- 22.3 Megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor
- 61-point AF with up to 41 cross-type AF points
- Zone, Spot and AF Point Expansion focusing modes
- DIGIC 5+ processor
- Up to 6 fps shooting speed
- ISO 100 to 25,600 (ISO 50, 51,200 and 102,400 with expansion)
- +/- 5 stops of exposure compensation
- HDR shooting in-camera
- Full HD Movie shooting with ALL-I or IPB compression
- 29 mins 59 sec clip length in Full HD Movie
- Timecode setting for HD Movie shooting
- Headphone port for audio monitoring
- 59ms shutter lag
- Transparent LCD viewfinder with 100% coverage
- 3.2″ (8.11cm) 1.04 million-pixel Clear View II LCD Screen
- EOS Integrated Cleaning System (EICS)
- CF and SD Card slots
- Silent control touch-pad area
- Dual-Axis Electronic Level
Reaching new megapixel heights also means reaching new RAW file size records. The 5D III does not have a big increase in pixels over the 5D II – and the corresponding file sizes are not significantly increased.
Not surprisingly, the 5D III receives the most-powerful-at-review-time Canon DIGIC processor – the 5+. The 5D III’s single DIGIC 5+ processor is 17x faster than a DIGIC 4 and 30% faster than a DIGIC 5. It is used to power many of the features already discussed in this review – including moving massive amounts of data from the sensor and improved high ISO noise reduction (without a reduction in frame rate or burst depth).
If you ask me what the Canon EOS 5D II’s biggest shortcoming was, I would have no trouble delivering the answer. It was the AF system performance. The 5D II still uses AF technology that was not top-of-the-line when it was installed in the original 5D – circa 2004. Low light AF performance was another popular 5D II complaint I have heard.
For a 5D III AI Servo AF example, we will go to the finish line of the girls high school 4x400mm relay. As you will see depicted in the first set of images below, a non-center AF point was selected.
As seen above, the 5D III can utilize both SDHC/SDXC and CompactFlash memory cards. A sustained write speed of up to 167MB/sec is supported when a fast-enough memory card is used. The UDMA-7 Class-10 CompactFlash standard is supported, but the SDXC UHS-1 standard is not. Use UDMA-7 Class-10 CompactFlash for ultimate performance – the secondary high speed burst figures (after the “/” in the table above) are UDMA-7 specs. I’m still using SDHC cards when speed is not important to me as it makes uploading easy via my laptop’s built-in card reader.
This was my favorite image out of about 20 normally-dirty-looks-inducing exposures captured at a subject-motion-blurring 1/15 sec shutter speed. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens was used at 200mm and f/2.8 with the 5D III at ISO 160. “Silent” will be especially welcomed by event and wedding photographers along with photojournalists. The 5D III’s Silent mode will also be welcomed by videographers shooting the same events as photographers. And by those in attendance at the events. Following is a visual example of a 6 fps capture sequence.
Though not a big worry for all but the most prolific shooters, firing a faster frame rate increases the actuation count at a faster rate. And shutter mechanisms continue to be a mechanical operation subject to wear over time. The 5D III’s shutter receives a 5D II-matching 150,000 actuation durability rating. This rating is second only to Canon’s 1-Series bodies. Also durable is the Canon EOS 5D Mark III’s build. The 5D III’s solidness is noticeable immediately upon grasping the camera. Attached to a steel base plate is the 5D III’s rugged-but-light magnesium alloy body shell. The 5D III remains solid when tripod mounted (serious photographers will find that low end DSLR models flex noticeably more on a tripod).
Weather sealing is part of this camera’s design. The level of weather sealing incorporated into the 5D Mark III is referred to as superior to the 5D II, lesser to the 1D X and equivalent to the EOS 1N film SLR. I shot a soccer game and a track meet with the 5D Mark III in light rain with no problems, but I tried to keep a gloved hand over the camera as much as possible. I also had a bit of an incident early into my 2+ week Hawaii landscape photography trip.
For many more comparisons, go to the CANON 5D III top view
For many more comparisons, go to the CANON 5D III back view
This new LCD is very nice – and most importantly, I can clearly see the histogram even in direct sunlight.
For many more comparisons, go to the CANON 5D III side view