The Canon EOS 5D Mk III in 2012 became the successor of the revolutionary EOS 5D and the EOS 5D Mk II.

Many people are aware of the term DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) Cameras. These devices have become more popular over the last decade, as a lower cost, flexible entry point into programme making. Following the success of DSLRs cameras, a new category of DSLM cameras (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) and system cameras has developed.

These cameras do not have a folding mirror mechanism, but operate with a large sensor and interchangeable lenses. These cameras, as well as the DSLRs, are relatively inexpensive and easy to handle. They are fast, flexible, and easy to use. The storage media are widely available and data management is straightforward due to the use of largely established consumer formats. 

SDHC or SDXC cards, as well as memory sticks, or CF cards can be used depending on the model and required memory speed. There are models with 35mm full frame sensors such as the Canon EOS 5D MkIII DSLR. The large sensors allow a very cinematic look and enormous light sensitivities .

The sensor of the Canon EOS 5D MkIII provides a full HD 1920 x 1080 picture at 29.97, 25, and 23.976 frame rates. This video is encoded in intra- or inter-frame (IPB) using H264 in a .MOV container. The intra-frame coding triples the amount of data achieved by interframe-encoded files, but provides less computationally intensive decoding compared to the LongGOP interframe codecs.

Using an external recorder, the Canon EOS 5D MkIII records in uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 over HDMI. Internally, however, the camera records only in a colour sub-sampling ratio of 8 bit 4:2:0. Many broadcasters would not regard this as broadcast quality.

The camera uses CompactFlash Type I (UDMA compatible) or SD cards (SDHC / SDXC) memory cards.

In FAT32 format, the memory card has a file size limit of 4GB per clip. Upon reaching this file size, the video file is divided and recording continues.

It should be noted that because the 5D MkIII uses the 23.976fps frame rate variant, when recording sound separately, further processing is required for accurate 24p mastering.

The 5D MkIII also benefits from features such as 4K capability and higher frame rates.

The continued development of sensor technology, codecs, and filming capabilities of stills cameras makes them an attractive choice for many film makers on a budget. The form factor does make panning and tilting more complex, and the cameras are often supplemented with additional rigs and attachments to make them more like traditional cameras. However the flexibility of these cameras is incredibly popular, particularly with online content creators.

It’s possible to connect external recorders to the Micro-HDMI connection on many Digital SLR or DSLM cameras, however productions should take care with frequent plugging and unplugging, as this can cause damage to the mechanism. 

Canon EOS 5D MkIII Summary

  • Sensor type: full frame CMOS sensor (36x24mm), 22.3 Megapixel
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Compression: H264 intraframe (about 91MBit/s), inter-frame (about 31MBit/s)
  • Resolution and Frame Rates:
    HD 1920x1080 23.976p, 25p, 29.97p
    HD 1280x720 50p, 59.94p
  • Signal: Internal 4:2:0 8-bit, external via HDMI 4:2:2 8 bit
  • Storage media: SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card, CompactFlash type I / II
  • Interfaces: USB 2.0, Mini-HDMI type C