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Based around a full-frame 22.3MP sensor driven by Canon’s DIGIC 5+ processor, the 5D Mk III has a standard ISO range of 100-25,600, which is two-stops more than the Canon 5D Mark II.
The 61-point (41 cross-type) AF system was carried down from the Canon 1D X. While the tracking capabilities of the 1D X didn’t make it in to the 5D Mk III, users will be pleased with its low-light AF performance and accuracy, which has been improved over the 5D Mk II. This system greatly improves the most limiting feature of its predecessor and puts the 5D Mk III among the top AF performers. The autofocus capabilities of the 5D III are different depending upon which lens is mounted – see the 5D III manual pages 79-84.
The 5D Mk III also has a dedicated 63-zone metering sensor, improved 3.2" multicoated and reflection resistant rear LCD, superimposed display intelligent viewfinder, and dual CF/SDHC memory card slots. A few other notable additions are an updated menu layout, Auto ISO improvements, in-camera HDR options, and the side-by-side image comparison playback mode.
From a video-standpoint, the 5D III features some significant improvements. While it still has the standard 1080/30p, it can also record at 720/60p, improved All i-frame and IPB compression options, and a maximum clip length to 29 minutes, 59 seconds without fear of overheating.
The image sensor and processor also combine to help minimize the rolling shutter effect that plagues many video-enabled SLRs. Top it off with built-in audio monitoring through the headphone jack and audio level adjustment via the now touch-sensitive rear dial, and you’ve got a greatly improved but familiar HDSLR that can be used to shoot anything in its way.
It’s a bit amazing to think that the 5D Mk II was almost 4 years old when the Mk III hit the shelves. I’ll admit that I was expecting the Mk III to be very different than this. I’ll even admit I had some panic when I realized Canon was doing what I’d said for years it was time to do: stop increasing megapixels and work on other things. I thought I wanted that, but then the other guy had this 36MP camera . . .
What will you notice right away? Autofocus. Leave it on factory settings until you have a bit of time with the menu (because there are pages of autofocus menu options) and it’s better than any Canon camera I’ve ever shot with. Bad light? No problem. Moving subjects? No problem. It hit autofocus on my jet black dog Zeiss (yeah, that’s really his name) running around the back yard in near darkness.
You want more? High ISO performance is spectacular. ISO 6400 is about as good as 3200 was on the 5D II. The LCD is significantly better; you’ll notice it at a glance. I love the “self-teaching” menu: hit a button and an explanation of the menu item your looking at pops up. It’s like having the manual built into the camera. It’s far more customizable than the 5D II was, and it’s easier to customize for what you want at a glance.
The sensor is now heat-sinked, which means no more 6-minute video limit. And I have to mention dual memory card slots, AF select points that automatically change when you go from landscape to portrait mode, side-by-side image comparison, in-camera HDR, JPEG processing that automatically corrects chromatic aberration (Canon brand lenses only), and a much quieter shutter with silent-shutter option.
This is no minor upgrade camera; it’s an entirely new camera using the old camera’s name. And it’s better—in every way. After just a few hours with it (30 minutes of which was a lesson from Tim about using the autofocus system) this camera has grown on me like salmonella on room temperature chicken. I absolutely love it and have set aside my 5D II for good.
- 5D Mark III camera body w/strap
- Body cap
- LP-E6 battery
- LC-E6 Charger
- Camera bag
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