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This quote straight off of the the-digital-picture reflects my own experience with the 5D3 (the Focal creator he is quoting has been testing all modern Canon DSLR's with AF MA):
Sunday, April 01, 2012
Title: Reikan Focal Posts Update on Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Reikan has been working on adding Canon EOS 5D Mark III compatibility to their Focal software and shared some information on their Facebook page on Friday.
Especially interesting to me was this paragraph:
"The AF consistency on the 5D Mark III is the *best* I have seen on any camera I've tested with (which is quite a few now!). And it's better by quite a long way - only a few % deviation across 20 shots compared to, say, the 1Dmk4 which deviates by 10-15%."
People doubting these kind of results really should purchase a 5D3 and test it themselves before insisting that it doesn't get any better than the 5D2. Common sense should tell you that Canon is designing AF systems now for high MP sensors that are going to be much more demanding on the AF system than the system in the 12 MP 5D (thus the system in the 5D2).
I think that there are really two discussions going on around this topic. Where some people are saying that they are getting great focus results (90%+, 99%, etc.) with the 5D2, I think that they are talking about at the entire frame level. So many of these images are slightly front or back focused, but the end result is good enough. What I and I think Focal are talking about is the ability of the AF system to consistently hit critically (accurate, correct) sharp focus for a given lens.
I guess since the AF systems are based on electronics, it is possible that a few 5D2 owners may have received cameras that for whatever reason just focus better than others. That may be another possible explanation for why people seem to think the system is operating much more consistently than my prior experience with the 5D2. I once owned a 40D that had irrationally great AF for the what other people were seeing with the system. So I think that I have seen this phenomenon myself once. Lens choice and performance can also highly influence perception and final results.
I think over time we will develop a clearer idea of how the 5D3 is performing.