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- Canon EOS 5D Mark III
- We went hands-on with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the successor to the king of DSLR video.
Canon 5D Mark III First Impressions Review$3,499.00
Perhaps the biggest upgrade to the 5D Mark III is the inclusion of the same 61-point autofocus sensor as the Canon 1D X. This gives the Mark III a total of 20 outer points cross-type to f/4.0, 21 center points cross-type to f/5.6, and 5 center diagonal cross-type points sensitive to f/2.8. The center points have a latticed structure that is more accurate, but the diagonal sensors are spread further apart, requiring an f/2.8 or larger aperture to activate.
Exposure & Metering
The Canon 5D Mark III does not inherit the new RGB metering sensor from the 1D X, instead borrowing the same 63-zone system from the Canon 7D. The metering sensor is dual-layer, allowing it to adjust for both brightness and color, improving the way the sensor adjusts for certain colors scenes, such as red. It also incorporates autofocus info, letting it determine the most important parts of the scene.
The 5D Mark III will also take better metering readings over a longer period of time, averaging several readings together. This will let the camera better diagnose artificial lighting (especially fluorescents) that tend to pulse, as opposed to the constant natural light outdoors. This will help reduce the times where a camera grabs a reading while light intensity is too low or too high.
Crucially, the camera will also now spot meter on a much smaller area (1.5% of the picture area), which will allow users with very specific image goals in complicated lighting to get the picture they need without having to worry about getting a false reading.
The 22.3-megapixel image sensor on the 5D Mark III will allow for an expanded ISO range of 50-102,400. The native ISO range of the sensor is 100-25,600, but can be pushed to ISO 50 or 102,400 (including 100-25,600 during video recording). This puts it almost in line with the Canon 1D X, though the 1D X can go one stop higher.
In seeing noise samples up close (provided by Canon), there seems to be significant improvement in the camera's ability to handle noise at the sensor level. So despite having smaller pixels, the 5D Mark III actually provided better noise results in the limited samples that we saw.
The 5D Mark III includes a number of white balance settings along with the ability to manually set a white balance value and capture a custom shot of a white card. The camera's settings are dead on with the 5D Mark II, though the improved metering system should better capture color temperature information.
As with all Canon DSLRs, the 5D Mark III does not feature in-camera image stabilization. Canon builds its image stabilization systems into their lenses so that they can be tuned to the optics of that particular lens, also allowing the image to be stabilized through the optical viewfinder. The camera does have some digital alignment features for lining up multiple images, specifically when recording HDR images.
The 5D Mark III includes a full measure of picture control settings, as seen on other Canon cameras. This lets you adjust things like contrast, saturation, tone, and sharpness in a group of user savable settings. These can also enhance images in a particular way. This is exactly like the Canon 5D Mark II, though the picture control button has been replaced with a creative photo button that allows for some greater control.