Canon 5D Mark III Review

Friday, March 02, 2012

Camera Review
Introduction | Canon 5D Mark III Hands-on Review | Canon 5D Mark III versus competition | Canon 5D Mark III Sensor performance | Canon 5D Mark III versus Nikon D800
Canon EOS 5D Mark III scores

With a DxOMark Overall Score of 81, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III achieves the best Overall Score of all Canon’s full-frame sensors, one point ahead of the Canon 1Ds Mark III, which had been leading the brand’s camera ranking with a DxOMark Overall Score of 80, and two points ahead of its predecessor, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, at 79 points. The Canon EOS 5D Mark III comes 10th in the DxOMark Overall Score ranking.

DxOMark progress for Canon Full-Frame sensors since 2002
DxOMark progress for Canon Full-Frame sensors since 2002

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III delivers very good performance in low-light (2,293 ISO), placing it in 5th position in the DxOMark Sports Score ranking. Canon had announced improved sensitivity for its 22.3 megapixel sensor thanks to a new gapless micro lens array, claimed to better capture the light. The performance meets expectations there with almost ½ Stop more than the 5D Mark II, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark III proves its mettle for shooting concerts, sports events, or in extreme low light conditions.

A dynamic range on a par with the 1Ds Mark III

The dynamic range of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III’s sensor is on a par with that of the 1Ds Mark III. With a score of 11.7 EV, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III comes 49th in the DxOMark Landscape Score ranking. This means that the manufacturer has made very little progress since the appearance of the 1Ds Mark III and the 1D Mark IV, the best-rated Canon cameras in this category.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark II: marked improvement in dynamic range at high sensitivity

Canon EOS 5D Mark III nearly ½ Stop better in low light conditions

This is the most significant improvement in the 5D Mark III (2,293 ISO) compared to its predecessor (1,815 ISO) – i.e. virtually ½ Stop. The DxO Mark Sports Score is the maximum ISO for which the three criteria (SNR ≥ 30 dB, DR ≥ 9 EV, CS ≥ 18 bits) are still met (for more details, see our Sensor scores section). With these three criteria met in your RAW images, you’re guaranteed final image quality amply sufficient for most of your prints.

Greater dynamic range – but only at high ISO

Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 5D Mark II: Dynamic range comparison
Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs 5D Mark II (DR): ½ Stop better at ISO 3,200, 1 Stop at ISO 12,800

The dynamic range measurement shows improved performance behavior at high ISO, but is disappointing for the limited dynamic range at low ISO. No improvement was measured between the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the 5D Mark II for the range ISO 100 to 800.

The complete comparison is available here: Canon EOS 5D mark III vs. Canon EOS 5D Mark II