Canon EOS 5D Mark III review

Not everyone will be able to afford a 5D Mark III, but if you’re serious about movie making on a budget then this is a serious piece of kit via which to do it

Not a camcorder, but included because Digital SLRs have really taken off the past couple of years as primary tools for ‘videographers’. Currently leading the pack is the 5D Mark III. The advantage is a physically larger sensor than its smaller cousins plus a wealth of interchangeable lens options (70+ in case of this model). OK, at a penny under £3,000 for the body it’s not inexpensive, but to put it into perspective this is a professional tool within an amateur’s reach. It has been used to shoot music videos and even feature films. Street prices are cheaper still, whilst another good option is a second hand previous generation Mark II. 

On the Mark III we get a full frame sensor – by which we mean one the size of a regular 35mm film frame – plus a 22.3 megapixel resolution to go with it. Of course the video making resolution remains at a Full HD 1920x1080 pixels; but, as we’ve established in our intro, it’s not only about the numbers. This time around we had the image stabilised 24-70mm f/4 L zoom lens to play with. It’s worth choosing a lens with anti shake built-in, as the body doesn’t have this feature.

OUR VERDICT

Capturing video at 1920x1080 pixels and 29.97 frames per second, admittedly shooting with a DSLR isn’t quite as smooth or straightforward from the get go as on a regular camcorder or even compact system camera. This is because recording begins after the internal mirror mechanism has flipped out of the way and a start/stop button has been pressed. The other thing to mention is that if you’re attaching a zoom lens, as here, extending or retracting it involves adjustment by hand, so requires a little practice to avoid sudden ‘lurches’ and jolts mid flow. Whilst most aspiring pros would choose to focus manually, auto focus response has improved over the previous iteration. The real draw is creamily smooth, colour rich results accepted by the pros however and in that respect the Mark III hits its, um, mark. If you want big budget results when shooting video without actually spending a Hollywood budget, then this EOS is a more afordable alternative to pro broadcast kit.

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