Canon 5D Mark III Review


Alright folks, the day has finally come in which Canon has announced its successor to the much lauded Canon 5D mark II. We had an official announcement today that the Canon 5D mark III has arrived and will be available for purchase in stores sometime around the end of march. Read the official press release here.

This Canon 5D mark III review is of course a little premature, since I haven’t got my hands on it yet but I wanted to outline the basic pros and cons as to why you may or may not want to upgrade. First off, I will start with why I personally am not yet going to buy a Canon 5D mark III. Review what I say and make a decision for yourself!



  • Price. The Canon 5D mark III has a hefty price tag right now because Canon seems to now how badly everyone has been waiting for this! For $3,500, photographers and filmmakers are going to wonder what is wrong with using a plain old Canon 5D mark II, a camera that has always been wildly popular.
  • Weather sealing. To me, spending over $3K on a camera should mean that I can shoot with that thing in the pouring rain and in dust storms, much like with a Canon 1D X or Canon 1D mark IV. It looks like this is not really going to be the case with the Canon 5D mark III.


  • It’s awesome. And you know it. Where to begin? First, we can consider the Canon 5D mark III confidently, knowing that Canon has had time to work out all the kinks from earlier models unlike with the 5D mark II, which was still a bit of an experiment.
  • Low-light shooting. You’ll be able to shoot basically in pitch black situations. ISO 6400 on the Canon 5D mark III will now look like what ISO 1600 looks like on the Canon 5D mark II. Wow. ISO on the Canon 5D mark III will go up to 25,600 (expandable to 102,400)!!
  • 30-minute video clips. The Canon 5D mark II was limited to about 12 minute clips and the Canon 5D mark III can now shoot for about a half hour!
  • 60p for video. A lot of cameras these days can shoot in 60p, which is a higher frame rate that allows for nice slow motion effects and the ability to film fast moving subjects. The Canon 5D mark III finally contains this upgrade while the 5D mark II has been left without it for so long.
  • Headphone jack. That’s nice to have. It’s been glaringly absent from a camera that has become so popular with filmmakers.
  • 100% viewfinder coverage. What you see is what you get. With the Canon 5D mark II, you only supposedly saw about 98% of what was in the actual framed image you were shooting.
  • Dual memory card slots. It can take CF and SD cards now. Those SD cards are cheap! And so small. Don’t lose ’em though.
  • 61 point AF system. Finally, one more thing in this list for still photographers. I realize a lot of these are benefits for video, but here we have an improvement in the autofocus system in which there are now 61 focus points, which is great.

Other thoughts – People will tell you that the improved megapixel count is great but who really cares about that? It’s a small improvement and the image files were already large enough with the 5D mark II. People will also say that the Canon 5D mark III can shoot faster, at about 6 frames per second now. But again, who cares about that when they’re shopping for a Canon 5D mark III? You are probably an independent filmmaker, documentary photographer, or perhaps a wedding photographer. You’re not shooting sports. But I guess if you already have spent all this money on a new camera, it wouldn’t hurt to be able to use the camera as a second (or third) body while you shoot some sports.

OK, that’s enough for now; hope this Canon 5D mark III review was helpful for you. Now go sell that kidney on the black market so you can afford this ridiculously pricey Canon 5D mark III. And then sell me your used 5D mark II for now! But like I said, I am not quite 100% sold on the Canon 5D mark III just yet.

Below is a nice little video from Engadget showing the camera:

Posted on March 2, 2012 in Still photography, Tech stuff, Thoughts

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Award-winning Seattle photographer and video producer David Ryder | (425) 681-4959 | Serving editorial, commercial, and wedding clients.

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