New Canon 5Dmk3 impresses … so far

The Canon 5Dmk2 was released almost 5 years ago on a night with a full-moon. No doubt to coincide with the amazing low-light abilities that this camera introduced to photography. Five years is a long time, especially in the field of digital photography. Since then Nikon has upped their game – with their new D800 they created a camera with some specs that even surpasses that of the Mk3 (So good that it was the first time in more than 10 years that I’ve considered changing over from the Canon to the Nikon camera system). I did decide to stay with Canon and after placing an order months ago got my new 5Dmk3 about 3 weeks ago and has used it enough to be able to share my impressions on some of the features – there’s many so I will only focus on those that really stand out to me:

  • Low light is once again a huge step up and the camera-developers continue to amaze me with their ability to get those sensors to become ever more sensitive to light. I’ve never before been able to take photos of people at 12800 ISO and think it could be useable. Last night I took some photos at a friend’s (Angie’s) birthday party in a very dimly lit restaurant (Bello Cibo :-) and attach an example – almost the whole birthday party was shot at 12800 ISO!






  • Having the silent shutter which really is barely audible (I took a number of photos on the silent shutter setting and could see that my subjects didn’t hear the shutter – getting spontaneous pix will be facilitated in this way) is also a nice improvement. Shooting photos during tense theatre moments or at sporting events where noise levels must be kept at a minimum will also be much easier with this.
  • The rating button – where you can star rate you pix on-camera is another simple improvement which will be a very useful feature for photographers shooting big number of pictures i.e. at weddings. Being able to start selecting your best photos before you’ve even downloaded it is gonna be a big time-saver.
  • The auto-focus is a HUGE improvement on the Mk2 (the AF on the 5Dmk2 was never really that good) and that alone was enough reason for an upgrade. There’s a whole menu of different AF options depending on the nature of the movement you’ll be photographing. Sally, our Rhodesian ridgeback puppy gave me good opportunity to test this function and the results has been satisfying. The AF still hunts when in very low light but that’s the biggest single improvement on the 5dmk2 for me.






Now for the negatives…

  • There’s really only one at the moment: the RAW files from the Mk3 is not supported in Adobe Lightroom 3 (I refuse to use LR4 as it’s just too slow – LR4 is almost 1 Gig in size when opened whereas LR3 is below a 100MB). This means that RAW files must first be converted to DNG or JPG files in the Canon software before you can start working on it. Super frustrating but hopefully an upgrade will still be released.

After Komatipoort and Maputo I should have a really good idea of how it perform in more testing circumstances and will share these impressions with you.


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