My new Canon 5D Mark III
This serves as a follow up to an earlier post, The Hype of the ‘New Camera’.
I recently decided to sell my main camera body, the Canon 1Ds Mark III. A powerful camera that I owned since it’s release in November 2007. I was sad to let it go but felt it was time to move on to a newer system.
Here’s a brief list of why I decided to sell:
1. Lack of HD capabilities. Both the 5D Mark II and 5D Mark III shoot full 1080p HD.
2. Unimpressive low light capabilities. In the studio, at 160 ISO…the 1Ds was king. But when I needed anything beyond 640 ISO I would immediately grab my 5D Mark II.
3. Older imaging technology. Period.
4. Lack of resale value: Due to this being an older generation, pro level camera that did not shoot HD, the sooner I sold it the better. And here’s the sad truth: I originally purchased this camera for $8000.00. When I sold it, all I could get was $2500.00. Crazy.
My old 1Ds Mark III
There are rumors that Canon will be announcing another Pro body camera like their new 1D X with a high megapixel count in the 30-40MP range. One can only hope….
I thought I would try something new for this here blog. But in no way is this meant to be a ‘camera review’. There are far too many cats that do that for living and I have no freakin’ desire to be one of them. If that’s what your looking for then you should probably visit dpreview.com
That said, here are some of my initial reactions to the 5D Mark III
- When I held the 5D Mark III in my hands, it finally felt like a ‘Pro’ body camera. Having owned both the 5D and the 5D Mark II, I have watched this series evolve. It might be due to the fact that my main camera system was the 1Ds or that I came from shooting with Hasselblads and Mamiya RZ’s but the Mark II always felt a bit ‘prosumer’. Thankfully, I didn’t get that feeling this time around. In fact, the more time I spend with this camera the less I miss my 1Ds….and that says a lot.
- The focusing system has been greatly improved. Coming from the days of large format film cameras, the concept of multiple focusing points were non existent. The new 61 point focusing system on this camera is simply amazing. Let’s just say it’s hard to go back and pick up my 5D Mark II - with it’s 9 point system – after looking through the screen of the Mark III.
- The 3.2 inch screen is stunning. Images truly pop off of it.
- The ability to have virtual grid marks in the viewfinder is a nice touch that reminds me of my large format cameras.
- Being able to compare 2 images side by side is a great feature that I can see myself using regularly. (see image below) I recently wrapped a three day ad campaign where this function was used numerous times over. The campaign called for both print and motion and at times we fed a live HD signal from my Zacuto EVF to a 32″ HD Monitor for the clients in video village. We were then able to show them subtle lighting adjustments side by side for approval. Thats pretty freakin’ cool.
- The ability to rate/star your images in camera and then have them sync with Lightroom is a great addition. Especially when shooting on location and/or when your not tethered to a computer. I cannot remember how many times I’ve said, “Remember image number….” Now that can all be done in camera. Very cool.
- The low light capabilities are freakin’ amazing. Period.
- The locking mode dial is a smart improvement. The lack of a lock on the 5D Mark II was, at times, frustrating. We eventually placed a small strip of red tape on the camera body and one on the mode dial so they would always line up. If they didn’t, that meant it had been bumped and that I wasn’t shooting in Manual anymore. Cut to today, and immediately after purchasing the 5D Mark III, I set it to Manual and will hopefully never have to touch that dial again.
- The ability to shoot in 60p – slow motion – in HD mode. A feature that was sadly missing in the 5D Mark II.
- A dedicated Start/Stop dial. Nice.
- As noted in the image at the bottom of this post: There have been huge improvements in feeding out the signal to external monitors. The differences are as follows:
Mark II: In preview mode you are seeing a full 1080p HD signal feeding out to your external monitors. As soon as you hit REC – the signal disappears for 4 seconds while it is being converted and downgraded from 1080p to 480p. (it is still recording in full HD, you are just viewing an SD reference)
Mark III: In preview mode you are seeing a full 1080p HD signal feeding out to your external monitors. As soon as you hit REC you are immediately recording and ready to slate – with your signal still being fed to your monitors at 1080p.
NOTE: I never realized how long 4 seconds can feel until you’ve got 20+ people on set and your doing 50+ takes. Thank God I do not have to deal with that anymore…
I think I’ll end it there. I’m sure I overlooked some other cool new features…but like I said, this is not a review. These are just a few of the new options/upgrades that stood out to me – a working photographer who will be implementing them on my sets.
There are, of course, other people who will find a plethora of flaws with this camera, but that’s not the point of this post. Is this the perfect camera? No feakin’ way. But that camera doesn’t exist. These are just tools that help us do our job.
That said, I dig my shiny new tool.
One of my favorite new features: The ability to compare two images at the same time.
A full 1080p HD signal being fed to a 32″ HD monitor…even after hitting REC.
(The 5D Mark II would downgrade the signal to 480p when you hit REC)