Way back when I first started getting really into my photography I decided that one day I would like to own a full frame, pro level camera. Being very good at justifying all my purchases, I held off buying one, thinking that I would eventually buy one once my photography was at a level that warranted the expense of a full frame camera. I even held off buying one in the great camera dropping debacle of 2010, a time when my photography probably was good enough to justify a full frame camera and I had the cash. Having held off until the release of the 5D Mark III, in many respects I’m glad that I waited. From all of the reviews (and my own experience of the camera) it is far superior to its predecessor, especially in terms of the focussing system. I’ve now owned my 5D Mark III for just over six weeks and I’m in love. This camera is my baby and there will be no going back to cropped sensors. Yes, it is an expensive camera, but compared with the 7D, my previous camera (and now backup), the image quality and performance of the camera is mind-blowing. The two massive improvements (again, compared with the 7D) are the focus and the low light performance. The Mark III is quite quick to focus, even when using lenses that take their time to focus, such as the 85mm f/1.2L. Once focussed, it remains tack-sharp, which means that when I’m shooting wide open (or close to it), my subject remains beautifully focussed.
Easily the biggest improvement on the 7D is the high ISO capabilities of the Mark III. One of the things that I’ve struggled with lately with the 7D, particularly when photographing events and weddings in dark locations, is the amount of noise (grain) that begins to appear in my images past ISO 400. ISO 800 is ok but anything beyond that looks terrible (in my opinion) and suitable only as a black and white image. When I started doing quite a lot of high ISO photography while on Phillip Island a few weeks ago, I was blown away by the lack of noise, even when shooting at ISO 1600 and 3200. The main reason for our trip to Phillip Island was to volunteer at and photograph the Connect 12 conference, run by the Christian Venues Association. The auditorium was quite dark, however with my Mark III, I was able to get away with using fairly high ISOs. Here are a few images to give you an idea of the performance of the camera…
f/2.8 at 1/640 sec ISO 1600
f/2.8 at 1/80 sec ISO 1600
f/2.8 at 1/640 sec ISO 3200
f/2.8 at 1/800 sec ISO 1600
As you can see, there isn’t a hint of noise in those images. This makes me a very happy photographer, especially when it comes to photographing weddings and events as I know that I can rely on my camera to perform well despite difficult lighting conditions.
It’s a big call, but it could be the best photography-related purchase that I’ve made. Although it’s a tough choice between it and my other babies, my 50mm f/1.2L and 85mm f/1.2L. Either way, I’m so glad that I did make the purchase as it is going to enable me to shoot in a way that reflects me and will meet my very high expectations of quality!
Hopefully all the camera-speak in this post hasn’t confused you if you are relatively new to photography. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions 🙂