Canon 5D Mark II vs 5D Mk III

As I recently noted in my post about the eventual release of the 7D Mk II, as an e-book camera guide author, I have to attempt to plan my life and writing schedule around the release of the latest dSLR cameras. And since major camera companies typically give little-to-no advance notice for the announcement then release of a new model, this involves lots of speculation and following of online rumors. And then I subject myself to a few weeks of intense, non-stop research and writing when it is finally announced.

The Canon 5D Mark III has been rumored for imminent release numerous times, including most recently Feb 2011, November 2011, first quarter of 2012, and “any minute now.”  This speculation occurs with every expected new model, so as you can see, there is no telling when it will suddenly be announced.  But based on Canon’s history of model releases, it is sometimes pretty easy to narrow the range down.  For example, the original 5D reigned for 3 years, and then was replaced by the 5D Mark II, which was announced on September 17, 2008.  Add three years to that, and you get an announcement of the Canon 5D Mk III expected in September 2011.  Not so difficult, really.  Except one has to take into account the disruptions to manufacturing and supply caused by the earthquake in Japan, so that could cause a delay of a month or three.  As equally fascinating is the speculation for what features the 5D Mark III will have. Most interestingly, some have wildly suggested that the line will be split in two with a stills version and a video version.  Not likely.  So what is there to improve on this amazing camera?  Well, several of its features can easily be improved, and hopefully there will be a few surprises added.

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The Canon 5D Mk II, patiently awaiting its successor, the Canon 5D Mk III – or is it the Canon 6D…

Currently the Canon 5D Mk II offers:

  • 21 MP Full Frame sensor
  • DIGIC 4 processor
  • Full HD video
  • 3.9 frames per second continuous shooting
  • ISO 100 to 6400 (expandable to 25,600)
  • 3” high resolution LCD screen – non-articulating
  • 9 point autofocus system, all cross-type plus 6 assist points
  • 35 zone exposure metering system
  • Magnesium alloy body with weather sealing

Much of this can easily be improved upon, and in fact the current 7D already boasts several upgrades to these features.  The 5D Mark III will obviously take the best of the 7D and improve upon it in some areas.

Canon EOS 5D Mk III predictions:

  • 26 to 28 MP Full Frame sensor
  • Single or Dual DIGIC 5 processors
  • Full HD video at all the frame rates – plus many additional video features and options that videographers have been waiting for or use 3rd party firmware to obtain, but that I don’t know much about since I have yet to enter the video world.  But I can assure you that the 5D Mk III is going to be a videographers dream, perhaps with RAW video.  Perhaps it will even be able to autofocus full time in video mode.
  • 7 frames per second high speed continuous shooting.  I’m not sure of the mechanics of it but it seems that the large mirror flipping up and down is an impediment to a super fast fps, but Canon has done it both on previous film cameras and in the 1D line.  So hopefully it will be significantly higher than the current 3.9fps.  It will definitely boast an improved maximum burst rate (more JPEG or RAW frames captured before the camera pauses to digest them).
  • Ability to customize Continuous Low and High settings so that you can choose your own rates. Please, please, please.
  • ISO 100 to 12,800 or more, and then expandable – while the ISO performance of the 5D MkII is already stellar, the new one will boast even more improved high ISO performance (less noise at high ISOs)
  • 3” very-high resolution LCD screen – Non-articulating?  Articulating?  Touch screen?  It seems that an articulating screen is the way to go for any camera now, but will Canon hold off with putting this on their higher end models?  Touch screen is definitely coming to dSLRs, but will it be on this one?  …maybe, probably not.
  • 19 point (or more) autofocus system, all cross-type, with numerous configurations and customization options, as taken from the 7D – this desperately needs to be improved in the 5D, and the technology is already there in the 7D.  Canon will definitely add the new Autofocus menu system of the new 1D X to make configuring and taking full advantage of the AF system much easier – as opposed to the autofocus menu and C.Fn options on the 7D which make it a bit complicated.
  • Improved 63 zone+ exposure metering system – it will definitely boast an upgraded exposure metering system, perhaps the current 63 zone system, but probably even a bit improved.
  • Magnesium allow body with weather sealing – already has this, not much improvement required.

Additional features:

It will certainly have a several new menu and custom function settings, hopefully including some additional control over Spot, Center-weighted, and Partial metering, like the ability to change the size of the area metered and the ability to link it to the active AF point.  Plus the new Autofocus menu system similar to the 1D X.

Oh yes, and the HDR fans would appreciate more latitude in auto exposure bracketing, such as perhaps 5 exposures over 5 to 9 stops. And maybe some more fluorescent white balance options like Nikon offers.

It will likely and hopefully retain the CF card and the LP-E6 battery.

Built-in GPS or wi-fi?  This will eventually be in all cameras, and maybe this one will have these features.

So, there are my best guesses. Be sure to follow the rumors at Canon Rumors to find out when the 5D Mk III may come out, particularly the 5D Mk III category. And learn about my Canon 7D Mk II predictions in this previous post.

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