Sunday, April 29, 2012

[Review] Canon 5D Mark III vs Mark II

Taken with the 5D Mark 3 and 300mm 2.8 IS

Summary: The 5D Mark 3 is to 5D Mark 2 as iPhone 4s is to iPhone 4. But yes. It is worth it.

+ Auto-focus. Absolutely amazing AF
+ snappier, faster
+ better build quality (similar to 7D)
+ improved user interface
+ high-ISO capability
+ bigger LCD
+ silent mode

- sensor technology absolutely stagnant
- cheap op amp put into camera resulting in shadow noise and high ISO edge bleeding (around 16K+ ISO is noticeable).
- $3500 = pretty expensive

Let me get through the negatives first- briefly. $3500- yes a bit more expensive. But there is a tax to the first adopters- so price should drop slightly soon. If you are looking for sensor technology upgrade- too bad. In my opinion, the sensor is almost the same. You probably get at most 1/3-1/2 stop of improvement. If you are looking for a revolutionary change like the D800- 5D3 is just not it! If you are looking for very high ISO performance- the cheap amplifier that they put in the camera will disappoint you (leakage on the corners). But cropping will solve this problem.

So why is it worth it? In my perspective, it is worth it for people who shoot moving subjects. Since I do quite a bit of sports and animals, I appreciate the fact that 6 FPS is now an option. But most important, the auto-focus is absolutely amazing. 61 points vs the 9 points make a huge difference. On the 5D2, I had to shoot and recompose- I found that very annoying. The number of AF points is sure a plus. What really amazes me is the precision of the AF. Before with the 5D2, lenses such as the 24, 35, 50 had problems. The focus was just off on the 5D2. Even with numerous shots and adjustments made, the lenses still missed. The one shot AF improved. The AI servo AF improved- I was able to track fast moving subjects. The AF is so amazing, I was really impressed. Moreover, the low light AF capabilities is also amazing. I was able to shoot in pretty dark situations and the camera is able to lock on focus. I post some photos here in sports that I really liked. I got to say- just for the AF, the camera is worth the upgrade. Simply because even if you have the best sensor and lenses in the world- if the image is not in focus, the image is hard to post-process to make it look good. Critical sharpness is very important to me.

Then... there are the small things about the camera. Bigger LCD is great, improved user interface is great, you can shoot at higher ISOs is great, and the camera in general is faster and snappier. Silent mode is awesome- I am able to take photos in events and streets without the fear of loud clicks! This camera basically polishes up the 5D Mark 2. This is what the 5D Mark 2 should have been. Not many advances in technology with the 5D Mark 3. The AF and processor make a huge difference. All packaged in a price that is hard to swallow... for now.

Some other early adopter issues (updated 4/30/2012):
1. light leak - not really a problem for me. I personally think this problem is OVER played. I've shot pictures in bright daylight and in dark areas without any problems
2. 200 f/2.0L IS issues - the camera makes weird noises when the IS is turned on. I really want to use this lens on the body but I can't at the moment.

Who should upgrade from the 5D2?
- people who shoot action (animal, sports, wedding, etc.)

Taken with the 5D Mark 3 and 300mm 2.8 IS

Taken with the 5D Mark 3 and 300mm 2.8 IS

keywords: 5D mark 3 5d3

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I agree with you on all counts. I also wish the sensor/ISO was better in this camera (compared to the Mark II).