Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review
In 1987 Canon unveiled the EOS 650 to the world. It was the Japanese manufacturer's first 35mm autofocus SLR and the start of the EOS system. With its fully-electronic lens mount, in-lens aperture and focus motors, and reliance on electronic button and dial operation, Canon's EOS system established a blueprint that all successive camera systems have followed. Now, 25 years later, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is the latest model in the line.
Up until now, the 5D series has been a dynasty of slightly unlikely revolutionaries. The original EOS 5D of 2005 was the first 'affordable' full frame SLR, and the camera that cemented the 24x36mm sensor as the format of choice for many professional applications at a time when many were questioning its continued relevance. The 5D Mark II was the first SLR capable of recording full HD video, a feature that revolutionized the market in a fashion that no one could possibly have envisaged at the time - least of all Canon. On the face of it, though, the latest model offers little that looks likely to make the same impact.
The 5D Mark III has a 22MP full frame sensor in a body that's based on the EOS 7D design, and with a 61-point AF system borrowed from the flagship EOS-1D X. From the glass-half-empty point of view, this could be seen as an unambitious update that trails disappointingly behind Nikon's 36MP D800 which was announced around the same time. But for those whose glasses tend more towards the half-full, it might just turn out to be the camera that 5D Mark II owners always really wanted.
Indeed the 5D name itself is almost misleading; compared to its predecessor the Mark III is essentially a completely new model, with every major system upgraded and updated. In a way it's better seen as a full-frame 7D, with that camera's control layout, extensive customizability and 63-zone metering sensor. But it also gains a raft of additional tweaks and improvements in response to customer feedback; these range from dual slots for CF and SD cards, through a locking exposure mode dial, to a large depth of field preview button that's repositioned for right-handed operation, and can be reprogrammed to access a number of other functions.
Read on to find out out how the 5D Mark III performs in our studio and real-life tests, how we liked its handling and operation and if it is the right camera for your requirements and type of photography.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III key specifications
- 22MP full frame CMOS sensor
- ISO 100-25600 standard, 50-102,800 expanded
- 6 fps continuous shooting
- Shutter rated to 150,000 frames
- 1080p30 video recording, stereo sound via external mic
- 61 point AF system
- 63 zone iFCL metering system
- 100% viewfinder coverage
- 1040k dot 3:2 LCD
- Dual card slots for CF and SD
Canon EOS 5D Mark III and II key differences
Most of the key specs are substantially upgraded compared to the 5D Mark II. The new sensor, coupled with Canon's latest DIGIC 5+ processor, offers a standard ISO range of 100 - 25,600 that's expandable to 50 - 102,800. An 8-channel sensor readout enables continuous shooting at 6 fps. The shutter is rated to 150,000 cycles and has been refined for quieter operation; the Mark III also inherits the 'silent' shutter mode previously seen on the 1D-series. Viewfinder coverage is a full 100%, and the 1040k dot, 3:2 aspect ratio 3.2" LCD screen has improved anti-reflection properties and a hardened glass cover to protect against scratching. And let's not forget that 61-point focus system from the 1DX - the first time Canon has put its top-spec AF sensor into a non-1-series camera since the film-era EOS 3.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
|Sensor||22.3 MP full-frame CMOS||21 MP full-frame CMOS|
|Processor||Digic 5+||Digic 4|
|ISO range||50 - 102800||50 - 25600|
|Maximum shooting rate||6fps||3.9fps|
|LCD screen||3.2" - 1,040,000 dots||3.0" - 920,000 dots|
|AF Sensor||61 points||9 points|
|All-I and IPV video compression options||Yes||No|
|Touch-sensitive rear dial||Yes||No|
|Side-by-side image comparison||Yes||No|
Movie mode turned out to be the 5D Mark II's trump card over its rivals, and its successor naturally offers improved capability in this regard. In terms of ergonomics, the camera gains the 7D's rear movie mode/live view switch, so you no longer have to compromise your stills Live View settings when setting up for video recording. There's a built-in headphone socket for audio monitoring, and rear control dial gains touch-sensitive 'buttons' that allow recording parameters (shutter speed, aperture, ISO and sound volume) to be changed silently. The video output specifications are essentially unchanged in terms of resolution and framerate (1080p30 maximum), but Canon says the processing is improved to minimise moiré and other artefacts, and has included the higher quality All-I and IPB interframe compression options introduced with the EOS-1D X. What you don't get though, is the uncompressed output over HDMI seen in the latest Nikon models.
There's a couple of entirely new features too; the 5D Mark III becomes Canon's first SLR capable of in-camera High Dynamic Range shooting, in an unusually well-implemented and flexible fashion, and gets expanded autobracketing options too (up to 7 frames covering a vast +/- 8 EV range). It can also record multiple exposures, if you so desire. The introduction of DIGIC 5+ means that JPEG processing (finally) includes chromatic aberration correction, based on lens profiles which are stored in-camera (and therefore limited to Canon's own lenses). Last but not least, playback mode adds the ability to compare images directly side-by-side, in a number of different views.
The 5D Mark III also gains a refreshed menu system, essentially based on that of the EOS-1D X. It's not entirely dissimilar to the 5D Mark II's (so existing users will still feel at home), but it gains a completely new tab for managing its complex AF system, based on a range of usage-scenario presets. The ordering of options has been rationalized, and a number of functions that were previously hidden deep within the custom functions have bubbled-up closer to the surface as top-level menu items, perhaps most notably mirror lockup and Highlight Tone Priority.
- 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
|Astronomical Clock in PRAGUE by stadros|
from Your City - Clocks
|Glassball on a perforated metal plate_3 by harubux|
Adorama has announced the availability of a new studio flash head from its own Flashpoint range.
Instagram has quietly added the iOS-exclusive ability to post images or videos to multiple Instagram accounts at once on the same device.
Sony has announced major firmware updates for the a7R III, a7 III and a9. All three cameras gain improved Eye-AF, the ability to recognize and focus on animals' eyes, and timelapse capability. The a9 gets more sophisticated subject tracking.
Sony has announced the a6400, an updated 24.2MP mirrorless camera with a flip-up rear touchscreen and the processor and autofocus system 'borrowed from the a9'.
We're live blogging at Sony's launch event in San Diego, where the company is rumored to be announcing a new mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor.
The latest CamFi model lets you tether your camera wirelessly to your computer and transfer images directly into 3rd-party apps such as Capture One, Lightroom or EOS utility.
United States Transportation Secretary Eleain Chao introduced a proposed rule change that could make it easier for commercial operators to use drones at night and above crowds of people.
SmugMug Films has released its latest film from its award-winning series. 'Framing the Journey' follows photographer Karen Hutton around the landscapes and cityscapes of Slovenia.
Timelapse+ has announced its VIEW intervalometer now offers support for select Fujifilm and Panasonic camera systems.
OPPO's 5x zoom prototype never made it into a production unit but now the company is about to release an even longer optical zoom for smartphones.
The Miami Beach Police Department is using a camera blimp to get around a drone surveillance ban that went into effect in 2015.
The Nikon Z6 may not offer the incredible resolution of its sibling, the Z7, but its excellent video quality and faster performance make it an impressive camera at a considerably lower price.
What do you get when you combine an iconic camera brand from the past with a crowdfunding campaign for a 'rangefinder' camera? The Yashica Y35, that's what. Watch Chris and Jordan try to make lemonade out of a lemon.
Photographer Jimmy McIntyre has been working with Nikon, shooting a pre-production sample of the new Z 14-30mm lens. We're reserving final judgement until we see a reviewable lens, but it looks pretty impressive.
Photographer Nigel Danson recently had a chance to use the new Fujifilm GFX 50R for one of his landscape shoots. In this video, he shares his thoughts on the benefits and challenges of using a medium format camera like the GFX 50R for his work.
2019 is DPReview's 20th anniversary year, so we decided to take a walk down memory lane and shoot with a couple cameras that helped usher in the digital era for pro photographers: The Canon EOS 1D and the Nikon D1H.
The International Leica Society has shared a video of a camera sensor being cleaned at the Leica service centre in the Wetzlar factory in Germany.
The Natural History Museum has shared a gallery of 25 photos for its 2018 LUMIX People's Choice Award shortlist.
The Indemnis Nexus is the first parachute system designed for DJI drones that qualifies as compliant with the ASTM F3322-18 standard.
Western Digital's latest portable storage solution offers large capacities and fast performance in a rugged case.
Sigma's 28mm F1.4 semi-wide-angle 'Art' lens it first showed off at Photokina last year is now listed for pre-order.
The Sony 24mm F1.4 GM is an impressively compact, high quality lens. So, when DPReview contributing writer Jose Francisco Salgado had a chance to shoot a sample gallery with it in beautiful Sedona, Arizona, he jumped at the opportunity.
Moza has launched a compact 3-axis smartphone gimbal that has a few tricks up its (extending) sleeve.
In an exclusive interview with Imaging Resource, Canon executive Yoshiyuki Mizoguchi said video 'will play a huge role' in the EOS R lineup and says 'an 8K video capable camera is already in our EOS R-series roadmap.'
Canon has proudly announced that it ranked third in the world for the number of patents awarded to it by the US Patents Office during 2018.
Vello has announced its new LW-500 Extendá Plus wireless controller, which brings remote control to select Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras.
Atomos and Nikon are teaming up to make the Z6 and Z7 the first mirrorless cameras to offer 4K Raw recording over HDMI to an external monitor — the Ninja V.
Lomography has released its latest film revival, Potsdam 100 monochrome.
We've seen Sony's IMX586 1/2-inch 48MP sensor appear in several higher-end devices in recent months but the Redmi Note 7 is now the first budget device to offer the chip that comes with a Quad-Bayer filter array for optimized 12MP output.
Sony and Nikon's flagship mirrorless cameras both offer impressive in-body image stabilization. According to our testing, you'll see a 2-stop advantage at the wide end and nearly a 5-stop advantage at the telephoto end on both cameras.