The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is one of the most highly regarded DSLRs of all time, so the 22.3-million-pixel Mark III upgrade has a great deal to live up to. How will it fare?
61-Point AF System
With so many AF options, the EOS 5D Mark III’s dedicated AF menu makes the daunting task of choosing the correct settings much easier
Features In Use: 61-Point AF System
By using the same AF system in the EOS 5D Mark III as that used in the EOS-1D X, it is the first time that Canon has used its top-of-the-range AF system in any DSLR outside its EOS-1 series.
With a shooting rate of a respectable 6fps and a fast and accurate 61-point AF system, the 5D Mark III is a huge upgrade on the simple nine-point AF system and 3.9fps of the 5D Mark II.
As a result, the new camera will find itself being used much more for action images than its predecessor is. Of the 61 AF points, an impressive 41 are of the more sensitive cross type, with five of these being double cross type. This is as impressive an AF array as can be found in any DSLR.
So customisable is the AF system of the 5D Mark III that it requires its own menu, with five sub-menu screens that allow up to 15 different features to be set. Thankfully, there are six default settings, called such things as ‘versatile multi-purpose setting’ and ‘instantly focus for subjects suddenly entering AF points’.
Pressing the info button provides help about when to use each default setting. Should you wish to tweak the default modes, then the tracking sensitivity, acceleration/deceleration tracking and AF point auto switching settings can all be adjusted. Again, the info button can be used to get advice on each adjustment.
Placing the AF settings openly rather than tucking them away in custom menus, and having a useful selection of presets and a help screen, make the AF system far more transparent. This should in turn enable photographers to tweak the settings to their own particular requirements much more easily.
Overall, the AF system is a marked improvement over that found in the 5D Mark II and one that many Canon users will appreciate. It certainly raises the 5D range to a level at which it will be considered by more professional photographers. Sports photographers and photojournalists should find the AF system, combined with the camera’s resolution, a very useful tool.
Image: The basic technology in the Canon EOS 5D Mark III’s AF system works in much the same way as any other SLR camera. Light enters the lens and is then reflected off a secondary mirror, behind the main viewfinder mirror. From here a series of lenses and mirrors reflect the light onto the AF sensor