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Canon 5D Mark III

Field test

My phone rang and I hear the voice of a good friend of mine telling me that the test version of Canon EOS 5D Mark III has arrived. I received the camera body soon thanks to Canon Hungaria. Testing the ISO sensitivity and the autofocus system was a priority too. Since I was primarily interested in a test in nature photography conditions, I took the camera to the Őrség National Park for a three-day test.
Photo: © Tamás Imre

Canon 5D Mark III, EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM 1/320 sec f/4 ISO 400

Appearance and control system

The body is definitely professional, it cannot be purchased in every shop, only in the designated ones which sell Pro products. The body is very similar to the structure and button layout of EOS 7D but slightly refreshed. The magnification function has changed compared to the former Canon bodies. Control buttons were designed by Canon engineer’s the way you can manage them even in thin gloves safely, this is a real advantage in winter sports and nature photography. The main control wheel can only be turned by pushing a top button at the same time so at last it can be avoided that the control turns while in the set bag. There is a new back button by which you can select the image style, multiple exposure and HDR images which opens further opportunities for the user. The menu system has been fully renewed, forget Canon’s traditional menu list. The usual things can be found in the Shoot 1 menu apart from the Mirror lockup which has been hidden in the C.Fn menu hitherto. Those who do macro themes frequently or landscapes with big telephoto lenses can benefit from this option. There is nothing special in Shoot 2, but Shoot 3 menu offers several important functions such as the High ISO speed noise reduction and Long exposure noise reduction, or at the bottom of the list the Multiple exposure and the HDR mode. We can find the Live View functions in the Shoot 4 menu. The next one is a completely new menu list, the AF menu. Here we can set the AF system in five different submenu according to our subject or the desired speed. In AF1 graphical figures help the user to choose the right setting on case of moving subjects. We have opportunities here what we have never had before. For instance the accelerate / decelerate setting or the setting for erratic subject moving quickly in any direction etc. Such menu system is the dream of many photographers. In the playback and set up modes we can find the usual stuff and C.Fn menu remained as the last one. I did not intend to list all, only the most important novelties and changes. I really liked the new system, and after a half an hour I managed it as if I had always used it before.
Photo: © Tamás Imre

Canon 5D Mark III, EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM 1/1600 sec f/3.5 ISO 400 M ultiexposure

ISO sensitivity

Perhaps this is the first question of every photographers. Those who knew that I was testing the camera kept ringing me at the weekend asking: what about the ISO sensitivity? The 5D Mark II was very good in this field. I chose a dress rehearsal for the test scene as usually there is so little light in contemporary performances that shooting is impossible without using high ISO sensitivity. I started out with ISO 1600 straight away, no noise at all. It was if I shot at ISO 100. Well, then let’s go up to ISO 2000, ISO 2500. A little noise but perfect sharpness - that’s quite something, I have never seen like that before. I switched up to ISO 3200, there was a little noise but not too much. ISO 6400, here there is noise too but much less than at the camera’s predecessor. ISO 12800, incredible, it is quite acceptable even there. This is already 2 LV more compared to the predecessor. ISO 25600 was quite noisy, but it was still acceptable for smaller prints. Above that ISO rate was not satisfying for me. Well, this is a tough one, another opportunity for capturing fast action. What is the limit for producers? A few years ago I was struggling with push slides at ISO 400 to make them good enough to be projected and now at ISO 6400 there is only insignificant noise. Come on people, now certain action photography themes can be reinterpreted again, and I’m glad because from now on other types of pictures can be taken.
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