final rating

reviewed on
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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Image quality Fabulous low light performance, the reason I bought it. And exemplary in all other conditions too. great!
  • Video quality No comments
  • Battery life Not bad, not outstanding, so far at least. Maybe I'm still playing with settings too much. Not remarkably better than the Mk2 but then again who's complaining? good
  • Design and form factor Numerous small improvements add up to a real contrast with the Mark II. For example, the mode dial now locks so doesn't change accidentally. Feels better... great!
  • Durability No comments
  • Speed (start-up time, lag) Shutter lag, the one which really matters, is tiny. Feels instinctive, no delay. Seems odd that SLRs are so much faster (what with the mirror) but it's vital great!
  • Ease of use Improved ergonomics and better customisation make this a real step up great!
Detailed review
I bought this for the better low light performance but was very pleasantly surprised by the other changes over the Mark II. The new autofocus system is extraordinary and has already prompted, after just a couple of hours, a change in my way of working which previously has been the same since before autofocus even existed. I never found all those focus points useful until now.

Video controls are now more intuitive and sensible, the screen is a huge improvement, viewfinder overlay a massive step up, endless customisations mean I can make my camera the way I want it and can use it without thinking.

Congrats to Canon for being brave enough not to keep trying to stuff more and more megapixels in and focus on image quality. It is quite extraordinary how much it keeps improving.

Criticisms: the shutter release is very light on mine, I am accidentally shooting pics. I will get used to it I guess but would prefer if it was the same as the Mark II which I will keep on using. The image zoom has changed, annoying for the same reason. Little things, so far at least.

Overall I love it. The big, obvious, objection: absolutely crazy price. If I didn't need it for a project right now I would wait, and I suspect many others will do so. It's not twice as good as the Mark II but it's nearly twice as expensive. Silly.

UPDATE: almost 1000 shots in and still loving it. I occasionally switch back to my mk2 and the thing I notice instantaneously is the autofocus. I love the new multiple focus points and the ease of moving between them. I love them changing when I change the camera orientation. Focus accuracy seems better although still a long way from perfect and I have been manually focussing quite a lot.

Trigger still a little too light for me, tends to underexpose a bit (the Mk2 did this too) and not very consistent exposure even on consecutive frames. Silent mode a bit of a winner too - so far haven't woken the baby - and the increased lag is not really significant.

The LCD is a big improvement too - not that I care really (brought up on film, not desperate to check every shot) - but other people like looking and it does a nice job. Some of the new controls are annoying - I quite liked zooming the view the way it used to work, now much less intuitive.

Oh, and did I say? Sometimes the small things are the most important. The mode dial locks into position. You have to press the button in the middle to move it. Praise be for that simple change.
review history
Rated Battery life a 4
Edited comment on Battery life
Updated detailed review
Edited comment on Speed (start-up time, lag)
Edited comment on Design and form factor
Rated Speed (start-up time, lag) a 5