the Canon 5D Mark III | gear

The main camera companies have all recently shipped their #newest #best #latest #fill-in-the-blank cameras, and (being a Canon user) I made sure to get my hands on one of the 5D Mark III camera bodies. I’ll try and do a more in-depth review soon, but for now, I just wanted to show one of the best features, which is the low noise at high ISO’s. The first 5D (circa 2005) was solid at 1600 ISO, and okay at 3200, while the 5D Mark II was solid at 3200, and iffy anywhere North of that. So my ears perked up when this next-gen camera didn’t skyrocket with megapixels (gaining less than 1MP over the previous version) which told me that the low-light capabilities would definitely improve.

Since the ISO tops out at 102,400, I know that the top 2 settings are purely for show, and most definitely unusable…which brings us to ISO 25,600. Below is a side-by-side comparison of a shot at ISO 25,600, and one at ISO 200. The only camera setting that changed was the shutter speed.

Canon shooters have complained for ages about the lack of decent autofocus for the 5D series, so I decided to really put the camera through its paces, and shoot a tremendously fast-moving subject that appeared quite serendipitously on my driveway: a snapping turtle. Following the side-by-side are 100% crops of each shot. The only things that changed between the shots were the turtle’s slight movement, the ISO, and the shutter speed. It looks like at 100%, the 2nd image (ISO 200) is slightly back-focused, so I apologize to the pixel-peepers for that… 🙂 Unfortunately, my turtle decided — in the tradition of his kinsmen —  to try and cross the four-lane highway just after his photo session, so he is unavailable for a re-shoot.

I’ll do a much more in-depth review whenever Adobe Lightroom updates its Camera Raw for the Mark III, so that I’m not stuck with Canon’s abysmal DPP program.

Needless to say, I was thoroughly impressed with the low-light (and low-noise) capability of the camera. The difference between ISO 200 and ISO 25,600 is seven stops, which means that the camera needed precisely 128x less light to work with for the higher-ISO shot.

more samples and a review to come!


ISO 25,600      |           ISO 200

Canon 5DIII, 1/8000sec @ f5.6, ISO 25,600, 100% crop

Canon 5DIII, 1/60sec @ f5.6, ISO 200, 100% crop

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