Canon 5D mk III

Well I bought one. And off I went in the mist and humidity this morning to test drive it. I have not quite finished reading the very comprehensive manual and now I will slow down. Why? Because Lightroom 4 does not recognize the files from the 5D mk III and I have had instead to install Canon’s DPP software, which I have never liked. Then I had to batch convert all my files to TIF so I could use them with software with which I am familiar. Pretty disappointing but I guess Adobe will do an update eventually. On the Lightroom Forum someone thinks I am unreasonable to expect LR4 to import these files so soon after it has been released . Well call me old-fashioned but I do expect compatibility across products and no I don’t have any tolerance when it is the consumer who suffers. The moment LR4 will import and convert to DNG the Canon files I will uninstall DPP.

So these images have been through the mill to get into LR4, CS4 and Helicon Focus.

Here is number one:

Dew drop on mushroom


This is the full frame from which the crop is taken:

Dew Drop Full Frame

This was shot at ISO 200 off a tripod, of course.

Here is the second image:

White bracket fungus

Also shot at ISO 200. Stacked in Helicon Focus.

Now what about ISO 25,600? Other than some cropping, conversion and resizing there is no additional post-processing here.

ISO 25,600

See that horrible noise? Nope. Nor do I. I think I would classify this as useable ­čÖé

And a shot in the mist at ISO 3,200:

Grave near Sai Kung

Now I did post-process this because the mist was almost giving me a white out when I first arrived but all in all it was pretty decent. A nice clean image. Pumping up the ISO gave me a shutter speed of 1/400s at F8 using the 24-105mm lens.

Testing ability to render detail on a large scale:

Moss on the Rock

I noticed the lightness of the 5D mk III compared with my 1D mk IV and I did not buy an additional battery grip so I saved some weight there too. It is relatively compact and although the controls differ from my 1D they are pretty intuitive. I would suggest that any Canon user, who is used to a prosumer body will feel at home quite quickly. I had to get used to the change in buttons to operate the Live View and I wasn’t smitten with the loss of my magnify and shrink buttons in exchange for the combination of a new magnify button and the main dial. ┬áNothing too challenging though. If the weather and visibility improve I’d like to try this for birds in flight as it is supposed to run at up to 6 frames per second. Not too dusty. The shutter is beautifully quiet compared to the 1D and once or twice I had to check I’d actually taken a picture.

So I think the 5D mk III and I are going to spend quite a bit of time together. But only when Adobe finally updates LR4 so I can import my images directly from the card. I can’t be fagged to learn and use DPP. One workflow is enough to learn.

Making progress with macro photography

My recent efforts were, well poor. That is a self-assessment. You may have rated my macros a lot worse. I tried to look at what I could change and I took some good advice. The result was changing my tripod and head set up, switching from timer to cable release and dropping the ISO right down and trusting in the stability of my kit.

Essentially what I am now doing is framing and focusing through the viewfinder and allowing auto focus to get me to a starting point.

I then connect the cable release, switch to manual focus and engage Live View (on my Canon 1D mk IV).

I then make sure the Info panel is showing the histogram to check that I have an appropriate exposure level.

I turn off the histogram then and play with the aperture options whilst pressing the depth of field preview button.

When I have what I think is the right aperture I zoom first to 5x then to 10x in Live View to check my focus again, normally just a little critical fine tuning is required.

Then, abracadabra, I press the cable release button and the image is taken.

I may take a number of images at different apertures. Occasionally I cannot find one that leaves me with the effect I want. Here is an example:


I wanted the berries to be razor-sharp but the background blurred. I ended up having to sacrifice some sharpness on the berries to keep the background sufficiently blurred not to distract from the bracket fungus on which the berries were sitting. The result is  not exactly what I wanted but it is still, to me anyway, a reasonable image.

Here is one where I felt the elements surrounding the main subject, an acorn, would be positive rather than negative so I decreased the aperture to F18 and the DoF preview showed me this was sufficient.

The acorn

This was a six second exposure requiring the tripod set-up to be rock solid throughout and I had the legs locked as low as I could.

Another bracket fungus shot. On this occasion the fungus is the main indeed only subject.

Bracket fungus

This is full frame and required little processing. I added a ‘soft light’ overlay in CS4 and that was about it.

Next, what I call my Obama shot – the green shots…….

Green shoots

This is a good example of where I tried virtually every aperture to get the effect I wanted. Finally, I ended up with sharp shoots but the base of the shoot is blurred. Had I accepted the aperture I needed to keep the base sharp I would also have had the background coming into focus.

Here is an image I deliberately blurred. I simply liked the colours here and felt some blurring of the flower head allowed the viewer to focus on the overall colours rather than the head alone.

Flower blur

What I was doing this afternoon was looking for lichens to photograph. A small project and to be truthful it is a topic about which I know nothing. In some cases I am struggling to know whether the subject is indeed a lichen!

However here are a couple that I think qualify:

Lichen (or fungus?)

Parmotrema tinctorum

I have tentatively identified this but any experts please come to my aid if you can confirm or correct.


On this one I have tried to isolate more detail and as I enjoy monochrome I also processed it in black & white to see if I could bring the structure and texture out more.

Lichen monochrome

Does it work for you as it does for me?

Here endeth ┬ámy day’s adventure into macro-land. I am learning as quickly as I can but I suspect the best teacher is experience and time in the field.

I hope there will be better output in the future.