I finally got around to using my new Canon 5D Mark III, Speedlite ST-E3-RT and Speedlite 600EX-RT this weekend so thought I best take the time to say a few words…

Firstly I need to have a rant about the lack of AF-Assist beam on the ST-E3-RT. I should have spotted this before/during purchase but i am gobsmacked that Canon have chosen to actually remove a feature present in the earlier ST-E2. I shoot almost solely in low light situations where the 5D will understandably fail to lock focus, needless to say this renders the transmitter pretty much useless to me! And falling back to the ST-E2 of course means dropping back to IR communication with the 600EX-RT (again, meaning I may as well still be using the 580EX II.

I do suffer occasional communication issues between the ST-E2 and 580EX/600EX so I don’t want to send the new radio devices back- instead i’m considering modifying the ST-E3-RT in some way to equip it with an AF-Assist lamp! Also, the additional benefits when shooting in normal (not low light) conditions making them worth hanging on to.

Other than that, both the flash gun and transmitter appear to be built just as well as their predecessors and just as easy to use.

Now on to the 5D Mark III body itself… I’m sure there’s a lot I haven’t noticed/read about/played with but here’s what I have:

My fingers are pretty sore after using the camera for about 3 hours straight- I hope this is simply because it’s new, and very quickly my fingers will get used to the slightly different shape.
I kept catching the modelling lamp button which sends the flash insane. There was a custom function on the old 580’s to disable this so hopefully the same is true for the 600.
To zoom into a shot you now need to use a button on the left then the wheel- this is a lot trickier than before with a single easy to reach button- please fix this in a firmware update!!!

The dual memory card feature is brilliant. I have a 16 GB Sandisk CF and SD being written simultaneously to provide redundancy should one fail/break/get lost. Also my MacBook pro has a built-in SD card reader so i’ll no longer need to use a USB cable to download the photos from the camera.
The lock on the mode wheel is handy- it didn’t often used to get knocked, but would occasionally- so thumbs up.
High ISO performance is great! The Mark II was good, but this is even better.
The HDR feature is a nice extra.
I imagine the additional AF points will come in handy when shooting in the studio, but so far i’ve only used the centre point when shooting.

A few samples:

And a little video I made from the stills:


I’ll try and post some more if I get a chance to use the camera outside or in the studio shortly.