Canon EOS 5D Mark III subject assessment

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

Shoot within the darkish. That is primarily what you are able to do with the Canon 5D Mark III — with a prime sensitivity of ISO 102,four hundred, what was as soon as unfathomable might quickly turn out to be a suitable normal. Whereas level-and-shoot producers are including WiFi and GPS, and tweaking algorithms in an effort to spice up sensitivity past the 6400 mark, Canon and Nikon are making clear instances for a DSLR improve, by drastically enhancing picture high quality. The 5D Mark II had a superb three-yr run, however with its 22.three-megapixel sensor, 1.04M-dot three.2-inch LCD, improved autofocus and excessive-efficiency video capabilities, Canon’s newest full-body DSLR is a completely totally different beast, and a really compelling successor.

We spent two superb weeks with a pre-manufacturing 5D Mark III earlier than reluctantly delivery it again to Canon. The most important profit (for us, no less than) has been excessive-ISO capturing. Whereas the previous 5D might theoretically deal with ISO 25,600 captures as properly, its native vary topped out at 6400 — venturing past that territory meant taking successful on picture high quality, making it a seldom-used function that benefited the digital camera’s spec sheet excess of our low-mild snap assortment. With this newest iteration, we have been capable of seize sharp pictures in environments the place there was far too little mild to make out particulars with the bare eye, simply as we’ve with the bigger (and pricier) Nikon D3S. Our ensuing scenes appear to be they have been lit with refined rigs, or in an surroundings that allotted much more pure mild than was truly obtainable. Low-mild capturing is however one advantage of the Mark III, nevertheless, so be a part of us previous the break for a better look in our area evaluate.

Gallery | forty two Photographs
Canon EOS 5D Mark III evaluation


Canon EOS 5D Mark III


  • Unimaginable picture high quality by way of ISO 25,600
  • Wonderful focusing system
  • Complete HD video choices
  • Sensible three.2-inch LCD with extensive viewing angle


  • Costly
  • No autofocus throughout video seize


In case you’re out there for a full-body DSLR, you possibly can’t go flawed with Canon’s 5D Mark III.

Silent capturing

You made it previous the break! As a gesture of our appreciation, we will allow you to in on a bit of Mark III secret — actually, if that prime-ISO capturing wasn’t within the image, this might very nicely have been our favourite new function. It is referred to as Silent Single, and it actually lets you seize a picture with out listening to that acquainted shutter sound. Clunk. Clunk. Or clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk — six occasions each second in excessive-velocity mode. You possibly can even do your speedy-hearth snapping in Silent Steady, although you are restricted to 3 frames per second somewhat than the standard six, with an obtainable workaround (extra on that in a second).

There isn’t any query that silent capturing will influence your expertise. Positive, you will by no means be capable of masks the truth that you are lugging round a full-measurement DSLR — so good luck being discreet — however it is possible for you to to keep away from attracting consideration every time you snap a body. The sensible purposes for this are countless — wedding ceremony photographers will not have to fret about disrupting the ceremony, road shooters can keep away from alerting their topics and nature photogs will not have to fret about scary wildlife and ruining their photographs. The function will even be greater than welcome on movie and tv units, the place photographers are sometimes required to make use of cumbersome (and expensive) noise suppression gear. It isn’t silent, as its identify suggests, however it’s very very very quiet.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

So do you have to merely set Silent Single and overlook it? For a lot of photographers, there’s actually no purpose to not. The mode makes use of a course of referred to as Pulse Width Modulation, which slows the velocity of the mirror mechanism and the shutter charging motor. As a result of each function at a barely decreased velocity, there is a longer delay between the time you hit the shutter launch and when the digital camera begins an publicity, however until you want each second-fraction you will get, you should not have any situation right here. There’s additionally a “Silent Capturing” mode out there when in Reside View, although this operates through the use of the CMOS sensor to regulate the beginning of an publicity, quite than the primary curtain of the mechanical shutter. This mode might be much more advantageous, because it’s utterly vibration-free. It is also suitable with the excessive-velocity steady drive mode, letting you seize six frames per second — double the rely obtainable in Silent Steady.

ISO 25,600 and past

Sure, you realize the Mark III can seize usable pictures at ISO 25,600 — the highest sensitivity obtainable on the 5D Mark II — however there is a noticeable enchancment with this yr’s mannequin, even with our pre-manufacturing pattern, as you possibly can see within the one hundred-% comparability under. There’s additionally an choice to leap even additional — to ISO fifty one,200 and 102,four hundred — however you will solely need to enterprise that prime in the event you’re extra involved about freezing the motion than snapping a printable picture.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

On our first day with the 5D paired with a 24-105mm f/four L lens, we spent a while exploring Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea, capturing sharp frames of constructing interiors from outdoors the barricades. Should you’re been to an analogous complicated in Asia — The Forbidden Metropolis in Beijing, maybe, or temples in Thailand — you are completely accustomed to the scene of vacationers forcing their method to the entrance of a gaggle, level-and-shoot in hand with the flash engaged. After patiently ready our flip, we have been capable of snap tack-sharp photographs with pure mild, holding the digital camera by hand. The identical utilized to nighttime scenes, and different inside photographs.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

However what actually sealed the deal was a night shoot round Decrease Manhattan. We first came across the World Commerce Middle development website, with four WTC shining vibrant towards the sky at nightfall. There was greater than sufficient mild to snag crisp handheld photographs at ISO 3200.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

Minutes later, with the solar far under the horizon, we walked via Battery Park Metropolis in the direction of the Hudson. We flipped to 12,800 to snag ferries hovering above the river, layered afront the New Jersey skyline.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

Then, ISO 25,600 turned the norm, as we have been capable of seize daffodils at 1/forty second, and freeze cyclists and joggers mid-stride, lit by nothing however peculiar road lamps.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

Subsequent, a cease at an elevated place simply above a small pedestrial bridge, with blue road lamps and a view of Jersey Metropolis within the background.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

Simply previous the waterfront, we occurred upon a view of a fog-coated 1 WTC, which you’ll be able to see under as photographed from the southern tip of Manhattan.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

We then made our means over to Stone Road, to seize the glad hour pleasure, lit by quite a lot of dim road and constructing fixtures.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

We have singled out these excessive-ISO photographs, compiling them within the gallery under, although you will need to obtain our unique JPEGs to get a greater really feel.

Gallery | ninety eight Pictures
Canon EOS 5D Mark III excessive-ISO pattern photographs

Picture high quality

As you’ve got in all probability already gathered, we’re very impressed with the Mark III’s efficiency, each whereas capturing pictures and when it got here time to evaluate them after a shoot. A lot so, that we would not hesitate to declare that picture high quality is completely spectacular. You’ll be able to’t judge knowledgeable digital camera as simply as you possibly can a pill or smartphone. It is important to check each setting, enterprise out into the sector to expertise each lighting state of affairs, and evaluation your photographs on a big excessive-res show, analyzing tons of of pictures in nice element. Naturally, frames shot at ISO 800 and under have been flawless — tack-sharp, with wonderful colour copy and spot-on white stability. Leaping into the 4-digit ISOs did add some noise to the equation, nevertheless it remained almost indistinguishable by way of ISO 6400.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

At 12,800 and 25,600, noise turned simply seen in brighter areas at a 25-% view, however each settings are fairly usable. In truth, if we’re capturing strictly for the online, we would not hesitate to go away the digital camera tuned to 12,800, and even 25,600 if completely mandatory. ISO fifty one,200 and 102,four hundred are noisy as all hell, to be frank, and when you might discover these settings to be usable, particularly for the online, use excessive warning to keep away from venturing this excessive each time potential. Colours turned extra washed out because the ISO creeped up, so noise is not the one concern right here. Nonetheless, we have been thrilled with the digital camera’s efficiency at ISO 12,800 and under, and would not hesitate to make use of these modes for all however probably the most important of shoots. It is also necessary to notice that the digital camera we used was a pre-manufacturing pattern, so picture high quality might additional enhance, although Canon felt assured sufficient on this model to allow a evaluation.

Gallery | one hundred forty five Photographs
Canon EOS 5D Mark III pattern photographs


You’ll be able to’t actually prioritize options on the subject of knowledgeable digital camera — every part must work, very nicely, and focusing efficiency is true up there with picture high quality in our guide. When each shot counts, having a flawless focusing system is vital, and due to the sixty one-level Excessive Density Reticular Autofocus on board (the identical system you will discover on the 1D X), we felt fairly fulfilled on this division as nicely. Body your topic, hit the shutter launch, and the digital camera focuses — with lifeless-on accuracy — in what looks like an prompt. You’ll be able to choose any one of many sixty one focus factors, and when you do, the Mark III will convey no matter falls instantly in entrance into good focus extremely shortly, even when your topic is in close to darkness.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review

For instance, we have been capable of give attention to our manufacturing assistant Jon Turi in a pitch-black room, lit by nothing greater than a laptop computer close to its lowest brightness setting at a distance of two ft. The digital camera took a second to discover a lock, however was completely correct as soon as it did. Repeat the method outdoors, and even in a nicely-lit room, and that second delay by no means comes into play. The Mark III focuses simply as quickly as you hit the shutter launch.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review


Like its predecessor, the 5D Mark III is an extremely succesful video shooter — in reality, a number of the digital camera’s future house owners might not use it to seize stills in any respect. We definitely do not match inside that elite class, although we did snap some homebrew movement footage each time nonetheless photographs simply could not do a justice. Video appeared unbelievable, simply because it did on the Mark II. You will have to focus manually (or earlier than you begin a clip), which we have all the time discovered to be a problem, particularly when trying to movie a palms-on solo with none cameraman help. However in case you’re lucky sufficient to have a comply with focus at your disposal, you ought to be in fine condition right here. There’s additionally no mechanical zoom choice, so for those who’re feeling assured sufficient to tweak it manually throughout a shot, you will in all probability need to use the mic enter to keep away from choosing up any related noise. And eventually, there isn’t any choice to seize stills when you’re recording video, although for those who’re capturing in 1080p — there’s help for 1080 at 24/25/30p or 720 at 50/60p — you will in all probability have loads of body grabs to make use of.

Battery life

Battery life should not be a problem on any current DSLR. Interval. That is additionally the case with the 5D Mark III — you are more likely to fill your reminiscence card lengthy earlier than you exhaust the battery, until you occur to be utilizing SanDisk’s 64GB Class-10 Excessive Professional SD card — which works superbly on this digital camera for each video and 6 fps stills, together with any excessive-efficiency CF taste. We have been capable of hearth off 1,000 stills and some minutes of HD video earlier than the 1800mAh LP-E6 battery even hit the 50-% mark, and made it to a whopping 2,200 frames earlier than that compact rectangular pack went kaput. We spent an uncharacteristic period of time adjusting settings and utilizing Reside View, as nicely, so you will in all probability see much more spectacular figures. Contemplating that we’re unlikely to push previous the five hundred mark on even the busiest of capturing days (liveblogs being the apparent exception), it is protected to say the Mark III will make it by means of a whole week on the CES present flooring with out requiring a recharge.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review


Did we save the most effective for final? Properly, in a method, however you will spend as a lot time eager about the digital camera’s design as we will spend on it right here. We’re actually struggling to seek out any design flaws with the 5D Mark III — it is a sharp wanting digital camera, with a sensible and acquainted format, an intuitive menu construction and a stunning optical viewfinder. The stellar three.2-inch LCD does not tilt or swivel, however you possibly can view it from above, under or to both aspect, if mandatory. Some ports have seen some place tweaking, however they’re all there: mic enter, headphone, mini USB, HDMI, and so forth. There are SD and CF slots, as we have already coated, together with a slot for a similar wonderful battery used within the 5D Mark II. It is lovely. It is acquainted. It simply works.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review


We truthfully have not been this in love with a digital camera since we reviewed the Sony NEX-7. And whereas there’s little to match from a worth and design perspective, we’re significantly questioning that affair, and utterly able to sacrifice the compact design in favor of this extremely succesful do-all the things shooter. At $three,499 for the physique solely, Canon priced this newest 5D larger than its predecessor, which rang in at $2,699 at launch. Nonetheless, in case you’ve been contemplating a 5D Mark III buy, do not hesitate — it is well worth the funding, we promise. And in case you’ve already positioned your order or have one within the mail, get able to have your world turned upside-down — this factor is just superb, in each method.

What’s a subject assessment, you ask? Primarily, the time period serves to make clear that our evaluation is predicated on actual-world utilization, and that it, nevertheless regrettably, will not embrace the thorough benchmarking a digital camera of this caliber might ordinarily require. It is a completely appropriate evaluation by a photographer that is spent many hours working comparable gear, however given the fee and class of such a bit of equipment, we might advocate that professionals additionally think about critiques from different sources earlier than making a purchase order.

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