Canon 5D Mark III First Impressions Review$3,499.00
The menu on the 5D Mark III is nearly identical to the one found on the new Canon 1D X, save for the additional options that the Mark III does not have. The menu is organized into tabs, with pages nested within each tab. This lets you navigate the menu from page to page, rather than having to scroll down through dozens of options to find what you need.
As with the 1D X, the Canon 5D Mark III's menu is heavy on the options. The camera specifically has an incredible amount of autofocus control, letting users save up to 6 "case-based" autofocus sensitivity settings depending on the type of subject they are shooting.
It's that level of control that will appeal to professional photographers, though the menu should look familiar (if seemingly infinitely more complicated) to anyone who has used a Canon DSLR in the last three years. There are still some hiccups (the multi-function button still only has a limited amount of options that it can be set to, for example), but overall the Canon menu is still ahead of most of the competition in terms of design and usability for shooters of all levels.
Ease of Use
While we don't expect many newcomers and novices to flock to the 5D Mark III as their first DSLR, the camera could very well appeal to experienced photographers and videographers alike. The control similarities between the 5D Mark III and 7D are surely going to make many users consider jumping up to a full frame camera that handles in such a similar fashion.
For professional users, though, the introduction of some new features are going to speed up workflows somewhat. The "Q" quality menu lets you easily adjust shooting settings on the rear LCD, rather than just the top display. The implementation of the 7D's start/stop and live view lever is a welcome change, while the RATE button should speed up workflows significantly.
In actual operation, the 5D Mark III's use of the 1D X's 61-point AF system will make shooting moving subjects even easier, as the AF sensor's latticed structure should better track moving subjects across a frame. Canon also specifically highlighted their use of M-RAW and S-RAW (smaller RAW files of reduced resolution) that, while something that's been around for some time, speeds up workflows by letting users have options between JPEG and full-resolution RAW.
Size & Handling
The 5D Mark III is a hefty camera, as you'd expect from a professional-level device. With the 5D Mark III in hand it's unlikely you'll forget it's there, and the idea of having it around our neck for days on end is already making us wince. The size of the camera body is not too unweildy though, and the grip accommodates the hand marvelously.
For a professional, though, the 5D Mark III is still significantly better to carry around than a 1D-series camera, and it's certainly quite capable overall. The camera is pretty easy to hold in a single hand, though a second hand to stabilize is certainly necessary when actually shooting.
The control layout is a great mix between the 7D and 5D Mark III, and we're glad Canon saw fit to bring so many of the best features of the 7D into a full-frame camera. The 5D Mark II, while great in its own right, really drew heavily on the 5D's design, and there have certainly been ergonomic advancements made since the 5D's release in 2005.
The locking mode dial, live view lever, start/stop record button, top plate power switch, and the addition of the "Q" quick control and creative control buttons all come from the 7D and only improve the 5D from a usability standpoint.