Jason Talks Gear - Canon 5D Mark III | Jason Scott Photography
Jason Scott Photography
Sarasota Wedding Photographer - Siesta Key Beach Portraits

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jason Talks Gear - Canon 5D Mark III

This is part of a series of blog entries written by Jason about the more technical side of Jason Scott Photography. 

Equipment update: We purchased a Canon 5D mark III camera body!
I used the original Canon 5D for several years. It was an outstanding camera and produced spectacular photos, but the 5D had been around a long time and was starting to show its age.  So, at the end of 2012, I sent my last 5D to the farm and upgraded to the 5D mark III.

But let me back up... In early 2012, I sold one of my two 5D cameras and I purchased two 5D mark II cameras from B&H photo. I was excited about having more modern cameras.  The 5D II has 21 megapixels compared to the 12.8 of the 5D.  The 5D II also shoots video and has a vibrating filter that shakes dust off the CCD.

For the most part though, the 5D mark II has been a disappointment.  All those extra megapixels haven’t necessarily translated into significantly better photos.  At most print sizes, I can’t tell any difference.  Only on huge prints (24x36’’ and larger) does the mark II stand out against the original. (The photos still look great, just not much different than what we were producing before with the 5D!)

Like the original 5D, the 5D mark II has a less than perfect auto focus system.  The mark II does a poor job tracking moving subjects and has a slow frame rate. So, it works great for weddings and posed formals and family portraits, but is not a great choice for photos of moving kids or pets.

Since the 5D mark II was so disappointing, I was VERY skeptical when I heard about the Canon 5D mark III.  On paper the mark III looks very similar to the mark II, but it costs over $1,000 more.  With high apprehension, I ordered a mark III and put it up next to my mark II.   

The 5D mark III vs 5D mark II

The 5D mark III is better – much much better.  Here’s why:

The 5D mark III not only has a 61 point auto focus system compared the to 9 points on the mark II, but the auto focus is MUCH more accurate, especially when you are tracking moving subjects using the “predictive AI Servo” auto focus mode.  This superior auto focus, combined with a higher frame rate (6fps), produces a much higher number of usable photographs.

The 5D mark III is able to capture great photos of running kids and dogs.  Up until now, I have been using the 1D mark III (the 1D NOT the 5D) for any fast moving subjects, but the 1D mark III only has 10 megapixels and as more and more families lean towards ordering candid beach portraits vs posed in large sizes for their walls, it is tempting to offer the impressive 22.3 megapixels of the 5D mark III.  

So far,  all of my testing on the 5D mark III has gone very well. Here are some photos from our day trip to celebrate our niece's birthday at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.  I shot everything on the 70-200 f/2.8 L IS.  The camera had no problem tracking a running two year old through moving water fountains and did a great job with the animals as well.  I’m fully confident that we can use it for action shots/candids during beach portrait sessions



The 5D mark III also has better high ISO performance than the mark II.  This upgrade will be very useful when working in dimly lit areas, like a church. This camera is going to take the place of the 1D as Allyson's primary camera at the end of the aisle during weddings. We'll also be using it for wide angle, fisheye, and macro shots. 


Although I was skeptical at first, the 5D mark III has turned out to be a great purchase and I'm excited about adding it to our gear list. We have some beach portraits and weddings coming up where we'll be able to put it to work. 

To find out more about the professional gear we use when we photograph Sarasota Weddings and Siesta Key Beach Portraits, click here.

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