UPDATE: When additional answers come in, we're posting them on the bottom…
When Barry Andersson and I were at the hands on preview of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, we came away with some additional questions and we've also seen some more questions floating around on the ‘net and we've gotten some of them answered.
Chuck Westfall was very gracious to take time to answer the questions we sent in before the March 2nd announcement… if you have additional questions – post them in the comments and we'll forward them and post the answers on planet5D.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III questions
This first question came to me from a reader:
1 There is an issue here that has not been mentioned in the previews I have seen so far.
The specifications on Canon's website tell that 5d3 has a fixed focusing screen, like 7d, while 5d2 has an interchangeable one. How is this fixed screen compared to the standard screen and the Eg-S screen for 5d2? Does this fixed screen on 5d3 show precise focus regarding to depth of field on higher apertures than f:2.8?
CW: The EOS 5D Mark III's focusing screen has about the same overall brightness and depth-of-field characteristics as the EOS 5D Mark II's Eg-A standard focusing screen. This is a brighter screen than the Eg-S with most lenses, but it does not depict depth of field accurately for apertures wider than about f/4. Manual focusing accuracy using the optical viewfinder is about the same, lens for lens, on the 5D Mark III as it is on the 5D Mark II with an Eg-A focusing screen.
It might also be crucial for some of us how the viewfinder is regarding to all the AF-points. Are these points visible all the time, or can they be removed or shut off?
CW: There is a submenu on the LCD screen that allows photographers to choose any one of 5 settings that determine when and how the focusing points are displayed in the viewfinder. They can definitely be shut off for photographers who prefer that option.
I’ve seen some notes flying around where people have interpreted the ALL-I to have a bit rate of 91mbps — you quoted me something in the 40s.
CW: It's a variable bit rate as we discussed, but the instruction book spec for approx. 685 megabytes per minute in ALL-I mode at Full HD resolution is correct.
In the preview meeting, Chuck briefly mentioned something about a “dedicated AF microprocessor” – is that a Digic 4 like on the Canon EOS-1D X?
CW: The DIGIC 4 in the 1D X is used for that camera's 100,000 pixel RGB metering sensor. It is not a dedicated AF microprocessor. Both the 1D X and the 5D Mark III use dedicated AF microprocessors; these AF microprocessors are not DIGIC chips.
the Canon EOS-1D X has a feature which is a one-touch instant zoom for the magnification – is that on the 5D III?
CW: Yes, this feature is the same on both cameras.
I was kind of surprised the 5D III doesn’t have an articulating screen… is that because pros consider them something easily broken and shy away from them?
CW: The 5D Mark III is definitely sturdier without an articulating screen.
I’m curious about the move up to 22.3 mp – it isn’t that much of a move from 21.9… so why change at all?
CW: There were several considerations, but the biggest one had to do with the substantial improvement of video quality along with overall image quality.
Why hasn’t Canon put 60fps at 1080 HD on any camera yet? is it a processor issue?
CW: There has been no explanation from Canon Inc. on this point.
Does the 5D III have the same new cleaning system as the Canon EOS-1D X or did it stay the old version?
CW: Old version.
Can you record video at the ALL-I compression on one card and the IPB compression on the other card?
Is this the first time that Canon has had noise reduction on the chip?
CW: No. On-chip noise reduction has been used in Canon CMOS sensors since Canon's first CMOS image sensor, used by the EOS D30 in the year 2000. However, our implementation of on-chip noise reduction has improved over the years, and the 5D Mark III and 1D X cameras represent the state of the art as of 2012 in this specification.
(Note: I know we've already reported this, but I wanted to make sure it was noted here as well)
of all the questions, the biggest on my list is finding out if the Canon EOS 5D Mark III has fixed the problem of switching to SD on the HDMI output when recording.
CW: the resolution does not drop when you are connected to an external monitor and hit record. It does still have all of the overlays and the signal is not meant to be recorded.
We were sent a bit of evidence by Gert Kracht this morning showing the HDMI output indeed doesn't down rez to 480 – it stays at 1080! (Note he used the zacuto pro 3.0 evf):
Additional questions and answers:
do you know if the shutter button can be set to be the start / stop recording button for video on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III?
CW: The answer is yes for both the 5D Mark III and the 1D X. The setting for this is in the 5th tab of the recording menu, which only shows up on the 5D Mark III when the camera is in Movie mode, i.e., the Movie Shooting Switch has been engaged. (The 5th tab is always visible on the 1D X.) When the cameras are set up to allow the shutter button to be used for starting and stopping video capture, users can also start and stop video capture with wired remote controllers like the RS-80N3 and TC-80N3 connected through the cameras' N3 remote control socket. The only downside of allowing the shutter button to start and stop video capture is that you can no longer take full resolution stills while recording video.
is there a ‘minimum’ card speed recommended for the Canon EOS 5D Mark III to handle the All-I compression?
CW: We recommend using memory cards with write speeds faster than 30 MB (not Mb) per second for the ALL-I setting. The faster, the better.
Note: wikipedia has a great formula for converting the “100x” kinds of speed ratings over to MBs – for example a 266x card is about 40MBs
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)