all have. The camera came back and seemed to focus ok, but did I purchase this for simply ‘ok’? No, I did not. So, I did the unthinkable. I sold all my gear (including my most beloved 70-200 IS MkII and 17-55 IS), and made the best photographic decision of my life…I bought a Nikon.

    Whatever you have read, it is all true. Nikons really do auto-focus reliably and quickly. My D700 tracks beautifully and accurately. When the lights get low (gymnastics, ice skating arena), I don’t worry about whether my shots will be focused or not…they just always are!

    In closing, megapixels and video are great. But getting the shot, every time…well there is just something a little more special about that!

    Good luck to you all!


  77. Andy S says:

    Ok, guys I 4th time from service and it looks like it is working now. I actually can’t beleive it. Pictures are sharp in dimm light. 3 times camera spend 10 days and got it with message something like sensor was cleaned and tested to specs. This time it was 19days in service and same message but said that they did comprehensive testing of all camera and they didn’t found any problem, but I see that they did tuned up menu settings and microadjusted lens. I did try microadjust it before and hard reset, and all other options and camera was total garbage. It is hard to beleave that they did nothing and it just started to work by itself. But from first tests it feels like totally different camera. I hope it will stay this way, then I will be happy photo enthusiast again! I spend 1 year dealing with focus problem, and it was only available option for me use manual focus or lifeView focus. Lets see, hope it is not exidental, because I would like to love this camera.

  78. Vie says:

    My 7D is going in for the 5th times. I think 7D means it will be in for service 7 times, after that is small claim court. I should have stuck with the original plan buying a Nikon D700.

  79. leet says:

    Great to find I’m not the only one! I just got this brand new in June of 2011 so I don’t think Canon has fixed anything. After seeing all of these reviews, I come to believe my 7D is also a lemon. At first I thought it was my skills, and then my new lenses until my sister told me something may be wrong with the camera itself. I searched and found this site. For comparisons, my sister and I took photos of a party on the same night(she has a 5dmk2) and hers were right on the spot focused, more than half of my pictures were not in focus. I was pretty upset because some of the precious moments were out of focus, we were both on AUTO that night too. First I thought it was my lens, so I tested it and it was not! As I tried several other lenses on the same camera. I just had an outdoor photoshoot the other day and again half of the pictures come out out of focus in broad day light. Manual settings, automatic you name it are all out of focus. I was getting 1 out of 3 shots out of focus, same settings, same position. Prior to the this I had the 20D and every shot was right on focus, even with my average skill level. I will be sending it to Canon along with the 17-55mm as I just found a big piece of dust inside.

  80. Candy Padilla says:

    Glad I found this place! I am not as experienced as some of you may be but I could tell something was wrong with the focusing after a few events I shot. EVERYTHING is soft. I bought my 7D in February of this year. I don’t even want to deal with sending it in, etc. Can’t they just give me a different camera of equal or lesser value??

  81. Beverly says:

    I thought the focus issue was my very limited skill level in keeping this camera focused. It made me feel like I was too dumb to shoot a good photo and have stopped taking photos for the most part. I bought this 7D as a retirement gift to myself in January 2011 along with 2 of their great lenses. A lot of money spent down the drain I feel. YUK! Any ideas?

    • Mike Quigley says:

      Got my 7d back for the 3rd time. It seems better than ever, but time will tell. It seems the only recourse is to keep sending it back. The good thing is that the warranty continues for that issue.So buy a backup camera and keep sending it back.

    • Michael Miles says:

      You may also want to consider that your lenses are having issues. I had one lens that was back focusing, thought it was the camera. When I sent my 7D in for a repair, I sent the lenses I was using as well. The lens got fixed, the camera ‘adjusted’…just a thought.

      There is also a lot of discussion on the forums that some lenses don’t necessarily work well with some camera bodies. There is no ‘database’ of this, it is all treated like trade secrets amongst the ‘pros’. You have to search hard and long to find good data on this….

      • L Ooi says:

        I’ve been sending mine back to Canon with the same 2 lenses (50mm 1.8 and 1.4) and each time they come back, something is different. But each time I was unable to get a baseline for AF microadjustment because the focus was all over the place. The 3rd time I got them back, I was trying to get a baseline on the 1.4, and with the maximum AF adjustment, I could not even get a sharp image, it needed more than the max. I sent everything in again, and this time, as before, the focus was all over the place, sometimes I could get sharp focus at 0, sometimes at +8, sometimes something else, there’s no consistency at all, this is very very very frustrating.

        • Michael Miles says:

          I have the 50mm 1.2L with the same problem. I tend to think that 50mm primes in general may have issues with the 7D body. I was thinking it was just the 1.2L, but after this….maybe all 50mm? Doesn’t make sense, but I lost faith in anything making sense anymore ;)

          • Andy S says:

            50mm 1.4 Canon is the only lens left in my box which still not working well with AF of 7D. Others C 70-200 IS II, 8-16mm, 17-55 2.8 IS are usable. I need to take 3 shots min to get one sharp one, when using one point AF. Forget about 19AF!
            Planning to send it to Canon again with 50mm lens!

          • Andy S says:

            Did send the body 7d with 50mm 1.4 to calibrate it. Paid 100$ from my pocket. Got camera and lens with same issue and inconsistant focus.
            Service centre in Mississaga sucks. As well as Canon

  82. Mike Quigley says:

    I received my 7d back for the 3rd time. When I looked back at the 3 letters from the canon techs over the last year and a half, i found each one had the exact same message. (Service Details: Your product has been examined and it was found that the adjustment of the AF assembly was incorrect causing the focus to operate improperly. Electrical adjustments wrier carried out on the AF assembly and the product functions were confirmed. Other electrical adjustments were carried out.)Does that mean this is the problem for the life of the camera? The same problem all 3 times? Really!

  83. bobfox says:

    I found the circumstances for soft focus and out of focus for my 7D. I use a Tamron 18-270 lens. In the range of 18mm-35mm, the camera focuses at 7ft regardless of the distance to the object. In the range of 35mm-50mm, the camera focuses at about 20ft-80ft regardless of the distance to the object. Above 50mm, the camera focuses at the appropriate distance to the subject. Also, to complicate the above circumstances, the focus distance is usually correct in the house regardless of lens focal length. Outside, sometimes the focus accuracy is dependent upon the direction of the sun. It was a key revelation to discover the relationship between focal distance and focus accuracy.

    Some forum posts claim no focusing problem. Maybe they are using a 50mm and higher lens. Many forum posts claim inconsistencies of focus, soft focus, and out-of-focus. That could be because of photos being taken at a variety of lens focal lengths. Many forum posts report that the Canon repair center couldn’t find a problem. Maybe that is because Canon tests the camera inside or with a 50+mm focal length. Some forum posts say there may be a need to adjust the micro-focus. Micro-focus doesn’t apply if the camera is focusing at 7ft instead of the correct 100ft.

    Focus doesn’t have to be viewed at 100% or higher of image size. I can immediately see if my photo will be in focus by pressing the shutter button half-way and then looking at the distance scale on my lens. If my aperture is f/3.5 and I am focusing on an object 500ft away, and when I press the shutter button half-way, the focus is set, and the lens shows 7ft, then I know the desired object will be out of focus.

  84. Ronin says:

    I too had an issue with 50mm 1.2 lens.
    Shot a wedding and the all the bridge shots of the B+G were soso soft.. I blamed the lens but when I upgraded to a the 85mm 1.2 same thing was happening.. bad focusing!
    Funny enough I bought my 7D back in Nov 2009, I used it on my honeymoon that Nov and the other day my wife and I were looking at our honey moon pictures again and she says to me ‘boy your camera USED to take such sharp pictures’

    I never really thought of sending it back to canon but now after reading these posts I wish I did.

    Does anyone have a idea what we can do at home to remedy this focusing problem??

  85. buffpnoy says:

    Hi, I just recently bought a 7D from a Navy Exchange and I was really excited to use it. I also have a T3i and comparing shots from both cameras the photos taken by the t3i was way sharper. All of the 7d shots were soft or oof. I exchanged the 7d to a new one and it exhibited the same problem. I’m returning it tomorrow and buying a Nikon D7000 instead. I’m very disappointed with Canon. I think all 7d’s probably have this problem.

  86. Steven Walker says:

    I too have bought a 7D with 24-105 L series zoom, so not a cheap setup. I have been uncertain about this camera in the week I have owned it, it is just not sharp but i cannot fathom out why. My experience is comparing against my elderly Lumix FZ100, which has been used at 5mpixels v the 7D at 18 and the Lumix just has the edge. Still under investigation with my local store but we have blown images right up and Lumix (£300 ish, so a seventh the cost) still looks better. looks like I’ll be losing money if I don’t keep this camera but it just is not giving me the wow factor and consequently I cannot trust it.

    Wish I had investigated more. Not happy.

  87. Steven Walker says:

    Very worried about this last post implying all 7d’s have the problem as I have bought one in the last week and have already been back to the store with the same issue. Not the camera thrill I was expecting, a vast amount of money to be disappointed and produce slightly worse or the same quality as my £300 Lumix FZ100. A camera I now realise is brilliant in all areas and price.

  88. lewis Bates says:

    I struggled with the Canon 7d since purchase putting down the soft images and OOF to my own incompetance.That was until my friend with identical camera 7d and identical lens 100-400mm zoom was taking such sharp pics in the same light and situation as myself. My images were really bad in comparision,I was astonised and realised I have a duff 7D camera.Using the micro adjustments needed +15 setting! My canon 450d is better!

  89. HL says:

    I’m so glad to read posts here. My 7D wasn’t that bad to start, but last week when I go to a charity concert with my daughter, the most photos are blur, not focus at all. I noticed few time the camera can not focus and the shatter can not be released. Worst thing is left half more or least focus, but right half really blur. Anyone has experienced this type problem? I’ll try the tests I read from here, and maybe the hard reset too. Thanks.

  90. Steven Walker says:

    Have now returned and refunded my 7d with 28-105 L series zoom and even after comparing another 7d body I sure am glad I did. They just do not do it for me as both bodies seemed to show the same oof issue. I cannot be expecting too much at the price they are surely.

    I was shown a Sony 77 in comparison, what a difference, like chalk and cheese. The experience has cost me 5% loss in my purchase but I feel lucky to have walked away and have put the cost down to a weeks rental.

    I still want to use a 100-400 L series Canon zoom so if there is a better Canon body I should use with this, please someone let me know.

  91. Bret Charman says:

    I have recently returned from Kenya (I work for a wildlife travel company) and after having my camera for a year the OOF issue decided to appear, not just appear but ruin 99% of my images. I have thought the Image Quality has been going down steadily since I bought it. I am an experienced photographer and sell a lot of my photos privately. No one can say I don’t understand how to use this camera, I have a years worth of experience with this body and I studied photography for 2 years!

    I had to resort to full Manual focus to get the images on my website in focus, not appropriate for a wildlife photographer. I have a brand new 300mm f/2.8 L IS USM mkII so it should be sooooo crisp. I am not at all impressed and I am going to hire a 5d mkII to test all my lenses (all L series). It has reached the point now where I am fed up and after spending over £10,000 on Canon equipment I think they must sort this issue out. I am going to test it thoroughly over the coming weeks and then send my results to Canon and see what they say!

    Hopefully they can sort this out otherwise I am going to demand a full refund and downgrade to a hardy 50D, as I used to have one, and know how good its image quality can be.

  92. Steven Walker says:

    Best of luck with Canon in your return. I dealt with a Pro Canon dealer and there seems to be no admission of any problems. With the cost of L series lens alone, I wonder if something has been sent to dealers ensuring no admissions made. With the numbers in this forum alone and the fact that the 7D is not a beginners camera, someone must know something.

  93. Jennifer says:

    I just spent 5-6 hours taking pictures of my newborn goddaughter. This is not my first time, I don’t consider myself to be a professional but do have several years of experience. Out of 75-100 shots I was able to get 2!! that were not OOF to give to the parents. 2!!
    This has happened to me on several other occasions, during a hired family shoot, a maternity shoot, as well as many others. I was walking around thinking it must be my lens, and then It must be ME.
    I will be trying the master reset. and if that does not work then I will do test shots and send them along with camera into Canon. I have spent way too much money on this Camera and all the lenses to lose money on shots.
    If anyone has any further information on this or ways to fix it please let me know.
    Severely Frustrated

  94. Lewis Bates says:

    I have hard reset the canon 7d three times to no avail. The AF is useless.
    Canon support simply tell me to take it in for repair. It’s not the lens as the lens is OK on my 450D. My equipment gets looked after and does not have heavy use.
    I am not happy. This camera is worse than useless. An expensive mistake.

  95. Lui says:

    I bought my canon 7d in March 2011 and had been shooting with it for school concerts and little portraiture. I have been wondering why it’s always comes out soft and sometimes look out of focus. I had to adjust the camera for sharpness and doing micro-adjustment which drives me nuts. My lens collection also grew to make sure it’s not the 7d but my lenses.
    I was about to give up and just do most in pp. While I was looking into the problem that I have, I found this site from a blog. Hard Reset, and settings hmm… I wonder and bingo! it actually fix my problems. To make sure, I played with for 3 days in low light focusing. I’m practically happy because my kid,niece and nephew will be in a night Christmas town parade. Also knowingly that now I’m ready. I’ve bookmark this site so not to forget. Many thanks…

  96. Alwyn L'hoir says:

    Upgraded to this 7d after my trusty 20d died. I’ve been using the same set and lighting for more than 20 years, no problem. The 7d shot great when I tested it outdoors, and my coupla shots inside with the on-board flash.

    I recently started my major show of the year; I shoot portraits, from a tripod under lights nonstop for about 8 hours a day on the weekends. I got a call my second day in, a long time customer complaining about her shoot. (I shoot, the customer and I look at the lcd, where the image looks great, my lab tech prints photos or CD…) I assumed that I had what I had come to regard as typical Canon quality. After her pointed complaints, I checked all my images from that day in horror. The focus was horrendous.

    I jumped on the net to research. I used manual focus all day the next day, and the quality was better. But not great. Which brought me here. I have six days left on the warranty, and I send the camera off tomorrow. I feel betrayed by Canon, and cannot afford to have a large paperweight. I do hope they can fix this. I was thrilled when I got the camera thru the customer loyalty program. Shoulda been called the gullability program.

  97. Richard says:

    I bought a 7d on the 22 November 2011. Had it for less than two weeks and images were soft. I used the manual selection, centre point focus & spot focus in single shot mode. I focused using the centre square and recomposed. While it took a couple of great shots after a micro adjustment to +6 ( ) , an unacceptable number were still soft.

    I took it back to the camera store where myself & a camera tech mounted it upon a tripod at a 45 degree angle to a focus chart. We then took my canon ef-s 17-55 f2.8, the store’s canon ef-s 17-55 f2.8, my ef 50mm 1.8, and the store’s ef 50mm 1.8 & the stores Canon ef 24-70 L USM.

    With IS turned off (where applicable), and in single shot mode, we used manual select centre square focus. The results? All of the lenses (mine and the store copies) showed an unacceptable level of intermittent forward and back focus. We reset the custom settings and tried again. Same result. We changed to spot focus, and whilst the results were superior, they were far from satisfactory. We turned off the ‘focus search’ in custom settings and again there was an improvement. Played with the micro adjustment, better again. However, the fact remained that with the exception of the 24-70 L USM, not one lens focused correctly during the entire tests (various degrees of forward and back focus were always present). The 24-70 L USM was much closer and did achieve correct focus a couple of times.
    We then took the store’s 7D body and replicated the tests. Whilst I believe the results were superior to mine, the results showed a similar trend.

    After an hour and a half of testing, I asked the camera tech what his conclusion was. He said it seemed that spot focus is far superior centre focus as the focus square appears too large and other non displayed focal points may be in-play. Also the 17-55 & 50mm might not be perfectly compatible with the 7D. I looked him right in the eyes and asked him if he bought a $1,700 camera two weeks ago and it produced these results what would he do. He said whilst he would be disappointed, no camera lens combination was perfect, and sighted well known examples of incompatibility (original 5D and certain L lenses, sigma lenses & certain bodies). He encouraged me to hang on to the 7D and give it ago.

    Me? I returned it. It’s a pity as the build quality, ergonomics, custom features, frame rate etc. are second to none. But low light performance and in particular the autofocus (especially in low light) lets it down. Are there good copies of the 7D, yes. Is there an issue with the autofocus? there appears to be (certainly on the bodies that I have tested).

    My advice: Whilst there are a lot of idiots online who seem to complain as though it was some competitive sport, as well as those who complain without knowing how the equipment works, there are still those who can identify an issue with a particular make or model. My advice is to research the specs you are after, and make yourself aware of the reported issues. Then and only then, buy the camera off a reputable dealer, where you can return it for a refund if you experienced any of the reported faults (if you are not happy to live with them). This is exactly what I did, and the only thing I lost was a bit of time, however if I got a good copy of the 7D, I would have been over the moon.

    Now to decide, 60D or the FF 5D mk2? or maybe switch to a d300s or to the FF d700? Better start my research!

  98. Tami says:

    I bought my Canon 7D in March 2011. Right away I thought all of the images were soft but I chalked it up to user error as it was a much more complex and advanced body over the T1i. I tried the hard reset (removing the battery and watch battery for 24 hours) but there was no change in image quality.

    After assisting on a wedding and doing three of my own portrait sessions, I sent the body in to Canon in Mississauga (Ontario). When it came back, the work order said “focus adjusted, sensor cleaned, firmware updated”.

    I did some practice runs and it seemed a bit better but not substantially. Then, I had a newborn portrait session. The results were horrible. Of about 50 images, two front focused and the rest were so soft, I couldn’t even have them printed at 4″ x 6″.

    Again, I sent the camera in to Canon (both times I included a dvd of images) in October 2011. One hour ago, I called for status and was told that “Canon couldn’t find anything wrong with it.”

    I’m furious. The camera is not capable of taking a sharp picture. Handheld, tripod, prime lens, zoom lens, L lens, whatever. The camera can not take a sharp picture. I am so jealous when I see what other people can create with their 7D! My T1i takes amazing shots! Shouldn’t a camera that costs $1000 more be reliable?

    I have not picked up the camera yet. I told the store that it was unacceptable and they are going to look into it further. Store staff have tested the camera on numerous occasions as well and agreed before sending it in that the focus is not operating properly.

    I’m contemplating switching to Nikon but I’ve invested in Canon L lenses and flashes. But you never see Nikon people complaining about focus.

    So frustrated.

  99. Tony says:

    I am sure that many of the AF problems are the fault of the camera, but from reading all the comments, I am sure that a lot of the problems are also because the photographer does not know how to use the camera properly. How many have actually read their owners manual and set the Custom Functions properly?

    It seems there are some people who actually believe a camera is supposed to know what exactly it is supposed to focus on. They have multiple focus points activated, and then can’t figure out why the camera did not focus on the subject when there was a nearby object with more contrast. Some people can’t even distinguish between blur caused by too slow of a shutter speed as opposed to blur from mis-focus.

    The problem with the 19-Point AF system is that it will focus on the closest point with the most detail.

    That is not a problem, that is how it is supposed to work when you select all 19 points. The solution is simple, you don’t use all 19 points!

    michaelmiles says:

    Great post, thanks! Keep in mind that expansion mode is derivative of ‘Single AF’. You should have best luck with either Single AF or Expansion Mode. Keep away from Spot AF. That is reserved specifically for Macro Photography.

    If you are using Spot AF on moving targets (or even still ones) the camera will NOT perform well. In a nutshell, Spot AF is for focusing on very fine details (macro lenses) and trying to have it compute on a moving target causes focus issues.

    I don’t know where that mis-information came from. Spot AF is certainly not reserved specifically for Macro Photography. Many great wildlife photographers use Spot AF with super-teles all the way up to 800mm. You can use Spot AF to focus on the eye of a bird using a 800mm lens and get great results. You can even use Spot AF on BIF’s if you are capable enough to keep that small of a point on the bird during its flight.

    Adrian says:
    However I think I know the cause – the Canon 7D’s metering/focus system not only uses contrast to detect focus but also colour shades (so I believe). In most situations the images that are out of focus for me are because a brighter object immediately near the focus point is registerred by the cameras AF system rather than the actaul focus point itself. It’s especially noticable if the brighter object has writing on it (such as a white advertising banner with black writing) or the main focus point has a less of a sharp focus point than the brighter object. When I track a dark horse for example that passes in front of a lighter background the camera’s focus will jump to the white area – especially if the horse is relatively close to the lighter object (say within 20ft).

    ??? That is the way the focus system is supposed to work. Your camera does not have a brain. The photographer is supposed to keep the AF point(s) on the subject. If the AF point(s) stray off the subject, the camera is supposed to focus on something else. That is not the camera’s fault.

    Rob Hadfield says:
    Anyway today we found the answer! In the menu’s where you can select the type of images you are shooting, eg portraits, landscapes, neutral etc etc you can change the sharpness setting in there. I moved it from 0 to 5 and bang now all the shots were pin sharp. I have no idea why this happens because a soft image cannot be made to be so sharp, unless you reduce the image down a really small size.

    That is the same thing as you sharpening a jpeg on your computer, and has nothing to do with unsharp images resulting from faulty AF with a 7D. Those settings have no effect whatsoever on RAW files.

    JJ says:
    OK, I am preety fresh and new in the photography world. I started with a Canon 20 D It saw it’s last day and I decided to trade it in at Canon for refurbished 7D. I read up on and compared the 50D and 7D. The reviews for the 7D were great and I loved the movie option.Sat. I took the camera to a wedding. With out having played with it yet, I decided to just put it on auto. I was so confused because I assumed that on auto it would shoot like a point and shoot.I liked the Af system when I decided to purchase this camera but I thought it was an option. With every shot I take I have to pick a focus point even on auto.

    Don’t blame the camera just because it has a precision, customizable focusing system and you are used to a P&S. Plenty of wedding photographers use a 7D and have no problems because they have learned how to use it properly. You do not have to pick a focus point for every shot you take.

    Martin Chapman says:
    Another example, same trip. An Elephant, head on in the centre of the frame. Autofocus picks three autofocus points on the elephant’s head. Great, but the point of focus in the image is clearly in front of the elephant about 4 feet short.

    If you have C.Fn III – 3 set to 0, that is what the camera is supposed to do. If you have it set to 1, (continuous AF track priority) it should not do that.

    • Michael Miles says:

      Thanks for your input! As for my “mis-information” you can read about it from Canon’s website and my response was to a person using spot AF for moving “targets” and I should not have said “reserved for”.

      By forcing AF upon only a tiny area of your subject, if that happens to fall upon a part of your subject that’s relatively plain, solid and lacking detail, the AF system may have trouble focusing upon it. This can be a real problem with fast moving subjects, especially if they’re moving erratically. At times like these, actually having a larger area can be a more effective way to shoot.

      Found on page 4:

    • Vie says:

      Like you said, many of the AF problems are caused by the camera, and that is what this page is about. Of course there are user’s mistakes, but give people credits that they will learn and fix those mistakes. Most people will try many different settings before raising issues. Most people blamed them-self first when they see blurry pictures produced by the 7D. Then there are people who likes blurry pictures.
      The job of a camera AF system is to focus. If I aimed it at an object then the job of the camera’s AF is to adjusts the focus to that subject. If it can’t do that properly then it is a defective or a camera not worth buying, period. And why not use 19 points focus? If the camera is functioning properly, the 19 points will focus at all points with the most contrast, displays the focus point and user pressed the shutter button should he accepted the focus points. You obviously do not understand the problem that we have: Even the focus point is confirmed the picture is oof, does not matter which ‘custom’ setting we used. When Martin Chapman’s 7D confirmed the focus points on the elephant head, it should focus to the elephant head. Now if the elephant is Dumbo the Sonic moving at 300 mph then thing maybe different, but it is not.
      By the way, you are contradicting yourself when you tell people not to use 19 point focus and then said “You do not have to pick a focus point for every shot you take”

  100. Alwyn L'hoir says:

    just heard back from Canon, they ‘examined’ the lense, and based upon their observations, they are repairing it at no charge….so I was not imagining things….(i had worried…)We’ll see how it comes back, and I’ll let you know.

  101. Adrian Q says:

    I have just received my second 7d body from Amazon and yup! Soft images again. (Camera Viagra ,anyone?)Even though Canon will not admit a problem Amazon will, one of the amazon reps I spoke to told me that their is a flag on their system about the 7d and focusing and blurry issues (her words,not mine)she told me that her additional info was to do a “Hard Reset”. So where did this information about the “hard reset “come from? When I told this to the Canon rep they said they never heard of it. So am I supposed to believe the brilliant scientist at amazon came up with this all by themselves? More likely Canon has advised them to try this to fix the issue but wont admit it to us over the phone. If Canon doesn’t want the expense of a recall then please atleast fix the issues (all of them ) the first time its sent in!
    Call Amazon and pretend you want to buy a 7d and tell them you know about the “flag” on their system and ask them to give you the details on it. CANON is doing a great job advertising for Nikon!

    • Vie says:

      Adrian, return the unit to Amazon and do not send in for Canon to repair. It is a great hassle, time and money trying to get the 7D fixed.

  102. Kim says:

    It is true: some 7D’s really are lemons. I upgraded from a 60d to a 7D in 10/2011 because I do sports photography. From the start, I had erratic results with an occasional tack sharp picture, but the vast majority of images had soft focus. I spent countless hours on the the phone with Canon thinking it had to be my user error despite the fact that I have 40 years of experience in the field. One of the at least 5 representatives who I spoke with told me the problem would be fixed if I used One Shot mode instead of AI servo for action shots. Well, as you might guess, that did not work, and what is the purpose of having AI Servo if you can not use it? I spent hours checking the focus of each of my lenses and found nothing wrong. I tried every permutation of the various AF modes. Finally, I sent the camera to Canon with a DVD of examples. The camera returned with a service note stating that electrical adjustments to the autofocus system were made. I tried the camera and to my horror found that it was even worse. Nothing would focus and the noise was awful. It only gave a sharp image if I set it in auto mode and used a flash. I called Canon, and sent via email examples of front focusing, back focusing, completely out of focus shots, focus jumping to the wrong object, etc. I spent 5 hours on the phone over 2 days with the same Canon representative. He told me that my ISO was either too high or too low. I am still baffled by the comment that an ISO of 100 is too low. He then told me that a shutter speed of 1/2000 was way too fast and causing the problems. Finally, he told me that my lenses did not match the camera and to send in my 60D which by the way works perfectly fine plus send in my 7D with ny 135 mm f/2 prime telephoto and 70-200 mm L IS USM f/2.8 Mark II lens. The thought of what might happen to my equipment was terrifying and I did not dare do that. The representative then commented that he could not understand why I shot 500 frames in 1 hour. I thought it was pretty obvious: maybe 1 out of 50 shots was decent so I hoped that by sheer volume I might get a few keepers. I then tried a hard reset on my own and that did not work. At this point, I took a chance and bought a second 7D as I really wanted to love this camera. Well, every shot with this new body has been a keeper and I can now say I really love my 7D though I live with some trepidation that it may not last and if something does indeed go wrong, I cannot trust Cannon to fix it.

    This has been a time consuming, costly and frustrating experience. I am disturbed on several levels including the inaccurate advice I received on so many occasions from Canon service representatives. I stayed with Canon because of all the equipment I already own. Whether I will in the future continue as a Canon customer or switch to Nikon is an open question for me.

    I have learned one important lesson. I will always buy a camera from a store with a return policy and thoroughly check out the equipment in the time allotted and not risk being stuck with a failed product.

  103. kenlow118 says:

    Hi, Like most of the 7D owners report experiencing AF focus problems in this forum; I too encountered the same (soft images) experience (it is perfect on LiveView), and lived with it (thinking it was my lens or inherent characteristic of the 7D) for a year until recently when I was compelled to send it back to Canon (Malaysia) to look at. (I did try micro-adjustment, but the result was inconsistent). They took the body/5mm f1.4 lens, checked it, and advised the body had some back focus, which they corrected via software adjustment (non-invasive, no need to open up the body unit). Lens was ok. The camera was returned to me just before Christmas, and thus far, the images I am getting from the 7D are much sharper/crisper than before – much higher percentage of keepers!
    Note: I also removed the ‘system’ battery to clear all legacy soft settings/parameters as reported/suggested in this forum. Latest firmware installed.

  104. Vie says:

    Update: I got a brand new replacement from Canon yesterday. Take it out side and shoot a few pics. It is good now, no focusing problem. The video quality is gorgeous, not soft and out of focus like the prior camera. Unlike the expert’s opinions that insists user errors are the problems, this is a easy camera to operate; I tried single point, zone, auto 19 points focus, and all pictures came out the same, quite good. Too bad it has to cost me and Canon lots of time and money to get things right.

  105. April says:

    I used a Nikon D90 for 18 months before deciding it was time to upgrade to something better. I debated for a long time between upgraded Nikons and switching completely to Canon. For a variety of reasons, I switched to Canon and picked the 7d specifically. Now I join the ranks of frustrated 7d owners with focusing issues but I’m so glad I found your site before my 30-day return period is up with Amazon. I shoot primarily outdoors (primarily birds and landscapes) and have yet to take a photo that is crisp and clear, despite trying all of the various focus combinations. I couldn’t even get clear focus on a rock! I’ve even used my tripod and the 2-second delay to make sure I’m not causing camera movement but nothing works. (I’m also experiencing abnormal amounts of noise — separate issue, I know.) So right now I’ve removed both batteries as instructed here for a hard reset to see if that fixes the issue. If it doesn’t I’m not monkeying around. I’ll send it right back to Amazon for a refund, not a replacement.

    Thank you Michael for hosting this forum! Is there a twitter hashtag or something we can use to take this complaint to the social networks? Often when so many complaints are so public it really makes a company stand up and take action. How about #flawed7d?

  106. I know how to fix this problem fast , a 5kg slash hammer strait on centre with a you tube video is coming soon

  107. Joe says:

    Ah! Finally, a practical solution to our problem!!!

  108. Ron Resnick says:

    I have owned and used Canon cameras my whole life, dating back to the AE-1. Later I had an early EOS and then a 1-V.

    I purchased a 5D shortly after it was released. I had many out of focus images. I used the camera only intermittently so, like many others with the same problem, assumed I was doing something wrong.

    It was not until I saw many pro photographers complaining on the internet about problems with the autofocus on a variety of high end Canon DSLRs that I realized the fault was not with me. I sold my 5D.

    During this time I had a Rebel XT which focused perfectly!

    Last month, assuming that Canon must have fixed the autofocus problem over the last few years, I purchased a new 7D. Almost immediately I recognized the same sort of front focus and back focus problems I experienced with the 5D. Without wanting to deal with retunring a new camera to Canon for service or re-calibration and risk losing my 30 day return option, I returned the 7D.

    I can only hope the new AF system in the 5D Mk III actually works.

  109. Dan says:

    I have had my 7D since it came out, never had a problem before, I always got sharp photos. Recently though my focus has not been good, which brought me here. Focus spot is off by a mile. I have about 7000 clicks on it and dropped it a couple times, I guess I’ll have to send it in for repair.

  110. audrey says:

    Hello everyone! I think sincerely to sell all my Canon and buy Nikon. I’ve had enough. My first camera was a Canon 30D, I changed to a problem of image blur, but it was about 4 years of wear. I sent for verification at Canon and Canon has not been able to reproduce the problem. So I bought a 5D Mark II when he was born. And now it’s been about 4 years and now I am with the same problem, fuzzy picture. I find it regrettable and I know that even if I ship to Canon, there will probably nothing to do since it is long since out of warranty. So I think it’s not a problem with the 7D only, but a part of the game of Canon. The 5D Mark III you will be there the same thing?
    *Sorry for my english, I’m French !

  111. Heidi says:

    Wow! I never knew this info, thanks so much. I have been looking back at images taken a couple of months ago and wondering what had happened and found this blog. Thanks, I will send it back to Canon for a look and although it is around a month for a quote at least I hope to have it back working like it used to as I love my 7D.

  112. David says:

    I mainly use a 35mm manual lens and 100mm macro with my 7D (-17 lens micro-adjustment) at the moment. I rarely use autofocus, so I never noticed this issue. I just put an 85mm f1.8 lens on my camera, it instantly and reliably focuses every time (-6 lens micro-adjustment). It has a “Ring USM”, so it focuses very fast. I also have a Tamron 17-50mm, it focuses slower but reliably (-16 lens micro-adjustment). Well I stumbled on this page by accident, I’m not experiencing focus problems. Also, I spend time carefully calibrating the focus of all my lenses after I got my 7D.

  113. AngelBunny says:

    I purchased the 7D nearly a month ago & thank god I found this site! I can get sharper pictures on my android phone! pretty much 100% of the thousands of pics I have taken are ridiculously soft, and most are out of focus despite trying EVERYTHING to get a good picture. I have been doubting my abilities & have actually been in tears with frustration with this pile of cr*p! I have about 3 days to return it to the seller & I intend to get a full refund & switch to Nikon D700. Unfortunately I also have Canon flash & battery packs which I will have to return. And upcoming shoots for which I cannot rely on this camera to produce one decent image for! What a massive waste of time & money. Good luck to everyone! I am so disappointed.

  114. audrey says:

    AngelBunny tri this test from Canon that I receive last week.
    1 – If you use a tripod, please turn off the image stabilization on your lens.

    2 – If you use filters with your lenses please remove them for this test.

    3 – Place three objects the same size on a table at different distances from the camera. From left to right, place the object at the left of camera, closest to the camera and be right most of the camera, the farther from the camera. Spaced objects between 2 to 3 inches.

    4 – Set the quality setting to larger JPEG.
    5 – Set the image style to Standard.
    6 – Configure the shooting in aperture priority and set the aperture to the maximum value (smaller (f / stop).
    7 – Set the ISO speed to 100.
    8 – Set the AF mode to a coup.
    9 – Select only the center AF point.
    10 – Compose or frame image in the viewfinder so that the three objects occupy and fill the frame as much as possible.
    11 – Use the center AF point auto focus to perform on the central object. Then without re-framing, capturing the image.

    And see if it realy out of focus. Tri it With and without Image Stabilisator. When you shoot on a tripod Canon said do not use the IS.
    Good Luck

  115. Erika says:

    I bought my 7D a year and a half ago and, as per so many here, thought it was me. When I finally mentioned the issues I’ve been having I was shocked to find out how common this seems to be… I actually learned that two people I know returned their 7D and got brand new replacements within the first few month.
    I’m now kicking myself over having waited so long. There’s no easy way around the fact that I don’t have warranty any more and I don’t know if it will be worth the hassle…
    I wish I’d had more confidence a year and a half ago to even THINK that it could be the camera, not me.
    I never had these issues with my XSi.
    My confidence is SHOT…

  116. Abdul Quraishi says:

    I bought the 7D 3 weeks ago to make the ultimate move to a DSLR. I have used the D400 which gave me a taster, but when I read all the reviews around the 7D, it took my preference over the 5D or moving to the nikon D700.

    I initially used it with the 50mm 1.4. Fairly decent, but a little soft. I then purchased the 24-105mm L. It has now become hit or miss!

    I then purchased another 24-105mm but still same issue. Returned that and now purchased the 17-40mm, better, but still soft. Change it over to the D400 and there is immediate sharpness.

    I have been an Experienced Photographer for over 20years. Used the old EOS 5 and 1N Film Cameras and out of a roll of 24, got 20+ pin Sharp and accurately exposed pictures. With the 7D, I get 1 out 25 that I consider sharp. The rest are soft. Okay for Portraits of Models, but not expressions.

    On Landscapes, backgoruund Trees are always fuzzy and soft. Even at 1/2000 Shutter speed, on a tripod with a sandbag and remote release!

    Tried all the various AF Settings, Grey card Calibration, Update of Bio, Hard Reset overnight, no Joy.

    I am now looking at a replacement tomorrow, which I will try on the premises, and if no good, replace for a 5D.

    Personally, I think that 7D is a soft camera by default and those who have had a mechanical and electrical calibration, have had it aligned for sharpness. A bit like having a software default of middle being pushed up to the top level.

    I am very dissapoined so far. Not what I expect to be a good experience. Lets hope the replacement is better

    Will update this post on Monday

  117. AngelBunny says:

    Audrey yes I have tried all that the image quality is ridiculous and the focus rubbish! I have set up focus indicator on the LCD screen so I can see where focus was confirmed through the viewfinder.. yet surprise surprise when you view
    the pics on a computer the focus is elsewhere!

    At any rate I would expect to be able to take a sharp, in-focus image without having to use a tripod etc etc. *sigh*

    The shop I bought it from is currently refusing to refund & wants to fix it instead, but I am fighting for a refund. I have a baaaad feeling about this camera. There is something very wrong with it.

    Oh and I did overnight hard reset and that didn’t change a thing :( I have a dud!

  118. Anthony says:

    I’ve had the 7D for almost a year and it’s been a real kick in the butt for me as I thought it was me. I have Nikon, Roliflex and other Canon equipment and when the &D would be oof or soft all the time I would just reach for the other equipment I would carry for the shoot. To me as someone who uses film and Med. format at that… I can tell you that there are real AF issues with the 7D. I bough 3 pieces of glass for the 7D and there is still worth with them but the 7D is not for someone who makes their living in the studio. Canon has lost a lot of respect in my book and also of those I work with as 2 others in my studio also had bad exp with the 7D soft and oof issues after a lot of repairs and wasted time. At some point Canon is going to have to make good unless they are waiting for a court to order a recall.

  119. Peter Baker says:

    I have used this camera to cover motor sport on a professional basis over the past twelve months and although sometimes my images are crystal clear only 50% are end user acceptable. In the past my Canon cameras have performed well and yes, with the 7D I thought it must be me. Goodness knows how much this is costing me in lost revenue. It’s got to go!

  120. Angela says:

    I bought my 7d last fall and have had crap images IMO ever since!! Thought it was my lenses so invested in great glass and my images are WAY too soft for the glass and settings I use!! I thought it was me…was ready to give up! But took it to the store I bought it from today and they have the same problem!! I talked to Canon today and of course they tell you to do all the ‘test’ shots and the first guy I talked to said to do them and then adjust the micro af setting in C.FN.III and that should fix what sounded like front focusing. The next guy I talked to later stated that I would have to send it in as the custom setting micro af was only recommended for prime lenses because when you change the settings it is ONLY good for the focal length at which you tested!!! I was getting ready to prepare some test shots that I did but after reading this have decided that I am going to raise holy hell tomorrow with Canon!! I have been doing ‘test’ shots since I bought this stupid camera as far as I am concerned and it is not my job to figure out what is broke with the camera…they can figure it out!! I think I am going to print out this whole thread and send that in place of the pictures they requested. I also think I will contact an attorney that deals with class action and see if they are interested! I have a business to run, I don’t have the time or money to dink around with canon sending this in every 3 months for repair!!!!!

    • Andy S says:

      Long time overdue. Canon should be punished for false advertisement and denying the problem. After I guess 6 times in service I got camera with slightly better AF performance which allow me to use somehow camera till hopefully new model come. But when waiting my 7D started to show some other issues apparently with shatter mechanism. 7D is beautiful in specs, but garbage in reality. I would be with Nikon if not invested in Canon lenses already.

  121. alex overend says:

    iam having a problem with my 7d the problem is when i use the camera with my 70/200 f2.8 sigma lens the camera somtimes locks up with no funche camera function or auto focus when i was using it yesterday it also felt the camera was warmer than usual is this just because the weather or have i got a problem iv not had any other problems with the focusing like the other blogs . i have been a cannon user for a long time now but a bit disapointed to hear so many good people are having problems
    this is the only problem and has only just started hope to hear some more comments if any keep up the good work kindest regards alex .

  122. vie says:

    Update: My 7D still works great; prior to this I had a hard time before the replacement: soft and out of focus. People kept telling me that it was user errors, incorrect settings, shaky hands… Totally rubbish! The 7d is an easy to use camera if it is functioning correctly. I looked at the old pics from the lemon 7D and the normal 7D and the difference is clear to see.

  123. trevor says:

    Well, took my 7d into the Canon repair center in Toronto. It came back and took some amazing clear shots – was very very relieved.

    Then after about 50 shots or so, a couple soft ones, then mostly soft – now all poor quality again.

    Terrible. Just terrible.

    Take extreme caution buying a 7d, that is all.

    • trevor says:

      - following up to my post…

      in all fairness to canon in toronto, after contacting them back the person on the phone had me do another reset.

      I must report that the camera is a lot better. Quite a lot.

      What could I have possibly changed in the two days since repair that would have killed the focus??

      From what I recall I set some custom controls, set my own c1-c3 settings, changed the focus points to include all 5 (point, expansion,etc) and a few little other things not really focus related.

      I don’t remember doing anything at all controversial so I was very skeptical with the person on the phone as to why I should reset it.- however she informed me that in order to send in some test shots for analysis, I needed to reset it. Well thankfully I did, because after that it started to really shoot some sharp shots.

      Now – I’m a bit concerned about customizing my settings for fear that it will mangle the autofocus – but ultimately, in complete fairness to the repair team – a very good repair was made to my camera and I would not discourage anyone from sending theirs in if it needs it.

  124. michael says:

    Just did the test shots…

    Over a year with this camera and I thought it was me. I had been using my 60D more because I was getting better images. Heck, I get better images on one of my point-and-shoots. So at this point, what is it going to cost me to get Canon to fix their mistake, and do they even recognize it as their mistake yet?

  125. Alison says:

    I’m so glad to have found this site. I just got a 7D a few days ago and have been getting soft images since taking it out of the box. I get better quality with my Rebel XSi that is 4 years old. I’m trying the hard reset tonight, and if that doesn’t fix it, it’s probably getting sent back to Amazon. I’m even tempted to just get another Rebel and spent the extra money on one or two good lenses.

  126. Susan says:

    I thought I had done all my research when I finally decided to up grade from my Rebel XT to the 7D. For months I poured over all the forums, read reviews, etc… When I finally got the 7D and started shooting I immediately thought the OOF pictures where due to my ignorance and inexperience. I read more, bought books, watched all the training videos and still no crisp pictures like I was getting on my Rebel. Then I went back to the forums and searched for focus issues with the 7D and I hit gold. Holy cow! Thanks everyone for posting. I thought I just wasn’t getting it and was just about ready to give up. Not sure what I’ll do now I’m just past my 30 day return at B&H and I don’t want to keep sending it back to Canon. I guess I need to read some more :-(

  127. Steven Walker says:

    Attended a Canon event put on by my local Canon Pro store in conjunction with Canon. Raised the 7D question but as expected no one had heard of such problems. I guess, nor would I with a pile of 7D bodies to shift. Interesting though, there was one unhappy customer there with his own 60D, who also had an OOF problem. Didn’t have the heart to tell him, but I believe both cameras share the same sensor. Others may know differently but it has truly stopped me wanting any Canon. A Nikon it must be.

    I am still very unhappy at losing money over my flirtation with Canon, at end of 2011, with this camera and that no one has managed to extract any comment from Canon. Someone must know.

  128. adrian chung says:

    Has anyone who has AF issues and still owns a broken 7D upgrade to firmware v2 and see if it has made any difference with respect to the problems noted here?


  129. Kayo says:

    I bought the 7D a year ago along with EFS 17-55 2.8 is to back up my 5DC. It was a beautiful romantic period for 7 months. The pictures were sharp and in focus to the point that I was using the 7D more that my 5 year old 5DC.
    Then I stared noticing that my keeper rates started going down and I was blaming myself for the errors, I was doubting myself as a photographer. I had lost my mojo. I finally sent in to Canon for repairs and got a bill for $153.00 after my gold membership discount. I will be selling the camera upon return and upgrade to 5D MK 111. I am glad I found this blog.

  130. Gerard from Maurituis says:

    I have been using Canon 350d with external flash 580ex along with several canon lens For some years.I thought that my 350d
    was not up to date because it never focused sharply as I wanted.After 2 years of saving money I was about to buy me a new canon 7d because of the high marks all reviewers gave.
    After some research I found that 7d uses phase detection to autofocus which is very vast but not as precise contrast detection.So I said I will have the New 650d which uses both systems but after hearing even that the 5d mark2 has focusing issues I have lost confidence in canon.I am sure that any firmware upgrade will not improve focus in 7d.
    I am leaving canon for micro 4/3 Olympus Om-d em5.I am a fan of still images. Does anyone heard oof images on this camera?

  131. Bonnie SMith says:

    I am lucky (or unlucky) to own the canon 7d. It was my upgrade from the Nikon d3100 (which sucks!) I am having issues with soft focus as well. But only part of the time. Some of the times I get tack sharp and others only half the photo is sharp. The color is off as well. I am highly disappointed in this camera. I am taking it to the local camera store who has techs that can look at it for me. I am just not happy!

  132. Chris Collins says:

    Im so glad I came across this page :-). I tried the hard reset which worked well for me. I also came across an interesting YouTube vid which may help others.

    Good luck to those who have not yet solved their focus issue

  133. Ann says:

    As everyone has already stated, I am so grateful for this page as it has been so helpful for me when working with the focusing issues with my 7d. I just wanted to share my recent experience.

    I have the random focusing issues with the 7D where you use the center point focus, single shot, and the resulting picture has a different location of focus each time. I have done numerous tests with a tripod, timed shot, and a newspaper with an f1.8 setting to show canon the issues. The first time it was sent in, they cleaned everything, said it was working fine. I received it back and nothing had changed except the cleaning sensor was making a really loud noise when you turned the camera on and off. So back it went. After going back and forth about how it was not user error, an issue with the lens, etc, they finally shipped it back saying they replaced the AF FPC Assembly and the Interface Cover Assembly as a “Precaution” and if the problem persisted I needed to send the camera and lens’ back for calibration.

    I received the camera back today and after initial tests, the focusing is consistently forward focusing. I was able to microadjust to +17 to create a picture with accurate focus with my Canon 50mm 1.8 lens. Now we will see if this will hold and how the camera will respond with normal everyday use.

    Has anyone had their AF FPC and Interface Cover replaced? If so, what were your results? Good luck to everyone!

  134. V_Patt says:

    I am another disgusted owner of a 7D. Have spent the past month trying to upgrade my skills in order to get better than a 1% keeper rate. I mainly shoot birds and use a Canon prime lens. My results pretty much mirror what most others here have been saying.

    Used a 30D for several years until the focus switch finally went and thought I found a decent deal on a gently used 7D. It has the most recent firmware update and now I will try the hard reset. I have ran out of adjustment options and patience to try much else.

    I have bought Canon equipment for over 30 years but they may lose me over this.

  135. Robert Horton says:

    I’ve had similar problems with the 7D.
    I was not really aware of any problems with the 15-85mm EFS lens that came with the camera. The odd soft shot which I thought was me.
    Well I purchased a canon 50mm f1.4 lens for portraits and found it front focused, and was inconsistent even with the AF Micro Adjustment. Then purchased a canon 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM and was horrified when it back focused, and again it was not consistent.
    Dropped the camera in for repair, and was advised by the technician that it is the Autofocus Control on the Mirror Box Mechanism, and would cost $145.00 to repair/replace.
    The camera has been repaired, and now everything is working as it should.

  136. V_Patt says:

    Robert and Ann may have had the same item replaced…idk. Fairly cheap fix if it is something mechanical. Will keep that in mind though. Thanks.

    I did the hard reset with both batteries for several hours and did seem to make an improvement. What seemed to help (me) the most was reducing raw image size to 10mp in camera setting. BS but I can live with that for now. Could possibly be a slightly loose item that is magnified by almost twice the pixels. That is just a guess since I am not a camera repair tech.

    I have checked front/back focus several times since doing that and zero problem with that. As of now with current settings, my 7d is producing excellent results.

  137. Gavin B says:

    Hey, I thought I would weigh in as I recently purchased the 7D and was having the focus issues too. I would have a good focus lock but soft images after I updated the firmware to 2.0.3
    I had the retailer replace the body and all is good but I had the same issue again after updating to firmware 2.0.3.
    This time however, I found a fix

    Clear the settings and custom functions, and it is fixed.
    Do not mess with the lens micro adjustments, that is a world of pain.

    Good luck!

  138. Well, I just had the two worst situations of my photographic career this last week. A job photographing in the Berlin Phil and then a theatre piece where the photos are to be projected at an awards celebration. The photos were pretty much all soft. Thank goodness that I found this blog. I had come across a site advising removing the battery and pressing the shutter “to drain the residual electricity”. I didn’t have the small clock battery out long enough so no difference to camera and todays job was severely compromised. This time I removed the battery (which seems pretty loose fitting) for over 10 seconds. Cleared custom functions as well. Bingo, cant make a bad picture.
    I would like to add that this whole process has caused me to reexamine how I depress the shutter. Now I back focus and instead of depressing the shutter I pinch my thumb and first finger together so that the camera is more stable. This also has an impact on sharpness. I think the real fix was as Michael suggests at the beginning but I wouldn’t discount what Gavin suggests either. I hope it stands the test of time. Thank you!

  139. I am just now looking at test photos of text that I re took after following the advice from above. The difference is astounding.

  140. Just realized the fix came from another site…
    visit here:
    My Canon 7D is resurrected! I am a Canon 7D fan once again.

  141. kerri patton says:

    here I thought I was going crazy or not knowing what I was doing. I would have one great photo and then a few blurry on the same settings. I was getting so frustrated wondering what was wrong. I was getting ready to send everything off for cleaning and inspection

  142. Andrea Massucco says:

    Canon 50D user here with same problem, oof and blurry images coming out no matter what setting I use.. Trying the reset and all, hopefully will work. thanks for all the advices

    • Andrea Massucco says:

      just update if anyone interested. The hard reset actually worked on my 50D and now I get 9 out of 10 crisp images (likes few months ago!) before was only 1 in 10 if lucky. It is not placebo as I can see the difference not just feel…

  143. Pete Wilkinson says:

    Does anyone know if update 2.05 has sorted these problems or do they persist?

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