Some pre-announcement thoughts on the new Canon 5D Mark III

by ajamess on 1.Mar.12

in Photographic Musings,Technical Photography Discussions

As always, the rumor mill has been going for a while on this one.  One of my favorite sources is Canon Rumors, so here's the rumored spec list from earlier today:  Images below are (c) Canon Rumors.

Notable specs include:

  • 22.3 Megapixel Full Frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100-25600 (expandable to L:50 H1:51200, H2: 102400
  • 61-point high-density reticular AF (up to 41 crosstype points)
  • 6.0 fps
  • Full HD Movie (ISO 100-12800 (H:25600)
  • Dual card slots (CF & SD)
  • Multiple Exposures
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) Mode
  • iFCL metering with 63-zone dual-layer sensor
  • Shutter durability of 150,000 cycles

I've heard the range of opinions on this spec list.  Plenty of people are excited (me being one of them), with the expected few who whine about needing 39 FPS at 382 megapixels at a 1,500 dollar price point.  I've thought all along that if they threw a full frame sensor into a body with 7D ergonomics and AF, I'd buy one in a heartbeat.  Canon seems to have heard my brainwaves, because that is exactly what they've done.  For those who say the 5D Mark III isn't an interesting upgrade, I'd counter with the following list of improvements which I believe will make a huge difference in handling and usability for this particular camera:

  1. Better ergo BY FAR.  For those of you who have used the 7D and 5D II, I’m sure you’d agree that the 7D is better in every department as far as ergonomics are concerned.  Compared to the 5D II, the 5D III has:

    • M.fn button.
    • Properly placed DOF preview button.
    • The wonderful sculpted thumb grip of the 7D on the back of the cam.
    • The wonderful LV / Movie start/stop button.
    • Properly sized buttons that actually feel good when you press them (AND CAN BE USED WITH GLOVES).
    • A proper wheel lock dial separated from the ON/OFF switch.
    • A proper ON/OFF switch.
    • Locking mode dial (I hate this on both the 7D and 5D II)
    • (Assuming) Beautiful 7D-esque view finder
    • +/-3 EV display on top LCD vs. +/- 2 on the 5D II
    • Additional buttons (Q button, RATE button, whatever the button is above RATE) – assuming at least some of these can be re-mapped.
  2. +2 stops native ISO – remember when cameras would release with maybe 1 stop tacked on to native ISO?  How can people not be excited for this?  (Yes, hold your breath for samples, etc, but do you really think Canon will screw the pooch here?)
  3. AN ACTUAL AF SYSTEM – seriously, need I say more?  Remember when people were pining for 7D AF in the 5D II?  If this is at least as good, I am very pleased.
  4. 50% increase in FPS at a higher resolution than the 5D II (6 vs 4).  Is it 8?  No, but it’s fast enough to actually make me consider using this for action photography.
  5. Headphone jack for those video folks out there.
  6. Dual card slots…this is huge – and if you have an Eye-FI, you can actually USE IT with this camera.
  7. "Improved” weather sealing.  I’m assuming this is at 7D level, in which case, I am confident in shooting in rainy conditions without issue.
I'm happy to see Canon moving away from the "shit af + great sensor" model that they've been following for the last half a decade.  Nikon got it right when they threw their pro AF module in their semi-pro bodies, and I am excited to see Canon follow suit.

Now, I will make one prediction for those folks who never really seem satisfied with their current gear.  Remember back when the D700 and 5D Mark II were announced?  Remember how the Canon guys all wanted better ISO perf and the Nikon guys all wanted more resolution?  Remember the religious wars that were spawned as a result?  Guess what?  The tables are turned, and now we are ALREADY seeing people from both camps bitching about the exact opposite issues that they were 3 years ago.  Funny how that works, eh?  I guess the grass is always greener on the other side :).

Happy shooting.

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