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ISO Accuracy

The actual sensitivity of each indicated ISO is measured using the same shots as are used to measure ISO noise levels, we simply compare the exposure for each shot to the metered light level (using a calibrated Sekonic L-358), middle gray matched. We estimate the accuracy of these results to be +/- 1/6 EV (the margin of error given in the ISO specifications). In our tests we found that measured ISOs from the Canon EOS 5D Mark III match the marked ISOs within 1/6 stop accuracy, meaning ISO 100 indicated = ISO 100 measured.

Noise and Noise Reduction (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Note: this page features our new interactive noise comparison widget. By default, we show you the default noise reduction settings of the camera tested, and three other models of the same class. You can select from all available NR options, and from other cameras. The 'tricolor' patches beneath the familiar gray/black/portrait images are taken from the same test chart, and show how noise impacts upon blue, green and red areas of a scene.

If you look at the noise graphs below you can see that, at default settings, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III's measured noise remains pretty much on the same low level until you get to ISO 3200. Of course this can only be achieved by increasing noise reduction as you increase sensitivity. The Canon's JPEGs are clean and relatively noise-free but have visibly destructive noise reduction applied to them at all ISOs, and you can always get more detail out of an image by converting the raw files, even at ISO 50 or 100.

There is practically no benefit to switching noise reduction off at low ISOs, a difference between the 'Off' and 'Standard' settings only becomes visible at ISO 1600. That said, even the 'Off' setting doesn't mean that no noise reduction at all is applied. Instead there appears to be a baseline level of mainly chroma noise reduction that cannot be disabled. The noise reduction setting controls the amount of additional noise reduction on top of this baseline level.

At higher ISOs the NR 'Off' settings gives you some additional fine detail over the 'Standard' and higher settings but at very high ISOs, 25600 and above, the 'Standard' setting is the better options, as otherwise the noise levels are too intrusive.

Overall the Canon EOS 5D Mark III achieves very low levels of measured noise across the ISO range but this is paid for with a loss of fine detail at higher sensitivities. The two extended settings, ISO 51200 and 102400 should be reserved for emergency situations only, but up to ISO 25600 the camera's JPEGs are usable at least at smaller output sizes.

RAW noise (ACR 6.7, noise reduction set to zero)

The 5D Mark III's raw noise levels are, compared to its predecessor 5D Mark II, and its most direct rival, the Nikon D800, lower across the ISO range. Converting the the raw files and applying a customized noise reduction mix can get you excellent results, as we have demonstrated in the raw and image quality sections of this review.

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Comments

Total comments: 9
Vmo9
By Vmo9 (4 months ago)

I have used the 5D Mark III for over a year and have just finished selling my Nikon gear (sad day after being a Nikon enthusiast for 30 plus years). From auto-focus to camera build to overall quality, this camera can do it all! Even with the slow burst rate, it works well for sports and nature shooting! I can't recommend this camera enough. I have found the auto-focus system to be quick enough for Equestrian events with long lenses, such as Canons 400mm f2.8 or new 200-560mm.

2 upvotes
Rob728
By Rob728 (5 months ago)

I have just bought a 5d mkii, and when doing a comparison test (nothing scientific) against my 50d I find that the 5d3 seems to under expose by upto 1stop, is this normal?

0 upvotes
schutzaphoto
By schutzaphoto (6 months ago)

I work in Nyc as a fashion photographer and I have to say the the 5d series are the most used cameras out side of medium format cameras .Ive been shooting with the mark 3 for over a year after shooting with the mark 2 for 2 years great both great cameras. You can see the shots I've taken with it on my website www.brianschutzaphotography.com hope it helps!!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
VABMAN
By VABMAN (3 months ago)

Nice shots,...I've always dreamed to be a fashion photographer.

0 upvotes
Cyrus the Great
By Cyrus the Great (7 months ago)

Nikon D800 is clear winer over 5D iii in every things. Nikon has much sharper lens.
don't know why some people buy Canon???!!!!!

1 upvote
R D Carver
By R D Carver (7 months ago)

'Some people' buy Canon because they earn their living using a camera. Oh man, you should see those forests of white and red-ringed lenses in the pro pit at every major sporting, media and news event! 'Some people' are winning the major competitions, filling the fashion and nature magazines and filming box office busting movies with Canon. "Nikon has much sharper lens" Which lens exactly? Give a photographer a Canon 5D MKIII and an EF 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS II USM Lens and he can take on the world. Nikon is good, Canon is good why get tribal? it is so petty and amateur. At work I can pick up a Nikon/Sony D800 body or a Cannon 5D MKIII. I prefer the Cannon because I don't like the white balance on the Nikon. Others are happy to use the Nikon, but the die hard Nikon enthusiasts are disappointed that Sony make the sensors for Nikon. In comes Sony in comes the green tinged white balance.

5 upvotes
WillieG
By WillieG (6 months ago)

No cameras white balance is perfectly neutral. That's why we have the ability to manually change it on the camera and even fine tune on some of the higher end models. Nikon cameras do run slightly toward the cool side, but they can always be fine-tuned to be neutral in-camera. Canon cameras have always leaned towards the orange color tint. Luckily for Canon the end result is a slightly warmer image that many photographers like the looks of. Few pros would buy a camera that couldn't be made to produce true colors. And that forest of white lenses has been thinning out quite a bit since the advent of the Nikon D3. I'm one die-hard Nikon enthusiast who's ecstatic with Sony sensors. No other brand can even match their dynamic range.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
solomonshv
By solomonshv (2 months ago)

why is the D800 is the clear winner? because of a few test charts? which camera do you own? the 5DM3 or the D800? i switched from nikon to canon because i liked canon's lenses better.

ever been to a major sporting event or a press conference? if you did you'd notice an abundance of off-white telephoto lenses with red rings on them. saying that "some people buy Canon" is misleading because pretty much everyone who makes a living off their camera gear uses Canon. and believe me, there are very good reasons for that. if you don't know what they are then it will be a waste of time trying to explain them to you. you still wont get it because you are too busy looking at test charts.

0 upvotes
mufflon
By mufflon (8 months ago)

thx for putting the Shadow noise test in your review. it was time to show that quite big difference.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 9