Three things will encourage you give your “old” 5D Mark II to your kids, so you can race out to buy the new Canon EOS 5D Mk III:
1. Headphone jack.
2. ISO speeds to 25,6000 (expanded to 102,400).
3. Improvement in noise reduction by 2 stops. That means 3200 ISO images on the new Mk III look as good as 800 ISO on the Mk II. Canon’s new 1D X does even better, improving noise by an additional stop, so its 6400 ISO would look like 800 on the Mk II.
Canon will position the new Mk III between the 1DX and the 5D Mark II. It will list for $3499 (body only) or $4299 with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom “kit lens,” and is expected to ship end of March. The 1DX ships end of April.
The 5D Mk III is a full frame DSLR for pros and advanced amateurs, with significant improvements. The sensor is 22.3 megapixels (Mark II is 21.1). The microlenses are gapless, and the photosites slightly smaller. On-chip noise reduction and other electronic wonders are performed by the DIGIC 5+ Image Processor, which is 17 times faster than the previous generation. Exposure metering and control is better, with 63 zones. The metering system not only measures color and luminance data, but also analyzes the data provided by each point of the AF system and it reads color for more accurate results.
The Autofocus system can analyze 61 points – similar to the EOS-1D X. It is the most sophisticated SLR AF system Canon has ever released.
EOS 5D Mark III Video
The EOS 5D Mark III continues Canon’s evolution into professional video, cinema and convergent imaging arenas. It does 1080p HD video at 24p (23.976), 25p, and 30p (29.97) fps; 720p HD recording at 60 (59.94) and 50 fps; and SD recording at 30 (29.97) and 25 fp.
The EOS 5D Mark III includes new H.264 video compression formats to simplify and speed up post-production work: intraframe (ALL-I) compression for an editing-friendly format (larger files), and interframe (IPB) compression (smaller files). Like the 1D X, the 5D Mark III also includes SMPTE Rec Run and Free Run timecode.
The new CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+ processor improve image processing performance over the 5D Mark II, with much reduced moiré and color artifacts in scenes with horizontal lines. The 5D Mark III can record video continuously up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds across multiple 4GB files. The camera can automatically split files on the fly across both memory cards in the dual card slots (one is CF, the other is SD).
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III includes manual audio level control with 64 levels, adjustable either before and during movie recording. There is also an automatic audio level setting. Audio can be recorded either through the internal monaural microphone or through the stereo mic input. Best of all, the EOS 5D Mark III is the first EOS Digital SLR with a built-in headphone jack for real-time audio monitoring while shooting. That alone justifies buying a new 5D.
New CMOS Sensor
The new full-frame 24 x 36 mm 22.3-megapixel Canon CMOS image sensor is now the highest resolution Canon Digital SLR released until now. An eight-channel readout doubles the speed of image data throughput from the sensor to the DIGIC 5+ processor, resulting in better video image quality as well as up to 6 fps for still photos.
The low-light capability of the EOS 5D Mark III is improved. Sensitivity is adjustable from ISO 100 to 25,600, with a low ISO 50 setting and two extended ISO settings of 51,200 and 102,400.
The camera has a Self Cleaning Sensor Unit with a fluorine coating that repels dust and dirt particles.
Canon DIGIC 5+ Imaging Processor
Speed. The EOS 5D Mark III uses its DIGIC 5+ 17x faster processing speed not only for improved image quality, but also to add 9 new features that do not exist on the 5D Mark II. These new features include 6 fps continuous shooting, HDR and Multiple Exposure modes, in-camera RAW processing, a comparative playback function, Scene Intelligent Auto mode, two forms of movie compression, and support for high-speed UDMA 7 Compact Flash memory cards.
Another feature is the EOS 5D Mark III’s choice of reduced resolution M-RAW (10.5 megapixel) and S-RAW (5.5 megapixel) recording modes. These settings take up less space on the memory cards and speed up post-processing without losing the benefits of RAW image data, such as highlight and shadow control as well as white balance adjustment. M-RAW and S-RAW also preserve the full field of view.
Body and Specs
The EOS 5D Mark III’s body is magnesium alloy and a stainless steel lens mount. It has a dust- and moisture-resistant design with improved gaskets and seals. Although not quite as weatherproof as an EOS-1D-series camera, the EOS 5D Mark III has improved weather resistance over the EOS 5D Mark II.
The EOS 5D Mark III uses the same LP-E6 lithium-ion battery pack as other popular EOS cameras like the 5D Mark II, 7D and 60D. Battery life is estimated at 950 exposures at normal temperatures, an improvement of 100 exposures more than the EOS 5D Mark II. The EOS 5D Mark III body weighs approximately 33.5 oz. with a battery installed, and the dimensions are approximately 6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 inches.
The EOS 5D Mark III incorporates Silent shooting modes, available for low-speed continuous shooting as well as single exposures. This feature is ideal when photographing in quiet environments. For better file management especially when working with multiple cameras, the new model also supports custom file names. There is also a new image rating feature that lets photographers rank their photos from 1 to 5 stars for quick editing.
The EOS 5D Mark III has a 3.2-inch Clear View II LCD screen with 1,040,000 dot resolution. This is the same screen that’s used in the top-of-the-line EOS-1D X. The camera’s optical viewfinder has been upgraded to approximately 100 percent coverage, and it features an Intelligent Viewfinder display with an optional grid on demand. The EOS 5D Mark III also has a built-in Dual Axis Electronic Level that can be displayed on both the LCD screen and the optical viewfinder.
The EOS 5D Mark III accepts both Compact Flash Type 1 and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards in a dual card slot configuration. Three recording methods are supported: Record the same data to both cards, record different file sizes or types to each card, or automatically switch to the second card when the first card is full.
The new Canon Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7A supports 802.11 a/b/g/n. It connects to the camera through its USB port and includes a built-in gigabit Ethernet connection, time syncing for multiple cameras on the same network, FTP mode, EOS Utility mode, WFT Server mode and Media Server mode.
An optional Canon GPS Receiver GP-E2 can be connected to the camera via the accessory shoe or a USB cable to add latitude, longitude, elevation, compass heading and Universal Time Code metadata.
The Battery Grip BG-E11 is an optional accessory for the EOS 5D Mark III that accepts one or two LP-E6 lithium-ion battery packs or a set of six AA-size batteries.
In addition to the EOS 5D Mark III, Canon is also announcing their first professional Speedlite on the market with a built-in wireless radio transmitter, the new Speedlite 600EX-RT. Compatible with all EOS Digital SLRs, this new model eliminates the need for accessory radio slave units. Speedlite 600EX-RT features Master-Slave two-way transmission, letting the photographer control the Speedlite settings directly from the “Master” camera.
Radio-based Wireless E-TTL can be performed with up to 15 Speedlite 600EX-RT “slave units”, used off-camera up to 98.4 feet (30m) away, and triggered by either a “Master” 600EX-RT on-camera, or the optional new Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT. Used with the EOS 5D Mark III or EOS-1D X, up to five groups of flashes can be completely controlled, independently, off-camera. And, it remains fully compatible with Canon’s legacy optical-based Wireless E-TTL technology. The new Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT can control up to five groups of flashes, up to 98.4 feet (30m) from the camera. The remote shutter release capability enables photographers to either fire a single camera remotely (by pressing a button on the ST-E3-RT), or to fire up to 15 EOS cameras with Canon’s Linked Shooting feature.
How much and when?
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital SLR camera expected end of March 2012. Body-only estimated retail price: $3,499.
EOS 5D Mark III with EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens “kit”: $4,299.
Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7A around end of April 2012: $849.99.
GPS Receiver GP-E2 end of April 2012: $390.
Battery Grip BG-E11 end of April 2012: $490.
Speedlite 600EX-RT and Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT end of March 2012: estimated retail prices of $629.99 and $470.00 respectively.
Digital Lens Optimizer works with 29 current lenses to correct abberration, distortion, etc. It looks up from a database to perform all kinds of digital tweaks to the lens. It even corrects for the effects of the OLPF cover glass. Body is magnesium alloy.
Controls similar to 7D.
GPS optional: GP-E2 provides latitude, longitude, altitude, time. $390.
Battery handrip: $490.
WFT-E7A wireless file transmitter for FTP, WFT. With EOS Utility, provides live view on a computer. The camera becomes its own server.
New 600EX-RT speedlight with built-in wireless transmitter/receiver. Range 98 feet. Up to 5 groups, 15 individual units. $629.99
ST-E3 wireless transmitter. $470.