The Good The Canon EOS 5D Mark III offers a more streamlined shooting design, significantly updated feature set with more configurability, plus better performance over its predecessor. It maintains its excellent photo and video quality as well.
The Bad JPEG photos at low ISO sensitivities don't match the generally excellent level of quality that you can otherwise get out of this camera.
The Bottom Line While it's not a no-brainer upgrade over the Mark II, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is worth the price premium if better performance and configurability matter to you.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
On the 25th anniversary of its EOS system, Canon finally announced the long-awaited update to its full-frame 5D Mark II dSLR. The 5D Mark III is packed with capabilities for both still and video shooters, but at a much steeper price. As you'd expect, the 5DM3 consists of a combination of technologies, features, and design updates rolled out in the EOS 7D and the more recent 1D X. The result is a camera that looks similar to its predecessor with a lot more capabilities and better performance, but isn't as different when it comes to the basics -- photo and video quality -- as you'd expect. Of course, the 5D Mark II is pretty great in those respects, so no drastic change isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Though a different sensor than that of the 1D X, it uses a lot of the same technology that Canon rolled out for that model, including gapless microlenses and improved quantum efficiency (to improve the amount of light capturable on the photodiodes); better on-chip noise reduction; and faster data readout (dual four-channel readouts). Though it has 6.25-micron sites compared with 6.4 microns on the older sensor, Canon claims that all the other advances, including the better processing in the Digic 5+ engine, delivers overall better noise performance -- two stops better for JPEG and video. Canon does say the 1D X remains about one stop cleaner, however.
There's no doubt that the 5DM3 delivers excellent photo quality. The unprocessed images do seem to have less pronounced color noise than the 5DM2, and at midrange-to-high ISO sensitivities the JPEGs do look a little cleaner. But at low-to-middle ISO sensitivities I actually think the JPEG photos from the 5DM2 look a little better, with more naturally defined detail and fewer processing artifacts. That said, the 5DM3's JPEGs do look fine up through ISO 1600, and depending upon the scene and your needs they can be quite good through ISO 6400. Raw images look great and unambiguously better through ISO 1600, though.
The 12 best Black Friday camera deals we've found so far
Rather than dump every available Black Friday discount on you, we've hand-picked the seasonal deals we think are actually worth your money.
Get a Canon EOS Rebel T6 dSLR kit for $279.64
That's the lowest price to date on this widely loved model. It's a refurb, but a good-as-new refurb. Plus: Own "Logan" for just $6.
Get a GoPro Hero action camera for $63
Wait, what? Yep, it's the real deal -- but you'll have to wait a few weeks to get it, and there are more capable cameras for the same price.
Google Clips uses AI to capture life's spontaneous moments
The $249 smart camera brings together the best of AI, software and hardware, says Google.
Get a Canon EOS Rebel T6 dSLR kit for $344
Your phone's camera may be good, but it's nowhere near this good. This top-rated model would normally run you at least $100 more. Plus: a speaker that fits in your pocket and plays FM radio.
Monday mishmash: Great new deals, plus some updates and reruns
For example: the cheapest 1TB portable hard drive I've ever seen, and an unbeatable price on a lifetime of guided meditation.
Want to photograph rockstars? This $13K camera will let you
Leica releases a new special-edition camera as a tribute to late rock-n-roll photographer Jim Marshall.
GoPro has a new 360 VR camera that you can't have
The spherical camera, called Fusion, is small and wearable, but a lot of other details are a mystery.
GoPro will give you $100 for your old Hero, sort of
A new trade-up program lets you send in your old GoPro for money off a new Hero5 camera.
Nikon bails on advanced compacts and that's not good
Opinion: The company announced that it was dropping the attempt to produce its ill-fated series of enthusiast-targeted fixed-lens models and it doesn't sound like it plans to try again.
This crazy camera could be a boon to VR filmmakers
Researchers have found a way to build a 360-degree camera that's compact but shoots high-quality video. It could be just the thing for virtual reality.
GoPro lays off 200 people, shutters its aspiring media arm
The action-camera maker, struggling with weak sales, makes cuts to save more than $650 million in costs next year.