When I first handled a Canon 5D MkIII I expected it would only be a matter of time before I bought one, its super fast and versatile AF, brilliant high ISO performance and quiet shutter made it a brilliant and compelling all round package which was difficult to ignore.
Yet I did not buy one.
I bought its cheaper little brother the Canon 6D.
Though perhaps that should be sister? as there is something slightly feminine about the 6D, compared to the 5D MkIII.
Lets have a look at the differences and I will try to explain.
1. Its AF is not as well featured as the MkIII
This is no deal breaker for me, the MkIII has AF which though cream of the crop verges on overkill, having features that though some may I probably will never use.
What is more in the few weeks I have owned a 6D I have been very happy with the AF in the 6D being a whole world better than the MkII, though you will see from this pretty comprehensive comparison over at ephotozine between the two camera's it is slower than the MkIII
2. It lacks the same level of weather sealing (depending what you read)
Seemingly a big deal but consider this, I have owned 5D MkI's and MkII's and have done all sorts of silly if not down right stupid things with them and they have never fallen victim to water or excessive dust intrusion - I'm not saying that it can't happen, just that it has never happened to me. There will be people who this matters to, who go to hostile environments for whom this will be a big deal, its just so far I'm not one of them.
3. The shutter.
It has clearly and somewhat superficially been hobbled by Canon in a somewhat half hearted effort to differentiate it from the MkIII and is expected to last a whole 50,000 cycles fewer. Having replaced two shutters in MkII's this really does not bother me as the replacement of shutters was done at a very reasonable cost by Canon.
The flash sync is 1/180th sec instead of 1/250th sec -1/3 of a stop that will not cause me to loose any sleep.
1/4000 instead of 1/8000 highest shutter speed - after thinking long and hard about this I came to the conclusion I have never used, nor had reason to use 1/8000 sec, so no worries there.
4.5 vs 6fps in a burst, no great shakes for me.
4. The body is not made from metal but a mix of metal and plastic.
This means it is a whole 200g lighter around 20 percent lighter than the MkIII, 680g V's 860g.
Small but useful if you are looking to put it in precarious positions as I have.
5. Single Card slot on the 6D
Yes, it would be nice to have both BUT the pain is taken away somewhat when you can buy a Sandisk Extreme Pro 95 mbps SD card for under £100. I just have to be careful not to lose them or sit on them.
Handy too that I no longer need to carry a card reader with me
I could go on, but the only two features I wish it carried over from the MkIII but does not are the wireless flash control and the RAW HDR.
But to be honest none of this really matters to me.
Because it has a single killer feature that the MkIII does not have.
For some this will not matter at all, but make no mistake this single feature opens up a whole realm of photographic opportunities that never existed before.
Imagine being able to put this camera in an awkward place and be able to monitor over live-view, fire and control the exposure pretty much seamlessly form your iPhone.
You can even focus it remotely too.
Chuck Westfall of Canon USA gives a demo here.
It really is as simple as that.
I love it too that you can email the jpg preview files form the phone too.
If you are putting the camera on a 24 foot pole, on a motorised head, as I am at the moment, it is the most remarkable advantage (more of this in a future post)
The 5DMkIII, as brilliant as it is, does not actually have a whole new trick up its sleeve like the 6D, which in turn opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
Added to all of this it is the best part of £1000 cheaper than the MkIII, enough to buy you a juicy 'L' series lens or a small secondhand car in which to go off and have many an adventure.
Will I buy a MkIII in the future? Most possibly, for the wireless flash if nothing else, but right now the 6D suits me better than the MkIII.
I have a prediction to make....in a year or so when Canon see just how many 6D's they are selling compared to MkIII's and just WHO is using them (think big namer shooters on UK magazines and newspapers, as well as conflict photographers) that you could very well see WiFi capability being added to the MkIII (MkIIIN?)
So I put my money where my mouth is and I'm using the 6D just about every day and I'm left wondering why on earth every DSLR is not WiFi capable?