Upload & Sell: On
The 5D Mark III has been available for almost a month now. This thread is not about praising nor bashing the camera but more about how to make the most out of the camera by actual users. Please share your experience and tips with your fellow FMers, again without going into too emotional about the merit or dislikes of the camera since we had quite a bit of threads from both sides. Here, we can talk about and discuss the merit of certain settings, operation modes or maybe a custom function or two of the camera that you think other 5D Mark III users may benefit from your experience and/or setting. Please include your typical application that sees some kind of improvement over other cameras you had used prior to the 5D Mark III.
The AF capability of that camera made me change my workflow. Up to this point, unless I was shooting wildlife using my other body/bodies, I set and used my 5D Mark II 100% at the single focus mode. Either I focused and recomposed, if I thought the depth-of-field is enough to "mask" a slight OOF situation or I tried to use one of the outer AF points in the vicinity of my target (mostly eyes or the closest eye) with some success. When I first got my 5D Mark III, I set the camera to focus using the back button, added AF expansion, opted for the joystick for AF selection and slowly but surely I moved away from the single focus mode I was accustomed to with the 5D Mark II and used AI Servo more and more with the Mark III as my confidence in its AF capability grew. Last Saturday at an Intertribal Native American pow-wow, I took 1,300+ shots using AI Servo exclusively. If the target is stationary, I just pushed the AF button and I took the picture by pressing the shutter button. Most of the time during that event, the target moved and I just kept the AF button pressed, I followed the eye/eyes, or at least the face if further away. Sometimes I did so without actually shooting; I triggered the shutter button for continuous shooting just as I saw fit. Since I was in AI Servo I had to rely on the AF system of that camera without hearing any beep or seeing any red light flash or seeing the green light on the bottom of the viewfinder for focus confirmation. What I like the best is the number of in-focus shots. Granted, not all in-focus shots are good though but you can select your keepers of the best expression, composition and bokeh among in-focus shots. Did I get any OOF shots? Of course, I did. I got tired after shooting for 6+ hours that my left hand that support most of the camera/lens weight started to tremble during the last hour... .
What would I do had I still used my 5D Mark II? If they moved, I would have used only the center AF point and AI Servo targeting their eye or eyes and I would have cropped the excess space in post processing. If they were stationary or close to be stationary, I would have used the single shot mode and I would use any AF point targeting their eye/eyes. In addition, I would stop down the aperture about one stop or so to increase the depth-of-field, just in case. You can deduce your own conclusion on the result based on that.
I changed the format from landscape to portrait and vice versa quite a bit, too. From experience I know that for people pictures the two most common starting AF points would be in the upper center for both formats. Of course, I can change that as needed but I setup the two as my main starting AF point, each time I push the joystick it toggles between the center AF point and my selected point. In the 4th AF setting menu, there is an option of setting the AF selection of your choice according to the camera orientation. I chose "select separate AF point" (the second option); now, whether I take people pictures in landscape or portrait format, the starting AF point will be close to the eye area. The 7D has that option, too but the 7D is not my preferred body for people photography. Using the 5D Mark II, each time you flip the camera, you have to move the AF point manually to whatever AF point of your choice. In the 5D Mark III, it is not only slightly faster but for sure it makes your life easier having this option.
I venture to say that the AI Servo mode of the 5D Mark III has a wide range of application, more than I originally anticipated. In addition to sport and wildlife, based on its excellent reliability, at least in my experience, it can be used for people photography, especially children photography since children can barely stand still or you don't want them to stand still to get the best expression and if you like using a fast lens for that particular look of a shallow depth-of-field. Furthermore, I venture to say, at least for the most part, AI Servo should perform just fine for weddings or similar type events. Studio application, like formal portraits, since you stop down more should be OK, as well but a single shot AF may be better, especially if you use the spot focus option.
How well AI Servo will perform in low light situation, let's say a dimly lit reception hall? I have not used this camera at a wedding. From my limited experience, it performs pretty well, too but I would not rely on that method for a paid gig, such as a wedding, without figuring it first out yourself. Let your own comfort level in that camera be the judge
Thanks and let's see others then please!