Canon formally announced the launch of Canon 5D Mark iii yesterday and it has come as great news for Canon shooters like me. Since we now finally have a full frame camera which is priced less than the professional 1Dx and yet not only has a full frame sensor, but also a good AF system and burst rate.
In fact, Canon 5D Mark iii not only matches almost all my expectations (with the exception of radio flash trigger and 1x viewfinder magnification), but also manages to surpass them with a 61point AF system borrowed from the mighty 1Dx itself!
While only a handful of high ISO samples and hands on videos have made it to the web by now, it is amply clear from them that despite 1 megapixel bump in resolution, 5D Mark iii produces far cleaner pictures at high ISO than the 5D Mark ii, which was no slouch to begin with!
Here is a hands on video from DigitalRev, with high ISO images towards the end of video and from the looks of it, Canon’s claim of 2 stop cleaner photos than the 5D Mark ii are spot on.
So will I buy a Canon 5D Mark iii?
Absolutely! In fact I can’t wait to get my hands on it, and although it will be a while before I can get the finances in place to make it a part of my photography kit, I have absolutely no doubt, that this is the camera for me (at least right now). Even though, rumors are ripe, that Canon is planning to launch Canon 5Dx with far higher megapixel count (in D800 territory) with a scaled down AF system.
Here is the Official Press Release from Canon UK:
Incorporating feedback from photographers worldwide, the EOS 5D Mark III offers improved performance in virtually every area. A new 22.3 Megapixel (MP) full-frame sensor offers the ideal balance of resolution for stills and HD movies and up to 6 frames per second (fps) shooting, whilst a 61-point AF system and 63-zone metering provide greater speed, flexibility and accuracy. Powered by the latest DIGIC 5+ processing technology, the EOS 5D Mark III also features enhanced video functions, offering improved image quality alongside greater audio control – redefining creative possibilities for photographers and amateur videographers alike.
“The EOS 5D Mark III represents a big step forward for the EOS 5D series” said Kieran Magee, Marketing Director, Professional Imaging, Canon Europe. “The EOS 5D Mark II is an exceptional camera and we’ve listened carefully to feedback from its passionate community of users to improve performance in every area. This camera has been designed to meet virtually any creative challenge – it’s faster, more responsive and features the tools to adapt to everything from studio photography to creative videography, while producing results of the highest quality.”
With its comprehensively upgraded specification, the EOS 5D Mark III is the ideal tool for the growing number of photographers shooting both stills and movies. It incorporates a number of the features launched with Canon’s revolutionary EOS-1D X, providing vastly improved performance, flexibility, handling and durability.
The camera’s newly-developed 22.3MP full-frame sensor provides increased resolution and finer detail, enabling the capture of a wide range of scenes, from sweeping landscapes to beautiful portraits. Higher speed continuous shooting also offers expanded creative possibilities. With an increased 8-channel read out, the camera comfortably handles a maximum full resolution speed of up to 6fps in bursts of 18 RAW images or over 16,000 JPEGs¹, without the need for additional accessories. Additionally, the sensor’s advanced architecture offers a huge native ISO range of 100-25,600, expandable to 102,400, making it possible to capture clean, high quality pictures, even in extreme low-light conditions.
The EOS 5D Mark III utilises the same 61-point wide-area AF system as the flagship EOS-1D X, providing exceptional sensitivity, precision and speed. One of the most advanced AF systems currently available, it features an impressive 41 cross-type points and five dual cross-type points, providing unsurpassed accuracy across the frame. The customisable AF pre-sets introduced in the EOS-1D X are also available, helping the capture of traditionally challenging subjects, and providing additional reliability in situations where subject movement can be unpredictable.
Highly accurate exposures are provided by Canon’s acclaimed iFCL metering system, which incorporates a 63-zone Dual-Layer sensor linked to each point of the AF system. Focus information gathered from the AF system is analysed alongside colour and luminance signals measured by the metering sensor itself, enabling the EOS 5D Mark III to deliver consistently accurate skin tones and excellent results in a wide range of shooting situations.
Creative performance without compromise
The EOS 5D Mark III features Canon’s latest DIGIC 5+ image processor, which powers a range of new functions without affecting the camera’s performance. 14-bit A/D conversion provides smoother tonal gradation and transitions between colours, while in-camera HDR shooting combines three different exposures and allows one of five preset tone maps to be applied, enabling photographers to capture all the detail in high contrast scenes. With in-camera RAW processing and editing capability, photographers also have the option to immediately begin post-processing their images while still on a shoot.
The increased power of DIGIC 5+ also enables a range of tools which contribute to higher image quality. Lens peripheral illumination correction, Lens chromatic aberration correction (lateral and axial) and high ISO noise reduction are all performed in-camera without affecting performance, allowing photographers to continue shooting without any camera lag. Additionally, in-camera image rating via a dedicated button makes it easy for photographers to organise images ahead of post-production.
The EOS 5D Mark III features a new Creative Photo button, which enables users to quickly select Picture Styles and capture multiple exposures, as well as offering direct access to the HDR shooting mode. In playback, pressing the Creative Photo button displays a new comparative playback function, displaying two images side-by-side to allow photographers to view, magnify and compare the quality of different exposures mid-shoot.
For situations where photographers want to avoid being noticed, such as weddings, the EOS 5D Mark III also features a new silent shooting mode that dramatically reduces the sound of the shutter and mirror, ensuring they can work quietly in the background. A continuous silent mode is also available, enabling photographers to capture faster-moving subjects without attracting attention.
Next generation EOS Movies
The EOS 5D Mark III builds on the reputation of the EOS 5D Mark II, with a range of new features introduced following feedback received from photographers to provide even better Full HD video performance. As well as offering the depth-of-field control loved by video professionals, the new full-frame sensor combines with the vast processing power of DIGIC 5+ to improve image quality by virtually eradicating the presence of moiré, false colour and other artefacts. The addition of a movie mode switch and a recording button also offers greater usability, enabling videographers to begin shooting immediately when movie mode is engaged.
Additional movie functions include manual exposure control and an enhanced range of high bit-rate video compression options, with intraframe (ALL-I) and interframe (IPB) methods both supported. Variable frame rates range from 24fps to 60fps, and the addition of SMPTE timecode support provides greater editing flexibility and easier integration into multi-camera shoots. Users can also check and adjust audio during recording via the camera’s Quick Control screen and a headphone socket enables sound level monitoring both during and after shooting. Enhanced processing power provided by DIGIC 5+ also makes it possible to conveniently trim the length of recorded movies in-camera.
Professional build, easy operation
The EOS 5D Mark III has been built to offer photographers easy-handling and robust build quality. Its lightweight, high-grade magnesium body offers advanced weather proofing for protection against the elements, while the construction of the shutter has also been reinforced, with 150,000-cycle durability making it ideal for repeated, everyday use. An enhanced version of the Intelligent Viewfinder featured in the EOS 7D offers approximately 100% coverage, as well as an on-demand grid display via the built-in transparent LCD.
The same reinforced 8.11cm (3.2”) Clear View II LCD screen as used by the EOS-1D X provides high quality framing and playback in all conditions. 1,040k-pixels provide the resolution to accurately check image sharpness and focus, while the gapless structure design introduced with the EOS-1D Mark IV prevents reflections and protects against dust or scratches. A headphone socket and locking mode dial have been included, while the inclusion of a UDMA 7-compatible CF card slot plus an SD card² slot enables shooting to both cards simultaneously, auto switching when the one in use becomes full and the option to copy images from one card to the other in-camera.
Digital Lens Optimizer – new in Digital Photo Professional v3.11
The EOS 5D Mark III comes complete with the most advanced version of Digital Photo Professional (DPP) yet – Canon’s free, in-box software enabling high-speed, high quality processing of RAW images. New in DPP v3.11 is Digital Lens Optimizer – a revolutionary new tool designed to drastically improve image resolution take the image nearer to how the scene appears to the naked eye. This creates exceptionally detailed, high-quality images with highly manageable file sizes, providing photographers with maximum image quality and greater flexibility.
Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO) precisely imitates lens performance, with a series of complex mathematical functions replicating each stage of the journey of light through the optical path. Using this information DLO can correct a range of typical optical aberrations and loss of resolution caused by a camera’s low pass filter, by applying an inverse function to each shot to take the image nearer to how the scene appears to the naked eye. This creates exceptionally detailed, high-quality images with highly manageable file sizes, providing photographers with maximum image quality and greater flexibility.
EOS System compatibility
As part of the EOS System, the EOS 5D Mark III is immediately compatible with over 60 EF Lenses, including the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM – the new, essential wide-angle zoom lens from Canon’s famous L-series. The camera is also compatible with a newly-announced range of accessories designed to offer extended creativity, including the Speedlite 600EX-RT – a high performance TTL flash with wireless radio connectivity. Additionally, the new Battery Grip BG-E11 offers greater handling flexibility alongside the ability to double the camera’s battery life.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III – Key features:
• 22.3 Megapixel full-frame sensor
• 61-point autofocus
• Up to 6fps continuous shooting
• Native ISO 100-25,600 sensitivity
• Full HD video with manual control
• 14-bit DIGIC 5+ processor
• Enhanced Weather sealing
• 8.11cm (3.2-inch) 1,040,000-dot screen
• HDR mode with presets
Pricing and Availability:
The EOS 5D Mark III will be available from end of March 2012, priced at £2999.99 / €3569.99 RRP including VAT.