In my opinion you’ll never really know the truth about a camera even when you read and read recommendations or reviews until you get your hands on it and take it out into the field… and once you start printing your images there’s nowhere to hide. I really had no very high expectations for the Canon 5D Mark III. Don’t get me wrong. My current 5D Mark I has been amazing I mean is still amazing… I love my lenses especially the Zeiss, but I am aware that I’ve abused my use of the 5D mark I and that the time has come to renew.
So, this weekend I couldn’t wait to see what this new body was capable of. Although I have to admit that I was indecisive between the Nikon D800 and the Mark III. Sure I started with a analog Canon and then with the 5D Mark I and I was always satisfied… before the studio was closed where I used to work as an assistant photographer I had the privilege that many different camera models passed through my hands (Hasselblads, Mamiyas, Leicas, Olympus, Nikon whatever…) but personally within my budget it was always Canon…
But this Nikon promised a 36MP sensor, which was like the song of the sirens (or a bulb attracting moths). I literally lost sleep thinking about the possibilities for my photography if I started shooting with Nikon instead. I’ve even thought that it would make me a better photographer (nonsense of course). After years of investing in Canon, how would this new Nikon sensor change the tonal range, colors, and small details in my photography? Should I? Would it be worth?
Then a thought crossed my mind I bought my 5D Mark I in 2006 which meant almost eight years of nearly flawless service… so I obviously bought the Mark III… And the only way to baptize my new acquisition was to take it with me on a jogging trip.
The weather was perfect so I packed the 5D Mark III and the Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZE Planar T* Manual Focus Lens with me and armed with the camera I was determined to test it out there.
My first impression, was that the camera seemed similar in build. Pictures just don’t do it justice. Once I picked up the camera, I noticed the new 5D Mark III had greatly improved the grip and the screen. It’s definitely more solid than the old version and it’s been bulked up just enough to feel like it was molded for my hands.
The body comes with a reputation for being built to last. The Mark III does not disappoint. Even though I did not own a Mark II only borrowed it sometime ago (to compare it better). I felt like this was a nice, solid piece of equipment that I could depend on when out in the elements.
The camera has the feature of dual card capability, which is nice, because you can use two cards at once and back-up your images as you go. I ran a few tests to check out Canon’s continuous shooting buffer. Very nice…
When I finally make a stop… 30 km later I went straight to one of my favorite spots. It was very early in the morning and of course it was raining a lot and foggy. I pulled out the Canon and got to work. First of all, I really liked the fact that I was able to frame my shot through the viewfinder. This gave me 100% coverage, something that was not possible with the first version. A welcomed improvement since I do not usually crop my photos. I took the camera and activated live view. My fingers automatically looked for the Magnify/Reduce button on the upper right side. I was able to focus on the subject with ease (this may sound strange but I usually focus manually).
The point is, if you don’t use a manual lens you don´t need to rely on live view for critical focusing. With the Canon you get a preview depth of field by simply pressing a button. Therefore, the changes appear faster and the nuances necessary for focusing are much easier to see.
The new auto-focusing system on the Mark III is fantastic for 5D shooters, and probably a good reason to upgrade. However, it was not so funny to hear that interchangeable focus screens are not longer supported with the new viewfinder and this is unfortunate for anyone using a manual focus lens…
Well this is only a personal review and there are a lot of features that I had no time to test… so there will be more for sure.