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Friday, 2 March 2012

The Canon 5D Mark III has arrived!

Today, after three years of rumour and speculation Canon has officially announced the Canon 5D Mark III. Building on the 5D Mark II the new camera (we’re told it’s not going to replace the mark II), the 5D Mark III closes the gap between the 5D and 1D series cameras.

Today, marks another mile stone in the photographic industry with yet another highly specified machine to join the Canon EOS range. More than three years have passed since the announcement of the ever-popular Canon 5D Mark II (Sept 08), which in the photographic world is an absolute lifetime! Today, the suspense has reached an end and Canon has confirmed what we have all been waiting to hear, but will it live up to our expectations? Let’s have a look at the specs.


  • 22.3 megapixel CMOS sensor (36 x 24 mm)
  • A standard ISO range of 100-25,600 (expandable 50-102,400)
  • Next-generation DIGIC 5 image processing engine
  • Full HD 1080p movie capability
  • 3.2″ 1,040,000-dot LCD screen
  • Dual card slots: one for CF cards and one for SD cards
  • Up to 6 frames per second
  • 61-point AF system (41-cross type sensors)
  • £2999**
The Canon 5D Mark III holds onto the impressive level of specification as the respectable and legendary Canon 5D Mark II but with a boost of technological enhancements in all the right directions.

22.3 Megapixels

With only but a little nudge in megapixels, Canon has chosen not to enter the 5D Mark III into the race of “who has the most megapixels” and focus more on what is essential to users looking to upgrade.

The revolutionary DIGIC 5+ Processor

Wildlife and Sports photographers who require a fast burst rate will be pleased to see Canon have increased the frame rate from 3.9fps (found in the Canon 5D Mark II) to 6fps. Working together with the CMOS sensor, the DIGIC 5 processor ensures fast continuous shooting and provides exceptional image quality in low light and is designed to be six times faster than the DIGIC 4 and create 75% less noise, previously found in the Canon 5D Mark II.

61-point Autofocus System

While the Canon 5D Mark II was everything and more, the obvious and headline improvement would be that of the AF system – Canon has hit the nail on the head with this one! The Canon 5D Mark III now features an impressive 61-point AF system including 41-cross type sensors, the same found in the Canon 1D X. Like the 1D X, the 5D Mark III can also detect a subject that is completely out of focus by utilising the entire sensor, rather than just a single AF point, thus ensuring rapid and effective AF control at all times.

Night capability, ISO 50-102,400

The standard ISO ranges from 100-25,600 which is impressive in itself but the ISO performance doesn’t stop there, the Canon 5D Mark III’s ISO can reach down to as low as 50 and expand to a remarkable 102,400.

Get the full view

The new viewfinder as been upgraded to offer 100% coverage (98% on the Canon 5D Mark II), on par with the 1D X.

Movie mode 

With a quick press of the dedicated movie button, the Canon 5D Mark III offers Full HD 1080p recording with manual control over depth of field, exposure, shutter speeds and in a selection of frame rates – 30, 25 and 24, with 60 and 50 available at resolutions of 720p.

Design and Weather Sealing

The button arrangement is a similar feel to the Canon 7D, so it is designed to suit all needs for anyone looking to upgrade from this older cousin. The Mark III also gets some improved weather resistance, with extra sealing throughout the body – around the buttons, LCD, battery and more importantly the memory compartment.

Dual card slot

The Canon 5D Mark III now includes dual card slots, one for Compact Flash and the other for SDHC.

Comparison table

Megapixels 21.1 22.3 18.1  
ISO range 100-6400 100-25,600 100-51,200
Max extendable ISO 100-25,600 50-102,400 50-204,800  
Image Processor DIGIC 4 DIGIC 5 DIGIC 5
HD Video 1080p (30fps) 1080p (24, 25, 30fps) 1080p (24, 25, 30fps)
Autofocus 9-point 61-point 61-point
FPS 3.9 6 12
Card Slot CF Dual SDXC & CF Dual CF
Screen (dot resolution) 3.0″ LCD (920k) 3.2 LCD (1,040,000k) 3.2″ (1,040k)
Weight* 810g 950g TBC
Price** £1688 £2999 £5299
*approximate body only weight (without battery or memory cards)
**Prices as of today (2nd March) and are subject to change 

Final thoughts

When the Canon 5D Mark II first hit the market, it was priced at £2299.99, so that’s £699.01 more to save. Whilst not exactly cheap, the Canon 5D Mark III is still within reach of many semi-professional photographers and with this set of impressive features there will be many clamouring to buy one. Watch this space for more specifications and important updates on this impressive full frame DSLR.

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