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01
JAN
2013

Canon EOS 5D Mark III review – A personal view.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS with 1080p Full-HD Video Mode Digital SLR Camera (Body)

I have recently switched from All Nikon gears to All Canon, after 12 years using Nikon bodies and lenses.  And the Canon 5D Mark III is my first Canon DSLR body.  Below, I will try to list and compare some key factors between Canon 5D Mark III and my last camera, a Nikon D700.

Pros of Canon 5D Mark III compared to Nikon D700:

  • More lens choices and selection. There isn’t a wide angle Nikon Tilt/Shift available for architecture photography.
  • Great Auto White-Balance results most of the time.
  • Beautiful LCD Screen.
  • Quick Dial – 10 times easier to use than Nikon’s navigation pad.
  • 1080p HD video recording, 2 compression modes, ALL-I or IPB
  • Intuitive video controls, all exposure settings are adjustable during recording.
  • Intelligent and fast autofocus
  • Great high iso noise performance.
  • Silent shutter mode, very quiet.
  • IR Remote control can trigger Bulb mode with one click, and stop B-mode with another click, instead of having to hold the button all the time to keep shutter open.

Pros compared to 5D Mark II (which I borrowed for comparison purpose):

  • Better high iso noise performance
  • Bigger buttons
  • The quick dial is touch sensitive during video recording, you don’t have to rotate the dial, all you need to do is just lightly tap up/down/left/right and settings change during video recording. This reduces camera generated noise.
  • Dedicated video recording/LV button
  • Wider range selction in auto-iso
  • Faster continuous shooting
  • Slightly better ergonomics
  • Better AF system/AF speed
  • Better (only slightly) exposure metering.

Cons of 5D Mark III (compared to Nikon D700):

  • “Spot” metering is only for center focusing point, you can not assign spot metering to any other focusing point. Which makes composing a photo in difficult lighting situations more time consuming.
  • Highlight gets easily blown out if highlight tone priority is turned off. If you turn highlight tone priority on, shadow detail gets very noisy.
  • Horrible metering system, it’s extremely hard to get a perfect exposure during tricky lighting conditions. Where Nikon’s sophisticated 3D matrix color metering would always get you exactly what you want. (For example, people in shadows, people/objects against very bright/dark background, in the snow) In this case, manual exposure is the only way to go, except it’s much slower to adjust for settings.
  • There is no way to turn quick dial to go back to previous photos during image preview, immediately following taking a photo. One extra button needs to be pressed to view previously taken photos, where on Nikon I can just press left and right to immediately view previous photos taken.
  • Opening CF/SD card door turns camera off.
  • JPG performance is horrible
  • In camera HDR is pretty much useless and generates sub-par results, better do it in software than in-camera.
  • No interval-timer build in.

In the end, whether a Nikon or Canon will get the job done, it ends up been which system do you feel most comfortable to use with.

I honestly think that the 5D Mark II is a much better value, if you don’t need the faster continuous shooting rate or improved video recording functions.

I hope my review can help you in deciding for the correct camera to own.

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