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The Official Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review

Announced March 2, 2012, the Canon 5D Mark III Camera is the latest successor in Canon’s line of professional full-frame camera bodies.  At a glance, the extensive list of impressive features and specifications set the Mark III apart from its predecessor, the Canon 5D Mark II.  These features allow the camera to meet and exceed all expectations.  With a 22.3 megapixel full-frame sensor, the ability to shoot 1080p HD video, and compatibility with the ever-expanding line of Canon EF-mount lenses, Canon has produced a camera capable of truly great images.

A few features stick out as innovative new aspects that set this camera apart from previous models. 

The ISO performance is, to say the least, incredible.

Recently, it seems that manufacturers have been focusing less on the amount of pixels and more on the ability to shoot at insanely high ISO with little to no visible noise.  And the 5D Mark III shines in this area.  Test shots comparing the 5D Mark II and the 5D Mark III show a night-and-day difference between the two.

The Canon Mark IIIshows the same amount of grain at ISO 25,600 (yes, you read that right) as the Mark II at ISO… wait for it… 6,400.  That’s right, you can now shoot in near darkness and achieve entirely acceptable levels of grain.

Another improvement over the previous model is the auto focus system.  While having 61 selectable points of auto focus may seem impractical to most, it increases the efficiency and accuracy of the system as a whole.  With a 63-zone dual-layer metering system, which accesses AF and Color information, readings of light and white balance will be more precise.  Another perk is the spot metering system, which meters on 1.5% of the viewfinder, allowing compositional control at levels previously unheard of.

But as Mick Jagger and Nanette Workman so brilliantly sung, “you can’t always get what you want.”  And one of those wants, at least for the time being, is RAW compatibility.  The Mark III uses CameraRaw 6.7, which is currently unsupported in Lightroom.  Granted, Adobe has put out a “release candidate” (a beta-version) of Lightroom 4.1 and DNG Converter, which is able to translate your data into a usable form.  Adobe and Canon have said that RAW compatibility should be released by 5/31/2012.

But alas, this is but a small thorn in the side of an otherwise mighty giant.

Another feature that seems to be missing from the 5D Mark III is the two dedicated “zoom buttons” so familiarly located on the back right of the camera.  Canon has done away with these, and instead placed a button to the left of the screen, allowing zooming capabilities when used with the top scroll wheel.

The addition of dedicated buttons for creative shooting modes and custom functions add a substantial learning curve for unfamiliar users, but it is an overall worthwhile trade off.  From the spectacular resolution of the uncompressed files, to the otherworldly ISO performance, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is a behemoth of a camera and it solidly makes its mark as a milestone in digital imaging technology.

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