Friday, March 2, 2012

Canon 5D Mark III Says Hello

The new Canon 5D Mark III in all it's glory.
Well it's here, and no I wasn't one of the fortunate few that had one to test before it's release.  That will come for me one day right?  Rocking the Beta tests???  

I sold my 7D last month knowing that this year my 5D Mark II would become my backup camera and a new piece of equipment would take over the main duties as my workhorse gear.  I have been thinking of the 1DmkIV but knew that at 7D mkII or 5DmkIII would come out this spring so I've been playing the wait and see game.  

Once the final specs were released last night I suspected that based on megapixels alone there would be some very unhappy Canon people, but I think they are missing the boat on what really needed to be fixed with the Mark II and how Canon hit it out of the park.  To me, 22 megapixels is plenty and really if you are needing the 36 that at D800 gives you, shouldn't you be considering that move to medium format by now?  Just a suggestion.

No the 5D mkIII has me covered just fine with resolution thank-you very much.  What they did fix that drove me bat-s*** crazy about the mark II was:
  • The addition of dual card memory slots.  Being a highly popular camera with wedding and event photographers this was a must have.  That internal backup is very much appreciated.  I'll be writing jpg's to that SD card all day long while I write RAW and change out the CF cards as needed.
  • Better weather sealing in a 7D body is a very welcome change.  My 5DmkII is really a poor performer on wet humid days and the one thing I really loved about my 7D was the feel and build quality in comparison to the 5D.  For $3500+ this camera should be built like a tank, and this is a step in the right direction.  
  • Better ISO performance:  I used to say that if I could get 3200 ISO relatively clean I'd be happy, and that is still true and was true with the 5DmkII, but this camera looks to be a full two stop improvement, and lets face it, in those dark wedding reception halls anything that makes my job easier is welcome.
  • Better focusing system and focus points where we need them.  The 5DmkII has a horrible focussing system.  The 9 point diamond is generally unreliable on the outer edges and there is not one single point anywhere close to where you need them to compose a portrait with the rule of thirds.  This system appears to fix that and I'm hopeful.  
The only thing that I'm a little disappointed by is the insistence of Canon to keep the sync speed at 1/200th of a second.  I'm curious if it will actually even get 1/200 as my 5D only gets 1/160 reliably without the black bar of death.  For us off-camera flash nerds this is a bit of a disappointment.  

But the new flash, the 600EX-RT is a brilliant stroke by Canon to bring radio controlled flashes to the system.  With it you should be able to get high speed sync which will alleviate some of my pain around the sync speed, though not all of it.  At $630 per flash ($700 in Canada) it isn't cheap and you will need a special controller to make it all work for $300+.  But it is an integrated TTL solution that will make my life easier so I'm sure I'll spring for it.  Canon wasn't the first to do this (Olympus announced an FL-600R last month) and they won't be the last, but it's nice to see them pay attention to us flash photographers for a change so we aren't always dreaming about the Nikon system.  

Lastly they appear to have grasped the idea that some people like HDR photography and have added some features making that easier to use in camera.  Canon may be slow sometimes about bringing out technology that some of us want, but they really do appear to have gotten this camera right.  At $3500 ($3800 in Canada) this camera isn't cheap, but it is what I've been looking for and should stop me from considering other brands as my everyday working camera.  

And for those of you that are still upset about the lack of megapixels in the race with the Nikon D800, just know this, we recently printed a 24x36 inch print shot with a Canon 5DmkII file that was left on sRaw and it was cropped.  Now that is about a 10 megapixel file, and it looked great.  I can see why some people need crazy file sizes and quality, but jamming 36 megapixels on a full frame isn't necessarily going to give you amazing quality.  I'm not trying to discount how cool the D800 is, I just question whether we need it.  

For me, the 5DmkIII has sealed the deal.  I'll be passing over the much larger and heavier 1DmkIV and grabbing the new 5D sometime around June after all the initial buying rush has died down.  Hopefully by then I'll be able to save a couple of hundred dollars too!  

Thanks for visiting the blog.  I'd love to hear what people are thinking about the new cameras in the comments.  


Anonymous said...

You are just a Canon Fanboy who loves everything Canon.Nikon system rules and will destroy all those Canon shooters with its amazing focusing system and super High res images. The new NIkon D800 will make me a better photographer because of its 36 megapixel sensor. And its cheaper than Canon's camera. HAHAHAHA. Oh and Olympus is a joke and will be out of the camera business in two years.

Neil Gaudet said...


A.J.Collishaw said...

WoW that guy is a drama Queen. The more I learn about this camera the more I'm stoked about it.