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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.
If you've slogged through the previous 14 chapters, and now arrived here, I commend you. That's a lot of material, and it's a lot of dry material in places. But it's good to study the individual features of your camera, know what they are, know how they work; even if you never use them, it's nice to know that the option is there. That said, learning your camera's features in a room, with a manual, just simply studying it, or with these videos, and simply learning how to push the individual buttons only gets you so far. A lot of these features are designed to work together. They work in unison to build up kind of a greater photographic power than any of the individual features can convey on their own.
So in this chapter, we are going to take a few movies to get out in the field with the 5D, and do some kind of applied shooting. Remember, these cameras were designed with photography in mind. It's not just a random assortment of features stuck on wherever the engineers could find them. Buttons are in particular places for particular reasons; some functions are on the outside of the camera, some are buried in menus, for particular reasons. So we are going to look at how you can make some of these features work well together, and explore the thought process I go through as I work with the camera in a particular situation.
Now again, this is not a photography class. I'm expecting that you know certain things. I am going to be tossing some terms around that you may or may not know. If you don't, you are going to need to go do some study in some other courses. We're just trying to focus more on how I'm thinking about the camera, and driving the camera. First thing I want to talk about is autofocus. Now, you've seen how I can half-press the shutter button, and the camera will autofocus. You've seen that I have got different autofocus modes; that I have different autofocus points that I can choose from. In the field, I tend to work with those in a couple of different ways.
So take a look at this scene I've got behind me here. I have these pink flowers here that are really beautiful. I would like to take a shot of them, but I really don't want them in the dead center of the frame; I would like them off to the side. I have my camera in a mode where it will automatically choose an autofocus point, and so if I frame my shot, and take a picture -- if I turn the camera on first; this is one of those features that works in concert with other features. You turn it on, and then the other features work. Anyway, if I frame my shot the way I want it, and fire away, I actually get good focus, because the camera was able to successfully figure out that the flowers were the subject, and position a focus point on them.
To be honest, I rarely use that feature, and here's why; It adds an extra step to my shooting process. After I half-press to meter and focus, I then have to stop and go, is that my subject, is that, or is there a focus point on my subject, and it just slows me down a little bit. So what I tend to do is leave my focus point as a single focus point in the dead center of the frame. Now, that means that any time I focus, I am focusing on what's in the middle. In this case, with my shot framed with the flowers on the left-hand side, what's in the middle is way in the background, and the flowers are going to go out of focus.
So instead what I need to do is first focus on the flowers; put the center point spot on the flowers, half-press the shutter button to meter and focus. That will lock the focus, but now my composition is all wrong. So while still holding the shutter button down halfway, I reframe my shot. I've still got my focus locked; now I press it the rest of the way, and I get the shot. So I'm putting the center point on the flowers, I am half-pressing to focus and meter; they are in the dead center of the frame. Now I am tilting down, I am panning over to the right, and I'm taking my shot.
That took a little bit of extra time, but honestly, I can work faster that way. It may just be that that's how I worked for so long before reliable autofocus point selection came along that I just have that habit, but I would recommend trying that, because I think what you'll find is it partly changes the way you see your scene, because you're really going, there is my subject; I'm putting the center spot on it, and really looking at it, I am thing about the light on it, great! I've got it; now I am reframing. I know that focus is going to be where I want it to be, and now I can fire. If I need to work quickly, that gets a little more hairy.
If I'm in a rapidly changing scene, if I am shooting a portrait, where someone's face is changing all the time, and I want them off to the side, I am constantly having to re-grab focus, and re-shoot. At that point, I might want to switch back to autofocus point selection if I find it's choosing the right focus point. But another thing I can do is go ahead and center point focus on my flowers, so I did my focus, the focus racked to the right point, now I am going to switch my camera over to Manual focus. That's going to lock the focus in there, so now I can frame however I want, and as long as the distance between my subject and the camera doesn't change, it will stay in focus, so I can just shoot away as much as I want.
So it's worth experimenting with these different focus modes. Now remember, on your Mark III, when you choose an individual focus point, your metering changes. You're no longer in a matrix metering; you're in a matrix metering that's biased towards that focus point. So with it locked in the center, you're kind of shooting with a center weight focus. Personally, I never find this to be a problem except for very rare, very extremely weird situations, where I've got something really bright in one part of the frame, and something really dark in another. At that point, you can meter, and adjust settings by hand, or switch back to autofocus point selection.
So play around with that style of shooting; see how you like it. What you'll probably find is you'll change back and forth. Most of the time, I stay on center point focusing. For some situations where I need to work quickly, and I know I can trust its decision, I'll switch the camera back to automatically selecting a focus point.
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