Canon 5D Mark III

I’ve been constantly smiling since picking up my 5DIII: smiling when I’m shooting, smiling when I’m not shooting, smiling when I’m in Lightroom and smiling in my sleep.

I loved the 7D but as my ability to use the camera increased so did my appreciation of image quality and my desire to be able to shoot in poorer light and shoot birds in flight. I managed to get some shots with the 7D that I like, and some that did well in International competitions but the limitations of the camera restricted when and what I could shoot. After a week with the 5DIII I am totally, helplessly besotted.


Fairy-wren foraging

Superb Fairy-wren
Canon 5DIII, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 400, focal length 400mm


Can you see the little aphid in the fairy-wren’s bill? The 5DIII has a 61 point auto-focus system. I saw this wren in my peripheral vision, I turned and shot and captured the moment. It was that quick. There was no searching for focus, which was good because it was a shot that would have been missed with a delay of a fraction of a second.


Striated Thornbill - Kim Wormald

Striated Thornbill
Canon 5DIII, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/1000, f/5.6, EV 1 2/3, ISO 800, focal length 400mm

Striated Thornbills are tiny birds, 10cm and 7g, that could sit quite comfortably on a 50c piece. They rarely pause. I experimented with ISO settings and was happy to see that there was minimal noise at ISO 800.


Eastern Spinebill - Kim Wormald
Eastern Spinebill
Canon 5DIII, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/500, f/5.6, 1 1/3 EV, ISO 800, focal length 390mm


Eastern Spinebills are arguably one of the prettiest honeyeaters, I always enjoy hearing their piping call and catching a glimpse of them as they flit around taking nectar from blossoms. They weigh about 11g and their bill contributes to their 16cm length. I caught the damp honeyeater above between the dip into water and the shake.


White-naped Honeyeater - Kim Wormald

 White-naped Honeyeater
Canon 5DIII, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/400, f5.6, EV 1, ISO 800, focal length 400mm


Early one morning I tested the 5DIII at ISO 800 in a backlit situation and was impressed with the detail it picked up. These little honeyeaters are 14cm in length and weigh about 13g, they move as rapidly as the thornbills.


New Holland Honeyeater - Kim Wormald

New Holland Honeyeater
Canon 5DIII, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/400mm, f/5.6, 1 EV, ISO 1600, focal length 400mm


Then I tried ISO 1600 and still no problem with noise! New Holland Honeyeaters usually look like long, thin birds so it was fun to capture this one looking like a fluffy puffball. The background in this shot was closer to the bird than in the other images. I very much like clear, non-distracting backgrounds (as in the other images) that allow birds to stand out but I don’t overly mind the glow of blurred leaves behind the New Holland.


Bird food in flight

 Flying bird food
Canon 5DIII, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/320, f/5.6, ISO 400, focal length 400mm


I’m keen to have more luck capturing high quality images of birds in flight and am hopeful as last week I captured the above image of bird food in flight! If anyone can ID this little critter I’d like to know what it is.

I spent a year waiting for the 7D Mark II to be announced. I wanted several features including improved autofocus, less noise, more megapixels, a larger rear screen with better definition and a dial lock. I’d hoped to keep a cropped sensor to keep birds a little larger in the viewfinder and I liked the eight frames per second continuous high speed shooting but photography is about compromise and I am more than happy to drop to six frames per second and to have a full frame sensor.

Many thanks to everyone who gave advice and helped me with this decision and purchase, without you I wouldn’t have spent so much of the past week under my camo hide, I wouldn’t have been able to share these images and I wouldn’t have had a European Blackbird land on my lens or an unidentified bird land on my head – what a wonderful week.

Happy birding, Kim


PS  The Equipment page has been updated to include the 5D Mark III and various other items.


NB It is possible to receive a weekly email informing you that lirralirra has been updated – just add your address to the ‘Subscribe to email’ box above right.

Also, I have added a Facebook like button – thank you ‘likers’!



30 comments to Canon 5D Mark III

  • ha ha, yes years of buying cameras to have choice but it is hard to choose sometimes. you selling the 7d or keeping then? I’m printing A3 size. the 1DIII is 10 megapixel so I try not to crop much. I need to have shots with the longest side at least 1920 for digital competition, for print I like bigger. some of my nicest shots have been only longest side 1500. I am working on my stealth tactics though :-). recently got some army camo net, you look an idiot but it work LOL

    • lirralirra

      I’ve only just noticed this comment Julie! The server did an ‘upgrade’ and it’s no longer easy to see if there are unanswered comments. I’m not sure what to do with the 7D, at the moment it’s my spare. I’m looking forward to hearing how you go with your camo net 🙂

  • Hello Kim
    All birds presented here are really wonderful.
    What a pleasure to see your photos Kim !!!!

    • lirralirra

      I’m glad you enjoyed this week’s images Nathalie, I love photographing the tiny birds. Have a lovely week!

    • Hi Kim, just wondering how close you are to the birds? Im getting great shots out of the 5DIII although it needs to be pretty close to have a good enough image size wise for my photography club print outs. I find the 5DIII files superb, really beautiful, its a double edge sword for me as to which camera to use at times LOL. Ideally I want to use 5DIII the most. I look forward to seeing more from you…Julie

      • lirralirra

        What a nice problem to have about which of your great cameras you use. What size print outs do you create? My distance from the birds varies a lot but I like it when I’m lucky enough to have them land within a few metres of where I am, I wish it happened more often, and when the lighting is good, and when I have my camera with me!

  • Re the 7D, I found 7D would drop off focus wise after so many shots, I learned to refocus on the fly so to speak, mine is actually playing up focus wise since I dropped it but it is getting on age wise now. I get more keepers out of the 5DIII in flight as long as I can get close enough, the 1DIII pretty much gets them every time :-). i still have a bit of learning to do with 5DIII as Ive only had it about three months, I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as I do

  • You have found your calling Kim, what absolutely out of this world photo’s, I quite agree with Elephant’s Child comment. The little blue Wren is ever so pretty love it.

  • Congrats on your new camera. I think whatever camera you have, your photos and birds are awesome.. Love the adorable Fairy Wren. Have a great weekend and Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • nice shots, although I cant understand why you could not get birds in flight with the 7D??? This combination works really well with the canon 1X4 TC. Id like in get a longer lens as these sort of subjects (if Im close enough) are great but birds at any distance seem to be ant sized and the 7D pips it in good light, in bad light at distance I just don’t bother. Its a great camera. Will be interesting to see what the 7DII has to offer

    • lirralirra

      Hi Julie, I got some shots of birds in flight with the 7D including some in Gale Force Gulls (link top right) and Lord Howe Island Tropicbirds (link at the end of Recent Posts) which I like but I found the autofocus missed far more often than I wished. It’s great that your 7D works so well, maybe mine is on the blink. Poor light was an issue for my 7D too and there are so many variables with bird photography that if I can minimise one of them it will be great. I’ll try the 5DIII with BIF as soon as I can and let you know what happens, I don’t think I’m being overly optimistic but it is a trait!

  • Lannie

    Awesome shots! I particularly love the blue wren. Amazing precision.

  • Oh wow. What absolute magic. I am beyond happy for you, and love the beauty you share. Thank you.

  • hello kim
    it s a wonderfull serie, and a great pleasure to watch it
    about canon… sorry i use nikon loool but i m happy for all the smiles you are doing with it =))))
    see you soon, and happy birding

  • Hi, Kim. Especially like the New Holland Honeyeater shot. A very photogenic bird with that white eye and black plumage.
    I often think to get the full frame as well but keep putting it off. Look forward to seeing more of your photos to inspire me!

    • lirralirra

      The New Holland looked so comical all fluffed up, they are pretty striking looking birds. I put off getting a full frame for nearly a year rick and wish I hadn’t. I was concerned about being able to focus on the tiny birds but it hasn’t been a problem, quite the opposite! I’ll do my best to inspire you 🙂

  • Pete Aitchison

    Thanks for sharing your shots with the Australian Bird Photography group.

    Incredible shots here. Loved perusing through them. Actually, regards to what Dave said. You can sign up to Canon programs and you do get rewarded from loyalty and using their gear. I’ve been on a few trips with them. Check out “Canon Collective”. It’s worth being a part of.

    Thanks, again. Pete.

    • lirralirra

      The ABP group is excellent, I’m so pleased to have squeaked in before it closed. I’m glad you enjoyed the shots, thanks for letting me know and thanks for the information about “Canon Collective”, I haven’t heard of it before and will definitely look into it.

  • Congratulations on the new camera. The impressive photos and your enthusiastic remarks should earn you a discount from Canon on your next (and surely there will be one) purchase of Canon gear.

    • lirralirra

      Thanks Dave. It’s hard to imagine an upgrade when I’m still reeling with delight but I felt that way with the old one too so I’m sure you’re right, and then there’s always a new lens to contemplate …

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>