05.24.12 Photography Gear

Review : Canon 5D MIII

This post has been a long time coming. The main reason I waited in reviewing the Canon 5DMIII was because I wanted to use it...like, really, really use it. I wanted to use it in low-light situations, gauge the LCD screen in full sun, travel with it, and shoot a handful of engagements and weddings before I gave my opinions. However, if you'd like the abbreviated version, here ya go: I wanna make out with this camera and wear his varsity jacket.


85mm f/1.2 1/1000 200 ISO

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know I started my photography business photographing my first wedding with the Canon 20D in 2006. I upgraded to the Canon 5D in 2008 and later upgraded to the Canon 5DMII in 2010. Part of the reason I jumped at the 5DMII was because of the higher ISO capabilities, the video capabilities, the larger LCD screen, and what I hoped would be a better focusing system. Because I frequently shoot wide open (me and f/1.2 are long-lost camp buddies who sewed our initials onto each others' pillow cases in the summer of '94), I craved a focusing system that allowed me to maximize what I could do with great glass. The MII's focusing system wasn't an upgrade from the 5D and I actually preferred the color profiles from the 5D as opposed to the MII.

Either way, I used the 5DMII and enjoyed the video capabilities as an addition to the brand with the installments of Shooting Star.


85mm f/1.8 1/160 250 ISO

When the 5DMIII was announced, I immediately placed my order at Adorama and it arrived on my doorstep a couple days later. To be honest, I was a little intimidated by the new Menu layout and the focussing system. Yes, the FOCUSSING SYSTEM. I had to use cap locks because if you were sitting in my office, I'd be shouting in your face with a Puerto Rican accent that sometimes appears when I'm excited. The focussing system is beautiful, glorious, and makes me think Paula Dean is sitting on my sensor because when it locks in, it's like BUTTER.

Both the 5D and the 5DMII have a nine-point focus system, but the 5DMIII has a 61-point focus system. What this basically means is the focus points are magical now. No, really...have a looksie...


In all seriousness, because I was limited to the nine focus points on the MII, I was constantly focusing and recomposing my shot. Now that I have 61 options, it has radically changed my approach and yielded many more tact sharp photos. It took me a bit to learn how to quickly change my focal point while shooting on the fly, but it's slowly becoming second nature and totally worth the results.

The color profile for the MIII is vastly improved from the MII and most of the time I love the color straight out of camera (using the Standard Picture Style) when properly exposed, so these two things alone made my investment worthwhile. The added bonus was the gnarly 16000 ISO (although I have yet to have used it over 2000 ISO because when shooting wide open, even minimal light is just enough to capture the mood and moment) and though I hope I don't have to use it, it's nice to know I have it in a tough situation. At a recent wedding in Cancun, I shot without flash just past sunset using the just videographer's light to illuminate my subjects...


50mm f/1.2 1/100 1000 ISO

Even in strongly backlit situations, the focus is vastly superior to the 5D and 5DMII and I don't have to work as hard to get the shot I want. This was the only photo I took in this position because it locked in immediately and was completely in focus...


35mm f/1.4 1/2000 160 ISO


I'll end this review here because if I go on, I'll start talking about how I might tan my camera and enter it into a pageant because it's so worth of a Ultimate Grand Supreme crown and sash. Of course, it's always important to remember the camera doesn't make the photographer...the photographer makes the photographer. You don't need fancy gear to start a business or pursue your dreams and don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. This post was written merely to express my opinions, albeit silly and light-hearted. If you're looking for a legit techy review, simply Google what you're looking for and it'll pop up. For those who appreciate butter, unicorns, and tanning, this one's for you.

Stay Fabulous,
j*
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Jim - We've been using Nikon D700's forever it seems like, but are thinking of making the jump to Cannon. I just can't get on board of the D800 or D810.  07.01.14 - 2:02pm
Austin Moore - I've been taking pictures for a couple of years now and I use then canon eos xti. It was my first camera untill now. I just bought the canon 60d a few days ago and I'm waiting to for it to arrive. I don't know much but since I started using my first DSLR camera a have learned so much but yet when I read more of J* reviews and articles it just makes me realize how much more I have to learn. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your blog post. Your work pushes me to not give up and to keep on learnig and to do what I love most. Thank you so much!!! Austin.   02.23.14 - 4:39pm
Nicole - amazing camera!!! have you ever tried out the nikon d800? can't find any reviews that compare it to the Canon 5DMIII in a realistic way like this post..  08.18.13 - 4:50pm
Uj - I still use a 5d and love it's colours and the special look I get with it even over my 5dmkii. Mkii looks exciting but my 5d classic is just going strong as ever. Will wait a bit more :)   08.07.13 - 4:04am
Matthew Saville - The 5D mk3 is the only way to go for wedding photographers! I absolutely hated the previous 5-series cameras and whenever I had to shoot weddings with them it involved a lot of cursing, I'm not gonna lie. (I usually shoot Nikon) With the 5D mk3, the playing field is finally level when it comes to shooting at fast apertures. Actually Nikon doesn't have f/1.2, so say what you will hahaha. :-P   02.19.13 - 8:19am
Rose - Jasmine, I learn so much by reading your blogs--I love photography but have not made the leap for business. Keep on doing the great things you do.   09.17.12 - 3:51pm
Brittani Gonzalez - Oh jeesh.. lol I was happy with the fact that the Mark II is now the cost of what my 7D was, and after reading this, i may just have to wait... =) toooo pumped!!   09.06.12 - 11:38am
Kathy - so excited to be getting mine soon. Thanks so much for the review  09.05.12 - 10:40pm
Lori - OMG I feel EXACTLY the same way, and I love your focusing point graphic!!  09.05.12 - 9:31am
Surrey wedding photographer - Thanks for the review. Like a lot of people, I dislike the AF on the Mk11. So It looks like I might be treating myself to the Mk3.  08.07.12 - 7:42am
Gertrude - I needed this buttery review! i've been shooting with the 7D for about a year now & almost bought the MarkII last week, but a friend of mine (with the mark ii) told me that if i really wanted the superior upgrade it would be the MarkIII & that i should hold out until i can afford it b/c it will rock my world...this post sealed the deal for me. my next big investment will be the Mark III & i cannot wait!!  06.18.12 - 12:51pm
Dani Davila - Fantastic review! amazing camera!  05.30.12 - 4:09am
Cayton Heath - Normally when I read reviews I get so bored by the wordiness I pretend to staple imaginary staples into my forehead!! But when I was reading your review I laughed so hard a tear came out!! Thanks for starting my day with unicorns and your wonderful cheery completely understandable self!! :)  05.27.12 - 6:17am
Wedding Photography Melbourne - It's the focussing points that are going to make me ugrade. I can't wait!  05.27.12 - 3:57am
Sophie - Fantastic review. You should make a commission for all the people you've probably convinced with your unicorns!! :)  05.26.12 - 7:59am
Mark Nabong - Wait hold on.. I rented the Mark III last weekend and fell in love. Omg. I saw the unicorns, comets, and rainbows too! I thought I was trippin boo, I guess not. :)  05.26.12 - 7:00am
Julianne Fishell - I *just* got mine on Wednesday and am in love. Had the 5D and skipped the Mark II so I'm loving the big LCD as well. My only complaint is that the focus points are black instead of red when I am moving them around with the joystick so they can be hard to see.   05.26.12 - 6:16am
Lydia - No need to Google, my 5D Mark III is amazing, and your review was perfect!  05.26.12 - 12:46am
Fizmoo - I have mine since 2 month. I upgraded from the 5D2 and wow, I love it too ! It is so versatile. It contains all what I need from a camera : a clear viewfinder, a strong AF system, good high isos performances with beautiful colors up to 12800 isos, a customizable body, ...  05.25.12 - 11:57pm
Anja King - Unicorns on a diagram - only you, Jasmine! Bless you - this made my day :-) Much London Love.  05.25.12 - 6:49am
Ashley Goodwin - Your camera with the unicorns would totally win Ultimate Grand Supreme. "those other girls crazy if thu think they 'goin beat ME honey booboo childdddd"  05.25.12 - 12:02am
Tina Nandi - hehehehe! Love the unicorns!  05.24.12 - 10:52pm
Kirsty - Best.review.ever!! I NEED this camera :) xo K   05.24.12 - 10:44pm
1314 STUDIO - Thanks for the review.I agree with the focusing and the extra focusing points. 5DII is great and 5DIII just top it with so many aspects.  05.24.12 - 9:59pm
Matt Decell - Was like you was reading my mind girl! :)  05.24.12 - 9:35pm
Jennifer Rice - Jasmine, Jasmine :D This is why we all love you, haha! Only you could review a camera and not make it sound all techie and BOOORING. Thanks sooo much for the review! I have the 5D and the focus totally sucks, like being the guy that gets a swirly then gets pants-ed, THEN gets dumped in the trash can... upside down, kinda sucks. I've held off on getting another camera for fear of not getting the right one. Now I know what to do, and what to save for :) Love ya to pieces!  05.24.12 - 9:14pm
Ashley Link - you ROCK! i thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! :) you are the bomb.com, girl! :)   05.24.12 - 8:45pm
Mayra Fiori - I was about to purchase my very first camera this week. The Canon 5DMII. I know JD uses it and I figured it would be good enough for little ol' me =)The only reason I am able to afford it is because my friend works for Canon and I can purchase it at a very good discount. I can not afford the the MIII whatsoever. Not with a good discount....Ironically my friend said they're out of stock so I have to wait...I was a bit frustrated but now that you say the 5D is not much different perhaps it is a good thing I have to wait. Thank you for this =) Anyone out there volunteer for a suggestion between the 5D and 5DII?  05.24.12 - 6:42pm
LEOLAK - This post makes me wish I had the money to buy one and I have a Nikon lol! I love your sense of humour. Happy Thursday!  05.24.12 - 5:26pm
Arthur Janzen - Do you any issues with slow focusing using the 580EXII? For some reason a lot of folks are complaining about a possible glitch regarding this. Also, how was the focus when using the 85 1.2?   05.24.12 - 5:13pm
Charisa - LEGIT!  05.24.12 - 3:25pm
Jessica Vidmar Photography - thank you! My biggest beef with canon is the focusing system compared to Nikon who has had a bunch of focal points all along so I am saving up my money and hopefully one day I can get the MIII!!!!!  05.24.12 - 1:11pm
john parisi - Now you know how us Nikon users have felt for years :)  05.24.12 - 1:05pm
Christina Dely - Your 61 point focus diagram might just be my favorite thing EVER!!!  05.24.12 - 12:57pm
Kasia Dobosz - really love the review:D talking from heart that is what I'm looking for:D  05.24.12 - 12:52pm
Marlo Laney - Thanks for the Review. I absolutely LOVE the 61 point diagram. I LOL for Real. I love reading your posts.  05.24.12 - 12:47pm
rich - this is better than all those reviews that go into the super quirks and crazy techy stuff! thank you so much for posting!  05.24.12 - 12:47pm
Vir - Gracias!!! x la info tecnica. Siempre taaaan generosa.   05.24.12 - 12:10pm
Stephanie - Love it! Looks like I know what to save my pennies and dimes for now. :) I need more unicorns in my life.   05.24.12 - 11:48am
Todd - Jasmine, this was the best review of the mkIII I have ever read. Seriously. Doesn't matter that it's light on the specs, what matters is that you presented it in such entertaining way and it made me REALLY WANT TO BUY THIS CAMERA IMMEDIATELY!!!! ;-) Mahalo for the great review!  05.24.12 - 11:37am
Wendi - i LOVE to read your posts! You are a fantastic writer along with being an amazing photographer! You Rock!  05.24.12 - 11:37am
Victor Dizon - J* - love the review. Other than - it's great to hear reviews from amazing photographers - I like the non-techy approach because that's what clients really are. Most of them non-techy and love their pictures anyways... but us behind the camera are more picky with our shots because we have the product. Love it.  05.24.12 - 11:35am
Christy Tyler - You know I appreciate butter, tanning and unicorns!! :) Also - I reaaaaally can't wait until I can upgrade to this camera. The focus & recompose I'm constantly doing (and 20 shots to get ONE shot) with the mark ii makes me want to punch someone in the kidney. Okay, maybe that's extreme. But it drives me nuts! haha :)   05.24.12 - 11:30am
Bashar A. - Fantastic review, very readable and practical :)  05.24.12 - 11:15am
Glitterbird Tammy - AWWW,,, You're killin' me Smalls! I want this camera! I love the simplicity of this review and what you've pointed out was exactly what I wanted to know about the MIII - Dangit! I need a buttered unicorn to bring me some cash quick!   05.24.12 - 11:13am
Red Door Photographic - Nice review Jasmine! The 5DMIII looks amazing. I'm saving every penny I can for it. The creative compositing done by the photographer cannot be duplicated by an expensive camera...BUT...an expensive camera (and accompanying glass) will make any photographer look better.  05.24.12 - 11:11am
Nathan R. - Awesome Jasmine! You rock, and your work is breathtaking, as always :)  05.24.12 - 11:06am
Meredith Sledge - This is awesome!! I laughed so hard at your little focusing picture. Hahahahaha. Unicorns. Anywho, I wish I could afford this awesome camera but for now, I'll save for the Mark II. Thanks for sharing, though! This is fantastic to know!  05.24.12 - 10:57am
Amber - I loved reading your review, the Mk3 sounds amazing!! I can't wait for the day when I get that camera in my grubby paws! :)  05.24.12 - 10:53am
Tim Thompson - Even though I'm a Nikon shooter, I really liked your review! Your blog is always entertaining.  05.24.12 - 10:45am
Brenda Bailey - Sounds amazing...I've been practicing, and practicing, and..well, you get the idea~with my Canon T1i, for almost 3 yrs.. My goal was a 5DMII, guess I'll have to save a little longer for the 5DMIII..Thanks for the info!  05.24.12 - 10:41am
Regina Chayer - "It took me a bit to learn how to quickly change my focal point while shooting on the fly, but it's slowly becoming second nature and totally worth the results." Hey Jasmine, can you elaborate on how you do this on the fly?   05.24.12 - 10:39am
Pam McLellan-Zmija - I have long awaited this camera as well, so much that I skipped the Mark II and held out with my 5D classic because I knew I was going to go for it when this baby came out! I am IN LOVE with it as well. It has everything I have been looking for in a camera and is AH-MAZING!!! Gorgeous photos - isnt the low light and focus just breathtaking! I could go on and on and on about this camera... my new baby!  05.24.12 - 10:36am
Casey Blake Photography - I am crying on the inside because I JUST upgraded to the 5DMII (from a camera so embarrassing I won't even tell you...) and I should've just waited for the MIII!!!! Gosh darnit! I really can't stand the 9-point focus and have always been jealous of my friend who has a Nikon with a vastly superior focusing system...why is Canon just now catching on to that?! AFTER I made my big upgrade?! *sigh* oh well. Thanks for the review! And for making me want something else now :/ kidding (sort of) love your work!  05.24.12 - 10:35am
Liesbeth - I currently own the 50D and I'm planning on upgrading to fullframe. Did it take you a long time to adjust to it?  05.24.12 - 10:34am
Lawrence Chan - lol yes, truly magical :P  05.24.12 - 10:32am
Marcia Ciriello - Hi Jasmine - Thank you for the review - I've done the 5D, and now shoot the 5DMII - I was going to buy the III - but then I heard about the light leak issue - any word on this? I assume they've resolved it? LOVE YOUR WORK! Best, Marcia   05.24.12 - 10:24am
em - you had me at the unicorns.  05.24.12 - 10:22am
Melanie Rose Prince - Jasmine - no camera retailer, review site, or other anything will ever trump this review. Canon should pay YOU. I'll get back to drooling now.   05.24.12 - 10:21am
jaimi allen - thank you for sharing your opinion and lens examples. I love my camera and the focusing system put me in debates, so thank you for adding that in and being specific with what you wrote :)  05.24.12 - 10:18am
Cristina Rossi - I totally love your abbreviation version, made me smile :-) Just got mine and I have yet to play with it properly, I will this weekend, can't wait. Awesome images!!!! Love love love xxx  05.24.12 - 10:17am
Maria, StudioSister photography - Love your lighthearted, quirky review! Now I'm craving pancakes - weird!  05.24.12 - 10:16am
charlene - Jasmine, thanks SOOO much for sharing your review on this new sexy camera! But what I'd seriously love some pointers on is how in the heck you manage to get such sharp photos shooting wide open!!!   05.24.12 - 10:16am
Julie Surette - I just started reading your blog! I love the advise you give. Thanks so much for this review!   05.24.12 - 10:16am
Melanie Rose Prince - Jasmine - no other camera review site will ever trump this post. Canon should pay YOU. Now, I'll get back to drooling.   05.24.12 - 10:16am
Carla Barnett - I always love your posts! You crack me up and at the same time manage to educate me or inspire me. thank you!!  05.24.12 - 10:15am
T. Peterson - Thanks for the useful review. I've already read all the technical reviews and camera battles, so reading a review that's a little more light-hearted is great! I bought into the Nikon system, so no switching for me, but your work, workshops, speeches, and business story is my inspiration no matter what gear you're using, so thanks...  05.24.12 - 10:14am
Misty - you make my morning happy....waiting on my camera!   05.24.12 - 10:13am
Shannon K. - This post isn't good for my compulsive tendencies. Mentally battling with myself right now over the fact that I don't NEED this camera. I don't NEED this camera. I don't NEED this camera. Okay. I do...but not until I can AFFORD it. But with this post, when I'm ready, I'll buy with confidence :)  05.24.12 - 10:11am
Hai Doan - J*, you've just killed me with this post... thank you so much for sharing... absolutely love butter, unicorns, and tanning. I'm just curious to know if you have ever tried the silent shooting mode. It's magical.  05.24.12 - 10:11am
Sara - I <3 my 5Diii, unicorn enhanced focusing is where its at.  05.24.12 - 10:10am
Rekeisha Dunlap - The unicorns really helped me understand the awesomeness of the canon 5d MIII  05.24.12 - 10:08am
Jordan - I LOVE this camera as well, but I never noticed the unicorns in the viewfinder... I'm going to grab my camera in a sec and take another look... ... ....... fascinating! They ARE real! Haha!! Yes this is truly an amazing camera that I think anyone serious about their photography or certainly any professional should own, though indeed the gear doesn't MAKE the shoot, but does make it MUCH MUCH easier!  05.24.12 - 10:07am
kristen holly - Lol! Love the review, especially the rainbows and unicorns :) I'm still getting used to the focusing system myself, but it definitely seems like a huge improvement!  05.24.12 - 10:07am
Leslie Davis - I'm always about butter, unicorns, & tanning ... :) great post!  05.24.12 - 10:05am
Kyle Bromley - Try only having 5 AF points! My F100 is cool like that.  05.24.12 - 10:04am
Ann Oleinik - Great, Jasmine! I have to say, your graphic on the focus system was 100% COMPLETELY ACCURATE. Canon should put that on their website, b/c it is exactly how I feel. Thank you!  05.24.12 - 10:01am
Kristin - So I have been saving for an 85 1.2 but am also DYING for the mark iii. After this rave review AND your love for your 85...If you HAD to pick one (for now) which would it be? I am starting to dive into weddings (they are now my favorite and the path I want to take) I currently have the 50 1.4, 16-35L, 70-200 (NON-IS Sigma) and 150 macro (also sigma) Where would you say I should invest the $2000? Oh and I currently have the mark ii with my backup being my 50D. Thanks girl! (or whomever else wants to chime in with an opinion! ;) )  05.24.12 - 10:01am
Martha Sachser - I'm in LOVE with mine :) And Im so happy I found a review that speaks to my heart. Thanks J!  05.24.12 - 9:59am
Deney - Judging by the focusing system you posted, it looks like you got the Lisa Frank x Canon collab version of the 5DMIII!  05.24.12 - 9:58am
Eunone L. Dorcely - I fell in love with my mkii but am now seriously considering a love affair.   05.24.12 - 9:57am
gina shanley - :::sigh::: I want the unicorns too!   05.24.12 - 9:57am
Karie Denny - I am salivating over here!!!!!! I know the photographer makes the photography, but I would really like to make photo babies with the markIII!! love this post. Have a great thursday jasmine. :)  05.24.12 - 9:56am
Nathan Hahn - I have been using mine for about a month, and it IS amazing. The best feature is the the AF rainbow unicorns and shooting stars. Those have really come in handy in tricky situations.  05.24.12 - 9:55am
Donna Boucher - You are so funny. I mean it!   05.24.12 - 9:55am
Kandise - I want one I want one I want one.  05.24.12 - 9:49am
Kitrin Jeffrey - Yes! Butter, unicorns, and tanning? It doesn't get any better than that. Well, maybe if you made a hot Ryan Gosling reference ;) I am just dying to get my hands on a MarkIII, but I'm thinking it's going to be a little while longer yet. PS - that focussing system scares me, jus' a lil' bit!  05.24.12 - 9:39am
mary dougherty - awesome review! haha i love it and the unicorns are calling me  05.24.12 - 9:29am
ashley barnett - I want my camera's focusing system to make me feel like I'm riding a unicorn!! No but seriously. Sigh. Can't wait to lovingly, delicately, kick the mkii to the back-up bag :)  05.24.12 - 9:13am
Yasmin Sarai - I appreciate the butter, unicorns, and tanning Jasmine. Thanks for this review!  05.24.12 - 9:12am
Life with Kaishon - I went from a rebel to a d90 and I really miss the canon color. I think it is the best : ) Your pictures are divine. So happy you are happy.  05.24.12 - 8:54am
sarah danaher - CAN'T WAIT TO GET MINE.   05.24.12 - 8:09am
Wesley - Love the review in the Jasmine style, and the focus points and unicorns are some 5d3 goodness. But Canon already introduced the 1Ds series, fullframe pro body's and alot of focus points and unicorns compared to the 5d2 :) I also love the fact that the 5d3 allows a second memory card, just plug in a 32 or 64GB and let your cam write jpg's to the second slot and you're "safe", perfect backup and in my opinion the next step in a professional workflow. The second card slot is one of the main reasons for me to step down from the 1Ds III to the 5d3. But the biggest question i have to ask.. is JD also getting an 5d upgrade or is he still playing with my little pony instead of 61point unicorns ? :)  05.24.12 - 8:03am
Lena Messana - OMG...RIGHT? Isn't this camera SWEET!!! I have been waiting for your review! :) I shot in the complete dark to sillouhette a couple, with just the DJ's pretty heart lights at around 1600 ISO...and it locked and snapped! I was ecstatic! So amazing. I haven't tested high ISO situations either other than to take a photo of my cat in the house where there was virtually no light.. (at 6400 ISO) and that was AMAZING. AND it works flawlessly with my 50 1.4. (One day maybe I will get a 1.2 - but I love to shoot close wide open, so that may not work for me! lol Leads me to dangerous options ha ha!) So a question that I have been asking 5D3 owners: Do you find any light leak instances? My model does fall into the leak model numbers - and I tested it when that cap test came out...and the exp does change.. BUT, I have yet to have a situation come up where it bothered me...so I guess I really don't notice if it is affecting the situation. The fix per borrowlenses.com was tape!! Canon used tape. Odd...so I will not be sending mine in for the fix. Enjoy your new camera! I know you will create amazingly tact sharp photos with that bad boy focusing system! :)  05.24.12 - 8:00am
Jeff Linn - ...maybe with a sprinkle of BACON. The proof is in your photographs. Very nice, Jasmine.   05.24.12 - 7:36am
The New Diplomat's Wife - I love unicorns. This could be a totally daft question, but are you really using all 61 points of focus on the fly? How? So used to to just using the center point and recomposing - which is great when my toddler can still still for another 10 seconds while i do that. Maybe a future post on how to make the most of multiple points of focus?   05.24.12 - 7:34am
DeEtte Viterbo - Jasmine, I have to say thank you for the funny post!!!! I too recently moved up to the 5D MIII from the 7D and now I'm dancing with the unicorns and stars while thanking the Canon guy for the 61points! Wishing you the best! :)  05.24.12 - 7:31am
pam - Funny, I did just read a very techy review this morning. I prefer yours, but then again, I am partial to unicorns.   05.24.12 - 7:13am
Katelyn James - I LOVE MINE TOO!!!!!!! No more of this "Nikon is the only camera with superb focusing" mess!! I'm so proud of my MarkIII! And my fingers are learning how to change af points too! I feel like I should do exercises each morning before a shoot just to get them ready!   05.24.12 - 6:57am
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