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I wasn't sure if I should post this in the Canon Equipment section or Wildlife, but since it is related to the performance of the camera, I thought I would post it here...
I was able to finally get one good day of weather to test out the new 5D Mark III's autofocus performance as it relates to BIF (Birds-In-Flight) photography.
I took my trusty Canon 600mm f/4 IS lens + 1.4x TC and headed to a local Great Blue Heron Rookery for a few test shots with the 5D Mark III.
I've only had about three hours worth of testing the new autofocus system, so this is just preliminary. It appears to be about on par with the Mark IV and 7D's autofocus systems. I certainly wouldn't have any qualms using it for BIF photography. As far as what settings are best? I'm still working on that. Tracking set to slow as usual, the rest is debatable. I have yet to determine any meaningful differences, but it's early in the learning curve.
I did give the 5DM3 some challenges...Double-Crested Cormorants against dark backgrounds, Great Blue Herons against busy backgrounds, etc. Acquisition of focus was fast and accurate as long as I was able to put the focus point on the bird. This is a bit trickier with a full-frame camera since the FOV is larger. If it didn't acquire focus, usually it was my fault for not initially putting the bird on the center focus point.
All and all....looking good!
Here are some sample images, all taken with the 5DM3, 600mm + 1.4x TC:
Great Blue Heron: 1/1600sec, f/5.6, ISO 640:
Great Blue Heron: 1/1600sec, f/5.6, ISO 800:
Great Blue Heron: 1/2500sec, f/5.6, ISO 640:
Double Crested Cormorant: 1/1600sec, f/5.6, ISO 400:
Double Crested Cormorant: 1/2000sec, f/5.6, ISO 800:
For Fun... Great Horned Owlet: 1/160sec, f/10, ISO 200: