Bottom Line: My 5D3 low light focus performance SUCKS. Heck, my 5Dc focuses better in low light. Aaargh!!
As a potential 5d3 customer I am completely confused by this whole discussion, because it's now moved from slow lock with af assist (even with 600rt) to complaints about general bad low light af performance?!
When posting, I didn't take into account the distinction between of general slow low light AF lock
and slow lock with AF assist
. Let me clarify: If it won't consistently AF lock in low light, regardless of the reason, it sucks. It makes no difference to me. Whether the AF assist beam is enabled or not, mine is inconsistent and sucks.
So is the 5d3 now a capable wedding-event camera or isn't it because of these issues? How is it possible that many people seem to get it working, or are they simply lucky and their receptions were better lit?
Based on my performance so far and what I've read from others that actually shoot weddings all the time, I wouldn't trust it at a wedding. IMO, weddings are 'no failure' events. In my case, MY
5D3 camera currently isn't up to that task. However, some folks seem to report no trouble and think the 5D3 walks on the moon so I would love to go shoot with them some time and compare!! (See 'A Pro Friend's Experience' below...)
If this is a problem and Canon cannot solve it (just like the non-working af indicators in servo, obviously they only will be added to the 1dx) I'm really considering either getting a much cheaper 5d2 or maybe the 6d that is esp. marketed as having better low light af than the "old" 5d3/1dx system.
I was thinking the same thing but if the 1Dx and 5D3 exhibit a similar fundamental problem, what are the chances that the 6D won't also have trouble? I'm more than a little irritated that I've patiently waited all this time skipping the 5D2 only to entertain the idea of now selling the 5D3 and getting the 5D2 after all with whatever problems it has had for years. Wow. Sure glad I have loved my 5Dc so much. This is a hard reminder that it's the photographer that makes the picture, not the camera, that's for sure! (And a camera that isn't working well just gets in the way!)
For the record, My settings are typically...
- One Shot (rarely ever AI Focus or Servo)
- Center Point Focus (the way I've always shot on every camera)
- AF Assist Beam OFF (never use it anyway)
- Daylight, Fluorescent or Tungsten WB depending...
- Eval Metering mostly, rarely spot or center
- Shot Priority AF (not Release Priority)
- General Purpose AF Case (Case 1?)
- I usually have a RD2000 flash attached that has no AF Assist beam support, turned off or on depending...
I'll edit the list if I think of anything other setting that matters. However, a $3500 camera should AF well with any
setting combination. I've also found that the lens matters too.
- 24-105L = Poor AF in Low Light
- 16-35L = ~OK AF in Low Light (not outstanding)
- 24-70L = ~OK AF in Low Light (not outstanding)
- 24/1.4-II = ~OK AF in Low Light (not outstanding)A Pro Friend's Experience
: I have a friend who is a 30+ year veteran pro, goes all over the world and shoots beautiful low light stuff all the time. She does Nat Geo level stuff. She has two 5D3 bodies she bought back in March and reports NO problems. She loves them. She teaches workshops. She understands photography well and knows her equipment. So if she is extremely happy, this can't be happening to her. I asked her specifically. No problems. For all I know, she may not even have the firmware update yet. I'll have to check sometime. She's in China right now on the way to India and I don't want to bug her any more.
I'm going to keep using this camera and get a feel for how bad it really is with different lenses. I think we all agree that it is frustratingly intermittent. However, the simple fact is that I'm not overwhelmingly loving it. I'm not blown away. I'm disappointed using it for what I shoot. Other folks that shoot controlled studio or outdoors may love it. Or they have a perfect copy perhaps?? So that's that. It's not a good start to my relationship with this camera. I buy camera bodies like cars and drive them until the wheels fall off. I don't upgrade every 6 months. It's not that this camera never
works in low light, I just can't depend on it to work consistently
. It's not a reliable tool I look forward to using yet. I'll do my best to make this thing work but eventually I'll invest in something else if necessary, another copy or another camera.
Sorry for the length of these posts, I'm just trying to get it all out there to help both myself and others get this sorted out.Last Point: I buy cameras at this level so they will work for me rock solid so I can concentrate on shooting and make my shooting easier. If I wanted to tweak settings to trick the camera into achieving semi-OK performance, I would just get Rebels. 'nuff said.