Canon Launches 5D Mark III D-SLR

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Lake Success, N.Y. -

Canon U.S.A.

unveiled Friday the EOS 5D Mark III d-SLR camera, which is seated between EOS 5D Mark II and Canon's top-of-the-line professional EOS-1D X model.

Highlights of the new entry are a 22.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, a high-performance DIGIC 5+ Imaging processor, a 61-point High Density Reticular autofocus (AF) system and 6 fps continuous shooting speed.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III d-SLR camera will ship at the end of March at a $3,499 estimate street retail (body only), or $4,399 as a kit with the EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens.

The 5D Mark III builds upon the popular EOS 5D Mark II by adding enhanced video features for professionals, including improved noise reduction, longer recording times and a built-in headphone jack for audio monitoring.

The camera's launch coincides with Canon's 25th anniversary celebration of the EOS camera system, which first debuted in March 1987, with the EOS 650 SLR camera and three EF lenses.

"The EOS 5D Mark III will carry on that tradition, delivering better and more advanced features, helping our customers achieve excellent image quality for stills and video," stated Yuichi Ishizuka, Canon USA imaging technologies and communications group executive VP.

The new camera also shares a number of common features with the flagship EOS-1D X, including the DIGIC 5+ imaging processor and the high-performance 61-point High Density Reticular AF array with up to 41 cross-type points and five dual cross-type points available, depending on the lens in use.

The system allows continuous shooting speeds of up to 6 fps, exceeding the speed of the EOS 5D Mark II model by more than 50 percent, and has improved weather resistance.

Video is captured in 1080p FullHD at 24p, 25p and 30p fps; 720p HD recording at 60 and 50 fps; and SD recording at 30  and 25 fps. The H.264 video compression format is included along with intraframe (ALL-I) compression for an editing-friendly format and interframe (IPB) compression for superior data-storage efficiency. Like the EOS-1D X, the 5D Mark III also includes two methods of SMPTE-compliant time code embedding, Rec Run and Free Run, allowing video footage from multiple cameras and separate audio recordings to be synced together in post-production. 

Video can be recorded continuously up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds across multiple 4GB files. Manual audio level control with 64 levels is added for greater creative control. There is also an automatic audio level setting, or sound recording can be turned off entirely.

A wind filter is also included. Sound can be recorded either through the internal monaural microphone or via an optional external microphone through the stereo mic input.

The camera's dual UDMA-supported CF card slots will accommodate automatic file splitting.

The ISO settings range from 100 to 25,600 within its standard range, and 50, 51,200 and 102,400 outside standard settings.

The camera also features a built-in automatic sensor cleaning system.

Photographers have the option of several RAW format models, including the reduced-resolution M-RAW (10.5 megapixel) and S-RAW (5.5 megapixel) modes. M-RAW and S-RAW preserve the full field of view rather than cropping the image or reducing resolution further with JPEG compression.

The EOS 5D Mark III uses the same high-performance AI Servo III AF tracking algorithm as the flagship EOS-1D X professional DSLR.

The Mark III also offers six AF point selection modes: Spot, Single Point, Single Point with surrounding four points, Single Point with surrounding eight points, Zone selection and Automatic AF point selection.

The camera's iFCL (focus, color, luminance) metering system uses 63 zones and dual layers to measure color and luminance data, while analyzing the data provided by each point of the AF system.

The high dynamic range (HDR) mode allows in-camera image merging using exposure levels set to cover a range of up to ±3 stops, in a choice of five settings: Natural, Art Standard, Art Vivid, Art Bold and Art Embossed. 

Similarly, a multiple exposure mode offers the ability to combine up to nine individual images into a single composite image, with no need for post-processing in a computer. Four different compositing methods are provided for maximum creative control, including Additive, Average, Bright and Dark.

A new feature seen for the first time in the EOS System on the 5D Mark III is Comparative Playback allowing photographers to display two images side by side on the camera's 3.2-inch LCD screen. The images can be displayed with a histogram to check exposure levels, or magnified to check for focus or facial expressions. 

Canon will support the 5D Mark III with an optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E7A, which is scheduled to ship in April at an $850 estimated street retail, and an optional Canon GPS receiver, model GP-E2 ($390 estimated street retail), which will provide GPS logging of latitude, longitude, elevation and the Universal Time Code.

An optional battery grip model BG-E11 (April, $490 estimated street price) is also available.

Canon also announced a new Speedlite 600EX-RT (March, $630 estimated street retail) offering built-in wireless radio transmitter. Radio-based Wireless E-TTL can be performed with up to 15 Speedlite 600EX-RT "slave units," used off-camera up to 98.4 feet away, and triggered by either a Master 600EX-RT on-camera, or the optional new Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT.

Used with the EOS 5D Mark III or EOS-1D X, up to five groups of flashes can be completely controlled, independently, off-camera.

Canon also announced the Speedlite transmitter ST-E3-RT (shipping in April at an $470 estimated street retail) supporting radio-based wireless flash technology capable of controlling up to five groups of flashes, up to 98.4 feet (30m) from the camera. The remote shutter release capability enables photographers to either fire a single camera remotely (by pressing a button on the ST-E3-RT), or to fire up to 15 EOS cameras with Canon's Linked Shooting feature.


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