I have been receiving many e-mails this past week regarding the LCD light-leak affecting the meter in the new Canon 5DMKIII.
Here is the statement from Canon: http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/support/consumer?pageKeyCode=prdAdvDetail&docId=0901e02480538fc7&WT.mc_id=C126149
Here are my answers to most of your questions/concerns:
Yes, the problem is real and Canon is working on a fix. No – I don’t know if it will be a hardware or firmware fix (I would assume the former but we will see). Does it bother me? No, I shoot and meter in manual mode (so much easier than auto where it will cause a problem). Remember, Canon is stating a dark environment and night photography certainly qualifies. They are also stating that this is a AE problem. Here is there statement: In extremely dark environments, if the LCD panel illuminates, the displayed exposure value may change as a result of the AE sensor’s detection of light from the LCD panel.
I’m setting the ISO, shutter, and f/stop – not the camera. My LCD (which Canon claims is causing the problem) is also turned off. They are stating: if the LCD panel illuminates. I still correct exposure as I look at my LCD (finished picture only – not Live View) and my histogram combined to make my final exposure compensation. Again, for me, this has been a non-issue though I will indeed get my camera fixed when Canon comes up with the solution.
I metered this scene from Hurricane Point (using matrix metering) in Big Sur with no issues – exposure was right on the mark! I’ve now had (4) night shoots with this camera without issues. I would advise setting LCD to “auto mode” for night (just the opposite for day) as the screen is so bright in manual mode that it will fool you into thinking you are overexposing. As I always preach – watch your histograms! Underexposure is always your enemy as you will introduce noise in post when you try to brighten.
Real world ISO: After all these shoots, my real ISO limit with this camera is 1600. I know Canon says it can go higher and many videos on the web say the same – this is just what works best for me. I have to get these images past the eyes of my discriminating editors at Getty and they are sticklers when it comes to noise. Always remember to make your final determination viewing image at 100%. You will need to run a noise reduction to get noise out at 1600 ISO (especially if you are a bit underexposed – so meter carefully). I recommend either Nik DFine 2.0 or Topaz DeNoise. In a pinch, I would not hesitate to go to 3200 ISO, but I will have to live with some noise in my final image.
As soon as Canon posts a fix – I will send out an update. For now, I wouldn’t let this be a determining issue against not buying the camera. As I have been writing, it is by far the best digital 35mm camera I have ever used!