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Canon EOS 5D Mark III review

Verdict

Breathtaking image quality and a wide range of autofocus options are among the highlights of this superbly rounded package

Review Date: 29 Oct 2012

Reviewed By: Ben Pitt

Price when reviewed: £2,045 (£2,454 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £2299
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
6 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

Image Quality
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II has been a great success among both professionals and enthusiasts, thanks to its full-frame sensor, big viewfinder and sublime controls, all at a lower price and weight than the 1D series. It was also the first DSLR to record 1080p video, and has been at the forefront of a revolution in indie filmmaking since its launch in 2008.

Three-and-a-half years later, the Mark III landed, sporting significant upgrades. Don’t be distracted by the resolution, which only sees a small rise from 21 to 22.3 megapixels – the big news is to be found elsewhere. The Digic 5+ processor boosts continuous performance from 3.9fps to 6fps, complete with in-camera correction for vignetting and chromatic aberrations – a first for an EOS camera. The ISO speed range has seen a fourfold increase to 100-25600, and is expandable to 50-102400.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

There’s also the autofocus system, which replaces the Mark II’s nine-point sensor with a 61-point sensor – the same one that was only recently unveiled in the flagship EOS-1D X.

The Mark III is built like a tank, and at a shade under 1kg, it feels substantial and comfortable without being cumbersome to use. There’s probably room in the body for a flash but Canon has decided against including one. Support for Canon’s new wireless flash system, which uses radio rather than IR, is likely to be more useful. The layout of the controls will make existing EOS users feel instantly at home, although the ability to compare photos alongside each other and rate them from one to five stars is new.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Moving the autofocus point is extremely quick and intuitive. A button on the back-right corner reveals all 61 autofocus points in the viewfinder, 41 of which are cross-type, measuring focus both horizontally and vertically, while a central column of five measures diagonally too. The selected point can be moved using the joystick, but it’s much quicker to use the command dial and wheel for horizontal and vertical movement. A button labelled M-Fn expands the active area to include a group of five or nine points.

The extensive autofocus setup options in the menu include five scenarios with titles such as “Continue to track subjects, ignoring possible obstacles”, each of which can be further customised. However, default settings delivered extremely reliable focus for movement, and for identifying vague subjects in both bright and dim light. There was very little interruption to the 6fps continuous speed when tracking moving subjects, and none from the memory buffer, either – the camera processed and saved JPEGs as fast as it captured them when using a 90MB/sec CompactFlash card.

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User comments

No flash... of course there isn't it's a pro body!

"There’s probably room in the body for a flash but Canon has decided against including one." I had to smile at this in the printed review and now the copy on line. No pro/semi-pro photographer using a 5D III would want/use a built-in pop-up flash for a variety of reasons - the main being poor quality shots from pop-up flashes. A dedicated flash gun would always be used by someone purchasing this camera (and it is why the Mk I and II didn't have flashes), which at least raises the lighting away from the optics a little, but crucially gives bounce, power and other capabilities. You could argue this is a semi-pro body, but I know many pros who have switched their cumbersome larger bodies for the 5D II and this will rate a high upgrade when prices drop. (I use a 5D II day-to-day.)

By isofa on 30 Oct 2012

Check your prices

It doesn't need to be worth £2,500 when it costs less than £2,000. I paid £2,179 for mine a few months back.

http://www.hdewcameras.co.uk/canon-eos-5d-mark-iii
-body-961-p.asp

By tdodd1 on 1 Nov 2012

Price is crazy

The D600 is a better camera for £1000 less - Canon's prices are taking the p*ss.

By Lazy_Gun on 1 Nov 2012

A review judging the performance on the jpeg results between this and the d800 to me effectively totally devalues the whole review by an author who maybe has not spent enough time with either camera to write ( briefly ) a review and form a judgment, maybe a discussion on the raw files generated by either camera would have been more meaningful as I am sure cameras at this price bracket are going to appeal to the photographer who wants to apply more of his input to the image making.

By Ajacks1 on 2 Nov 2012

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