5D Mark III is the latest full frame model from Canon, following the footsteps of its very popular but aging Mark II model. It brings a wide range of improvements and I was eager to try it in the field.
Canon had a habit of breaking price barriers in the past. First, it did it with 300D model back in 2003, which was the first DSLR priced at 1000 USD. In 2005. 5D saw the light of the day as first “affordable” full frame camera on the market. A lot of customers expected this price and feature breaking trend to continue, but it never happened again. All other cameras have had just incremental enhancements, feature by feature, and price level remained almost the same.
Several years later, in 2008. Mark II did shook the market again, but this time in a very unexpected way: video recording. Relatively large sensor made it especially appealing for indie movie makers who needed shallow DOF and large selection of different lenses. Very soon, camera became a selling hit, making its way even into mainstream video production (do you remember the episode of Dr. House shot entirely with Mark II cameras?).
Although it had its quirks and a lot to be desired from a professional full frame camera, Mark II became a sort of standard work-horse amongst a wide range of professional users, especially for wedding and landscape applications.
This year the latest incarnation hit the shelves – the 5D Mark III. It has a completely new and advanced AF system, higher burst rate and a range of improved options. The problem is, many believe it is what Mark II should have been from beginning, and there are still a few functionalities left out, like uncompressed HDMI output. Unfortunately, the price is still very high, slightly higher even from the only current competitor – Nikon D800. There was a hope Canon might introduce a really cheap full frame body, but instead we got a perfected high-end beast.
So is it worth 3000 Euros? Let’s find out.
- Announced: 2012.
- Type: DSLR
- Dimensions: 152 x 116 x 76 mm
- Weight: 950 g
- Sensor: CMOS 22.3 MP (5760 x 3840 pixels)
- ISO range: 100 – 25 600 native, 50 – 102400 extended
- Image stabilization: Depending on lens used
- Dust and moisture protection: Yes
- Flashlight: No, hot-shoe
- Continuous shooting: 6 fps
- LCD screen: 3.2″
- Memory card: CF + SD
- Battery: Li-ion LP-E6
- Video: resolution, fps
- Connectors: USB 2.0, HDMI, 3.5 mm mic + headphones
CONSTRUCTION AND HANDLING
Compared to Mark II, there are very few body construction changes. It is still a very big and heavy weather sealed magnesium-alloy body built to last. In fact, why is it still that big? It might be practical when used with large telephoto lenses and for users with large hands, but that’s about it. Carrying it with me all day long proved to be a tiring task, especially when hiking mountain trails in search of a good landscape shooting location. I guess I will still have to wait some time to be able to buy a lighter full frame body.
There is a variety of buttons and dials with all the most important features available outside menu system. It’s a personal taste but some might not like the big rear dial; for me it was more usable in most cases than traditional protruding-like rear dial, found on Nikon and Sony cameras. With protruding type, one must raise the finger to continue rotating beyond certain point. Canon styled dial can be rotated as much as one needs without interruption.
Canon still has no built-in eyepiece cover used for preventing light entering the camera in long exposures. Instead, there is a rubber attachment on neck strap. The problem is, to attach it one must first remove the stock eyepiece and store it somewhere. I wonder how hard would it be to lose it? And what if someone doesn’t use neck strap? Do they need to carry that rubber thingy in pockets all the time? Nikon, Sony and even Olympus have had a built-in mechanical viewfinder cover since ages.
Menu system is the same as on any other Canon DSLR. It’s color coded, logically structured and easy to use.
Silent shutter is a new function with great benefits. It slows down the mirror assembly movement making it noticeably quieter. Continuous shooting rate is then slower, but I didn’t mind. It helped me to remain unseen in quiet environments like churches, libraries or classical music concerts.