Worthy successor [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Izwan Ismail puts the Canon EOS 5D Mark III dSLR through its paces and comes out impressed.
THE Canon EOS 5D Mark III dSLR is an upgraded version of the highly successful Mark II model, which has been one of the de facto cameras for many photographers worldwide over the last few years. With its capability to shoot in full HD 1080p, the latter opened up a new territory for movie-making, especially among independent and enthusiast photographers or movie makers.
Picking up from where Mark II left off, Canon has added some new features and touches in Mark III, in its hope to remain as a front runner in the dSLR market.
ON THE OUTSIDE
The chassis, made of full magnesium alloy, gives the camera a really solid look. It feels good in the hand, with a nice combination of sculpted rubber grip thumbrest.
Although the body and battery give a combined weight of 950g, it doesn't feel that heavy to hold due to the perfectly-designed grip area.
The bundled kit lens balances well with the body, but for a lighter feel and not so obtrusive look, one can just attach a smaller prime lens such as a 50mm f/1.8, a 24mm f/2.8 and a 28mm f/ 28.
The rather big body size provides ample space for buttons and dials. They are well-spaced and there are dedicated buttons such as the white balance, AF Drive, ISO, AF-ON, AF selector and thumb wheel, which are easily reached by the index finger as well as the thumb. All these buttons are nicely arranged on the right side of the body.
I can change settings such as ISO, AF points and exposure without taking my eyes off the viewfinder. This allows me to focus on ongoing actions and do quick tweaking when necessary.
The 5D Mark III comes with a top-panel LCD for viewing vital settings such as aperture, ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, white balance, battery life and shutter release mode.
The mode dial on the top left comes with a lock feature. I find this handy as more often than not, I accidentally changed my shooting mode while taking out the camera from the bag.
Users of the 5D Mark II or even the 7D model will quickly get used to the 5D Mark III buttons and dials as they look somewhat similar.
The 5D Mark III boasts a sensor resolution of 22.3MP, up by 1.2 megapixels from Mark II.
The camera is now powered by the new Digic 5+ image processor, which is designed for faster image and video processing.
It has a bigger 3.2-inch LCD screen with 1040K dot resolution and a 100 per cent viewfinder coverage.
In past models, Canon had been criticised for its lack of AF points - nine in the 5D Mark II, for example.
In Mark III, the camera maker has added 52 more AF points to 61 with 41 cross-type sensors, which can be selected individually. This is expected to boost the camera's ability to track fast moving subjects, especially sports action.
Other improvements made to this camera include six frames per second of continuous shooting, 63-zone iCFL metering, a three-frame HDR mode and a dual-slot storage - one for CF card and the other for SD.
Apart from the CF (compact flash) card, there is also an SD (secure digital) card slot, for easy transfer of pictures to the notebook.
Canon has also upped the camera ISO speeds to 25600 and expandable to 102400, which means it's supposed to be a brilliant shooter in low light conditions. This also should compensate for the absence of a built-in flash.
THE CAMERA AT WORK
With all the new features, my expectations were high even before I clicked the shutter button.
I was not disappointed.
I shot with ISO 100 during daylight and it produced good, detailed pictures as what is expected of a full-frame sensor.
The metering worked very well and most of the pictures produced were well-balanced.
I even bumped the ISO up to 12800 in low light situation and found the images still pretty clean and useable.
The 61-point AF points and six frames per second burst do come in handy for shooting sports action.
I took the camera to a family sport carnival and managed to take a lot of telematch photos. All the action scenes were perfectly captured.
The camera also focuses quickly on the subject.
Live view shooting mode can be enabled by pressing the Start/ Stop button on the right side of the view finder.
Users have the option of the alignment grid or the VF electronic level function, which can be turned on by pressing the info button.
Canon has added a Q button to the 5D Mark III, which sits on the top left of the thumb wheel. It offers the overall view and the ability to change the camera settings, which is almost similar to what you see on the camera's top LCD panel. I somehow feel that the function is redundant and never actually used it.
Images produced by the 5D Mark III are mostly excellent and clean with good colour rendition and contrast.
The camera comes with six picture style settings such as auto, faithful, portrait, landscape, neutral and monochrome, which can be tweaked further before shooting.
There is also a feature to convert RAW image to JPEG.
For those who fancy a more dramatic and artistic style, there is an in-camera high-dynamic range (HDR) mode, which is automatic, and takes three shots at either +/- 1, 2 or 3 EV from the metered exposure, and merge them together. Built-in effects to enhance the look and feel of the HDR include modes such as art standard, art vivid, art bold and art embossed.
For night photography, the camera allows you to have up to 30 seconds shutter exposure and a Bulb mode should you want to open the shutter longer for more lights.
While its predecessor received good reviews for its video recording capability, the 5D Mark III has been designed to make it even better.
Its video function can be initiated easily at a click of the button.
There is a dedicated button on the right side of the view finder, where you can switch between live view and video function.
The 5D Mark III records movie in MOV format with MPEG-4 AVC/ H.264 recording compression.
I find the video quality very clean and noise-free.
For increased editing flexibility, the model is able to shoot at all popular frame rates and quality, ranging from standard definition all the way to Full HD, in 30P/25P/24P format. It supports both ALL-I and IPB compression modes to suit different post- production work-flows.
ALL-I results in larger files, but editing is made easier as the frames are individually compressed. IPB compresses frames in groups, which reduces file sizes, but increases decoding times.
If you're a professional photographer and need to shoot live events such as weddings at longer takes, the camera will automatically create a new video file and continue shooting once a file reaches 4GB (the maximum file size for FAT file systems).
There is no lapse in shooting between files, so you will be able to cleanly splice these files together without any glaring jump cuts.
Verdict: ***** (Excellent)
At RM11,199 (body) and RM14,199 with Kit lens EF 24-105 F4L IS USM, the EOS 5D Mark III is a camera that impresses with its image and video quality. Pair it with a good glass and you'll get even more superior results.
- Excellent image and video quality
- Good built and ergonomics
- Weather sealed body for all types of photography environments
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Price: RM11,199 (body) and RM14,199 with Kit lens EF 24-105 F4L IS USM
Type: Digital, single-lens reflex, AF/AE camera
Recording media: CF card (Type I, UDMA mode 7-compatible), SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card
Sensor size: Approx. 36 x 24mm
Compatible Lenses: Canon EF lenses (except EF-S lenses)
Sensor type: CMOS sensor
Effective pixels: Approx 22.3 megapixels
Viewfinder type: Eye-level pentaprism
Shutter speeds: 1/8000sec to 1/60sec.
LCD Monitor Type: TFT colour, liquid-crystal monitor with 1.04 million dots
Weight: 950g (with battery), 860g (Body only)
Battery: LP-E6 Type Rechargeable lithium-ion
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