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In this course, photographer and author Ben Long details the features, controls, and options in the Canon 5D Mark III digital SLR. The course begins with an overview of what a digital SLR is and takes a tour of the camera's basic components. Ben then discusses the camera's basic operation: changing lenses, navigating the menus, shooting in automatic mode, reviewing and managing photos on the camera's LCD screen, and transferring photos to a computer.
Next, the course introduces more advanced exposure options: program mode, exposure compensation, ISO adjustments, and more. After Ben briefly defines each option, he shows how to adjust it using the camera's controls.
Ben also discusses white balance options, advanced metering and autofocus controls, flash, live view, and video shooting. The course ends with a chapter on maintenance, including sensor- and camera-cleaning and care tips.
Your camera needs power, and it needs a place to store images. It gets its power, usually, from a rechargeable battery, and it stores its images on a removable media card. The battery in your Mark III can be recharged with the included power supply. Just snap the battery into the little battery cradle, and then flip this out, and plug it into the wall. When it's charging, these lights here on the front will flash, and when it's fully charged, you'll see a solid green light. Now, note that this charger will work in other countries as long as you have the appropriate plug adapter.
These batteries are very forgiving in their charging habits. Unlike older rechargeables, you don't have to drain them completely before recharging. Don't hesitate to top them off before you go out on a long shooting trip. From time to time, though, it is a good idea to drain the battery completely, and then give it a good solid charge to recondition it. At room temperature, it will take about two and a half hours to completely recharge your battery. That time will get lower as the temperature drops, maxing out at about four hours. If you store the battery in the camera, the battery will slowly drain.
The camera does actually trickle a little bit of power out of the battery, so for long term storage, it's a good idea to remove the battery from the camera. The battery meter on the camera itself has four different levels, and these represent roughly 25% power each. When only one bar is visible, you have 10-20% of full power. When that bar starts flashing, you're down to only 1-9%, and when it's gone, your battery is dead, at which point you won't be able to see the battery meter anymore, because your camera won't have any power. At room temperature, you should be able to get about 950 shots from a charged battery.
That will vary depending on what else you're doing with the camera; reviewing lots of images, using lots of lenses that have stabilization built into them, shooting lots of video, all of those things will cause your battery to drain faster. Now, over time, your battery will wear out. If it goes through a certain number of recharging cycles, it's going to start to lose capacity. If you notice that it's dying sooner than it used to, then there's a good chance that it's time to get a new battery. Fortunately, your camera has a built-in facility for judging the battery's capacity, and we'll take a look at that later.
Now, your camera also needs some media to store its images on. The 5D Mark III has two media slots; one that takes CompactFlash Cards, and a second that takes Secure Digital cards. Which you should use is determined by what types of cards you have, but it's important to note that there are some differences. You should have gotten a battery with your camera; it probably looks something like this. Actually, it probably looks exactly like this, and it should have a cover on it that looks like this. Now, your inclination after you take the cover off is probably to just throw it away, but that's not a great idea, for a couple reasons.
First of all, you've got these contacts here exposed on the battery. If you just put this in a bag with your keychain, or paperclips, or something else metal, it is possible to short the battery out, so that's the big reason to keep the cover on the battery when you're not using it. But there's another reason; if you've got multiple batteries, the cover here can help you keep track of which batteries are charged, and which are not. If you notice, there is a little cutout right here that's the shape of a battery, and on the bottom of your battery, one side is blue, and the other isn't.
So if you put the battery in, so that the cover is on the blue side, and you decide that blue batteries are good batteries -- I suppose you could say that blue batteries are sad, and so lack charge -- but anyway, I tend to do it that if there is color there, the battery is charged, and then when the battery dies, I just put it on this way, so that I don't see any color there. So if I've got multiple batteries in my bag, that's a way of keeping track of which ones are charged, and which ones aren't. This battery needs to go in the camera to be useful. It only goes in the right way, and Canon gives you a little hint right here: there's an arrow pointing up.
Now, there is a little battery door on the bottom of the camera that says battery open, and it's just got this switch here that I pull down. The battery, as I said, only goes in the right way, and that arrow is where I start, so I just click that in, and push it until it clicks. The battery is actually locked in there. This white plastic thing is holding it in there, and then I can just close the door. If I want to take the battery out, I open the door, and just slide this plastic switch, and it's a spring-loaded battery; it will come shooting out at your head if you are not careful.
So then I can close the battery door back up. I want to actually use this camera, so I'm going to put the battery back in, and close it up. So I've got power. Now I need storage. The card slots for your Mark III are over here on the side. I'm going to open the door here, and then rotate this around, so that you can see them. The door is spring-loaded; you just pull it straight out, and it's going to pop open, and I have a CompactFlash slot right here, and an SD slot. CompactFlash cards only, like the battery, go in the right way.
So I push that in until this little knob comes out. To get the card out, I push the knob, and then I can reach in, and pull out the card. CompactFlash cards are very durable. That's what I like about them. Even with both slots, I prefer CompactFlash. It is possible to bend the pins inside the reader, so do be a little bit careful when you're putting the card in the camera. The Secure Digital card also only goes in the right way. It goes in with the notched corner first. So just stick it in the slot, and push it until it clicks into place, and then it doesn't come out.
To get the card out of the camera, push it, and it pops out, and then you can just grab it. Secure Digital cards are quite a bit more fragile than CompactFlash cards. I have accidentally broken them just through ordinary handling. Be very careful that you don't flex them in this direction, because it's possible for the case to pop open. When that happens, you can glue them back together. I've just used model airplane glue, or super glue, or anything that will work on plastic. Use very sparing amounts, and you can glue these back together, and usually get them working just fine.
SD cards have a lock switch on them. When I pull that down, the card is write protected. It's now impossible to write to it. So if I'm dealing with a lot of cards over a long period of time, I might choose to lock them after I pull them out of the camera, and that will keep me from accidentally shooting over a card that already has images. With the cards in place, I just close the door, and I'm ready to start shooting. Later in this course, you're going to see how to select which card you want to shoot on to, and you're going to see that it's possible to have the camera deal with the cards in different ways.
The CompactFlash slot on your Mark III supports all type 1 and type 3 CompactFlash cards, including UDMA 7 cards, which are, at the time of this shooting, the fastest cards available. Now, how fast a card you need depends on what you want to do with that card. If you're going to shoot video, then you need a CompactFlash card that can transfer data at either 10 MB or 30 MB per second, depending on which video format you're going to use, and you'll learn more about video formats later. If you want to shoot video to an SD card, then you need a card that can manage at least 6 MB, or 20 MB per second, depending on video format.
That means you need an SD card that's at least Class 6. For stills, there is no minimum card speed that you need, but a faster card really does have advantages. When you shoot an image, the camera immediately dumps that image into an internal buffer to free up the camera for more shooting. That buffer is then dumped to the card as fast as the card will allow. So if the buffer fills up completely, then the camera will cease to shoot until some more buffer space becomes available. So a faster card means that the buffer can clear out faster, and that translates into faster shooting times.
If you tend to shoot subject matter such as performances, or sports, where you need to be able to shoot lots of images in quick succession, then a faster card will really pay off. If you don't tend to shoot lots of pictures in quick succession, then a super speedy card won't be so critical. Faster cards are more expensive, so if you do a little of both types of shooting, then you might want to invest in a speedy card for times when you need fast shooting, but spend the rest of your money on less expensive, slower cards, because you can get more of those. One very important detail about the 5D Mark III: it will always slow its CompactFlash card down to the speed of its SD card.
So if you have a really fast CompactFlash card, and a slow SD card, you're going to lose the advantage of that fast CompactFlash card. In that case, take out the SD card to get the CompactFlash back up the full speed. The Mark III has some cool options for controlling what types of images get stored on each card, and we'll explore those in more detail later.
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