5DIII vs 5DII (an unbiased RAW workflow comparison) - lots os samples!

Started Apr 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
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joger Veteran Member • Posts: 4,025
5DIII vs 5DII (an unbiased RAW workflow comparison) - lots os samples!

After tons of apperantly very biased threads I've read and happy new 5D III owners that praise their new toys like hell and D800 owners that do it in a similar way I took the brand new 5D III from a friend and compared it with my most used lenses and my workflow in LR 4.1 beta - the result is simply astonishing - to say the least

But let me start with describing what I normally do. I almost purely work from tripod with MLU and 10x live view and manual focussing with two main work horses: TS-E17 and TS-E 90 - two of the sharpest lenses one can buy in this focal length.

With some 30 years of experiences of photography I am absolutely convinced that the lenses make the difference in photography - so it is IMHO useless to use a 24-105 f/4.0 L IS USM to get the utmost out of any sensor. That's the reason why I chose the excellent Canon shift and tilt lenses for the best outcome.

I am neither interested in AF nor in video nor in multiple card holders - I am more interested in the question: which camera would bring me more details and crisper images at base ISO Of course I've checked also higher ISO values just for the fun of it.

So the question is: does the 5D III add extra image quality the 5D II might suffer?

Let me guide you through the following images (I am sure there is lot's of possible flaws in my comparison but this is how I work on my images)

So what I did is import the images in LR 4.1 as DNG files, manually adjust WB and optimize sharpening, contrast and color until I get a very good end results with minimum artifacts and postirization or any other defects in the image. Well saturated colors and good balance and fine gradated subtle colors.

Let's start with some examples (and again - your workflow might differ to mine but I wanted to find out if my workflow shows significant improvements for the 5D III over the MK II version)

Let's start with my TS-E 17 and an ISO 200 high contrast scene in a church (100 % crop to see differences when printed):

same image but web sized at ISO 25,600 - which is what I would do with a ISO 25 images - since it would not print good at all from each camera

here the 5D III:

and here the 5D II:

And now another scene with ISO 100 - to judge the color reproduction of the two cameras from ym TS_E 90 stitched from two frames to get more resolution - some 35 MPixel:

here a 100 % crop from both images:

and here a comparison with shallow DOF at f/2.8 from my TS-E90

and the same images with ISO 1600 (which was the maximum I could do - 1/8000 sec already reached) - I would not do that in real live but to check whether it shows differences I gave it a try:

my own conclusion:

1.) The cameras are virtually the same - no real advantage for any of them with respect to image quality when you can administrate LightRoom in a good way

2.) The 5D III has some warmer colors - a slightly red color cast in all images which I found to be a bit over saturated - nothing that can't be fixed in LightRoom in a few click - could be that Canon wanted to give the 5D III files a bit more punch - they may have looked that the TV produces that have show room settings for their TV sets

3.) ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 makes no difference - only sublet more noise in the 5D II files at 100 % but no difference when printed big - pretend some files at 24 x 36 inches on my large format plotter - virtually identical prints with subtle color differences as mentioned before)

4.) ISO 25 k images of both cameras are suitable for web sized usage but insufficient for printing - so if you intend to use the 5D III for large ISO 25 k prints forget about it! It will fall behind your expectations by a huge margin - at least it falls behind my expectations and I would not print these files - they are simply to bad to satisfy my eye for quality prints.

Would I buy the 5D III with respect to printing quality?

With the given price of the 5D II now (being roughly half the price of the 5D III) surely not!! The differences are simply too subtle - yes they exist but I could not judge what is really better. It looks slightly different but it prints with both cameras good enough for small prints below 18x24 inches - for bigger prints both cameras have to few resolution to satisfy me completely - the 5D III brings nothing extra to the party.

But from the data sheet one could not expect any big jumps in image quality - the whole overhauling of the 5D II was obviously invested in functions and features where slow photography is acc. to my tests not impacted.

Hope this helps some of you that can't get their hands on both 5D III and II - for me it was the big fun comparing both excellent cameras - owning the 5D II I will now invest my money in further good lenses. The 135 f/2.0 and the 300 f/2.8 II will follow soon.

Please no bashing now!! - if you do not print at all or you actually hate good quality prints because you intend to use you gear for online publishing please simply ignore the crazy guys that love large Fine Art prints from their best images

I do print regularly big and no - 18x24 inches is not big from my perspective.

Have a very nice Easter Vacation and do lot's of real photos instead of looking at test charts and marketing brochures!

just my 2ct

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isn’t it funny, a ship that leaks from the top

ISO 9000 definition of quality: 'Degree to which a set of inherent characteristic fulfills requirements'
I am the classic “Windows by Day, Mac by Night user'

“The horizon of many people is a circle with zero radius which they call their point of view.” Albert Einstein

 joger's gear list:joger's gear list
Sony Alpha 7R II Leica APO-Telyt-M 135mm f/3.4 ASPH Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM Sony FE 50mm F1.4 ZA Zeiss Loxia 35 +15 more
Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark III Nikon D800
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