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« How to take a great portrait photograph | Main | First impressions of the Canon 5D Mark III »

Canon 5D Mark III review

It's been almost three weeks since I've had my Canon 5D Mark III camera, and I'm very pleased with it.

As I mentioned in my last article, the key concern I had with its predecessor, the Canon 5D Mark II was the number of focus points.  With the new system of 61 points, 41 of which are cross-type, there is rarely a time that I cannot place a focus point right on my subject.  Especially since they cover a larger area of the viewfinder than ever before.  Here's an example where the new system worked well where the old one did not. I used spot AF on the Alexandra's eye using one of the focus points at the far left of the viewfinder.


The other area of concern with the Canon 5D Mark II and even the Canon 1D Mark IV was the tracking mechanism for subjects that are moving.  The new Canon 5D Mark III has a separate tab in the menu just for Auto Focus (AF), and in the submenus there are lots of options to tailor the AF to the exact scenario you are in.  What's nice is that the first submenus give you case studies of likely situations you might find when trying to track a subject.  You then can pick which seems the most appropriate and go with that.  I found this to be very successful.  But if you really want to fine tune, you can go into the submenu and tweak the system even more.  Rather than get into the details, I'll list several resources from the Canon website later so you can look at these materials yourself.  That said, here are a few examples where I found the tracking to be superior to past cameras.  


Someone entering the frame.  The camera tracked from the instant Zach entered and followed him every step of the way.


A planned movement where speed and direction where predictable.  Zach started at the waterline, and I tracked him as he walked toward camera.


An unplanned movement where someone moved in a erratic way.  Cassie was running along the shore, dodging waves as they crashed on the shore.

What else to say about the camera?  

The camera is beefier.  I have big hands, but I was surprised that the Mark III actually feels large in my hands.  It's not a problem, just something to be aware of.

I like the new Menu arrangement with submenus within each tab.  It feels better organized to me, though it can sometimes take more time than I would like to get from the first Setup tab, through all the submenus in AF tab to get to the Playback tab.

I like the fact that there is a lock on the mode dial now.  When I am shooting on location and moving from place to place, I generally sling the camera over a shoulder for the walk.  With the Canon 5D Mark II, it was pretty much guaranteed  that the mode dial would move away from the setting I wanted.  And in the middle of a shoot, with lots on my mind, I'd sometimes forget to check before starting on the next setup.  No longer something to have to remember.  Thank you, Canon.

I like the fact that I can use the same batteries that I have for my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 7D in the new camera as well. There are so many little parts and pieces to pack, it's nice not to have separate batteries to add to the clutter.

Overall, I'm extremely happy with this new camera.  So much so, that the older Canon 5D Mark II will probably go up for sale this week.

Description of the Canon 5D Mark III on the Canon website.

Canon has some great information about the Auto Focus system in their Canon 5D Mark III AF guide.


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nice Canon 5D Mark III review

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