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Old Thursday 18th October 2012, 16:32   #1
Dave Williams
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5D Mk111... opinions and tips please !

I have mine for a few weeks now so I'm starting to form an opinion based on my experience so far both with this body and the only other Canon body I have owned, the 1DMk1V.

By far the biggest disappointment has been my failure to come to grips with the auto focus system which to my mind is over hyped but there again, Is it me?
I have tried googling for advice on settings and in the process come across some interesting snippets of information.
Someone else who had voiced similar opinions on another forum was lambasted for not reading the instructions but he was adamant that as a pro photographer he knew what he was doing. It also became a bit of a Nikon vs Canon slagging match too which was of little benefit to anyone.
I then read Ken Rockwell's review of the 1DX vs the 5D111 and he states that although the autofocus systems are the same, the 1DX has better tracking options that are not available to the 5D111. He also says that Nikon have better AF in their D300,700,800,D3 and 4.
My previous experience has been largely with a D300s and I have to say the 5D doesn't appear to be any better.
I know someone who has a 1DX and they have been impressed with the flight shots they have been getting, that was why I decided to go with the 5D111.

In good light and a clear sky flight shots are not a problem, with any background distraction or poor light I have difficulty getting the subject in focus. I have tried lots of combinations of both available AF points and lock on/ af point selection modes, changing the presets offered as well.
If anyone has any tips I would be grateful to receive them because the primary reason for buying the camera has been a failure.
Incidentally I have been using the 5D mainly with a 500mm f4 and 300mm f2.8 for flight shots. AF options are the same for a naked f4 as a f2.8 & 1.4TC so I have decided the extra reach on the bare 500mm is needed to compensate the FX sensor.

Good points are better IQ than I have previously experienced, it just shades the 1DMk1V IMO.
Good high ISO performance.
FX has advantages and disadvantages depending on what you intend photographing.

Having got used to the 1D body I find that the small body of the 5D is frustrating and I'm inadvertently changing settings without realising but that I can get used to and it does have a lock switch to prevent you doing this.
Overall, I am still a bit disappointed in the camera's performance vs expectations. I don't regret not getting the 1DX at an extra 3k but maybe it was not the ideal back up body that I thought I was getting.
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Old Thursday 18th October 2012, 17:31   #2
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Dave been following your other threads abut the 5Dmk3 as i was thinking of getting a 5D mk3 i now use a 1D mk3 and would like more pixels and the supposed better focusing system,i was under the impression that the focusing on the 5D was easier to get to grips with hope you get some good advice so i can make my mined up.
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Old Friday 19th October 2012, 08:27   #3
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As an example of my confusion, here is a sequence of 5 shots from yesterday.
Agreed, the conditions were difficult. Backlit over water.
Iso 800, f8 1/1600th sec
I was hand holding a 500mm f4 lens, and according to the instruction book the middle block of AF points are all cross type where subject tracking is superior and high precision focusing is achieved
I chose AiServo, AF point expansion( Manual selection, surrounding points. )This is a block of nine and I presume all are active.

The crops are all about 50%. I have increased sharpening from the in camera level 5 to level 7 in PP.

I adjusted the tracking to 0
Accelerate/decelerate tracking to 1
AF point switching to 2

Both first and second shots are set to take only when focus is achieved.
I was using the back focus button and panned the shots.

In the first four shots, the description tells you where the centre focus point is.
The last one missed but the top of the wing tip was just in the bottom left surrounding point but it obviously didn't register.

Does this give any clues to where I am going wrong ?
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Old Friday 19th October 2012, 08:52   #4
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Here's a shot with similar settings to the above, the difference being a higher shutter speed of 1/3200 of a sec and I was using all 61 AF points.
DPP registers 5 were active, 3 on the bird but the shot is totally out of focus.
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Old Friday 19th October 2012, 08:56   #5
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And one of a gull in open sky were nailing it isn't nearly so much of a problem.
Using the same settings as the original 5 shots. Centre Focus point squarely on the upper wing.
I have adjusted a few settings in DPP but I don't have a problem with the performance here.
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Old Friday 19th October 2012, 15:43   #6
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In much better light, much bigger bird and a much bigger focal length of the 600mm & 1.4TC I seemed to fare much better.

None of the shots have been cropped but I have applied maximum sharpening and changed the WB and contrast.

ISO 800 f8 and 1/1600 sec

I have applied -2 for maximum lock on, plus 1 for the acceleration /deceleration and 1 for the AF point switching. Again AI Servo with expand to surrounding points.

I think I needed more DOF.

Taking in to account this bird landed about 50 0r 60 feet away, the one thing that really strikes me is that you need big lenses to go with an FX body.
My favourite BIF lens was always my 300mm f2.8 with a 1.4 TC. On my D300s this, with the 1.5 crop factor is the equivalent of 630mm, on a 7D it's slightly more.
I guess that anyone who buys in to FX has to seriously consider that.
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Old Friday 19th October 2012, 15:49   #7
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For the record I don't have a problem with non flying animal life !
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Old Friday 19th October 2012, 16:41   #8
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Interesting Dave, without guidance there appears to be a bewildering number of permutations of autofocus settings to try. On the first shots the camera does not appear to be seeing the subject properly but rather seeing the sea behind, perhaps single point would be better? I was hoping to hear better as this sort of behaviour with my 7D is one of the things that made me look at getting a 5D III. Mmm.

That point about needing to consider big lenses is something else that has put me off, my wife is not too keen on that either to say the least.

Hope to hear better news once you have had more time with the camera.
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Old Friday 19th October 2012, 18:34   #9
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Without a doubt the lens is a major consideration and anyone who has no more than 500mm reach needs to think about the implications. I think one of the problems I had with the duck shots was the fact that although they seemed fairly close it wasn't nearly close enough. I can see me sticking a 1.4TC on my 500mm next for hand held shots. Huge numbers of pixels doesn't offer an alternative, you still need to fill the frame as much as possible both to take advantage of the detail they will give and to get the AF point on the subject.When it comes to bird photography ( particularly here in the UK) I also wonder how often I will get the opportunity without using TC's and thus knocking out the lens's potential use of AF points.
No wonder Canon were not keen on f8 autofocus, but they have had to relent with the 18mp 1DX.
I have used single point AF in the past for a large proportion of my shots but I don't see the point of having all the sophisticated options that the 5D gives you only to ignore them by using a single point. I don't understand why the expanded centre point focus points don't register as being used when you look at the shots afterwards.
Ah well, Keep calm and carry on is the new catchphrase and it's what I am trying to do. cheers Dave
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Old Saturday 20th October 2012, 22:10   #10
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Just to throw my thoughts into this, I recently bought a 5D3 to give me a full frame option as I already own a 7D and a 1DIV. I liked the 5D3 from the start, having gotten used to my other two cameras this wasn't a bad learning curve.
Regarding the AF system for birds, I find it works fine. Some examples here. I've posted the largest sizes the forum will allow, the full size versions are on my Flickr if anyone wants to see:

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400mm f/5.6 @ f/8. All focus points enabled. The camera locked onto all the subject Geese clearly here which I was pleasantly surprised about.

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Next, a low light shot of a Blackbird partially visible in dense foliage. Again using my 400mm f/5.6 lens at f/8, ISO 3200 in AV gave a shutter speed of 1/1250 sec. Centrepoint AF.

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A 100% crop of the same shot. I doubt I'd have got this shot with my 1D iv under these conditions.

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Lastly a Crow portrait. This again is a 100% crop, taken with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at f/8 centrepoint AF. Unremarkable but I was pleased with the level of detail retained for a 100% crop.
This is a really good camera. It will be even better for birds if Canon update the firmware to allow it to AF at f/8 as per the 1Dx.
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Old Wednesday 31st October 2012, 03:16   #11
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Hi Dave
While I don't personally own a 5D3, I've had some use of a friend's camera and found it quite a good body to use. One thing I absolutely dislike is the flimsy feel after using a 1D series body for over 15 months now. For me the build of a 1D makes all other cameras obsolete as they're built like brick crap houses and can handle a lot of rough use. Not that I do.
I can find out what his AF settings are, but generally with all camera bodies, even 1D, I use a single AF point (center) for BIF, as that's all I really need. The expansion points for me are useful for more static kind of shooting. I keep AF tracking fairly low (on my 1D2n it was Moderately Slow, and my recently acquired 1D3 it's about the same setting as well).

Being close, as close as you can, to your subject will also make more difference to the results attained.

These few images were from my first time using the 5D3, all hand held and just about full frame. I prefer not to crop, or crop very little.

http://amatteroflight.com/gallery2/d...ck_I9B3473.jpg

http://amatteroflight.com/gallery2/d...ck_I9B3475.jpg

Both bare 500/4L IS hand held with the 5D3.

overall I find the 5D3 an exceptionally good bird photography camera!
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Old Wednesday 31st October 2012, 08:57   #12
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Couldn't agree more about the feel of the 5D after getting used to a 1D and I would recommend considering buying an older 1D series rather than many new models at similar prices.
I still haven't had much time to practice different settings on the 5D as the weather here has continued to decline in to winter but what I do find odd is that folk recommend using single point AF for BIF ( your duck shots back it up too !).
The major attraction of the 5D was it's sophisticated 61 point AF system so it seems daft not to take advantage. cheers Dave
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Old Wednesday 31st October 2012, 15:48   #13
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I've never handled a 5D III, and I'm far too much of a weakling to even contemplate hand-holding my EF 500 F4L IS, but when shooting birds-in-flight, I use AIServo and the Ring-of-Fire technique, and allow time for the camera to register the bird in the central AF area before firing away. I get varied success, but following that technique most bodies seem to work OK - provided that the acquisition phase was correct. Very occasionally, I've noticed that my 1D IV may improve focus during a sequence, after a slightly shaky start.
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Old Wednesday 31st October 2012, 16:10   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Stewart View Post
I've never handled a 5D III, and I'm far too much of a weakling to even contemplate hand-holding my EF 500 F4L IS, but when shooting birds-in-flight, I use AIServo and the Ring-of-Fire technique, and allow time for the camera to register the bird in the central AF area before firing away. I get varied success, but following that technique most bodies seem to work OK - provided that the acquisition phase was correct. Very occasionally, I've noticed that my 1D IV may improve focus during a sequence, after a slightly shaky start.
Strangely, before I acquired a Canon 600mm I always considered a 500mm too heavy to hand hold much preferring a 300mm for BIF. However, after getting used to lugging the 600 around ( and suffering the odd ache and pain as a result) the 500mm suddenly seems fairly light. With an FX body the 300mm doesn't give enough reach so I have found that the 500mm is better.
Who would have thought photography doubles as a body building exercise and I'm a pensioner too !
I use the ring of fire and Ai Servo too. I haven't had enough experience with the 5D yet but the 1D often seems to have every other shot sharply in focus.
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Old Thursday 1st November 2012, 01:03   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Williams View Post
The major attraction of the 5D was it's sophisticated 61 point AF system so it seems daft not to take advantage. cheers Dave
It must be great to have 61 points, however, be mindful that if you do use multiple points then the camera may pick one your eye may not agree with. Even with the ring of fire, if a point picks and locks on the near wing, there's no point keeping the shot if the head is out of focus. Hence why for flight, it's most probably wiser to use a single point and aim at the head. Of course, one needs to be relatively close to the subject to maintain lock on with the single point. Even though the 1DMkIII has the point expansion etc, I still always select a single point when shooting static birds, action etc. I do have assist points enabled in that case though, but still never use multiple points as I want to be in control of where focus is. Then I can only blame myself if I get it wrong. :)
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Old Thursday 1st November 2012, 12:58   #16
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I nearly always use a single focus point regardless of the camera in use ,As sophisticated as these cameras are they will never know just what you want to be in Sharp focus .
I think it really is up to us to do our bit and get the point just were we want it -most of the time thats easier said than done on flight shots even then i hate to say it but we need a lot of luck as well .
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Old Monday 5th November 2012, 15:45   #17
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by GYRob View Post
I nearly always use a single focus point regardless of the camera in use ,As sophisticated as these cameras are they will never know just what you want to be in Sharp focus .
I think it really is up to us to do our bit and get the point just were we want it -most of the time thats easier said than done on flight shots even then i hate to say it but we need a lot of luck as well .
Rob.
Unless I'm shooting snapshots I also use single focus almost exlusively. Many of the terrific features of the cameras we use are sales gimmicks IMHO. Multi focus points, IS, autofocus, program modes, etc are all well and good, but I regard them as something that journalistic photographers use because they are shooting at speed and in various conditions that they don't have a lot of control over. In the end, all these gimmicks are compromises.

My best shots come when I'm on the tripod, controlling lighting to the extent I can, using the 5x or 10x focus tool (that's a real good one IMHO!) and having total control over f stop and shutter speed.

Unlike some of you I remember pre autofocus days when we had to do all the above by ourselves. Took some pretty good pics, too.
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Old Tuesday 6th November 2012, 13:23   #18
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/potbell...60/photostreamThe only thing flying at this point that I shoot are jets, and that was with a 70-200 f4 lens paired with a 7D body using the AI servo AF at 8 FPS high shutter speed, shots were great for a 70-200 lens. I need to put my 7D away which I love and carry my 5Dm3 around as if it were my only camera because when I first got the 7D I was in the same delimma.

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Old Tuesday 6th November 2012, 20:48   #19
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The "5D Mark III Digital Field Guide" by Charlotte K. Lowrie has some nice tips for using the 5Dm3 AF and many other areas.
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