I have an EOS 5D Mark III that I am trying to learn how to use. A couple of online training videos (and some Internet searching) seem to imply that after pressing the shutter button halfway, the AF points that the camera has selected should display in red. The selected points do show up as black outlined squares, but they do not turn red. Is the camera not working correctly?
Did you buy a used camera? If so, then it is a best practice to go through the entire menu system and reset everything that you can find. Here is a link to the Canon USA Product Support Page for the EOS 5D Mark III. I recommend downloading the User Guide.
If you are new to using a DSLR, then you have two learning curves to climb. You need to learn about the basics of photography and the basics of how cameras work. I like to compare learning to use a DSLR to learning to play a guitar or piano. You must first learn about music before you can begin to learn to play the instrument.
The two most important basic topics to understand about photography are “Exposure Triangle” and “Depth of Field.” I recommend searching YouTube for videos on these topics.
As for your AF points not lighting up in red, that would depend upon your current shooting mode on the top dial and several camera settings that are described in the 5D Mark III User Guide. If you temporarily turn the top dial to the Green [A+] on the top dial, then you should see the focusing square flash red when it achieves a focus lock and causes the camera to emit a beep.
If you are new to DSLRs, I recommend using P mode on the top dial until you gain familiarity with the basics of photography that I mentioned earlier. Using P mode will help you learn about the camera’s features without forcing you to do a deep dive into photography.
Note AF Points DO NOT light up in Red when the camera is set to AI Servo. They will ONLY light in red with the camera set to AI Focus or One Shot.
Thanks to all of you for your replies, that is all good information. I purchased the camera new 5 years ago with a EF 24-105 mm 4L IS USM lens. I learned just enough from Lynda course by Ben Long to operate the camera in A+ mode and a few manual options for a vacation trip and came home with some nice pictures. It's been on a closet shelf since then. I have time now and want to learn more about photography and how to use the Mark III.
I've downloaded the manual now, it will be easier to read on the laptop. Is there a separate user guide? I purchased the Lynda course, so I have access to it. YouTube-ing sounds like a good idea too. The VF display illumination was set to Auto and the AF point display during focus was set to Selected (constant) and I tried Selected (focused). The AF points never display red in the viewfinder, except a brief flash in low light settings. AF mode (Drive?) is set to one shot. At some point, something I did caused the selected AF points to display red in the LCD screen during playback, but that went away after clearing all camera settings. Is that a complete reset or is there another procedure? After clearing settings, the points still only display black in the viewfinder.
I think I may need to take the camera in to get checked out before trying to learn more about using it. Should I consider updating the firmware?
Again, thank you all very much for your input.
During image playback the camera can be set to display the AF Point that was used. If you want the active AF Point to light up in red all the time. You need to change the Viewfinder illumination setting from Auto to On for it to light up in red all the time. Auto only lights up the active AF Point in red when the ambient lighting is low. The Drive mode is different from the AF operation being used. Your camera has 3 AF operations One Shot (still subjects, Focus Priority), AI Servo (For moving subjects, release priority No focus lock) & AI Focus (hybrid mode of AI Servo & One Shot). AI Focus IS NOT recommended because camera shake can easily cause the camera to switch to AI Servo. So use One Shot or AI Servo depending on your shooting conditions. Note if your using a speedlite's AF Assist Beam it ONLY works with One Shot & AI Focus. The AF Assist WILL NOT be projected during AI Servo. Canon's speedlites currently use 3 different types of AF Assist Beams depending on the speedlite. Infrared "IR" (Red grid not really IR), Intermittent Flash Firing & LED (Live View AF ONLY on DSLRs).
There is not a problem with your camera. You will need to spend more time in the manual to learn how to use and set up its features. Your AF point illumination not lighting in red is due to a setting in the AF menus. In my post above, I showed you a page from your camera's manual on how to set it the way that you are asking for. Please review that page again, and set it to On Enable.
OK, thanks again for your help. I will get into the manual more and figure out the settings. The VF display illumination was set to Auto, but is now set to On:Enable and the AF mode is one shot. Another book mentioned setting the AF point area selection method to 61 point : Automatic. The AF points still illuminate in black, except for a quick red flash in low light. The camera is focusing and the pictures look good, so I will keep exploring the manual / settings.
I cleared all camera settings, but the time and date were still correct, is that normal? My firmware is 1.3.4, is there any need or advantage to updating to the 1.3.6 version offered on the support page?
09/26/2023: New firmware updates are available.
08/18/2023: Canon EOS R5 C training series is released.
07/31/2023: New firmware updates are available.
05/31/2023: New firmware updates are available.
05/18/2023: New firmware updates are available.
03/30/2023: New firmware updates are available.