For several years now I have been reading reviews of nearly every Canon or Nikon camera body that was available. I have been considering benefits, differences, and options of each (a top consideration being high ISO performance for low light event and indoor photo sessions). I began photographing with a Canon 20D, then a Canon 50D, next a full frame Canon 5D classic, and now the beautifully capable Canon 5D MK III. Many photographers had written blog posts explaining what was in their camera bag, others had been interviewed about favorite brand of equipment, and forums were a lively place for discovering photographer preferences. I was very grateful for all the input I discovered as I considered my next camera choice. As online rumors surfaced about the possibilities ahead in a newer version of the Nikon D700 and Canon 5D MK II, I was hopeful that the later versions would improve low light performance even further at high ISOs with less grain, offer more focal points and better tracking of moving subjects (i.e. running, never-still-for-a-minute toddlers and pets!), reasonable megapixels for enlargements or cropping in, quieter shutter, sharper images straight out of the camera and richer colors, faster continuous burst mode, and dual memory card slots for in camera backup of images. On first glance the new Canon 5D MK III appears to be everything I had hoped and more! I will share a few installments of my first impressions of this wonderful camera!
Yesterday was a surreal day as I picked up my new camera at Cardinal Camera (an east coast family owned camera store which also does online sales–their service is the best anywhere! They have been in business for 75 years and have multiple locations. I highly recommend you consider them for your photography equipment needs–they will even match other retailers’ prices)! The Canon 5D MK III is the first completely new DSLR I have ever had! I was so privileged to choose one of the very first 5D MK III bodies to be received at the store! The sweet new camera almost had that wonderful new car smell! For a photographer there are few things more exciting than finally holding your long awaited new camera with technology you have only imagined! The whole experience was fun and informative as I spent hours in the store trying various lenses, comparing sharpness and image quality and evaluating carefully which lens would be the best fit for my style. I could not have been more pleased with the sales associate who patiently (REALLY patiently) answered my (MANY) questions and analyzed my equipment needs. I chose a fabulous full coverage warranty just in case my clumsiness got the better of me! I took many test photos in the store and nearby while I made my final selections, but I was thrilled today when a photographer friend of mine offered to let me take a few photos of her and her princess. I paired the new MK III with Canon’s 85 1.2 L glass. Oh my did I start to smile when the photos began to show up for review in camera! I wasn’t the only one either–look at those happy ladies!
The first obvious discovery was the brilliant colors straight out of the camera! The soft bokeh of the 85 lens added even more beauty! I paused as I noticed the absence of something–the loud shutter was no more! A soft quiet barely there sound replaced it and the burst mode kept up well with my continuous shooting as this little one filled the air with smiles and giggles. The sharpness of the images where I most sought it was stunning! Skin tones were true, even and lovely (compared to the former ash gray tones that seemed to be present with my previous camera bodies and required time consuming correction)! We did a few test shots inside just to see how the new capabilities of higher ISO really would fare. The last image in this set of the family pup was shot by my friend at 6400 ISO and I couldn’t have asked for more in the lack of shadow noise as we tried other high ISO settings (more tests on that in part 2).
Processing the images required updating my Camera Raw program since Lightroom updates to process the Canon 5D MK III files seem to be unavailable (or so my research indicates at this point). It was a bit more cumbersome to open each one in ACR and then process the RAW files into JPG. I prefer the simplicity and power of Lightroom 3 for my importing and basic editing workflow. On the bright side, it became quickly apparent that editing the image files from the Canon 5D MK III would be a joy as the photos came out of the camera looking better than ever before! Very little was needed but a tweak of clarity, exposure, or a very light clean edit. I was thrilled! It was easily observed that the SOOC shots were quite acceptable in themselves. I look forward to comparing shooting in JPG to RAW with this camera body. Less time processing images is a very good thing!
Enjoy these sample images! In future posts I will test the image quality at high ISOs, discuss other new features of the Canon 5D MK III such as the much improved expected battery life per charge, note the benefits of dual memory card slots, show sample images featuring what I discover about using the tracking system technology. If you are still considering your next camera body, I encourage you to consider the features of both Canon and Nikon offerings. The incredible clean files of the Nikon D700 at high ISOs are legendary! I would have considered that camera more seriously if I had not been so comfortable with the Canon menu settings and the comfort of the body’s fit in my fingers. I look forward to reading more about the D800 as reviews are released. The camera is a tool and I have enjoyed each one that I have had the privilege of using and grown through its features and its challenges. Thanks for following my blog! Please take a moment to like my Facebook Business page HERE.