I picked up a slightly used 5D Mark III on 5-30-2017 and sold it on 9-5-2017. After having a Rebel XT, T2I, 7D and 7D M2 which are all 1.6x crop sensor cameras, I decided I wanted to get a full frame camera to take sports photos at night and in the gym. I also wanted it for portrait work someday, but mostly for the low light ability and reduced noise at higher ISOs on the football field for my son’s senior year. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made regarding photography for me. (Buying my 300mm F 2.8 was the best decision I ever made, also for working in challenging light and for sports, but that is a different story.)
Why does a Full Frame camera have less noise in the images? Physics. Larger sensors with larger pixels means more light hits the sensor or each pixel on the sensor, which means a full frame sensor can gather more data per pixel, render images with improved dynamic range with less existing light.
Does that mean a Full Frame Camera is best for you? Not at all, and it is not always best for me either. I will not be giving up my 7D Mark II with over 230,000 actuations on it any time soon, or until the 7D Mark III comes out if it is even faster with better image quality.
So why was the 5D Mark III a great camera for me, and why did I sell it only three months later? Well it is easier to say why I sold it. The buffer for sports shooting was why I sold it. At only about 6 frames per/sec the buffer would fill up before I hit ten seconds and I would miss shots. After 20-30 shots shooting JPG, yes practically holding down the shutter, I was hosed and had to wait for a few seconds for the buffer to clear, or shoot in slow bursts timing for key moments. If I shot RAW files… it would freeze up after three seconds or less and have to wait for the computer to write the images to the memory card.
Was the full buffer all bad? No, shooting in bursts and focusing on key moments is a great skill to practice and a skill that should be developed. But when your son playing football his Senior year, runs over half the football field, stiff arming defenders, and spinning away from tackles, that buffer was unacceptable. I wanted my 6 frames a second, or more, of the entire length of the run. After the third game, the 5D mark II had reached it’s limits that did not meet my needs, which is the only time I would buy a new camera. I wanted them sharp, well exposed, minimal noise, and I did not to miss a moment.
But the 5D Mark III was an incredible camera and I captured some wonderful images with it as I got to know it’s limits and mine using it. These are in order from the last one taken to images on the first day I had the 5Dm3.
I have all L lenses for my Canon cameras. Picked most of them up used, but I love to shoot with them. And the 5Dm3 just loved every piece of glass I owned. The Auto focus was a challenge to get used to, since it was slower than I was used to with the 7Dm2. Most of the dials and switches were very close to the 7Dm2, so learning how to configured the manual setting at anytime without looking, or even in the dark when I picked it up before sunrise was very easy.
In the three months I had the 5Dm3 I put about 16,000 shots on it and besides the buffer filling up and the slower focus with less focus points, it was a workhorse and helped me to have a great three months. Also helped me to slow down, and focus on technique again and gave the 7Dm2 a rest after working so very hard for me since purchased. (Still works like a champ. The 7Dm2 being faster at everything, had me a little spoiled with the speed of focus and 12 frames a second. And it was a great way to get into shooting Full Frame and appreciating the differences. If I was a wedding photographer, two of those would have been all I ever needed.
Well the Camera (5DM3) did not meet all of my needs. And the 5D Mark IV has an unlimited JPG buffer at 7 frames/second, and since I shoot most sports in JPG format I felt it would be a great fit. (It was and that will be another post.) I did consider the 1DXm2, but at over $5,000 and me taking photos for fun, it was a little hard to sell even to myself. It is a full frame and shoots 14 frames a second and I could really have used that a few times in the last three months, but for the price and image quality of the 5Dm4, it ended up being a great fit.
Check out more of my work at My web site www.carymcdonald.com and through Black Friday images are on sale. All purchases go to help pay for the cameras and future camera gear and all support is appreciated.