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Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera Review$3,499.00
The shooting mode dial on the 5D Mark III hasn't changed much from the Mark II, save for the addition of a locking mechanism that prevents infuriating accidental mode switches. This was available as a hardware upgrade from Canon on the Mark II and 7D models, but has been made standard on the Mark III. The camera features just the basic shooting modes, with manual, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, program auto, and automatic+ modes. You can also save the camera's current state at any time to one of three programmable custom modes that are available right on the mode dial, letting you reconfigure the camera to your heart's content, able to call up a block of settings with a single dial turn.
The 5D Mark III features just about all the manual control you could ask for on a camera, with options for manual exposure across a massive range of shutter speeds and ISO. The camera also features a digital zoom for assisting with manual focus (5x or 10x selectable) on a subject.
The best way to access the camera's shooting settings quickly, to us, is their "Q" quick control mode. From here users can select picture style, exposure compensation, ISO, flash exposure compensation, custom controls, white balance, white balance shift, auto light optimizer, AF type, metering mode, drive mode, media record settings, and image size/quality settings.
The focus speed is vastly improved on the 5D Mark III, with a new 61-point AF sensor that offers a latticed array of cross-type sensors that accurately track subjects in motion. Compared to the 5D Mark II, the autofocus is light years ahead in both responsiveness and accuracy. While the Mark III's increased price will draw some ire from the videography community without a giant improvement in some key areas, for still shooters the Mark III's new AF sensor may be worth the price of admission alone.
The Mark III's new autofocus functionality is mostly reserved for still shooting while utilizing the optical viewfinder. When shooting in Live View or taking video, autofocus is restricted to a jarring (if somewhat quick) opening of the aperture to maximum and hunting until contrast is at its maximum. This is somewhat effective, but not for any kind of transition that you would keep in a video.
Along with the new hardware functionality, the Canon 5D Mark III includes an incredible array of controls that will let the user fine-tune their autofocus performance. Included among these new controls are six case-based AF modes, letting you tweak tracking sensitivity, acceleration/deceleration tracking speed, and AF point auto switching, on a +/- scale. Each case is individually savable, letting users tweak autofocus to suit their needs in ways the Mark II could only dream of.
The 5D Mark III offers quite a bit of control over the type and quality of images you're shooting, as you'd expect. The camera features a maximum resolution of 22.3 megapixels, with the ability to capture 14-bit RAW files. You can also shoot in standard JPEG (with two quality settings) or in Canon's M-RAW and S-RAW formats. M-RAW and S-RAW are still RAW files, but they are of a reduced resolution. They're downsampled to reduce file sizes and give professionals more in-camera options for saving space while retaining quality.
With the dual card setup users can elect to record RAW images to one card while JPEGs go to another, record to both cards simultaneously, or record to one card and then use the second card as an overflow when you run out of space.