With a camera of such pedigree, there are naturally high expectations. Find out how good it is in the What Digital Camera Canon EOS 5D Mark III review

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Overall score:92%
Image Quality:95%


  • Excellent set of features, build-quality is much better than MkII, AF system and overall performance


  • Expensive compared to some rivals.


Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review


Price as reviewed:


Image Quality

Canon EOS 5D Mark III review – Image Quality

Tone and Exposure

The Canon 5D MkIII uses Canon’s iFCL metering system, and offers the choice of either Evaluative, Centre-weighted, Spot or Partial metering.

The iFCL metering coped well under a range of light conditions, though we did find that it underexposed a touch, with shots requiring a touch of (+0.3/0.7) exposure compensation to get a more balanced exposure. This isn’t a major issue, with Raw files easily corrected in post-processing.

The results display a nice, smooth tonal range, while there’s also Highlight Tone Priority to improve graduation in bright areas of the image.

White Balance and Colour

The Auto White Balance of the 5D MkIII is reliable, delivering pleasing results under a range of light sources, both indoors and out. On top of the Auto White Balance setting, the MkIII has a host of presets on offer: daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, white fluorescent, flash, custom, colour temperature setting

There’s also a host of Picture Styles – found now via the Creative Photo button: Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome and three User Defined options as well, where you can fine-tune sharpness, contrast, filter and toning effects.

Sharpness and Detail

As the 5D MkIII sports a very similar resolution to the MkII, there’s not a dramatic change in the size of prints you can expect to produce. Thanks to the 22.3MP chip though, files are 63.3MB once opened in Photoshop, so it’s possible to produce A3+ prints at 240ppi without any interpolation, while high-quality A2 prints are easily possible thanks to the high level of detail captured by the sensor. If you want to produce high-quality, large scale prints, you’ll have no problems with the results from the 5D MkIII.


The 5D MkIII is bundled with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional v3.11 Raw image processing software, which now features Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO). This new feature imitates lens performance and is designed to correct optical aberrations and loss of resolution from the MkIII’s low pass filter. On top of that, the 5D MkIII’s Raw files are now readable in Lightroom 4.1, again offering lens correction.

Side-by-side and the JPEG and unedited Raw files are very similar at low ISOs, though the differences are more pronounced as the sensitivity increases. JPEG files have image noise applied, with Luminance and Colour noise subdued, though this does come at the expense of sharpness, which the Raw file maintains to a better standard.

ISO Quality

The ISO range of the 5D MkIII is very impressive, running from 100-25,600, while this can be expanded to an ISO equivalent of 102,400. What should also appeal to a lot of photographers is the baseline ISO can also be extended to an ISO equivalent of 50 – great for extending the exposure on landscape shots, and adds more versatility overall.

Image noise is very well controlled, with results up to ISO 1600 looking relatively noise-free. Above that at ISO 3200 and 6400, image noise does become more noticeable, but it’s still kept in-check. Go to the upper reaches of the ISO sensitivity, and luminance noise is an issue, with detail suffering. Considering the sensitivity you’re shooting at though, its impressive stuff and one of the best ISO performances we’ve seen from a DSLR

Movie Mode

The 5D MkII became the king of video-enabled DSLRs, and the 5D MkIII builds on the features offered by the older model. Audio can now be monitored and the sound level adjusted thanks to an audio output socket. It’s not just sound that’s been tinkered with – there’s depth-of-field control and improved processing to reduce moir√©, false colour and other artefacts. There’s also an enhanced range of high bit-rate video compression options, with intraframe (ALL-I) and interframe (IPB) methods both supported.

  1. 1. Canon EOS 5D Mark III review - Features
  2. 2. Design
  3. 3. Performance
  4. 4. Image Quality
  5. 5. Value & Verdict
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