Canon ruined my weekend.

It wasn’t from lack of customer service, or that I had a camera crap out on me whilst on assignment. Nor was it because a Camera body I had was defective.  It was something entirely different.

There I was, minding my own business while editing photos, and prepping them for my photoshelter achive, and a post from Josh at Hawaii Photo Rental came across my facebook feed.

“Confirmed, we have four Canon 5D Mark III cameras available to rent starting on Friday of this week.”

“Krap.” I said to myself, “I’m going to want to play with it for a weekend.”

I had been telling myself since the March 2, 2012 announcement of this highly anticipated camera that there was no need for me to buy it. There was absolutely no reason I would need a new camera, and that my 5D Mark II’s were more than enough. I decided, what the hell. I’ll rent it for the weekend.

First, A little back story on what I shoot with currently.

Switching over from a set of 1D bodies (1D3/1D2N) I was a little hesitant about dropping 5k on two new cameras.  Not to mention I was switching over from zooms to strictly primes. The 5D2 sensor was and is something very beautiful. It s a full frame 21.1mp CMOS sensor that has the ability to produce some amazing quality, vibrant images, both during the day and night.  My good friend Luke Sharrett posted on SportsShooter.com one day about how the full frame sensors “Attracted better light, and better moments.”  I laughed, but felt it was pretty true.

After purchasing two, they became my main work horse cameras, while I would occasionally supplement them with a 1D Mark IV.  Some things that bothered me about the 5D2’s were the responsiveness of the AutoFocus (AF) system. The slow 3.9 frames per second. and the beautiful 3.0-inch Clear View LCD (920,000 dots/VGA) screen that ‘lied’ to me about image sharpness.

But like all things, the 5D Mark II’s, like all other cameras, are tools.

Tools that we use for our respective jobs.  Wether it be an assignment for a magazine, newswire, newspaper, commercial client, or a wedding.  The Cameras we use are tools used to create images. Simple as that.  The 5D’s helped me understand composition, timing, and training myself to accept the ‘shortcomings’ and limitations of the tools we use, and to do my best training myself to overcome these limitations and not let them affect the way I performed my job.

First Impressions

I walked into the tiny shop on Waialae and was greeted by Josh and Natalie’s smiling faces.

“KENT!” they exclaimed (at least in my head that’s what it was like)

As Natalie processed my order, Josh was placing four 5D Mark III’s on top of his display case, prepping for a photo that he would later post to Facebook, driving traffic and more potential customers to rent a 5D from them.

He handed me the 5D I would be spending the weekend with.  After spending almost two years with 5D Mark II’s always in my hand, I instantly noticed the weight difference betweent he two cameras.  Yeah, to some the 5D Mark II felt like a toy but that didn’t matter much to me.  However, the 5D Mark III, weighing in at 33.5oz. compared to the  28.6oz of it’s predecessor felt solid and comfortable in my grip.  Not a brick like the 1D Mark IIN was, but not super light like my dad’s 7D.

The New Menu, and Button layout

Menu images © CanonUSA

First things first. I needed to setup the camera to my usual 5D settings so I could be at least comfortable with it and focus on creating images with it while putting it through it’s paces. Canon did a great job redesigning and reimplementing the menu.  Making it a bit more intuitive and a bit easier to use.  However, being a typical guy, I didn’t bother to read the manual, and found myself wasting time trying to find where specific settings are. If you want to read the manual, you can get a copy here. Courtesy of Canon Rumors.

Having to work on Friday, I didn’t have much of a chance to go out with the camera and test it out, so I used it as a good opportunity to familiarize myself with it’s controls and custom functions. Saturday, I was itching to get out and shoot.

Taking it out for a spin

Having gotten to setup the camera as closest to the operations of my 5D2’s  I proceded to head out the door with Geena and my good friend Jayson to Waikiki for some good ol’ feature hunting. Below are a set of images from that Saturday.


Trying something different. However, the 5D3 files have some crazy dynamic range.

Waikiki Sandtanline?

Reflections come out pretty nicely. but thats easy to do with the 5D2 as well...Files have crazy dynamic range though...

Another Reflection. This time I cropped a Horizontal to a vertical. Files are really nice.

Metallic Bros.

First impressions? having 61 Autofocus points rocked my sox off. Thank god they didn’t stick with the same AF system…AGAIN.

Having walked around Waikiki for about 3 hours, I though I gave the 5D a good run through.  Sometimes I noticed were that instances of missed moments due to the camera not locking focus and not firing at the moment I wanted it to. It might be a custom function I missed due to the new menu layout, not to mention, I really don’t understand the new AF menu system (See the menu picture from earlier.)

Missed the focusing on this moment. The White dude in the center was right where the focus point was.

Probably shoulda read the Manual.

Another issue I had was that Canon changed the way you zoomin to check pictures’ sharpness, and the way you digitally zoom in to check your focus in live view mode.  Aside from revamping the menu, they changed soe of the buttons around. I love that they added a ‘Rate’ button. But, right now at least, I don’t enjoy using the Magnifying glass button to check focus while shooting video.

High ASA
Having the ability to shoot at high ASAs/ISOs was something I really appreciated with the 5D Mark II. With the Mark III, it gets even better. Check the images below.

University Avenue. ASA16000 f/2, 1/200th sec. 7:15pm

Salt Lake Parking Lot. ASA16000 f/1.2 1/500th.

I spent two nights pushing the limitations of the Mark III’s high ASA capabilities, and there is only one work to really describe it.

SMOOTH.

Silky smooth, buttery smooth…Canon really out did themselves with the high asa capabilities on this camera.  Honestly though, I can’t think of a reason why a consumer would need to have such amazeballs ASA capabilities, but for journalism/editorial work, it can and will come in handy.

It’s like practically seeing in the dark.

Canon finally added in HDR and Multiple Exposure to its cameras. Check out the quick handheld HDR I shot on my way to judge some high school portfolios.

I didn’t really do a thorough testing like you see on some sites like Engadget (Review by Zach Honig), I had the camera for a couple of days and didn’t have any gigs lined up to really test it out.  I took it out for a casual spin and the opinion mentioned above is merely what I got from playing with it for a couple days.

To sum it up, the 5D Mark III is everything I had wished for in the 5D Mark II.  Solid build and feel, great autofocus, and superb image quality.  Would I rent this camera over the 1D Mark IV? Probably.  9 out of 10 times I’ll say yes to the 5D3 over the Mk4, and for renting it for 3 Days for $185USD, is better than spending $109/day for a 1F Mark IV.  All in all, its a great camera that will be loved by professionals and consumers alike.  But, you don’t have to take my word for it.  Give it a test run, rent it from Hawaii Photo Rental today!

Will I buy one? YES.

So yeah, Canon did it again. They found yet another way to separate me from my ‘hard earned’ money.  They created probably one of the best cameras I’ve had the pleasure of using.  I felt the two 5D2’s I had were perfect for what I was doing.  Now, I WANT a 5D Mark III.

Thanks Canon, for ruining my weekend.

All Images and text, unless otherwise noted, ©2012 Kent Nishimura – Honolulu, HI based photojournalist | www.kentnishimura.com

  1. great post kent

    loving the dynamic range

    did u make any prints ?

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