2nd March 2012: Canon 5D Mark III

canon 5d mark iii shanghai

Canon Shanghai event preparations. Image from http://www.canonrumors.com

As many of my more attentive readers will already know, I’m a Canon shooter, and this Friday 2nd March we will almost certainly see the announcement of the new Canon 5D Mark III. Commenting on rumours and new gear releases is not something I want to make a habit of, but since this is the camera that will officially make my 5D a geriatric (heck, it’s already informally known as the 5D classic) it is worth a few thoughts… 

So let’s have a look at the rumoured specs:

  • 22mp
  • 61pt AF
  • 100% VF
  • 3.2″ LCD
  • Dual CF/SD Card Slots
  • Price: Around $3500 USD

The 22 megapixel sensor is only a marginal – almost negligible – improvement over the 21.1 megapixel sensor of the 5D Mark II, although, anybody who has worked with cameras long enough knows that increases in megapixels offer diminishing returns and are not without their drawbacks. 22 megapixels is an interesting number however, and might give us a clue about the video aspirations of this camera. I won’t go into the math, but the numbers suggest the 5D III may use an array of 3×3 pixels to employ a technique known as “pixel binning” when recording 1920×1080 video. The point? Much more efficient use of the sensor and better video performance. I’m also really looking forward to seeing what the ISO performance is like on this camera.

5d mark iii

The 5D Mark III itself (allegedly) Image from http://www.canonrumors.com

The 9 point AF systems of the previous 5Ds is much maligned. I personally don’t find it that bad, but it has been a long-standing complaint with lots of Canon customers. I’m quite surprised at the high number of autofocus points – 61 AF points to be exact – but again perhaps this suggests a sophisticated continuous AF system for video shooters?

A 100% viewfinder is a great addition. I think my 5D has 96% coverage. It doesn’t sound like a big difference, but believe me I’ve lost count the amount of times I’ve had to crop or clone out a twig that made its way into the final image.

Dual CF/SD card slots – I expect it to be the former (Compact Flash). The Nikon cameras have has this feature for a while and it’s about time Canon followed suit. The 5D is the camera body of choice for a lot of professionals and the ability to have some in-camera redundancy with two memory cards is not a feature to be overlooked.

So that’s it – a lot of the speculation and conjecture will be laid to rest in a couple of days, although I’m sure the announcement will raise a few new questions. The recent flurry of slow-ish prime lenses with image stabilization add fuel to the supposition that video is going to be a major feature. The 5D II is already a seriously capable video camera; did you know that an entire episode of House was filmed using one? That is pretty cool for a camera that Joe average can reasonably afford. The 5D III is certainly going to capitalize on that.

Will I be buying one? Almost certainly not on release. I think it will be quite expensive and I have lenses to buy. I will admit, I am intrigued by the video capabilities, but at the moment I’m happy with the kit I’ve got.

I might go play with one in the shop, though.

Update – 

  • It’s looking almost certain to have dual CF + SD card slots
  • Native ISO range 100-25600 (expandable to L:50 H1:51200, H2: 102400) (hooray!)
  • 6.0 FPS (this, along with the better AF, is making me reconsider picking up a 7D)


Filed under Equipment, Opinions

3 responses to “2nd March 2012: Canon 5D Mark III

  1. I’m a Nikon guy, so I can’t wait to see how it matches up with the beast that is the D800.

  2. The D800 certainly has the headline megapixel count! In all honesty I don’t think either camera is going to be enough to stimulate people switching brands in any great numbers – although if you’re starting from scratch and have video aspirations, the Canons might look a little more attractive.

  3. Alessandra Migliorini Photography

    I will be saving some money for a upgrade for sure!! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

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