I highly recommend this 19 minutes video-review of the EOS 5D Mark III by filmmaker and director Philip Bloom. There is also an accompanying written review on his site. Well, he is not entirely satisfied by the EOS 5D Mark III (spoiler: resolution!). While it seems assessed that the EOS 5D Mark III improved sensibly regarding to moire, aliasing, and that sound recording (and workflow, for film-makers) is now much better than before, the big question everyone is raising is resolution. The EOS 5D Mark III with is conservative approach has “only” 22MP. P. Bloom writes:
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This is for all of us who want to shot (and focus) like a pro. The new Auto-Focus System on the 5D Mark III and 1D X is a complex and sophisticated beast. To harness all of its power you have to know how it works, and how to set and configure it for your purposes. Canon’s Digital Learning Center published a series of technical articles about the advanced Auto-Focus system featured on the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 1D X.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III has such an amazing high ISO performance that I want to report more about this. It is, together with the advanced AF system and the fast burst rate, one of the features that make the 5D Mark III so much superior to its competitors (say…Nikon D800?). Ok ok, this is my opinion.
Canon did the right thing when it did not put a high-res sensor in its new, year 2012, full-frame camera. Sailing upwind against the waves, Canon decided to keep a conservative resolution (22MP), to re-engineer the sensor and to update each and any system component. The result was a rock-solid performing camera, with (among other feats and tweaks) extended dynamic range, fast burst shooting, an advanced AF system, and an above-the-average ISO performance. I don’t think the 5D Mark III can be seen as a mere upgrade of the Mark II. It’s a new camera. Starting by the sensor, which got the gapless microlens technology of the EOS 1D X and has bigger photodiodes (more light) than its predecessor. Moreover, each photodiode has its own immediate noise processing of the transmitted signal. It’s the edge of imaging sensor technology, and Canon has always been one of the biggest innovators in this domain. Even Nikon knows this simple fact, that’s why they used a 5D Mark II to shot the D800 promo (click here).
Sony’s NEX 7 is not really in the same league as the EOS 5D Mark III, nevertheless I think a comparison of ISO performance is interesting. The NEX 7 is a great cam and we are curious to see how it performs compared to other new cameras, even if they have different sensor sizes (the NEX7 has an APS-C sized sensor). Mike Kobal did a extreme low-light (using candles!), high ISO test: 200-25600 on the 5D Mark III and up to 3200 on the NEX 7. How does the NEX 7 compare to Canon’s new EOS? See for yourself…
…Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III!!
- Light sensitivity: 25,600 vs 6,400 (2 f-stops more)
- Auto Focus: more advanced (most advanced in this price category, and more cross-type focus points (41 vs 15, grabs focus in difficult situation where the D800 can’t)
- Overall Auto Focus points: 61 vs 51 (more accuracy)
- LCD screen: bigger, higher resolution (1,040k dots vs 921k dots, that’s 10% more)
- ISO boost: 2 f-stops better (50-102,400 vs 100-25,600)
- Shooting speed: 6 fps vs 4 fps (50% faster than the D800)
- Video: more modes
- Canon: 1920×1080 at 30/ 25/ 24 fps, 1280×720 at 60/ 50 fps and 640×480 at 30/ 25 fps
- Nikon: 1920×1080 at 30/ 24 fps and 1280×720 at 60/ 30/ 24 fps
- Video #2: NTSC or PAL
- Video formats: MPEG-4 and H.264 vs H.264 only
- Supported cards:
- Canon: CompactFlash (CF Type I), CompactFlash (CF Type II), SD, SDHC, SDXC
- Nikon: CompactFlash (CF Type I), SD, SDHC, SDXC
- Canon: Proprietary, Accessory shoe, USB, HDMI, 3.5mm stereo audio, Flash Sync
- Nikon: USB, HDMI mini, 3.5mm stereo audio
- Size: 5D Mark III thinner (3″ vs 3.2″, 10%) and smaller (152x116x76mm vs 146x123x82mm, 10%)
- EOS system family: more lenses
Now let’s see where Nikon’s D800 shines out:
I totally agree with gizmodo, and I add: the EOS 5D Mark III is kicking the Nikon’s D800 in the back.
It may be that Nikon’s D800 is selling better than Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III (as lots of blogs report), but no camera is getting that much attention by film-makers as the 5D Mark III. And that’s not wondering: Canon’s new FF flagship is an outstanding cam, not only for stills, but also for video. It was the former model, the EOS 5D Mark II, that started to be a valid alternative for indie film-makers. Cheap(er) alternative to the much more expensive gear you had to chose from (read Sony, Panavision, RED). While being thought (and touted) as a camera for still photography, the 5D Mark II rapidly became a film-makers darling. Not only for indie movie-makers: the 5D Mark II was used to shot shows like House and Saturday Night Special, and to shot the action scenes in Captain America. This happened not just because of the surprising video-capabilities of the 5D Mark II, but also because you had access to Canon’s rich and extensive offer of lens for the EOS system. Now we have the 5D Mark III, and the story gets into a new chapter. Read on after the break.
This is a hardware hack performed on the EOS 5D Mark III. It voids guaranty and should absolutely be avoided without the necessary technical knowledge.
James Miller teared down his brand new EOS 5D Mark III and removed the Optical Low-Pass Filter (aka Anti-Aliasing filter) that’s put on the sensor. It seems that the filter is really blurring the image, since the pics shot without the filter are much more detailed. Judge for yourself – first pic shot with the OLPF and the second without:
NOTE: pictures shot at different days, using same camera settings. Original pics can be downloaded:
As you can see the pic shot without the OLPF has more detail and more sharpness in general. Brick walls and roofs reveal details not seen on the crop from the pic shot with the mounted OLPF. Moreover, the filter is responsible for reducing moire and aliasing, but looking at the crops you can see some aliasing but no moire. Two more crops, left one with, right one without OLPF – look at the clock and at the roof above the clock:
OLPF mounted OLPF removed
The is a big difference regarding image details with details appearing in the pic shot without the OLPF that are barely if even visible in the crop from the pic shot with the OLPF mounted.
Miller also shot a video with the modded 5D Mark III:
Given the strong increase in details, it looks like if Canon has put on the EOS 5D Mark III an OLPF that’s too strong, and that’s sensibly reducing the native capabilities of the sensor. Reducing moire is important, but I question if it has to come with such a considerable loss in detail (not just for video mode, also for stills). However, the absence of moire in the crops from the frame grabs does not mean that in other circumstances there would not be more moire. James Miller is now using his 5D Mark III without the filter, so more news will come. Stay tuned.
Here are some pics of the tear down:
For the latest 5D Mark III pics uploaded to Flickr and our eBay live-ticker for possible 5D Mark III deals click here.
The following shops have the EOS 5D Mark III in stock and ready to ship:
- Amazon: 5D Mark III w/24-105mm f/4 L $4,299 - click here
- Canon store: 5D Mark III w/24-105mm f/4 L $4,299 - click here
- B&H: 5D Mark III body $3,499 - click here
- J&R: 5D Mark III body $3,499 - click here
- J&R: 5D Mark III w/24-105mm f/4 L $4,299 - click here (NOTE: shows up as out of stock, should be in stock in a few hours)
- Adorama: 5D Mark III body + free photo-book $3,499 - click here
- Adorama: 5D Mark III w/24-105mm f/4 L $4,299 -click here
- DigitalRev: 5D Mark III body – location-based price, different kit options, ships in 24h - click here
- DigitalRev: 5D Mark III w/24-105mm f/4 L - location-based price, different kit options, ships in 24h - click here