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Yes and no. I'm not sure what happens but there are times when the focus points don't momentarily light up. But I'm still learning all the nuances of the 5D III.
There are a bunch of options relating to the AF lock confirmation in the camera. I've only had mine for about two weeks and I'm still getting my head around the options. You also have many options about which AF points are used (and displayed), and even how they are displayed.
Jim, it sounds like you've got your VF Illumination set to Auto. This will light up the VF AF points / Grid etc momentarily in certain lighting conditions, but not in others. Sounds like that's what you're seeing. You can set it to Enable (always light up), or Disable (never light up). Even when it does light up, in bright lit scenes it does seem quite hard to see. I believe this is because Canon decided to go with a single LED to light up the whole VF rather because of the size of the screen and the number of AF points. Whereas the older cameras with only a few AF points have a dedicated LED for each AF point, thus are much brighter. The issue I have with setting the illumination to Enable, is that in low light, when using fast glass like the 85L or 35L, subjects in front of the lens can actually see the inside of the camera light up red when the AF lock confirmation flashes. Hence, for the time being I have set it to Disable and will see how I get on.
Other options for confirming AF lock include:
- An audible Beep. Which is okay but not good for quiet (or very loud) environments,
- The AF lock confirmation "Green Dot" in the lower right corner of the viewfinder. Not bad, but takes too long to look down at that while still maintaining composition of the shot...so not so good.
- There are some funky things you can do with making the AF points appear and disappear pre-AF and post-AF. Not sure if having no AF square on the screen would make people feel any better, but there are options.
- Lastly, unless I've missed something, can't you feel when your lens is no longer hunting around for an AF lock? In most cases there seems to be a fast distinct movement of the lens motor and then it stops. It is hasn't locked focus the VF will be blurry. If it has locked onto something that the AF point is pointed at, you take the shot. Now, whether the AF lock was on the right thing or not is another question, but it seems to me that a flashing light isn't likely to change that.
It doesn't sound like there is a quick firmware fix in the pipeline for us, based on what Canon has announced about the upcoming FW release in April. I am lead to believe that the 1DX does not suffer from this problem, but that the pentaprism / VF assembly is larger on that camera, giving Canon more options of how the LEDs are placed / function. Will be interesting to keep an eye on this situation as it develops as there seem to be quite a few people complaining rather vocally about this feature, with just cause.