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5 Reasons Why the Canon 5D Mark III is $3500 and Why It's Worth It

03.5.12 @ 2:42PM Tags : , , ,

The Canon 5D Mark III was only announced a few days ago and many sites and blogs have weighed in on whether this full-frame low-light monster is worth the extra money over the 5D Mark II. Many users have commented that it is far beyond their budget compared to what they already have, or the updated specs aren’t worth the extra $800 over what the 5D Mark II cost in 2008 when it was announced ($2700). Many also say that clean HDMI and 1080 60p were deal-breakers at this price. I’ll give you 5 reasons why the Mark III is worth the price. But first, here’s a video showing the 5D Mark II vs. the 5D Mark III at 12,800 ISO:

This is one of the more remarkable things I’ve seen in the last few days. This video was taken with a beta 5D Mark III, and it’s clear that even in its unfinished form, it blows the doors off of the 5D Mark II. Some have commented about about the lack of resolution in the 5D Mark III compared to the Mark II in this video, but it’s possible for two reasons: proper down-scaling and noise reduction. The 5D Mark III no longer has the same aliasing problems as the Mark II, and with this, comes a slight reduction in “apparent” resolution. There is obviously some noise reduction happening in-camera, which could make the camera appear as if it has less resolution. This is only conjecture about this video as we have no other details about how it was actually shot (the details are in Japanese, if you can read Japanese, please let me know in the comments if I’m missing any details).

Here are the 5 reasons the Canon 5D Mark III is $3500, and why it’s worth it:

1. Low-light Performance/Reduced Noise

Based on the improvements Canon has made to noise reduction, the 5D Mark III could be the best performing full-frame camera at this price point in low-light situations. Color fidelity also looks to be much improved at high ISOs, and should retain more information. The FS100 is not full-frame and is another $1500 more expensive. For some, having this performance is not a necessity. They may never be shooting in reduced light like this video. Since it’s not about the high ISOs for these people, they should look at it another way: with an improvement in high ISOs comes an improvement in low ISOs. Based on what Canon has said about a two-stop improvement in noise overall, this camera is virtually noiseless at all normal shooting ISOs. ISO 1600 should look like ISO 400 did on the 5D Mark II (maybe better). That’s a big deal, because it means that your “base” ISO can be somewhere above where it would be shooting on cameras like the C300, FS100, RED Scarlet/Epic, and Alexa. No one has complained about those cameras shooting natively at around ISO 800. This camera “should” have similar dynamic range performance throughout its ISO range, unlike the RED cameras, where ND filters are necessary to shoot in daylight and have adequate dynamic range performance.

2. Resolution/HDMI at 1080p

The Canon 5D Mark II could resolve at best 650-800 lines of resolution. Aliasing helped tremendously to make this camera appear like it was shooting 1080p. In actuality, it was shooting 720p upscaled. For many purposes the aliasing sufficed, but it reared its ugly head on camera movements and straight lines. In this new generation of cameras, that type of performance would be unacceptable. Thankfully, Canon looks to have improved the down-scaling algorithm to the point where this camera will be resolving much closer to 1080p. The Panasonic GH2 has the most resolution of any “DSLR” at the moment, but it’s about to be matched by the 5D Mark III. Yes, the GH2 is a sub-$1000 camera, but the 5D Mark III is full-frame. Getting wide on the GH2 can be a pain, and getting a fast wide angle lens is a whole other story on M4/3.

Now that the camera is resolving closer to 108op, it has also become the best full-frame B-camera at this price point. The 5D Mark II, at times, would stick out when inter-cut with more expensive cameras. It’s likely that this camera can now be used on any production finishing in 1080p, and be inter-cut with any other camera without much issue (at least regarding resolution).

While not clean HDMI, the camera nonetheless will not go down to 480p when hitting the record button. Finally, it will be much easier to get focus with an external monitor than it was with the 5D Mark II. Not only was that camera limited in outgoing resolution, but the 480p would not fill the entire screen unless the monitor would adjust accordingly (SmallHD DP6).

3. Reduced Moire and Rolling Shutter

Both of these were miserable on the 5D Mark II. Now, it looks like they are either non-existent or less apparent to the point of being invisible. Moire could easily ruin many shots, and it wasn’t always possible to see it on the small LCD. Clothing, bricks, water – all of these could wreak havoc on the Mark II. Not so with the new camera, based on the promotional videos and what Canon has said, moire should be reduced to a point where we will not have to adjust our shooting to compensate. Same with rolling shutter. While not as good as the 4-times more expensive C300, rolling shutter on this camera looks to be as good, if not better, than any of the DSLRs out there, GH2 included.

Both of these could really ruin a shot, but now that we can shoot almost freely without worrying about them, it makes for a much, much better and consistent shooting experience.

4. ALL-I Codec at 100mb

While not exactly 100mb (it’s still a variable codec from my understanding, but close enough), it should blow away not only the D800 internal codec (obviously) but the native internal codec of any other camera below $10,000 – besides, of course, the Canon 1DX. I say native internal because we all know that some of these cameras can be hacked (GH2, Canon DSLRs with Magic Lantern) or can shoot uncompressed from HD-SDI or HDMI (D800). This codec is well above the broadcast standard of 50mbps, and in bitrate alone, will actually beat the $16,000 C300 (50mb internal). For many people and situations, dealing with an external recorder is just not possible. Many also just don’t want the hassle. Now with the Mark III we can shoot internally to the CF cards and have an image that should be almost indistinguishable from the uncompressed HDMI (which we obviously can’t record because of overlays). Color will still be limited to 8-bit 4:2:0 internally (to my knowledge), but as we all know the much more expensive Sony F3 is also limited internally to a 35mb 4:2:0 codec. In practice, 8-bit 4:2:0 color sampling is less of an issue than a low bitrate codec.

Not only is the bitrate high with this codec, but the intraframe nature of the ALL-I codec is a tremendous improvement over every other Long-GOP compression system. Each frame is compressed individually instead of relying on frames around it. This keeps the results much more consistent, especially in darker scenes. This addition alone is worth the extra money over the Mark II, as this internal codec is better than any camera under $10,000.

5. Audio Monitoring/Record Limit Up to 29:59

I put these two together because in practice, for many people, they tend to be less of an issue than the other 4 reasons. Audio monitoring is much, much better than it’s ever been on a Canon DSLR. Not only do we have a headphone jack, but we can now monitor and adjust the audio during a take. The most incredible part is that for the first time in a DSLR, we can adjust audio silently, because the scroll wheel is touch sensitive for this very purpose. While audio recording might not be much improved, the actual process of recording audio is leagues ahead of what it was on the Mark II. Magic Lantern does a great job on the Canon DSLRs, but it’s far more of a hassle and not as intuitive as having those options in camera.

The record limit being raised to almost 30 minutes will be a blessing for many documentary folks out there who couldn’t stand the 12 minute limit. While it would be nice to have an unlimited record time, because of crazy European tax laws, if the camera records 30 minutes or more it is considered a video camera and would have to cost more to compensate. 30 minutes is much more doable for documentary work, because it allows interviews to go on much longer and have more fluid breaks in between. For live events, it’s still a pain, there’s no getting around that – but at least you will have less clips in the long run with this camera if you’re shooting a concert or other live event.


If you compare the feature set of this camera not only to the previous 5D Mark II, but to cameras that cost much more, you can see why the Mark III is worth the price. The C300 is the next large-sensor camera that can record internally at more than 30mbps. But at $16,000, it’s nowhere near as affordable as this camera. In terms of low-light performance, there isn’t another full-frame camera out there at this price point that can match it, and the next closest camera is another $1500 (FS100). We’ll have to wait and see if this camera can be hacked, as I’m positive there is more capability under the hood. Let’s hope the people at Magic Lantern don’t have another 7D on their hands.

The improvements made may seem slight at first glance, but when you really take into consideration what else is out there at this price point, you start to realize that it’s almost a bargain. There is not another camera below $3500 with an internal codec at 100mb, and clean ISO at 1600. These are simply tremendous improvements, and it’s the reason why I say the Canon 5D Mark III costs as much as it does, and is worth every penny.

If it’s not in your budget range, I think now is a good time to understand why. Do you shoot for fun – or not very often? What are your requirements in a DSLR: low-light, record time, resolution? If these improvements don’t affect your shooting style or your final product, then by all means stick to the camera you have or wait for a price drop. This camera will not make you a better shooter, but it will certainly improve your workflow if nothing else. Gone are the limitations of the 5D Mark II. Now the only thing stopping us from shooting beautiful full-frame video is imagination.

[via planet5D]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 100 COMMENTS

  • Are you sure about the “ALL-I Codec at 100mb”, I mean the 100mb?
    That could really convince me :)

    • Joe Marine on 03.5.12 @ 3:22PM

      This is from Canon’s website on the 5D Mark III:

      Based on 8GB Card:
      [1920 x 1080]
      24 fps ALL-I: 11 min. (685 MB/min.) / IPB: 32 min. (235 MB/min.)

      685MB x 8 = 5,480mb/min
      5,480mb/min divided by 60 seconds per minute = 91.33mbps

      I say 100 because it’s a much nicer round number, and it’s possible with being a variable bitrate that we could see situations higher than 91mb. (not positive but this is normally how variable bitrate codecs work)

      • LOL – We wrote this at the same time and came within .12 of each other.. 2 different ways of deriving the answer as well. Nice.

        • Joe Marine on 03.5.12 @ 3:25PM

          Yeah that’s pretty funny – I just saw that. At least we arrived at the same answer!

      • Greg Greenhaw on 03.5.12 @ 4:08PM

        IPB bit rate is very low compared to the 70 or so mbps with magic lantern CBR 1.5x with 600x cards.

        The ALL-I is always going to be much larger without necessarily more information

        IPB: 32 min. (235 MB/min.)

        235MB x 8 = 1880mb/min
        1880mb/min divided by 60 seconds per minute = 31.1mbps

      • Wouldn’t you multiply the “685 MB/minute” by the amount of minutes, not the size of the card?
        Based on 8GB Card:
        [1920 x 1080]
        24 fps ALL-I: 11 min. (685 MB/min.)

        685MB x 11(min) = 7,535mb/min
        7,535mb/min divided by 60 seconds per minute = 125.58mbps

        Which of course is still an approximation, due to the possibility of VBR and such.

    • Yup. For All-i to even work it needs a data rate of over 600 MB (megabytes) per minute of footage. I recall seeing a number like 685 MB per second.. I believe on this website, I can’t find it right now.. but I am 100% sure it was well over 600 MBpm. So lets take 685/60 = 11.4 megabytes per second or 92 megabits per second. (Since computational space is calculated on a 8 base scale 11.4 * 8 = 91.2)

  • Ill wait for the five reasons why the Nikons own the 5D :)

  • That will be great if all the hopes connected with MarkIII are fulfilled in the shooting!

  • Lance Bachelder on 03.5.12 @ 3:32PM

    I think it’s way too early to be posting articles like this! How is everyone arriving at this crazy 100Mb recording? Canon has stated 30′s to 40′s using intra-frame! The c300 records 4:2:2 50Mb – huge difference! BOTH of the new Nikons record clean 4:2:2 out to external recorder of choice – this is the main feature we needed from Canon! Trying to protect the c300 may mean giving away a huge piece of the DSLR pie to Nikon this round. Most indie DSLR shooters aren’t going to upgrade to a $16k camera – that’s why the DSLR revolution is a… revolution!

    We can assume this camera is a substantial upgrade over MkII, for $1,000 price hike it better be, but until we see some true 1080p demos it’s just too early to tell how good this camera is…

    • More exclamation points!!!

    • Joe Marine on 03.5.12 @ 3:47PM

      Canon states in their specifications the space required per minute for ALL-I on an 8GB card. With some math done (check out the numbers I did above) you arrive at 91.33 mbps.

      4:2:2 would be wonderful, but in practice, you can still get fantastic results from 8 bit 4:2:0.

      • Lance Bachelder on 03.5.12 @ 4:42PM

        “Since it’s a variable bit rate, the range, according to Westfall, is in the “40s”, which is similar to the bit rate of a 7D. ”

        From HDVideoPro article. This is what Chuck Westfall from Canon says, let’s hope he’s wrong.

        I’ll wait for 1080p demo’s and reviews before making a final decision whether to go Canon or Nikon – doesn’t matter which brand to me, just which fits the needs of my next project.

        I’m very familiar with 4:2:0 workflow having shot one of the 1st 7D features – which is why I’m leaning toward Nikon and external recording or just renting a couple of c300 packages for my next feature.

        • Joe Marine on 03.5.12 @ 5:10PM

          That doesn’t really make any sense based on the specifications on Canon’s own website. If it were only in the 40s, then the max record time would be much higher. The Canon website states 11 minutes for ALL-I on an 8GB card, but let’s say it was only 40mbps. At 40mbps, you could record for 26 minutes. That’s a HUGE difference. Bitrate is bitrate – it’s always going to be equivalent math – no matter the compression scheme. You’d think Canon would want to overestimate record times – since that’s the only statistic they actually give (we have to do the math for bitrates). I read the HDVideoPro post, and I’m hoping there was a misunderstanding, because it doesn’t benefit Canon to not give bitrate information but then underestimate record times.

          • Lance Bachelder on 03.5.12 @ 5:29PM

            I hope you’re right. But since it’s variable Canon may be being safe on their website. For instance an action scene would be much larger than a talking head scene – this is the same way MPEG-2 works for DVD’s – like DVD’s perhaps Canon has set a VBR range of low to high and gives us the card space based on worse case scenario?

            Again… looking forward to 1080p demo’s and reviews – I’m sure the camera is going to be great either way.

  • Great article Joe. You’ve summed up all the salient points of exactly why I’ll be buying one at the first opportunity. Canon have really listened to what people asked for, uncompressed HDMI was never going to happen, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the 720 60fps actually looks better than some of the cameras doing 1080 60fps. The videos although not full-res look great and it sounds to me they cracked a lot of the issues with the previous generation. I’m sure once people get their hands on it they’ll realise just what an amazing camera it is!

  • The difference between the 2 cameras when comparing iso is crazy, never thougt it was so dramatic!
    Great article by the way!

    • For shooting in really low light, I wonder how the quality compares if you shoot with the new 5D Mark III versus a lower-cost DSLR and just use Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Denoiser or similar noise-reduction software. I imagine getting a better image in-camera will always be superior, but I already have the Magic Bullet Suite and it’s paid for! :-)

  • Simon Falkentorp on 03.5.12 @ 3:46PM

    Remember, that the Canon C300 50 Mbit/s is not mpeg4/H.264 like 5D Mk III, but mpeg2 which is half as effective.

    • Joe Marine on 03.5.12 @ 3:55PM

      That’s a good point – I had forgotten that the C300 was MPEG 2 – it does make a difference, the H.264 is more compressed but also more efficient. Apples to apples comparisons are not easy, but yes, 50mb MPEG 4 should be better than 50mb MPEG 2. The Sony F3 is also MPEG 2 for example, at 35mb.

  • You can’t make a review without hands on testing first lol.

  • man i’d love one of these. I suppose i’ll have to save up for ages. :/

  • most people expect the electronics products to be improved over the previous generation and the price to be the same or lower.
    the reason Canon raised the price is that the dollar value to the yen. years of the US government borrowing from Japan and China to pay for wars has seriously devalued the dollar.

    so many Japanese companies are loosing money because of the strong Yen. so the companies see a new product release as a way to gain some on the losses.
    this is inflation. expect many Japanese made products to go up.

    • It doesn’t make sense. Why then did D800 drop in price compared to D700 at introduction?

  • John Jeffreys on 03.5.12 @ 4:06PM

    the 5d Mark II is still an extremely relevant and capable camera, and there have been multiple feature films shot with it entirely, and have gone on to win awards; (Rubber, etc).

    I feel that, at this point, the differences between the two cameras, in a real time, production situation, are nominal at best, and I wont even consider getting one until the price goes down considerably.

    That being said, I am getting a used 5d 2 in the next few weeks, finally. Sick of putting up with my noisy ass t2i

    • I feel like the 5d can be a noisy ass camera and am excited to see the mark iii is not even at very high iso

      • John Jeffreys on 03.5.12 @ 6:07PM

        Noisy compared to what? An Alexa or C300? Sure, maybe. But compared to other DSLR’s, the 5d 2 and 3 are both literally noiseless, unless you shoot in stupidly dark conditions/out in alleyways

      • Your argument? I was substantiating mine, 5d mark ii is noisy

  • Just the fact that this camera is at all compared to the GH2 just proves how good of a camera the GH2 is. A sub-$1000 should not have similar features to a $3500 camera. Just look at non-DSLR cameras for a comparison. $1000 gets you a crap tiny camera for hobbyists. $3500 gets you an HPX with all the bells and whistles of a pro camera (minus the interchangeable lens).

  • For those of us who come from film, not digital or video, and are used to work with lighting and a professional crew, film or HD, the differences are nil. I have used the Mark II for most of my recent work and I am still amazed at the quality I get from it. I don’t like to go over 400 ISO. Maybe for available light, RODE on camera weekend filmmakers it will make a difference.

    • I think you make a very valid point particularly if you take my view that we are on the cusp of a series of breakthroughs in video technologies. ( anyone following what Nokia have just introduced of their phones ? could be applicable to other devices, ie cameras). Sure the new 5d is an improvement but I already have a 5d and am comfortable using my creativity to get around its weaknesses, (like any other camera). So, I’m gonna wait and see what happens over the next few months. If I suddenly absolutely need a b-cam, then I’ll probably have an internal discussion re 5d111 vs c300. But, i bet, due to the influence of the ‘real’ world, the decision will come down to the issue of cash flow. If I can afford it, probably c300, if not, new 5 d…and I won’t care too much, after all, they are only cameras

  • the funny thing is 4/5 of all of these reason are now standard on all new DSLR’s coming out. And 5/5 of the solutions are on all new DSLR’s coming out, making the 5D not stand out at all IMO.

    • Joe Marine on 03.5.12 @ 4:49PM

      35mm full frame DSLRs? The D800 is the only comparable one. I guarantee that there won’t be any DSLRs coming out in the next year or two under $3500 with a 91mbps internal codec.

      • Thats true, I think the majority use APS-C, so full frame wise I think Sony will re-enter the game giving us 3 FF cameras to choose from. But solutions wise, and camera universe as a whole. Even mirrorless cameras with video are performing very well. Based on the 5 or so cameras released so far from Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, and Sony. All 4/5 of these reasons are addressed no matter what camera you choose. So the only uniqueness for Canon is the codec choice.

        The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 has some incredible features and technology in it. A 3D camera tracker for focusing, axis stabilization. Camera manufacturers are coming hard this year, even in the prosumer market of $900 and up. I’m actually going to sell my Canon t3i for the Olympus E-M5 because of those ass saving features. Not sure what to do on the high end yet….

        Also, in that test the 5D2 is way sharper than the 5D3, the 5D3 is doing some heavy noise reduction and making the image blurry and unrealistically smooth. Did anyone else notice that?

  • A little advice guys on purchasing, I’m sure there are many more people out there in my situation.

    I am a professional (graphic/web design) but amateur in videography/photography. I do make money on video as well as stills for weddings and the equipment write-offs help tax wise. The reality of it is, if I am to continue to do stills for weddings, it is imperative to have 2 camera bodies.

    The other reality is, why mix brands when you already have great EF glass? (so goobye Nikon).

    Also, why would I invest in another MKII or 7D when I know the MKIII is better and in a way, any purchase in that area is a purchase in old tech?

    Finally, buying a MKIII not only keeps the stills business going, it seems to be a great investment for growing the videography department.

    Thoughts? I certainly can wait 6 months or more to see if the price will drop any. I doubt the price will drop in the first year though.

    • I completely agree with you!

    • It’s like this: for those of us with a mkII or 7D currently looking for another camera, why spend $2,000+ on a 3+ year old body? Why not let that $2k be a nice down-payment on a new camera that fixes problems in video that wreck shots (so many ocean sunset shots killed by moire!)

      On the other hand, if you are purely a stills shooter and getting into photography, a new MKII is a fine fit I’d say. Though in my experience, low light focusing is its Achilles heel and I’ve had trouble even at slow paced events such as weddings…

  • Hey guys, here is ISO 5000, looks super clean. Very rich colors as well.

    NOTE: at 48 seconds, there is aliasing on the diagonal boom mic!

    It was shot at 720p 50 fps, All-I.

  • OMG thanks allot for this very good article, looks like we are back on track. Now i have to wait until second half of april to have this camera here in latin america (a canon rep said) but yes I’m upgrading without doubt

  • I was wondering where you got your info for the 1st point regarding the comparison between the Canon 5D mIII vs. Nikon D800? I saw some D800 footage at 3200 and it looked pretty good to me. Are you saying that Canon footage is clean at 12800 and 25600? (two to three stop advantage as you say?) Where is the link to this test footage, I’d like to confirm what you say. Perhaps a side by side comparison?

    • The article includes a video comparing 5D2 to the 5D3.. It shows both cams at 12800 ISO.

      • I read the article and saw the video but it only tells me that the 5dmIII is cleaner than the 5dmII. It doesn’t tell me that it is up to two stops better than the Nikon. Also, there also seems to be a lot of noise reduction at the expense of resolution, at least to my eye.

        • If nikonrumors to be believed (, D800 handily beats D700 in HI ISO, so 5D3 might have only slight advantage if any at all.

          • That’s pretty much what I was thinking. If canon’s solution to noise reduction is zapping the hell out of the footage to get less noise, resolution will really suffer. From the footage I’ve seen thus far, I don’t see this 1 or 2 stop noise reduction that Joe Marine is talking about. I see two cameras with similar noise. I will have to wait until further tests are done comparing the two, especially with Nikon with it’s uncompressed footage and Canon set to it’s larger bitrate setting. Then we can make undisputed factual statements.

            • You’re right. Let’s move on. It was based on my own eyes – what other people have said who’ve handled the camera – and high ISO video. Watching the D800 videos, they looked noisier than the 5D Mark III videos at High ISOs – to me anyway, and Nikon did not emphasize noise reduction during their announcement, whereas Canon did – so all of those things got me to that conclusion. But yes, it’s a little early to make that assumption without raw video files taken from each camera. If the reason for the lower noise is major noise reduction at the expense of sharpness, then it’s not necessarily an improvement.

  • Opps, I mean comparison at ISO 6400 and 12800, not ISO 25600.

  • Will a class 10 SDHC be able to handle the All-i bit rate?

  • Rev. Benjamin on 03.5.12 @ 10:43PM

    Disclaimer: I’m a GH2 indie, 7D/RED corporate.

    With what’s out there, the 5d3 is astoundingly not worth it, and I couldn’t disagree more with the premise of the article (though I respect an alt point of view of course).

    Point 2
    “Yes, the GH2 is a sub-$1000 camera, but the 5D Mark III is full-frame. Getting wide on the GH2 can be a pain, and getting a fast wide angle lens is a whole other story on M4/3.” Full frame – yes, this is true. But if you’re going to pay out $3500 for a camera with lens, then why not get a GH2 which you’re admitting has great res, and a badass Olympus m4/3 lens or two… you could fit a gh2 body and the Olympus 35-100mm f/2.0 ED Zuiko in the same pricepoint. Then simply buy a cheap FD adapter, get some cheap FD primes – you’re in business with a larger arsenal and more res – for less! Speaking of res…

    Point 4
    Who cares about the internal native codec? If you can hack your camera – do it! Get the most out of it. There’s no reason not to. It reminds me of something I learned in school …(aside: is it blasphemy to say that at ‘nofilmschool’?!?! : ) )… “we’re not paid to shoot on auto”. I’d take that to the extreme of “we ARE paid to be masters of our equipment”. Get tech-savvy, save a ton of money, and shoot a hacked gh2, with noooo clip limit, overheat, etc canon problems, for so much less.

    And Point 3 on moire… you may have something there, I just don’t know, it remains to be seen.

    Yeah it’s as meh as it gets. 1080p60, clean hdmi, my interest would be piqued. The 5d3 is a “Well… it’s not the c300!” camera.

    • I’m with you on that, man.
      I’m no expert, but imho for $3500 the 5D3 is a meh camera. It would be great with 1080@60fps and clean HDMI out, and don’t give me the “the C300 doesn’t have it, therefore…” reasoning BS. A $16.000 dedicated video camera that doesn’t have 1080@60fps in 2011 is a joke.
      Canon is asking too much for a camera that, until now, all I’m seeing is on par with D800 footage compression and resolution wise.
      I agree though that it’s great with low light. But how low do you wanna get? Just light the scene.
      I find it funny that people get so exited about this japanese night video. It is clear that the 5D3 footage has pretty high noise reduction going on (in camera?). Is it better? Yes. How much is it because of the sensor, and how much is it because of the NR filter thing that seams to be bringing sharpness down? For me the jury is still out, no matter how giggity people get watching this footage.

      I may be wrong, and when there’s out of the camera samples we may see a big difference, but for what is out there right now, this camera is not $500 better than the D800.
      Canon has put themselves in a position where for more $500 you can get a D800 + an Atomos Ninja (which doubles as a swivel monitor btw).
      The image from the 5D3 has to be pretty good to beat that.
      Just my 2 cents.

      • I think one thng you both have oevrlooked is that this looks like a relatively worthwhile investment for pre-exisitng Canon owners. If you have the EF glass invested, this camera seems to be a pretty nice improvement for those that aren’t looking to drop everything just to chase the hot brand this year. If you’re going todo that, then just rent and bill your client out.

        Canon here is most likely relying on repeat customers- after all, brand loyalists are more often than not the greatest source of revenue for companies. The camera could have had more bells and whistles, but compared to their other HDSLRs, Canon did pretty well. If it had clean HDMI and 1080/60p, we would have cried for 4k or 48p or even 4:2:2. The truth of the matter is that we have come a long long way from the 30p auto-exposure/audio, and many loyal to the Canon brand will agree that this is, by appearance, the best camera for video within Canon and within the dslr/affordable(ish) category.

        Who knows? They might put out firmware updates for this more capable camera if we complain enough ;). The Mark III appears lik eit can handle our demands.

    • It seems like the 5dmkIII is carrying on the legacy of the 5d line, which was designed primarily as a journalist’s stills photography camera with the occasional video. The new 5d seems to take the logical steps in that direction. It seems Canon has chosen to take the video line of DSLR’s in a different direction and I think we’ll see the camera we were all expecting here in the new DSLR video camera due out later this year.

      It will also be interesting to see what the actual VBR is. If Canon really did go to 100Mbp/s VBR that would be a ballsy move because it would likely eliminate the use of a lot of older slower memory cards, making it a lot less user friendly. It would also be a higher rate then their own C300, which is why I think the estimates of around 40-50Mbp/s coming from Canon’s own reps is probably more realistic.

    • Some good counterpoints. I guess it comes down to how bad you need full frame, and whether you want to wait to see Sony’s full frame offerings.

  • animal_264 on 03.6.12 @ 1:25AM

    Pretty good synopsis. For sure, doc shooters were going crazy about that 12 minute limit. Now they have 30 minutes and meet broadcast requirements. I have a GH2, it’s pretty good, couldn’t quite get the Ninja to work properly with it, so I’m RMA back to B&H. Generally I think my bitrate endeavor is quelled, since it’s pretty much a dream to shoot for the BBC or Discovery that needs those rates.

    I think the iii is totally worth it as a money-maker because you know producers will soon be asking for iii shooters. There could be lots of gigs, some might be decent pay. I like the GH2 because I get gigs for crazy long shoots where I should be using a camcorder. But nobody asks for a GH2 shooter. The all want Canon.

  • These things bother me:
    1. LCD goes blank once you connect HDMI (output reads 1080i on Zacuto EVF), as confirmed by @iGert on Twitter
    2. LCD is too big for Zacuto’s Z-Finder. Due to taking out line skipping approach, judging focus at crazy shallow DoF becomes harder, not easier
    3. Improved weather sealing and no ventilation. With a more powerful processor inside, where does all the heat go, now that you can record upto 29 mins? And what effect does this have on picture quality?

    Until I know that these are either non-existent or remedied, I’ll wait out purchase…

  • No USB3 for RAW and a heavier mark3 killed it for me!
    Canon.. Feel free to censor this!

  • But the real ticker issss… 1080p at 60p. Why da hell even their 16k cinema camera cant have this?! But the $900 Nex 5N does. But thats even beside the lowlight, the amazing FS100 sensor will kick MK3s azzz. Couple that with Sony’s native autofocusing Zeis lenses, and or m-adaptor for amazing Leica lenses and FS100 is the clear most logical choice if your intending to film stuff guerilla style on a semi compact camera thats great in lowlight. If 3500 was worth the miniscule upgrade from the MK2, the the extra 1500 for the amazing add ons on the FS100 will be much much more justifiable. And by the does NOT have 1080p at 60p!?!?!!?

    Sony has just destroyed the dslr video market, for those willing to spend 3-6k on an interchangeable lens camera for use primarily for filming, then the FS100 is the clear logical choice. 1080p 60p, DUAL XLR inputs, 8 bit 4:2:2 uncompressed, and/or 10 bit 4:4:4 (when the recorders arrive) just cannot be beaten by the competition at this point..

  • “The 5D Mark III no longer has the same aliasing problems as the Mark II, and with this, comes a slight reduction in “apparent” resolution.”

    Is incongrous with:

    “The Canon 5D Mark II could resolve at best 650-800 lines of resolution…Canon looks to have improved the down-scaling algorithm to the point where this camera will be resolving much closer to 1080p.”

    The latter is exactly what I expected/hoped for but that windfarm video shows the two cameras having exactly the same, poor resolution ( and as we know the 5DII is around 700 lines we know the 5DIII is too), the 5DII actually looks sharper due to the aliasing and lack of noise reduction. This isn’t a question of noise reduction reducing resolution as the same guy’s daylight test shows:
    He even shows a 200% crop and the resolution is exactly the same, minus the aliasing. So, either the videos are bizarre fakes or the 5DIII actually still has the poor resolution of the 5DII. Which I’m utterly depressed about lol.

    • well the video is not in HD and is web compressed. I say let’s see a better quality version of that video or better tests.

  • I agree fs100 is the current winner…unless you want to take high quality stills at the same time…

  • I have to question your conclusions on the value of the ALL-I codec. I believe doubling the bit-rate with a completely different compression scheme doesn’t mean a doubling of quality. I think it may, on some shots, produce a loss of quality.

    If you have a locked down camera on a tripod with a relatively simple and constant background (for instance, an interview shot), Group Of Pictures compression need only store the background information once per keyframe, while the ALL-I scheme is going to have to store all of it every frame. That means there is less information that can be squeezed into a given bit-rate for the subject that is moving. If you only allow yourself to double the bit-rate, you will be losing quality in the delivered video, spending an awful amount of storage on redundant information.

    It remains to be seen what the ramifications of this scheme are, but I would not jump to the conclusion it’s a massive win. It may be best used for hand-held shots or shots with an awful lot of changing information.

    Personally, for green screen work, I would have preferred 4:2:2 over ALL-I. Canon’s decision to stick with H.264 for the 5D3 rather than the C300′s MXF seems to be a primary differentiator in the two lines; I’d expect that to continue.

  • peederj, I kinda disagree with that. The 91mbps ALL-I is very close to prores bitrates. And intraframe coding looks so much better than long-gop that it’s ridiculous. I’d much rather have 4:2:0 intra than 4:2:2 long-gop. Even 50mbps mpeg2 isn’t enough.

    The noise should look so much better and the capability to grade will be several steps forward with the intra-coding. Now offcourse they could blow the encoding somehow and make it suck. It’s completely possible. But technically it should be quite good.

  • A comment on the daylight comparison (linked in Tobyloc’s comment above) says that the version we watched is compressed but if you log onto Vimeo, you can download an uncompressed version. I don’t know how to log onto vimeo but if anyone can, could they report if that is true?

    The commenter says you can clearly see a difference on the uncompressed daylight version.

  • Larry Vaughn on 03.8.12 @ 3:34PM

    It’s hard to tell what is true, so many people are biased or have some financial incentive to pass along misleading information or generally don’t really know what they are talking about.

  • All the sudden the 5D MarkII sounds unusable (doesn’t cut with better cameras.. Moires and Rolling Shutters are miserable). Funny these didn’t seem to be real problems not until a week ago….
    Anyway I get it : Great improvements with the MarkIII. 3,500$ is still a very, very low price for pros.

  • The D800 has a 4.2.2 output, hard to compare the two as yet since neither body is in real world trials day to day.

    Canon’s specs on paper (Questioned in practical world) versus Nikon’s, are the stuff of mud-pit fighting legend for the two camps.

    The MP resolution issue for 2k (1080p) files is still up in the air (Cropped from 36/24/18/) and the D3S, even at 12+ MP, has carved out a niche for stills, which because of Sony’s build, both Canon and Nikon have been tooling to upstage.

    Much has been made (in some threads) as to the focus points in Nikon being able to deliver rapid fire in very low light situations (D800 and D4) again, too soon to tell.

    Then, as ever, there is the glass debate.

    Not sure the changes in Canon’s canon, would be enough away from the D800 or D4 to warrant dumping many times that worth in glass, to reset the rig, but we shall see.

    My $.02 cents.


    • Nikolaj Christensen on 11.27.13 @ 1:18PM

      Let’s not forget the new Magic Lantern Raw feature (; 14bit 1920/1080 raw :3

  • Ross Wilson on 03.9.12 @ 3:12AM

    It’s a great camera for sure but 4:2:0 negates the faster codec, there’s a big difference even between 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 so the C300 at 50mbps would preferable in my eyes given the choice. however for the price the MK3 is going to do 90% of what most people need.

  • 1) The GH2 cost me just about 4 times less than this camera will sell for. I could have bought 4 GH2s.
    2) The GH2 still gets a nod when comparison times comes.
    3) I have less than $150 in 3 lenses that are great quality (for the money). True I have to deal with the M4/3 crop issue but that extra work is worth it.
    4) This camera will be adopted by hollywood, Canon fanboys will jump on the bandwagon, and they will claim that since hollywood is using it that it is the best camera in the DSLR range. What they will fail to address is the fact that hollywood loves the MkII because you can do things like shoot bullets at it because it is a $2300 body. Also, they will fail to recognize the fact that hollywood is still spending lots of money on lenses and custom machined adapters. Money that we low-budget’ers don’t have.
    5) Sexy camera no doubt, but I really think somebody needs to develop a “value for the money” article or list.

    Anyone feeling froggy and want to jump on this?

    • Joe Marine on 03.9.12 @ 4:00PM

      If you want fast and wide M4/3 is a killer. The plastic lens 50mm 1.8 on either Nikon or Canon, is a good lens and it’s around $100. That lens on M4/3 looks like a 100mm lens on full frame.

      Want a fast normal lens on M4/3? A 25mm 1.8 is not going to be a $100 lens.

      Canon makes a 28mm 1.8 for under $500, try finding a 14mm or 12mm on M4/3 that’s cheaper and faster.

      I really like the GH2, I do, it’s an amazing camera – but if you want fast and wide, or at least fast and normal, you’re going to have to pay for it – and it’s possible the equivalent doesn’t exist at all. It’s also not even in the same league as Canon or Nikon in terms of build quality – you pay extra for that, certainly.

      Even if you don’t need the speed – a 50mm 1.4 at f/2 is going to be a better lens than a 50mm f/2 wide open. (Unless it’s a cinema prime, then that’s a whole other story.) But I much prefer a fast lens that I can stop down 1 or 2 f-stops, say to 2.8, and it’s going to be sharper and perform better than if I started at 2 or 2.8 on M4/3.

      You’re also paying for the color science that Canon has in the camera – which in my experience is much more pleasing out of the box than Panasonic footage. Let’s also not forget that if you’re shooting stills as well, then there’s no comparison anymore – Canon full frame wins over the GH2 in quality.

      That’s what I mean when I’m saying it’s worth the price. I’m not saying the GH2 isn’t an amazing deal for the money, but let’s really consider the equivalent investment in lenses – do you really want to invest in a whole new set of fast lenses at $1000-$2000 that will only work on M4/3 – that’s a waste to people who already own a 5D Mark II or planned ahead and have been purchasing full frame still lenses.

      • But can’t all those lenses be adapted to an M43 camera? Doesn’t that kind of moot your point?

  • Canon, fortunately, hasn’t completely forgotten about still photographers, which is my primary focus. Higher ISO performance, better AF, locking button on the mode dial, and other improvements make it an attractive camera, but jacking up the price another $800 in a weak economy is a slap. IMO Canon should continue the 5DII at the current price point. Better to be have the 5DIII’s sales cannibalized by another Canon product than another brand’s.

  • For those of us that don’t do much video, the extra $$ just aren’t justified. Given your points above, Canon may succeed at growing its video market somewhat, but it seems to me that unless the ergos of shooting video on this are big improvement (comared to the 5d mk II and even the 7D), true video pros will actually spring for a bona-fide video camera. IMHO, given the rigs needed and klunky controls, the current DLSR approac for video is a square peg in a round hole, despite the ability to use glass. For those of us that are primarily still shooters, the cost is just not justified, even with the improved low light performance. Now that I’ve had time to let the announcement sink in, I find myself increasingly disappointed. Given the global economy, it will be interesting to see how this price point plays out in the market. It is true that video seems to be seriously displacing stills, and maybe that’s why Canon has targeted video so aggresively. If I wasn’t already heavily invested in Canon glass, I’d probably be jumping ship to the Nikon D800. Maybe we’ll see a 3D or a 5Dx at Photokina to bring joy to still shooters?

    • I know plenty of wedding photographers who don’t use flash (or try not to) who were dying for a camera that excelled in low-light. The improved AF is also a big deal for them, as the 5D Mark II can’t really focus in low light (or even that well in good light). It might be a pain to have two different kinds of cards in the camera, but I also know a lot of people who would pay extra money to have dual slots for redundancy while they are shooting.

  • I have heard that the 5D iii looses one frame every 4 minutes when filming for 29 minutes. Is that true?

  • It wasn’t worth it for me.

    Worse, now that the Mark III has come out, it has cost Canon a few lens sales from me. I was going to get a Mark III as a primary and have my current Mark II as a spare, pick up a few more lenses, etc, but when I found out that the Mark III wouldn’t do uncompressed out all of my plans changed. At first I was disappointed, but then I started considering Cine lenses that could be used with any back, and that’s the direction I’m going in. Camera backs come and go, but lenses are forever, as they say.

    Canon didn’t just cost themselves 4k$us for a camera back when they decided not to do uncompressed hdmi out, they cost themselves another 5-10k$us in lenses, at least from this customer. I still might get the 14mm, but I want that for stills more than video.

    People can argue what they might do, etc, but this is a real live human being who really was going to purchase a 5d Mk III and DID NOT, and now I have no plans to, and no plans to buy more Canon lenses in general save the 14mm.

  • Since a wedding is longer than the 30 minute video limit, how quickly can you start shooting again after replacing the first card?

    • Immediately, but the limit is not a card limit, so you wouldn’t have to replace the card unless you ran out of space.

      • Thank you. How many seconds of lag is there if you hit record immediately after hitting your limit, or can you stop recording after 28 minutes and then have another 30 minutes “in the bank” so to speak?

        • Exactly, but there really isn’t any lag at all, it’s almost immediate.

          • Thank you. I’ve been searching for days for this answer. I’ll just have to time my stop and start for a dull moment in the ceremony!

            • I’ve shot ceremonies with the old Mark II, and you just had to keep restarting after every 12 minutes, but as long as you have another camera or you do it at the right time, doing it with the Mark III is a lot easier.

  • “but as we all know the much more expensive Sony F3 is also limited internally to a 35mb 4:2:0 codec”
    – Joe, I think you’re mistaken. The Sony F3 records in 4:4:4 not 4:2:0, HUGE difference.

  • Lawal adetola on 12.11.12 @ 9:40AM

    I can see that canon 5d mark111 is a very good camera how can i get mine online cos i will be very happy to have it this is my email in case or this is my contact 08168280440.

  • I agree with the previous poster who said all was good and golden with the mark ii until the mark iii came along. And the mark iii will be all glitter and great until the mark iiii comes along. Funny how that works. I say suffer along with your mark ii until the price drops into the upper 2k range. I ‘d say that will be in early 2014.

  • Let’s not forget the new Magic Lantern Raw feature (; 14bit 1920/1080 raw :3