Canon 5D Mark III vs Mark II Specs Comparison

Canon 5D Mark III vs Mark II Specs Comparison

The 5D Mark III has a lot in common with its predecessor Mark II, but there are also some significant changes and improvements at the same time. Canon apparently listened to its customers and worked on some of the issues that Mark II received lots of critics about like the AF system and the continuous shooting speed, and added some minor improvements in order to fine tune the system to satisfy the professional needs.

Lets check the specs and list what has been improved/changed over Mark II:

Canon 5D Mark III Improvements/changes vs the 5D Mark II:

  • Sensor Resolution 22.3 MP vs 21.0 MP: 1.3 MP difference may be insignificant for most but what is more important is that Canon claims to retain more detail at High ISOs which can make a big difference
  • Digic 4 vs Digic 5+: With every new version of Digic, we see obvious improvements over the previous one especially in processing speed and JPEG quality thanks to faster chips and improved algorithms.
  • ISO Range ISO 50-102400 vs ISO 50-25600: With Mark III, ISO can be adjusted up to ISO 102400. Canon claims 2 stop better High ISO performance over Mark II. We don't have enough samples to evaluate this yet but an improvement is definitely expected.
  • AF System 61 points vs 9 points: The improvement in the AF system is not limited to number of focus points as we know Canon used the same system it utilizes in Canon 1D-X, it's most complex AF system so far. Mark II's AF system has been criticized by many professionals and Canon listened to them.
  • Screen Size 3.2" vs. 3.0": Besides the increase in size, Canon also reduced reflectivity of the LCD for better usability under strong light with the new Clear View type screen.
  • Viewfinder Coverage %100 vs %98: This is a must-have for professional use in my opinion, good to see this improvement. Mgnification ratio remained the same though (0.71x).
  • Continuous Drive 6.0fps vs 3.9fps: Canon 5D series is not popular among sports shooters (they mostly prefer 1D series) but speed increase is always welcome and may surely find usage for many photographers, you never know when you will need it.
  • Video Resolution Options: I won't go into details here, all I can say for now is that 5D Mark III offers more options in video department compared to Mark II.
  • Exposure Compensation ±5 EV vs ±2 EV
  • AE Bracketing ±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames) vs ±2 (3 frames): Mark III offers extended bracketing options which is quite handy for HDR shooting.
  • Added: Dual Slots for CF and SD cards: Dual slots is a must for a professional camera in my opinion
  • Added: Silent Shutter mode taken from 1D series
  • Added: Built-in headphone socket for audio monitoring
  • Added: In-Camera RAW conversion
  • Added: In-Camera HDR shooting
  • Added: Electronic Level Displays in the viewfinder and LCD
  • Added: Locking Mode Dial
  • Added: Chromatic Aberration Correction

Canon has also made some changes in the layout of the controls and the shape of the body. Now body and layout looks more like the EOS 7D wtih the changed On/Off Switch, locking mode dial lever, live view/movie controller, and the addition of a customizable M-Fn button beside the shutter release.


There are hints that Canon will continue producing 5D Mark II, and the price is stable around $2.200 these days. MSRP for the Mark III is $3.500 so the price difference is huge! It is too early to judge the Mark III but for the time being;

  • If you don't need the fast and complicated AF system of the Mark III and 1-2 stop better High ISO capability is not crucial for what you shoot, buy 5D Mark II (or don't upgrade if you have one)
  • If you are a professional who needs a faster and more customizable AF system and better High ISO capability, and money is not an issue, definitely go for the 5D Mark III
  • If 22.3 MP is not enough for you, take a look at the new  36-MP Nikon D800/D800E

Order Canon 5D Mark III at Amazon

Order Canon 5D Mark II at Amazon

Order Canon 5D Mark III at B&H Photo

Canon 5D Mark II vs Mark III Specs Comparison Table

Canon 5D Mark III vs Mark II Comparison

Copyright © 2012 DSLR PASSION. All Rights Reserved.