Canon 5D MK III comparison chart

A look at Canon's latest full-frame camera, compared with the Nikon D800 and Canon 5D MK II

By Scott Gietler

 
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The Canon 5D Mark III has just been announced, which replaced the 3 1/4 year old 5D MK II. In the Canon 5D Mark III, Canon has made some major improvements from the Canon 5D MK II, especially in the areas of auto-focus and high ISO performance – and is sure to appeal to professionals shooting  sports, weddings, and low-light action. It inherits many of the great features of the Canon 1DX, as they share the same Digic 5 image processor.

However, for people not locked into lenses, the newly announced 36MP Nikon D800 offers some very serious competition, especially for wildlife and underwater photographers.

canon 5d mk iii camera, specs, compared with Nikon d800

Canon 5D MK III price and release date

The camera is expected to be available at the end of March, 2012 at a price of $3,499 for the body, or $4,299 with the 24-105mm f/4L zoom lens. The Nikon D800 body is a little less at $2,999 - and the 5D MK II can now be picked up for just $2,199.

 

Key improvements of the 5D MK III over the Canon 5D MK II

  • # of Auto-focus points boosted from 9 to 61
  • High ISO performance increased by up to 2 stops; the 5D MK III can be "boosted" to ISO 102,400
  • Shooting speed increased from 4fps to 6fps
  • Video limit increased to 30 minutes
  • In-camera HDR mode added
  • Adds 720p video at 60fps, for slow-motion video
  • Adds a quiet shooting mode
  • Dual card slots. Supports SD cards as well as CF
  • New, higher price!

 

 

 

 Canon 5D MK III  

  Nikon D800  

 Canon 5D MK II 

Min Aperture  for auto-focus1

F5.6

F8

F5.6

AF Points

61 points

51 points

9 points

Megapixels

22.3

36.3

21.1

Shooting speed

6fps

4.6fps

3.9fps

Sync speed

1/200th

1/250th

1/200th

Built-in flash

No

Yes

No

Max ISO5

25,600

6400

6400

USB

USB 2.0

USB 3.0

USB 2.0

Auto-focus during  video

No

Yes4

No

Shutter Rating

150,000

200,000

150,000

Uncompressed video

No

Yes

No

60fps video

720p, 60fps

720p, 60fps

none

Video modes

1080p, 24/25/30fps

1080p, 24/25/30fps

1080p, 24/25/30fps

Weight3

950g

1,000g

907g

Price

$3,499

$2,999

$2,1992

 

  1. Min aperture for auto-focus is important when using teleconverters
  2. This camera was $2,699 in early 2009
  3. Weight with battery & card
  4. It remains to be seen how useful the auto-focus is during video, it was not great on the D7000
  5. The ISO can be "boosted" by 2 more stops on all of these camera model

 

Comparing the 5D MK III and the Nikon D800

The Canon 5D MK III and the Nikon D800 are quite similar in size, weight, sensor size, LCD, viewfinder, storage media, video resolution, battery life, and weather sealing. Both can do in-camera HDR (high-dynamic range photos).

The main differences are listed in the table above. The Canon 5D Mark III has the advantage of being able to shoot at very high ISOs, and a faster shooting speed, due to its lower megapixel count and fast image processor.

The Nikon D800 has the advantage in other areas including megapixel count, auto-focus ability with teleconverters (for example - you can use autofocus with a F4 lens + 2x teleconverter with the D800), having an internal flash, and sync speed. The internal flash and sync speed may be useful for some underwater photographers.

I expect to see Canon 5D MK III underwater housings from Aquatica, Hugyfot, Ikelite, Nauticam, Sea & Sea, Seacam & Subal - and I predict that both the Canon 5D MK III and the Nikon D800 will be very popular with both professional and serious amateur underwater photographers.

 

Further Reading

Comparing the Nikon D800 with the Nikon D700 and Nikon D4

Comparing the Nikon D4 with the Nikon D3s and Canon 1DX

Canon 5D Mark III Review

 

 

Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


 

Comments

I already have a Canon 5D MK

I already have a Canon 5D MK II and was on the fence about whether to buy the MK III to replace it. I think you've convinced me though :)

My friends own one of these

My friends own one of these and I really love its features. I wonder if you can give me some tips on how to maximize the potential of this camera. If you can also suggest other camera models it would be deeply appreciated.

Dorothy F. Tucker
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