Multiple customers who have recently purchased Canon’s new RF 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras are reporting that it consistently focusing just in front of the subject using autofocus, raising questions over whether Canon may have to issue a recall.
The issue first surfaced on the forums at FredMiranda and DPReview with users describing an identical problem: using autofocus to focus on subjects that are close to the lens’s minimum focusing distance would result in images that are front-focused — i.e. missing focus by a tiny degree and create sharpness just in front of the desired zone.
The problem is clear in this series of images posted by one user on the FredMiranda forum. In each image, the area of sharpness is just in front of the eye of the model, or just in front of the toy robot used to demonstrate the problem. In this image, the user has marked a box around the eye of the toy robot that shows where the focus point was aimed when shooting. The eye is clearly not sharp, whereas other areas closer to the lens are crisp.
Much debate has ensued discussing the cause of this problem, with Tony Northrup suggesting that it might be an issue with the Canon EOS R which he says he doesn't trust when shooting with a very shallow depth of field. Many photographers have reported similar problems while others claim not to be able to reproduce the issue. Some suggest that it could be a timing issue that may be fixable using a firmware issue, but if the error resides in the lens itself, it’s possible that Canon will have to issue a recall.
One DPReview forum member has tested his own lens and was able to reproduce the error consistently, with the discrepancy more pronounced at longer focal lengths, as you might expect.
Do you own this lens? Have you had any issues nailing focus when shooting with a very shallow depth of field? Let us know in the comments below.