Although the Canon EOS 5D Mark III may not have the show-stopping features of some of its rivals, it quietly delivers a stellar performance as an entry-pro DSLR camera. Experts unanimously agree that the EOS 5D Mark III is the camera of choice for sports/action and low-light shooters, while its intuitive ease of use can unleash the creativity in every photographer.
"A joy to use." Perfectly intuitive ease of use is a major strength of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. "About the best thing I can say about the 5D Mark III is I haven't felt as free to shoot and create in a long time," says Shawn Barnett at Imaging-Resource.com. Although it allows deep, complex levels of control, "once it's all set, it just gets out of your way and lets you work." DPReview.com editors agree: "Overall, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III handles really nicely and is a joy to use in most shooting situations." Testers especially appreciate the bigger buttons, which are easy to operate with gloves or icy fingers.
Detail, speed and low-light prowess, all in balance. Some reviewers say that having fewer megapixels than its rivals gives the Canon EOS 5D Mark III a better balance. It shoots at a respectable 6 fps and in dim light, too. It put out a nice 8-by-10 print at a whopping ISO 25,600 in Imaging-Resource.com's test, and expands all the way up to an impressive ISO 102,400, also with a usable 4-by-6 print. Reviewers are crazy about the Mark III's sophisticated 61-point autofocus system, which is way ahead of most rivals. The camera's video quality is suitable for serious videographers, who will also appreciate its long battery life that's equivalent to 900 shots.
Built tough, but not quite as tough as the flagship 1D X. "Built like a tank," DPReview.com says of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, which boasts an all-metal body sealed against rain and dust. In the Canon lineup, only the top-of-the-line EOS-1D X is more rugged. Canon says the Mark III's weather sealing is better than the older Mark II's, and for overall toughness, the Mark III runs neck and neck with the rival Nikon D800 (Est. $2,800 body only) . "Both cameras are built to a high standard, and are designed to cope with use in environments that would prove too hostile for an entry-level camera," TechRadar.com says.
Handy dual memory card slots, just like Nikon. Dual memory card slots make a photographer's life a lot easier, reviewers say, and you'll find them on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, which also has one Compact Flash (CF) slot and one Secure Digital (SD) slot. The Mark III can shoot High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos, overlaying several slightly different exposures to create a single image with greater depth; TechRadar.com's Angela Nicholson calls it "the best on the market." Unlike some of its competitors, however, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III lacks a built-in flash, needing an external Speedlite flash.
DPReview.com tests every aspect of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and compares it directly against the Nikon D800. Both cameras win a rare Gold Award. Reviewers say studio photographers and those who require maximum detail may prefer the high-megapixel Nikon, while those who shoot action/sports and in low light will do better with the faster, high-ISO Canon.
Review: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review, Lars Rehm , March 2012
TechRadar.com recommends both the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Nikon D800 just as highly. Each camera's unique strengths become apparent in tests here, and in the in-depth comparison that the site publishes separately.
Review: Canon 5D Mark III Review, Angela Nicholson, April 6, 2012
Miles better than the old Mark II, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III justifies its hefty price premium, TJ Donegan says after a thorough test. This review does a great job comparing the two Canons, and Donegan writes a separate head-to-head comparison of the Mark III and rival Nikon D800.
Review: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, TJ Donegan, March 7, 2012
In another incredibly detailed review, testers evaluate every aspect of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Videos show the Mark III in action; studio and field tests are conducted by three different photographers; and side-by-side lab shots illustrate how the Mark III stacks up against the older Mark II, Nikon's flagship D4 and other DSLRs. The final verdict is that the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is a "true superstar camera."
Review: Canon 5D Mark III Review, Shawn Barnett, Mike Tomkins, Zig Weidelich, Jan. 8, 2013
5. Ken Rockwell
Ken Rockwell calls the Canon EOS 5D Mark III the "world's best digital SLR," adding that Canon has solved many of the problems of the Mark II with this model. Its LCD is more accurate than that on the Nikon 800E, it shoots superbly at "stupid-high" ISOs such as ISO 25,600 in any light, and it is hand-held to boot! Rockwell recommends the expensive upgrade from the Mark II for any serious user.
Review: Canon 5D Mark III, Ken Rockwell, Not dated
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III receives a full 5 stars from Nik Rawlinson in this review. Saying that the Mark II's successor has been well worth the wait, he highlights the Mark III's image quality and movie clarity, as well as its new sensor and all-around improved speed and responsiveness.
Review: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review, Nik Rawlinson, May 9, 2012
Zach Honig tests a pre-production Canon EOS 5D Mark III for two weeks and thoroughly enjoys the task. He cites the Mark III's biggest benefit as high-ISO shooting (to a max of a staggering ISO 102,400) in situations in which the naked eye couldn't make out any details. The review is full of photos taken during the test period, with explanations about the features of the camera they illustrate and the testers' experiences.
Review: Canon EOS 5D Mark III Field Review, Zach Honig, March 22, 2012
This camera gets glowing reviews from owners posting feedback at Amazon.com. Out of more than 375 reviews, more than 85 percent give it a perfect 5 stars. Some comments are very lengthy and detailed.
Review: Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS with 1080p Full-HD Video Mode Digital SLR Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2014