More EOS 5D Mark III ISO performance tests and comparisons (NEX 7, D800)

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…

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Canon G1 X news round-up and a user experience

Ok, let’s talk a bit about the Powershot G1 X again. Let us start with DPreview’s review of the Powershot G1 X. But first, the basic specifications of the G1 X:

  • 14MP 1.5″ CMOS sensor (18.7 x 14mm)
  • 28-112mm F2.8-5.8 lens
  • Optical viewfinder
  • ISO 100-12,800
  • 3.0″, 920,000 dot swivelling LCD
  • Extensive manual control
  • 14-bit Raw shooting
  • 4.5fps continuous shooting (up to 6 frames)
  • 6.8Wh NB-10L battery rated at 250 shots (CIPA standard)
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Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs Nikon D800, and the winner is…

…Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III!!

I compared tech specs of both cameras, and there is not much to investigate. The advantages of the EOS 5D Mark over Nikon’s D800 are evident

  • 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
  • Connections:
    • 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:

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EOS 5D Mark III best DSLR for shooting video (says Gizmodo)

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.

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Image Detail Comparison: EOS 5D Mark III matches RED Scarlet-X at 2K


Canon’s new full-frame camera vs. RED’s resolution champion – that’s something for movie makers. A comparison concerning image details between the EOS 5D Mark III, the EOS 7D and the Scarlet-X done at cinema5d DSLR film forum by user  Sebastian, which has also some interesting thoughts about the EOS 5D Mark III (from a film-maker’s point of view).

That means a full-frame sensor (5D3) vs an APS-C sensor (7D) vs a smaller than APS-C sensor (Scarlet-X), using a  Canon zoom 24-105mm f/4.0 L (5D3), a Tokina 16-50mm f2.8 (7D) and a Contax Zeiss 28mm (Scarlet-X) – this was done to match the shots (but filmed sections are not 100% identical, not a real problem in my opinion).

The footage of the Scarlet-X was recorded @2k and scaled down to HD. Not only the 5D Mark III matches the Scarlet-X concerning image details, but there is also less noise.

Read the cinema5d forum post clicking here. The original files used for the comparison can be downloaded:

EOS 5D Mark III file 1
EOS 5D Mark III file 2
EOS 7D file 1
EOS 7D file 2
RED Scarlet-X files (zipped)

Latest pics uploaded to flickr and eBay live-ticker for EOS 5D Mark III click here, and for EOS 7D click here.

EOS 5D Mark III price check: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon Canada, Canon Canada, Canon USA EOS 7D price check: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon Canada, Canon Canada, Canon USA


Rolling shutter jello comparison: 5D Mark III vs Sony Nex 7

Photographer Mike Kobal did an interesting test using a EOS 5D Mark III and Sony’s NEX 7 to demonstrate the rolling shutter effect. Mike’s premise:

Keep in mind this is an extreme test to demonstrate the rolling shutter effect, no one in their right mind would pan like this. However, there are plenty of real life situations when the jello effect suddenly becomes a problem, a fast train or car passing will have leaning windows and elliptical wheels, or watching a chase scene with moving camera and subjects will make you dizzy. Until we get global shutters, the jello effect is CMOS sensor’s biggest Achilles Heel.

If you never heard about the rolling shutter effect, the short video that follows will give you an idea. Otherwise jump over and read on.

You may wonder why two cameras not in the same league are compared. It makes sense, since theoretically the Nex 7 should perform better because of its smaller APSC sensor (the rolling shutter effect increases with sensor size).  The EOS 5D Mark III was set to 1080/24P, ISO 100, Shutter Speed 1/50th, F/8, white balance 5600K, Picture Style Neutral. The NEX 7 to  1080/24P, ISO 100, Shutter Speed 1/50, F/8, Picture style Portrait. Sharpening, contrast, saturation have been turned down to zero on both cameras.

Let us first have a look at Mike’s video:

The weird thing is that the EOS 5D Mark III performs better that the Sony NEX 7, which is surprising to some degree. Mike writes:

Surprise, the 5D3 kicks Nex 7′s gluteus maximus, I sure didn’t expect that from the FF sensor, either the Canon is very good or the Sony just terrible, your pick :) !

If you have a look at the crops below you can clearly see that the NEX 7 produces more moire than the EOS 5D Mark III

Credits: Mike Kobal

Yeah, what shall I say? Maybe that the EOS 5D Mark III is a great great camera? :-)

There are much more test pictures and crops you can analyze in Mike’s post (which is absolutely worth to be read: click here).

BTW, Mike has also a post about his brand new EOS 5D Mark III (click here) and provided us a nice unpacking video:

For EOS 5D Mark III sample pics and information click here.
For order and pre-order option, and lot more about the EOS 5D Mark III click here.
EOS 5D Mark III price check (click on the shop name): B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon Canada, Canon Canada, Canon USA

Have a nice day (or night)… :-)