Canon 5D MKIII – why I won’t be buying one (yet).

When Canon launched the first of the 5D series DSLRs back in 2005, it was an instant hit with amateurs and professional photographers. It’s appeal was a full frame sensor dslr in a compact body at an affordable price. Canon were obviously on to something good and 3 years later we were rewarded with the launch of the exquisite 5D MKII – a camera widely regarded as the best camera ever made. Now in 2012 we have seen the launch of the Canon 5d MkIII, but is it really worth the upgrade?

The new MKIII has some desirable new features such as an increase in frames per second, enhanced weather proofing and more megapixels, but are these attractive enough to sway me away from my 5D MKII?  Unlikely. Now add to that, a price tag of £3000 for the MKIII body and it becomes a lot less attractive (especially when MKII bodies are dropping below the £1600 mark).
But let’s look at the new features in more detail:


This was probably the biggest surprise when the MKIII was first announced. At 22.3 megapixels the increase in resolution over the MKII at 21.1 megapixels is relatively small. Strange, considering the Nikon D800 hit the streets with a massive 36.3 megapixels.


Compared to the MKII with it’s dated Digic 4 processor, the MKIII now sports a much improved new processor in the shape of the Digic 5+ which improves both the speed and the in-camera file processing. This is a useful addition for sports and other quickfire shooting situations, but for landscapers and studio photography it’s hardly something we’ve longed for.


The MKIII now sports the same AF sensor found in the flagship 1DX whilst the metering sensor comes from the 7D. Whilst both are notable improvements over the MKII, they’re improvements that are suited best to sports and wedding photography. Landscapers and studio photographers generally know how to meter properly so it’s unlikely to be of any benefit in these fields.


The MKIII now boasts 6 frames per second – up from 3.9 fps in the MKII. Again, a bonus for sports photographers but of little benefit for studio photographers and no use for landscape photography.


Whilst there is undoubtedly an improvement in the low light and high ISO range in the MKIII, it’s unlikely that many photographers will take advantage of this feature. 5D family users typically want the very best quality images possible, which means shooting within the low ISO ranges as is typical in landscape, studio and wedding photography. That isn’t to say that it won’t appeal to those in the sports or wildlife fields.


As I write, the 5DMKIII body is priced at £3000 which is considerably more than when the MKII was launched. MKII bodies are currently below £1600 and look likely to fall further still.


If, like me, you shoot mostly landscapes or studio, then the upgrade to the 5D MKIII is simply not worth the extra outlay. The quality of images produced by the MKII is simply stunning and within these fields, it is highly unlikely that you will ever need any of the new features in the MKIII. Fast frame rates and faster autofocus have no benefit to the landscape photographer and limited use in the studio.  If however, you’re into shooting sports and wildlife but can’t afford the 5K for Canon’s 1DX, then the new 5D MKIII is the perfect solution.

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