Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review

4.5
April 11, 2012 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 22 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 7Mb.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III produced images of amazing quality during the review period. This camera produces noise-free JPEG images from ISO 50 all the way up to ISO 3200, with noise first appearing at ISO 6400 - an incredible performance for a 22 megapixel, 35mm SLR. The faster settings of 6400, 12800 and 25600 display relatively little noise, with ISO 51200 suitable for small prints and web images and the fastest setting of 102400 best reserved for emergenices. The JPEG images were a little soft straight out of the camera using the default Picture Style and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting. The night photograph was very good, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and Bulb mode allowing you to capture enough light in all situations. The 6 different Picture Styles and the ability to create your own are a real benefit to JPEG shooters, as are the Highlight Tone Priority and Auto Lighting Optimizer custom settings when used in the right conditions. The HDR mode combines three images taken at different exposures to create a single image with greater dynamic range, plus it offers natural and more artistic looks.

Noise

There are 12 ISO settings available on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III which you can select at any time. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with the JPEG version on the left and the RAW on the right:

JPEG

RAW

 

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 102400 (100% Crop)

ISO 102400 (100% Crop)

 
 

File Quality

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III has 2 different JPEG file quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality JPEG option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

22M Fine (5.70Mb) (100% Crop)
22M Normal (2.81Mb) (100% Crop)
   
22M RAW (25.3Mb) (100% Crop)
 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images at the default setting are a little soft and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Alternatively you can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default results.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Night Shot

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's a Bulb mode for even longer exposures, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds, aperture of f/11 at ISO 100. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Highlight Tone Priority

This custom setting promises to improve the highlight detail of the image by expanding the dynamic range from 18% grey to bright highlights. Turning it on didn't make a great deal of difference in our test shot, as shown below.

Off

On

Auto Lighting Optimizer

This setting promises to automatically correct the brightness and contrast of an image, with three levels of varying intensity available. There was a slight difference between the weakest and strongest settings, as shown below. Note that the user guide warns that this setting might cause noise to increase at higher ISO speeds.

Off

Low
   

Standard

High

Multiple Exposure

This new setting allows you to combine up to 9 images into a single composite image, with a range of different ways to blend them together. Here's an example with two images combined.

HDR

The HDR mode combines three images taken at different exposures to create a single image with greater dynamic range, with natural and more artistic looks also on offer.

Off

+1 EV
   

+2 EV

+3 EV
   

+3 Natural

+3 EV Art Standard
   

+3 EV Art Vivid

+3 EV Art Bold

   

+3 EV Art Embossed

 
 

Picture Styles

Canon's Picture Controls, similarly to Nikon's Picture Styles, are preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone settings. The six available Picture Controls are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. There are also three User Defined styes so that you can create your own look.

Standard

Portrait

   
Landscape

Neutral

   
Faithful

Monochrome

Entry Tags

review, 1080p, test, jpeg, photo, dslr, cmos, raw, digital SLR, image, 6fps, 3.2 inch LCD, 5d, 22 megapixel, 5d mk 3, 5d mark 3, Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 5d 3, 5d3, 5d mk iii, 5d mark iii

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