According to Popular Photography magazine, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is “the best low-light DSLR we have yet tested. A near perfect tool for the still shooter, it can double as a top gun for the videographer” (Jan 2013 issue, p. 58). Pop Photo‘s top three cameras for 2012, all full frame digital SLRs, are the Canon 5D Mark III, the Nikon D800, and the Sony Alpha 99. So why did they pick the 5D MkIII as the best of the best?
It wasn’t based on resolution. The Sony has a little more resolution, and the Nikon has a lot more. It came down to “the best balance across all imaging factors”, including low light quality at high ISO settings. Pop Photo came up with these comparative noise level results:
Canon 5D Mk III: “Low or better noise” up to ISO 12,800.
Nikon D800: “Low or better” noise only to ISO 800.
Canon 5D Mk III: “Unacceptable” noise at ISO 51,200.
Nikon D800: “Unacceptable” noise at ISO 12,800.
I have been shooting with the 5D Mark III for several months, and I am in low light heaven. I do a lot of hand held shooting of events in low light without flash. I can use ISO settings much higher than I ever could before and still get good image quality. If you are shooting with Canon gear and thinking about upgrading to the Canon 5D Mark III, it is time to take the plunge.
If you are shooting Nikon or Sony gear, should you throw in the towel, sell your gear, and buy Canon? Of course not. Another magazine or web site could easily pick a different model and brand as the best of the best.The Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha 99 are both first rate cameras capable of doing beautiful imagery, especially at the lower ISO settings. You could go broke chasing after the highly praised camera model of the moment.
You can order all three of these cameras (and others) at my photography store which is powered by Amazon.com’s great prices, fast delivery, and excellent service.