Canon 5D Mark III Review

Canon 5D Mark III Review: The Competition For The Nikon D800

Something is happening in the professional segment of the two big players. Nikon amazes photographers with a 36-megapixel camera whose high resolution would have been more expected from Canon. Surprisingly, Canon doesn’t counter with even more pixels, but with a thoroughly model-maintained 5D. The third generation of the 5D has only grown moderately to just over 22 megapixels, but its price is significantly higher than that of its competitor. In this extensive practical test and with a thorough series of measurements in our in-house laboratory with two interesting lenses, we examine the inner values that the 5D Mark III has to offer.

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Very low noise up to ISO 3.200
  • Very largely customizable
  • Great haptics
  • Excellent workmanship

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • JPEG images look slightly soft
  • No built-in flash
  • No folding display

Canon introduces with the EOS 5 D Mark III the long awaited successor of the “Volks-Vollformat-DSLR” EOS 5D Mark II. With 22.3 megapixels, the Mark III offers a slightly higher resolution with a sensitivity range extended to ISO 102,400. It shoots faster six continuous shots per second and receives the 61 AF point autofocus module of the flagship EOS-1D X. The Mark III also films in FullHD. However, the price of just under EUR 3,300 is much less popular than that of the 5D Mark II for EUR 2,500.

After all, the Nikon D800 should only cost 2,900 EUR and offers a full 36 megapixels resolution. But the EOS 5D Mark III with its sensor in 35mm format relies a little less on resolution and a little more on high ISO sensitivities. The standard ISO range goes from 100 to 25,600 and thus covers the entire range offered by the D800 including ISO extension. The 5D Mark III can also be upgraded to ISO 51.200 and 102.400. So Canon has a slightly different focus, and the speed of the serial shot is also 50 percent higher than that of its competitor. What’s particularly impressive is that the 5D Mark III can shoot 16,270 frames at six frames per second in JPEG mode, assuming a fast UDMA-7 memory card. With RAW, on the other hand, the high speed is already over after 18 frames. In addition to the slot for CompactFlash cards, there is another slot for SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.

The external values of the 5D Mark III are convincing with a metal housing made of a magnesium alloy that is protected against splashing water. Inside, the housing is reinforced by a steel construction. The robustness does not stop at the shutter, which is designed for 150,000 releases. At the heart of the camera is Canon’s latest image processing processor, Digic 5+, which is designed to provide high-speed, high-quality processing. It reads the 14 bit sensor data on eight channels. In addition to efficient noise reduction, the processor also performs vignetting correction and eliminates lateral and axial chromatic aberrations. New is the 63-point autofocus, which is also used in the professional EOS-1D X camera. 41 of the 61 measuring points are designed as cross sensors, five of them as double cross sensors. The light meter responds to brightness and colour, and its 63 zones work with autofocus to ensure perfect exposure of the main subject.

Canon also integrates advanced recording functions into the camera. These include the HDR mode, which automatically combines three shots to create an image with a higher dynamic range. A digital darkroom is integrated, the photographer can develop RAW images directly in the camera and adjust numerous conversion parameters. The later processing of the best images on the PC is facilitated by an evaluation function integrated into the camera. Also new is a silent mode for single shots and continuous shooting, which significantly reduces shutter noise when required by shooting conditions.

Canon has also done a lot for video fans and professionals. The picture quality in videos recorded in a maximum FullHD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels has been increased. Moiré effects, false colours and other artifacts Canon wants to have reduced. New are a shift key for photo/video and a video recording and stopping key. Exposure and aperture can of course still be controlled manually, which also allows the depth of field to be controlled. Added are options for video compression, such as ALL-I or IPB. The frame rate can be adjusted to various values between 24 and 60 frames per second, whereby the maximum frame rate in FullHD is almost 30 frames/sec. It is still saved in H.264 compressed MOV format. In addition, the 5D Mark III supports SMPTE timecode, offers a headphone output for sound control and video editing functions.

The viewfinder of the 5D Mark III now shows a 100 percent field of view and grid lines can be faded in using the LCD matte screen. The rear screen measures 3.2 inches, or 8.1 centimeters, in the diagonal and resolves fine 1.04 million pixels. The integrated monitor protective glass pane is anti-reflective and scratch-resistant. After all, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is available since 2012, same as the EOS-1D X.

Ergonomics And Workmanship

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III isn’t really a real chunk. If one considers that a sensor in 35mm size is installed here and the housing weight of almost one kilo brings most cameras from the professional league to the scales, their size is put into perspective. Compared to the Olympus E-5, whose sensor has only a quarter the area of the Canon with a similar housing size and weight, the new 5D can even be described as compact. Nevertheless, 960 grams plus 700 grams of lens want to be trimmed. This is facilitated by an ergonomically excellently designed cast housing. The grip bead, thumb recess and rubber coating are flawless, the camera literally sticks in the big hand, all important controls and of course the shutter release are within easy reach.

No less than 24 buttons and switches are distributed across the top and back of the camera. Most recording parameters can thus be set directly without detours via the menu. In a row above the status display, three buttons provide direct access to white balance/exposure points, autofocus/ shutter control, and ISO adjustment/exposure compensation. A short press on one of the buttons and a turn on the front or rear wheel is all that is needed to make the desired setting. The fourth pushbutton in the series is the “light switch”, which is in twilight and may influence the exposure measurement due to stray light. However, we did not find anything like this in our test device.

In addition to the shutter release button, there is a function key which is used to select the AF points when the camera is delivered. In addition, there is the typical Canon speed dial, which is easy to operate with the thumb and a small joystick directly above it. This allows you to browse through the menus or quickly move the section during image playback. With the knurled knob called “Main Selector Wheel” by Canon, which is conveniently placed above the shutter release button, the aperture, shutter speed and other parameters can be set depending on the selected program. The switch for live image is located next to the viewfinder eyepiece and has a double function: Once pressed, the mirror folds up and the viewfinder image appears completely on the very brilliant and detailed but unfortunately fixed display. If videos are to be recorded, the switch must be pressed to the left. The mirror also flips up, but the viewfinder now shows the image section for video recordings that are started or stopped by pressing the same button. This distinction has the advantage that the photographer can see the correct image section even before the video is taken. However, photos can still be taken, but in the aspect ratio of the video films.

The operating mode selector is located on the left side of the housing and is now protected against accidental adjustment by an unlock button located on the rotary axis. What at first seems awkward, soon goes by itself with the left hand: Index finger on the unlock, turn between thumb and middle finger. In the professional league too many automatic programs are frowned upon and so the 5D is apparently limited to the most necessary: program, aperture and time automatic, manual control and bulb long time exposure. There are also three custom settings available and an automatic mode called “A+” where the photographer can leave all settings to the camera. Since the switch is only half occupied with these functions, however, one wishes for more functions. At least one or two additional “custom” memory locations would be conceivable and desirable.

The main switch below the mode selector is a powerful part and requires a clear switching pulse. This prevents accidental switching on or off and underlines the solidity and robustness of the 5D Mark III. The switch-on time seems a bit long due to an animation that accompanies the sensor cleaning. But this is deceptive, because you can take the first photo almost immediately after turning the lever. The trigger has a barely perceptible pressure point and is very smooth-running. That’s why you first press lower than necessary and accidentally trigger. No matter, it doesn’t happen any more after a short period of getting used to it and the trigger is soft as butter. It is not the mirror stroke, the mirror swings clearly audibly upwards. But 5D also has a solution for this: In quiet mode, the mirror flips up noticeably more quietly but also more slowly. With a live image, you can even photograph almost silently if necessary, because the mirror stays on top and only the shutter announces the exposure process with a surprisingly discreet click. That’s how all DSLR cameras should do it.

To the left of the display are all the switches that have to do with photos that have already been taken. Playback, information, magnifying glass and delete but also a button to evaluate the captured images. The rating is written into the metadata of the image and is then also available in the photographer’s image archive. The extensive menu is called up with a key at the very top on the left side. Despite the variety of the setting possibilities it presents itself quite tidy and clear. While the photographer scrolls through the menu pages with the thumbwheel, he selects the desired option with the thumbwheel. With the set key the selection only has to be confirmed. This can be done very quickly, but sometimes you have to scroll through the extensive menus for a long time. MyMenu” provides a remedy, in which you can put together the frequently needed options. The menu entries are easy to read and for some of them a detailed help text can be displayed. For many settings, a selection of image parameters can also be shown on the display with the Quick menu button, controlled with the small joystick and changed directly if necessary.

The optical viewfinder is one of the main reasons for using SLR technology. A real pleasure is this one on the 5D Mark III. It’s big and bright, almost too big. Sometimes the view gets lost on the large surface and the eye has to jump a bit to capture the whole image field. The most important information such as aperture, exposure time, sensitivity, exposure compensation and number of possible continuous shots are displayed at the bottom of the screen, and the active AF points appear directly in the picture.

If desired, the AF fields can also be used to simulate a spirit level, which takes some getting used to. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is a very robust camera, which should do its job even in pouring rain and dusty surroundings without complaint. The flaps for the battery and memory cards and the covers of the connection sockets are therefore also well processed and give the impression of reliable protection. All in all, the Canon looks very robust, lies perfectly in the hand and is easy to use.

Equipment

Poor appears the Canon EOS 5D Mark III compared to the amateur models of the manufacturer. The mode wheel is only half filled with functions, there is neither scene recognition nor a sports program or even a fully automatic mode for baby or dog portraits. Apparently, because Canon has integrated the “A+” automatic in the 5D Mark III. In principle, this is a fully automatic mode with scene recognition and corresponding selection of the AF points and AF mode. The image style is selected automatically and many individual settings are ignored to avoid incorrect settings. So if you want to take pictures without any stress, you can do so with this professional camera. For all others, a wide range of individualisation options is available. Seven preset image styles, each of which can be adjusted in the four properties Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation and Hue, plus three memory locations for your own creations. Enough potential for extensive experiments and optimizations. With the “Custom” control, up to ten keys can be assigned individual functions, whereby the standard assignment seemed quite practical to us.

Two things we miss about the Canon EOS 5D Mark III: The built-in flash is just as much a victim of the professional image as the folding display. Both would also benefit those who have to earn money with the camera. A little fill-in light at the push of a button or to control the system flashes is certainly not wrong in some situations and the live image mode is only really fun when you can use it from any angle. After all, the display is quite easy to see even when viewed obliquely and is firmly installed is certainly more robust than the best hinge. Otherwise there is nothing to complain about the equipment. A spirit level as an alignment aid for horizon and inclination can be shown on the display as well as different grids, a histogram and an exposure preview. Hidden in the depths of the menus is also an HDR automatic, which can be configured quite extensively. The photographer may decide whether the exposure bracket should enclose one, two or three aperture steps or whether he leaves this decision to the camera. If desired, the Canon stores either only the finished HDR photo or the entire series. The strength of the HDR effect can be controlled over five levels. Because of the high continuous shooting speed this also works perfectly from the hand, only with fast moving objects the whole thing of course has its limits.

Under optimal conditions, i.e. with correspondingly short exposure times and a fully charged battery, the 5D Mark III achieves almost six frames per second. If only JPEGs are recorded, the CompactFlash memory card with the corresponding speed will continue to record until it is full. If JPEG and RAW are recorded, the image memory packs about eight photos with this frame rate, then it continues irregularly with almost two frames per second. RAW alone fills the memory after about 14 images. The same test with a fast SD card (Panasonic SDHC Class 10, 4 GB, 25 MB/s write) brought the same result until the internal memory was full, then the speed collapsed dramatically. For highest performance a very fast CF card is recommended.

For RAW photographers, the 5D offers plenty of development possibilities, because not only exposure, white balance, noise and lens corrections can be applied, but also each of the eleven image styles including fine tuning. Of course, the evaluation of the result on the small display compared to the computer is a bit difficult, but still the raw data processing is quite extensive and useful. Who wants to compare two pictures with each other can also do this simply by pressing a button.

As far as video is concerned, the third version of 5D has once again increased its performance, which will be especially pleasing for professional filmmakers. You can now record the video stream either as I-frame only for better editing or for small amounts of data. With the resolution reduced to 720p, 60 frames per second are now possible and thus scenes slowed down by half. The camera records the SMPTE timecode so that movies from different cameras can be synchronized. Another new feature is the silent mode, in which time, aperture and, if desired, audio recording level can be set manually by touching the thumbwheel as with a touch-sensitive screen. However, we would have preferred a real touch screen for these functions. In addition, the 5D has connections for an external microphone and headphones, so it can be clearly extended in the direction of a video camera.

Lens

You don’t really need to say anything more about Canon’s very extensive lens and accessory range. Over 60 lenses are compatible with the EOS 5D Mark III. We took a closer look at two of them. The 24-105 mm 1:4 L USM included in the set is already somewhat dim as a standard lens, but compared to the 2.8 version it is somewhat more compact and significantly lighter. Don’t forget the focal length advantage. The lens covers the most frequently used area and there is no faster alternative at Canon. The workmanship is great, a small rubber lip seals the camera body, zoom and focus ring are smooth and easy but not too easy to rotate. Since the image stabilizer is located in the Canon lenses, the switch is also located directly on the tube. Activated only by light pressure on the shutter release, it immediately takes up its work effectively, but this is also accompanied by a quiet “rustling”. The movement of the assembly can also be heard in quiet video passages.

The autofocus is also switched on at the lens, but the details are controlled via the camera menu. Of course, the 5D provides single AF and continuous AF. At Canon this is called One-Shot and AI Servo AF. In addition, there is a mode called “AI Focus AF” which combines the two modes mentioned above: An initially still subject is focused with single AF. If it starts to move, the sharpness is adjusted. The photographer can either leave it to the camera to decide which of the 61 AF fields are to be used, or he can define meaningful combinations himself. But the possibilities go much further. In addition to the standard mode, the 5D Mark III provides five other settings optimized for different subject situations for focus tracking. For example, the focus module can be optimized for shooting fast and discontinuously moving subjects or for subjects with strong speed changes. Each of these five predefined “cases” can additionally be adapted in three properties. If you really want to get the optimum out of this for special scene mode situations, you should study the manual thoroughly and carry out many of your own experiments. When taking a picture of a dog approaching in full speed, the focus tracking at almost six frames per second in the standard mode “Case 1” was only possible for every second or third frame. Especially for such situations the 5D offers a lot of potential for optimization.

If the focus with the 24-105 1:4 L is already quite fast, you will be really enthusiastic when using the 70-200 1:2.8. Obviously, the higher light intensity also brings the autofocus up to speed. The entire focus range from 1.2 metres to infinity is covered in less than a second and the focus is perfect! A short hesitation can only be detected in the close-up range. Especially at the long end a great performance. The contrast measurement looks different. In the live image, the search sometimes takes up to two seconds, in which the camera strays around the focus point. This pump can be handled with manual focusing. The viewfinder magnifier, which must first be activated by pressing the magnifier button, is helpful here. Because the left hand is used for this, which supports the sometimes somewhat heavy optics, this is a bit cumbersome. More elegant would be a solution in which the grip on the sharpening ring takes over this function.

The 70-200 mm 1:2.8 is a massive piece. With a sun visor it measures almost 30 centimetres and weighs over 1,700 grams. Fortunately, it doesn’t get any longer during focusing or zooming. The handling of such a trummy needs to be practiced and trained. Simply over the shoulder on the camera strap it wears badly in the long run. Therefore, a tripod is recommended even if the image stabilizer is working perfectly. At the close-up limit of 1.2 meters, a postcard at the long end is displayed full-frame, by the way, and the lens is excellently suited for close-ups. In addition to its impressive weight and size, it also has an impressive price. The combination of camera and two lenses tested here costs around 5,300 euros.

Picture quality

A camera of this price and performance class is expected to deliver top results in image quality. At a resolution that is moderate for the sensor size – a compact camera would only have 1.2 megapixels with the corresponding sensor – the 5D should be very low-noise and still allow a high ISO setting. Our measurements then also confirm this assumption as far as possible: The Mark III hardly noises at all up to ISO 3,200, from ISO 6,400 brightness noise becomes visible, only beyond ISO 50,000 the much more disturbing colour noise. The Canon is at all sensitivities about a fifth f-stop above the nominal value. Even with the input dynamics, it remains quite constant at over ten f-stops and only slumps more and more above ISO 6,400. Noise, signal-to-noise ratio, texture sharpness and input dynamics are in the clearly unfavourable range at the extreme ISO settings of 51,200 and 102,400, which Canon wisely describes as “High ISO”. High-ISO should therefore only be used in emergency situations when it says: better a moderate image than none. In test shots in the dark moor museum, the image quality was even convincing at ISO 8,000. We rarely had a camera that was so suitable for available light shots. The Canon 5 D Mark III is a real night owl!

Without a doubt, the 5D body can only be used with lenses from the upper class. The pure measurement results of our two test candidates are quite convincing.

Theoretically, a camera with 5,760 pixels in the width of the 35mm format should be able to resolve 80 line pairs per millimeter (Lp/mm). The prerequisite for this is of course an appropriate lens. The EF 24-105 mm 1: 4 L IS USM supplied as a set lens achieved almost 70 Lp/mm in our test laboratory, an excellent value. However, this maximum performance was only possible with a focal length of 24 millimetres and an aperture of 5.6 and only in the centre of the picture. Towards the edge, the value dropped to about two thirds of the maximum. Also towards the long focal length the resolution was significantly lower at almost 50 Lp/mm with even stronger losses at the edge. Dimming beyond F11 did not bring any improvement, only the difference was smaller at the expense of the maximum value. In fact, it seems difficult to build full-frame lenses that go all the way to the edge without loss of resolution. This is certainly a disadvantage of the large sensor. The second test lens is not quite as extreme. The maximum resolution is “only” at 66 line pairs per millimeter in the medium focal length and aperture 5.6, but it is quite even up to the edge in all focal lengths and never drops below 40 lp/mm. The optimal aperture for this lens is F8.

Chromatic aberration and edge darkening are obviously not an issue with both lenses because of the electronic correction, but the distortion is. Especially the standard zoom shows clearly visible barrel distortion at the short end of the viewfinder. In the middle it is neutral, at long end again visible cushion-shaped. Better there is, as to be expected with a telezoom, the 70-200er: The distortion is much more moderate: At 70 millimeters focal length moderately barrel-shaped and somewhat more disturbing cushion-shaped at 200 millimeters.

In practice, the 5D Mark III shows such smooth images at normal sensitivities that almost no hard edges are visible. For this reason the photos look slightly soft. To counteract this, it is advisable to increase the sharpness of the image by a few steps in the image style used. In any case, a subsequent sharpening in image processing is worthwhile. For best results, however, the recommendation to process RAW images still applies. Nevertheless, the 5D can be attested an excellent image quality directly from the camera. The JPEGs look brilliant, the exposure and white balance are perfect, the colours look a bit too rich, mainly in the pleasant red, orange and purple tones. With the release delay, the new 5D once again underlines its professional standard. With the phase contrast, it never takes more than 0.4 seconds, and only five hundredths of a second to fire a focused shot. Only the contrast AF stumbles clearly behind with over 1.8 seconds.

Image quality of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 24-105 and 2,8/70-200

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III was long awaited and we could already test it with two adequate lenses: EF 24-105 mm 4.0 L IS USM as standard zoom and EF 70-200 mm 2.8 L IS II USM as sophisticated telezoom. We were curious to see how the full-format DSLR with its twelve full ISO levels and the high resolution of 22 megapixels would perform.

By default, the EOS 5D Mark III offers a sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25,600, with ISO 50, 51,200 and 102,400 added in the extended range. The extended area is intended to indicate that extreme values are used here, which can lead to quality losses. The signal-to-noise ratio is very good up to ISO 1,600, but then drops rapidly and falls below the critical range of less than 35 dB at ISO 6,400. However, color noise becomes visible only from ISO 51.200, brightness noise on the other hand already earlier, namely at ISO 6.400 slightly, from ISO 25.600 then stronger. On the basis of the measured value curve, it can be concluded that from ISO 800 and 12,800 noise suppression switches up one level each. The 5D Mark III shows details somewhat oversharpened, so the texture sharpness is in the green up to ISO 6,400. In addition, resolution losses are rapidly noticeable, with ISO 51.200 and 102.400 the detail accuracy is severely limited. The quality losses in the extended ISO ranges mentioned at the beginning therefore occur at least in the upper range.

The tonal value curve also shows that Canon uses a crisp JPEG engine for the EOS 5D Mark III. Only at ISO 50 does the tonal value curve run much flatter, at all other ISO levels it is visibly divided into the center contrasts. Nevertheless, the Mark III to ISO 12.800 achieves a very good colour differentiation, the range of gray value levels that can be displayed, however, already decreases significantly from ISO 6.400 onwards. At low ISO settings, the 5D shows finely differentiated colors and brightness. As expected, the manual white balance works precisely, but becomes slightly less accurate from ISO 51.200 onwards. In terms of colour fidelity, the stronger processing is again evident, some colour tones are more saturated than they should be for neutral reproduction, while the subjective feeling of the human eye is flattered by the richer colours.

The EF 24-105 mm 4.0 L IS USM as a high-quality set lens shows an amazingly good resolution in wide angle with only a moderate drop to the edge of the picture. However, its resolution in telescopic position is much poorer and it also shows a visible loss of resolution at the edge of the image. When the lens is in telescope position, it increases its resolution, especially at the edge of the image, when it is heavily dimmed. While with the other focal lengths the maximum resolution of almost 70 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) is already reached at F5.6 and the resolution begins to decrease slightly with further dipping, it rises in telescopic position up to F16, but never exceeds 50 lp/mm. If one is content with a 20 x 30 centimetre paper image, the loss of resolution does not play a role, however, and one gets a photo that looks sharp throughout from the centre to the edge. The distortion of the lens is also clear, 3.5 percent ton shape in wide angle and 1.5 percent cushion shape at 50 and 105 millimeters, which is unpleasantly noticeable in each case. For edge darkening in color fringes, a correction in the menu is activated by default in the camera, accordingly, the measured values here are inconspicuous and one can confidently leave these effective corrections activated.

The autofocus of the 24-105 works quite fast in wide-angle and telescopic position, about 340 to 370 milliseconds including shutter release. The pure release is with 50 milliseconds very short and absolutely suitable for snapshots, but the mirror impact makes audible noise. The situation is different when LiveView is activated. Here the camera is very quiet thanks to the missing mirror strike, as fast as with mirror strike. However, the contrast autofocus takes about 1.6 to 1.8 seconds to focus, which is unacceptably long. After all, he’s very precise.

The EF 70-200 mm 2.8 L IS II USM shows a significantly more uniform resolution at all three measured focal lengths: 70, 110 and 200 millimeters. At all focal lengths, the maximum is over 60 lp/mm, but not the 70 lp/mm of the 24-105, the maximum is a good 67 lp/mm. A slight loss of resolution at the edge is also visible at all three focal lengths, but it disappears with increasing dipping and is hardly noticeable at F11. The distortion is slightly barrel-shaped at wide-angle, but is not strongly perceived. At medium focal length the lens is distortion-free, only in telescopic position a slightly stronger cushion shape is visible, which can attract attention unpleasantly. Edge darkening and color fringes, on the other hand, do not play a role as with the 24-105 due to the camera-internal correction.

Bottom line

With the EOS 5D Mark III, Canon has achieved excellent model care. The improvements don’t seem really spectacular and the image quality has remained almost the same. Nevertheless, the third generation is even better and more mature. So what’s the use of changing? Anyone who is looking for even more speed and even more extensive video recording possibilities will find what they are looking for here. Newcomers get an excellently processed and handy camera in their hands that leaves nothing to be desired. The photographer is provided with a reliable companion for the hard working day, even under difficult conditions, but all at a high price.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Canon
Model EOS 5D Mark III
Price approx. 4.100 EUR**
Sensor Resolution 22 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 5.760 x 3.840
(aspect ratio) (3:2)
Lens EF 24-105 mm 1:4 L IS USM
Filter threads 67 mm
Viewfinder Pentax prism
Field of vision 100 %
Enlargement 0,71-fold
Diopter compensation -3 to +1 dpt.
LCD monitor 3,2″
Disbandment 1.040.000
rotatable
swivelling
as viewfinder yes
Video output AV and HDMI (each PAL/NTSC)
as viewfinder yes
Program automation yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long-term exposure yes
Scene modes
Portrait
Children/Babies
Countryside
Macro
Sports/Action
more
Exposure metering Multi-field, Centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash
Guide number
Flash connection System flash shoe, synchronous socket
Remote release Cord
Interval shooting
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC and CompactFlash
Video mode yes
Size MOV
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.920×1.080
Frame rate (max.) 30
Sensitivity
automatic 100-12,800
(expandable to 102,400)
manually ISO 100-25.600 (expandable to 50-102.400)
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Light bulb yes
Other Shadow, flash, manual color temperature selection, WB fine correction
Manual yes
Autofocus
Number of measuring fields 61
AF auxiliary light
Speed approx. 0.35 s
Languages English
more 24 additional languages
Switch-on time 0,1 s
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
Weight
(ready)
960 g (housing only
)1.660 g (with lens**)
Continuous shooting function*
Number of series images until memory card full (JPEG
)14 (RAW)
Frequency
(frames/s)
5.8 (JPEG
)5.7 (RAW)
Endurance run
(frames/s)
5.8 (JPEG
)1.9 (RAW)
with flash
Zoom
Zoom adjustment at lens
Zoom levels continuously variable
Time WW to Tele
Memory speeds*
JPEG 0,5 s (6,6 MByte)
RAW 0.6 s (25 MByte)
Triggering during
.Save as possible.
yes
Battery life approx. 950 pictures (acc. to CIPA)
– = “not applicable” or “not available
“* with Lexar 16 GB 600x CF memory card**
with lens EF 24-105 mm 1:4 L IS USM

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Very low noise up to ISO 3.200
  • Very largely customizable
  • Great haptics
  • Excellent workmanship

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • JPEG images look slightly soft
  • No built-in flash
  • No folding display

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor 35mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm (crop factor 1.0
)23.4 megapixels (physical) and 22.3 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 6.2 µm
Photo resolution
5.760 x 3.840 pixels (3:2)
3.960 x 2.640 pixels (3:2)
3.840 x 2.560 pixels (3:2)
2.880 x 1.920 pixels (3:2)
1.920 x 1.280 pixels (3:2)
720 x 480 pixels (3:2)
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Color depth 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.21), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 60 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 50 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 60 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 50 p
Maximum recording time 29 min 59 sec
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)
Audio format (video) PCM

Lens

Lens mount
Canon EF

Focusing

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 41 cross sensors, autofocus working range from -2 EV to 18 EV
Autofocus Functions Single autofocus, Continuous autofocus, Tracking autofocus, Manual, AFL function, Focus magnifier
Focus control Depth of field control, dimming button

Viewfinder and Monitor

Reflex viewfinder SLR viewfinder (prism viewfinder) (100 % image coverage), 21 mm eye relief, diopter compensation (-3.0 to +1.0 dpt), replaceable focusing screens, grille can be inserted
Monitor 3.2″ (8.1 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 1,040,000 pixels, viewing angle 170°, anti-reflective, brightness adjustable
Info display additional info display (top) with illumination

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 63 fields, spot measurement (measurement over 2 % or 6 % of the image field, AF-AE coupling)
Exposure times 1/8,000 to 30 s (Auto
)1/8,000 to 30 s (Manual)
Bulb Function
Exposure control Fully automatic, Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Time automatic, Manual
Bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with maximum 7 shots, step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV, HDR function
Exposure compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 100 to ISO 12.800 (automatic
)ISO 50 to ISO 102.400 (manual)
Remote access Remote release, Cable release, Infrared release
Scene modes No scene modes
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sun, White balance bracketing, Fine tuning, Shadow, Flash, Fluorescent lamp, Incandescent lamp, Kelvin input, Manual 1 memory locations
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous-advance mode Max. 6.0 fps at highest resolution and max. 16,270 stored photos (when using a UDMA-7 memory card), 18 RAW images in succession
Self-timer Self-timer at intervals of 2 s, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Shooting functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Flash no built-in flash availableFlash shoe
: Canon, standard centre contactFlash connection socket
: Canon system cable, F plug
Flash range Flash sync time 1/200 s
Flash functions Flash Off, Slow Sync, Flash On Second Shutter Curtain, Flash Exposure Compensation from -3.0 EV to +3.0 EV

Equipment

Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
Memory
CF (Type I)
second memory card slot
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
GPS function GPS external (wired or plug-on receiver)
Power supply Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Canon LP-E6 (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 7.4 V, 1,800 mAh)
Playback Functions Image rotation, Protect image, Highlights / Shadow warning, Playback histogram, Playback magnifier with 10.0x magnification, Image index, Slide show function, Zoom out
Voice memo Voice memo (PCM format)
Special functions Electronic Spirit Level, Grid Display, Orientation Sensor, Live View, User Profiles with 1 User Profile and 17 Options
Ports Data interfaces: USBUSB type
:USB 2.0 High Speed
AV connectors AV output: HDMI output Mini (Type C
)Audio input: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pole))
Audio output: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pole))
Supported direct printing methods Canon Direct Print, PictBridge
Tripod socket 1/4″
Case Splash guard
Features and Miscellaneous built-in low-pass filterDIGIC-5
signal processing processor Simultaneous
JPEG and RAW recording possibleIndividual
autofocus tuning in /-20 range for up to 20 lensesPTP support Adjustableimage parameters13
Individual function with 47 settings Uncompressed
video output 8-bit 4.2.2 via HDMI flash bracketing
with compatible flash unit

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 152 x 116 x 76 mm
Weight 950 g (ready for operation)

Other

included accessories Canon Eyecup EB Miscellaneous AccessoriesCanon
LC-E6 Charger for Special BatteriesCanon
LP-E6 Special BatteryCanon
RF-3 (Housing Cover)
USB Connection CableRiser Camera SoftwareImage Browser for Windows (XP/or
higher
) and for Macintosh Camera Software
Digital Photo Professional for Windows (XP/or higher)
Camera Software Remote Capture for Windows (XP/or higher)
optional accessory Canon ACK-E6 Power supply unitCanon
GP-E2 (GPS receiver)
Canon LP-E6 Special batteryCanon
WFT-E7 (WiFi adapter)
Canon Angle finder C (Angle finder)
Eyecup EgEye correction lenses
of the Eg seriesInfrared remote control
LC-5

Firmware Updates for Canon EOS 5D Mark III and EOS-1D X: Corrections and Improvements

Canon has released new firmware updates for the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS-1D X full-frame DSLRs. Version 1.3.3 for the 5D Mark III is intended to improve AF controllability with wide-angle lenses in Live View mode, as well as correcting some details in the English and Russian menus. The firmware 2.0.7 for the EOS-1D X also contains these two improvements, but also offers many other corrections.

For example, the reliability of the control mechanism of the automatic setting of Picture Styles has been improved. Canon has corrected the vertical stripes on the right side of the images that occur during several minutes of long exposure and the function of bracketing at more than one second of exposure time, because this did not work as expected. Also, the electronic step display did not work correctly and when using the Save and read camera settings function, the color space data was not saved in Custom shooting mode (C1-C3). This change means that stored settings of older firmware versions can no longer be read.

Firmware Update 1.2.3 for Canon EOS 5D Mark III: Fixes

Canon provides for the EOS 5D Mark III a new firmware in the version 1.2.3, which wants to solve numerous smaller problems. The autofocus fine tuning should have been fixed with version 1.2.1, but still the values could change, which should not happen with version 1.2.3 anymore. Also, depending on when the shutter-release button was pressed, the flash may not fire.

When displayed on the screen, a line with an incorrect color could appear on a high-contrast edge, and the histogram was not displayed correctly in Live View when an HDMI cable was connected. Furthermore, the new firmware allows brightness adjustment of the screen even when an HDMI cable is connected.

The update can be downloaded from the Canon support website and played on the camera by the user using the instructions provided there. If you do not have the confidence to do this yourself, you should contact your dealer or Canon camera support.

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Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.