August 20, 2014, 09:35:02 AM

Poll

What is the real situation regarding 5DMkIII image quality?

There are real problems and I regret my decision to purchase
There are real problems, but they will be resolved easily via a firmware update
There is nothing wrong with IQ, but it's not as big an improvement as expected
There's a noticeable improvement in IQ over the 5DMkII
It's too soon to tell

Author Topic: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)  (Read 5022 times)

ereka

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A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« on: March 28, 2012, 05:51:06 AM »
I've had the 5DMkIII for about a week now. I haven't had the opportunity to use it in anger yet, just a few casual test shots around the house. However, looking at all the complaints in the forums, particularly about image quality, I have to admit that I'm in real danger of catching a bad dose of buyer's remorse. This was supposed to be an all round camera that would last me the rest of my life (or a very long time anyway). On the other hand, it has been gently hinted at in various threads that some of the problems might be more to do with lack of familiarity with setting up and using the camera. Also, quite a few of the posters reporting problems e.g. with soft images have only recently upgraded from crop to full frame, which might also be a steep learning curve in itself? Jeff Ascough's words stick in my mind i.e. "So are there any negatives to owning this camera? Maybe just one. You will lose the ability to blame the camera for any shortcomings in your own photographic ability." Is this what is happening here, at least to some extent? I'm also reminded of Lloyd Chambers' articles on image sharpness i.e. there are so many reasons why images might not be sharp, most of which can be resolved (excuse the pun) by good shooting technique. Only when all other alternatives have been explored can the finger be pointed at the equipment. So, what do YOU think? Are there REAL problems with 5DIII IQ or is it just a case of "a bad workman blaming his tools" or maybe just excessive "pixel peeping"? I'm not pontificating in any way, shape or form here, just don't want to believe that I've spent my money unwisely. Most importantly, I'm off on a trip of a lifetime in a couple of weeks and intended to take just the 5DMkIII with me with a view to coming back with some saleable images and perhaps recouping the costs of the trip. In fact I bought it with that specific purpose in mind. Now I'm beginning to wonder whether I should buy a 5DMkII as a backup or even a replacement - at least the MkII has a proven track record and all it's various quirks are well known. With the 5DMkIII, it's beginning to feel like a "leap of faith" to rely on it completely as my only camera body. What would you do in my position?

PS: please take part in the poll
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 06:03:06 AM by ereka »

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A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« on: March 28, 2012, 05:51:06 AM »

psolberg

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 06:55:29 AM »
the problem is not the workman or the tool. it is managing expecations. many expected something that could reasilicaly not be built to please everybody. the 5DmkIII is not unlike other cameras that it is full of compromises to try and please the greatest % of people but will inevitable let down many.

ereka

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 07:21:56 AM »
the problem is not the workman or the tool. it is managing expecations. many expected something that could reasilicaly not be built to please everybody. the 5DmkIII is not unlike other cameras that it is full of compromises to try and please the greatest % of people but will inevitable let down many.

IQ is the most important aspect for me. I'm perfectly happy to work on achieving the potential of the camera e.g. by microadjusting lenses, developing better shooting technique, post processing technique etc, provided that the IQ is there to be had. I agree with your point about managing expectations. Perhaps some people are trying so hard to find fault with it that they are almost bound to find something to complain about. There do also seem to be quite a few who are more than happy with their purchase, though, reinforcing your point.

neuroanatomist

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012, 07:34:57 AM »
There do seem to be issues in terms of loss of detail with the in-camera jpg conversion, but that won't affect those shooting RAW.  I'm not sure that's a 'problem' it may simply be the way Canon set the camera defaults (Picture Style settings are applied to in-camera jpgs, and you can modify them from what Canon thinks is 'best' - in general, Standard is pretty saturated and has a fair bit of NR, too). 

I do think people have somewhat unrealistic expectations - in terms of resolution, the 5DIII is essentially equivalent to the 5DII, and while the gapless microlenses and improvements in circuitry mean less light and signal loss, those mean less ISO noise, not sharper pictures at low ISO. 
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ereka

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2012, 07:50:07 AM »
There do seem to be issues in terms of loss of detail with the in-camera jpg conversion, but that won't affect those shooting RAW.  I'm not sure that's a 'problem' it may simply be the way Canon set the camera defaults (Picture Style settings are applied to in-camera jpgs, and you can modify them from what Canon thinks is 'best' - in general, Standard is pretty saturated and has a fair bit of NR, too). 

I do think people have somewhat unrealistic expectations - in terms of resolution, the 5DIII is essentially equivalent to the 5DII, and while the gapless microlenses and improvements in circuitry mean less light and signal loss, those mean less ISO noise, not sharper pictures at low ISO.

Just a quick couple of questions:

Is any noise reduction at all applied to RAW files in-camera e.g. at a lower level than or in a different way to in-camera jpegs?

Can you suggest the best alternative to "standard" picture style for general shooting (i.e. when shooting jpeg/ RAW+jpeg)?

In tab 3 of the shooting menu, third item down is "High ISO speed NR", By default this is set to "standard" on my camera. The other options are "low", "high" or "off" and the help note at the bottom of the screen reads "Reduce image noise. Especially effective at high ISO speeds." This implies that the noise reduction is set for all ISO speeds, just has a more noticeable effect at higher ISO speeds. If NR really is the 'problem' has anyone experimented with e.g. turning it off and then processing the jpegs using third party NR software?

Finally, I noticed that in tab 1 of the shooting menu, lens aberration correction (peripheral illumination and chromatic aberration) is enabled by default, at least with the 24-105 kit lens. On tab 2 of the shooting menu, "auto lighting optimiser" is also set to "standard" by default. I'm guessing that any one of these in-camera corrections could potentially have an effect on sharpness?
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 08:07:22 AM by ereka »

mrmarks

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2012, 08:12:27 AM »
Well, I think its about time Canon make a statement about these issues, or non-issues and not let users and potential buyers speculate to death  :D

Maui5150

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 08:15:55 AM »
I think the biggest issue so far as I can reason

-- DPP software appears to be buggy
-- Adobe CameraRaw is not quite available yet.

DPP I blame on Canon, and it does look like from comments that I have seen, the previews are tack sharp, but processed looks softer, so that tells me it is software processing.  Shame on them.

On ACR, to be expected.  New cameras, especially ones that have been well guarded take a while to make it into releases.  Adobe Lightroom 4, for example does not play nicely with the NIK plug-ins that worked fine under Adobe LR3, so like anything else... Software upgrades as well as hardware upgrades often take time to synch.

Can be frustrating... Especially when something is new and you want to kick the tires.

Then again, from announcement to release, the MKIII was pretty darn fast.  People are still waiting on the 1Dx which was announced much earlier.

May be too soon to tell, but I expect once ACR7 is released, which may not be until Photoshop 6 is out and DPP is updated and people can process the Raw in their normal workflows, then things will calm down a bit. 

Canon missed a step with DPP, but we will see how quickly this is responded to

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 08:15:55 AM »

zim

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 08:33:47 AM »
What did (maybe how does) Canon use to process all their RAW files during testing then?

darrellrhodesmiller

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 08:37:10 AM »
if you look back in the forums on here and flickr, you'll see exactly the same kinds of comments about the 7D when it came out... still new users with the 7D complain about soft shots.. cameras these days are incredibly complex. they take a while to figure out all the Idiosyncrasies.. there might be a few problems with the 5DmkIII.. the people that bought them all are all early adopters! expect  few rough spots.. expect canon to address all of them.. yes.. adobe raw isnt out there.. (no big surprise there, they have always taken a few weeks to release the update to the new cameras)

for every complaint i see in the forums, i see just as many happy with their camera and getting good shots.

make sure you've read the manual.. make sure you know what the settings you're using are really doing.. and take lots of shots. who knows.. maybe  you did get a bad camera.. but i think 99% of the cameras out there are just fine.. its just a new tool we are all going to have to learn. 

JR

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2012, 09:14:46 AM »
I do think people have somewhat unrealistic expectations - in terms of resolution, the 5DIII is essentially equivalent to the 5DII, and while the gapless microlenses and improvements in circuitry mean less light and signal loss, those mean less ISO noise, not sharper pictures at low ISO.

That is a greta point and reminder Neuro.  My own personal experiense with the 5DmkIII however showed me more noise at ISO 400 compared to my mkII and a definit softness in the RAW file compared to the mkII.  I was not expecting the mkIII to be sharper - good point - but I did not expect it to be less sharp as well...

If I could get the sharpness of my mkII at low ISO with the mkIII I would be happy...

It kind of gave me a cold shower to be honest.  Now I wonder what should be my expectation for the 1DX, will it too be less sharp then my 5DmkII?  I do need high ISO but I also have a significant portion of my shots taken at ISO 400 and below, and I am not ready to take a hit on those.

I really hope this is due to the RAW converters, but I am starting to doubt it.  SO many of us experience the same things...makes me wonder.
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AnselA

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2012, 09:48:21 AM »
The most interesting part of all this is that we really don't know the answers yet to the IQ... and if in fact them make enough difference to negate the positives we are sure about.

neuroanatomist

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2012, 10:11:48 AM »
Just a quick couple of questions:

That was four, by my count...   :P

Is any noise reduction at all applied to RAW files in-camera e.g. at a lower level than or in a different way to in-camera jpegs?

Not by Canon, AFAIK.  There is circuitry that's designed to generate less noise (and this is one thing that Canon has stated as am improvement in the 5DIII and 1D X), but that's not the same as noise reduction.  Some Nikon cameras to apply NR to the RAW file before it's written.

Can you suggest the best alternative to "standard" picture style for general shooting (i.e. when shooting jpeg/ RAW+jpeg)?

Depends on your use for the jpg file, I think.  If you are going to use jpgs as final images, pick the Picture Style that you prefer.  Personally, I just shoot RAW only and convert later, and in that case Neutral or Faithful would be the best representation of the unprocessed RAW file.  Some people claim that if you shoot in RAW, the Picture Style is irrelevant.  I would argue that's incorrect - while the picture style doesn't affect the RAW image data, it is applied to the in-camera jpg conversion that's used as the preview image embedded in the RAW file, and that same preview image is also used for the post-shot review (blinking highlights) and the histogram - therefore, even though the picture style doesn't affect the RAW image data, it may affect the exposure settings you choose (i.e. you may take a shot, then decide to reduce the exposure on the next shot based on the histogram, but that histogram may be right-shifted by the saturation settings in the picture style).

In tab 3 of the shooting menu, third item down is "High ISO speed NR", By default this is set to "standard" on my camera. The other options are "low", "high" or "off" and the help note at the bottom of the screen reads "Reduce image noise. Especially effective at high ISO speeds." This implies that the noise reduction is set for all ISO speeds, just has a more noticeable effect at higher ISO speeds. If NR really is the 'problem' has anyone experimented with e.g. turning it off and then processing the jpegs using third party NR software?

That setting applies only to the in-camera jpg image, and yes, there is NR applied at all ISO settings, and the degree of NR applied increases with increasing ISO.

Finally, I noticed that in tab 1 of the shooting menu, lens aberration correction (peripheral illumination and chromatic aberration) is enabled by default, at least with the 24-105 kit lens. On tab 2 of the shooting menu, "auto lighting optimiser" is also set to "standard" by default. I'm guessing that any one of these in-camera corrections could potentially have an effect on sharpness?

To some extend, yes.  Vignetting correction and ALO affect exposure, and that affects noise, which affects perceived sharpness (and real sharpness if the jpg engine then applies NR to compensate for the increased noise that comes from pushing exposure).  CA correction would actually increase perceived sharpness.

Again, as good as the Digic processor is at jpg conversions, keep in mind that your computer will be much better, especially once the better RAW converters (DxO, ACR) will handle the files.  Plus, any changes to WB or exposure of a jpg file have IQ penalties that are reduced or absent when the RAW file is manipulated.  Bottom line, shoot RAW and convert later, unless you have an absolute need for immediately usable files (journalism), or your shooting requires the deeper buffer (nearly unlimited) that you get when shooting only jpg. 

I would really recommend against shooting RAW+JPG unless you need the jpg files immediately.  Many people go through a similar progression:

  • get a dSLR, shoot jpg because that's easy and it's what they're used to
  • realize the benefits of shooting RAW, and start shooting RAW+JPG, editing the RAW files for 'special' images and just keeping the JPGs for the rest
  • find themselves wanting to go back and modify a 'non-special' image for which they only have the JPG file, and smacking themselves in the head for not saving the RAW file
  • switch to shooting RAW only

I'd say, skip steps 2 and 3, especially the smacking yourself in the head part, and go straight to RAW only.

I was not expecting the mkIII to be sharper - good point - but I did not expect it to be less sharp as well...

I really hope this is due to the RAW converters, but I am starting to doubt it.  SO many of us experience the same things...makes me wonder.

I would not expect it to be less sharp, and indeed, the RAW converter(s) may be to blame.  If so, that's an easy fix.  But I think I saw you write that you didn't do an AFMA, and in that case, if you were relying on phase detect AF for shots used to judge sharpness, that may be the issue.  I suspect that's the case for many people with 'soft' images.
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AnselA

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2012, 10:19:51 AM »
Quote
There is circuitry that's designed to generate less noise (and this is one thing that Canon has stated as am improvement in the 5DIII and 1D X), but that's not the same as noise reduction. 


What does that mean?

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2012, 10:19:51 AM »

wcksmith

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2012, 10:20:54 AM »
I used the Adobe DNG converter 6.7 to convert my MKIII raw files to DNG format - I was then able to use my normal work flow with ACR and Photoshop to process the images - it seems to work fine until they get the new ACR updated for the MKIII

Link to the download: click here

You'll get an error message saying this beta software expires at the end of March, but it also says it will still work after that, but you'll see the message each day.  A small price to pay to have the consistent work flow.

FYI - my raw files were stunningly sharp with some test shots and a 16-35mm 2.8 lens.  I love the camera so far.  I only shoot raw, no JPGs.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 10:23:52 AM by wcksmith »

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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2012, 10:25:30 AM »
I was not expecting the mkIII to be sharper - good point - but I did not expect it to be less sharp as well...

I really hope this is due to the RAW converters, but I am starting to doubt it.  SO many of us experience the same things...makes me wonder.

I would not expect it to be less sharp, and indeed, the RAW converter(s) may be to blame.  If so, that's an easy fix.  But I think I saw you write that you didn't do an AFMA, and in that case, if you were relying on phase detect AF for shots used to judge sharpness, that may be the issue.  I suspect that's the case for many people with 'soft' images.

Correct Neuro I did not do MA, however a lot of the test shots I had done with softness were at f4 or smaller.  Could it be that with the new AF system, the tolerance for MA is smaller and therefore need it more then with the mkII?  I ended up never needing MA on my mkII.  Some of my test shots at f4 or smaller even felt not in focus, using a single spot AF point with a flash!  Maybe I lost patience too quickly!

I am just waiting for B&H to get some body only mkIII in stock to get another one and will make sure to do MA.  I am sceptical however that this alone was the problem.
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Re: A bad workman blames his tools? (5DMkIII)
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2012, 10:25:30 AM »