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Archive 2012 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!
  
 
philber
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


A few days ago, a thread reported Lloyd Chambers' opinion that manually focusing a 5D III with its viewfinder was a non-starter. That really worried me, since (a) I only use MF lenses (Zeiss), (b) I wear glasses, to correct for a declining eyesight, in line with my age (56), and (c) I use some really difficult glass, since ZE 50P and 85P have focus shift. The icing on the cake is that I am leaving saturday for a major photographic expedition, and lusted for some 5D III goodness, if it proved superior to my 5D II.

I have only had it a few hours, but here are my early findings. I do not find that the standard VF screen makes it any harder to focus than my 5DII's EG-S.
BUT the much improved AF is a game changer for MF! Now I haven't had the time to micro-adjust my lenses, or to select the best AF configuration for my needs (essentially landscape). I just turned noise reduction off, and started shooting JPEGs to see if I could focus my MF lenses. And the result blew me away, because of the MF assist. The AF will focus even in an almost dark room. It will lead the camera in P mode to go for f:1.4, 1/80s and ISO 12.800 with my ZE 85, and the focus is spot on every time, something that was simply not possible on the 5D II. First, it would not focus very well at all when it got dark, and then the cam in P mode is limited to ISO 3200. This does not mean that the shos erfect, ISO 12.800 being hardly noiseless, but it definitely is focused correctly.

This is so obviously excellent that tomorrow I will do my micro-adjust, and see if I can forget about focusing other than with MF assist. My guess, based on today's tests, is that at f:5.6 and beyond, my keeper rate will be close to that with LiveView, around 85%+. Between f:2.8 and f;5.6, I have on a very small sample, reached 65%, Vs 45% usually, and below f:2.8, I should be above 40% instead of 25%. It is also going to facilitate shooting wide open so much that this type of shooting should from now on be much more frequent.

This is all about VF-based focusing, not about resulting IQ, which has been described in so many other threads that my 2 cents would be useless. But it is my guess that any MF lens which can be connected to a 5D III by way of a chipped adapter, and that means lots a great glass, is now a breeze....

Enjoy!



Mar 28, 2012 at 09:21 PM
mco_970
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


This thread is useless without sample pics! Pretty please?


Mar 28, 2012 at 09:35 PM
mpmendenhall
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


Thanks for the update. I had almost written off the 5DIII as a potentially interesting upgrade after hearing about the lack of interchangeable focus screens. If the screen is really as good as the E*-s screens for f1.4 focusing, that would end my worries along that line (the good chipped lens autofocus is also good news, but I've personally come to really like being able to ignore focus points and focus anywhere on the screen by eye).

By the way, do you know if the "additive" multiple exposure function works the way it ought to, and produces RAW files with a greater bit depth than single-exposure (e.g. stacking 8 exposures adds 3 bits depth to the file, giving a larger 15bit instead of 12bit file)?



Mar 28, 2012 at 09:36 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


Michael, my reading of what Philippe wrote is that focusing with AF assist is great, but I am not sure if he meant that without focus assist the 5DIII was as easy to focus as the 5DII with Eg-S? That seems a bit of a stretch and contrary to what Lloyd Chambers wrote?

Edited on Mar 28, 2012 at 09:58 PM · View previous versions



Mar 28, 2012 at 09:55 PM
philber
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


Michelle, what pics could demonstrate what I write? A noisy, ugly ISO 12.800, 'cause that is what this looks like, just to show that the cam focused and that MF assist made the shot spot on?
Michael, the camera focuses well below the light level required for focusing by eye. So, ignore focus points all you want, there comes a level of darkness when that's all you're gonna have. And that space is now not only doable, but easy with 5D III, whereas I could touch it with 5D II. And the answer to your question is: "no, I don't know". Sorry.



Mar 28, 2012 at 09:57 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


Michael, I am not sure what you mean with 15 bits. The file format is either 12 or 14 bits, I believe, regardless of what you do, so that would be the limit. Whether the in-camera exposure stacking increases the fidelity in those bits I do not know.


Mar 28, 2012 at 10:00 PM
brucemuir
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


So in other words you feel confident trusting the assist beep/light?
Have you gotten a chance to try anything faster than 2,8?



Mar 28, 2012 at 10:00 PM
sebboh
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


what apertures are you shooting at? can you trust the confirm light at f/2 and f/1.4 (i know not your normal shooting style)?


Mar 28, 2012 at 10:06 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


carstenw wrote:
Michael, I am not sure what you mean with 15 bits. The file format is either 12 or 14 bits, I believe, regardless of what you do, so that would be the limit. Whether the in-camera exposure stacking increases the fidelity in those bits I do not know.


Unless the file is 16 bits, and only the DA converter is running at 12 or 14 bits? I guess that is more sensible. I blame the Rioja. But I still doubt that the 5DIII can put any more than 12 or 14 bits of fidelity into those files, regardless of technique.



Mar 28, 2012 at 10:07 PM
mawz
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


Michael is talking about what stacking can do if done externally, which is adding 3 bits of DR.


Mar 28, 2012 at 10:17 PM
 

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carstenw
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


Well, that would be independent of the camera then, right? I was thrown off by the mention of raw files in that sentence, I guess.


Mar 28, 2012 at 10:27 PM
johnahill
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


la-la-la-la, i'm not listening.
before I read this I was happy with the mk2

Reliable viewfinder focussing sounds like a mighty big plus point to me.



Mar 28, 2012 at 10:30 PM
mpmendenhall
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


carstenw wrote:
Well, that would be independent of the camera then, right? I was thrown off by the mention of raw files in that sentence, I guess.


Yes, it could be done externally to the camera by saving 8 12/14bit RAW files then stacking them in post. However, it would be really nice for workflow/filesize if this could be automated in the camera, so when I download images from the CF card into Aperture I only have one 15/17 bit file to deal with (does the 5DIII produce 14bit files natively? All I know is that the 5D is 12bits). Also, this would allow stacking before bayer interpolation, which might help a bit for producing a cleaner result.



Mar 28, 2012 at 10:35 PM
thrice
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


Manually focusing off-centre with a good screen would still be quicker than slowly manually focusing until you hear/see the blip then recomposing, or manually selecting an off-centre focus point prior to focusing the shot.

Or am I missing a feature of the 5D-III manual focus assist?



Mar 28, 2012 at 10:41 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


mpmendenhall wrote:
Yes, it could be done externally to the camera by saving 8 12/14bit RAW files then stacking them in post. However, it would be really nice for workflow/filesize if this could be automated in the camera, so when I download images from the CF card into Aperture I only have one 15/17 bit file to deal with (does the 5DIII produce 14bit files natively? All I know is that the 5D is 12bits). Also, this would allow stacking before bayer interpolation, which might help a bit for producing a cleaner result.


Yes, it would be a very nice way to improve quality for those who have the time (subjects and photographers!). As far as I know, there are only 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit file formats though, no 15 or especially 17 bit formats. RAW files are generally modified TIFF container files, including DNG, so that would mostly mean 16 bit files.



Mar 28, 2012 at 10:47 PM
mco_970
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


philber wrote:
Michelle, what pics could demonstrate what I write? A noisy, ugly ISO 12.800, 'cause that is what this looks like, just to show that the cam focused and that MF assist made the shot spot on?
Michael, the camera focuses well below the light level required for focusing by eye. So, ignore focus points all you want, there comes a level of darkness when that's all you're gonna have. And that space is now not only doable, but easy with 5D III, whereas I could touch it with 5D II. And the answer to your question is: "no, I don't know".
...Show more

Sure! Seeing 5D series focusing on outer points at 12800 light level would be like seeing a unicorn in a dark forest. In all seriousness, I'd still be interested to see samples whenever and if you feel like posting any... Seeing how sharp Zeiss glass is using the AF points for focus on the 5D3 in low light conditions? Hell yah, I'd be interested!

I had thought my 5D2 would stay the best choice for alt glass, but what you have written is a bit of a game changer for me... Though it would require changing around my glass selection and acquiring some ZEs.

I'd love to be able to use my alts more often and have to do less work to MF with them (esp. as my eyesight is changing for the worse over the years).

ETA again to add: and if my OM 50 1.2 would work better on 5D3 with the AF confirm chip that I have mounted on it, again it might be a game changer for my equipment selection.


Edited on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:02 PM · View previous versions



Mar 28, 2012 at 10:58 PM
mpmendenhall
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


carstenw wrote:
Yes, it would be a very nice way to improve quality for those who have the time (subjects and photographers!). As far as I know, there are only 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit file formats though, no 15 or especially 17 bit formats. RAW files are generally modified TIFF container files, including DNG, so that would mostly mean 16 bit files.


The RAW formats that I have looked at (including Canon 5D) are sufficiently modified from basic TIFF that they actually store data in real 12 bit units, under additional simple compression (no use throwing away extra space for storing leading zeros). It's not too hard to pack as many or as few bits into a file format as you want, even if the easy "standard" versions all come in multiples of 8 (including maybe DNG). Look inside the code of an open-source RAW converter like DCRaw and you'll see a whole section of functions for extracting strange bit lengths.



Mar 28, 2012 at 11:00 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


Hmm, interesting. I have focused on DNG thus far, but even that is a while back now. I wrote a basic extractor at some point out of interest, but will clearly have to revisit this.


Mar 28, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Siddhu
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


Bonsoir Phillipe,

You've made my evening with your post!

I was considering upgrading to the 5D3 because of the weather sealing and increased high ISO performance but was not sure if it was going to be a good idea due to possible manual focusing problems - so your report is great news.

My initial disappointment and worry about the lack of interchangeable screens on the 5D3 is now gone!

Quick question just to be clear that I understood correctly - the stock screen on the 5D3 allows you to manual focus as accurately as the 5DII's EG-S screen?



Mar 28, 2012 at 11:12 PM
itai195
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · 5D III for alt and MF lenses: a game changer!


How is this game changing? I've been focusing like this on my D700 for years.


Mar 28, 2012 at 11:14 PM
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