updated 12:05 am EST, Fri March 2, 2012
Canon EOS 5D Mark III answers long call
Canon on Friday brought out one of the most sought-after DSLRs of recent years in the EOS 5D Mark III. The full-frame DSLR has only a slight resolution upgrade, to 22.3 megapixels, but the new sensor and a new DIGIC 5+ processor have rapidly caught the cult favorite camera up to the modern era. It now has a much more precise 61-point autofocusing system and can shoot at up to six frames per second (up from 3.9) at the full resolution.
Other upgrades that come from the pairing bring a much wider sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 25,600 in normal shooting, expanding to the previously 1D-level ISO 102,400 at peak. A 63-zone metering sensor isn't quite as advanced as that on the EOS 1D X but does look color, focus, and luminance to alter the shot. Photographers now also have an SDXC card slot as a companion to the main CompactFlash slot.
Video shooting remains in 1080p, although it can now run up to ISO 12,800 with newer forms of H.264 video compression to improve editing and file size. Timecodes get more control, and while file formats still cap it at half an hour of video per file, it automatically splits off and starts new movie files to help stitch long videos together.
Other upgrades bring an improved viewfinder with complete scene coverage and an 0.71X magnification factor, an updated 3.2-inch LCD with a one-megapixel resolution, and a newly toughened body with dustproofing and water resistance. Comparative playback and high dynamic range modes would help find the ideal shot in less than ideal conditions.
Canon plans to have the 5D Mark III on shelves by the end of March in body-only form for $3,499 and a 24-105mm f4 L kit for $4,299. They should be joined by the Speedlite 600EX-RT, a new $630 wireless flash with a 20-200mm lens coverage, a 197-foot maximum distance, and a newly weather-hardened design; and the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT, a $470 wireless trigger that can set off up to five groups of flashes (15 flashes total). In late April, a Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7A will cost $850 and provide direct photo transfers at up to 802.11n Wi-Fi speeds, complete with multi-camera synchronized shots; the same month will bring a $390 GPS Receiver GP-E2 for geotagging and a $490 BG-E11 battery grip.