PROS / This camera offers more cross-type focus points than most.
CONS / Dynamic range is relatively poor at just 11.7 Evs.
VERDICT / The Canon 5D Mark III is an excellent choice for those already invested in the Canon ecosystem. It offers top-notch shooting performance and a solid look and feel. Although competing brands can offer better image quality, the difference is not enough to justify a switch.
For many Canon-touting photographers, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is regarded as the go-to DSLR camera for field shooting. It's ergonomic, quick and comfortable to shoot with; plus it is compatible with Canon's many full-frame lenses. It offers solid autofocus and good image quality, though it lags behind the competition in some respects.
Image quality certainly isn't a big problem for the 5D, and it offers a lot of potential to produce professional-grade photographs. Despite being vastly better than the majority of cameras out there, however, the 5D cannot quite match the extreme image quality of cameras like the Nikon D810 or D750. While its sensor tests are excellent, its competitors offer some astronomical numbers that are difficult to beat.
In DxOMark's sensor tests, its 22.3 megapixel sensor hovers at right around average in every category. For color depth, it offers a respectable 24 bits, which, give or take a point or two, is pretty much the same as everything else. For dynamic range, however, the 5D takes a bit of a hit, offering only 11.7 to the category average of 13.3. Finally, its low-light performance is average at 2293 ISO, though the best professional DSLRs beat it by as much as 800.
Shooting performance for the 5D is excellent for the vast majority of shooting scenarios you'll encounter. It boasts rapid and accurate autofocus with 61 points – a whopping 41 of which are cross-type points. For continuous shooting, the 5D also offers up to 6 frames per second, which is a standard speed for professional DSLRs. Battery life, however, is relatively weak, offering only about 950 shots per charge.
With a comfortable grip, easy-to-reach buttons and a large optical viewfinder, the 5D is very well designed and should be more than satisfactory for most shooters. However, there isn't anything particularly innovative in its design, and those seeking design features like a built-in flash or an articulating screen will likely be better suited with another camera.
The 5D Mark III is one of Canon's premier full-frame DSLRs, and for this reason, it's strange to see it lag behind the competition. Despite its shortcomings in sensor tests, battery life and additional features, it remains a good option for professional photographers – especially those with a considerable investment in Canon lenses.