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A DSLR that has a lot to live up to. Canon have announced the EOS 5D Mark III, the successor to the video shooting, game changing, much loved Mark II

It seems a long time ago that we first watched Vincent Laforet's Reverie and were stunned that a DSLR was able to shoot such incredible video. We think it would be fair to say that no piece of equipment has had such a change on the filmmaking and video industry over the last few years as the Canon 5D MarkII.

So the much anticipated replacement has a lot to live up to. Announced today, March 2nd, Canon have released the details of the Mark III although you won't be able to buy it until the end of the month. It also coincides with Canon's 25th anniversary of the of the first EOS which debuted in March 1987.

"We are extremely excited to announce the highly anticipated follow-up to our EOS 5D Mark II, a camera which has been called a 'game-changer' in most professional photography and videography circles. The EOS 5D Mark III will carry on that tradition, delivering better and more advanced features, helping our customers achieve excellent image quality for stills and video," stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies and Communications Group, Canon U.S.A.


The press information continues...

"The EOS 5D Mark III inherits many features from Canon's recently announced flagship DSLR, the EOS-1D X, including a DIGIC 5+ Imaging Processor and a high-performance 61-point High Density Reticular AF array with up to 41 cross-type points and five dual cross-type points available, depending on the lens in use. The enhanced processing power enables fast continuous shooting of up to six fps, exceeding the speed of the EOS 5D Mark II model by more than 50 percent, and with improved weather resistance the EOS 5D Mark III is a serious option for sports and wildlife photographers."


This camera isn't going to cause the shockwaves that went through the industry again. First of all although the controls on the back of the camera have been redesigned, the ergonomics are still a nightmare. Have the two Achilles heels of the 5D been fixed, rolling shutter and moiré? Canon have produced this rather odd demo video which would have been moiré hell and the first user videos have started to emerge.


Also don't forget that Canon recently launched the C300 which was the answer to everybody suggesting that they should make a large sensor 'traditional' video camera. All those people who bought expensive L glass now have a non-DSLR video product to attach them to.

Two items of interest to us editors is the fact that the camera will now shoot with a choice of H264 codecs, the intraframe (ALL-I) and the interframe compressed (IPB). Secondly the camera supports Rec Run and Free Run SMPTE compliant timecode. These two features are the same as the EOS-1D X although now we are on FCPX we don't need timecode do we???

Don't get us wrong, the 5D Mk III looks like it is a fantastic camera, but the marketplace has changed since the Mark II was released. Will we be swapping our Mk II for the new version here on the FCP.co campus? No, maybe we will wait for a full frame C300 in the future.

Here's an extract from the official press release with the new features and updated specs.

This new model captures 1080p Full HD video at 24p (23.976), 25p, and 30p (29.97) fps; 720p HD recording at 60 (59.94) and 50 fps; and SD recording at 30 (29.97) and 25 fps, giving cinematographers and videographers more flexibility and options for video capture.

The EOS 5D Mark III includes new H.264 video compression formats to simplify and speed up post-production work: intraframe (ALL-I) compression for an editing-friendly format and interframe (IPB) compression for superior data storage efficiency, giving professionals options to help achieve their ideal workflow. Like the EOS-1D X, the 5D Mark III also includes two methods of SMPTE-compliant timecode embedding, Rec Run and Free Run, allowing video footage from multiple cameras and separate audio recordings to be synced together in post production.

The new full-frame CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+ processor have enhanced the camera's image processing performance over the 5D Mark II, significantly reducing moir‚ and color artifacts in scenes with horizontal lines. The video footage produced will exhibit less moir‚ than seen in previous DSLR models, resulting in a significant improvement in HD video quality. Accommodating documentary filmmakers, and event videographers using EOS DSLR cameras, the 5D Mark III includes the ability to record video continuously up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds across multiple 4GB files. Long-form filmmakers will enjoy the camera's automatic file splitting in combination with the extended memory capacity offered by dual card slots.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III also includes manual audio level control with 64 levels, adjustable both before and during movie recording. There is also an automatic audio level setting, or sound recording can be turned off entirely. A wind filter is also included. Sound can be recorded either through the internal monaural microphone or via an optional external microphone through the stereo mic input. Notably, the EOS 5D Mark III is the first EOS Digital SLR to feature a built-in headphone jack for real-time audio monitoring during video capture.


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