As impressive as its specifications are, in actual use, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is simply put a superlative full frame camera whose ease of use belies its dazzling array of features.
Like the top of the range EOS 1D X, the 22.3 megapixel Mark III sports a magnesium alloy body that feels reassuringly solid and comfortable in one’s hand, even without the optional vertical grip attached.
Unlike that camera though, we had no problem holding or touting it around for long periods, even with a 70-200 2.8 USM lens attached, which in itself adds some considerable weight of its own (although the included strap could have been better).
Admittedly, we have been fans of Canon’s control dial placement since the 20D. Using the camera’s combination of thumb dial and joystick made short work of selecting a focus point or region from among the 61 autofocus points on offer, which has been borrowed from the 1D X to great effect.
The menu, through which many of the camera’s exhaustive array of features are accessed, is logically laid out and easy to navigate, meaning that standout features like image quality, HDR, mirror lockup and bracketing are within easy reach.
Fast and faithful
However, even without choosing focusing points manually, we found the Mark III to be unerringly accurate when left to its own devices, particularly when tracking difficult moving subjects, such as ?sh in a still pond, beset by multiple re?ections.
As to how it fares from an exposure point of view, we were particularly impressed, as we went out of our way to throw some of the most difficult exposures we could ?nd at the camera. A backlit crane behind a glass pane, a sumptuous interior lit by a myriad of small lights, and a darkened passageway illuminated only by a neon sign were all rendered faithfully.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III cannot be faulted for image rendition.
True and terri?c
The quality of the images helped along by the DIGIC 5+ imaging processor is terri?c, which left us with no qualms about shooting at 800, 3200, 6400 and even in a pinch at 25600 ISOs.
This came in handy since we chose to photograph using available light only (Canon’s latest ?ash was not supplied to test), nor does the Mark III sport a built-in ?ash. Be warned though: shooting at 22.3 megapixels JPEG and RAW can chew through the camera’s Compact Flash (CF) and SD cards at a prodigious rate, as can HDR.
Additionally, the Mark III handles video no less impressively, boasting 1080p full HD video at 24, 25, and 30 fps and 720p high de?nition recording at 60 and 50 fps.
To the point
As the follow-up to the highly regarded 5D Mark II, the Mark III excels, proving to be a viable alternative to the more expensive EOS 1 D X. It provided lightning quick focusing (an aspect the Mark II was criticised for), excellent image rendition as well as impressive ease-of-use for a professional camera. It retails for R34 000.