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Design compared

Compared to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II

The 5D Mark III bears a clear family resemblance to its predecessor, but it's been improved in many ways. Indeed its relationship to the 5D Mark II is much like that between the EOS 7D and EOS 50D - the Mark III just feels like a proper high end camera (finally).

From the front the 5DMark III looks much like its predecessor, with the most obvious change being the large, repositioned DOF preview button. The overall body shape is a bit more rounded and 'organic'.
From the top, the biggest differences (aside from the Mark III's more curvaceous form) are a 7D-like On/Off switch behind the mode dial, and the addition of a customizable M-Fn button beside the shutter release.
The most changes are on the back. The 5D Mark III gains a combined live-view / movie mode switch like the one on the 7D, a 'Q' button providing quick access to the rear-screen control panel, and a separate sliding lock switch for the rear dial. The column of buttons to the left of the 3:2 monitor hints at a slew of functional tweaks in playback mode - more on these later.

Additions/changes vs the 5D Mark II

  • EOS 7D-like control layout (power switch, rear dial lock lever, live view/movie controller)
  • Electronic levels display in viewfinder and LCD
  • Customizable button and control layout
  • 3:2" screen with reduced reflectivity
  • Locking mode dial
  • Revised playback mode with side-by-side comparison displays
  • Expanded bracketing, in-camera HDR shooting, multiple exposure mode
  • In-camera RAW conversion

Compared to the Nikon D800

The 5D Mark III is a similar size to its main competitor the Nikon D800 and as we'd expect from two DSLRs of the same generation its control layout is very similar. Obvious differences are the D800's built-in flash, the exposure mode dial of the 5D Mark III (the D800's exposure modes are accessed via a 'mode' button on the top plate) and the 5D III's rear control dial - a feature of high-end EOS SLRs for more than 20 years.

Both the 5D Mark III and the Nikon D800 are solid, purposeful cameras which carry a reassuring 'heft' which sets them apart from their lower-end stablemates. Note the D800's AF mode switch to the left of the lensmount - like all EOS D/SLRs the 5D Mark III's AF modes are accessed via a button and screen interface.
This view shows the differences in design philosophy between Canon and Nikon very clearly. The 5D Mark III lacks the D800's built-in flash, and features an exposure mode dial on the left side of the top-plate. The D800's exposure modes are changed using the 'mode' button just aft of the shutter release.
All of the same controls, not necessarily in the same place. From the rear the 5D Mark III and D800 are very similar, but arranged slightly differently. The 5D Mark III features a control dial rather than the D800's 4-way controller, and although both cameras have a button to activate live view (and an accompanying switch for still or movie mode operation) Canon places it up by the viewfinder, and Nikon down close to the rear of the body.
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Total comments: 20


I am new to the Canon brand and was considering a 5D3 or a 7D2. I need a camera that captures images and short video clips of very fast sports at close and far ranges. So for me, speed, image quality, and movie quality are the most important.

Edit: I should add that the sports are indoor but very fast, and I usually cannot use flash, so I have to work with what's available.

If there is another camera that you recommend beyond these two, please let me know. I have only used a Nikon D4S in the past which did well but I can no longer use that. Thanks in advance and sorry if this is a low-level question.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting

First test ever here the 5d mark iii filming in 4k Magic lantern also unlock Raw

Pascal Parvex

It is not filming in 4K, it is still 1080p. It was just uprezzed (DNG files).


your right


I am owner of 5d mark III.
I ll totally disagre about noise free image of mark III.
Camera make iso free, but with jpg image, where is use in camera noise filter.
I can do it in photoshop with any camera.
More important, and no one talk about that, raw image on 1600!! iso have noise, 3200 and more, have lot of noise.
And second thing, image on higher noise are not sharp!


Which lenses you use?

1 upvote
Abel Sy

Hello, I've just bought a 5D3 W/ 24 - 105MM lens, upon playing w/ it, looking for the command for multiple shots, the auto focus was affected and not wokring anymore. I don't know and can not make it back to original setting. Is somebody there know and tell me what to do? please help.
P.S. I tried the lens to put in another camera and it works, and attached another lens to 5d3, but didn't work as well. so I confirmed that the problem is the setting w/in the body.


A minor nitpick: Canon's first 35mm autofocus SLR was not the EOS 650 but the T80.


Hello i just need a professional the Canon 5D Mark III suitable for broadcast?

1 upvote
Pascal Parvex

No one has answered, so here is an non-professional opinion: Should be. Since the Mark II, the 5D series has gotten some heavy use in broadcasting.


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.


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?


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 hope it helps!!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting

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

Cyrus the Great

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

'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.


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

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.


The Nikon 85 1.2 and 200 1.8 is better than the Canon ones... oh wait, no, it was the 8-15 f4. ;)


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

Total comments: 20