Canon EOS 5D Mark III
277 Pages

Canon EOS 5D Mark III



The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is the latest in Canon's line of full-frame DSLR cameras. Its impressive array of capabilities and advanced controls allow the photographer ever more influence over the final image. With this comes more menus, buttons, and dials that the photographer must learn how to use to take full advantage of the camera.

This book explores the features and capabilities of the 5D Mark III in a way that far surpasses the user's manual. It guides readers through the camera features with step-by-step setting adjustments; color illustrations; and detailed how, when, and why explanations for each option. Every button, dial, switch, and menu configuration setting is explored in a user-friendly manner, with suggestions for setup. The informative text is illustrated with screenshots and example images throughout, making it easy to follow along.

Author James Johnson covers everything from the basic features of the camera to the numerous advanced photographic options as he discusses topics such as focus and exposure, lenses, lighting, custom settings, and more. With this book as your guide, you'll learn how to get the most out of this powerful camera.



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Published 28 December 2012
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EAN13 9781457179372
Language English
Document size 35 MB

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The Canon 5D Mark IIIii The Canon 5D Mark III
When James (Jim) Johnson retired from a 25-year
career as a software developer for IBM, he had
already been working as a contract technical
editor for Microsoft. After his retirement,
technical editing and technical writing became his
primary source of income to cover the cost of his
‘toys’, most of which were computer equipment
and photographic equipment.
Jim’s involvement with cameras began in the
mid '50s when he needed to record the interior
of caves in Kentucky. At the time, the greatest challenge was to provide adequate
illumination in a manner that did not defle the caves; thus, he purchased a Leica
3F camera (which was then the norm) and experimented with numerous lighting
sources. He was later able to add a nice piece of brass-and-glass manufactured
by Canon during the post-war occupation. That 100mm telephoto lens was every
bit as sharp and capable as the Leica lenses. And so began an appreciation for
Japanese camera equipment. There have been numerous Nikon cameras and
lenses over the years, but Jim’s peers are ardent Canon enthusiasts, so he now
entertains himself by exploring the latest Canon products.
Jim and his wife Heather live on the California coast, with their home
overlooking the Morro Bay estuary. The coast, the bays, and the mountains all combine to
host a vast array of botanical subjects which are the focus of Jim’s current
photographic interest. iii
The Canon 5D Mark III
The Guide to Understanding and Using Your Camera
Jim Johnsoniv The Canon 5D Mark III
James Johnson
Publisher: Gerhard Rossbach
Project Editor: Beth Bernstein
Copyeditor: Jeanne Hansen
Layout and type: Jan Martí, Command Z
Cover design: Helmut Kraus,
Back cover image: James Johnson
Printer: Sheridan Books, Inc.
Printed in USA

ISBN 978-1-937538-15-6
1st Edition 2012
© 2012 by James Johnson

Rocky Nook, Inc.
802 East Cota Street., 3rd Floor
Santa Barbara, CA 93103
Distributed by O‘Reilly Media
1005 Gravenstein Highway North
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Johnson, James, 1935-
Canon EOS 5D Mark III : the guide to understanding and using your camera / by James Johnson.
-- 1st edition.
pages cm
ISBN 978-1-937538-15-6 (pbk.)
1. Canon digital cameras. 2. Photography--Digital techniques. 3. Single-lens reflex cameras. I.
Title. II. Title: Canon EOS 5D Mark 3.
TR263.C3J64 2012
Many of the designations in this book used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their
products are claimed as trademarks of their respective companies. Where those designations appear in
this book, and Rocky Nook was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have been printed in
caps or initial caps. They are used in editorial fashion only and for the benefit of such companies,
they are not intended to convey endorsement or other affiliation with this book.
No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any
form, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information
storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the copyright owner. While reasonable
care has been exercised in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no
responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information
contained herein.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.Acknowledgments
Acknowledgments v
A number of people have contributed to the preparation of this book. Very early in
the writing, I asked two published photographers to review chapters for adequacy
of coverage as much as for accuracy. Marlin Harms and Bob Canepa, both from the
California Central Coast area, provided direction and correction, with Marlin also
contributing several of the chapter-opening photos. Juergen Gulbins, from Keltern,
Germany, provided the book’s Foreword as well as several of the chapter-opening
photos. As always, the staf of Rocky Nook are competent, helpful, and available, as
are the contractors Rocky Nook hires for their special areas of technical expertise.
Of course, my most valuable colleague and collaborator is my best friend, who
is also my wife, editor, advisor, and motivator. To Heather this book is Preface
Though we will mention subjects such as shooting movies or shooting stills with
the Scene Intelligent Auto mode, the audience for this book is expected to be
stillphoto shooters with a skill set ranging from amateurs with prior DSLR experience
to full-time professionals. This book is for photographers who are comfortable
with basic photography, but who need an understanding of the myriad features,
functions, options, and settings available with the EOS 5D Mk III camera.
The Canon EOS (Electro-Optical System) was introduced in 1987 with the
Canon EOS 650, the frst auto-focus camera from Canon. Though it appears that
today’s Canon SLR cameras are all digital, the EOS technology is still in production
as Canon’s current DSLR system. The acronym EOS was chosen to honor Eos, the
Titan Goddess of dawn in Greek mythology, and is often pronounced as a word,
although some spell out the letters, reading it as an initialism.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is a sophisticated DSLR, more capable (and complex)
than the Rebel series of Canon cameras, the two-digit D-series of Canon cameras,
and even the 6D and 7D Cas, but certainly not in the same league as
the professional 1D cameras. I’ve written this book for photographers who are
upgrading to the 5D Mk III with the intent to have them understand the features of
the 5D Mk III and how to implement and manage those features. The professional
photographers who acquire a 5D Mk III as a backup camera for their 1D-series
camera will already have mastered most of these techniques and processes, so I
don’t anticipate having too many of them in this audience.
The references to Canon models use the model-designations applied by Canon
to the models as sold in the United States. If you have a model intended for a
nonUS market, it will likely have a diferent model designation.
Some of the features introduced or enhanced in the EOS 5D Mk III are so complex
in function and beyond what we have come to expect from good cameras that
they are difcult to adequately describe in words. If I create an interest or curiosity
regarding some elegant new feature, you may want to take advantage of some
media resources from Canon, which can be found at
This is a collection of short videos and excellent articles with graphics to help
demonstrate difcult concepts as well as the amazing photographic results you
can expect using these features.
Technology is evolving so fast that it’s difcult to keep up with all of the relevant
photography components that can be afected, even for those whose profession Preface
Preface vii
is to write about new advances for the rest of us. The world of fash continues to
evolve, with a sudden burst of on-camera controllers for remote units, and new
radio-controlled remote units not recognizing the optical-wireless controllers
of earlier this year, or requiring reconfguration away from radio-wireless to be
downward compatible.
The sheer number of features available in the EOS 5D Mk III, along with the
extensive menus and other controls, tends to overwhelm the mind’s ability to
comprehend, recall, and correctly apply the appropriate set of variables for
achieving the best possible photos. I encourage you to rely on this book, the
Instruction Manual, and the camera’s built-in Help facilities for assistance on those
what-and-how concerns, allowing your mind to remain alert for photographic
opportunities, compositions, and exposures.viii Table of Contents Table of Contents
Table of Contents
1 2
Part One
4 Chapter One: The Equipment 20 Chapter Two: Buttons, Dials,
Knobs, and their Purposes
 What’s in the New Package?
 Camera Body Reference What Else Do I Need?
 From the Back
 From the Top
 From the Front
 From the Bottom
 From the Left Side, Closed
 From the Left Side, Open
 From the Right Side, Closed
 From the Right Side, Open Table of Contents Table of Contents ix
3 4
46 Chapter Three: Managing 66 Chapter Four: Finding and
Dials, Buttons, Switches, Interpreting Image-Related
and a Joystick Information
 The Dials  Before an Exposure
 The Buttons  After an Exposure
 The Joystick
 The Power Switch
 The Live View Shooting
/Movie Shooting Switch
 The Multi-function Lock x Table of Contents
5 6
Part Two
80 Chapter Five: Capturing 86 Chapter Six: Capturing the
Light—The Exposure Image—Composition and
Parameters Focus
 ISO  Composition
 Aperture  Focus
 Shutter Speed  The AF Confi guration Tool
 MeteringTable of Contents xi
7 8
Part FourPart Three
98 Chapter Seven: Advanced 110 Chapter Eight: The Shooting
Features Menu
 Shooting with Live View  Menus
 Silent Shooting  Shoot
 Silent LV Shooting  Shoot
 Continuous Shooting  Shoot
 Long Exposures  Shoot: LV Functions
 Delayed Exposures
 Depth-of-Field and Focus
Stackingxii Table of Contents
9 10
156 Chapter Nine: The Autofocus 170 Chapter Ten: The Playback
Menu Menu
 AF: AF Confi g. Tool  PLAY
 AF: AI Servo  PLAY
 AF: One Shot  PLAY
 AF
 AFTable of Contents xiii
11 12
182 Chapter 11: The Set Up 200 Chapter 12: The Custom
Menu Functions Menu
 Set Up  C.Fn: Exposure
 Set Up  C.Fn: Disp./Operation
 Set Up  C.Fn: Others
 Set Up  C.Fn: Clearxiv Table of Contents
13 14
210 Chapter 13: The My Menu 214 Chapter 14:
MovieMenu Mode-Specifi c Menus
 My Menu Settings  SHOOT: Movie
 SHOOT: Movie
 SHOOT: Movie
 SHOOT: Movie Table of Contents
Table of Contents xv
15 16
Part SixPart Five
228 Chapter Fifteen: Adding 240 Chapter Sixteen: After the
Illumination Shutter is Tripped…
 Characteristics of Light  In-Camera Post Processing
 Continuous Lighting  Transferring the Images
 Flash Illumination to a Computer
 On-Computer Post-Processing
 Printing
250 Chapter-opening Photo
252 Indexxvi Foreword
When Canon introduced the frst version of the EOS 5D in 2005, it was a small
sensation, considering the price. For the frst time, it allowed photo enthusiasts
to use a full-frame digital camera. When Canon introduced the 5D Mark II in 2008,
another sensation was its capability to shoot HD videos at a quality never before
possible with a camera at that price, and a complete new industry grew up: DSLR
HD video and all the equipment around this new technique, such as rigs,
followfocus systems, etc. Now, four years later, Canon has introduced the EOS 5D Mark
III. This new Canon camera enters a market populated with the rival Nikon D800
and D800E, as well as some other manufacturers’ fne and capable cameras, in
another round of ferce competition.
I own a 5D Mk II and have loved it, but having started to shoot with my new 5D
Mk III, I fnd that I hardly touch my 5D MK II any longer. I have fallen in love with
my 5D Mk III. It has improved on quite a number of features found on the 5D Mk
II: it’s faster, it shoots smoother (at least when set to the silent mode), it has new
features like the HDR mode and the multi-exposure mode, it provides a better
dynamic range, and it allows for higher ISO settings. The 5D Mk III also improved
several small details, like the better (more detailed) auto ISO settings or the longer
bracketing range (now up to 7 bracketing shots with up to ±3 EV compared with
up to 3 shots at ±2 EV). One of the biggest new features is its new auto focus
system, using up to 61 AF points and having 41 cross-type AF sensors and 5
dualcross AF sensors. The diference, compared with the 5D MK II, is dramatic! Well,
the auto focus setting got a bit more comprehensive and complicated, though
“more feature rich” would be accurate.
The new EOS 5D Mk III is a camera that may be used for portrait, landscape, and
sports as well as for studio work. It might not be as fast as the top-of-line EOS 1D
X, but for half of the price, it’s a bargain.
As a photographer, there are naturally a number of extensions and
improvements I would like to see. Canon might provide a frmware update for some of
them; e.g., a better indication of the focus points selected in bright light, a
timelapse exposure, and the possibility for focus stacking (moving the focus in small
steps while shooting a bracket). However, until Canon provides such a feature—if
ever—there is the “Magic Lantern” frmware set that provides a focus-stacking
function (part of a large set of neat enhancements), without invalidating your
Canon camera frmware. Check to see if the code has been adapted to accom -
modate the EOS 5D Mk III.
Though the 5D Mk III is a very convenient camera, it’s not a simple camera. To
make full use of its rich feature set, reading the manual is essential, but as the
manual is highly technical, a good third-party book like this one will help you get Foreword
Foreword xvii
acquainted with the camera and teach you how to use all those fne features while
avoiding many of the little glitches.
With 22.3 MP, the resolution of the 5D Mk III is not the highest on the market—
e.g., Nikon’s D800 provides 36.3 MP—but according to my experience, it’s sufcient
for all kinds of photography and allows for prints well beyond 17˝ x 24,˝ provided
you have a sharp, well-focused image.
From this description, you can see how much I love this camera. Having read this
book and practiced with your camera, I do hope you experience the same
appreciation for the camera and fnd that it is a capable tool for improving your shooting.
Juergen Gulbins
Consultant, Author, Photographer
Keltern, Germany Part One
• The Equipment
• Buttons, Dials, Knobs, and their Purposes
• Managing Dials, Buttons, Switches, and a Joystick
• Finding and Interpreting Image-Related Information4 Chapter One: The Equipment
Chapter One: The EquipmentWhat’s in the New Package? 5
What’s in the New Package?
As of mid-summer 2012, Canon is making the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, referred to
as the EOS 5D Mk III, available in two diferent packages.
Figure 1-1. The contents of the Canon 5260B002 package
The Body-Only Package
The frst package, designated by Canon’s “item code” 5260B002, provides the EOS
5D Mk III body without a lens, plus:
• Eyecup Eg. This is the standard rubber eyecup designed to ft around the view -
fnder’s viewing window. As this eyecup physically projects beyond the back of
the camera body, it is not installed on the camera so that it’s not distorted during
pre-purchase storage. Installation is straightforward. Removal (required only
if you wish to install one of the nonstandard eyecups) involves simply pressing
the left and right sides of the eyecup, then lifting it straight up.
• Eyepiece Cover. Many Canon camera owners are not aware that this piece exists.
It’s a soft rubber rectangle that comes attached to the standard wide camera
strap. Its purpose is to completely block ambient light from entering the
viewfnder’s eyepiece while you’re capturing an image without having your eye at the
viewfnder. Such instances would include any kind of remote triggering, most
long-exposure shots, and delayed exposures. Ambient light entering through the
viewfnder can infuence exposure metering, resulting in underexposed photos. 6 Chapter One: The Equipment
To use this little device, remove the viewfnder’s eyecup and slide the eyepiece
cover (still attached to the camera strap) over the now-exposed viewfnder
rails. Page 185 of the Instruction Manual describes and illustrates the process.
• Battery Pack LP-E6. This is the same lithium-ion battery used in the EOS 5D Mark
II (but not the EOS 5D), EOS 60D, EOS 60Da, the recently announced 6D, and
the EOS 7D. That can be a real advantage if you’re using one of those models as
a second camera: With three batteries, you have a battery in each camera body
and another ready to go in either body as needed. The downside is that
multiplebody compatibility makes this battery a popular purchase, and it seems every
shyster, using every imaginable means of deception and misrepresentation,
has a “Genuine Canon LP-E6 battery” on the Internet market. Note that this is a
battery Canon lists for $100, so when you fnd it on the Internet for $14.95 plus
$11.00 for shipping and handling, you may want to leave that web page and
seek your battery elsewhere. You certainly can fnd better deals than the Canon
list price online, but expect to pay $60 or so for a real Canon battery.
• Body Cap RF-3. This item is generally removed from a new camera, replaced
a lens, and relegated to a forgotten drawer or shoebox. The body cap’s role in
life actually extends well beyond protecting the hole in the front of the camera
during the sales process. Today’s DSLRs are complex electromechanical wonders
that require protection from dust, moisture, shock, and extreme temperatures.
The body cap assists greatly in the dust-protection case, some in moisture
protection, and even a bit in extreme temperature protection. A DSLR’s strongest
feature—the wide selection of sophisticated lenses that can be easily
interchanged—is also its weakest point. Changing lenses provides a signifcant
opportunity for particle intrusion. A particle inside your camera may simply
be a nuisance, such as a speck of dust on the image sensor that creates a gray
spot you have to remove from your photo during post-processing. But it can
also be as disastrous as a hard granule of sand that scratches whatever internal
components it comes into contact with, or totally binds some of the
mechanical operations, rendering the camera useless and needing professional repair.
- There will always be a degree of risk that we simply accept in order to make
lens changes. But it’s still prudent to eliminate as many risk factors as
possible, including reducing the amount of time in which the camera’s internal
parts are exposed to an absolute minimum. For any period longer than a few
seconds, use of the body cap is highly recommended. Certainly, those of you
who have multiple DSLR bodies that you take out for serious shoots should
never simply stuf an open DSLR body into your camera bag. If there’s not a
lens on the camera, there should be a body cap.What’s in the New Package? 7
• Battery Charger LC-E6. Canon makes two versions of the battery charger for
the LP-E6 battery: one called the LC-E6E that has a four-foot long power cord
attached, and the standard LC-E6, which has no power cord but uses a
swiveling male plug that folds into the body of the charger. It’s this second one that
is provided with the camera. Personally, I prefer it. It’s designed to plug directly
into a wall outlet or power strip, with no associated power cord to trip over. In
my case, I keep a four-foot single-ended extension cord on my desk that can
provide temporary service to any number of short-term-use devices, including
this charger.
• Wide Strap EW-EOS5DMKIII. This neck strap is reasonably comfortable, with
good high-friction rubber on the underside to keep the strap on your shoulder.
Note, though, that the rubber doesn’t give any softness or elasticity to the strap.
It seems capable of supporting the camera and lenses up to about 300mm in
focal length. Of course, any lens is going to add weight to the camera body, so
the ability of the body’s strap mounts must also be considered when you’re
determining how much weight can be suspended by any strap.
- Aside from being capable, the red, black, and silver strap is embroidered
with a readily recognized Canon logo and camera identifer, which has to be
considered an asset: anyone who spends this kind of money on a camera is
entitled to brag a bit.
- My greatest frustration with this strap is that it doesn’t provide any form of
quick-disconnect couplers. When I shoot tripod-mounted macro images of
wild fowers, the attached strap is too often in the way and frequently gets
entangled in the greenery surrounding my subject. To address that problem,
I’m evaluating an UPstrap SLR-QR-V and an OP/TECH Pro Loop Strap 1501372.
The UPstrap seems to have a superior grip from the pad, which many users claim
simply prevents the strap from slipping of your shoulder. The OP/TECH has a
shaped, wide pad that better distributes the suspended weight of the camera,
lens, battery grip, fash, and whatever else you assemble as a luggable unit.
• Stereo AV Cable AVC-DC400ST. Though Canon put an HDMI-out port on the
camera body, the camera doesn’t come with an HDMI cable. Apparently Canon
determined that most of today’s TV sets are still not high defnition, so this cable
lets you connect the EOS 5D Mk III to a television’s RCA inputs. On one end of
the cable, there’s a USB Mini-B connector that plugs into the camera’s A/V OUT
/DIGITAL terminal, and on the other end there are three RCA plugs: red and white
plugs for the right and left audio channels, respectively, and a yellow plug for
the video-in signal. If at all possible, buy an HDMI cable and use an HDTV; it will
give you a far superior viewing experience.8 Chapter One: The Equipment
• USB Interface Cable IFC-200U. Be careful with this term. Personally, I feel this is
correct, but fnd that Canon uses the term primarily online and in printed promo -
tional material. The Instruction Manual calls it the Interface Cable, and the camera
port it plugs into is identifed as the A/V OUT/DIGITAL terminal. The purpose of
the cable is to allow the camera to be connected directly to a computer under
the control of the EOS Utility (one of the software products on the EOS DIGITAL
Solution Disk), or to a PictBridge-compliant printer. This type of connection is
useful for moving photos and movies from the camera to a computer without
using an external memory card reader, and for copying frmware-update code
to a memory card in the camera. However, I recommend using an external card
reader, which is a safer approach since you’re less likely to lose power during
a transfer, and the amount of battery charge required is signifcantly reduced.
• EOS DIGITAL Solution Disk. This disk contains the Digital Photo Professional,
EOS Utility, ImageBrowser EX, PhotoStitch, and Picture Style Editor software
products. Before spending a signifcant amount of money on additional soft -
ware, you might want to use these programs to get familiar with the concepts.
You’ll gain a better understanding of which features you want in your editing
software and utilities. Many folks never use any other software. However, it
seems that most of us eventually bite the bullet and spend some real money
for the extended capabilities available in Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom
or, for Mac users, Apple’s Aperture photo editing and management software.
• Software INSTRUCTION MANUAL Disk. The EOS DIGITAL Solution Disk provides
comprehensive and sophisticated programs. To derive maximum beneft, you’ll
probably want to copy the instruction manuals to your computer for fast and
easy access.
• Canon EOS 5D Mark III Instruction Manual. This may present one of the most
challenging aspects of exploiting the camera’s extensive list of features. The
manual is provided in English and Spanish versions, both of which are printed
in 403-page, 4 1/8” x 5 7/8” booklets. If you’re over 40 years of age, you may
need a magnifying glass.
• Pocket Guide (EOS 5D Mark III). The Pocket Guide is a small eight-panel
fanfolded document that provides 15 pages of quick-reference information.
Though not nearly as comprehensive as the Instruction Manual, it is—as the
name implies—designed to be small enough to carry, especially during your
early experiences with the camera.What’s in the New Package? 9
Figure 1-2. The contents of the Canon 5260B009 package
The Body and Lens Kit
The second package, designated by Canon’s “item code” 5260B009, contains all the
components of the body-only package (5260B002) plus the Canon EF 24–105mm
f/4L IS USM lens and its accompanying accessories.
This lens is a high-quality product, one of many from Canon’s extensive and
comprehensive line of high-quality lenses. The “L” in the lens name indicates that
this lens is a member of the “Luxury” group of Canon lenses (notice that bright
red ring around the lens barrel, close to the front end). Unlike many zoom lenses,
this one maintains the same maximum aperture (f/4) throughout its entire zoom
range. It’s also equipped with image stabilization (IS) to compensate for camera
shake and Canon’s Ultrasonic Motor (USM) for fast, silent autofocusing. Combined,
its features make it a good general-purpose lens.
Along with the lens comes:
• Lens Cap E-77U. The sole purpose of a lens cap is to protect the front lens
element, that glass surface you see when you remove the cap. The integrity of the
lens is compromised whenever that front element accumulates fngerprints,
rain drops, mud spatters, or wind-blown detritus. Even worse, the lens can be
rendered useless if the front element is cracked or broken. The lens cap can go
a long way in reducing or eliminating those kinds of problems if it is in place
on the front of the lens.10 Chapter One: The Equipment
• Rear Lens Cap. While the front lens cap is extremely important, the rear lens cap
is no less so. In addition to protecting the rearmost lens element, the rear lens
cap covers the gold contacts and the lens-mounting lugs. The gold contacts
are the means by which the camera and the lens communicate—whether it’s
the lens telling the camera the current focal length, the Image Stabilizer switch
settings, or the focus mode switch settings—or it’s the camera instructing the
lens to rotate the internal focusing mechanism. Obviously, if the contacts are
dirty or damaged, a part of that communication will be seriously compromised.
The sharp, precisely cut mounting lugs are used to securely attach the lens to
the camera body, and maintain a consistent position. The rear lens cap protects
from damage as well.
• Lens Hood EW-83H. Any lens hood serves at least three purposes:
1. To help reduce lens fare in those cases in which the lens is pointed close to
the sun.
2. To provide a degree of impact protection for the front lens element, especially
when the lens cap has been removed.
3. To help identify the photographer as a true (well, at least a wanna-be)
- Being a Canon product, this lens hood is durable, fts snugly, and does not
intrude on the lens image or cause vignetting. If you need to replace this lens
hood, consider that there are many less expensive options available, all
claiming to be either a Canon product or “for Canon lenses,” but too often may be
badly designed, badly manufactured, or both.
• Lens Case LP1219. This soft bag won’t provide much in the way of impact
protection for the lens, but it is a good frst level of protection from dust and
other forms of external contamination, and will certainly reduce any damage
or deterioration caused by abrasion from neighboring camera parts in your
camera bag.