Canon EOS 5D Mark III – will you buy / upgrade?

by planetmitch42 Comments

I've seen plenty of comments about the new Canon EOS 5D Mark III both positive and negative – but one thing mentioned often is the new price $3499 as a barrier. So I thought we'd ask you what your thoughts are on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III – are you going to buy one?

And just for reference, let's not forget the original list price:

“The EOS 5D Mark II will be sold in a body-only configuration at an estimated retail price of $2,699”

So the difference everyone is quoting as $1000 isn't really right, the difference is only $800 (granted that is still more than the price of the Canon Rebel T3i/600D). Yes, it is $1000 more than the current general price of the 5D2 (which by the way is now down to $2199).


[poll id=”21″]

And – if you voted no, please tell us why! [poll id=”22″]

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. In a way, it’s good news that the release of the much-anticipated MkIII is so anti-climactic. I had earmarked $4,000 this month to purchase the camera. Now, I can use that cash for something else.
    And next time there’s a huge industry buzz over an upcoming Canon product, I’ll be less likely to pay attention.

  2. Suggesting another voting option why I won’t be upgrading “The MKIII doesn’t seem to be that much improved from the MKII to justify the expense”.

    If it had been D800 resultion (I still spend a lot of time shooting stills) I would be more torn. As it is the video and stills I get from my MKII still amaze me.

    1. The 5DIII has a consumer grade audio recorder with toy quality pre-amps. Other than that, it’s a winner, spec wise, just as long as it has truly handled the moire problem. Based on what I’ve seen, it has. The line-skipping D800, from what I’ve seen, has not (although it handles it better than what’s out there now.)

  3. I think the improvements are good, especially the moire, from what I’ve seen. The headphone jack is awesome and even better if you can see audio meters when shooting. But it’s not enough to make me sell my 5DII. I’ve learned to work around the problems and the quality is good enough for major motion pictures and TV, so it’s good enough for me.
    If I were in the market to buy today, then yes, I would go for the 5DIII over the 5DII, but I’d wait until the price drops a few hundred.

  4. I’ve been waiting for the 5DMk3 for a while, and it’s disappointing to me. I do appreciate the improved image quality and 6fps still shooting. I really wish, however that it would do 1080p60, like the Sonys do. Maybe that’s a stretch.

    But the real insult is the lack of a clean HDMI out. That really stinks. Such an easy thing to change, that would make a huge difference, and yet they decline to make the improvement.

  5. I have owned seven EOS DSLRs starting with the Rebel and going up to the 1D MkIII in price. I liked the 5D image quality better than any I owned. I did not buy the 5D MKII, opting instead for the 7D. I think the initial information coming out on the 5D MKIII looks promising. I don’t think the price is out of line with the competition. I think it’s interesting that some people think that features found on the 5 series and 1 series shopuld sell for the price of a 60D.

  6. I am more interested in photography than video… hence I see more value in buying the 5d Mark ii at a reduced price ($2200) and spending the difference ($3500-$2200=$1300) on a lens or a T4i when it comes out. Besides, to take full advantage of the Mark iii features, you’d have to have “top of the line” L lenses already plus you will have to spend another $1000+ in new Speedlite hardware to take advantage of the RF triggers! …. and it’s not even backward compatible! So I will just wait another 3 years and see what happens and spend my $$$ on “L” series lenses, a brand new, 5d Mark ii and if the T4i looks interesting, buy one of those also.

  7. I didn’t have a full-frame camera already, and was undecided between the 5d2 and 5d3, but am now convinced to go with the 5d2 (hopefully after another sub-$2k drop) and some nice lenses. Buying the most expensive (non-pro) body seems like rarely the right choice for anyone unless you already have the previous model.

  8. The 5D3 is more of an enhancement than an advancement. Even if the price were unchanged from the 5D2, I doubt I’d rush out in a buying frenzy. I’d rather spend the money on lenses — or put it towards a 1D X.

    More than any other feature, I’d like to have ISO 3200 with extremely low noise. It would be nice to be able to shoot in any light without worrying about image quality. That would get my photographic blood racing.

    PS: If I were a photographer who commonly shot under “extreme” conditions, I wouldn’t want an articulating screen. It’s one more thing that might break, and the mechanism provides another entry point for dirt and moisture.

  9. I REALLY want one and the biggest reason is the improved auto-focus. I shoot 98% studio portraits and with the low modeling light output, I am out of focus more than I want. At weddings, it’s also an issue. If I were a sports photographer, I know the improved auto-focus would be huge.

    The other reason is economics…….

  10. It may not be the ideal video DSLR but I’d like to get one, to use for stills as well as video – I’d always planned to get a full frame DSLR after getting my 7D two years ago. But the price is too much. And what is with the £2999 UK price? That’s $4750!!! Please don’t tell me the extra is all tax!

  11. Usb3 for RAW
    Make MK3 lighter not heavier for on the go photography!


  12. I make my living photographing portraits and weddings. The improvements made in the Mark III make this just about the perfect camera for me. I can’t wait to get my hands on a couple of them. However, I refuse to upgrade my cameras without getting at east three seasons out of them. I’ve only had my Mark II’s for 2 seasons… so I will be waiting until next year.

  13. I can’t really check either of those boxes at the moment. I’m in the ‘I was definitely going to buy it, but now can’t decide’ box. I really need 1080p/60 for the stuff I shoot. I may just use what I have until something worthwhile comes out – Canon or another brand that’s willing to deliver. If it was $2500 I’d probably just buy one for the heck of it. $3500 makes me think a little harder for some reason.

  14. Need to add another choice to the poll labeled “maybe”. I’ll be waiting to compare “first user” images from the 1DX & 5D3, especially the noise at high ISO.

  15. I was excited for the update, but will now wait until RAW files are available for examination. So far the examples provided by Canon seem to be lacking detail, and I suspect the 2 stop improvement in noise comes with increased, heavy handed noise reduction algorithms stripping out the detail. The video here seems to indicate the same. We finally get a camera that can focus better in low light, but we still get unsharp images, most likely from excessive noise reduction. We need to determine what is causing this reduction in detail to find if there is a solution with the new imager chip.

  16. 2 stops improvements in both ISO and noise…good improvements. But this should have been delivered as a replacement for the Mark2, at the same price point. And no clean HDMI output…Wow!!! The enhancements just don’t add up to a higher price point. I’ll wait until the Cinema DSLR comes out later this year. If its a real video camera at a price point of between $5-8K, I’ll probably go for it.

  17. -Flash sync speed? Lame!
    -No 1080 60 and 48p. Very Disappointing! Most likely buying a sony nex 5 or 7 to supplement.
    -2012 the accessories should be built in!. Wireless transmitter, GPS and radio flash trigger (3rd party pocketWizard still a better option). If an iPhone could put all those in something the size of my wallet for $800 bucks. Surely a $3500 “professional” camera can!
    -SD card? No clean out? Why oh why.

  18. I expected $3000 – $3500 but the real shocker to me is the $500 grip. This puts the total cost at $4000, which is close enough to the 1D Mark IV that I feel like I need to wait for 5D3 images and compare them to the 1D4, and then make a decision on which way to go.

  19. I ordered the Mark III/upgrading from the original 5D. I think the improvements are significant enough by skipping the Mark II. As a landscape photographer there were two big attractions; the jump from 12.8 megapixels to 22.3 and the increase of AF points from 9 to 21. the.9 point system is appallingly frustrating to work with.

  20. for Studiophotographer this is not a camera i will upgrade to. So i wait till winter and decide to change to nikon or stay with the 5DII

  21. It’s not so much a will I/ won’t I – it’s where.
    In Australia the RRP is $4299AUS – that’s $4600+ US. I can buy from any of the usual US dealers, pay freight and local GST and still be $650+ better off so why would you buy from an Australian dealer?
    Canon needs to learn parity pricing – it’s 2012 not 2001.
    I find it hard to believe Canon Australia really thinks this way.

    1. Who pays RRP? I ordered one here in QLD for $3865 from an authorised pro dealer. US. prices don’t incl. tax, if you buy from US. for $3499 + shipping, price comes to around $3385 + gst = $3723 you might save $142 but you won’t have Au warranty.

  22. I see others are pretty happy with the Mark ii as I am, with Rebel XSI as back-up (good for W/R lenses) I have put $10k into my Biz so, for now, Canon will go on without me.
    Like to call myself retired but too in love with photography and the awesome artists out there that do this work, tech., art, science of light…all of it.

  23. I don’t get it. Why doesn’t anyone care about professional sound?

    It makes me laugh to hear that audio has been improved because you can now monitor and control the crappy audio.

    Way to go Canon. All I have to do is plunk down 13 grand extra and I can get what I want in the c300.

    That’s right. $3k to $16k. Nothing in between. Nice job, goobers.

    Here’s an idea. Why not kick Sony and Panny in the balls with a product to go head to head with the FS100 and AF100? I’d drop $5 for it in a heartbeat.

  24. Really wish it had built-in GPS like my iPhone. The add-on module is pretty clunky. I may well buy a 2nd Mark II rather than one Mark III, specially with the price dropping.

  25. Yesterday I took some pictures with a 5D Mark III from Canon Holland. The 100% viewfinder is great, the 61 focuspoints are great, the speed of focussing in low light is great and the 6 frames a second are great.

    But still…, my 5D Mark II is just fine 😉

  26. I plan to buy one…possibly two. I’m shooting an indie feature and have been using the 1D Mark IV. The moire has been killing me. If the 5D Mark III truly does away with most of that , the savings in re-shoots alone will pay for the camera. True, it would have been nice if the price didn’t increase by a grand but that’s kinda how Canon works isn’t it. There are so many negative comments floating around the web since Canon announced the specs and price of the Mark III it makes me cringe. I feel like this is a tool that is so far beyond what I could have imagined a few years back when I planned to shoot my feature on a Canon XH-A1 with a Redrock M2 35mm adapter, that I must be dreaming. If you don’t like it, buy Nikon, Sony, Panasonic or Red and do it quietly please.

  27. As one previous post stated being able to see raw files for examination would be best as I shoot all raw myself. I also own 7D and have always wanted full frame and passed on 5D II waiting for replacement. The price tag has got me rethinking my desion also. But if camera lives up to all the hype I will make plans buy one and given alittle time price might drop some. I guess we all have to wait and see what happens.

  28. USB 3 was an error to leave out for many professional shooters who tether in studio and location. It’s the biggest problem for my jobs as I wait for the USB 2.0 cable to transfer the RAW files and everyone waits.

    I feel the higher ISO and frame rate is aimed at sports photographers, but I’m not sure why they just didn’t further their strength in video features in the 5D range and keep sports features in the 1D range. Lack of 60f/s at 1080p and no raw video output really had me thinking about selling my Canon glass last week and making the switch over to Nikon. Still undecided as I have near 8k in glass to replace.

  29. face detection missing – even a crappy iphone has it. or crappier and cheaper powershot. or finger point to set focus area. i will stick to 5d2 for now, but not happy with 60d i baught for backup to 5d2 last year

  30. After a week of reading the specs this time thouroly though impressive its really not much of a step up,ill stick with my beloved 5dmk2. Really could use articulating screen ,”weather proofing”’ excuse aside.

  31. Face detection? In a professional camera?

    One of the fundamental problems with Japanese products of all kinds is the compulsion to throw in “everything but the kitchen sink”. This is understandable, giving the protean nature of microprocessor-controlled products, but not altogether forgivable. Too many products have too many features. I tend to ignore or disable those that have no obvious use, or aren’t well-documented.

    I’d like greater attention paid to making the camera’s default features and functions reflect the way photographers actually use cameras. Major functions/settings should be directly accessed through buttons, not menus.

    One work-around is to create a configuration that reflects how /you/ most-often use the camera, then make it the C1 setting. But that doesn’t change the fact that the extreme automation on most cameras has — perversely — resulted in poor ergonomics. It’s reached the point where, all too often, you don’t take the picture — the camera does.

  32. DH2 still ahead for vid users. The 5DIII is a fine still camera. That is it’s intended purpose. Still has lousy audio

    Foe Still use 5DIII For vid DH2 or a camcorder

  33. I am upgrading from 7D with EF lenses. I am planning to buy the Zeiss CP.2 lenses for filming with the Mark lll to go from still photography to filming which is still new for me. From the comments I see that there are many professional photographers and cinematographers here. Will the CP.2 lenses double as still lenses with excellent quality or would I need to stick with the Canon EF lenses for still photography.
    I am aware of the substantial upgrade for the film look with the CP.2 lenses, but I have not been able to find out if they are used for still shots and film shots. I am used to manual lenses for still so the manual CP.2 is not a factor. Will they just have less depth of field than still lenses at the same settings?
    Yes, I know of price of the Cp.2s and I have saved for years and waited for the HDSLRs and the Canon C300 to arrive. The CP.2s are for the next version of the Canon C 300. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    1. I’m amazed at how often people jump into an activity that interests them, without learning about it.

      I urge you to hold off your purchase until you’ve learned more about photography and photographic technology.

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