EOS 5D MARK III REVEALED! MOVIE
© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty images
© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty images
© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty images
© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty images
© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty images
© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty images
© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty images
© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty images
© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty images
© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty images
© Jeff Ascough
© Jeff Ascough
© Jeff Ascough
© Jeff Ascough
© Jeff Ascough
© Jeff Ascough
© Jeff Ascough
© Jeff Ascough
© Jeff Ascough
© Jeff Ascough
- EOS 5D MARK III REVEALED! MOVIE
- EOS 5D MARK III ‘RADBALL’ MOVIE
- EOS 5D MARK III IMAGE PORTFOLIO
- CANON AMBASSADOR BRENT STIRTON
- CANON AMBASSADOR
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR is a camera that’s been much anticipated and eagerly awaited by both professional and amateur photographers. It builds on technologies first seen in Canon’s flagship EOS-1D X DSLR. With a full-frame 22.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor, up to six frames per second (fps) shooting speed, a 61-point AF system and the same movie features as the EOS-1D X, it is a camera that will appeal to all photographers and filmmakers. CPN takes an in-depth look inside the EOS 5D Mark III to reveal its technologies, specifications, and still and movie shooting capabilities. Please click on the section headings below to find out more.
The EOS 5D Mark III is an impressively specified DSLR camera that takes the heritage of its legendary EOS 5D Mark II predecessor and adds significantly upgraded specifications for shooting both stills and Full HD Movies.
- 22.3 Megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor
- 61-point AF with up to 41 cross-type AF points
- Zone, Spot and AF Point Expansion focusing modes
- DIGIC 5+ processor
- Up to 6fps shooting speed
- ISO 100 to 25,600 as standard, ISO 50 to 102,400 with expansion
- +/- 5 stops of exposure compensation
- HDR shooting in-camera
- Full HD Movie shooting with ALL-I or IPB compression
- 29mins 59sec clip length in Full HD Movie
- Timecode setting for HD Movie shooting
- Headphone port for audio monitoring
- 59ms shutter lag
- Transparent LCD viewfinder with 100% coverage
- 8.11cm (3.2”) 1.04 million-pixel Clear View II LCD Screen
- EOS Integrated Cleaning System (EICS)
- CF and SD Card slots
- Silent control touch-pad area
- Dual-Axis Electronic Level
With a 22.3 Megapixel, full-frame Canon CMOS sensor the EOS 5D Mark III is now the highest resolution model in Canon’s EOS DSLR range, offering improved light gathering capabilities for superb image quality.
Full-frame CMOS sensor
Canon has a long history of designing and building its own CMOS sensors and is unique in the world of photography in that it also designs and produces the machines that make the sensors, providing complete control from the start of the production process. The full-frame sensor found in the EOS 5D Mark III is an evolution of the sensor in the EOS 5D Mark II and it also includes some of the sensor technology that’s in Canon’s flagship EOS-1D X DSLR.
CMOS sensors make use of microlenses to direct the light into each pixel well. Canon’s first full-frame sensor with a gap-less microlens design is found in the EOS-1D X and the sensor in the EOS 5D Mark III features the same technology for improved light gathering ability. Gap-less microlenses mean that no matter what angle the light arrives at the sensor from it is directed into a pixel well where it can be used most effectively. In essence it means that no light that gets to the sensor is wasted by not making it into a pixel.
Just like the EOS-1D X, the sensor in the EOS 5D Mark III has been developed to excel at shooting stills and also at capturing 1080p Full HD movie footage. Compared to the sensor in the EOS 5D Mark II both the sensor and the associated image processing have been developed to show reduced moiré patterning and false colour; offering greater detail and improved image quality for shooting movies.
Equipped with a single DIGIC 5+ image processor, the EOS 5D Mark III is able to deal with large data streams quickly and efficiently. A DIGIC 5+ processor is 17 times faster than the DIGIC 4 processor found in the EOS 5D Mark II. This increased processing power has enabled a variety of advances, both in image quality and camera functionality.
The ISO performance on the EOS 5D Mark III is around two stops better then the EOS 5D Mark II – this means better, smoother, images with more detail and less noise when shooting in low light. This improved performance has enabled the top standard ISO speed to be increased from 6400 on the EOS 5D Mark II to ISO 25,600 on the EOS 5D Mark III. This standard ISO setting is the same as the EOS 5D Mark II with ISO expansion set. Equally, the increased processing power allows you to use the High ISO Noise Reduction Custom Function set to ‘High’ without a reduction in the number of continuous shots you can capture in a burst.
Multiple exposure stacking
Another new feature added by the DIGIC 5+ processor is the ability to shoot multiple exposures, where several images are ‘stacked’ on top of each other. The DIGIC 5+ processor allows image stacking of between two and nine separate frames to create one single, final image. This feature is available for both RAW and JPEG images, though if M-RAW or S-RAW are set, the recording quality will automatically switch to RAW.
As befitting a digital multiple exposure, there are several exposure settings that can be adjusted to tailor the final output to suit your needs. These are Additive, Average, (Comparative) Bright and (Comparative) Dark.
The Additive exposure control is for those photographers who are used to shooting multiple exposures with film cameras. Instead of taking each image with the correct exposure, the total exposure is added up from each individual image. To achieve the correct result, you should underexpose each image so that the resulting image is correctly exposed once they are all combined together.
The Average setting provides an automatic exposure control whereby each image is automatically underexposed so that the final image is then correctly exposed. Unlike with the Additive setting, all of the images in the multiple exposure will be averaged and taken at the same exposure level setting.
Comparative Bright is suited to photographing uniformly dark scenes with bright objects superimposed on top. A classic example of such a scene would be a moon superimposed on a dark night sky – achieving this can only be done by overlaying the bright objects within the scene.
Conversely, (Comparative) Dark is used to eliminate the bright areas of images and so only overlay the dark areas of each image. This setting is useful for eliminating reflections and bright patches in an image – like the reflections you may see when photographing a portrait of someone wearing glasses.
In-camera HDR shooting
In addition to the Multiple Imaging, the EOS 5D Mark III also features in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) shooting, thus allowing the creation of expanded dynamic range JPEG images. With HDR shooting, the camera will capture three images for each shot taken, with one being under-exposed, one correctly exposed and one over-exposed. These are then combined in-camera to create a single image.
When shooting HDR images, you can select the exposure range between the captured images or allow the camera to work it out automatically to suit the overall contrast. The manual range is between +/- 1 to 3EV. When the camera is processing the HDR images, there are several options on how the images are combined. These options range from Natural, which provides a natural looking result, to various creative effects like Art Standard, Art Vivid, Art Bold and Art Embossed.
In-camera lens correction
The enhanced DIGIC 5+ processing has also allowed developments in in-camera lens correction. Recent EOS cameras have featured Peripheral Illumination Correction, where the camera can correct for corner shading as images are captured. Chromatic Aberration Correction, also found on the EOS-1D X, works in the same way but removes colour fringing and halos around high contrast edges, thereby improving the overall image quality and maximising the performance of your Canon lenses.
UDMA 7 memory cards
The DIGIC 5+ processor has also brought the ability to make use of UDMA 7 memory cards, enabling fast write speeds for both still images, where data is produced in bursts, and HD video, where continuous stream data is sent. This allows memory cards with a sustained write speed of up to 167MB/sec to be fully utilised, meaning the camera is future-proofed to be able to work with faster memory cards than are currently available in the market. With the addition of an SD card slot alongside the CF card slot you can make use of the two most common memory card formats.
The DIGIC 5+ processor also brings benefits in image playback. While reviewing images on the rear LCD screen, you can overlay any of the three grid display options (3x3, 6x4 or 3x3+diag) to check composition. The magnification control is also modified in comparison to the EOS 5D Mark II. It now works in the same way as the EOS-1D X, allowing you to set a magnification level of 1x, 2x, 4x, 8x, 10x or ‘Actual Size’. It can also be set to give the same magnification as the last image you looked at so you can compare images without having to zoom in and out.
While reviewing images, there is a new two-image comparative display option that shows two images on the rear LCD screen simultaneously. This is achieved by pressing the ‘Creative image’ button. The SET button switches which of the two images are highlighted and the Quick Control Dial, Main Dial and magnification buttons then function on whichever image is highlighted to either select a different shot or magnify the one currently selected.
EOS Integrated Cleaning System (EICS)
The EOS Integrated Cleaning System (EICS) was introduced on the EOS 400D in 2006 and works on three principles – to reduce dust generation; to repel dust sticking to the sensor; and to remove any dust that does stick. The system is not just mechanical. There is also a software element that works with Digital Photo Professional – the RAW processing software supplied free in the box when you purchase any Canon EOS camera.
The EOS 5D Mark III’s sensor uses a similar EOS Integrated Cleaning System to the 7D and EOS 5D Mark II – it includes a fluorine anti-static coating that helps prevent the sensor from attracting dust. In addition it also has a more efficient ultrasonic vibration that is more effective at shaking dust from the sensor than previous EICS systems.
The EOS 5D Mark III has a 61-point autofocus system, with up to 41 cross-type points, that provides fast and wonderfully precise autofocus for professional photographers in a wide variety of shooting situations.
61-point AF system
Like the EOS-1D X, the EOS 5D Mark III has 61 AF points, of which up to 41 points function as cross-type points. These 61 points are spread over a wide area allowing flexibility in AF point selection. However, not all lenses will provide an adequate light flux across the entire focusing area, so, with some lenses, only the centre AF point will function.
To improve focus accuracy, like the EOS-1D X, all 61 AF points feature a dual-line zigzag arrangement. This arrangement increases focus accuracy by using two focus sensors that are slightly offset from each other. One sensor provides high accuracy by using a fine pixel pitch. However, increasing the pitch, and therefore the resolution, too far leads to a lower signal-to-noise ratio. To avoid this, the second sensor is slightly offset and is tailored for high speed AF, especially in predictive AF. This arrangement provides the best aspects of both increased pixel pitch for finer precision and increased AF tracking speed with extra data points, without any of the drawbacks of either solution alone, allowing for both fast and accurate AF.
Also like the EOS-1D X, five of the central AF points, arranged vertically down the mid-line of the frame, function as Dual-Cross type AF points with lenses featuring an f/2.8 or faster maximum aperture. This means they are also arranged with a diagonally orientated AF point in an ‘X’, plus a conventional horizontally and vertically arranged AF point, like a ‘+’, offering increased focus precision.
With lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/5.6, or faster, the central bank of 21 AF points will all function as cross-type AF sensors, and the left and right banks of 20 AF points each will act as cross-type sensors at f/4 and f/5.6.
When the camera is used with Canon EF lens/extender combinations whose combined maximum aperture is f/8, the centre AF point is enabled to autofocus while the four AF points surrounding the centre point will act as AF Assist points. This option effectively expands the size of the AF detection area to enhance autofocus performance with subjects that appear small in the viewfinder and difficult to track, such as small animals and birds in flight. AF points above and below the centre will be sensitive to vertical contrast, while points to the left and right will be sensitive to horizontal contrast.
An advantage of the increased focus sensitivity is the ability to detect extreme defocus and correct accordingly. By using the whole AF sensor, where every point is vertical line sensitive at f/5.6 or greater, the lens can be refocused much more quickly than before. As part of this increased sensitivity, the EOS 5D Mark III features the same low light focusing abilities as the EOS-1D X. Using a single central AF point with an f/2.8 lens, both the EOS 5D Mark III and the EOS-1D X are able to focus in EV -2, which is the equivalent of shooting by the light of a full moon.
Also increasing the focus accuracy, the EOS 5D Mark III uses a dedicated light source detection sensor within the AF unit to enable it to differentiate between different light sources and their spectral characteristics. Because different wavelengths of light will focus a slightly different distances, the light source detection sensor allows the AF to automatically compensate for these light sources and so provide higher precision and increased focus consistency.
The AF unit has also been designed to work in a wide range of environmental conditions, suitable for a camera that will be utilised by professionals around the world.
Along with the new focusing sensor, the AF algorithm has also been modified and it now uses the same AI Servo AF III algorithm as the EOS-1D X. This AI Servo AF III algorithm has been designed using evaluation feedback from professional photographers: the aim being to provide higher focusing precision and more stable AF tracking. These changes have been incorporated in four ways.
With a predictive AF system the camera is continuously recording the position of the subject and predicting where it will be for the next frame, based on its motion so far. If the camera fails to detect the subject position in one recording period, the negative result is now ignored and the next focus point is based on the previous accurate results. Equally, if you are tracking a moving subject and an object passes between your position and the subject, the camera could become confused and jump to a new focus distance.
The EOS 5D Mark III will ignore the results when the AF distance appears to jump greatly so that it can continue to track the subject when it reappears from behind an obstacle, based on the results before the obstruction covered the subject. Equally, if there is suddenly a large jump in the focus distance, the camera will not drive the lens to the new distance directly. Instead it will gradually drive the lens focus, based on the previous successful focus distance results.
The increased sensitivity of the focus system has also allowed for faster predictive focus measurements. In previous EOS cameras, with the exception of the EOS-1D X, there was a warm-up period while the AF system began tracking. This has now also been reduced in the EOS 5D Mark III so it can begin predictive tracking as soon as a subject begins to move.
Achieving this speed and accuracy in the AF algorithm requires a large amount of focus data to be processed quickly. This has been done by the use of distributed processing where both a dedicated AF processor and a camera CPU process data. The dedicated AF processor is four times faster than the one found in the EOS-1D Mark IV.
AF Configuration Tool
Like the EOS-1D X, the focusing system of the EOS 5D Mark III is very capable and therefore, to ensure that you get the very best from it, it should be tailored to suit the subject you are shooting at the time – especially when that subject is moving. However, achieving this with previous EOS models required an in-depth understanding of how the AF system functions and what it is capable of. With the EOS 5D Mark III, this process has been simplified with AF presets – settings that will get you most of the way towards the appropriate setting, with fine adjustments available thereafter to further tweak the performance to suit your particular shooting style.
For easier menu navigation and setting, all the AF settings and Custom Functions are now grouped into one dedicated AF menu tab, so there is no need to jump into different menu areas to make changes.
Within the AF settings there are some also new configuration options. The first of these is Acceleration/Deceleration tracking. This is useful for subjects that change speed, like a racing car. With three setting levels, you can adjust the focus response for greater stability in the AF system. The 0 setting is designed for subjects that don’t change their speed much during motion. Settings 1 and 2 are designed for subjects that move suddenly or that accelerate or stop suddenly. They should not be used with smooth moving subjects as it could make the focus more instable for those subjects.
The second configuration option is for AF point auto-switching. This is used in combination with Auto AF point selection, Zone AF or AF point expansion. It allows you to adjust the speed at which the AF points are changed to track a subject moving across the frame. The default ‘0’ setting will allow for gradual AF point change. Selecting ‘1’ or ‘2’ will gradually increase the speed at which a different AF point is selected.
These options still require you to understand a bit about your subject, and this is where the preset settings are designed to help. There are six presets designed for different scenarios and, instead of having to remember what each setting does, the camera provides an icon and example usage within the menu display to make selecting the correct option easy.
The default setting ‘Case 1’ is for general purpose shooting. It will provide accurate and fast focus across a wide range of shooting situations. However, simply selecting this option for everything will mean you don’t make full use of the AF system and, with a little adjustment; you will most likely achieve even better results.
‘Case 2’ is designed for situations where the subject may move away from the AF point momentarily. The camera will continue to track focus the subject, even if the subject moves away from the AF point or an obstacle momentarily comes between you and your subject. This is useful for shooting sports action situations such as swimming, freestyle skiing or tennis.
‘Case 3’ will allow you to instantly focus on subjects that enter the AF point area. It is useful for rapidly locking onto a new subject, or for switching between subjects rapidly. As an example, this would suit alpine skiing or the start of a cycle race where there are several subjects and you may wish to select between them quickly. If you set the Tracking Sensitivity to +2, the focus will switch more quickly, but you may find it difficult to keep tracking the same subject, so it is wise to practice with this setting first.
‘Case 4’ is designed for subjects that change speed or direction rapidly, as happens in motorsports or football. The camera will prioritise the speed of tracking to keep up with these changes in speed, even if the focus results suggest it is a very rapid change in focus distance.
‘Case 5’ is designed for use with automatic AF point selection, Zone AF and AF Point expansion and subjects that move erratically, up and down or left and right. The settings allow the camera to switch AF points rapidly to keep track of the motion. It is most suited to subjects like figure skaters or aerobatic flying displays where erratic motion is likely to be encountered.
‘Case 6’ is, in essence, a combination of both ‘Case 4’ and ‘Case 5’ and is for subjects that change speed abruptly and move erratically. Like ‘Case 5’ it is used with Automatic AF point selection, Zone AF and AF Point Expansion. Even if the subject starts or stops suddenly or makes erratic direction changes, this setting will enable the camera to respond quickly to keep the focus accurately tracked on the subject. This setting is most useful when shooting subjects like gymnastics, where speed and direction changes are common.
Autofocus Point Orientation
As part of the extra AF system customisation that’s available on the EOS 5D Mark III, you can select different AF configurations based on the orientation of the camera. You can select up to three different AF point selection methods corresponding to whether you hold the camera in a landscape orientation, portrait with the grip up, or portrait with the grip down orientation. Simply rotating the camera will choose whichever AF point or AF point selection method you have set for that orientation.
This is very useful for many situations. For example, at a wedding you may choose to use one AF point when shooting in a landscape format but a different AF point for focusing on a face when shooting in a portrait mode.
Introduced with the EOS-1D Mark III DSLR, the AF Microadjustment feature allows you to move the exact point of focus slightly forwards or backwards to ensure that the camera and lens are in perfect alignment. Because of the increase in resolution of camera sensors, any slight focus mis-alignment is more visible when reviewing images. Although the cameras and lenses are made to extremely high tolerances, there is a tolerance range and, in some cases, the camera could be at one end of the range and the lens at the other. In this instance, you would notice that the focus point is either in front of or behind where you thought it should be.
AF Adjustment in the EOS 5D Mark III has been made easier to use and more comprehensive. It is now able to detect a lens’ serial number so you can make an adjustment by each specific lens. With previous cameras if, for example, you adjusted an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lens then every EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens you attached to the camera would be microadjusted the same amount. Now you can make adjustments for each individual lens you use. If the serial number of your lens isn’t detected it’s possible to register a serial number for a lens within the camera menu.
AF Adjustment with zoom lenses has also been made easier. In the past it was only possible to register one microadjustment setting for each lens. However, with the EOS 5D Mark III it’s now possible to make adjustments for both the wideangle and telephoto settings of a zoom lens. This will help to ensure that whatever focal length you use with a zoom, your images are accurately focused.
The EOS 5D Mark III incorporates an intelligent 63-zone metering system that works in conjunction with the camera’s autofocus system to deliver perfectly exposed images in all shooting situations.
63-zone Dual-layer Metering Sensor
The EOS 5D Mark III features a similar metering sensor to that found in the EOS 7D – the iFCL 63-zone Dual-layer Metering Sensor – to capture perfectly exposed images time-after-time. FCL stands for ‘Focus, Colour and Luminance’ and hints at the fact that the metering system not only measures colour and luminance data, but also analyses the data provided by each point of the AF system.
The metering sensor has 63 measurement zones and is a Dual-layer design, with each layer sensitive to different wavelengths of light. Electronic sensors in general are more sensitive to red light. This means when photographing subjects with lots of red in them – for example, skin tones – the sensor receives a stronger signal as it only detects brightness levels. This can lead to the wrong assumption that there is more light than there really is. The Dual- layer system overcomes this by having one layer sensitive to red/green light and one layer sensitive to blue/green light. Both these layers measure the light in their respective spectra and the metering algorithm then combines the two to provide an accurate light reading.
Along with a similar exposure meter the EOS 5D Mark III features the same metering algorithm as the EOS 7D. The EOS 5D Mark III always measures focus with all AF points, regardless of the selected AF mode. During the exposure reading the EOS 5D Mark III looks to see which points, in addition to the selected point, have achieved or almost achieved focus. This information lets the camera know which part of the image is the subject. It then takes metering readings from the zones corresponding to the AF points that have achieved, or almost achieved, focus and combines them with readings from all the other zones. This allows for consistent shot-to-shot exposure, even in complex situations – where there are reflections from a model’s glasses for example.
With Evaluative, Spot, Partial and Centre-weighted metering options provided you can choose exactly how the light in a scene is measured and ensure you get perfect exposures every time.
Exposure compensation is possible with the EOS 5D Mark III from +/-5EV in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments. This can be combined with auto exposure bracketing (AEB) in two, three, five or seven-shot sequences.
The shutter of the EOS 5D Mark III is more 50% more durable than the shutter seen in its predecessor, with 150,000 actuations, and also offers a significantly reduced shutter lag of down to 59ms.
To cope with the professional use the camera will be put to, the shutter durability has also been increased from 100,000 cycles on the EOS 5D Mark II up to 150,000 actuations on the EOS 5D Mark III.
The shutter speed range of the EOS 5D Mark III is 30-1/8000 sec (in 1/2 or 1/3 stop increments), plus BULB shooting (the shutter speed range available varies according to the shooting mode).
One request from users of the EOS 5D Mark II was a reduced shutter lag. This feedback has been incorporated in the EOS 5D Mark III and the lag has been reduced to 59ms, which is almost as short as the 55ms standard shutter lag on the EOS-1D X DSLR.
8-channel high-speed output
Although the mechanics of driving the shutter and mirror are important in achieving a high frame rate, the second part of the puzzle is the data. A full-frame, 22.3 Megapixel sensor shooting at up to six frames per second produces a large signal stream (around 200MB/sec) that needs to be removed from the sensor rapidly. To enable this, the EOS 5D Mark III uses dual 4-channel Analogue-Digital (A/D) front-end processors, providing an 8-channel high-speed output that’s around 1.5 times faster than the readout system found in the EOS 5D Mark II. These A/D units pass data to the camera’s DIGIC 5+ image processor.
Taking the EOS 5D Mark II’s frame rate of 3.9 frames per second and increasing it to a maximum of 6fps will please many photographers, especially those who shoot a variety of subjects, both static and moving.
To cope with this higher frame rate, the drive system of the EOS 5D Mark III has been designed using some technology from the EOS 7D and two independent motors: one to drive the mirror and the second to drive the shutter. Ensuring a stable viewfinder image and a static image projection to the AF sensor is a crucial requirement in high speed shooting. To enable this, the EOS 5D Mark III uses a double-balancer to prevent main-mirror rebound and an absorption mechanism to instantly cut out sub-mirror rebound.
High-speed and silent shooting
The EOS 5D Mark III’s drive modes include High-speed continuous shooting and Silent shooting. High-speed drive mode delivers continuous shooting up to a maximum speed of six frames per second (in both One-Shot AF and AI Servo AF modes) while providing a stable image in the viewfinder. Like the EOS 5D Mark II and the EOS 7D, the EOS 5D Mark III makes use of the same LP-E6 Lithium Polymer battery that can provide a continuous current until it is drained, so the frame rate will not drop as the battery drains.
In the Silent continuous shooting mode the camera’s shutter and the mirror’s reflex action are driven slower and quieter up to a maximum continuous shooting speed of 3fps. The silent shooting feature will appeal to wedding photographers and photojournalists who are looking to remain discreet and as anonymous as possible.
The EOS 5D Mark III features a number of shooting modes that ensure optimum results in terms of contrast, colour tone, sharpness, saturation, white balance and many other parameters.
EOS Scene Detection System
First seen on the EOS 600D, the EOS 5D Mark III also features the EOS Scene Detection System that automatically analyses the shooting conditions with relation to a subject’s face, colour, brightness, movement, contrast and focus distance.
In addition to the normal Picture Style settings of Standard, Landscape, Portrait, Neutral Faithful and Monochrome, there is also an Auto setting. Based on the scene information collected by EOS Scene Detection System, this Auto Picture Style allows the camera to tailor the response of contrast, colour tone, sharpness and saturation for optimum results. It is very good for general purpose shooting, but is especially effective with nature and landscape images, as well as those taken at sunset.
The EOS Scene Detection System is also used to improve the accuracy of white balance settings. These changes are most noticeable when shooting portraits or sunsets, where the skin tones will be more accurately recorded and sunset colours will be more vivid. They are also evident when shooting under low colour temperature light sources like tungsten lighting. In the past, these scenes could produce very yellow or orange images. However, with the EOS 5D Mark III, this is much reduced, resulting in more natural looking images.
Auto Lighting Optimizer (ALO)
Auto Lighting Optimizer, a feature of several Canon EOS DSLR models, has been improved to give better results when shooting sunsets, highly saturated scenes or scenes with highlights that could be easily over-exposed. This is especially useful with backlit subjects, where auto exposure could render a subject under-exposed. With ALO enabled it will allow you to achieve the best balance of exposure across the frame even when shooting, for example, backlit portraits.
Custom Shooting modes
Like other models in the EOS range, the EOS 5D Mark III also features Custom Shooting Mode options. There are three C-Modes – C1, C2 and C3 – and they allow you to store regularly used settings for quick recall. However, compared to previous iterations found in other models within the range, if you make a change to the settings you have recalled while shooting, the stored C-Mode settings will be updated automatically. This avoids your settings being reset to the stored settings if the camera is left for a short while and goes to sleep.
Since the introduction of Full HD Movie shooting in the EOS 5D Mark II, in 2008, this feature is now incorporated in every current EOS DSLR. In the EOS 5D Mark III shooting and audio options have been improved even further.
Because HD Movie shooting is so important, the EOS 5D Mark III contains all of the same features as the EOS-1D X in relation to movie shooting, but also adds a headphone socket for audio monitoring. This means there is the ability to shoot 1920x1080 at 24, 25 and 30fps, as well as 1280x720 at 50 and 60fps. Audio levels can be controlled manually, and silently, while recording and the ISO range for movie shooting runs from ISO 100 to 25,600.
Movie compression methods
The biggest change to the movie shooting, compared to the EOS 5D Mark II, is the ability to choose from two different compression methods – IPB or ALL-I – depending on your needs. This was first seen on the EOS-1D X and while the camera still records movies using the H.264 codec it is the compression type within this codec that has been changed.
When shooting movies, the frames that are captured are usually split into key frames or Intra-Frames and predicted frames. These Intra-frames are used as reference frames to help with compression.
The first type of compression available is IPB. The B in IPB stands for Bi-directional compression. With IPB differential compression is carried out by predicting the content of future frames, with reference to both previously captured frames and subsequent frames. Like the IPP compression method used in EOS DSLRs before the EOS-1D X some data is stored in a Group Of Pictures (GOP), meaning that frame-by-frame editing will result in lower image quality. When using IPB editing video in-camera to trim clips can only be done in one-second increments.
The second method of compression is designed for users working in high-end editing systems or those looking for the very highest quality. This compression is called ALL-I. ALL-I is an ‘Intra-coded Frame’ based system that differs from IPB and IPP because all frames captured are treated as Intra-frames or key frames. Although each frame is still compressed, there is no further compression as each frame is seen as an individual image.
When filming with ALL-I, file sizes will be around three times larger than with IPB, and it is easier to edit to an individual frame without degrading the image quality. Despite the extra file size, ALL-I compressed footage actually requires less computer processing power than IPB or IPP and consequently will playback more smoothly on lower specification computers. This is because there is no rendering needed to extrapolate data from the GOPs used in IPP and IPB.
Uncompressed HDMI output
The EOS 5D Mark III is also able to record clean, uncompressed digital video with embedded timecode over HDMI output, whilst simultaneously displaying the video on the rear LCD display and recording to internal CF or SD cards. Combined with an improved colour sampling of YCbCr 4:2:2 8-bit video, this adds efficiency to video editing, with improved colour grading options and enhanced on-set monitoring.
The ‘mirroring’ feature via the HDMI output allows video to be displayed on the rear LCD screen with or without scene and camera information while also outputting a clean video signal to a monitor or external recorder. An external recorder not only enables a video signal devoid of compression artifacts, but also allows a choice of preferred edit-ready codec, the ability to shoot in a variety of frame rates and bit rates, and longer record time.
Combined with the heightened colour correction capabilities, as a result of the expanded colour space, post-production workflow will be smoother and offers users greater control and quality. With external recorders it is also possible to use a variety of on-set monitoring solutions, which facilitate real-time viewing of EOS 5D Mark III video with the Rec. ITU-R BT. 709 colour matrix. Additionally, it is possible to synchronise the start and stop of EOS 5D Mark III video capture with the start and stop of the external recorder.
Movie clip size and lengths
Like the EOS-1D X, the EOS 5D Mark III has the ability to record continuously for longer than the 12 minutes of previous EOS cameras (caused by the 4GB file limit of the FAT 32 format of memory cards). Due to legal regulations the maximum total clip length when shooting HD is 29 minutes and 59 seconds. This clip length change has been brought about by the EOS 5D Mark III’s ability to automatically start new files. Once the 4GB limit is reached, the camera simply starts creating a new file, without the movie recording being stopped. On the memory card you will then find several 4GB files that, when played back consecutively on a timeline, will give a complete run of up to the 29 minute 59 seconds limit. On the camera each 4GB file has to be played back individually. So that you know when a new 4GB file is going to be created, the recording time or the timecode displayed on the movie-shooting screen will flash for around 30 seconds before the file size reaches 4GB.
Much requested by professional users, and first seen on the EOS-1D X, the EOS 5D Mark III also now features a timecode ability that follows the standard of Hour:Minute:Second:Frame as defined by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). The frame count runs from 00 to 29 frames, so if, for example, you are filming at 30fps frames are counted to 29 and 1 second is added to the 30th frame to return the counter to 00.
The timecode can be set in one of four ways. The default setting is Count Up. Within Count Up, there is the option of either Rec. Run or Free Run. With Rec. Run, the timecode will only advance while a movie is being recorded. It is useful when filming with a single camera as it helps to organise the clips into chronological order. In Rec. Run, the timecode will continue even if the memory card is replaced with a new one. Since the total shooting time is recorded, the count will not be reset even if a movie file is deleted or the memory card is formatted.
In Free Run, the timecode will continue to count even when no movie file is being recorded. This is useful when filming with several cameras. When editing footage together, the clips can then be arranged chronologically.
Option 2 within the timecode settings is ‘Start time setting’. Here you have the option of defining the starting timecode in HH:MM:SS:FF using the manual input setting option. You can also reset the timecode to 00:00:00:00 using reset, or you can set the timecode to the current camera time using the HH:MM:SS fields.
The third option is Movie Rec. Count with the options of Rec. Time and Time Code. In Rec. Time, the elapsed time after the start of movie shooting will be displayed on the rear LCD panel as the movie is being recorded. With Time Code, the timecode will be displayed while the movie is recorded.
The final option is ‘Movie play count’. The two options within this setting are Play Time and Time Code and they determine what is displayed while the movie is played back on the camera. In Play Time, the elapsed time after the start of shooting will be shown on the rear LCD panel during playback. With the Time Code setting, the associated timecode will be shown during playback.
As with the EOS-1D X, the EOS 5D Mark III features an internal microphone that captures 16bit mono sound at 48KHz as well as a 3.5mm stereo input jack that also records at 48KHz. It also features the manual audio level control while filming by displaying a live audio level meter on the rear screen during filming and the ability to adjust the audio recording level during filming.
To avoid the potential issue of introducing click sounds to the audio recording by adjusting the audio level, the adjustments are made using the Silent Control Function located inside the Quick Control Dial. This capacitive touch-pad can also be used to adjust other settings silently during film recording, including shutter speed, aperture, ISO and exposure compensation.
To aid monitoring of the audio being recorded the EOS 5D Mark III also features, for the first time on an EOS DSLR, a headphone jack that allows you to listen to the audio through headphones as you are recording.
When filming at 30fps or 60fps, the actual frame rate is not a whole number, but 29.97fps and 59.94fps respectively. By using the drop frame menu setting, you can select whether to count the number of frames recorded as if you were filming at a round figure of 30 or 60fps, or whether you want to count but compensate for the difference in the actual number of frames and the counted number of frames.
For example, if you were filming for 10 minutes at 29.97fps, the total number of frames recorded would be 17,982. However, if the frame count is done as 30fps, then the total frame count would be recorded as 18,000 frames. This could introduce errors when you come to compare the playback time and the timecode in HH:MM:SS:FF. The shorter your video clip is, the less important this total frame count difference becomes.
For longer video clips this difference can become significant and, in that instance, you should set Drop frame to enable. In this case, the frame count will drop two frames every minute so the number of frames counted is the same as the actual number of frames. This doesn’t mean that two frames will actually be dropped, simply that the counter will drop two frames from its total. This two-frame counter drop will happen for every minute from one to nine minutes. For the tenth minute, the counter will treat the minute as if there were 1800 frames in the minute (rather than the 1798 there actually are) – in other words it will not drop two frames from the counter for that minute. In this way, the actual frames recorded and the frame counter will match exactly every tenth minute, so the playback time and timecode will match exactly.
With previous EOS cameras copying .MOV files shot on an EOS DSLR back onto a memory card would not allow the files to be played back on the camera without the .THM thumbnail files being present as well. This has been overcome in the EOS 5D Mark III because the metadata is now written directly into the .MOV file, allowing the camera to decode the file and play it back without the .THM file being included.
With a 100% viewfinder and an 8.11cm (3.2”) Clear View LCD II rear screen, with 1.04 million dots, the EOS 5D Mark III offers superb options for image composition and playback.
The viewfinder in the EOS 5D Mark III is similar to that found in the EOS-1D X. While the magnification is the same (0.71x) as the EOS 5D Mark II, the eyepoint is now 22mm and the coverage is approximately 100%. It also uses the translucent liquid crystal display (LCD) that was first seen in the EOS 7D. The EOS 5D Mark III now also uses the same larger eyecup as used in the EOS-1D X and EOS 7D.
The translucent LCD allows the camera to display more essential information within the viewfinder, including the 61 AF points, Zone, Spot or Expansion AF points and a grid when required. With the camera turned off the display will appear milky due to light scattering, but once the camera is powered on the display becomes clear. To avoid the screen looking cluttered, it is possible to choose the information the LCD displays, or even to have it show none at all.
Compared to the viewfinder found the EOS 7D, the one found in the EOS 5D Mark III has been designed for usage in harsher environments and it will function substantially better in temperatures below 0°C. Also, the power consumption of the LCD screen is minimal so there is no significant effect on battery life.
Because the translucent LCD is unable to produce light the viewfinder features red LEDs to light the entire LCD in low light conditions. In the default setting, the red LEDs will light automatically in low light, however this can be set to ‘always on’ or ‘always off’ by using settings located within the AF menu area.
Clear View LCD II
The EOS 5D Mark III features an enlarged Clear View LCD II rear screen which is the same size, resolution and construction as the screen on the EOS-1D X. The screen size is 8.11cm (3.2”) and the resolution has been increased from 920,000 on the EOS 5D Mark II to 1.04 million dots. The construction has no gap between the protective glass cover and the LCD unit. This removes the air-glass interface, so refraction and reflection is reduced. The surface of the glass cover also features the same anti-reflective coating.
Dual-Axis Electronic Level
Like the EOS 7D and EOS-1D X the EOS 5D Mark III features a Dual-Axis Electronic Level that can display an alignment level, for both pitch and roll, on the rear LCD screen and within the viewfinder. This function is great for landscape and architectural photographers who need to ensure the camera is level in order to avoid sloping horizons or poor alignment of the camera with the subject. It is also useful in low light shooting, where it can be hard to see reference points through the viewfinder.
On the rear LCD screen, the level can display 360° of roll and +/-10° of pitch in 1° increments. When in Live View Mode a smaller display is overlaid on top of the image. The electronic level is accurate to +/-1° at up to +/-10°. Between +/-10° and +/-45° the accuracy is +/-3°.
The EOS 5D Mark III features a number of improved handling features, including a mode dial lock, plus customisable controls and a rugged, weatherproof build for durability.
Much requested by professional and amateur photographers alike, the EOS 5D Mark III now features a lock on the mode dial, as first seen on the EOS 60D. This makes it impossible to accidentally knock the mode dial and so change from one mode to another without meaning to.
Like the EOS 7D, the camera’s ON/OFF switch is now located on the top plate behind the mode dial rather than on the rear of the camera. Also, like the EOS 7D, there is a lock switch to disable the Quick Control Dial although on the EOS 5D Mark III, this can also lock the Main Dial and Multi-controller individually as well, using a Custom Function to determine which functions are locked.
In many respects, the EOS 5D Mark III is like a merging of body forms with the ruggedness of the EOS 5D Mark II and the ease of use of the EOS 7D. Continuing the similarities to the EOS 7D the EOS 5D Mark III also features a Custom Control Screen and Multi-Function button to allow you to tailor the function of each button to suit the way you work.
Unfortunately it is not possible to have a camera built specifically for you. However, the Custom Functions (C.Fns) found within EOS digital SLR cameras give you the next best thing as they allow you to modify the way that the camera functions to fit exactly what you’re shooting, or how you like to interact with your camera.
To simplify camera setup, on the EOS 5D Mark III all the AF functions have been put into their own dedicated menu setting away from the Custom Function menus. This has also simplified the Custom Functions, which are now divided into three distinct groups that control separate areas of the camera’s functions:
- C.Fn 1 – Image
- C.Fn 2 – Display/Operation
- C.Fn 3 - Others
The EOS 5D Mark III’s body construction is a combination of durable materials – a steel base plate to which the magnesium alloy body shell is attached. The camera also features a robust dust-proof and drip-proof construction, where body panels interlock rather than adjoin, and all seams, buttons and dials are provided with secure rubber sealing. The protection provided by the design and sealing is equivalent to that of the EOS-1N film camera; the weather-sealing standard by which other professional cameras were judged.
Two new accessories have been introduced with the EOS 5D Mark III DSLR – they are the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter, with Bluetooth module and higher speed transfer rates, and the GP-E2 GPS unit.
WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter
The WFT-E7 WiFi unit functions in the same way as previous models (like the WFT-E2 II and WFT-E5) however, unlike previous WiFi units, it is a universal design that will also be usable with future EOS models. Like the WFT-E6 for the EOS-1D X, there are two major additions to the WFT-E7. The first is a Bluetooth module. This is built into the unit and allows it to communicate directly with Bluetooth GPS devices to provide the ability to geo-tag your images in the EXIF data while shooting. It is a v2.1+EDR module offering industry standard compatibility. The second new feature is 802.11n compatibility for higher speed transfer rates and to ensure it makes full use of the latest generation of WiFi routers and access points.
Like the WFT-E6 unit for the EOS-1D X, the WFT-E7 provides the EOS 5D Mark III with a Linked Shooting ability. This means that a master camera fitted with a WFT-E7 can control up to 10 slave EOS cameras that are also fitted with compatible WFT units – they can be triggered from the master camera from up to 100 metres away. In this way, you can capture an image of a subject from several different viewpoints all at the same time. In addition, this linked shooting can also be controlled, using the WFT server functions, over an HTTP web connection.
With the use of the WFT-E7’s built-in WFT Server mode, the EOS 5D Mark III can be controlled wirelessly over an HTTP connection using a web browser. This means you can see what your camera sees and control the settings and shooting functions through a web browser or even on a device like a smart phone or an iPod touch or iPhone.
When images have been successfully transferred with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter through the FTP protocol an ‘O’ will be displayed. When images have not been successfully transferred with the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter through the FTP protocol, an ‘X’ will be displayed.
Finally, as first seen in the WFT-E6, using the WFT-E7 unit you can synchronise to time settings of several EOS 5D Mark III cameras. This Multi Camera Time Sync Function is of great benefit if you are shooting an event, with several cameras, as it allows you to easily put your images into a timeline after the event. Equally, if you work with several other photographers to cover an event, you can easily timeline the event afterwards to ensure that the story is told in chronological order.
GP-E2 GPS unit
Like the WFT-E7, the GP-E2 GPS unit is a universal design that makes it compatible with the EOS 5D Mark III, EOS-1D X and EOS 7D (with a firmware upgrade) as well as with future EOS models. It can be mounted on the camera’s hotshoe, on a dedicated bracket, or stored in your bag/pocket when in the logging mode. The unit features an electronic compass and GPS signal receiver and will allow you to geo-tag your images with location data. This data will be stored in the location field within the EXIF data of each image.
Powered by one AA battery, the GPS unit will function even if not connected to the camera and, in this way, can be used to log your movements at regular preset intervals that you can control. This logged data can then be linked up pictures with a map overlay through the provided ‘Map Utility’ software.
As with the GP-E1, the GP-E2 can be used to accurately set the time on the camera using the highly accurate atomic clock time from the satellites. With an EOS-1D X, the time precision can be set with +/-0.02sec precision. On an EOS 5D Mark III, the precision will be +/-1sec.