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30 March, 2012

Canon EOS 5D Mark III On Preview - Article From DPreview.com

Canon EOS 5D Mark III On Preview - Article From DPreview.com



Preview based on a pre-production Canon EOS 5D Mark III


On March 2nd 1987, Canon unveiled to the world the EOS 650, its first 35mm autofocus SLR and the start of a brand new camera system. With its fully-electronic lens mount, in-lens aperture and focus motors, and reliance on electronic button and dial operation, the EOS system established a blueprint that all successive camera systems have followed. Now, 25 years later to the day, the company has launched the latest model in the line: the EOS 5D Mark III.

Up until now, the 5D series has been a dynasty of slightly unlikely revolutionaries. The original EOS 5D of 2005 was the first 'affordable' full frame SLR, and the camera that cemented the 24x36mm sensor as the format of choice for many professional applications at a time when many were questioning its continued relevance. The 5D Mark II was the first SLR capable of recording full HD video, a feature that revolutionized the market in a fashion that no one could possibly have envisaged at the time - least of all Canon. On the face of it, though, the latest model offers little that looks likely to make the same impact.

The 5D Mark III has a 22MP full frame sensor in a body that's based on the EOS 7D design, and with a 61-point AF system borrowed from the flagship EOS-1D X. From the glass-half-empty point of view, this could be seen as an unambitious update that trails disappointingly behind Nikon's 36MP D800 before either camera has even hit the shops. But for those whose glasses tend more towards the half-full, it might just turn out to be the camera that 5D Mark II owners always really wanted.

Indeed the 5D name itself is almost misleading; compared to its predecessor the Mark III is essentially a completely new model, with every major system upgraded and updated. In a way it's better seen as a full-frame 7D, with that camera's control layout, extensive customizability and 63-zone metering sensor. But it also gains a raft of additional tweaks and improvements in response to customer feedback; these range from dual slots for CF and SD cards, through a locking exposure mode dial, to a large depth of field preview button that's repositioned for right-handed operation, and can be reprogrammed to access a number of other functions.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III key specifications

22MP full frame CMOS sensor
ISO 100-25600 standard, 50-102,800 expanded
6 fps continuous shooting
Shutter rated to 150,000 frames
1080p30 video recording, stereo sound via external mic
61 point AF system
63 zone iFCL metering system
100% viewfinder coverage
1040k dot 3:2 LCD
Dual card slots for CF and SD
Most of the key specs are substantially upgraded compared to the 5D Mark II. The new sensor, coupled with Canon's latest DIGIC 5+ processor, offers a standard ISO range of 100 - 25,600 that's expandable to 50 - 102,800. An 8-channel sensor readout enables continuous shooting at 6 fps. The shutter is rated to 150,000 cycles and has been refined for quieter operation; the Mark III also inherits the 'silent' shutter mode previously seen on the 1D-series. Viewfinder coverage is a full 100%, and the 1040k dot, 3:2 aspect ratio 3.2" LCD screen has improved anti-reflection properties and a hardened glass cover to protect against scratching. And let's not forget that 61-point focus system from the 1DX - the first time Canon has put its top-spec AF sensor into a non-1-series camera since the film-era EOS 3.

Movie mode turned out to be the 5D Mark II's trump card over its rivals, and its successor naturally offers improved capability in this regard. In terms of ergonomics, the camera gains the 7D's rear movie mode/live view switch, so you no longer have to compromise your stills Live View settings when setting up for video recording. There's a built-in headphone socket for audio monitoring, and rear control dial gains touch-sensitive 'buttons' that allow recording parameters (shutter speed, apertire, ISO and sound volume) to be changed silently. The video output specifications are essentially unchanged in terms of resolution and framerate (1080p30 maximum), but Canon says the processing is improved to minimise moiré and other artefacts, and has included the higher quality All-I and IPB interframe compression options introduced with the EOS-1D X. What you don't get though, is the uncompressed output over HDMI seen in the latest Nikon models.

There's a couple of entirely new features too; the 5D Mark III becomes Canon's first SLR capable of in-camera High Dynamic Range shooting, in an unusually well-implemented and flexible fashion, and gets expanded autobracketing options too (up to 7 frames covering a vast +/- 8 EV range). It can also record multiple exposures, if you so desire. The introduction of DIGIC 5+ means that JPEG processing (finally) includes chromatic aberration correction, based on lens profiles which are stored in-camera (and therefore limited to Canon's own lenses). Last but not least, playback mode adds the ability to compare images directly side-by-side, in a number of different views.

The 5D Mark III also gains a refreshed menu system, essentially based on that of the EOS-1D X. It's not entirely dissimilar to the 5D Mark II's (so existing users will still feel at home), but it gains a completely new tab for managing its complex AF system, based on a range of usage-scenario presets. The ordering of options has been rationalized, and a number of functions that were previously hidden deep within the custom functions have bubbled-up closer to the surface as top-level menu items, perhaps most notably mirror lockup and Highlight Tone Priority.

Additional accessories - including Radio-Controlled Wireless flash


Alongside the 5D Mark III Canon has also introduced a range of accessories, most notably a new wireless flash system that's based on radio, as opposed to infrared communication. Spearheaded by the weathersealed Speedlite 600EX-RT and the WT-E3-RT wireless transmitter, the switch to radio control greatly increases the system's operational range to 30m, removes the requirement for unobstructed line-of-sight communication between Speedlites and the controller, and increases the number of units that can be used to 15 flashes in 5 groups. There's also a hot-shoe-mountable GPS unit, the GP-E2, and a WFT-E7 Wi-Fi transmitter.

Rounding off the story is a new vertical grip for the 5D Mark III, which has an almost-complete set of replicate controls for portrait-format shooting, including the all-important joystick for AF point selection (only a DOF preview button is missing). It can hold a pair of LP-E6 batteries for double the battery life, or run off a cassette full of AAs.

Hands-on review video



If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.
Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.
To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.
DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2012 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.


Canon EOS 5D Mark III specifications

Price
MSRPBody only: $3499, €3299, £2999 with 24-105mm: $4299
Body type
Body typeMid-size SLR
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution5760 x 3840
Other resolutions3840 x 2560, 2880 x 1920, 1920 x 1280, 720 x 480
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels22.3 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors23.4 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDigic 5+
Color spacesRGB,Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayRGB Color Filter Array
Image
ISOAuto, 100 - 25600 in 1/3 stops, plus 50, 51200, 102400 as option
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes (1)
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal
File format
  • JPEG (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant)
  • Design rule for Camera File system (2.0)
  • RAW: RAW, sRAW1, sRAW2 (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition)
  • Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Selective single-point
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampby optional dedicated Speedlite
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points61
Lens mountCanon EF mount
Focal length multiplier1×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.2"
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeClear View II TFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage100 %
Viewfinder magnification0.71×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Auto+
  • Program AE
  • Shutter priority AE
  • Aperture priority AE
  • Manual (Stills and Movie)
  • Custom (x3)
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (Hot-shoe, Wireless plus Sync connector)
Flash X sync speed1/200 sec
Continuous driveYes (6 fps)
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
  • Partial
Exposure compensation±5 EV (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Videography features
Format
  • H.264
MicrophoneMono
SpeakerMono
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps fps), 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (25, 30 fps)
Videography notes1080 and 720 intra or inter frame, 480 inter frame
Storage
Storage typesCompact Flash Type I (UDMA compatible), SD/SDHC/SDXC
Storage includedNone
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (HDMI mini)
WirelessOptional
Remote controlYes (Remote control with N3 type contact, Wireless Controller LC-5, Remote Controller RC-6)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion LP-E6 rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)950
Weight (inc. batteries)950 g (2.09 lb / 33.51 oz)
Dimensions152 x 116 x 76 mm (5.98 x 4.57 x 2.99")
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes (by cable and PC)
GPSOptional
GPS notesWith optional GP-E2 unit

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