Just Announced! New Canon EOS 5D Mark III Hits the Mark

March 2, 2012

The long-awaited Canon EOS 5D Mark III has finally arrived. Offering refinement and improvement over its predecessor, the camera maintains its position as a very capable DSLR that’s ideal for high-quality image capture and HD video recording.

Only a slight bump in resolution, 22.3MP versus 21.1MP, means the 5D Mark III’s already excellent image quality has not improved drastically; the way images are recorded and processed, however, has changed in significant ways. The integration of the new DIGIC 5+ Image Processor stands as one of the largest improvements over the 5D Mark II, offering increased speed and power as well as higher ISO sensitivity and better noise reduction. Also aiding the increased sensitivity is 14-bit A/D conversion, which improves gradation between tones and overall image quality.

A hugely increased 61-point High-Density Reticular AF system and iFCL 63-zone Dual Layer Metering sensor improve the efficiency and accuracy of the camera by essentially blanketing and analyzing scenes and extracting as much exposure and focus information from images as possible. A newly designed Intelligent Viewfinder incorporates a superimposed LCD, providing focus and image data. This LCD overlay can just as easily be removed to provide clear, unobstructed viewing for straightforward composition. The larger 3.2-inch Clear View II LCD features a reflection-resistant coating for image display in bright conditions, and its 1,040,000-dot resolution provides highly detailed, sharp imagery for critical review.

Multiple Exposure and HDR modes represent in-camera creative effects that facilitate control over the look of your images, saving time in post production. All of these new hardware and software features are housed in a rugged magnesium-alloy body that offers dust and weather resistance.

DIGIC 5+ Image Processor

For the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the largest improvement over the 5D Mark II comes from the increased speed and power that are made possible by the DIGIC 5+ Image Processor. Compared to the DIGIC 4 processor, the new chip should show marked improvements in terms of speed, file-write time and transfer time. This processor also integrates new complex algorithms for improved noise reduction, greater sensitivity at higher ISOs, and a reduction in chromatic aberration. This boost in sensitivity will make photographing in low-light situations less of a chore and much more of a realistic possibility. The higher speed of the DIGIC 5+ affords an increased continuous shooting rate, bringing it from 3.9 to 6.0 frames per second when using a UDMA CF card.

14-bit A/D Conversion

Working tightly with the image processor, the 14-bit signal processing provides an extended ISO range for the EOS 5D Mark III. Standard sensitivity runs 100-25600 ISO, but this range is further extended to 50-102400 ISO in expanded mode. This range can be customized and modified depending on your own needs; additionally, an auto ISO mode can be employed to cope with fluctuating conditions. 14-bit depth also makes possible excellent, smooth tonal gradations and high overall image quality.

22.3 Megapixel Full Frame CMOS Sensor

While the megapixel count hasn’t increased significantly, the 5D Mark III’s CMOS sensor has been reformatted, promising to enhance the already superb image-capturing traits of the previous model. A newly designed photodiode structure facilitates highly detailed, rich images and increased visual depth. This full-frame sensor provides the same field of view as a 35mm camera and causes no crop factor. This is especially useful for taking full advantage of wide-angle lenses.

61-Point High Density Reticular AF

The newly designed autofocus system employs an additional 52 points for focus. This new 61-point autofocus system helps ensure the most critical focus possible, with a high level of efficiency. The autofocus system is broken down into several modes, featuring up to 41 cross-type AF points across the image and 5 dual diagonal points. Focus control is segregated into 6 different methods: Spot, Single Point, Single + 4 Adjacent Points, Single + 8 Adjacent Points, Zone Selection and Automatic AF Point Selection. This variety helps to suit the requirements of any situation, including extremely low light conditions.

The AF system revolves around a 100,000-pixel RGB sensor for intelligent automatic AF point selection. This intuitive point positioning is especially crucial when using autofocus to track quickly moving subjects. Making use of the EOS iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) system, the 5D Mark III is able to recognize and address the facial and color characteristics of different subjects, for focus tracking while panning and moving across the scene.

iFCL 63-Zone Dual-Layer Metering Sensor

Playing off the AF system, the metering system has also become more intelligent and critical in terms of analyzing subjects to help determine the best exposure possible. The 5D Mark III independently analyzes focus, color and luminance across the 63 zones that comprise the image area. The dual-layer design of the metering sensor provides a wider sensitivity to different wavelengths of light, countering the common issues that are generally associated with electronic sensors. On the 5D Mark III, these layers are split between a red/green channel and a blue/green channel, giving relief to the inherent red bias that sensors are usually known for. Data from each layer is analyzed and combined into a highly accurate metering and subsequent exposure setting.

HD Video Recording

Continuing what made the 5D Mark II so popular, the 5D Mark III offers significant HD video quality. Multiple formats are supported including 1080/30p and 720/60p, and continuous recording times up to 29 minutes 59 seconds are now possible—with time code. The camera compresses video as either I-frame-only or as IPB, for two variations of the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec.

What separates the 5D’s video recording from that of other DSLRs is manual adjustment of settings and audio levels while recording. These features are available, in part, due to Live View; which permits real-time monitoring on the LCD as well as menu functionality during recording. The DIGIC 5+ processor also enhances the 5D Mark III’s video functions by improving response times and reducing color artifacts, aberrations and moiré.

Multiple Exposure and HDR

Both Multiple Exposure and HDR features are available to use in-camera, reducing the time needed to alter your imagery during post production. High dynamic range imagery is executed quickly and seamlessly. The camera automatically brackets your exposures and then integrates the subsequent range of images into one file. This new file represents controlled highlights and detailed shadows with an extended middle range of tones. This efficiency is especially useful when photographing high-contrast scenes, such as landscapes with water or snow, or in situations where both an exterior and interior are in the image frame.

Intelligent Viewfinder and 3.2-inch Clear View II LCD Monitor

On the surface, the optical viewfinder provides 100% field of view and aspherical lens elements for a bright, clear view with a reduction in chromatic aberrations and distortions. This high-grade viewfinder is further enhanced with the integration of a superimposed transparent LCD that displays autofocus and exposure information. This newly developed Intelligent Viewfinder gives a range of information, and is easily turned off to return you to the clear, unadulterated view from the optical finder itself. The displayed AF information and grid lines can be customized and the AF meter can also be segregated to the side of the viewfinder outside of the image area.

A newly designed LCD shows an increase in size (3.2″ compared to the Mark II’s 3.0″) and resolution (1,040,000 over 920,000-dots). Increases in size and resolution allow for even more critical review of imagery and videos and a reflection-resistant multi-coating enables monitoring in bright conditions.

Both the viewfinder and rear LCD support Dual Axis Electronic Levels, a feature that visually displays a level as well as roll and tilt information. This is particularly useful for photographing landscapes or in situations where horizons must be straight and convergence is to be avoided.

Rugged and Functional Design

The 5D Mark III does not alter the already tested and proven magnesium-alloy construction of the previous model. This highly rigid and strong design also provides a great deal of weather and dust resistance and features extensive gasketing around the seams for ensured protection. The tough build also features ergonomic contouring for simplified and intuitive handling. Customizable controls allow you to dedicate certain buttons to your own needs, helping to increase efficiency when photographing in fast-paced situations. There are also dual memory card slots, supporting both CF and SD cards for convenience.

The camera’s newly designed shutter has been tested to at least 150,000 cycles. An updated EOS Integrated Cleaning system uses a vibration-based dust removal process to protect the camera against dust incursion.

Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM Lens

When purchased as a kit, the camera comes bundled with a standard 24-105mm f/4 zoom lens. This range of focal lengths is more than adequate for most situations, ranging from wide angle to a standard portrait-length lens. Its construction integrates a Super-UD glass element with three aspherical lenses for a further reduction of chromatic aberration and distortion. Additionally, the lens incorporates Image Stabilizer technology for a 3-stop reduction in camera shake. The design of the lens also integrates the same dust and weatherproofing as the camera body, resulting in an entire system that can be relied upon for continued performance, regardless of the conditions in which it’s used.

Canon’s 5D Mark III is a definite improvement over the Mark II. But given the previous model’s already superlative features, the Mark III is really more a refinement. This camera remains a leader in terms of HDSLR functionality, and does not falter with regard to rich still imagery. The new model is more efficient and enables even more intuitive use. Improved speed and processing power are the areas in which this camera truly shines, giving uncompromising performance that greatly exceeds previous expectations. With the Mark III, the Canon 5D maintains its status as a benchmark for other DSLR cameras.

Camera Type Interchangeable Lens DSLR
Lens Mount Canon EF
Sensor Size Full-Frame (36 x 24mm)
Sensor Type CMOS
Image Processor DIGIC 5+ Image Processor
Resolution 22.3MP
File Formats JPEG and RAW
Bit Depth 14-bit
Continuous Shooting Speed Up to 6.0 fps (with UDMA CF Card)
Autofocus Points 61
Focus Type Auto and Manual
Exposure Metering iFCL (with 63-zone Dual Layer metering sensor)
Flash Connection Hot shoe and PC terminal
Viewfinder Type Optical pentaprism with superimposed LCD
Viewfinder Coverage ~100%
Viewfinder Magnification 0.71x
Viewfinder Angle of View 34.1°
LCD Monitor 3.2″ 1,040,000 dots
ISO Sensitivity 100-25600 (50-102400 in expanded mode)
Video Recording Formats 1080/30p (29.97), 24p (23.976), 25p; 720/60p (59.94), 50p; 480/60p (59.94), 50p
Video Clip Length 29 minutes 59 seconds (4GB automatic file partition)
Video Compressions All i-Frame and IPB compressions
Time Code Yes
Creative Modes Multiple Exposure and High Dynamic Range (HDR)
Connectivity HDMI, A/V output, USB 2.0
Power Source LP-E6 lithium-ion battery pack
Wireless Capability Compatible with optional transmitters and receivers
Dimensions 6 x 4.6 x 3″ / 15.2 x 11.7 x 7.6 cm
Weight 1.90 lb / 860 g

More Images Below

Canon EOD 5D Mark III
Canon EOD 5D Mark III Left
Canon EOD 5D Mark III - Right Side
Canon EOD 5D Mark III - Rear
Canon EOD 5D Mark III - Top
Canon EOD 5D Mark III with 24-105mm Lens

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera Kit with Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF Lens is a full-frame 22.3MP DSLR featuring exceptional still image and move recording capabilities. Integrating Canon’s new DIGIC 5+ Image Processor and 14-bit A/D conversion, this camera is able to produce superbly detailed imagery with immense low-light sensitivity that is further aided by an extended ISO range up to 102400. Image quality is further enhanced by the new 61-point high density reticular autofocus, including up to 41 cross-type AF points and 5 dual diagonal AF points for ensured sharpness. iFCL metering works in conjunction with the AF system and uses color information from scenes to produce accurate exposure readings using a 63 zone dual-layer metering sensor. HDR and Multiple Exposure modes provide greater creative opportunities and help you to reduce the amount of post-production time needed to produce high quality imagery. The 5D Mark III is also capable of recording full HD video with manual exposure control and in multiple frame rates, including 1080/30p and 720/60p. Still images can also be recorded up to 6fps.

Image review is possible using the 1,040,000-dot 3.2″ Clear View II LCD monitor, which features a high-transparency, reflection resistant multi-coating for adequate viewing under bright conditions. The Intelligent Viewfinder also integrates a superimposed LCD providing you with exposure information and features a 100% field of view.

A highly durable magnesium-allow body surrounds the components and offers increased dust and weather resistance. An updated EOS Integrated Cleaning system also helps to reduce and remove dust within the camera body. Several of the physical controls on the camera body are fully customizable for a more efficient workflow and more convenient handling scheme. Dual CF and SD memory card support also increases the compatibility of the camera. Support is also provided for the optional Canon Wireless File Transmitter and GPS receiver for remote logging, tracking, and sending of your imagery.

Included with this kit is Canon’s EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF lens. This standard zoom lens provides an adequate range of focal lengths, from wide angle to standard portrait length. It features Image Stabilizer Technology for reduction of camera shake up to 3 stops and is constructed with 1 Super-UD glass element and 3 aspherical lenses for great image clarity

22.3 Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
A newly designed 22.3MP full-frame CMOS sensor is incorporated into the 5D Mark III providing you with highly detailed, rich images with a maximum resolution of 5616 x 3744 pixels. The sensor is also features a high S/N ratio and larger individual pixels for increased visual depth and cleaner looking images. A new photodiode structure and increased photoelectric conversion rate also helps to improve the overall sensitivity of the sensor, resulting in a reduction in image noise and improved high ISO performance.
DIGIC 5+ Image Processor
Processing speed and power are increased to promote significantly greater overall performance and response from all aspects of the camera. New algorithms are incorporated in order to promote better noise reduction for higher ISOs and chromatic aberration compensation. The increase in processing speed also helps to improve the continuous shooting rate, bringing it to 6 full-resolution frames-per-second.
14-bit A/D Conversion
The 14-bit signal processing helps to improve the quality and gradation of images by producing more natural, smooth-looking results. An increased ISO range is also provided, from 100 to 25600 in standard modes and 50 to 102400 in expanded modes. The ISO range can be controlled and customized depending on the user’s preferences, and additionally an auto ISO mode can be employed. This extended sensitivity range helps to counter frequently changing and difficult lighting situations and significantly minimizes noise when photographing with even the top-rated sensitivity.
61-Point High Density Reticular AF
The newly designed 61-point autofocus interface helps to ensure critical focus no matter how complex or difficult the situation is. Featuring up to 41 cross-type AF points (with f/4 lens support) and 5 dual diagonal AF points (with f/2.8 sensitivity); this AF system is highly accurate and extremely low-light sensitive.The dedicated AF menu tab permits quick and easy access, eliminating the need to navigate through settings menus in order to modify your AF settings. Autofocus point selection is broken up into 6 different methods-Spot, Single Point, Single + 4 Adjacent Points, Single + 8 Adjacent Points, Zone Selection, and Automatic AF Point Selection-as well as a dedicated AF configuration tool for control of AI Servo AF III tracking parameters.

The AF system functions from a 100,000-pixel RGB metering sensor, which helps aid in automatic AF point selection. This is especially crucial when using autofocus with subjects that are moving quickly. The EOS iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) recognizes these subjects based on face and color and employs AF points to continue to track subjects while moving. These settings can be altered and saved for later use.

iFCL 63-Zone Dual Layer Metering Sensor
An intelligent metering system works in conjunction with the autofocus system and independently analyzes ‘Focus, Color, and Luminance’ within the scene for the most precise exposure settings possible. The 63 zones cover the entire image area with great detail and the dual-layer design permits a wider sensitivity to different wavelengths of light.The dual layers are split into a red/green channel and a blue/green channel; which counters the red light sensitivity bias electronic sensors inherently have. A series of algorithms are employed to combine data received from both layers, with the resulting exposure reading being extremely accurate regardless of the shooting conditions.

EOS HD Video
Full HD video recording is supported in multiple formats, including 1080/30p, 24p, 25p; 720/60p, 50p; 480/60p, 50p. While recording video, a 4GB automatic file partition is employed in order to gain longer continuous recording times, up to 29 minutes 59 seconds. Both All i-frame and IPB compressions are supported as well as the standard H.264/MPEG -4 AVC codec. Embedding the time code is also possible for greater convenience when recording with multiple cameras.Video performance is further enhanced with the ability to manually adjust your exposure settings and audio levels while recording. By employing Live View, you can view your recording on the LCD and make settings changes with a dedicated menu tab on the fly. The DIGIC 5+ processor also dramatically improves video response times and helps to reduce color artifacts, aberrations, and moiré.

Rugged and Efficient Design
Constructed from magnesium-alloy, the 5D Mark III features a toughened housing that provides enhanced dust and weather resistance. Its ergonomic design also produces an intuitively navigable interface with an emphasis on lessening hand strain and increasing functionality. Handling is simplified and natural with this body due to the incorporation of customizable controls, an internal headphone terminal, and dual card slots supporting both CF and SD memory cards.A newly designed shutter is equally as durable and has been tested up to 150,000 cycles. The lightweight, carbon fiber blades also provide support for the increased 6fps burst rate.

The body construction also features extensive gasketing for maximum dust and weather protection, even at connection points around the lens, hot shoe, and memory card slots. Further dust protection and removal is aided by an updated EOS Integrated Cleaning system that uses a vibration-based dust removal process.

Intelligent Viewfinder
The optical viewfinder provides a 100% field of view with 0.71x magnification and a wide viewing angle of 34.1%deg;. A refined design integrates aspherical lens elements into the construction and lessens distortions and color aberrations while providing greater clarity for composing imagery. In addition to a clear view, a superimposed, transparent LCD is also incorporated. This Intelligent Viewfinder mode can be toggled on or off quickly at the touch of a button, allowing you to remove all camera information for unobstructed viewing. The information provided when it is on includes a customizable display of focus points and grid lines, which can also be directed to appear outside of the image area.Canon’s Dual Axis Electronic Level can also be used in conjunction with the Intelligent Viewfinder and visually displays pitch and roll angles, aiding in properly level horizons. When used in the viewfinder, this feature can display +/- 6° of roll and +/- 4° of pitch in 1° increments when held horizontally (the inverse is shown when held vertically). The electronic level is particularly useful for landscape photographers and those working with tilt and shift lenses whose angle of view is especially critical.

3.2″ Clear View II LCD Monitor
The expanded 3.2″ Clear View II LCD provides high quality viewing with a 1,040,000-dot resolution and anti-reflection coating. This allows for sharp and clear viewing in even the brightest of conditions and displays images and videos with great detail and richness. The display also features a viewing angle up to 170° for review from the side or below.The Dual Axis Electronic Level is also functional in on the LCD and can display a full 360° of roll and +/- 10° of pitch in 1° increments. When used in conjunction with Live View mode, a smaller display is placed over the image. Live View mode permits real-time image review and can also place grid lines over the image for compositional help. You can also zoom into and navigate within the image when in Live View and use the grid lines for minute control and precision over the alignment of your photograph.

Multiple Exposure and High Dynamic Range
Multiple exposures are possible in-camera and up to 9 exposures can be recorded onto a single file using 4 distinct settings for control. When in Additive mode, this closely resembles making multiple exposures on film and layers each exposure; manual exposure compensation is required. Average mode layers the images and automatically compensates for the final exposure, eliminating the unintended possibility of gross under or overexposure. Bright mode is specifically designed for photographing in uniformly dark scenes with a bright subject, such as a studio environment. Dark mode functions inversely, and helps to eliminate overly bright sections of the image including reflections and highlights.A High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode is also incorporated and allows for the creation of HDR images in-camera, reducing the time needed to manually overlay images in post-production. When using this mode, a series of bracketed exposures are made of the same image, then automatically integrated into the same frame, resulting in a photograph without blown highlights or blocked up shadows and a long middle range of tones. This mode is especially useful when photographing scenes with a great deal of contrast.

Wireless and GPS Compatible
The 5D Mark III is compatible with the WFT-E6A Wireless File Transmitter as well as the GP-E1 GPS Receiver. The WFT-E6A provides LAN and Bluetooth image transfers and features an image resend function to ensure file delivery even if the signal momentarily drops. The GP-E1 automatically embeds location data into the images’ metadata, including latitude, longitude, elevation, and the camera’s orientation in relation to a compass reading when shooting. Both of these accessories do not compromise the 5D Mark III’s dust and weather resistance and are designed to the same rugged specifications.
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF Lens
Providing an adequate range of focal lengths, this standard zoom lens is constructed with 1 Super-UD glass element and 3 aspherical lenses for a high level of image clarity and a reduction in chromatic aberration and distortion. It also features Image Stabilizer Technology for a 3 stop advantage over camera shake. Its design incorporates the same dust and weatherproofing as the camera for protection from the elements in a wide range of situations.

What’s Cool

• Sophisticated fast DIGIC 5+processing eliminates line-skipping and related artifacts
• two-stop improved performance in low light
• onboard chromatic aberration compensation
• silent control dial useful for setting audio
• other parameters while shooting
• locking top control dial
• very rugged construction

What’s Missing

• Still only 8-bit recording
• fragile 1/8-inch mic input plug
• built-in mic is mono only
• HDMI output still hobbled
• video recording limited to under 29 minutes 59 seconds


• New 22.3 MP full-frame CMOS sensor
• high-performance DIGIC 5+ imaging processor
• 64 level audio recording
• standard ISO range from 100 to 25600/extended range from 50 to 102,400
• accepts Compact Flash Type 1 and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards in dual card slot configuration/Mode 7 media recommended for video.

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