5D MK III upgrade reasons a personal semi-objective assessment

Started May 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
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NicholasS Regular Member • Posts: 156
5D MK III upgrade reasons a personal semi-objective assessment

I spent a lot of time "pixel peeping" and weighing up if I should upgrade to the 5D Mk III, keep the 5D Mk II or change to the D800. I even thought about keeping the 5D Mk II and also getting an Olympus OM-5 or Fuji X Pro 1.

I ended up with the 5D Mk III. Maybe some of my reasons will help others decide.


1. I take a lot of available light photos of family, travel and street photography (from the many reviews the 5D Mk III is one of, if not the best camera, in low light at ISO > 1600 at this price).

2. I have 6 Canon lenses, 17-40 f4, 24-105 f4, 28 f1.8, 50 f1.4, 100 f2 and 70-200 f2.8 (Nikon lenses are slightly more expensive on the whole - I am bargain hunter and the difference is significant where I shop online, I buy "grey" market from HK).

3. I have a 580 EX flash.

4. I went over the best of my 40K+ shots from the 5D Mk II and what could have been better was more accurate focusing and using a faster shutter speed (due to ISO limited shooting as I never felt confident with the 5D Mk II above ISO 1600).

The competition (my opinion - I have handled each of these cameras but I have not owned them):

1. D800 has better DR but images with shadows lifted to demonstrate this capability on the web look artificial. D800 skin tones in my opinion look more plastic need more magenta (interesting as previously Nikon was better but now Canon is?!). Reds are better on the D800 (not a real world consideration). The resolution difference is not as major for me as everyone seems to imply (who really prints photos that large and the size of the print dictates the viewing distance). Remember > 90% of what most of us would consider as great street photographs are taken at resolutions effectively much less than 22MP let alone 36MP. Out and about the 5D Mk III may be a touch "quicker" more responsive. There are issues with the D800 like the 5D Mk III. Objectively the D800 would seem to be a great camera but not a game changer as some are saying. I was actually standing in Heathrow airport with a D800 and 5D Mk III and gave the D800 back (also the 5D Mk III as I wanted a local warranty for the body).

2. The OM-5 felt like a toy. I really wanted this to be good having owned an OM-1N but yuck and the EVF ... not for me! I did like the small size and the IQ seems to be good from examples posted.

3. The Fuji X Pro 1. A flawed gem, it needs to have fewer quirks and be smaller. The IQ seems to be very good.

5D Mk III compared to Mk II:

1. The Mk III feels a lot better to handle, much more responsive, heavier and more solid. The level and 100% viewfinder are nice features. It feels more “professional” and behaves the same way like a precision tool.

2. The AF is like nothing I have ever used before, really fast, you will now lust after better lenses.

3. I am very happy with high ISO to 6400 but not beyond.

4. The video is only very slightly better quality with more options.

5. More to learn on the 5D Mk III, unlike the 5D Mk II you do need to read the manual.

6. The conversion software LR4 & ACR do not seem to do that a good a job with 5D Mk III files at present - hope this improves.

7. The silent shutter option is good - the higher FPS is good to have but I doubt I will use it much.

What I do NOT like about the 5D Mk III:

1. Price - CANON YOU ARE RIPPING YOUR CUSTOMERS OFF WE ARE NOT STUPID! IF A D800 IS $500 CHEAPER THERE IS NO OBJECTIVE REASON FOR THE 5D MK III PRICE - REALLY P*&&ED ME OFF! I have more than enough money and a reason why is that I am sensible shopper with a lot of other interests, this to me is Canon gouging its customer base... With me they just bought themselves a lot less brand loyalty!

2. IQ below ISO 1600 is practically same as 5D MK II. If the focus or handling is not that important and you rarely want to use ISO > 1600 then there is no need to upgrade from a 5D Mk II especially given the expense.
3. Flash sync 1/200 above only HS Sync, which is not much use to me.

4. The D800 clearly has better DR with smaller pixels – while not a deal breaker (see above) I would like this capability - come on Canon give us better DR at 22-24MP. Cannon needs to resist the MP race my MacBook Pro i7 and Mac Pro 4 core Xeon struggle with my current work flow I do not want 70Mb RAW files!

5. The size and weight of the camera and lenses. This is a general criticism also valid for the 5D Mk II and D800 as I often travel for work to some very nice places and would like a more discrete FF camera which when I am wearing a suit does not scream “camera geek boy” (this is one of the reasons I never use the Canon straps).

Overall I feel I getting about 20% more “keepers” than with the 5D Mk II so I am happy with reservations!

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 NicholasS's gear list:NicholasS's gear list
Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM +6 more
Canon EOS 5D Nikon D800
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