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Archive 2012 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight
  
 
AJay
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


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:






Alan
www.iwishicouldfly.com







Mar 26, 2012 at 10:54 PM
PhilDrinkwater
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


Fantastic news. looks like the new focus system works then. Did you test focus points outside of the centre?


Mar 26, 2012 at 11:00 PM
AJay
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


PhilDWedding wrote:
Fantastic news. looks like the new focus system works then. Did you test focus points outside of the centre?


I did not for BIF, but for stationary birds, yes -- worked perfectly.




Mar 26, 2012 at 11:12 PM
safcraft
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


AJay wrote:
... Acquisition of focus was fast and accurate as long as I was able to put the focus point on the bird. ....... If it didn't acquire focus, usually it was my fault for not initially putting the bird on the center focus point.



Not mean to be disrespectful or anything but you claim that the new AF is as good (at least) as the 1D4 , showing these examples?

1- using centre focus point
2- flyby birds
3- slow flying birds

In all due respect i get easy shots with a 5Dc and centre point focus, as long as the lens is fast (and your 600 certainly is so) and the bird is not an eagle.

With the bird moving towards you, now that is a different scenario, and should tell more about the AF mechanism. Also a good focus achievement is flyby with an outer focus point.
Those are the flaws in the 5D/5DII . Not the centre. That is a good one.



Mar 26, 2012 at 11:19 PM
AJay
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


Well, I personally had very little luck photographing birds against busy backgrounds using the 5DM2. I could do quite well with birds against blue sky, but not busy backgrounds.

Double-Crested Cormorants are not slow-flying BTW. I can't even imagine getting a clean image of a Double-Crested Cormorant against a dark background using the 5DM2.

As far as bird moving towards me, I generally don't photograph birds head-on, but the next time I get some decent weather, I will give it a try. Weather sux right now.




Mar 26, 2012 at 11:37 PM
PetKal
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


I agree with Safcraft, when it comes to grading a moving target AF difficulty.

However, what is also important here is that you see (or don't) improvements vis-a-vis your previously used camera, which obviously means that 5DMkIII auto focus is working for you, and you are making headway with your BIF photography.

Indeed, cormorants are an awkward target for the camera AF system, probably because of their uniform & low contrast colouring. I have taken so many OoF cormorant-in-simple-fly-by shots that it's not even funny.



Mar 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Psychic1
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


Bravo for swinging around the 600L for a few hours.

Nice work



Mar 27, 2012 at 12:11 AM
AJay
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


Autofocus is subjective to some extent. Everyone has their own techniques for tracking BIF and that may also enter into one's assessment.

I can say with certainty, that the autofocus is definitely better than the 5D Mark II at this stage.




Mar 27, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


I hope the 5D3 is better than the 7D, for the 1D III and 1D IV surely are.


Mar 27, 2012 at 12:45 AM
PetKal
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


Pixel Perfect wrote:
I hope the 5D3 is better than the 7D, for the 1D III and 1D IV surely are.


Never mind that....if 5D MkIII auto focus is not better than 1DMkIV's, then I think we'll hear "Huston, we have a problem", because 1DX AF will not be much different, will it ?



Mar 27, 2012 at 12:56 AM
 

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Ray Still
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


Not being disrespectful by any means but I'll stick with my 1DMarkIII and 5D Mark II I have to be honest my 1DMarkIII has no focusing problems at all

Ray Still



Mar 27, 2012 at 01:03 AM
arbitrage
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


PetKal wrote:
Never mind that....if 5D MkIII auto focus is not better than 1DMkIV's, then I think we'll hear "Huston, we have a problem", because 1DX AF will not be much different, will it ?


This is what I keep pointing out in countless different threads. I know people who own 1D4s and such may not like the fact that the new non-1series is going to have better AF than their pro body but it has to because Canon decided (and rightfully so) to give the same system to its flagship 1DX and the 5D3. The 5D3s AF will be better than the 1D4 and the 1Ds3 and any previous 1 series body. The 1DX does get the color tracking via its new metering system but the main AF system is still the same as the 5D3.



Mar 27, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Breitling65
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


Thanks for finally one usefull for me 5d3 post!


Mar 27, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


I never found the 1DMk3 to be any better for BIF's than my 7D.




  Canon EOS 7D    375mm    f/5.6    1/3200s    1600 ISO    +1.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 7D    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens    400mm    f/5.6    1/2000s    400 ISO    0.0 EV  






  Canon EOS 7D    EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens    400mm    f/11.0    1/2000s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  




Mar 27, 2012 at 01:10 AM
dehowie
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


My experience so far is slightly different but for AF FAR more challenging.
85/1.2 at 1.2 and the 5Dmk3 is spanking every camera I've ever used yes including both my mk4's and everything before.
Popped some pics up in the image thread..in fact of the first 35 images I took at 1.2 I got 2 yes 2 out of plane of our small dog who is very are to shoot.
The camera seems to have an uncanny ability to pick what I was after(eye sharpness) and I got results far better than my mk4's could deliver..and believe me I have plenty of practice at 1.2 with them.
As a bit of a non believer in the 5 AF going to be better than the Mk4 I stand fully corrected as it is better..by a margin for this very fine stuff where accuracy counts in mm...



Mar 27, 2012 at 01:12 AM
arbitrage
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


dehowie wrote:
My experience so far is slightly different but for AF FAR more challenging.
85/1.2 at 1.2 and the 5Dmk3 is spanking every camera I've ever used yes including both my mk4's and everything before.
Popped some pics up in the image thread..in fact of the first 35 images I took at 1.2 I got 2 yes 2 out of plane of our small dog who is very are to shoot.
The camera seems to have an uncanny ability to pick what I was after(eye sharpness) and I got results far better than my mk4's could deliver..and believe me I have plenty of practice
...Show more

Good to hear!! This is what we should expect. If Canon had given the 5D3 the 7D or beefed up 7D system then I'd still have my order in for the 1DX. Since Canon made the right choice and matched Nikon in giving pro-AF in its lower camera, we should not expect anything less than improvements across the board. I've been playing around with my 5D3 now for an hour or so just getting familiarized with all the AF menus and about to head out and see if I can find some willing subjects. At this time of year that constitues ravens and magpies!! Swans will be shot on Wednesday. I will try to run a full comparison between the 5D3, 5D2 and 7D that day as it is my day off from work.



Mar 27, 2012 at 01:17 AM
PetKal
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


In my view the good news about 5DMkIII is not its ISO, or absence of banding, or electronic level or any of that soft core trifle. The good news is that Canon have decided to pull a "Nikon" and provision a prosumer camera with their pro grade most advanced AF system.....and then they have priced it accordingly.

That is why I was saying, if 5DMkIII doesn't cream MkIV autofocusing, then 1DX will not likely do so either, and that would make 1DMkIV one camera in very high demand.



Mar 27, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Breitling65
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


PetKal wrote:
In my view the good news about 5DMkIII is not its ISO, or absence of banding, or electronic level or any of that soft core trifle. The good news is that Canon have decided to pull a "Nikon" and provision a prosumer camera with their pro grade most advanced AF system.....and then they have priced it accordingly.

That is why I was saying, if 5DMkIII doesn't cream MkIV autofocusing, then 1DX will not likely do so either, and that would make 1DMkIV one camera in veryu t) high demand.



Do you think Canon will discontinue mk4 soon?



Mar 27, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Pixel Perfect
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


PetKal wrote:
Never mind that....if 5D MkIII auto focus is not better than 1DMkIV's, then I think we'll hear "Huston, we have a problem", because 1DX AF will not be much different, will it ?


True, but 1D IV AF is already damn good, except maybe in low light, which I haven't tried yet. 5D II AF needed a swift kick up the clacker to get it in to the 21st century.



Mar 27, 2012 at 02:26 AM
PetKal
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · 5DM3 Birds-In-Flight


Breitling65 wrote:
Do you think Canon will discontinue mk4 soon?


I have no idea.



Mar 27, 2012 at 02:28 AM
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