5D Mark III Shadow Recovery

There’s been a lot of talk about how the 5D Mark III is no better than the 5D Mark II when it comes to dynamic range and the ability to cleanly recover shadows. Recently I saw a post on one of the online photography forums that did a side by side with the Nikon D800. Yes, the D800 is impressive in this regard, recovering details from shadow areas without the dreaded banding or pattern noise. The 5D Mark III still suffers from banding however I believe it’s better controlled compared to the 5D Mark II. Still, I would tend to agree that the D800 has the 5D Mark III handily beat in this area.

With that being said, let me give you an example of what a 5D Mark III photo looks like when trying to recover shadow areas.

Here’s a photo I recently took at a wedding. I meant to take this as a silhouette shot and I think it came out rather nicely. This was shot at ISO100.

5D Mark III Shadow Recovery

So just out of sheer curiosity, I wanted to see how the photo would look like if I recovered the shadow area, i.e. the couple. You can see the Adobe Camera Raw settings I changed to achieve this goal. Most notably, the exposure was pushed 1.75 stops and the fill light was pushed to 100, the maximum value.

5D Mark III Shadow Recovery

You can see a bit of horizontal banding even at this size. Let’s take a look at 100% crops! 🙂

5D Mark III Banding

Not horrendous, but horizontal banding is there. Not surprisingly it’s pretty noisy even at ISO100. I think that’s to be expected somewhat, but this is where the Nikon D800 excels at. Anyways, let’s attempt to remove the horizontal banding. For this, I like to use Nik Software’s DFine 2.0. It does an absolutely great job removing both vertical and horizontal banding.

5D Mark III Banding Removal

And here’s how it looks like after I ran the photo through my usual noise reduction workflow.

5D Mark III Banding Removal

And this is how it looks like resized.

5D Mark III Banding Removal

So there you have it!

I don’t anticipate having to recover shadows in this manner, so while the Nikon D800 is superior in this specific regard, I’m just not that worried about it.

I happen to think 22MP is great for Wedding Photography. The 61pt AF system, 6fps, and all the other improvements certainly have made life easier for me! 🙂

  • Adam - May 1, 2012 - 4:11 pm

    Holy Crap! Nice post Nick, and nicely done. Keep up the good work man.

  • Dafydd Hughes - June 14, 2012 - 3:26 am

    Nick – that is a really informative post – thank you.

    I hate the way that 5dii images fall down when trying to drag detail out.

    One trick I like to use when shooting a wedding, is to place a bride in a pool of light, expose for the dress (which is very bright), and then in PP lift the exposure on her face. Almost like under exposing the background and using a ocf to light the subject. However, all too often the latitude offered by the 5dii is just not great enough, and the image all too soon falls apart 🙁

    Once again, thanks for a really useful post.

    I’m going to be in NYC before Xmas, so I may well buy a 5D3 when I am there (much cheaper than the UK).



Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *



<< Back to Blog Home
M o r e   i n f o
M o r e   i n f o