Canon 5D mk3 at

Canon 5D mk3 at B&H

Canon 5D mk3 at Adorama

Canon 5D mk3 and 24-105 f/4 L IS at Adorama


Finally after a record-high diversity in rumors, the new Canon 5D Mk3 is here.Some people thought it would have nearly identical specs to the Canon 5D mk2, with just a bunch of extra megapixels and some video improvements.Rumors flew that it would have anything from the same old (let’s be honest- pathetic) 9-point AF system, to the brand-new flagship AF system of the 1DX, complete with 61 focus points and INSANE low-light focusing capabilities.Rumors also flew that it’d be anything from 4 FPS, to an 8 FPS “1DX killer”.

[rewind: Learn HDR Photography from SLR Lounge]

So, what is the 5D mk3 ACTUALLY?Drumroll, please!


22.3 megapixels, $3500 MSRP
(Nikon D800 = 36 MP & $3000) 

ISO 100-25600, “LO” ISO 50 & “HI” ISO 56800 & 102400 (Video can only go up to 12800)
(D800 = ISO 100-12800, “LO” & “HI” @ 50 & up to 56800 

61 point AF, 41 cross-type AF points, all usable to f/2.8, some usable to f/5.6 (Just like the 1DX)
(D800 = 51 point AF, 15 cross type, all usable to f/5.6, some usable to f/8 just like the D4)

6 FPS (WOW! Good job, Canon!)
(D800 = 4 FPS, 6 FPS in 16 megapixel DX mode, with battery grip.D700 = 5 FPS w/o grip, 8 FPS w/ grip in full FX mode) 

100% 0.71X viewfinder, 3.2″ LCD, new metering, 150,000 cycle shutter life
(D800 = 100% @ 0.7X viewfinder, 3.2″ LCD, new metering, 200,000 cycle shutter life) 

Dual Card Slots (CF + SD)
(D800 = dual card slots, CF + SD) 

Built-in HDR mode and 7-shot bracketing (HDR is cool, but I’m just happy they’ve improved the bracketing beyond 3 shots!!!)
(D800 = 9-shot bracketing, also has built in HDR mode)

Full 1080p video @ 30 FPS, 720p @ 60 FPS
(Nikon D800 = full 1080p @ 30 FPS, 720p @ 60 FPS) 

Flash sync speed 1/200 sec
(Nikon D800 = 1/250 sec) 



 A couple OTHER points of comparison:

KEEP IN MIND!!!!Yes, the Nikon D800 has way more megapixels, but the filesizes might not be as un-manageable as you think in comparison to the Canon 5D Mk3‘s files.You see, Nikon offers three modes for RAW compression- fully un-compressed, lossless compression and even lossy compression.Also, you can designate 12-bit vs 14-bit.So while the Canon ONLY has 14-bit lossless compression, and it’s 22 megapixel files will be around 30 MB, the D800 with lossy 12-bit compression will ALSO have ~30 MB files.Just in case you REALLY want 36 megapixels, but without the killer filesizes.;-)

Another HUGE difference: The Canon 5D Mk3 has mRAW and sRAW modes, which use the whole full-frame sensor, while Nikon offers a 1.2x and 1.5x crop modes in order to reduce resolution.An interesting difference, and while I wish I had both, I’m happy with Nikon’s option especially since I can use DX Nikon lenses on a full-frame camera.:-)

The Canon 5D 3 has USB 2.0, the Nikon D800 has USB 3.0.Not really a big difference since a USB 3.0 card reader is $21 these days

Both cameras have some sort of “quiet mode” which is apparently VERY quiet, even as quiet as a rangefinder camera some say.

The Canon does have some new review modes, including comparative playback and star-ranking options, however I don’t see any sign of a “quick zoom” customization, which is one thing I LOVE about Nikons.Although with this new AF system and LCD, maybe we’ll actually be able to TRUST it to nail focus more often!

They moved the power switch on the 5D mk3, to the same place it is on the 7D.

This is it.If you ask me, Canon has begun a new era in the world of “affordable semi-pro DSLR’s”…Previously, many were conservatively calling the 5D mk2 a “prosumer” camera.Heck, the Canon 7D had much better specs in EVERY way, besides the full-frame sensor itself!As a Nikon user myself with my standard being the Nikon D700, I must admit I always cringed a little bit when recommending the 5D mk2 WITHOUT a 7D to compliment it.Forany type of action, in fact, I prefer the 7D by far until ISO 3200.

So now, do we have a “full-frame 7D“?You could say that.This is the camera Canon should have made 4 years ago, to properly compete with the Nikon D700.(Admittedly, this camera would have blown away the D700, in at least a couple ways!)

Now however,Canon has to compete with both the Nikon D700, and the Nikon D800. The D800 wins in terms of sheer resolution, with it’s 36 megapixels and especially the D800E without an AA filter.However, the D800 is “only” 4 FPS full-frame, and 6 FPS in DX crop mode when using a battery grip.Also, considering the megapixel difference and Canon’s long history of being very, very good at high ISO’s, …the 5D mk3 has a very good chance of being a stop or so better at ISO 3200 / 6400.

Of course I would never make that judgment call until both cameras are fully reviewed.Lastly, and here’s the crazy part-Nikon has no sRAW mode like Canon has had, for YEARS now.So you’re effectively STUCK at 36 megapixels onthe D800, unless you want to jump to 1.2x crop or 1.5x DX crop, which bumps you all the way down to 16 megapixels and of course kills your field of view that is half the reason we shoot full-frame at all.

All in all, the 5D mk3 seems to be a winning camera.I would say I’m super excited, but the fact is that we’ve kinda already known all of these specs for weeks now, thanks to the heavy, heavy leaking.So the feeling I have right now is best described as that “sigh of relief” you feel when you get home from a huge, exciting vacation, and you’re really happy but you’re also in a “winding down” mode.The real excitement happened slowly over the past few weeks / months, in anticipation of this awesome event.

We will post again as soon as the 5D mk3 becomes available for pre-order!If you want to pick one up in time for the 2012 wedding season, you’ll want to get in line RIGHT AWAY when these things become available.Quick tip:If you don’t mind paying full MSRP or a little bit more, your local camera shop might be able to put you on an un-official waiting list before the likes of Amazon and B&H have their waiting lists / pre-ordering.OR, for the especially brave and well-funded, you can hawk your favorite (safe) online photo community, for the crazy people who put themselves on MULTIPLE waiting lists and accidentally end up with TWO cameras.That’s how I got my Nikon D300 back on 2007, within a WEEKof it hitting shelves, without waiting on any lists etc.

But again for the rest of you whodon’t care to play Russian roulette with your new “baby”, check back here frequently for pre-order availability!Usually it can happen within 2-12 hours of announcement.

Take care,