Canon 5D Mark III is finally announced and doesn't disappoint

Summary:Canon announces its eagerly anticipated pro dSLR from Canon sports a 22-megapixel full-frame sensor and is crammed with advanced features, but sports a price tag to match.

Canon 5D Mark III image courtesy of Canon.

Canon 5D Mark III image courtesy of Canon.

It's been well over three years since Canon released the EOS 5D Mark II, its super-popular midrange professional digital SLR, and 5D owners around the world have been anxiously awaiting today's announcement of the new Canon EOS 5D Mark III. As expected, the specs have been much improved over the 5D Mark II across the board, bringing the full-frame 5D back in line with current dSLR technology (and then some), including many of the key features Canon introduced in the recently announced top-of-the-line EOS-1D X. Rather than replacing the 5D Mark II, though, Canon has priced the 5D Mark III significantly higher than its predecessor, at a steep $3,499 (body only)—presumably in order to keep the Mark II on the market for photographers that want the full-frame image quality but aren't ready to cough up the $3,000-plus that this camera (or the recently announced Nikon D800 and 800E) will set you back.

The 5D Mark III announcement coincides with the 25th anniversary of Canon's EOS SLR system and rounds out an increasingly differentiated product line that now includes 10 dSLRs ranging from the 1D X to the entry-level Rebel series. The Mark III sports Canon's latest Digic 5+ processor and a 22.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (letting Nikon keep the high-resolution crown) and inherits the 1D X's new 61-point autofocus system, ramping its continuous shooting speed to 6 fps (compared with 3.9 fps in the Mark II). Video features have also been improved, with better noise reduction, new compressions, and longer recording times of up to almost 30 minutes, with automatic file-splitting across 4GB files. Unlike the both the 5D Mark II and the 1D X, the 5D Mark III sports dual Compact Flash Type I/UDMA and SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots. There's also a new built-in headphone jack and manual audio level control with 64 levels that can be adjusted during movie recording.

The body design hasn't changed in appearance significantly from the 5D Mark II, but it has been updated with improved dust and weather resistance (though it's still not as weatherproof as the 1D X).

Other new features include:

  • ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 25,600 (50 to 102,400 extended)
  • HDR and Multiple Exposure modes
  • In-camera RAW processing
  • Comparative playback function (view two images side-by-side on LCD)
  • Scene Intelligent Auto mode
  • Support for high-speed UDMA 7 Compact Flash memory cards
  • 3.2-inch, 1.04 million-dot LCD
  • Optical viewfinder with 100% coverage

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III will ship in late March for $3,499 (body only) or for $4,299 with 24-105mm kit lens, and is being introduced with several new optional accessories, such as a wireless file transmitter, a GPS receiver, a battery grip that accepts one or two lithium-ion battery packs or six AA-size batteries, and a new Speedlite with built-in wireless radio transmitter as well as a new Speedlite transmitter. The accessories will be released in March and April.

Here's a quick basic specs comparison with the 5D Mark II and 1D X, as well as the competing Nikon D800:

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 5D Mark II Nikon D800 Canon EOS-1D X
Price $3,499 (body only), shipping late March; $4,299 with 24-105mm kit lens $2,499 (body only) $2,999.95 (body only), shipping in late March; $3,299.95 for D800E, shipping in mid April $6,800 (body only), shipping in March
Sensor 22.3 megapixels, 36x24mm CMOS 21.1 megapixels, 36x24mm CMOS 36.3 megapixels, 35.9x24mm CMOS 18.1 megapixels, 36x24mm CMOS
Continuous Shooting Speed 6 fps 3.9 fps 4 fps (6 fps in DX mode with battery pack) 14 fps
LCD 3.2-inch, 1.04 million-dot 3-inch, 920,000-dot 3.2-inch, 921,000-dot 3.2-inch, 1.04 million-dot
Autofocus 61-point 9-point (1 cross-type) 51-point (15 cross-type) 61-point
Sensitivity ISO 100-25,600 (50-102,400 expanded) ISO 100-6400 (50-25,600 expanded) ISO 100-6400 (50-25,600 expanded) ISO 100-51,200 (50-204,800 expanded)
Storage Media Compact Flash Type I/UDMA; SD, SDHC, SDXC Compact Flash Type I/II Compact Flash Type I, SD, SDHC, SDXC 2 CompactFlash (Type I/II)
Movie Mode 1920x1080 (30/25/24 fps)/1280x720 (60/50 fps)/640x480 (30/25 fps) 1920x1080 (30/25/24 fps), 1280x720 (30/24 fps) 1920x1080 (30/24 fps), 1280x720 (60/30/24 fps) 1920x1080 (30/25/24 fps)/1280x720 (60/50 fps)/640x480 (30/25 fps)
Dimensions 6.0x4.6x3.0 inches 6.0x4.5x3.0 inches 5.7x4.8x3.2 inches 6.2x6.4x3.3 inches
Weight 30.3 oz (body) 28.6 oz (body) 31.7 oz (body) Not available
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About

Janice Chen is an editorial consultant and has been covering technology for over two decades. Serving as editor in chief at CNET and Computer Shopper magazine for many years, she oversaw product coverage for the CNET and ZDNet websites. She has appeared on most of the major morning TV news programs and was featured weekly on CNN Headline... Full Bio

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