Taming the beast: a tutorial for Canon’s AF system

We know that while being an advanced (possibly the most advanced available) and powerful Auto-Focus system, the AF sported on the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 1D X can be confusing and overwhelming. Even Ken Rockwell wasn’t able to cope with it :-). There is a comprehensive guide released by Canon (right click here and save as) and oriented to all the photographers that want to master the AF system on their 5D3 and 1DX bodies. It’s a 40 pages document, and if you are looking for something more tutorial-like, then I have a good link for you.

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More on Canon’s light-leaking issue

The possible light-leaking issue of the EOS 5D Mark III is making people curios. And while it is true that if your cam is working as expected (and as it should) with mounted lenses there is no “real issue”, it is still worth to trace down this thing. Let’s see it from a hacker’s perspective: it is not a problem you should be worried about, nevertheless I want to know if it is there. And then: is the 5D Mark III the only canon digital body that is (possibly) affected by the light-leaking issue I reported in my previous post? At canonrumors they decided to test all the Canon bodies they have in stock. Results in short…:

  • EOS 60D no issue
  • EOS 7D no issue
  • EOS 1D Mark IV – some issues and no backlight issue on one body, no issues on another body
  • EOS 5D Mark II – same issue in direct sunlight, no LCD backlight issue, no flashlight issue
  • EOS 5D Mark III – reported issues confirmed, but then… (quoting CR):
    • «The final test I did with the 5D Mark III was take the lens cap off and meter off a relatively neutral wall. I turned on the backlight and nothing changed. I then pressed a 130 lumen flashlight up against the top LCD and the exposure didn’t change. I also ran the flashlight around the camera body and absolutely nothing changed»
Once more: this is not an issue that should make you return your 5D Mark III or make you change your mind about this outstanding camera.
[via CR]

New EOS 5D Mark III real-world sample pics, various lenses used

Dpreview just posted a gallery of real-world sample images shot using a production-standard Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

We’ve been out shooting with a range of lenses and in a variety of lighting conditions with Canon’s latest full-frame DSLR, superseding our preview gallery that was shot with a pre-production camera. The gallery includes some shots processed with Adobe Camera Raw and a shot using the camera’s multiple exposure feature.

See the gallery here


Adorama TV reviews 5D Mark III, and comparison with D800

AdoramaTV Pro puts Canon’s and Nikon’s newest Full Frame pro DSLRs, the 5D Mark III and D800, head to head in a video shootout. In the video moiré on the 5D Mark III looks much better controlled than in the D800. Another thing that caught my attention was to see how much detail the 5D maintains at high ISOs (>6400) while well controlling the noise.

They compare:

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EOS 1D X/5D Mark III video explains the AF system

I found a good >4min video about Canon’s new AF system on CPN’s site. The video is about the EOS 1D X, but since the 5D Mark III sports the same AF system what is told in the video applies also to the latter. Let me first sum up the AF system.

The Canon EOS-1D X and 5D Mark III DSLRs feature an advanced 61-point AF system. The new AF system delivers consistent focusing performance, independently from which kind of subject you are framing or from possible bad light sonditions you may encounter.

Mike Owen (European Professional Imaging Communications Manager) talks about the key features and advantages of the new 61-points AF system that comes with 41 cross-type sensors and five dual-cross type AF points for even more precision. There is also motorsport photographer Frits van Eldik in the film, talking about his first impressions with the new AF system: “The 61-point system on the EOS-1D X is so quick and accurate, and has AF points spread over a wide field, that it allows you to focus very accurately”.

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Yet Another 5D Mark III vs D800 Comparisons Round-up (5D3 clear winner regarding AF, ISO performance)


Let’s go into another round of what is starting to look as a Battle of the Giants.

Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III vs Nikon’s D800. Both full-frame, the Nikon having a 36MP sensor, Canon a 22MP, and costing respectively $2,999 (Nikon) vs $3,499 (Canon). Announced and released more or less at the same time, these two cameras are heating up the discussion in dedicated forums and allover the web. Which one is better? Which camera has the better AF? Which one has better ISO performance, and so on and so forth.

It’s obviously never really an easy issue to compare cameras – do you prefer mere technical specification (are you engineering-oriented?), or do you like field-tests (do you prefer real-world performance analysis)? And it’s is even more difficult if the cameras you want to compare are similar, both the most advanced in their league, and perform both very good. Sure, the D800 has some features that make it shine out: lower price tag, high-res sensor, very good performance at lower ISOs (and more). The Canon, on the other side, comes with a sensor that has a surprisingly “low” resolution, given the high-res-sensors-run most camera manufactures have embraced (but then: 22MP is not low-res, it’s high resolution but not the MP champion the D800 is). The Canon shines out with an advanced Auto-Focus system, well controlled moire and aliasing, and very good high ISO performance. I don’t think you can state one is better than the other. Sure, they have different strengths (and weaknesses), and at the very end it is up to your preferences and needs. Are you mostly a studio shooter, do you need to make extreme crops, do you need a 36MP to earn your living (or simply have lots of Nikon lens)? – Then the D800 may be better suited for your needs. On the other hand, if you are a wedding photographer,  need a camera that adapts to many different situations, are you mainly shooting in low-light and (and have lotsa Canon lens)? – Then the 5D Mark III may be your choice of default. In this post I concentrate on the AF system and on noise performance. How do the cameras compare?

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