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Canon has released firmware update 1.2.1 for the Canon 5D Mark III, which includes uncompressed HDMI output and enables the center AF point to be cross-type at f/8 maximum aperture.

Both of these updates will mostly affect those who use their 5DIII in very specialized situations: high end video recording and super-telephoto lenses with extenders. However, there are also a number of other fixes, including increasing focusing speed when using the AF-Assist lamp and various minor errors with some functions or lenses.

Canon 5D Mark III Mk 3 5DIII 5D3

Uncompressed HDMI output for video means that you can save uncompressed – thus highest quality – video files to an external recorder via the camera’s HDMI port.

Cross-Type Center AF up to f/8 maximum aperture means that you can use a super-telephoto lens with an extender which limits the maximum aperture to f/8 (rather than say f/2.8 or f/5.6) yet still have accurate cross-type autofocusing with the center AF point.

Because the Uncompressed HDMI output update includes the addition of some new Movie menus, I will be updating my e-book guide to the 5DIII, Canon 5D Mark III Experience.

You can learn all about the firmware update, and find the download link and instructions on the Canon site here.

Here is the complete list of updates:

Firmware Version 1.2.1 for the EOS 5D Mark III incorporates the following improvements and fixes:

  1. Uncompressed HDMI output is now enabled.
  2. Enables the centre AF point to autofocus when the camera is used with Canon EF lens/extender combinations whose combined maximum aperture is f/8.
  3. Improves the speed of the camera’s acquisition of focus when using a Canon Speedlite’s AF-assist beam.
  4. Fixes a phenomenon in which the LCD monitor may freeze and display ‘Err 70’ or ‘Err 80’ when a still photo is taken during Live View or in movie shooting mode.
  5. Fixes a phenomenon that may occur when the continuous shooting priority setting is enabled for multiple exposures, such that, after the sixth image is taken, there is a slight pause before the remainder of the sequence is completed.
  6. Fixes a phenomenon in which the viewfinder display shows incorrect information during AEB shooting.
  7. Communication with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter has been improved.
  8. When images have been successfully transferred with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter through the FTP protocol an ‘O’ will be displayed. When images have not been successfully transferred with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter through the FTP protocol, an ‘X’ will be displayed.
  9. Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera may not function properly when an Eye-Fi card is used.
  10. Fixes a phenomenon in which the focal length value listed in the Exif information is not displayed correctly for images shot with the EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens.
  11. Fixes a phenomenon in which the lens firmware cannot be updated properly.
  12. Corrects errors in the Arabic language menu.
  13. Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera changes the AF microadjustment value to -8.
  14. The lens compensation data for the EF24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens has been added.
  15. Fixes a phenomenon in which the on-screen guidance cannot be fully displayed when setting the maximum limit value for the ‘Setting the ISO Speed Range for Auto ISO’ option.

Canon 5D Mark III Experience is my latest Full Stop dSLR user’s guide e book, which goes beyond the manual to help you learn the features, settings, and controls of the powerful and highly customizable EOS 5D Mk III, plus most importantly how, when, and why to use the functions, settings, and controls in your photography.

Written in the clear, concise, and comprehensive style of all Full Stop guides, Canon 5D Mark III Experience will help you learn to use your Canon 5D Mk 3 quickly and competently, to consistently create the types of images you want to capture.  The e-book is available in either PDF, EPUB, or MOBI format for reading on any device.

Learn more about it, preview it, and purchase it here:

As one Canon user has said about Full Stop guides, “I don’t know how I could fully take advantage of all the features the camera has to offer without this publication! It’s well-organized, easy to understand, and succinct enough to keep your attention while still containing a wealth of information to get the most out of your camera.”

Take control of your 5D Mk III, the image taking process, and the photos you create!

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 book ebook manual guide tutorial instruction bible how to dummies field EOS

For experienced photographers coming to the 5D Mk III from previous EOS models, this guide explains the new and advanced features to quickly get you up and running and taking advantage of these capabilities, including the new 61 Point Autofocus System and its Modes, Area Modes, Menu options and AF Case Presets. Plus it explains the new camera controls, the in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposures features, introduces the new video capabilities, and guides you through all the Menu and Custom Function items to help you set up the camera for your specific needs. This guide is also designed for Intermediate and Enthusiast dSLR Photographers who wish to take fuller advantage of the capabilities of the camera to go beyond Auto+ and P modes and shoot competently in Av, Tv, and M modes; take control of the sophisticated 61 point autofocus system; learn how, when, and why to use the controls, buttons, and features of the 5D Mk III, and much more. It covers basic dSLR camera functions and exposure concepts for those learning digital SLR photography, and explains more advanced camera controls and operation such as using the various metering modes and exposure compensation for correct exposure of every image.

Canon 5D Mark III Experience focuses on still-photography with an introduction to the movie menus and settings to get you up and running with video. Sections include:

  • Setting Up Your 5D Mk III – Explanations of all of the Custom Function settings and Menu options, with recommended settings.
  • Auto Focusing Modes and Drive Modes – Taking control of the new 61 point autofocus system will enable you to successfully capture more sharp images in still and action situations. Learn the AF Modes, AF Area Modes, and AF Configuration Presets and how and when to take advantage of them.
  • Aperture (Av), Shutter (Tv), and Manual (M) Modes – How and when to use them to create dramatic depth of field, freeze or express motion, or take total control over exposure settings.
  • Exposure Metering Modes – How they differ, how and when to use them for correct exposures in every situation.
  • Histograms, Exposure Compensation, Bracketing, and White Balance – Understanding these features for adjusting to the proper exposure in challenging lighting situations.
  • HDR Shooting mode and Multiple Exposure mode – Configure and use these new features.
  • The Image Taking Process – Descriptive tutorials.
  • Composition – Brief tips, techniques, and explanations, including the creative use of depth of field.
  • Lenses – Canon lens notations and choosing L series lenses.
  • Photography Accessories – Useful accessories for the 5D Mk III and for dSLR photography.
  • Introduction to Video Settings – Explanations of the settings and options to get you started.

This digital guide to the Canon 5D Mark III is a 195 page illustrated e-book that goes beyond the manual to explain how, when, and why to use the features, settings, and controls of the 5D Mark III to help you get the most from your camera.

Learn more about Canon 5D Mark III Experience e book manual for the EOS 5DIII, preview it, and purchase it on my Full Stop website here:


I just came across a certain review of the new Canon 5D Mark III and am compelled to respond.  It is one thing to write a critical review, but a whole other thing to list various perceived shortcomings and deficiencies that simply don’t actually exist in the camera.  After having spent several intimate weeks with the 5D Mk III (as I wrote the Canon 5D Mark III Experience camera guide), it is disappointing to then read about alleged issues and faults which actually don’t exist but were merely assumed by a reviewer because effort wasn’t put into reading the manual and properly learning the camera.

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 eos manual book ebook instruction how to guide dummies
Detail of the Canon 5D Mark III by dojoklo

I have put together a list of some of my responses.  KR quotes are in italics and blue, and my replies below them.

Slower Autofocus – With so much more to set, learn and get in the way, the new AF system will slow you down until you master it.  The 5D Mark III’s AF system is that is about ten times more complicated than earlier cameras. Now it will take you forever to learn how to use it, and if you do, you’ll discover that the Auto AF Area Select mode takes much longer to select which of the 61 points it feels like using, while the original 5D and the 5D Mark II instantly selected among their 9 points..

Yes, the sophisticated and highly customizable autofocus system of this professional camera needs to be fully learned and understood in order to take full advantage of it and to gain proficiency at using it.  But the AF system and menus are designed to be powerful yet easy to get the most from, and this proves to be true once the user puts some effort into learning and setting it up.  Then you will find that there are numerous solutions to quickly accessing it, changing it, and making full use of the Canon 5D Mk 3 autofocus system, including:

  • Limiting the number of selectable AF points in the AF4 menu to just 15, 9, or 41 cross-type (while all of the 61 AF Points will still be available for use by the camera to find, track, and capture subjects).
  • Setting up all the AF menu and Custom Function items initially to best suit your style of shooting and then not dealing with them anymore.
  • Or better yet, tweaking any of the Autofocus Case presets to your liking, then quickly choosing among the Cases based on your shooting situation.
  • Setting up your favorite combination of AF settings, modes, tracking settings, etc, which can then all be registered and called up with the press of the DOF button.
  • Adding any of the AF menu items to My Menu, setting My Menu to come up with one button push, then quickly accessing the AF menu items you need to change.

A different response to the Canon 5D Mk III autofocus system would be to marvel at the incredible, never-before-possible opportunities to customize and use a state-of-the-art AF system to track, retain focus, and capture shots that could not have previously been captured, through pre-setting the camera to be aware of the rates of speed and amount of erratic movement to expect from the subject, as well as take into account the user’s desire to either retain focus on a subject/ distance or to quickly be able to change to another subject/ distance.  Not to mention the various configurations of AF points and Zones which can be chosen to most accurately focus on and track a variety of subjects and situations.

AF is much more complicated, not necessary better than the original 5D and 5D Mark II.

Anyone who has used the 5D and 5DII autofocus system for more than 6 minutes and then used the 5DIII AF system will tell you that:

1. there were some major shortcomings with the 5D and 5DII autofocus, particularly in lower light, and

2. the AF speed, accuracy, and low light focusing abilities of the 5DIII are on a whole new performance level than those previous models.

It’s not any different from other AF cameras as far as low-light is concerned.

As indicated above, I found quite the opposite to be the case as, for example, I quickly and easily grabbed focus on a black furry face in incredibly dim lighting, which could never have been accomplished so easily with the 5D II or 50D:

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 low light high iso 25600
Canon 5D Mark III – 25,600 ISO, JPEG straight from camera.  25,600 ISO plus 1/640 plus f/1.4 will help indicate the light level.

The finder’s AF display is inferior. Instead of discrete LEDs that only blinked as needed, the Mark III’s new screen uses solid black LCD boxes that get in the way of seeing your subject’s subtleties — like when they smile.

The big, bright, glorious viewfinder of the 5D3 offers several options for how and when to display and/ or illuminate the AF points as they are seen in the viewfinder, including different options to have them visible and/ or blink just when used or needed, as listed below.  See the AF5 Menu, AF Point Display During Focus item as well as other menu items to set up exactly how and when they illuminate such as VF Display Illumination.

Selected (constant) – The selected AF Point (or points) is always visible, but not all of the other 61 AF Points.

All (constant) – All of the 61 AF Points are always visible.  Recommended:  this will make it easier to always know where the other points are for when you quickly need to select a different point.  These AF Points are typically too important to hide!

Selected (pre-AF, Focused) – The selected AF Point(s) is visible when the camera is ready to shoot even before you have started any AF operations, when you are selecting an AF Point or zone, and when focused is achieved by the camera (except when working in AI Servo AF mode).

Selected (focused) – The selected AF Point(s) is visible only when you are selecting an AF Point or zone, and when focus is achieved (except when working in AI Servo AF mode).

Disable display – The selected AF point(s) will only be displayed when selecting an AF Point or zone.

Plus you can turn the grid display off or on.  I myself find seeing all the AF points as well as the grid indispensable to taking full advantage of the AF system while keeping my framing straight and level.

The AF points are now poorly lit. An LED lights up the entire screen and sort of helps you see the dark LCD AF point boxes in the dark. The older cameras were much better.

Again, I did not find this to be the case, and had no problem making use of the AF points in the dark as I took these images.  In fact I rather enjoyed using the AF system in the dark as I shot these images, and marveled at how pleasant it made night shooting.  However, other 5D3 users have shared KR’s complaint regarding the black AF Points in dark situations, and it sounds like Canon is going to address this with a future firmware update.

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 multiple exposure low light high iso
Canon 5D Mark III – In-Camera Multiple Exposure feature

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 in camera HDR shooting mode low light
Canon 5D Mark III – In-camera HDR Shooting Mode – Art Embossed setting, +/-3 EV

No Highlight AND Shadow optimization – While all Nikons and the 5D Mark II can optimize both highlights and shadows at the same time, the 5D Mark III no longer can do this.

Auto Lighting Optimizer is designed to automatically adjust contrast and brightness and helps to maintain detail in both the shadow and highlight areas.  The new HDR shooting mode, when set to Natural, can also capture a wider range of shadows to highlights.  ALO and Highlight Tone Priority were never designed to be used simultaneously.

A huge defect in the 5D Mark III’s AF system is that no longer can I switch among the AF modes I use with one click, without stopping or taking my eye from my subject.

The DOF Button can be set to instantly switch between One-Shot and AI-Servo AF Modes on the 5D Mk III.  I’m not sure how one did this “one-click switch” with the Mk II in a way that can’t also be done with the Mk III.

No Zoomed-in Histogram – When you zoom, the histogram goes away.

With the new side-by-side Comparative Playback, you can view the entire image with histogram on one side of the screen, and a zoomed in detail from that image in the other window.

Not to mention that the incredibly versatile side-by-side image playback feature offers numerous other review and comparison opportunities never before available.

Impossible-to-set custom manual white balances – It still takes about ten steps to set a custom manual white balance.

Add Custom White Balance to My Menu and access it much faster.  Then take your WB photo, access Custom WB through My Menu, select that photo you just took, and set the camera WB setting to Custom with the quick press of a button and turn of a dial.  I count 4 steps to access an advanced feature that very few photographers employ on a regular basis.  Not really that hard.

No Custom White Balance Memories

True, but you could register the custom WB as part of one of the C1, C2, or C3 Custom Shooting Modes.

The Ratings button is a waste of a button, unless you really like to edit in-camera.

That may be true if you find you don’t use it.  I have unexpectedly grown fond of the Rating feature, and use it to save much time later when back at my computer.  In addition, the 5D Mk III offers an incredible amount of options for customizing the buttons and controls of the camera, as demonstrated by the grid of choices on pages 322-323 of the manual, plus several additional options discussed with the functions they control.

As I’m learning to use the AF system, I’ve realized that it will never make sense because the AF-Area settings were removed from the Quick Control screen. Now we always will have to look in two different places to set the AF Mode (AI SERVO, AI FOCUS or ONE SHOT), and someplace else to select the manner in which the various AF areas are used.

If you first press the INFO Button and access the Shooting Settings screen and then press any of the three setting-selection buttons on the top of camera (including AF Mode), you can view and change their settings on the rear LCD Monitor, also using either the Main Dial or the Quick Control Dial as you would when changing the function while viewing the top LCD Panel.  In other words, an amazingly awesome and handy Quick Control Screen specifically for each of the top button’s paired functions.  This will also work with the AF Point Selection Button after pressing the INFO Button and accessing the Shooting Settings screen, and then you can view and select an AF Area Selection Mode on its very own Quick Control Screen.  BUT, the reason that the 5D Mark III has buttons that the T3i does not have is so that a knowledgeable user can quickly and easily access these functions on the fly (such as AF Mode and AF Area Mode) without using a Quick Control Screen.  Sigh.

To learn much more about how to use and take advantage of all of the features, controls, and capabilities of the Canon 5D Mark III, have a look at my guide Canon 5D Mark III Experience.

Canon 5D Mark III Experience – The Still Photography Guide to Operation and Image Creation is an e-book user’s guide that goes beyond the manual to help you learn the features, settings, and controls of this sophisticated, powerful, and highly customizable camera.  Most importantly, it explains not only how but also when and why to use the features, settings, and controls in your photography.

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 manual guide book dummies how to beginner intermediate advanceWritten in the clear, concise, and comprehensive manner of all Full Stop guides, Canon 5D Mark III Experience will help you learn to use your EOS 5D Mk III quickly and competently, to consistently create the types of images you want to capture.

As one Canon user has said about Full Stop guides:
“I don’t know how I could fully take advantage of all the features the camera has to offer without this publication!  It’s well-organized, easy to understand, and succinct enough to keep your attention while still containing a wealth of information to get the most out of your camera.”

Take control of your Canon 5D Mk III, and the images you create!

Here are my first quick shots of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, during the ceremonial unboxing at Newtonville Camera, Newton Mass.  (Thanks guys!)

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 EOS unbox unboxing package box
Images copyright by author, taken at Newtonville Camera, Newton, Mass.  Please do not use without permission.

Canon 5D Mk III mark 3 unboxing unbox box package new EOS
Images copyright by author, taken at Newtonville Camera, Newton, Mass.  Please do not use without permission.

I am in the process of working on the first and best (hopefully on both counts) e-book guide for the Canon 5D Mk III called Canon 5D Mark III Experience – The Still Photography Guide to Operation and Image Creation with the Canon EOS 5D Mk III.  You can learn more about it by clicking on the title or here:


I wrote an initial post about the 5D Mk III Specs and What They Mean for real world use, so you can begin to learn about its new and/ or improved features.  I’ve also spent a lot of time with the manual, and a little bit of time with the camera itself, and I am thoroughly impressed!  I love the new autofocus system and the new menu systems that are far better organized than ever before.  The new menus include the new AF Autofocus Menu tab and sub-menus with the pre-set autofocus Cases to make it far easier to configure your camera for your specific subject tracking needs than was previously possible with the Canon 7D menus and Custom Functions.  The side-by-side Comparative Image Review is great for comparing two images at once on the nice, wide rear LCD Monitor, or for comparing a full image with a detailed view of part of it.

Canon 5D Mark III Mk 3 111 eos detail image quality
Quick shot with the 5D MkIII, with a detail of the dew drop I noticed during post-processing.  Captured in JPEG – looks even better full size!.  Images copyright by author, taken at Newtonville Camera, Newton, Mass.  Please do not use without permission.

The feel of the body is great too, more 7D than 5D Mk II, and the sound of the shutter is much more appealing than the “ka-chunk” of the 5D Mk II.  The silent Touch Pad control for movie shooting works great, and the in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposures are fun to play with.  I will write more about the camera and its features as I get a chance.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Mk 3 unbox unboxing box package
Images copyright by author, taken at Newtonville Camera, Newton, Mass.  Please do not use without permission.  (Sorry for the copyright watermarks, but I had my previous unboxing image widely stolen by unsavory websites.)

Here are some in-camera HDR Mode and in-camera Multiple Exposure Mode experiments:

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 111 sample image photo in camera HDR mode art embossed lowell house harvard square cambridge ma mass
Lowell House, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass.  Canon 5D Mark III – in-camera HDR Mode, Art Embossed

Canon 5D mark III mk 3 111 in camera hdr mode sample image art vivid
Lowell House, Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass.  Canon 5D Mark III – in-camera HDR Mode, Art Vivid

Example images of all of the other HDR processing options can be seen here.

Canon 5D Mark III mk 3 111 multiple exposure mode test shot image sample
Neon Sign, Cambridge, Mass. – Canon 5D Mark III Multiple Exposure Mode.  Multiple-exposure control: Bright, 3 exposures

As I recently noted in my post about the eventual release of the 7D Mk II, as an e-book camera guide author, I have to attempt to plan my life and writing schedule around the release of the latest dSLR cameras. And since major camera companies typically give little-to-no advance notice for the announcement then release of a new model, this involves lots of speculation and following of online rumors. And then I subject myself to a few weeks of intense, non-stop research and writing when it is finally announced.

The Canon 5D Mark III has been rumored for imminent release numerous times, including most recently Feb 2011, November 2011, first quarter of 2012, and “any minute now.”  This speculation occurs with every expected new model, so as you can see, there is no telling when it will suddenly be announced.  But based on Canon’s history of model releases, it is sometimes pretty easy to narrow the range down.  For example, the original 5D reigned for 3 years, and then was replaced by the 5D Mark II, which was announced on September 17, 2008.  Add three years to that, and you get an announcement of the Canon 5D Mk III expected in September 2011.  Not so difficult, really.  Except one has to take into account the disruptions to manufacturing and supply caused by the earthquake in Japan, so that could cause a delay of a month or three.  As equally fascinating is the speculation for what features the 5D Mark III will have. Most interestingly, some have wildly suggested that the line will be split in two with a stills version and a video version.  Not likely.  So what is there to improve on this amazing camera?  Well, several of its features can easily be improved, and hopefully there will be a few surprises added.

canon 6d canon 5d mk iii mkiii mk 3 mark 3 mark ii vs compare which one
The Canon 5D Mk II, patiently awaiting its successor, the Canon 5D Mk III – or is it the Canon 6D…

Currently the Canon 5D Mk II offers:

  • 21 MP Full Frame sensor
  • DIGIC 4 processor
  • Full HD video
  • 3.9 frames per second continuous shooting
  • ISO 100 to 6400 (expandable to 25,600)
  • 3” high resolution LCD screen – non-articulating
  • 9 point autofocus system, all cross-type plus 6 assist points
  • 35 zone exposure metering system
  • Magnesium alloy body with weather sealing

Much of this can easily be improved upon, and in fact the current 7D already boasts several upgrades to these features.  The 5D Mark III will obviously take the best of the 7D and improve upon it in some areas.

Canon EOS 5D Mk III predictions:

  • 26 to 28 MP Full Frame sensor
  • Single or Dual DIGIC 5 processors
  • Full HD video at all the frame rates – plus many additional video features and options that videographers have been waiting for or use 3rd party firmware to obtain, but that I don’t know much about since I have yet to enter the video world.  But I can assure you that the 5D Mk III is going to be a videographers dream, perhaps with RAW video.  Perhaps it will even be able to autofocus full time in video mode.
  • 7 frames per second high speed continuous shooting.  I’m not sure of the mechanics of it but it seems that the large mirror flipping up and down is an impediment to a super fast fps, but Canon has done it both on previous film cameras and in the 1D line.  So hopefully it will be significantly higher than the current 3.9fps.  It will definitely boast an improved maximum burst rate (more JPEG or RAW frames captured before the camera pauses to digest them).
  • Ability to customize Continuous Low and High settings so that you can choose your own rates. Please, please, please.
  • ISO 100 to 12,800 or more, and then expandable – while the ISO performance of the 5D MkII is already stellar, the new one will boast even more improved high ISO performance (less noise at high ISOs)
  • 3” very-high resolution LCD screen – Non-articulating?  Articulating?  Touch screen?  It seems that an articulating screen is the way to go for any camera now, but will Canon hold off with putting this on their higher end models?  Touch screen is definitely coming to dSLRs, but will it be on this one?  …maybe, probably not.
  • 19 point (or more) autofocus system, all cross-type, with numerous configurations and customization options, as taken from the 7D – this desperately needs to be improved in the 5D, and the technology is already there in the 7D.  Canon will definitely add the new Autofocus menu system of the new 1D X to make configuring and taking full advantage of the AF system much easier – as opposed to the autofocus menu and C.Fn options on the 7D which make it a bit complicated.
  • Improved 63 zone+ exposure metering system – it will definitely boast an upgraded exposure metering system, perhaps the current 63 zone system, but probably even a bit improved.
  • Magnesium allow body with weather sealing – already has this, not much improvement required.

Additional features:

It will certainly have a several new menu and custom function settings, hopefully including some additional control over Spot, Center-weighted, and Partial metering, like the ability to change the size of the area metered and the ability to link it to the active AF point.  Plus the new Autofocus menu system similar to the 1D X.

Oh yes, and the HDR fans would appreciate more latitude in auto exposure bracketing, such as perhaps 5 exposures over 5 to 9 stops. And maybe some more fluorescent white balance options like Nikon offers.

It will likely and hopefully retain the CF card and the LP-E6 battery.

Built-in GPS or wi-fi?  This will eventually be in all cameras, and maybe this one will have these features.

So, there are my best guesses. Be sure to follow the rumors at Canon Rumors to find out when the 5D Mk III may come out, particularly the 5D Mk III category. And learn about my Canon 7D Mk II predictions in this previous post.