Canon 5D mark 3 review/reel

I got the opportunity to use the Canon 5D mark 3 for a week. I love and hate it.

Right off the bat it’s clear that the latitude is largely improved. At least a few stops… we shot a short with this camera up in Arrowhead and never had overexposure issues with the bright snow. If we used the mark 2 then half of our shots would have been thrown out.

Second best thing about this camera is the quality of the new compression. (you can select normal or high-quality compression) I have been staring at the footage, trying to decipher exactly what makes it so much more beautiful than either the 60D or mark 2 but cannot pinpoint it down. All I know is that it’s there, my cinematographer agrees as well. It has also been causing me much more lag in premiere/FCP X which is odd considering that it’s the same h.264 compression as the other canon generations. Grading is much easier and flexible but not on the same level as RAW from red or other cameras.

ISO is much cleaner and powerful. This is a beast in low light.

Audio has been vastly improved on every front and you can even watch sound levels while recording. Add that with the new headphone jack and built in wind filter and you’ve got a pretty viable set up without external recorders. We used a external recorder for everything on the short film but the in camera audio has been mostly good enough so we will be using 80% on camera audio and 20% external for the short.

Now why the heck would I hate this camera?

Hate is a strong word, let’s go with frustrated.

The zoom/focus check has been MOVED from the left top corner to the right side. Why they did this, I have no idea! Taylor, my DP, is left handed and even he hates this change.

What’s the big deal about that?

With all the previous DSLRs we could point the camera, hand on the focus barrel and the other finger on the zoom so checking focus before recording took half a second. Now however, I will have to move my hand over to the right side and press the button then move my hand back over to the left side hoping that I didn’t move it out of focus.

Slight fix to this though- you can set the custom button to focus but still!

It would be amazing if we got an firmware update that allowed the zoom during recording, it’s always nice to double check especially when actors move out of position.

My second disappointment is that there’s still a crop/lag when you use a external monitor through the mini hdmi port. Is 1080p on my Lilliput monitor asking for too much? The new lcd monitor is amazingly crisp but obviously it’s no 7” screen.

My third and final gripe about this camera is that it didn’t deliver what we’ve all been asking and hoping for the past three years.


We’ve had the ability to shoot RAW pictures for longer than I can remember, why can’t we do the same for video yet?

More and more cameras are gaining this ability so don’t wait too long Canon. At the time of this writing, RAW cinema cameras include the digital Bolex, KineRaw, RED Scarlet/Epic/One, Sony FS 700, Apertus and some others I might have missed.

I’m sure more will be announced at NAB in a few weeks which I hope to be covering for this site. Stay tuned!

Threw together a fast edit of all the miscellaneous footage I shot while playing with the camera. It has some shots of the short we made… it’s already edited but there’s no soundtrack so I’m figuring that out right now. It’ll be released as soon as possible and I’m pretty excited about it because we got some pretty epic shots. For now here’s the reel-

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5 comments on “Canon 5D mark 3 review/reel

  1. who cares on said:

    I´m glad to see all this review is about video. Who cares… but isn´t a 5d a photographic machine?

  2. who cares on said:

    I´m glad to see all this review is about video. Who cares… but isn´t a 5d a photographic machine?

  3. Austin on said:

    Yes, the 5D was designed as a camera for photography not cinema but with the release of video mode in the mark 2 demonstrated it’s power as a video camera. Ever since we’ve seen an explosion of video dslrs. The biggest advantage of the dslrs is the image quality you get at this price and interchangeable lenses.

  4. Nice review – I wanted to get a C300, but at the moment, financially the MK3 is the only viable option – it’ll be a great tool to learn more about digital, shoot VTs/ Promos and to gradually build up glass that I can use on other cameras in the future. Thanks for taking the time to write the review from a shooter/ DP point of view

  5. PS. Do you use Leitax mounts?

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