Some quick observations on the Mark III

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Canon Eos 5D Mark III | DSLR Camera Pro

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Some quick observations on the Canon Eos 5D Mark III . Before I go further I should explain I'll be comparing vs. the 5D2 and second, if you need to know about video, I can't be of any help there.

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Some quick observations on the Canon Eos 5D Mark III . Before I go further I should explain I’ll be comparing vs. the 5D2 and second, if you need to know about video, I can’t be of any help there.

Received camera body from Amazon on 3/23. Lots of new features (5D2 manual is 259 pages; 5D3 manual is 403 pages). For the work I do, I was looking for two improvements over the 5D2: Ability to bracket more than 3 shots and much lower noise. The first wish was granted. As you probably know, the Canon Eos 5D Mark III does 7 exposures. Nikons do 9, but 7 is almost always enough. Those who need more will probably have a Promote remote anyway. Noise? Well, the 5D3 images are cleaner but I wouldn’t say dramatically so. With the default noise settings and long exp NR set on, I’d say it’s 1 to 1.5 stops better than the 5D2. Now, with a little Noiseware or other NR, you can get very clean images at 12800 with very little loss of detail so I don’t consider this a problem. I guess it was unrealistic to expect the Canon Eos 5D Mark III to match the very low noise of my D700 but it would have been nice.

Canon Eos 5D Mark III

It’s true that nearly every feature on the 5D3 is an upgrade over the 5D2. Not all of these will result in better images but it’s fair to say that the entire “feel” of the Canon Eos 5D Mark III, the layout, viewfinder, displays are all nicer than the 5D2. The two things that may be game changers, IMO, are the shutter and the AF. If you haven’t heard and felt the shutter on the 5D3, you’re in for a treat. It isn’t just quieter; there is much less kick from the mirror. Add the “silent” mode and, wow. I would not be surprised to see signs in the future that say “Please set your camera to silent mode”. As for AF, I never had a problem with the AF on the 5D2 so I’m less impressed here. But if you shoot moving subjects, the 5D3 has it all–predictive, wrap around, sequential, selective. The manual devotes 45 pages to setting autofocus.

A small thing that I’ve been waiting for, a dual axis electronic level is wonderful. For some time, digital SLRs have had an “artificial horizon” that tells you if you are tilting the camera to the left or right. That’s nice but in almost all imaging software, rotating an image takes just a second. What these left/right levelers don’t tell you is if you are tipping the camera up or down which can be a real pain with a super wide lens. Well, problem solved with the 5D3.

The in-camera HDR is a mixed bag. Output is jpeg only and even at that, it takes awhile for the 5D3 to register the images. (This could be my cards which are Lexar UDMA 400x & Sandisk Extreme IV). Anyhow, it’s a fun feature. This brings me to yet another interesting feature. Since the 5D3 has two cards (CF + SD) you can record different file types to each card. In other words, you could have a RAW-only card and a JPEG-only card. I haven’t tried this but I presume this would mean that you could shoot everything RAW except in-camera HDRs which, being jpegs, would end up on the other card. I get requests for jpegs so now I can put them on one card while keeping an all-RAW card for myself. You can also have redundant cards for backup, sequential for extra capacity, etc. As with the autofocus options, the possibilities are endless!

So, to summarize. Pros: Better AF, 100% viewfinder with electronic grid (no more screens), better LCD, faster drive and processor, fabulous shutter/mirror, 7-stop bracketing, 2-axis level, somewhat lower noise and thus somewhat cleaner images vs. 5D2, two card slots, uses same batteries as 5D2. Cons: Still no built-in flash (yes, it’s very handy), in-camera HDR so-so, mode knob still feels flimsy (and it locks now, so be careful). All in all, this is a very nice, refined camera and anybody trading up from a 5D2 will be happy. And if you do get a Canon Eos 5D Mark III, the person getting your 5D2 will be happy as well.

Just a footnote. One thing that comes through loud and clear from these reviews is how very different people’s needs are and how differently they use a camera. I can only explain how a product meets or fails to meet my needs. I would not dream of saying you do/don’t need this feature or “read and decide” as if I was some sort of oracle. You know what is or is not important to you and how much you’re willing to pay for it. The web has made everybody a professional and an expert but when it’s your money, the only expert is you.


Related Articles: Nikon D3300 | DSLR Camera

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Some quick observations on the Canon Eos 5D Mark III . Before I go further I should explain I'll be comparing vs. the 5D2 and second, if you need to know about video, I can't be of any help there.
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