Canon updates the 5D, brings it to Mark III

Enthusiast photographers and professional videographers have something to be happy about, as Canon has announced the follow-up to its applauded EOS 5D Mark II.

Just as Canon celebrated its 75th anniversary, the company decided to officially start 2012 with an update to a camera that had received much attention.

“Canon was founded in 1937 based on a single-minded goal to produce the world’s best optics to allow people bring their imagination to life, and this is still true today,” said Jason McLean, Canon’s Director of Consumer Imaging for Canon Australia.

The new EOS 5D Mark III (also known as 5DMkIII) seeks to redefine cameras in the digital SLR class by offering more performance, speedy autofocus, solid low-light, and a build quality able to withstand most of what people can throw at it.

Updating 2008’s Mark II from its 21 megapixel and video-capable origins may not seem like a huge leap, but Canon says that almost everything has been rewritten and redeveloped.

In fact, the 5D Mark II was one of the first cameras to be used as a video camera on the sets of movies, TV shows, and advertisements, so Canon’s update had to be a pretty good one.

With the update, Canon has moved to a new full-frame 22.3 megapixel sensor, offering up to ISO 102400, a 3.2 inch LCD screen, better autofocus, 100% viewfinder coverage, magnesium-alloy body with increased water and dust resistance, headphone monitor port, a faster 720p 50fps mode for slow-motion videography, and both a Compact Flash and SD card slot.

While a leap of a whole megapixel doesn’t seem like a huge amount, the sensor in the Mark III is completely different and now apparently features stronger low-light sensitivity.

Autofocus technology has been pulled from Canon’s upper-range 1Dx camera, effectively grabbing a very high 61 point system, which should make professional photographers very happy.

There’s also a new processor in the camera — Canon’s Digic 5+ — which is not only also in the 1Dx, but provides a 6 frames per second shooting speed, up from the 3.9fps the 5D Mark II featured.

While the updates should please quite a few, we’re not sure if the new body is the total evolution that Canon often makes its follow-up products to be.

More features for video — such as a silent audio control ring on the back of the camera and the ability to sync two cameras with the same shooting settings — should make videographers happy in the new body, as will some of the photography features including 61 point autofocus and support for high-dynamic range (HDR) images.

But the MkIII may not be that killer camera everyone was expecting from Canon, especially in wake of Nikon’s D800 announcement, a competitor that features a full-frame sensor boasting higher megapixels, high-speed USB 3.0 connectivity, and uncompressed HDMI out for video.

Regardless, Canon’s official pricing for the new body comes in at $4399 for body only in March, with $5499 grabbing it with a 24-105mm.

Canon also told us that it will continue to sell the Mark II alongside the Mark III. While we don’t know the updated price as of yet, this could make the Mark II an excellent camera to own despite its newer brother, especially as it has certainly proven itself over the past four years.