We put the 5D Mark III to the test by indulging in everything from abstract to motion photography to see if it lives up to the hype.
We’ve had a love affair with the Canon 5D Mark II ever since it was introduced into the market. We loved everything from the brilliant build quality to the excellent view finder and its sheer ability as a DSLR. So when Canon announced that it is bringing in a replacement for the 5D Mark II, we were sure it’ll be something special. We weren’t disappointed.
The 5D Mark III has a 22.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor that allows you to capture images with a max resolution of 5760×3840 pixels. The sensor size itself, at 36x24mm, is very slightly better than Nikon’s D800E that we’d tested a few months back. However, the Canon is a better handling camera. It’s virtually the same size as the Mark II and only 2.5mm taller and weighs 950 grams with the battery slotted in – just 50gm more than the 5D Mark II. The grip you get around the camera is phenomenal and all the functional buttons are placed in such an ergonomic way that mostly all the work is done intuitively.
The one thing that stands out in the Mark III is that this camera can literally shoot in near dark conditions without much hassle, thanks to the ISO sensitivity of 102,400. Yes, the images would have substantial noise, but if you’re in the market for just capturing the moment and don’t want to go to the printing facility with the photograph, you’d be more than happy at the result. We took the 5D Mark III with us for different types of shoot at different locations and settings and in each of those cases, it excelled on almost all parameters. The image quality – though not in the same league as the D800E – is still quite fantastic and the 61-point autofocus board, it wasn’t ever an issue to get the desired portion in a frame in focus.
Our work makes us indulge heavily in motion photography with constantly changing light conditions and we are always playing around with the shutter and aperture biases. Yet, the 5D Mark III didn’t break a sweat and even in its burst mode (6fps), captured razor sharp images with pleasing colour saturations. Another noticeable accomplishment with the Mark III is its LCD screen. When compared against the D800E, the LCD screen at the back of the Canon is very bold, bright, accurate and clear. The 5D Mark III is Canon’s first full-frame camera to correct lens colour fringes and even the most basic of lenses can yield substantially improved results.
Dual memory card slots are yet another boon – for obvious reasons. You can click away without worrying about lack of space. But this Canon isn’t without its share of flaws. There’s still no full-frame autofocus sensor and it’s all packaged in a relatively small area in the center. I’d like to see AF sensors throughout the complete frame. There’s also no highlight and shadow optimization – something that the 5D Mark II allowed for. We mostly shot in natural light and the results were quite appealing. But we had been given the camera with only one (24-105mm f/4) lens and we’d like to test it more extensively with a couple of good lenses – a properly wide angle L and a telephoto zoom to shoot to our heart’s satisfaction.