It Ain't Just Birds: Why I Love My Canon EOS-5D Mark III

sunflower-_a1c6710-newton-nj

This sunflower image was created on Denise Ippolito’s A Creative Adventure Sunflower Workshop in Newton, NJ this past August with the tripod-mounted Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II lens, the Canon 1.4x EF tele-extender III, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body w/FREE Bonus Item – $91.90 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/6 sec. at f/16 in Av mode. Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

It Ain’t Just Birds: Why I Love My Canon EOS-5D Mark III

Light Weight & Large, High Quality Image Files

Whether or not birds are the main subjects, I love the 5D Mark III for its light weight and its incredible, high quality image files. For the sunflower image above I ran NIK Color Efex Pro Tonal Contrast on the whole image at about 80% followed by Detail Extractor at 80% on the flower and the bud only. I painted away the Detail Extractor on the background using a Hide-All Mask. I did lots of work on the YELLOWs with both Selective Color and Hue-Saturation. All as described in detail in Digital Basics. Digital Basics, a PDF sent via e-mail, includes my complete digital workflow, dozens of great Photoshop tips, histogram and exposure how-to info, and all of my keyboard shortcuts (including the customized shortcuts that I have created).

The two primary factors that influenced the success of the image are my careful choice of perspective, one that resulted in the bud being pleasingly juxtaposed with the bloom, and the choice of a small aperture so that the depth of field brought up the degree of background detail that I wanted.

NIK 15% Discount

As regular readers know, Color Efex Pro has drastically changed my digital workflow and little by little I have begun using Viveza to solve sticky image optimization problems and Silver Efex Pro fo fast, dramatic B&W conversions. You can save 15% on all NIK products (including Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, and Viveza) by clicking here and entering BAA in the Promo Code box at check-out. Then hit Apply to see your savings. You can download a trial copy that will work for 15 days and allow you to create full sized images.

patterns-in-dune-_a1c1999-white-sands-national-monument-alamagordo-nm_0

This image features patterns in the dunes at White Sands National Monument, NM. It was created with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM telephoto zoom lens, the Canon 1.4x EF tele-extender III, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body w/FREE Bonus Item – $91.90 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 400. Evaluative metering + 1 1/3 stops: 1/200 sec. at f/22 in Av mode. Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Full Frame Dream Body with Incredibly Detailed Files for Landscape Photographers

Landscape photographers have always embraced full frame digital camera bodies so that they can get the most out of their wide angle lenses. As I am more of a telephoto guy I made nearly all of my White Sands images with the 70-200 while Denise Ippolito relied mainly on her Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS EF USM AF zoom lens. She too loves her 5D Mark III.

As for incredible detail, click on the dune pattern image and check out the sparrow footprints in the foreground.

sunrise-blur-_a1c8742-bosque-del-apache-nwr-san-antonio-nm

This pre-dawn sunrise blur was created on the Bosque del Apache IPT with the hand held Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM telephoto zoom lens, the Canon 1.4x EF tele-extender III (at 98mm), and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body w/FREE Bonus Item – $91.90 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 1000. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/2 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode. Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF and pan. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Shoulder Saver Camera Body

The 5D III (at 30.34 ounces) weighs 1 1/2 pounds less than the Canon EOS-1D X digital camera body w/FREE Bonus Item – $449.45 Value! [expires soon]! (3.4 pounds). When you are carrying an intermediate telephoto zoom lens on your shoulder for a whole day 1 1/2 pounds makes a huge difference.

The image above was created at 6:09am, nearly an hour before sunrise. As it states in the Bosque Site Guide, the richest pre-dawn colors often occur 45 or more minutes before sunrise. Here, the exposure data, 1/2 sec at f/4 at ISO 1000 indicates that we were photographing in near darkness. Had the birds flown, it would have been impossible to render them recognizably in an image. Denise Ippolito inspired the group and me to begin creating 1/2 second pan blurs that featured only swatches of lovely colors.

My Black Rapid RS-7 Strap makes carrying an intermediate telephoto lens rig on my shoulder easy and allows me to be ready to photograph in an instant. Be sure to get in the habit of re-tightening the fastener each time that you handle the lens.

maya-smiling-_a1c8411-li-ny

This image of my granddaughter Maya Egensteiner (who celebrated her 11th birthday this week) was created at my Mom’s 90ieth birthday party with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM telephoto zoom lens and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body w/FREE Bonus Item – $91.90 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 800. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/100 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode.

61-point/AI Servo Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

On-camera fill flash at -1/3 stop bounced off the ceiling with the Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT

Amazing AF System

The 5D Mark III’s AF 61-point High Density array covers a wider area within the viewfinder than ever before. There are 41 cross-type AF points. The AF Configuration Tool allows users to easily tailor AI Servo AF for either continuous, steady movement, or for unpredictable, erratic movement. At the party, I used 61-point almost exclusively and pretty much every image was razor sharp on the subject’s eye despite the low light conditions in the restaurant.

king-penguin-molting-flock-multple-exposure-_a1c3130-ample-bay-colony-salisbury-plain-south-georgia

This five-frame in-camera King Penguin flock multiple exposure was created at the Ample Bay Colony, Salisbury Plain, South Georgia with the tripod-mounted Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS EF USM AF Lens and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body w/FREE Bonus Item – $91.90 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 100. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/50 sec. at f/16 in Av mode.

Central sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

When even the remotest possibility of doing some serious land-scape or bird-scape work with a short lens exists, I make sure to have a Wimberley P-5 plate and my Giottos MH 1302-655 Ballhead in my vest. It takes less than two minutes to mount the plate on the camera body, spin off the Mongoose M3.6, and replace it with the tiny ballhead.

In-Camera Multiple Exposures

The 5D III has an in-camera Multiple Exposure feature that offers many great options and is fun to use. I think multiple exposures whenever I encounter scenes with lot of birds or lots of flowers. You can learn exactly how I use the ME feature in the EOS-5D Mark III User’s Guide.

To learn to create a variety of in-camera multiple exposures, get yourself a copy of Denise Ippolito’s Creative Multiple Exposures MP4 Video. Only $4.00!

bricks-and-pipes-_a1c9810-grytviken-south-georgia

This five frame in-camera HDR was created at the derelict whaling station at Grytviken, South Georgia with the tripod-mounted Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM telephoto zoom lens (at 175mm) and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital camera body w/FREE Bonus Item – $91.90 Value! [expires soon]! ISO 400. Five frames bracketed around +1 stop: 1/2 sec. at f/32 in Manual mode. Live View was used as Mirror Lock in conjunction with the 2-second timer.

Central Sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF active and re-compose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

In-camera HDR Feature

I would keep my 5D Mark III for this feature alone as the EOS-1D X does not have it. It is way too much fun and offers lots of options. Of the 5 HDR styles, my favorite is Art Vivid. In the EOS-5D Mark III User’s Guide I share with you my preferred settings along with several ways to access this great feature. Not to mention everything that I know about the great AF system including my customized AF Case for birds in flight.

king-penguin-flocks-by-stream-_a1c0903-ample-bay-colony-salisbury-plain-south-georgia_0

This in-camera Art Vivid HDR image of a group of King Penguins by a stream was created at the Ample Bay Colony, Salisbury Plain, South Georgia with the tripod-mounted Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS EF USM AF Lens and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera (Body Only) w/FREE Bonus Items – $160.75 Value! [expires 11/24]!. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/160 sec. at f/22 in Av mode +/- 2 full stops.

Central sensor/AI Servo Rear Focus AF and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Be sure to click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

When even the remotest possibility of doing some serious land-scape or bird-scape work with a short lens exists, I make sure to have a Wimberley P-5 plate and my Giottos MH 1302-655 Ballhead in my vest. It takes less than two minutes to mount the plate on the camera body, spin off the Mongoose M3.6, and replace it with the tiny ballhead.

Summing Up

While the EOS-5D Mark III is a great camera for birds and wildlife photography, it shines as a general photography body. Why? Light weight, large (22mp), gorgeous image files, great high ISO performance, in-camera multiple exposures, in-camera HDRs, and a killer AF system that is nearly identical to the AF system in the vaunted EOS-1D X. One thing is for sure, I love my 5D III.

Which is Your Favorite Image

Take a moment to leave a comment and let us know which of the images above is your favorite. And do let us know why you like it.

Purchase a 5D Mark III Now!

If reading and studying this blog post has inspired you to purchase an EOS-5D Mark III, we sure would appreciate your using one of our B&H affiliate links to make your purchase. It’s a great way to thank us for the information provided on the blog and in the Bulletins. And best of all, it will not cost you a cent.





Right now there is a killer deal (link below) on the 5D Mark III/24-105 combo but here’s the rub: you need to add the combo to your shopping cart to see the huge ($800!) savings.



BIRDS AS ART/A Creative Adventure Barnegat Jetty II IPT

We had so much fun at the jetty in the wild weather in December–see the following blog posts here, here, here, and here, that I am flying back to New Jersey for more. Since there were lots of Harlequins, Long-tailed Ducks, and Purple Sandpipers we decided to put together another small group. Do consider joining us. As for me, I can’t wait to get back.

BIRDS AS ART/Barnegat Jetty IPT II, Barnegat Light, NJ: 2 1/2 DAYS. JAN 18 (1:30pm), 19, and 20, 2012: $999. Limit 8/Openings: 4. Includes 5 photo-sessions, both lunches, introductory slide program, image review, sharing, editing, and Photoshop.

Note: On cloudy days we grab a quick lunch and spend most of the day photographing. :)

Join Denise Ippolito and Arthur Morris for a 2 1/2 Day Instructional Photo-Tour at the infamous Barnegat Jetty in Barnegat Light, New Jersey. You will learn how to get close to the ducks and shorebirds that frequent this famed winter birding and photography hotspot, how to get the right exposure every time, and how to see, understand, and tackle a variety of photographic situations. We should have some excellent chances with Harlequin Duck and Purple Sandpiper, the two headliner species. With any luck we should get to photograph most of these species: Long-tailed Duck (formerly Oldsquaw), Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Red-breasted Merganser, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, Common Eider, Brant, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstone, Black-bellied Plover, and Sanderling. Great Black-backed, Herring, and Ring-billed Gulls are also likely. Sunning Harbor Seals are possible. With the right winds we may have some good flight photography with the sea ducks.

Having at least a 500mm f/4 lens with a 1.4X teleconverter is recommended. Participants should be in good physical condition with a good sense of balance. $500 non-refundable credit card deposit by phone: 1-863-692-0906. Weekends OK.

Can’t Make the Whole Thing?

If you can’t make the whole thing, you can join what will likely be a small group as follows: Full Day with lunch: $400. Afternoon (1:30-dusk): $250. Call to arrange: 1-863-692-0906. Weekends OK.

seminar-card-tampa-sharper

Weekend Creative Nature Photography Seminar, Tampa, FL: February 23 & 24, 2013: $149 Limit: 50/Openings: 12

Join Denise Ippolito and me on the weekend of February 23-24 on the outskirts of Tampa, FL for a great weekend of fun and learning. Learn to improve your photography skills, your skill at designing images in the field, your creative vision, and your image optimization skills. Sunday critiquing session. Click here for additional details and the complete schedule.

Best to register soon as the seminar is filling up nicely.

Typos

On all blog posts, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment regarding any typos, wrong words, misspellings, or grammatical errors. Just be right. :)


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36 comments to It Ain’t Just Birds: Why I Love My Canon EOS-5D Mark III

  • avatar Jan

    Yes I bought an early version of the 5d Mark III guide. I tried clicking on the “here” to email Jim or Jen but it didn’t work. I’ll try calling. Thanks

  • avatar Carolyn Peterson

    Hi Artie and Denise!
    I just ordered the 5D mkIII (w/24-105)via your link and hope to have the camera in hand in time to try it out this weekend. It will be my first full frame camera. I have been struggling with my 7D (operator issues), but am determined to keep reading your blogs and hopefully join you on the Swan Island IPT (only 30 minutes from my house!!!)this fall (if I can take time off work). I am following your 600 v 800 discussion with interest. I found your earlier posts on lens alignment and hope to calibrate my cameras once I can get the weather to cooperate after tax season.
    PS I’m the one with the video of Gentoo penguins jumping/flopping onto the rocks on Steeple Jason. I showed it to Denise in the Ushuaia airport.

  • avatar Jan

    Hi Artie,
    I’ve been searching for my receipt for my purchase of the 5d mark III guide for $40. SO far I have only found the purchase listed on my Visa statement. The purchase was made on July 5. I don’t know what happened to your receipt. I assume you sent one. I guess its up to you whether or not you want to send the rest of the guide. Its the price I’ll pay for being careless. Jan Weld

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Did you buy an early version? Do you have a copy? Whatever the case, e-mail Jim or Jen here and they will help you out. artie

      ps: Ah, just saw your first comment below. Just cut and paste or do a screen capture of the first page of the guide; that’s an easy way to confirm purchase.

      • Also…if she’s registered on your store site, she can view her past
        purchase orders. Don’t know how far back it goes, but I can see my
        orders from March of 2012.

        Once you log in, you’ll see two boxes, Profile and Orders.

        Doug

  • I never upgraded the 1d classic, but now canon don’t support it I might just have to :-(

  • avatar Chris K.

    I love my 5D III also, hey Arthur, wrote you an email last week for some advice for a lens, thanks anyway…

  • avatar Jan

    Hi Art,
    I love your work. I also love the 5d mark III. I purchased the early guide for the camera. Have you ever finished the guide. It was my understanding the rest of it would be forwarded on upon completion. I know you have been quite busy. Just wondering if it is done and how I would get the completed version. Thanks

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. The guide is long since finished. e-mail us with some sort of proof of purchase and we will shoot you the final version.

  • avatar Mark

    That sunflower is a special picture, Denise. Your pics never cease to amaze me.

    But why a 1.4 on a 500? I can understand the wonderful 500, but doesn’t a 1.4 ever so slightly degrade quality? Not that I can see any degradation, but what if you took the pic twice, once with it and once without it? Did it give you even more compression? DOF is already thin, but the entire flower is in focus. Love it.

    Mark

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Watch it Bud! That is my sunflower image :). Yes, images made with a TC are slightly less sharp than images made without a TC. But today’s glass is so sharp that it is easy to create professionally sharp images with both the 1.4X and the 2X TCs. The longer the focal length the narrower the angle of view….

  • My “plan” is to buy a 5D III with my tax refund about March. BUT…Lately I’ve been going back n forth on whether or not purchase a used Mark IV instead since the prices are about the same. Minus the crop/no crop factor…any reason to go with a used Mark IV vs a new 5D III? As far as what images I like…the penguins. Probably cause my nickname is penguin :) Right now I’m using the Canon 1D Mark II and 1DS Mark II. Thanks, Doug

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey, you have a 1DS MII so you know about working with full frame cameras….MIV vs 5D III is of course a personal decision…. As above I love the 5D III files and enjoy the convenience of in-camera HDRs and MEs…. But that’s me. I will be selling a used MIV quite soon. Any and all are invited to e-mail me. Did I mention cheap? I will also be selling my 800 soon. Also cheap.

      • avatar Charles Scheffold

        So did you get the new 600 yet? I’m guessing so if you are already set to dump the 800… I’m still on the fence.

  • Great post Arthur. 2 questions:

    1. Did u experience the light leakage issue (from top panel) with 5D III?

    2. The above images are great. Are those impossible with a 5D II or 6D? I would just like to know the specific advantages of 5D III.

    Thanks in advance.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      1-No. My understanding is that that is an issue only with night-sky photography. And I am pretty sure that the problem was fixed.

      2-You can do HDRs with Photomatix or NIK HDR Pro. And you can assemble multiple exposures in Photoshop. But I am lazy and love, love, love the fact that you can do both in-camera only with the 5D III. You cannot do either with the 5D II. I do not know much about the 6D. 5D II AF is not nearly as good as with the 5D III.

      • Hi Artie. Thanks for the reply. In fact, I’m lazier than you. I address the HDR issue in 1 shot with a GND filter mounted in front of my 450D (let alone 5D II). Always shoot in RAW, process in DPP.

  • avatar Steve

    Agree on the granddaughter. Artie, two 5D3 questions: 1. does the focusing speed drive speed improve with the battery grip / 2nd battery? As good as 1DX? 2. I recall you saying you were going to update 5D3 guide in January — still happenning? Thanks.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Not sure. AF is great but not as fast to acquire as the 1D X from where I sit….. As far as a 5D III Guide, not much new on that front. I did a pretty good job with covering everything in the final version. I do hope that you got the final…. Let me know if I missed anything.

  • avatar Nancy Bell

    #1 choice: Maya! She is so lovely. #2 choice: The beautiful sand dunes. Love the minimalist look yet it is full of detail.

  • avatar Jim Kranick

    Artie,
    Today my picks are the image of Maya and the in-camera HDR at Ample Bay showing the vast number of King Penguins.

    I’m glad you love your 5D Mk3 so much. I was looking for a FF landscape camera this spring and when both you and Robert Amoruso said how well it worked on birds I thought a Dual Purpose camera and went for it. The images make me smile almost every time I use it.

    Thanks again for all the info you give us.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Jim and you are welcome. That images shows just a small number of penguins. The main colony at Salisbury Plain and the amazing one at St. Andrews Bay are the vast ones!

  • Maya wins hands down; the Salisbury Plains is a very very close second! Would love to return; just too many other great places to see in the World.

  • Hi Artie, excellent presentation of the 5D3 and it’s various attributes; I love mine!

    And for those that do not have Artie’s books, they are all indispensable. So much so that they are constant references in both my iPad and iPhone using GoodReader which for me is also indispensable. BTW, prospective purchaser, all updates are included in the original purchase price – amazing bargain!!!

    Artie, how do we know if our Digital Basics and other books are up to date? Is there a link that shows the latest versions/updates for each book?

    Cheers Mate!

    PS: Bummed that I am missing the Tampa Two-Day Dance! Arriving Miami Feb 23; can’t change the flight as I see the lung dr on 2/22. My mes were cut in half in Dec!!!!!!!! Lungs totally stable; I expect another 1/2 reduction in Feb and good bye drugs in May!!!!!

    Love to catch up and have a face to face while in Fla. Cheers,

  • avatar David Policansky

    I do like what Jay said! Other than lovely Maya, my favorite image is of the White Sands dune; I love the detail, perspective, color, did I mention detail? And a question, Artie: in practice, how does the 5D3′s autofocus stack up against the 1DX’s? Is there really a noticeable difference?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      5D III AF is great for birds in flight. AF system is same as 1D X. The 5D III is slower to drive AF with and without teleconverters as the 1D X has a far more powerful battery.

  • avatar Jay

    Sure, include an image of your granddaughter and then ask us to tell you which image is our favorite. Besides the portrait of the lovely young lady, I really like the predawn photo of Bosque. Love the colors. It’s very impressionistic. I also like the sand dune.