Canon Releases the 5d Mk III

Canon 5D Mk III

I really don’t understand Canon and Nikon. No major camera announcements for years (I don’t count the 7D or D7000 since they are crop cameras) and then four new full frame bodies announced and released in a matter of months. Nikon has announced the D4 and D800 (and a price cut for the D700) and Canon has countered first with the 1Dx and now the 5D Mk III.

After using Canon for five years and working my way through many, many bodies (XT, 30D, 40D, 5D, 1D Mk IIs) I switched to Nikon in early 2010 after sitting beside a Nikon D3 owner while shooting a University of Maryland basketball game. I had a serious case of gear envy, mostly because my 5D and 1D Mk IIs just weren’t cutting it. They had subpar autofocus systems, horrible LCD screens and serious file buffering issues. So I sold all of my Canon gear and switched over to Nikon and have not regretted it for a second.

Having a quick look at the new 5D Mk III, it appears Canon finally took care of all my issues with the 5D line. There’s a new autofocus system (finally!) and a new screen on the back of the camera. I can’t speak to the video capabilities since I don’t shoot video. I do wish the video capabilities weren’t such a big feature in all these new cameras. I’m ultimately paying for a bunch of features I won’t be using much.

Here are a few opinions of the new 5D Mk II from various places around the internets:

The Verge: Canon’s 5D Mark III retains Canon’s position as a (relatively) low-cost way to shoot full-frame photos or high-quality HD video, though it’s now significantly more expensive than the 5D Mark II it supplants. However, no one would have mistaken the Mark II as competitive with Canon’s 1D Mark III and 1Ds Mark III that were available when it launched. The 5D Mark III, on the other hand, feels like Canon pulled as many features as it possibly could from the new 1D X (including its autofocus system, video codecs, and processor) and fit them into a camera that is significantly less expensive. 

Jeff AscoughObviously it isn’t a speed demon like the 1DX and you have to watch the buffer when shooting dual cards with high ISO in high speed drive mode, but that is to be expected. The camera produces staggeringly good files at all ISO speeds, it focuses quickly and accurately, it is built like a small tank and is as quiet as a church mouse with a Leica if you want it to be. What else do you need from a camera?  

Vincent LaForetTo be frank, this camera has a few minor (but quite important to higher end users) upgrades to it’s little brother.    There are in effect a lot of SMALL yet very IMPORTANT changes that will have a significant impact on those using this camera in actual PRODUCTIONS. Some will find the 2 stops of low light performance to be very welcome – this camera comes second only to the Canon EOS 1Dx camera in low light performance – and both are spectacular in that regard.  In terms of video – you now get 60fps – but sadly still limited to 720p – not 1080p.

DSLR News Shooter:  One thing I am disappointed not to see in the 5D mkIII is a crop sensor or ETC mode. Given the Canon’s own EOS600D/T3i, the Panasonic GH2 and Nikon D4/D800 all have some kind of crop mode it is a shame not to see one on a new Canon offering. If a lot of what you do involves long lens work this may be important. One thing that has thankfully been carried over from the 5D mkII is that it uses the same LPE6 batteries. The should prove a major cost saver for anyone like me moving over from a 5DmkII, 7D or 60D system.

Lastly, It occurred to me while writing this post how basically Canon and Nikon are just copying each other here in an endless loop. When the 5D Mk II and 1D Mk III came out, Canon users wanted a something more akin to the Nikon D700 and D3, two cameras with the same chip, one pro and one prosumer. Likewise, Nikon users cried out for better video capabilities and a megapixel monster, so Nikon gave them the D800 while keeping the D4 more akin to the D3. So now Canon have two similar pro and prosumer cameras while Nikon have a very expensive prosumer model and an even more expensive pro camera with no middle ground. The two companies have basically switched roles.

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  • Reply
    John Shore
    March 5, 2012 at 10:18 am

    As one of those Canon shooters flirting with lusty thoughts of Nikon, I was interested to read that you switched and remain happy. Nevertheless, here I am thinking about upgrading my 5DII to either the 5DIII or the 1Dx, and glad to see you still tracking Canon. Price aside, if you were still shooting Canon, would you go for the 5DIII or the 1Dx? (I do not shoot video, do shoot a lot of low-light music). Thanks. js

  • Reply
    Kyle Gustafson
    March 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    If you don’t shoot sports or need an action camera, the Mk III sounds great on paper and I would lean that way. It should be fine in the low light and the new autofocus should help tremendously. With the extra $$ you save you could buy a new lens if you were so inclined. I would definitely lean that way if I was still shooting Canon.

  • Reply
    John Shore
    March 6, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Thanks Kyle. js

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