Does the Canon 5D Mark III belong in the DSLR Hall of Fame? We’ve cast our final vote.


posted Monday, January 28, 2013 at 10:33 AM EDT


No one was voted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame this year, mainly due to the taint of performance enhancing drugs. But when it came to adding another model to the pantheon of legendary DSLRs, the Canon 5D Mark III -- introduced last spring -- earned IR's full support in just its first year of eligibility. And, yes, you can call the Canon 5D Mark III a mid-range DSLR on steroids, and we have no problem with that.

As one of the true superstar DSLRs launched in the past year, the Canon 5D Mark III deserved close scrutiny, and it's lived up to our high expectations. Replete with new features, the Canon 5D Mark III's most important ones are its full-frame sensor, whose resolution Canon kept to a conservative 22.3 megapixels, and its fast and accurate autofocus system that was brought over from the Canon 1D X. The image quality we see is good enough that we can say Canon's covered the right bases first, so you needn't worry too much about image quality, even as ISO rises.

There are issues, as with any system, including more limited dynamic range by comparison, and default settings for noise reduction and sharpening are a bit extreme in JPEGs, but most of that can be worked around or avoided by shooting raw. And while we wish the EOS 5D Mark III included a pop-up flash, the camera's low-light performance is stunning, so shooting in ambient light is easier than ever.

Our comprehensive, exhaustive review includes our own hands-on take of the Canon 5D Mark III, two separate shooter's reports from professional photographers, and of course our detailed, objective testing of image quality and camera performance conducted in the IR lab.

Read why we think the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is such a special camera that it's a safe buy regardless of how you'll use it. It's easy enough for enthusiasts to capture stunning family portraits and travel photos, but sophisticated enough to satisfy the demands and needs of the pros.