5D MARK III is here – Did they get it right this time?

March 2nd, 2012

3 and a half years ago Canon had announced the 5D mark II, a camera that would change the way we look at indie filmmaking.
When cinema5D came to life we were the only HDSLR platform, a community that explored the realm of DSLR video. We have come a long way since then and slowly but steadily the companies are following. Here is the next version of a camera that revolutionized the film industry. But did they get it right this time? Read on to find out

What happened?
Canon just announced the Canon EOS 5D mark III at numerous press events around the world. After Sony and Nikon have placed their bets, it’s Canon’s turn now and they couldn’t have come up with a better timing, several weeks before the very promising D800 would hit the stores.

What can the 5D mark III do?
Besides the rather insignificant feature of taking still images the mark III could become a pretty intriguing video camera:
A range of new features introduced following feedback received from photographers to provide even better Full HD video performance.

In summary it’s much of what we’ve already heard from the 1DX, but in a much cheaper body. What more could you wish for:

Format:
It records your usual 1080p 24/25/30 fps and and now also has 720p 50/60 fps.
It has 2 slots, one for CF and one for SD.

Clip Length:
The 4GB recording limit is gone and your clips can be up to 29 minutes, 59 seconds.

Compressions:
It’s good old H.264, but compression choices are ALL-I intraframe or IPB interframe (every frame stands for itself. Great for editing) with embedded FreeRun or RecRun timecodes. This is extremely nice. Can it by synced externally? It seems so: “SMPTE timecode support provides greater editing flexibility and easier integration into multi-camera shoots.”
As we know this codec will boast a nicer quality than what we’re used to from the Canon HDSLR’s (and others for that matter).

Moiré?
Canon says the new full-frame sensor combines with the vast processing power of DIGIC 5+ to improve image quality by virtually eradicating the presence of moiré, false colour and other artefacts. Well we will just have to eat that information and hope that Canon doesn’t exaggerate here. But then again we know it’s possible, we have seen this done well by other manufacturers, there’s no reason anyone would continue delivering as bad moiré and stepping problems as we’ve seen the last years.

Audio:
There are manual audio levels and the audio levels are shown on screen. There is a headphone jack and the audio lvels can be adjusted during (!) recording. This can be done by pressing the left or right side of the rear control dial.

Clean HDMI out?
dpreview says: “What you don’t get though, is the uncompressed output over HDMI seen in the latest Nikon models.”

Low Light:
In terms of low light the camera offers 2 stops more than its predecessor the mark II. Remarkable!

Handling:
They’ve added a movie mode switch as seen on the 7D and a recording button. This offers greater usability and makes HDSLR work easier. There is a “silent control” button to adjust audio level via touch.

In summary, yes these are the exact same video features as seen on the Canon EOS 1DX.

So is this the camera you have been waiting for?
I cannot speak for you, but after having observed and suffered the development of HDSLR cameras closely, my answer would be: YES, this is where I wanted HDSLR to be!
And $3500 for the first HDSLR to deliver almost everything is a price worthy to be considered.

What is missing?
These are the features we’ve seen elsewhere and would have liked to see on the 5D3 as well. This is what’s missing:
– Lack of 50 and 60 fps in 1080p mode
– clean hdmi output
– articulated LCD

Even though some goodies are missing, all the relevant stuff is there. We were disappointed when we saw the pricetag of the 1DX, now we can rejoice, the first camera that can be called a professional HDSLR is here.

So is this camera also made for you? Or is the Nikon D800 your choice for the next 3 years until we see the next generation of HDSLR? Let us know in the comments.

One thing is a fact: This camera will be talked about and impatiently expected and a lot of people will buy it. After all it’s also a highly anticipated photo camera, I always tend to forget.
Pre orders have just started:

link to Canon product page

Talks:

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