The Canon EOS 5D Mark III review is one of the matters I had to do. I’ve had this camera for more than 6 months now, so it’s time to make an accurate analysis about my personal impressions. Here you will find detail of technical issues and links to other review, but mostly you will find my personal feelings about this camera. It’s possible you are interested in raw data comparisons, and you can have them, but when I look for an important piece of work like that, I love to find what other photographers have said about it. Especially when they are not paid by any company to bias their written opinions. I am paid by Jalalala SL, my own company, so you may understand I am not marketing any camera.
EOS 5D Mark III review. What’s new.
If a camera is called EOS 5D Mark III you have to make the references to Mark II. I won’t be very innovative. EOS 5D Mark II was an impressive feature that brought outstanding HD video and high ISO with impressive performance with affordable prices. And 5D Mark III is more of those features. Some people expected a big leap from Mark II to Mark III with some impressive new feature. Bad news. Mark III is an impressive camera with lots of small details improved from its predecessor, but there is no miraculous new feature. And, oh, it’s more expensive. But we can take a look to the highlights…
Perhaps the most important improvement in the camera is introducing the same AF System (and hardware) used in the EOS 1Dx. The Mark II had a 9-points system. Good, but probably too humble for such a great camera. In its usability it was probably the most important problem you will use if you are going to work with Mark II. Mark III has61 bright points with advanced programs depending the movement you think are going to find. Of course there is an automatic version, but adding options to improve performance is important in this camera.
Shots per second
If you add the dramatic increase in AF performance to the update in shots per second (from 4 to 6) you find that now it is a suitable camera for sports. Not as good as EOS 1D series, but now you don’t feel like a turtle when you shoot in bursts. Shutter has an average life of about 150,000 shots. It may sound very high, but it’s just standard in Canon. My Mark II had an estimated life of 150,000 also and I sold it with 180,000 without any problem (I told the guy, of course, but I haven’t received information that he has had to replace it yet). There is some curiosity about the shutter life. I saw a web with info about shutter lives, with info added by customers and it seems it is not exactly a normal distribution: if camera is OK, shutter will live way far more than 150-200,000 shots. But the average number of shots is pulled down if it’s defective (those die before 15,000 shots). In that case, I suppose, Canon would replace your shutter if in warranty, so, effective shutter life is more than that those 150,000 declared shots.
Dual slot: SD and Compact Flash
Really interesting. There is lots of combinations to take advantage of this feature.
Digic 5+ is one of these magic things… You don’t see it, you can’t touch it, but it’s there and it’s making changes. Better performance with high ISOs and, what it is very important, it will correct lot of defects of older lenses you have or buy, so suddenly everything looks slightly better. That makes the camera even more valuable, because is improving your actual gear value. But not all lenses profiles are included, so perhaps you will need to connect your camera to your computer uploading profiles in camera.
Depth of field button
Right to its place. Now it’s more usable.
Interesting for classifying pictures while are in the camera. I don’t use it, but it can be worth in some situations. Not to me, yet. Mostly gets my pics rated when I fail to push another button.
From 3″ to 3’2″ and from 940,000 to 1,040,000 pixels. OK, an improvement, but not a critical one.
From 98% to 100&. It’s OK. Thanks for that. Another of the little things from Mark II that help to understand why EOS 5D Mark III is a better camera.
To be honest, I didn’t notice it had this feature until some days after I bought it. For ceremony, theater, classical music, etc, it’s a blessing. Unexpected.
EOS 5D Mark III review. The quality
Holding a 5D Mark III doesn’t feel very different from holding a 5D Mark II. Strong, bulky but tolerable and solid feeling. But it feels very differently from holding, for instance, a small DSLR like a 400D or 600D. The grip is much better and you can feel 5Ds have a heavier, more trustable skeleton magnesium-alloy from the first moment. Of course, the cost of that is not just money: weight is serious, but you can be sure that you can hold the camera all day long even when you are not a strong guy. If you have big hands, there is no problem: the camera is easy to handle and has all the controls with distance enough to be accessed in a quick and handy way. As usual in Canon, two control wheels to quick access to main features. Don’t expect using this camera with one hand, because you will need both of them. However, one of the most important features in this camera is not easy to find in any sheet of characteristics: everything is accessible. Even if you are not an expert photographer, you’ll get used to it in minutes.
Even when I was not unhappy with my 5D Mark II, the AF performance, the dual card slot and the extra ISO are useful features, but the real advance is in quality. Sharper, nicer, better pictures with better colors. The new sensor and image processor are conceived to provide better results without complicating the work for the photographer.
The camera is better sealed than Mark II, which is a good feature for a professional photographer in Spain, but I am sure is even better for photographers who work in more extreme environments. I feel quite comfortable with the general sealing of this camera, but I would love to have it totally impervious to water and dust. Just paranoia.
Another improvement that is really interesting is the headphone socket: this camera has a real usability for video, so it’s very useful having controls and feedback in audio. Mic hasn’t improved, however.
As a conclusion: for me, it’s unmistakably a great camera. Great heir to the 5D Mark II and it’s worth the about 3,299 € it costs. I’ve read some comparisons with Nikon D800 and it’s impressive sensor, but the results are not really different. However, I am a Canon boy. But it’s not a matter of heart, it’s a matter of gear. I just could not afford to buy the same gear again :)