Canon 5Dmrkiii – My Thoughts!

30 May

As we all know the Canon 5dmrkiii has been out since April but I thought I would kick this blog off with a review of my thoughts on this Camera. The first time I got to use this camera I was thrown into the deep end, shooting a Wedding, all the way from filming the grooms breakfast meal to his special first dance with his newly wed – a long day that really pushed the camera. Initially I was taken back by the camera, the low lights is AMAZING and much improved from the mrk ii that was still amazing so I had a massive comfort factor going into this wedding knowing lighting was never going to be an issue – less pressure for me :). This is the most obvious improvement from the older generation camera however there’s much more this camera now has to offer:

  • Improved moire
  • In camera manual audio control!
  • A Headphone Jack!
  • ISO 100-25600 standard, 50-102,800 expanded
  • 61 point AF system
  • Dual card slots (SDHC/CF)
  • HDMI out – no drop in resolution (but not clean)
  • 29:59 second continued recording
  • 720p 50fps
  • ALL I compression (90Mb/s sec)


I can’t stress enough how good it is to be able to meter your audio whilst recording, this is a massive blessing to this camera and in all honestly the audio coming from the camera with a Rode Video Mic Pro on top is super clean, virtually noise free and defiantly more than useable. Audio aside the camera has  a lot of negative that after 3 plus years of waiting for an update are annoying to say the least. It’s very clear Canon have made this camera to be a stills camera, and for this purpose its incredible, but, even though there has been video improvements Canon have turned its back on the HDSLR revolution, instead releasing the 5dmrkiii we wanted to see as a Canon EOS-1D C 4K camera. So there’s now a nice gap in the market ready to be filled by smaller companies that can change and adapt to these new customer needs quicker, (Black magic cinema camera, digital Bolex e.t.c). The reason why I say all this about Canon is because one, we don’t have clean HDMI (though external monitors now get much better resolution for focus e.t.c) and, we have crappy resolution STILL!. The resolution is not improved and in all honesty if you’re looking to buy this camera for video only, I think you would be better saving a lot of penny’s and getting the Mrkii (as long as you don’t mind not having audio and a few issues e.t.c).

                                                                                         5Dmrk iii                5Dmrk ii
Sensor 22.3 MP full-frame CMOS 21 MP full-frame CMOS
Processor Digic 5+ Digic 4
ISO range 50 – 102800 50 – 25600
Maximum shooting rate 6fps 3.9fps
Viewfinder coverage 100% 98%
LCD screen 3.2″ – 1,040,000 dots 3.0″ – 920,000 dots
AF Sensor 61 points 9 points
CA correction Yes No
All-I and IPV video compression options Yes No
Touch-sensitive rear dial Yes No
Headphone socket Yes No
HDR shooting Yes No
Multiple exposure Yes No
Silent shutter Yes No
Side-by-side image comparison Yes No
So back to the wedding shoot, the camera included some well needed improvements to the menu system, it’s now easy to change recording formats/options and you can see your audio levels, time code and what your recording to on-screen, it even automatically starts recording to your second CF or SD card when one runs out. The dial on the back of the camera now features a silent control in which when you’re recording you can silently touch the dial at either side to ramp up and lower you audio SILENTLY.
A big problem with the menu system – histogram. If you want to see your histogram you have to come out of full screen, you can’t put it over the top of the image your recording :/. I don’t feel that you can fully rely on this cameras live view so this is a big issue for me. Another issue is the way the expandable focus has been moved from your top right  to the far left of the camera, making it very awkward to get to as opposed to before, this is only a small issue but it’s very annoying when you’re in a high pressure fast moving environment and you quickly need to get focus. After a full day shooting using lots of continues recording the camera NEVER overheated like the predecessor, which quite frankly makes this camera very reliable and yet another burden has been lifted off my shoulders.  Currently you can now hack the camera with Magic Lantern, though they have only managed to get the hack to say hello at this time,  it would be nice to see how much the camera can be improved, I would love to see clean HDMI like in the Nikon D800.
Focus peaking was something that in this kind of environment you really do need, I was using the Small HD DP6 for this ability and I must say the sync between the two was yet again very very irritation and temperamental, the last thing I wanted was to be turning my camera on and off before the camera even acknowledged this monitor, be weary of this problem.
Here’s a low light comparison video, quite simply the camera ability to ramp up its ISO and stay clean is its strongest selling point:
Here’s a resolution comparison image, yep, it really is that soft but remember this can ADD to the look of your film, and with a small amount of post sharpening it can be greatly improved:
Pros
  • Ground breaking low light performance, though an even softer image at high ISOs
  • Moire and aliasing far less of an issue now
  • Marginally better video image quality than the Nikon D800′s internal recording – higher bitrate and less moire
  • Full frame sensor remains unique for video, not much in way of competition
  • HDMI no longer drops to 540p, suitable for monitoring if not recording
  • Full frame sensor (nothing really competes in this price range)

Cons

  • Not true 1080p video – more like 720p resolution in reality. No improvement on 5D Mark II
  • Fizzing codec mosquito noise visible even at ISO 100 on underexposed areas and shadows
  • Unlike Nikon D4 and D800, HDMI cannot be utilised for better image quality with external recorder
  • Other than the moire & aliasing fix and better ISO 3200+, no improvement in video quality over very old 5D Mark II
  • Nothing really very imaginative has been added for video users – no crop mode, no EVF, no articulated screen, no electronic ND filter like G1 X
  • Pricing is suspect – not far off FS100 which is a far better all-rounder for video. GH2 a bargain for low budget shooters
  • No peaking and poor manual focus assist
  • Magnified focus assist button moved to awkward place on left of camera rather than under thumb
  • No articulated screen (due to weather proofing concerns)
Overall the camera has some nice new features, I like how everything is just a button press away and having the LCD screen at the top like the old one is very useful when you quickly need to check your settings or notice that you have accidentally knocked the shutter speed up (trust me this is very easy to do). However, I personally would not put my money into this camera, I think I would save the extra penny’s to get a second-hand Sony fs-100 with an Atmos Ninja.
This was the short that was released for its promo, defiantly worth the watch:

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One Response to “Canon 5Dmrkiii – My Thoughts!”

  1. dukesstories June 23, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    Awesome post thanks!

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