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News

Canon unveils the
22.3 Megapixel
EOS 5D Mark III DSLR

March 2012

Canon has unveiled the EOS 5D Mark III DSLR – a 22.3 Megapixel full-frame camera with a 61-point AF system, a top shooting speed of six frames per second, and ISO capabilities up to 102,400 – which succeeds the hugely popular EOS 5D Mark II in Canon’s DSLR range.

The EOS 5D Mark III’s 22.3 Megapixel full-frame sensor makes it the highest resolution camera in Canon’s EOS DSLR range and it incorporates the 61-point autofocus system seen in the flagship EOS-1D X model.

The key specifications of the EOS 5D Mark III include:

  • A 22.3 Megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor.
  • A 61-point AF with up to 41 cross-type AF points.
  • Zone, Spot and AF Point Expansion focusing modes.
  • A DIGIC 5+ processor for fast image processing.
  • Up to 6fps shooting speed.
  • ISO 100 to 25,600 as standard, ISO 50 to 102,400 with expansion.
  • +/- 5 stops of exposure compensation.
  • High Dynamic Range (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 standard 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 for silent setting adjustment during movie recording.
  • Dual-Axis Electronic Level.

Full-frame CMOS sensor

The EOS 5D Mark III’s full-frame, high-resolution 22.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor makes use of gapless microlenses – first seen in a Canon full-frame sensor on the EOS-1D X – to ensure that all the light reaching the sensor is directed into the pixel wells. This efficient light gathering, combined with the processing power of the DIGIC 5+ processor, has brought a two stop increase in the standard ISO range compared to the EOS 5D Mark II. The expanded ISO range goes up to ISO 102,400 for ultra low light shooting situations.

The CMOS sensor has been designed not only to deliver greater flexibility and higher image quality for still photography, but it also offers improved performance in Full HD 1080p movie shooting with reduced moiré and false colours leading to improved definition and colour.

61-point AF system

The EOS 5D Mark III has the 61-point AF system seen in Canon’s EOS-1D X flagship DSLR to offer consistent focusing performance with all subjects in light levels down to EV -2. With up to 41 cross-type AF points and a dual-zigzag line arrangement for all 61 points, focus accuracy and speed is improved. In combination with the evolved AI Servo III AF algorithm, the new system is also more stable in use.

To ensure setting up the system to suit the subject is as easy as possible the EOS 5D Mark III also includes the AF Configuration Tool first seen in the EOS-1D X – it’s provided within the camera menu to give details of each setting and example usage.

The back of the EOS 5D Mark III features an 8.11cm (3.2”) Clear View LCD II rear screen that’s the same size, resolution and construction as the screen on the flagship EOS-1D X DSLR.

Like the EOS 7D and EOS-1D X, the EOS 5D Mark III also features Spot, Zone and AF Point Expansion focusing modes to give you the maximum choice in selecting how to focus on a subject.

DIGIC 5+ processing

The high-end DIGIC 5+ processor in the EOS 5D Mark III operates 17 times faster than the DIGIC 4 processor in the EOS 5D Mark II. With more processing power, it able to perform more complex image processing for better image quality, as well as adding new features such as in-camera HDR shooting, multiple exposure imaging, lens chromatic aberration correction, intra-frame compression options for HD Movie shooting and UDMA and memory card compatibility.

The EOS 5D Mark III’s top shooting speed of up to six frames per second, compared to 3.9fps with the EOS 5D Mark II, is achieved despite the large quantity of data being produced by the 22.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor and is enabled by the processing power from the DIGIC 5+ processor. A silent shooting mode and continuous silent mode are available for stealthier shooting.

iFCL metering system

The EOS 5D Mark III features an iFCL 63-zone Dual-layer Metering Sensor to capture perfectly exposed images time-after-time. FCL stands for ‘Focus, Colour and Luminance’ and 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 is a dual-layer design with 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.

The EOS 5D Mark III always measures focus with all AF points, regardless of the selected AF mode. During the exposure reading the camera 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.

With Evaluative, Spot, Partial and Centre-weighted metering options provided photographers can choose exactly how the light in a scene is measured to ensure they get perfect exposures every time.

Full HD Movie recording

Like all other current EOS DSLR models in the range, the EOS 5D Mark III features Full HD Movie recording – it has the ability to shoot 1920x1080p movies at 24fps, 25fps or 30ps and 1280x720p movies at 50fps or 60fps. With either auto or full manual control over both exposure and audio levels it’s a powerful tool for both newcomers to shooting HD video with EOS DSLRs and professional filmmakers.

The top controls of the EOS 5D Mark III include a lock on the mode dial, so it’s impossible to accidentally knock the dial and change modes, and an On/Off switch located behind the mode dial.

The camera’s advanced HD movie shooting functions include ALL-I compression, and silent, on-the-fly audio level adjustment with the ability to monitor audio through headphones will make it the first choice for movie makers and those interested in telling stories across a range of new media. In a first for the EOS range the EOS 5D Mark III has a headphone jack to allow audible audio monitoring while recording as well as the visual level bars.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder in the EOS 5D Mark III is similar to that seen in the EOS-1D X. The 0.71x magnification is the same as the EOS 5D Mark II, but the eye-point is now 22mm and the coverage is approximately 100%. It uses the translucent liquid crystal display (LCD), first seen in the EOS 7D, which displays more essential information within the viewfinder, including the 61 AF points, Zone, Spot or Expansion AF points and a grid when required. To avoid the screen looking cluttered, it is possible to choose the information the LCD displays, or to have it show none at all.

Compared to the EOS 7D viewfinder, the EOS 5D Mark III’s viewfinder has been designed for use in harsher environments and 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 automatically light the entire LCD in low light conditions. This can be set to ‘always on’ or ‘always off’ using settings in the camera’s AF menu.

8.11cm (3.2”) Clear View LCD II screen

The EOS 5D Mark III has an enlarged 8.11cm (3.2”) Clear View LCD II rear screen that’s the same size, resolution and construction as the EOS-1D X’s screen. The screen 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 an anti-reflective coating.

The EOS 5D Mark III’s output terminals include a headphone jack so filmmakers can monitor audio while recording in addition to the on-screen visual level bars.

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 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.

EOS Integrated Cleaning System (EICS)

The EOS 5D Mark III’s sensor uses a similar EOS Integrated Cleaning System to the EOS 7D and EOS 5D Mark II DSLRs and 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.

Operation and construction

The EOS 5D Mark III features a lock on the mode dial, first seen on the EOS 60D, so it’s impossible to accidentally knock the mode dial and change from one mode to another. Like the EOS 7D the On/Off switch is now located on the top plate behind the mode dial rather than on the rear of the camera and there is a lock switch to disable the Quick Control Dial – on the EOS 5D Mark III, this can also lock the Main Dial and Multi-controller individually, using a Custom Function to determine which functions are locked.

The EOS 5D Mark III also features a Custom Control screen and Multi-Function button to allow photographers to tailor the function of each button to suit the way they work.

The EOS 5D Mark III features three Custom Shooting Mode options – C1, C2 and C3 – which allow users to store frequently used settings for quick recall and, if changes are made to the recalled settings while shooting, the stored C-Mode settings will be updated automatically.

The body construction features a magnesium alloy body attached to a steel base plate for extra strength. The camera features a robust dust- and drip-proof construction, where body panels interlock rather than adjoin, and all seams, buttons and dials are provided with secure weatherproof sealing.

To cope with professional use the camera’s shutter life has been increased from 100,000 cycles on the EOS 5D Mark II to 150,000 cycles.

Custom Functions

The EOS 5D Mark III has 13 Custom Functions (C.Fns) to allow photographers to modify the way that the camera functions to fit exactly what they’re shooting, or how they like to interact with your camera.

To simplify camera setup, all the AF functions have been put into their own menu setting away from the Custom Functions – this means the Custom Functions are now divided into just three distinct groups t control separate areas of camera function:

  • C.Fn 1 – Image
  • C.Fn 2 – Display/Operation
  • C.Fn 3 – Others

New Custom Functions in the EOS 5D Mark III, not available on the EOS 5D Mark II, include Safety shift, Number of bracketed shots, Warning in viewfinder, Live View image masking, and Multi-function lock.

EOS System accessories

As well as the EOS 5D Mark III Canon has announced a range of new accessories for the EOS System – the Speedlite 600EX-RT flashgun, the Speedlite ST-E3-RT Radio Wireless flash transmitter, the WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter, and the GP-E2 GPS unit (which is compatible with Canon’s EOS 7D, EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III DSLRs).

The EOS 5D Mark III has slots to accept both SD and CF memory cards to allow for storing still images or EOS Movie footage.

The Speedlite 600EX-RT flashgun is the new flagship model in the Canon range – it has a guide number of 60 (metres @ 200mm, ISO 100), a 20-200mm autozoom head with 14mm wide panel diffuser, and full E-TTL flash metering with all current EOS cameras. In a first for the EOS System the Speedlite 600EX-RT features two different modes of multiple wireless flash control – optical transmission and radio transmission. The optical slave function can function as either a Wireless Master or Wireless Slave, whilst radio transmission uses radio frequencies to control slave flashguns.

The ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter acts as a wireless master in the new Canon Radio Wireless flash control system, using a 2.4GHz radio transmission frequency to control slave flashguns. Radio transmission removes two of the potential pitfalls of optical transmission – the limited range and the need for a line of sight connection between the master and slave – and it also allows the use of up to 15 slaves. The range is extended to around 30 metres and slave flashguns can be hidden behind obstacles or subjects without fear that they may not fire.

The Canon WFT-E7 Wireless File Transmitter has been launched alongside the EOS 5D Mark III to offer the ability to wirelessly transmit images from your camera to a computer – it gives enhanced remote capture, media server functionality, linked shooting, plus built-in Bluetooth connection functionality. The WFT-E7 unit offers WiFi possibilities including as 802.11a/b/g and n compatibility, DLNA compliance, FTP, EOS Utility and WFT Server shooting, as well as linked shooting for remote shutter triggering of other WiFi-enabled EOS cameras.

The Canon GP-E2 GPS unit has been launched to offer the ability to geo-tag your images with latitude and longitude data in the EXIF fields. The unit is compatible with Canon’s EOS 7D (with a firmware update), EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III DSLR cameras and provides GPS data and time functions to help photographers to track and sort images. It can be attached either directly on to the hotshoe, where the GPS data will be transferred through the hotshoe (with the EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III only), or mounted to a bracket and connected to the camera with a cable. When attached to the camera it will provide latitude, longitude, altitude, direction and UTC time to the camera, all of which will be stored in the EXIF data fields.