Canon's 5D Mark III: A DSLR designed with video shooters in mind

For many, the Canon 5D Mark II was a game-changer -- a digital SLR camera with a full-frame sensor that could shoot full high definition video worthy of use in movies and TV. The 5D Mark III, unveiled by Canon on Friday, picks up where the 5D Mark II left off, adding a few new features that photo and video professionals and amateurs should appreciate.

The 5D Mark III also gives Canon a new DSLR to rival Nikon's slick D800, which made its debut in time for the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas back in January.

Canon's new 5D Mark III will hit stores this March at a price of $3,499 for just the camera body and $4,299 for the body and a Canon EF 24-105mm F/4 lens. The 5D Mark III will sit between the 5D Mark II and 1D Mark IV in terms of price and specs.

Among the most important features found in the 5D Mark III for videographers is the ability to shoot video longer -- as much as 29 minutes and 59 seconds long. The 5D Mark II would automatically stop filming after about 12 minutes.

The 5D Mark III also features a 22.3-megapixel sensor, which is a slight bump up from the 5D Mark II's 21.1-megapixel sensor, as well as an expanded ISO range of 50 to 102,400, up from the 5D Mark expanded ISO of 50 to 25,600.

Autofocus on the 5D Mark III, like the 1D Mark IV, has 61 different focus points, up from nine focus points in the 5D Mark II.

On back, the 5D Mark III has a 3.2-inch rear LCD panel with a 1.04-million-dot resolution -- the same as the display found on the 1D Mark IV and larger than the 5D Mark II's 3-inch screen, which has a resolution of 920,000 dots. The new Canon also sports dual memory card slots for both SD and CompactFlash cards.

And in another win for those shooting video with the 5D Mark III, there's a headphone jack included, something not found on the 5D Mark II but an feature that is common to purpose-built video cameras, which often cost much more than $3,499.

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