Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

It appears that spring 2012 has the potential to be a perfect storm. On the dslr front both Nikon and Canon are releasing updates to their pro lines. On the video front, for Canon at least, there are options like the C300. Throw into the mix a possible long overdue update to the Mac Pro…

The 5D Mark III looks very promising and may be the first Canon sub-1d line camera to grab my attention. The more robust build, its 100% viewfinder, better weatherproofing, infinitely better focus, higher frame rate, and second generation video all appear to make it viable pro-body. On the video side, in addition to less moire and artifacts, the camera offers manual sound levels which are adjustable while recording and a headphone jack.

The 5D Mark III has a slightly higher MP count than the 5D Mark II or the 1Ds Mark III, and is an even bigger jump from the still to be released 1D X.  The latter went slightly south in its MP count to support much higher frame rates and slightly better high ISO.  Though the high ISO capabilities of the 5D Mark III look phenomenal.

The 5D Mark III should hit the US shores next week. Videos are now starting to appear to give a sense of the improvements found in the new camera.

5DM3 by Sam Morgan Moore. Video cannot be embedded, click to view on Vimeo.

Again, the high ISO looks wonderful, the moire and artifacts are reduced to almost nothing. Jellocam might be reduced but is still very visible.

For those wondering about the video of the 1D X vs the 5D Mark III, it’s not really known yet. They should be very similar but with the 1D X having a slight edge on high ISO and less jellocam. In terms of the cameras – the 5D Mark III has the headphone jack where the 1D X does not, the 1D X has an ethernet port which can be used to sync timecode between cameras – the 5D Mark III has timecode but no way to sync it between cameras.

The 1DX has still better weatherproofing and for still images a much longer shutter life (450k actuations vs 150k on the 5D Mark III.) Oddly, one area where 5D Mark III trumps the 1D X, when the 5D Mark III is used with its battery grip housing two batteries it has longer battery life than the 1Dx (up to 1900 exp. vs. 1120 exp.)

Background info on Sam Morgan Moore’s video can be found here and here.

Update – 03/18/12:  Quick write-up at DSLR News Shooter with this video:

From author, Seppe Van Grieken:

I was very keen to test out the 720P/60 mode for slow motion and the low light performance. The short test I shot below was done at between 2000 ISO and H mode (25,600 ISO). The picture style is EOS standard throughout. Lenses were a 24-105mm f4L and a 70-200 f2.8L.

This looks very good to my eye since 720p mode on the Canon’s always tended to introduce more moire and artifacts. *The video above does not show that. Also, it was shot in Standard Picture Style – odds are Neutral Picture Style with sharpening, saturation, and contrast reduced would allow for a bit more dynamic range in post.

*With all Vimeo videos, to assess quality, it’s always best to download the video if a download is available or at a minimum to run the video at full screen but with the scaling turned off. This allows it to run full size without enlarging it further if you are viewing it on a large monitor. For Seppe’s video above, it does not allow for HD embedding, so clicking the “vimeo” logo will take you to his vimeo page were you can run it at full size.

Update – 3/21/12: Cinema 5D noise test, 5D Mark III vs. 5D Mark II:

Note that it is the Canon 35mm f/1.4L lens being used at f/2.0 or f/1.4 (see link above.) Not the sharpest lens that wide open but since it’s a direct comparison with the same lens on both cameras it shows the improvements well.

Update – 7/20/12:  Please see the 5D Mark III tag on this blog for additional posts including still and video samples.