Jul 22

Canon 5D Mark III

I have just picked up the Canon 5D Mark III to replace, (or operate in conjunction with) my 1D Mark III. I love the 1D, it is a brilliant camera, but it is about six years old now, and there are some nice improvements available in the new bodies and the 1DX is out of my price range!

First impressions; it is fantastic!

Form factor

It is much lighter than the 1D, especially as I have not bought the battery grip and so is quite a bit smaller. It changes the center of gravity which takes a big of getting used to, as its not much more lens heavy. Though this may make it easier to keep it stable.

The build quality is clearly excellent, but it lack the rugged feel of the 1D. I’ll need to get back to being a bit more careful with the camera rather than trusting in the fact is pretty close to bulletproof.

It is also a full frame sensor, the first one I have owned, so it will take a little practice to get my eye around the composition again, but it I nice to have, and finally the markings on my lenses won’t require a bit of mental maths to translate to the actual values used! The images are 22.3megapixes as opposed to 10.1 mp for the 1D, which is a hefty difference in size. Luckily, storage has also moved on, and the two 32gig cards I have ordered will keep me in space.

LCD Screen

The LCD screen is beautiful, it really gives a good impression of the images you take, and is a nice bit larger than the 1D. I still need to figure out how to stop the images from rotating on the camera, so that a portrait images isn’t in the middle of the landscape LCD screen. Like the 1D, for durability reasons, it is not on an axis.

When you turn on live view, there is a digital alignment tool, like a spirit level to ensure you are shooting level. Handy for doing landscapes. It’s a nice touch, but not something I’d be that bothered about having or losing.

HDR Shooting & Bracketing

The camera also does HDR automatically with a couple of presets. I will need to play around with this to see how it compares to a manual creation. One big difference is that it only uses a 3 bracket setup, werheas I prefer a 7 braacket to really bring out the highlights and shadows.

The Bracketing TEST

ISO and Noise Reduction

ISO goes up to a whopping 102,400, though you have to enable that. The noise at that level is somewhat staggering, as you can see at DP Review

but considering that is 4 stops higher than the 1D Mark III, it gives a real chance to shoot more clearly in darkness, even if it does need work after the fact to clean the image up. The camera does have some inbuilt noise removal, and I’ll need to compare that against the 1D at low light levels.

Like the 1D you can also start at ISO 50, which is always nice, and something that lets you be a little smug around Nikon users.

Video mode

Video isn’t something I’ve really played with yet on the 5D, and it wasn’t a key factor for me buying this camera, though by all accounts it is an excellent video camera. It is something I will no doubt use and it will be a handy addition, but for me the 5D is a DLSR rather than video camera.

Focusing & shutter

Focusing is good, and I was happy with some AI Servo shots I got of a bird in flight. I was worried it would be noticeably less effective as it is not as fast, but the new improved auto-focusing

In terms of shooting speed. Still fast, though even being much newer than the 1D its not as fast, but then it is more a studio camera than an action one, on the numbers, it can do 6 fps, whilst the 1D can do 10 fps, though the situations where that is crucial are few and far between.

One complaint, is the shutter sound on the 5D is much more artificial, and sounds more like a Nikon, than the pleasurable clunk of the 1D.



Having a dedicated rating button is a little pointless and a waste of a button. I suspect I will re-bind it to a image protect function, as that is more useful.

Like the 1D, there is a little button to light up the top LCD screen so you can easily see your settings. I love this little button, it makes shooting at night just that little bit easier!

I also will need to move to having both the 1D and the 5D on shoulder straps. I personally prefer using a handgrip, but this I not practical with two bodies, as the one on the grip, cant be easily put out of the way.

About the Author:
A passionate photographer who is unable to settle on a particular type of photography. Primarily shoots with a Canon 5D MKIII, a 1D MKIII and occasionally with a GoPro Hero4 Black.

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