Canon EOS 5D Mark III : First Impressions

Thanks to the nice people at Canon, POPCulture Online was invited to the launch of a camera that is almost 4 years in the making, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. An excited Kenneth Wong & Ken Koh makes the trip down to the posh ION Sky to spend some time with the camera.

There were many 5D Mark IIIs with different lens around for invited guest to try out and we managed to get our hands on the one with the new BG-E11 grip and the new EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM II. As time was not a luxury, this article will be based on this setup.

The first thing we noticed is that the 5D Mark III is constructed to look more like the 60D as compared to the 5D Mark II or the 7D. While this is a personal preference, we are happy with the quality of the overall construction. Weather sealing is said to be better than the 7D and only one notch below the top end 1D series. No worries about shooting in the rain with this camera as long as your lens is weather sealed as well. But if it pours cats, dogs and everything but the kitchen sink, please consider heading for shelter.

Auto focus is snappy from what we tried indoors and according to the Canon Staff, it is a tuned to match as close as that of the 1Dx. Servo mode is also responsive although we must also say this is partly also due to the newer USM motor in the new 24-70L lens.

Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to put in our own CF card to get a look at the RAW but based on the jpegs we see on the camera screen, the claim that the 5D Mark III’s ISO 25600 is as good as the 5D Mark II’s ISO 6400 might not be as far off as most would think.

During the presentation of the camera, we were treated to a video production done on the 5D Mark III and what caught our eyes was the high iso performance. Even on a bigger than usual Full HD TV Screen, the video looks nice and clean. No doubt post processing has been done but it does look very promising and opens up many more avenues of shooting in low light.

Another nice change to the 5D Mark III over the 5D Mark II is that now you get a headphone jack to monitor the audio that is fed into the camera via the onboard mic or the mic input. This is an adition over the 5D Mark II which many videographers would definitely welcome.

The 5D Mark III will use back the  LP-E6 battery and should make upgraders from the 5D Mark II, 7D and 60D happy as these cameras also use the same battery model. The Battery Grip for the 5D Mark III, the BG-E11 is of a nice fit and even has the joystick making changing of focus point on the fly in portait mode a breeze.

Overall we both agree that Canon has taken a step forward and listened to photographers everywhere with regards to the short comings of the 5D Mark II. From the superior Auto focus to the improved video format, there is hardly anything to dislike about Canon’s latest offering.

Unfortunately there is no confirmed pricing of the camera locally yet and if the US pricing is to be used as a reference, this camera could cost as much as $4,200 at launch. While we agree this is quite an increase from the 5D Mark II at launch, we also believe Canon is positioning the 5D Mark III one notch higher as well with its much improved features.

As One of the top wedding photographers, Jeff Ascough puts it, “So are there any negatives to owning this camera? Maybe just one. You will lose the ability to blame the camera for any shortcomings in your own photographic ability. The camera is what every Canon user has been waiting for and then some.”

We are sure the both of us are not the only ones who would love to bring the new 5D Mark III out for a shoot as with what others on the net are saying about the camera as well. It sure does look like Canon just produced something drool worthy, not only for the concert, wedding and event photographers out there but also anyone who wants a camera that can handle just about almost anything thrown at it.

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