The long awaited follow-up to the hugely successfully Canon EOS 5D Mark II has finally launched. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III (pre-order from B&H here) improves upon almost everything that has been a shortcoming with the 5D classic and the 5D Mark II, namely the autofocus system. Canon’s decision to roll the new 61-point autofocus is definitely a fundamental shift for Canon to finally roll down some of the more pro features to the lower bodies. In our opinion, this was one of Canon’s big drawback such as when they opted to stick with the same 9-point autofocus with the 5D Mark II. While some people may not feel the 5D Mark III is a huge enough upgrade, we would disagree and here’s why:
- The 61-point autofocus. This is huge. This makes the 5D a killer camera and finally can achieve it’s true nickname of “baby 1D”. With 61-points, you no longer have to focus-and-recompose meaning much more accurate focusing.
- 22 MP sensor. I’m pretty sure many people are wondering why Canon only stuck to 22 MP when the new Nikon D800 has 36 MP, I’m glad that Canon is no longer fixated on the MP war. The big question is, are they finally refocusing on noise performance?
- High ISO Performance. With a ISO ceiling of 102,400, I think Canon is signaling its return to a focus on low-noise. This is certainly great news for us wedding photographers who commonly shoot in the dark.
- Aspect Ratios. One of my favorite features with my Nikon D3 is the in-camera crop mode that allows me to go from full-frame to DX (1.5X) mode, it’s like having two cameras in one. The Canon EOS 1D-X was the first Canon camera to feature this mode and we’re happy to see they decided to roll it into the 5D Mark III as well.
- Dual Card Slot. This is always a welcome addition. Sadly there isn’t enough space to do dual slot CompactFlash cards and I’m sure the pros would be up in arms if they opted to do dual slot SD cards.
There are a number of other welcomed additions and we definitely predict the 5D Mark III to be a hot seller. You can see some sample photos and movies taken with the Mark III on Canon Japan’s site here. There are also some initial 5D Mark III reviews out: Vincent LaForet, DPReview.com, Jeff Ascough, DXO Mark, and Imaging-Resource.com. Pre-order from B&H Photo now before they get back-ordered like crazy.
Canon also released a few other note-worthy accessories as well:
- Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT. This is probably the first speedlight of any kind to get built-in wireless radio triggers. Most likely this will use proprietary technology meaning you won’t be able to use your existing PocketWizard to trigger these, it is an exciting step forward. It now can also zoom the flash head to 200mm like Nikon’s SB-910. No longer do you have to worry about sunlight or line of sight when trigger your Speedlites. Unfortunately these things are not cheap: $629.
- Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT. This is the update to the previous worthless Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 and is designed to work with the new built-in wireless radio transmitter like the Speedlite 600EX-RT. It’s also finally digital now and hopefully you can control all three groups. Sadly, it does not seem to be backwards compatible because of the missing optical transmission function according to B&H. Pricing sounds like it’s going to be $470.
- Canon WFT-E7. The new WFT-E7 does exactly what all the previous WFT did previously, transfer photos taken on the camera to a computer. But what makes this WFT potentially worth the investment is they added the ability to remotely control limited functions of your camera through a web interface like Nikon. And if the wi-fi speeds are enough, pretty soon you can shoot tethered without wires.
- Canon GP-E2. Canon finally offers a GPS module to geo-tag your photos. Useful, but depends on the price.
- Canon BG-E11 Vertical Grip. The vertical grip is pretty much what you’ll expect with controls in the vertical orientation. Pre-order from B&H here.