The Canon EOS-5D Mark III: I’m In Love! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The Canon EOS-5D Mark III: I'm In Love!

This image was created with the tripod-mounted Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at +1 stop off the blue sky: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor–Expand AF area/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial.

Click on the image to enjoy a larger, more spectacular version.

The Canon EOS-5D Mark III: I’m In Love!

I left my office home a bit late at 8:15am today to head down to the lake five minutes from my home. With all my lenses and my new Canon EOS-5D Mark III. I photographed a few Sandhill Cranes and was especially impressed with the rear LCD screen; the images looked better than many laptop monitors I have seen. Exposure seemed very similar to my Mark IV bodies. Then I noticed an Osprey flying around with a fish so I grabbed the lens, jumped out of the car, and began making images. I kept that up for a few minutes until my arm gave out and then ran back to the car to grab the 3530 LS tripod with the Mongoose M3.6 on it. Miraculously the bird was still flying around. I created the image above just as he landed on the wire below his nest.

When I got home and viewed the series of flight images I realized that my 5D III AF predictions were true. Every image was sharp. Even when the bird flew behind a wire or the telephone pole. The files are luscious, incredibly detailed and sharp with natural color. Using this full frame camera with the 800 lens wide open at f/5.6 I needed to eliminate the vignetting. I did that for the image above in Photoshop. On the flight image below I used the Lens Correction tab in ACR.

BTW, thanks to Arash Harzeghi who pointed me here download for the Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw 6.7 Plug-In Release Candidate. I downloaded the Windows version, opened the ZIP file, and clicked on the install folder. In minutes I was able to convert my RAW files after hitting Control D in BreezeBrowser.

I must tell you, I have never been so excited about a new camera before.

I had headed out even without taking a look at the camera body manual. I had gone through all the Menus and I must say I was mega-confused…. As you can see that did not hurt my images though. As it turns out I was in Central Sensor Expand AF area. I plan on experimenting with all of the AF area selection modes. And I will of course be working hard on the BAA 5D Mark III User’s Guide. I have even figured out how to toggle between the various AF area selection modes. I could not do that this morning :). And it took me quite a while to figure out how to set up rear focus….

One strange thing that I noted while hand holding the 800. While tracking the Osprey in flight I experienced what I can only describe as IS shimmer; the viewfinder image seemed to shimmer slightly as I panned. I was of course was in AI Servo AF with IS Mode 2 set and IS on of course. The good news is that all of the images were sharp.

This image was created with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/640 sec. at f/8 in Manual mode. The lens was supported by a BLUBB on the car window.

Central Sensor–Expand AF area/Rear Focus AF on the right-hand bird’s eye and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

The image above was my first 5D Mark III keeper.

This image was also created with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1/3 stop: 1/320 sec. at f/13 in Manual mode. As above, the lens was supported by a BLUBB on the car window.

Central Sensor–Expand AF area/Rear Focus AF on the right-hand bird’s eye and recompose. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

As I was working at point blank range note that I stopped down to ensure that all of the feathers on the side of the bird were rendered as sharp as possible. Depth-of-field is at a minimum when you are working near the minimum focusing distance of the lens.

This image was created with the hand held Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at +1 stop off the blue sky: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode.

Central Sensor–Expand AF area/Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

I am not very skilled at hand holding big lenses but I was able to keep the bird in the frame for most of the flight images that I created.

B&H Links of Note

You can pre-order your Canon EOS-5D Mark III here. A second shipment is expected soon.

Even better, you can have a 5D Mark III shipped today if you package it with my favorite B-roll lens, the 24-105mm IS L zoom lens. I try never to leave home without it. The package represents a savings of $350. Here is the link for the 5D MIII/24-105mm kit.

Click here to learn more about the 24-105 and see the price of the lens alone….

The Contest Deadline…

The contest deadline–March 31, 2012 is fast approaching. Things are at a fever pitch here as as many as 30 folks have been signing up every day. Though several folks have purchased two or three entries the record is ten! We hope that your images make it in time for the judging.

BTW, if you pay without registering you will not here from us. Best to register first and then pay or send your B&H receipt. If you are late to the party click here for complete info on the BIRDS AS ART 1st International Bird Photography Competition.

Earn Free Contest Entries and Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

More and more folks are earning multiple contest entries with their B & H purchases. See here for details on that. Eleven great categories, 34 winning and honored images, and prize pools valued in excess of $20,000. Click here to visit the competition home page.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s post. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EOS-5D Mark III. Man, I am in love with this camera body. Both the files and the AF system are superb. I cannot wait to get to Morro Bay.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

BLUBB. The BLUBB (Big Lens Ultimate BeanBag) is the world’s finest big lens beanbag. There are knock-offs for half the price but you will be wasting your money….
LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders πŸ™‚ And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

48 comments to The Canon EOS-5D Mark III: I’m In Love!

  • Mike Vanecek

    I need a second body in addition to my 1D4. I was thinking about buying another one (used since 1D4 is discontinued) since I know the settings, functions, and so on. Right after the SW FL IPT a gust of wind took out the 1D4 and my 50D did not really meet my needs.

    Your positive comments make me wonder if maybe I should get a 5D III instead. However, your “mega confused” comment suggests that such a move might not be a good move for me.


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I was confused as I was working on the 5D MIII User’s Guide. Now I have a great understanding of this great camera and all of its wonderful capabilities and it’s menu items. And all is reflected in the guide.

      • Mike Vanecek

        I was able to buy a used Mark 4 in great shape for $3,100. I depend on your Mark 4 guide so I have no doubt your 5D III is going to be great. Just wanted to avoid the learning curve for now. Thanks for the reply.

  • Juan Carlos Vindas

    Hello Arthur.

    Lovely set of images you have made with the new 5DIII. Love the fine details and clear compositions.

    Hoping to see more of your work.


  • Clive Culverwell

    Thanks for you excellent insight and images Art.

    I am trying to decide whether to get two 5D mk3 bodies or a 1Dx for roughly the same price. All depends how well the thing autofocuses with a 1.4x TC with pins taped up on my 800mm lens. Do you think the 5D will still hit the AF or run too fast and overshoot the mark?

    Thanks for the feedback


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I have never used the “tape the pins” trick but folks using it with shorter lenses, 400 f/5.6 and the 1.4X TC for example, have always stated that it is interminably slow…. I do not plan on every taping the pins. I have been using the 5D III/800 combo for most of my Morro Bay photography and 100% of flight stuff and going to the 800/1.4X TC/MIV combo for the grebes….. It has been working great.

  • Don Burd

    Wonderful image! It definitely has that WOW factor that not all images have. It looks like it’s coming right at you, I love it.

  • cheapo

    That Osprey image just put a huge smile across my face! For two reasons really. Since childhood I have loved Ospreys, and our whole family enthused about their return to Scotland after the shameful extirpation of the species. My second reason to smile is, Artie’s past comment about some folks thinking that a new camera will help them take better pictures. You have to admit Artie that there’s a certain irony to be had. πŸ˜‰ But that first image really is a super duper approach capture! The two legs up image seems ideal. The birds pose is wonderfully relaxed, the overlap does not matter at all, suitably bland BG, and even with what might be described as dull coloured plumage, they stand out nicely. But I love the wing tuck image! The detail makes it almost as much as the bird’s sweet sleepy pose.

  • Robert Royse

    Hi Artie,

    Great shots like always, of course.

    One of my pet peeves with the 800mm is the light fall off that can be especially noticable with flying birds against a blue sky. I can see with the full frame camera it is even more noticable. I guess it either bothers you or it doesn’t. I wish there was a lens profile in ACR for the Canon 800, but there isn’t and the new 6.7 version that you provided a link for doesn’t add it as I was hoping. I have been using the vignetting profile for the Sigma 800 in ACR with the Mark IV files in those situations. It does OK, but one especially designed for the Canon 800 would be a lot better. Have you ever tried to deal with the 800’s light fall off, or do you think it doesn’t matter?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Robert, Thanks for the kind image words. The light fall off with the 1D IV even wide open never bothered me. Heck, I never even noticed. I did notice it with the 5D III. The may add a lens profile at some point. It is much easier to deal with it in ACR with the Lens Correction tab than it is to deal with it in Photoshop. I did the former with the 2nd Osprey image, the latter with the first one. WHy? I did not notice it at first :).

      If I do not notice it it does not matter to me. But I am not that observant when it comes to stuff like that….

      • Robert Royse

        I don’t think I would have noticed it in those osprey shots either if I wasn’t looking for it. Those shots are perfectly framed and the brightest part is in the middle. Where it can start looking funny is if you have to crop a photo flying bird because it isn’t positioned perfectly in the frame (it happens :)) and one side or corner of the sky is a lot lighter or darker.

  • Regarding the IS phenomenon you experienced with the 800mm. This might be a firmware issue. There is a similar issue with the 200mm 1:2L IS that was release at the same time as the 800mm. See here for more:

    I love your images and thanks for sharing your first experience with the 5D Mark III πŸ™‚

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You are welcome sir :). I did not hear any noise but then again I do not hear such good. What I noticed was that the image seemed to shimmer. I think that that was only when I was hand holding. I will have to check during the coming week in Morro Bay. I will let everyone know what I find. Thanks for the link. The good news is that the images are not affected at all.

  • Claus Vind

    Many thanks for the review, it is much appreciated. One question: Do you know if the 300/2.8 + TC2 will works as well on the 5d3 as the 1dx ? Canon has been known to ‘dumb down’ the AF on non-1d cameras, is this still the case ? (I know the AF HW should be identical, but much can be done in SW) ( I am on the fence between a 1d4/5d3/1dx). The 1dx seems rather expensive given one can get two 5d3 for the same money.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Have not tried that combo yet. I may experiment a bit in Morro Bay. Or not :). Do remember that adding a TC always slows AF, more so with a 2X than with a 1.4X.

  • Charles Scheffold

    The tight shot of the Sandhill resting is absolutely killer!! Love the detail and color. Have fun with your new toy! I almost went for the 5D3, but I decided to wait and see if the 1DX ends up with AF at f/8 after all. Lots of rumors floating around πŸ˜‰


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Charlie, I about had a cow when I saw that bird’s wing up over its head :). Canon seems adamant about the no f/8 focus…. But heck, there is always the tape the pins trick…. Don’t quote me; I do not think that I am allowed to say that….

  • Bill Richardson

    Ok, I just ordered one. I sold my 5D2 last week and will be selling my 1Ds3 and using the 5D3 as an alternative. I love my 1Ds3 but need a lighter body for travel and you convinced me the new AF will be even better. Keeping my 1D4 though! ;-0 I am already studying a downloaded 5D3 manual and the AF system seems to be pretty user friendly. Is that your experience?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I will be keeping my 1DIV too so good plan. And yes to the lighter bit. The AF stuff is a bit tricky. I still have more studying to do.

  • Artie: Beautiful images…as usual. I have the 5D MK III and will put it to work as soon as I can get out. Enjoy my old backyard. I’m loving Bend. I’ll be back in FL next month and see you at the St Augustine programs. I assume you will be there? My best to you and thanks for sitting through my program in Naples.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks George. I enjoyed your program immensely as usual as you had lots of great new stuff. Especially the stuff from Holland. I was not invited to St. Augustine. Hard to figure out why but there is some strange stuff going on there…. I broke all records for workshop income generated last year….

      Have fun and say hi to the folks at the Alligator Farm for me and to the rest of the boys and girls as well. And to the gators, especially the one that ate my teleconverter a few years back when I dropped it in the pond πŸ™‚

  • Dawn Douglas

    Hi Artie,

    I’m getting a 5D III to replace my old 1D Mk II and am thinking of getting a used 5D II as a backup. Are they similar enough to use this way? Thanks for all the information in your newsletters. I’ll definitely want to get the 5DIII user’s manual when you have it ready!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Dawn, It is good to hear from you. Once you master the 5D III the 5D II will be a snap :). YAW and thanks for your kind words.

  • Artie just got the 5d III and the 600EX-RT. Any suggestions on which AI-SERVO mode works best for BIF? They have about 4 options in the menu selection.

    Also, will the better beamer for the 580ex2 work on the new flashes? The flash head is a tad larger. I haven’t tried it out yet, but will give it a whirl tomorrow. Regards


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Right now I am sticking with the versatile one for the most part but will experiment when I have a chance. As for the size of the flash head, let us know :). Thanks!

  • Ted Willcox

    I was planing on getting a Mark 1V body, but reading your comments and looking at your images,especially the first one it blows me away, I just might get the 5D Mark III our dig real deep and go for the IDX. Anyway I look forward to more of your comments on this camera and the IDX. Keep up the good work, this is for sure an interesting time to be alive!!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yes, a great time to be alive and lots of challenging choices as far as camera bodies go!

  • Great images. I have the EOS 5D Mark 2. Did you ever test it?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Robert, Get with the program. I have been writing about the 5D MII on the blog and in Bulletins ever since I got back from Antarctica at the end of February. The blog has a great search feature that will bring you to both Bulletin and blog mentions. Try it!

  • Geoff

    I just got mine on Monday and first impressions compared to my 5D2 and 7D are that this thing is amazing!! I’ve never owned the 1D4 though. I had pre read all about the AF options so I was able to jump right in and start shooting.

    Keep updating us on how it fares over the next few weeks. Would love some opinions on if the AF system is better than the 1D4 and if you miss the 1.3x crop or not!!

    Great images!

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I already know that the 5D III AF system is superior to that of the 1D IV. And I certainly did not miss the 1.3 crop factor on the opening image! And thanks!

      • Geoff

        I was fairly confident that the new AF had to be better than the 1D4 because it is the same system going into the new flagship 1DX (minus the new metering and face/color tracking). Canon would have a big problem if it wasn’t but I was just looking for some expert clarification and it sounds like I got it!!
        Are you going to get a 1DX also?

        • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Yes, I have pre-ordered my 1DX :). I am thrilled in that the AF seems so much better than previous systems. But I have only had one crack at it; more to come from Morro Bay….

  • Colin Smith

    How do you feel about losing the 1.3x or 1.6x crop factor/extra reach of the Mark IV or the 7D, for the full frame 5DIII? Not to mention the inability to autofocus at F 8. I use a 5D II for landscapes and 7Ds for birds, but I can’t see the 5DIII in my future for birds and wildlife, even with the improved autofocus. Will the 5DIII replace any of the smaller sensored cameras currently in your working lineup?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I have not used a 1.6 camera for almost a year now so nothing to miss there. And a 1Ds MII was my everyday camera for about two years. I made many of my all time favorites with it. No AF at f/8 can be a problem at times; that’s why I am keeping my two MIV bodies and probably buying a third. I plan on using my 5D III for birds and wildlife quite a bit in the coming months. At least for a while I will attempt to do all of my flight photography with it; it’s that good.

    • Dave Kerr


      The 5D III won’t autofocus at f8?


      • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Dave, No pro-sumer body focuses to f/8. Even the new pro body, the 1DX, will not.

  • Jay Gould

    Very impressive images, Sir. After spending four days with Chas doing a one on one of his STL Tech Series I was out shooting today with the 5D3 and the 70-300 f4-5.6L; a very impressive camera and lens combo when it is necessary to keep the weight at a minimum.

    You know I am fan and customer of all of your guides; looking forward to the 5D3 Artie’s Guide!! πŸ™‚

  • Sudhir Das

    Sirji, Any plans to come to India in near future ?

  • Sudhir Das

    Truly impressive results sir. I have a question. When 7d is used with canon 600mm + 1.4 tc, does its autofocus works?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Sudhir. And yes, the 7D will AF with any 600 f/4 and any 1.4X TC. All the cameras will focus at f/5.6.

  • Great images, I am waiting for my 5D Mark lll to be delivered to the camera shop. The color and defination are outstanding.

  • Dave Kerr

    Wow! These photos are extraordinary. I’ll have to put the 5D Mark III on my wish list.

  • Dom Leone

    You outdid yourself today, Art. These images are all superb
    and with a new camera. Terrific.