Canon 5D Mark III announced

Canon has announced the upcoming release of the Canon 5D Mark III the successor to the ever popular 5D Mark II that many film and television crews love to use.  I have two 5D Mark IIs, will today’s announcement prompt me to go on a selling spree to get the Mark III?

Here’s the official press release from Cannon:

Canon today announces the latest addition to its worldfamous EOS range with the launch of the new EOS 5D Mark III. The EOS 5D Mark IIIbuilds on the performance of the legendary EOS 5D Mark II, offering improved speed,greater resolution, enhanced processing power and extended creative options for bothstills and Full HD movies – providing unparalleled artistic freedom for the most demanding photographers.

Incorporating feedback from photographers worldwide, the EOS 5D Mark III offers improved performance in virtually every area. A new 22.3 Megapixel (MP) full-frame sensor offers the ideal balance of resolution for stills and HD movies and up to 6 frames per second (fps) shooting, whilst a 61-point AF system and 63-zone metering provide greater speed, flexibility and accuracy. Powered by the latest DIGIC 5+ processing technology, the EOS 5D Mark III also features enhanced video functions, offeringimproved image quality alongside greater audio control – redefining creative possibilities for photographers and amateur videographers alike. “The EOS 5D Mark III represents a big step forward for the EOS 5D series” said Kieran Magee, Marketing Director, Professional Imaging, Canon Europe. “The EOS 5D Mark II is an exceptional camera and we’ve listened carefully to feedback from its passionate community of users to improve performance in every area. This camera has been designed to meet virtually any creative challenge – it’s faster, more responsive and features the tools to adapt to everything from studio photography to creative videography, while producing results of the highest quality.”

Enhanced performance
With its comprehensively upgraded specification, the EOS 5D Mark III is the ideal toolfor the growing number of photographers shooting both stills and movies. It incorporates a number of the features launched with Canon’s revolutionary EOS-1D X,providing vastly improved performance, flexibility, handling and durability. The camera’s newly-developed 22.3MP full-frame sensor provides increased resolution and finer detail, enabling the capture of a wide range of scenes, from sweeping landscapes to beautiful portraits. Higher speed continuous shooting also offers expanded creative possibilities. With an increased 8-channel read out, the camera comfortably handles a maximum full resolution speed of up to 6fps in bursts of 18 RAW images or over 16,000 JPEGs1, without the need for additional accessories. Additionally, the sensor’s advanced architecture offers a huge native ISO range of 100-25,600, expandable to 102,400, making it possible to capture clean, high quality pictures, even in extreme low-light conditions.

The EOS 5D Mark III utilises the same 61-point wide-area AF system as the flagship EOS-1D X, providing exceptional sensitivity, precision and speed. One of the most advanced AF systems currently available, it features an impressive 41 cross-type points and five dual cross-type points, providing unsurpassed accuracy across the frame. The customisable AF pre-sets introduced in the EOS-1D X are also available, helping the capture of traditionally challenging subjects, and providing additional reliability in ituations where subject movement can be unpredictable. Highly accurate exposures are provided by Canon’s acclaimed iFCL metering system, which incorporates a 63-zone Dual-Layer sensor linked to each point of the AF system. Focus information gathered from the AF system is analysed alongside colour and luminance signals measured by the metering sensor itself, enabling the EOS 5D Mark III to deliver consistently accurate skin tones and excellent results in a wide range of shooting situations.

Creative performance without compromise
The EOS 5D Mark III features Canon’s latest DIGIC 5+ image processor, which powers a range of new functions without affecting the camera’s performance. 14-bit A/D conversion provides smoother tonal gradation and transitions between colours, while in-camera HDR shooting combines three different exposures and allows one of five preset tone maps to be applied, enabling photographers to capture all the detail in high contrast scenes. With in-camera RAW processing and editing capability, photographers also have the option to immediately begin post-processing their images while still on a shoot. The increased power of DIGIC 5+ also enables a range of tools which contribute to higher image quality. Lens peripheral illumination correction, Lens chromatic aberration correction (lateral and axial) and high ISO noise reduction are all performed in-camera without affecting performance, allowing photographers to continue shooting without any camera lag. Additionally, in-camera image rating via a dedicated button makes it easy for photographers to organise images ahead of post-production. The EOS 5D Mark III features a new Creative Photo button, which enables users to quickly select Picture Styles and capture multiple exposures, as well as offering direct access to the HDR shooting mode. In playback, pressing the Creative Photo button displays a new comparative playback function, displaying two images side-by-side to allow photographers to view, magnify and compare the quality of different exposures mid-shoot. For situations where photographers want to avoid being noticed, such as weddings, the EOS 5D Mark III also features a new silent shooting mode that dramatically reduces the sound of the shutter and mirror, ensuring they can work quietly in the background. A continuous silent mode is also available, enabling photographers to capture fastermoving subjects without attracting attention.

Next generation EOS Movies
The EOS 5D Mark III builds on the reputation of the EOS 5D Mark II, with a range of new features introduced following feedback received from photographers to provide even better Full HD video performance. As well as offering the depth-of-field control loved by video professionals, the new full-frame sensor combines with the vast processing power of DIGIC 5+ to improve image quality by virtually eradicating the presence of moiré, false colour and other artefacts. The addition of a movie mode switch and a recording button also offers greater usability, enabling videographers to begin shooting immediately when movie mode is engaged. Additional movie functions include manual exposure control and an enhanced range of high bit-rate video compression options, with intraframe (ALL-I) and interframe (IPB) methods both supported. Variable frame rates range from 24fps to 60fps, and the addition of SMPTE timecode support provides greater editing flexibility and easier integration into multi-camera shoots. Users can also check and adjust audio during recording via the camera’s Quick Control screen and a headphone socket enables sound level monitoring both during and after shooting. Enhanced processing power provided by DIGIC 5+ also makes it possible to conveniently trim the length of recorded movies in-camera.

Professional build, easy operation
The EOS 5D Mark III has been built to offer photographers easy-handling and robust build quality. Its lightweight, high-grade magnesium body offers advanced weather proofing for protection against the elements, while the construction of the shutter has also been reinforced, with 150,000-cycle durability making it ideal for repeated, everyday use. An enhanced version of the Intelligent Viewfinder featured in the EOS 7D offers approximately 100% coverage, as well as an on-demand grid display via the builtin transparent LCD. The same reinforced 8.11cm (3.2″) Clear View II LCD screen as used by the EOS-1D X provides high quality framing and playback in all conditions. 1,040k-pixels provide the resolution to accurately check image sharpness and focus, while the gapless structure design introduced with the EOS-1D Mark IV prevents reflections and protects against dust or scratches. A headphone socket and locking mode dial have been included, while the inclusion of a UDMA 7-compatible CF card slot plus an SD card2 slot enables shooting to both cards simultaneously, auto switching when the one in use becomes full and the option to copy images from one card to the other in-camera.

Digital Lens Optimizer – new in Digital Photo Professional v3.11
The EOS 5D Mark III comes complete with the most advanced version of Digital Photo Professional (DPP) yet – Canon’s free, in-box software enabling high-speed, high quality processing of RAW images. New in DPP v3.11 is Digital Lens Optimizer – a revolutionary new tool designed to drastically improve image resolution. Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO) precisely imitates lens performance, with a series of complex mathematical functions replicating each stage of the journey of light through the optical path. Using this information DLO can correct a range of typical optical aberrations and loss of resolution caused by a camera’s low pass filter, by applying an inverse function to each shot to take the image nearer to how the scene appears to the naked eye. This creates exceptionally detailed, high-quality images with highly manageable file sizes, providing photographers with maximum image quality and greater flexibility.

 

EOS System compatibility
As part of the EOS System, the EOS 5D Mark III is immediately compatible with over 60 EF Lenses, including the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM – the new, essential wide-angle zoom lens from Canon’s famous L-series. The camera is also compatible with a newlyannounced range of accessories designed to offer extended creativity, including the Speedlite 600EX-RT – a high performance TTL flash with wireless radio connectivity. Additionally, the new Battery Grip BG-E11 offers greater handling flexibility alongside the ability to double the camera’s battery life.

 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III – Key features:

22.3 Megapixel full-frame sensor
61-point autofocus
Up to 6fps continuous shooting
Native ISO 100-25,600 sensitivity
Full HD video with manual control
14-bit DIGIC 5+ processor
Enhanced Weather sealing
8.11cm (3.2-inch) 1,040,000-dot screen
HDR mode with presets

The Good

After really diving through the specs and analyzing what is said and isn’t said in the press release, there are some very good things in this camera that are great for still and videographers alike.  For me, here are the items of note that stand out:

 

  • A better display on the back is good – especially when combined with the Z-Finder from Zacuto.
  • The headphone jack will be cool for those who use the built-in microphone or attach a Rode mic to the camera to capture sound, as it allows them to monitor sound throughout the recording process.
  • Speaking of the recording process, I like how Canon has addressed the 12 minute record limit currently in place with the Mark II, however, for really long form projects, 30 minutes is still pushing it.
  • Histogram and audio meters are visible while shooting!
  • You can now adjust ISO and shutter speed while shooting.
  • The ability to record SMPTE timecode is great for those doing long form work (interviews, talk shows, etc.) as it helps with the edit session if you are using a multiclip in Final Cut Pro (7 or X) or in Adobe Premiere.
  • Reduced moire is a big deal for those shooting video as the Mark II and it looks like Canon has reduced moire to next to nothing.
  • 60fps at 720P finally gives us a chance to shoot some slo-mo in HD using the full sensor.
  • Dual record slot! Record on Compact Flash or SD is great for those migrating from the lower end cameras to this baby and have already invested in SD cards.
  • Better low light shooting thanks to the higher ISO rates.
  • You can shoot HDR images with one click instead bracketed settings.

The Bad

If there are things that make the camera good, there are also things that give me pause.

  • Recording audio directly to the camera has always been nice, but the built in microphone is a terrible way to capture audio, rendering the need for the headphone jack to next to nothing.
  • The dual recording slot is indeed nice, but there’s nothing I’ve seen so far that indicates you can record to both formats at the same time, or switch back and forth live while recording.  I would much rather have a setup similar to the EOS C300 that allows true dual recording.
  • Clean HDMI out is also absent from this release.  I purchased the Atmos Ninja with the anticipate that I would be able to use it with the Mark II and III line of cameras.  Still useless… Guess I’m selling this thing on eBay.
  • I want to shoot slow-motion video, but I want it at 1080p – I still won’t be able to do that with the Mark III.
  • It would be very nice if there would have been (or would be) a way to sync the timecode between multiple cameras. THAT would make this a must have for multi-camera projects.

BOTTOM LINE: Waiting at least a year

Canon has really stood behind the fact that these are still cameras first and video cameras second, and the Canon Mark III still holds up as a great stills camera.  For the videographer/indie filmmaker the 5D Mark III is an improvement, but not the huge improvement many of us were hoping for.  This release feels more like a 5D Mark 2.5.

A few weeks ago, there was a fire sale on the Canon 5D Mark II, that allowed buyers to pick up the body for around $1800.  Today, the price is back up to $2400.

Honestly, it feels like Canon is trying to gimp this camera in order to protect the sales of the higher end cameras that do address every need of the filmmaker, and really, who could blame them for thinking about the bottom line?  It will probably be three to four more years before we see the final tweaks made to this line.


There are probably a number of people who are going to jump all over this camera right away, but I think I’m going to wait a while.  At least a year, or until a firmware release comes along to address some of the final lingering issues I have.

According to reports, the Canon 5D Mark III will be available at the end of March for a price of $3500 for the body, or $4300 for the body and a 24-105mm lens.  B&H and others have the camera available now for pre-order.

 

Leave a Reply