Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review
The 5D Mark III comes with a new AF system that is, in terms of specification, very close to the flagship EOS 1D X. It comes with 61 points, 41 of which are cross-type points and, uniquely to this sensor, five of them are diagonally sensitive (for these double cross-type, imagine an X overlaid on a + shape).
When used with lenses with a maximum aperture of F5.6 or brighter, the 5D Mark III is unmatched in terms of the number of cross type points it offers (21). Use an F4 or brighter lens and the advantage becomes even greater, with the camera gaining another 20 cross-type points that are further out from the center of the frame (Nikon's system only features cross-type sensors near the middle of the frame). Fit an F2.8 or brighter lens and the five central double-cross-type sensors become available.
The 5D Mark III only loses out to the Nikon D4 and D800 when it comes to use with slower lenses or long lens/teleconverter combinations, in that its cross-type points can only be used with lenses that are F5.6 or brighter. Canon says there's a trade-off to be made and that its approach allows the sensor to be more accurate with the large aperture lenses it expects its customers to use, and allows the F4 cross-type sensors to be placed further towards the edge of the frame.
And, while the system doesn't have the 1D X's 100,000 pixel metering sensor, it still has a 63-point, color-aware metering sensor (a Foveon-esque two-layer affair), to help the camera track subjects.
F2.8 or brighter
F5.6 or brighter
The other key improvement is the simplification of the AF configuration. Previous high-end Canons have had very capable AF systems but have required fairly extensive training to correctly optimize them for the subject being shot. The 5D Mark III, like the 1D X, has a greatly simplified system for configuration, based on use-case presets.
|AF configuration is complex compared to the 5D Mark II. But it's greatly simplified compared to the EOS-1D Mark IV, with a choice of 6 use-cases. The three parameters (tracking sensitivity, acceleration/deceleration tracking and willingness to switch AF points) can all be adjusted to more precisely tailor the presets to your favoured subject and shooting style.|
|The AF menu allows you to configure in detail precisely how you'd like the AF system to function, across fully five tabs of options.
Some of these have simply been ordered more coherently compared to where they were on the 5D Mark II, but there's a load of additional settings too, most of which are shared with the EOS-1D X.
|You can choose which AF points you want the camera to use or allow you to select manually. The second setting - 'Only cross-type AF points' - takes into account the maximum aperture of the lens you're currently using.|
|AF microadjustment now allows you to program-in different settings for the two ends of a zoom. You can also enter an identification number for the specific the copy of the lens you're using.|
We are no sports photographers but we can say that the simplified AF options are a great help when shooting moving subjects. We tested the EOS 5D Mark III's AF system with a 70-200mm F4L lens at an amateur soccer match, and even with our limited sports shooting skills got a very large proportion of usable shots. With the AF mode set to 'AI Servo' and the AF Case 4 'For subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly' the camera locks onto a subject and tracks it reliably while shooting a burst.
The sample series below is representative for the kind of results we got. We locked focus on the player in the red shirt. The AF system tracks the subject but appears to get slightly confused when the subject is surrounded by other players. As a result in frames 5 and 6 the subject is very slightly soft, but even these shots would be usable on the web or at smaller formats. The AF also recovers quickly, with the subject in perfect focus again in the following shots.
In single AF mode the EOS 5D Mark III's AF performs very well, too, even in very low light, despite the lack of an AF-assist lamp. Rated down to EV-2, which is equivalent to moonlight, we've been constantly impressed by the ability of the 5D III's AF system to get solid focus in light where the 5D Mark II would have been completely unable to operate.
However, one thing to be aware of when shooting with wide apertures on a full-frame camera is the very little tolerance you have in terms of depth of field. When focusing on an image area outside the center of the frame it is advisable to move the AF point rather than using the center point and recompose. If you get consistent focus errors the camera's micro adjustment function can help, but in general it can still be a a good idea to focus bracket when shooting at longer focal lengths and wide apertures.
The contrast detect AF in Live View is still significantly slower than the standard phase-detect system. But this latest generation is now fast enough to make Live View a viable alternative for specialist applications such as macro or studio still life, or when the positioning of the camera makes it difficult to use the viewfinder.
- 16 HDR modes
- 17 Lens Corrections
- 18 Noise and Noise Reduction
- 19 Dynamic Range
- 20 Resolution
- 21 Raw Mode
- 22 High ISO
- 23 Image Quality Tests
- 24 Movie mode
- 25 Video opinion (EOSHD.com)
- 26 Image Q. Compared (JPEG)
- 27 Image Q. Compared (Hi ISO)
- 28 Image Q. Compared (RAW)
- 29 Conclusion
- 30 Samples gallery
|Steamin' Mad by ahrensjt|
from Angered Subjects (Street Photography)
|Smile by Olymguy|
from Ultra Asian Indian Female Faces
|Space Shuttle Cockpit- by vbuhay|
from Aircraft Control Stick
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not known as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you know where to look. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.
The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 crowdsourcing event which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library.
Light gives us some insight into the preparations for the launch of the pre-order shipments of its much anticipated L16 multi-lens camera.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed in a tweet that the second lens on the back of the OnePlus 5 uses a 1.6x optical zoom and that digital zoom is used to reach the claimed 2x zoom factor.
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday article, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.
It will enable users to simulate the presence of the sun, moon and Milky Way and see how they interact with an area's topography.