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Examining batteries and media cards

From: Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III

Video: Examining batteries and media cards

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.

Examining batteries and media cards

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III
Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III

108 video lessons · 21811 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 10m 29s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 28s
    3. A note for 5D Mark II users
      50s
    4. Using this course
      1m 55s
  2. 35m 44s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      5m 28s
    2. Attaching a lens to your camera
      4m 3s
    3. Examining batteries and media cards
      8m 35s
    4. Powering up
      1m 49s
    5. Exploring the menu system
      2m 53s
    6. Clearing all settings
      2m 5s
    7. Setting the date and time
      1m 55s
    8. Setting the language
      1m 42s
    9. Formatting the media card
      3m 4s
    10. Holding the camera
      4m 10s
  3. 25m 6s
    1. Setting Scene Intelligent Auto mode
      1m 28s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      5m 51s
    3. Touring the LCD screen and the status display
      2m 22s
    4. Exploring the top-mounted control buttons
      1m 42s
    5. Autofocus basics
      5m 7s
    6. Metering basics
      1m 42s
    7. Reviewing images
      2m 59s
    8. Working with image playback
      3m 55s
  4. 39m 32s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      41s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      5m 2s
    3. Using the lock switch
      1m 21s
    4. Revisiting metering
      1m 43s
    5. Changing the ISO
      2m 14s
    6. Looking at ISO speed settings
      4m 36s
    7. Exploring long exposure noise reduction
      2m 53s
    8. Exploring high ISO noise reduction
      1m 40s
    9. Using program shift
      2m 11s
    10. Exploring image format and size
      3m 59s
    11. Using the Info button
      2m 4s
    12. Examining level and grid display
      3m 45s
    13. Using the Quick Control screen
      1m 35s
    14. Setting the color space
      1m 25s
    15. Configuring multiple media cards
      3m 24s
    16. Using the feature guide
      59s
  5. 23m 15s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 25s
    2. Selecting autofocus areas
      3m 54s
    3. Exploring other autofocus options
      3m 44s
    4. Customizing servo auto focus
      4m 49s
    5. Exploring autofocus custom functions
      4m 50s
    6. Using manual focus
      3m 33s
  6. 10m 31s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 48s
    2. Exploring white balance presets
      3m 7s
    3. Using manual white balance
      5m 36s
  7. 10m 47s
    1. Exploring Drive mode
      4m 52s
    2. Using the self-timer
      3m 38s
    3. Using remote controls
      2m 17s
  8. 52m 26s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 26s
    2. Using exposure lock
      1m 22s
    3. Working with focus points and metering
      3m 47s
    4. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 0s
    5. Using the depth of field preview button
      2m 40s
    6. Using Shutter Priority mode
      3m 26s
    7. Using Manual mode
      3m 27s
    8. Using auto exposure bracketing
      6m 3s
    9. Exploring Bulb mode
      2m 34s
    10. Working with the Auto Lighting Optimizer
      1m 40s
    11. Correcting lens aberration
      2m 46s
    12. Exploring Highlight Tone Priority
      2m 25s
    13. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      7m 5s
    14. Creating multiple exposures
      6m 25s
    15. Using the mirror lockup feature
      2m 20s
  9. 27m 38s
    1. Modifying LCD brightness
      3m 27s
    2. Rotating images
      2m 36s
    3. Using the playback grid
      42s
    4. Enabling AF point display
      1m 18s
    5. Rating images
      3m 4s
    6. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 40s
    7. Using Quick Control during playback
      1m 17s
    8. Exploring file numbering options
      2m 43s
    9. Creating folders
      1m 10s
    10. Changing file names
      3m 12s
    11. Adding copyright information
      3m 29s
  10. 7m 57s
    1. Defining picture styles
      2m 0s
    2. Exploring predefined picture styles
      2m 1s
    3. Adjusting predefined picture styles
      1m 56s
    4. Working with the monochromatic picture style
      2m 0s
  11. 22m 28s
    1. Activating Live View
      7m 16s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 32s
    3. Focus manually in Live View
      1m 25s
    4. Working with aspect ratio
      2m 33s
    5. Exploring other Live View options
      3m 36s
    6. Reviewing the drawbacks to using Live View
      2m 6s
  12. 12m 16s
    1. Shooting video in Auto and Program modes
      6m 39s
    2. Shooting video in Priority or Manual modes
      3m 35s
    3. Exploring movie playback
      2m 2s
  13. 13m 0s
    1. Exploring custom modes
      5m 38s
    2. Using the custom menu
      2m 56s
    3. Exploring custom controls
      4m 26s
  14. 8m 57s
    1. What are custom functions?
      35s
    2. Working with exposure level increments
      1m 34s
    3. Bracketing auto cancel
      53s
    4. Changing the number of bracketed shots
      1m 5s
    5. Changing ISO speed setting increments
      1m 34s
    6. Exploring the Live View shooting area display
      40s
    7. Enabling safety shift
      2m 6s
    8. Clearing all custom functions
      30s
  15. 8m 16s
    1. Camera and sensor cleaning
      3m 12s
    2. Using the Battery Info command
      1m 45s
    3. Looking at operating conditions and temperatures
      2m 3s
    4. Getting firmware updates
      1m 16s
  16. 15m 10s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      5m 31s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      5m 11s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      4m 28s
  17. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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