Canon has officially revealed the hotly anticipated Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR, bringing a new 22.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+ Imaging Processor to the high-end digital camera party. Packing 61-point High Density Renticular Autofocus and up to 6fps continuous shooting, the EOS 5D Mark III also steps up its HD video game, capable of capturing 1080/24p, 25p and 30p as well as 720/60p half hour long clips with H.264 compression and a headphone jack for real-time audio monitoring, a first for an EOS model.
The new CMOS sensor is the star of Canon's show here, the 22.3-megapixel resolution making the 5D Mark III the highest res model in the company's DSLR history. Lower noise and higher sensitivity are promised from a gapless microlens design, with an eight channel readout doubling the speed the sensor can shuttle data to the imaging processor. The end result is better quality RAW, JPEG and movie output compared to the Mark II.
The 61-point AF has been brought down from Canon's flagship EOS-1D X, with all points manually selectable. There's a new menu tab for easier AF function access, with a built-in Feature Guide to instruct on settings and a Configuration Tool to adjust them all. Six AF modes are offered: Spot, Single Point, Single Point with surrounding four points, Single Point with surrounding eight points, Zone selection and Automatic AF point selection.
"The camera's twenty one focusing points in the central area are also standard precision cross-type and effective with maximum apertures larger than or equal to f/5.6. The center five points are ultra-high-precision diagonal cross-type points for maximum apertures larger than or equal to f/2.8. The 20 outer focusing points function as high-precision cross-type points with maximum apertures larger than or equal to f/4.0" Canon
ISO 100 to 25,600 in the standard range is offered, with an ISO 50 option for studio and landscape use, and 51,200 and 102,400 for specialist applications. The DIGIC 5+ processor, meanwhile, is 17x faster than the DIGIC 4 and allows Canon to introduce in-camera HDR and Multiple Exposure modes, in-camera RAM processing, comparative playback, a Scene Intelligent Auto mode, a choice of two types of compression for video clips, and UDMA 7 Compact Flash card support.
More spontaneous shots - Canon suggests candid pics by wedding photographers - can make use of the new reduced resolution M-RAW (10.5 megapixel) and S-RAW (5.5 megapixel) modes, for smaller and faster files. The HDR mode automatically combines three pictures with a choice of exposures to create enhanced tonal gradation, and Canon offers five presets - Natural, Art Standard, Art Vivid, Art Bold and Art Embossed - for easy use.
Hardware-wise, there's rugged magnesium-alloy body covers and a stainless steel lens mount, and the EOS 5D Mark III is dust- and moisture-resistant. The shutter release button's lag has been pared down to 59 milliseconds, and you get the locking mode dial as standard along with the ability to lock off all the other dials to avoid inadvertent changes. A 3.2-inch Clare View II LCD has 1,040,000 dot resolution, just as in the EOS-1D X, and there's a roughly 100-percent coverage optical viewfinder with optional dual-axis electronic level. Storage is courtesy of dual-card Compact Flash Type 1 and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and you can choose to use them sequentially for maximum capacity, simultaneously for data security, or record different file types/sizes to each card.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR will go on sale at the end of March, priced at $3,499 body-only. A kit with the EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens will be priced at $4,299.