The much anticipated Canon 5D III firmware update is now available for download.
It brings two notable improvements to the camera: uncompressed HDMI output and the ability to use cross-type autofocus at f/8.
My primary long lens is the Canon 400 F5.6, so this update was especially exciting for me. It means that my 1.4x extender will work with the lens's auto-focus. This is good news for those that photograph birds in flight and other wildlife on full frame and require extra reach.
I installed the firmware this morning and the camera now allows cross-type autofocusing with the center AF point when the maximum aperture becomes as small as f/8, in the same way that the EOS-1D X does.
You can see the list of new Canon EF Lens/Extender Combinations that support Cross-Type Autofocus with this firmware update for the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
The firmware update also improved the video capturing, but that is all "greek" to me and you can read about it here.
I headed off to Kirstenbosch late this morning to test the lens combination of the Canon 400 F5.6 and 1.4x converter (Mark I). I set the center point autofocus point to the center point only.
Auto focusing was extremely quick, even in low light and dappled shade. The camera locked on very quickly to the subject. There were not too many birds flying around as it was a little late in the morning, so did not really test the focus lock in AI Servo mode for BIF.
There is a small loss of sharpness, but i would assume this to improve with the newer versions of the Canon 1.4x extenders. Being able to push the ISO's on the Canon 5D III really does make this a viable lens combination and the results are looking very good.
I used a monopod for support in all the images and flash was also used in the shaded trees.
Some sample shots with the Canon 5D III & 1.4x extender lens combination below:
All images processed in LR4 using basic adjustments.
Canon 5D III | Canon 400 F5.6 + 14.x | F/8.0 | 1.800s | ISO 800 | +1 exp
Canon 5D III | Canon 400 F5.6 + 14.x | F/8.0 | 1.1250s | ISO 800 | +1 exp
Canon 5D III | Canon 400 F5.6 + 14.x | F/8.0 | 1.60s | ISO 800 + flash | +1 exp
Canon 5D III | Canon 400 F5.6 + 14.x | F/10 | 1.1000s | ISO 800 + flash | +1 exp
Image above cropped 100%
Canon 5D III | Canon 400 F5.6 + 14.x | F/10 | 1.1600s | ISO 500 | +1 exp
Image above cropped about 75%
Canon 5D III | Canon 400 F5.6 + 14.x | F/8 | 1.2500s | ISO 500 | +1 exp
Canon 5D III | Canon 400 F5.6 + 14.x | F/8 | 1.800s | ISO 800 | +1 exp
Canon 5D III | Canon 400 F5.6 + 1.4x | F/8 | 1.640s | ISO 1600 | +1 exp | Flash