Canon 7D Mark II vs Canon 5D Mark III

September 21, 2014

Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 5D Mark III cameras side by side

In this article I’ll compare the Canon EOS 7D Mark II vs Canon EOS 5D Mark III. The first is Canon’s APS-C flagship DSLR, the second is Canon’s very popular Full Frame DSLR. I assume that many have already seen the 7D Mark II specs and found it to be very appealing, and might think twice before spending a lot more for the 5D Mark III and enjoy the benefits of full frame photography.

The question that you should ask yourself is obviously if there are any benefits of buying the more expensive 5D Mark III over the 7D Mark II and vice versa.  At the time of writing this comparison review,  the 7D Mark II sells for $1600 less for the body on B&H. Whatever this difference is more or less, this is a significant price difference which cannot be ignored.  If you don’t have a budget issue, I recommend reading this comparison truthfully.  It might convince you to buy one camera over the other.

Full Frame vs APS-C

To put things more into context, one of the reason why many photographers consider the 5D Mark III is for its full frame sensor. A full frame main sensor advantage over APS-C are: increasing the background blurring effect (consider the same equivalent lens aperture and focal length), larger pixels leads to better signal to noise performance, higher dynamic range, more detailed images and overall better image quality (in most cases, also depends on other factors). You can take full advantage of Canon’s EF ultra-wide angle lenses with their actual focal length (16-35mm does equal to 16-35mm, not 25.6-56mm equivalent as with a 1.6x crop factor APS-C). This is one reason why landscape photographers favor full frame cameras.

The FF sensor is ore expensive to make. The APS-C does have a few advantages to on its side. It’s cheaper to make obviously, the equivalent focal length is multiplied by the sensor crop factor for the same lens specs, which can be suited for long distance subjects like sports and wildlife, as well as macro (can shoot from further away from the subject). Of course if you compare APS-C and Full Frame sensors for the same generation, you can see that in almost all cases, FF outperform APS-C at high ISO and image quality.

Some of you might might prefer getting the cheaper Canon EOS 7D Mark II and spend more money on a better lens or another lens to add to your lens arsenal. This can help you be more creative and productive, something that upgrading to a FF camera might not give you.

Now that you’ve got a good understanding of some of the cons and pros of each type of sensor, lets move on to the introduction section, where you’ll learn about the key features of each camera.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EOS 7D Mark II APS-C DSLR is here

Many people have waited 5 years for Canon to release the EOS 7D Mark II, which replaces the 7D model. If you want to now how the 7D Mark II compared to the 6D (Canon’s entry-level FF camera), I recommend reading my Canon EOS 7D Mark II vs Canon EOS 6D comparison (compared also to other APS-C Canon DSLRs).

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II is a big update and have many improvements over its predecessor. Some will argue Canon didn’t innovate much considering the time it had to improve upon the 7D, I kind of disagree with that, and you’ll soon understand why.

At the heart of the 7D Mark II is a newly developed 20.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. This new sensor utilizes Canon’s Dual Pixel AF CMOS technology, an on-sensor phase-detection pixels. This technology also found on the Canon EOS 70D for example, allows the camera to take advantage of the phase-detect AF advantages in Live View and in video recording. This works in alongside contrast-detection AF (aka Hybrid AF) to promote faster and more accurate AF performance, and to give the camera a camcorder like performance. Changing focus onto a subject is now much smoother compared to contrast-detect AF alone. It also uses Movie Servo AF to automatically lock on the subject and track it.

A few words about the Dual Pixel AF CMOS technology. Each pixel on the 7D Mark II features two individual photodiodes, each one can capture light. During AF, the camera analyses signals from each pixel to determine the correct focus. However, when the camera captures the image, the light data from those two photodiodes for each pixel outputs and represents the data for a single pixel in the final image rendering. So having this on-board AF technology doesn’t reduce the image quality, in such a way that the light data on the phase-detect AF pixels is not lost, it’s also used for determine the accurate color for that individual pixel.

The Dual Pixel AF CMOS technology is compatible with almost any Canon EF lens, but make sure it does appear in this compatibility list found on website.

Canon pushed the AF system even more that that. the 7D Mark II now offers 6 different autofocus subject tracking presets to choose from. Each one is optimized for different subject movements — Canon calls it, Advanced iTR focusing and it has presets as follows:

  1. Versatile multi purpose setting
  2. Continuous to track subjects, ignoring possible obstacles
  3. Instantly focus on subjects suddenly entering AF points
  4. For subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly
  5. For erratic subjects, moving in any direction
  6. For subjects that change speed and move erratically

By telling the camera how you expect your subject to behave, the camera will make inner adjustment and use a slightly different algorithms to make sure that the subject always stays in focus. This works amazingly well, not just for sports or fast action photography, but even for street photography, in studio, etc.  With its 65-point all-cross type AF system and its EV -3 sensitivity (center AF point is f/2.8 dual cross-type), you can trust the camera to perform at its best, even in dark conditions. Also worth mentioning that the Advanced iTR system is an improved one that found on the EOS-1D X, a camera that costs around $7K. This system also takes advantage of advanced color analysis and Face detection technology when shooting people.

The new sensor and its on-board phase-detection pixels will certainly benefit in video recording. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II can record beautiful full HD videos with full-time autofocus and excellent subject tracking performance. You can also shoot in 60p, as well as choose to shoot in either MOV or MP4 video formats. Those are to types of containers, as below the surface, both capture videos using H.264 codec. For some people it’s easier to process, edit or upload an MP4 for its wider accessibility (industry standard) and stronger compression (MOV: 1920×1080/59.94 440 MB/min. vs MP4: 1920×1080/59.94 431 MB/min.). Many videographers prefer the MOV container, Apple’s compressor. Converting MOV video file to MP4 can be done without re-encoding or any quality loss — both though are lossy formats.

That said, you do have the option to choose between IPB or All-I video compression types, which does heavily effect the video file size. For example, a 1080p30 All-I video in MOV video format records at 654 MB/min, whether an IPB version of it records at 255 MB/min — more than 2.5x times smaller file size. The image quality does take an impact, but if the file size in a concern, shooting in IPB is the way to go. For example, on a 16GB memory card you can record a total of 1 hour and 7 minutes in IPB for 29.97 fps, compared to only 34 minutes using All-I. For a frame by frame editing in video editing software, All-I compression is certainly the preferred method, because it retains more data.

Yes, there is Uncompressed HDMI output for both monitoring and recording with an external recorder.

The 7D Mark II is built to last and its very durable camera. It featured a rugged magnesium alloy body, has up to 200,00 cycles shutter durability and it is dust and water resistance. According to Canon, it has four times better weather-sealing than the 7D.

Can I shoot with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II in the rain? — According to what I’ve read in Canon Philippines website (quote: “Dust and water resistance”), Canon does not recommend shooting with it in the rain. I assume that the camera can survive a light rain or water splash, but I personally wouldn’t take it to the test — I’m sure some will.

The Canon 7D Mark II is backed by Dual DIGIC 6 image processors that supports its super fast 10.0 fps burst shooting. Among it’s other features are: 150,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, built-in GPS, CF+SD Dual Card slots, built-in HDR,  comparative playback function, 3.0 inch ClearView II non-rotating display, USB 3.0, dual-axis electronic level, Intelligent viewfinder with 100% coverage and more.

*video by

No doubt that the 7D Mark II is a big improvement over its predecessor, and I have no doubt in my mind that it will be one of Canon’s most popular DSLR for 2014/2015. For an initial price of around $1800 as of the time of writing (body only), it doesn’t come cheap.  You can buy the EOS 7D (older version) for $700 less. That said, a few sites reported the 7D listed as discontinued at, and that was on July this year. I revisited website, and at the time of writing it’s written “Only 5 left in stock”. So it seems that the stock wasn’t renewed, as I assume that wouldn’t be left out of stock of a camera that can drive more buyers now that the 7D Mark II is out and people are expecting a large drop in price. So I assume that there wasn’t a better time to buy the 7D (the older model) as it is now.

We’ll look deep into the specs in the comparison section. Now let’s learn more about the 5D Mark III.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark IIIThe 5D Mark III was announced on March 2, 2012, replacing the 5D Mark II which was announced on September 17, 2008. It’s probably Canon’s most popular Full Frame camera. The 5D Mark III is a mid-range model in Canon’s FF camera lineup, sitting above the affordable Canon EOS 6D but below the EOS-1D X, Canon’s professional flagship model.

Let’s take a look at a price comparison for a second, before we continue on.

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III: ~$3400 +$1500 than 6D
  • Canon EOS 6D: ~$1900 -$1500 than 5D Mark III
  • Canon EOS-1D X: ~$6800 +$3400 than 5D Mark III
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II (discontinued):  ~$2700 -$700 than 5D Mark II

* rounded prices via B&H as of 9.21.2014. Visit B&H for the latest prices. Except the 5DMKII price, via

People buying a Canon full frame DSLR not really have a large selection (active models), not like the selection you have with Canon’s APS-C cameras which most of the older model are still in production. The Rebel T3i is Canon’s most popular DSLR camera, and this model was announced on the first quarter of 2011.

That said, professionals and enthusiast who pay a premium price for a DSLR do their own math. I have to admit that until now Canon was lagging behind Nikon in the APS-C arena, and Canon needed a semi-pro APS-C to get back on the track. Now that’s the 7D Mark II is out, many people might think twice before paying for a full frame. A few of the full frame benefits are: user the actual focal length of the EF lens (no multiplication), enjoy Canon’s ultra-wide angle lenses for their fullest potential, better low-light performance and higher dynamic range.

OK, let’s move back to our main subject, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III key features.

At the heart of the camera is a 22.3 megapixel Full Frame CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5+ image processor. Let’s first take a look how big is a Full Frame sensor compared to that of the 7D Mark II, which is an APS-C size sensor.

Sensor size comparison: 5D Mark III vs 7D Mark II

Sensor size comparison: 5D Mark III (full frame) vs 7D Mark II (ASP-C)

Another important spec which is the most important one is the pixel size. The larger the pixel/photodiode (in the case of the 7D Mark II, each pixel has two photo diodes), the better the sensor’s light sensitivity. Each pixel can gather more light, containing more information to reconstruct the digital color data. Each pixel of the 5D Mark III full-frame sensor measured 6.25 microns, whether on the 7D Mark II, each pixel is approximately 4.1 microns. That’s a 41.5% different in size. There are other properties that effect image quality that should be taken into account, including among others, the sensor design technology and image processing. So it can happen that a sensor, even if it has larger pixels, can be inferior to another with smaller pixels. This is very evident in cameras from different generations, but even in same generation cameras.

61-point AF sensor, 5D Mark III

61-point AF sensor, same as the Canon EOS-1D X

The 5D Mark III was designed to prevail in both stills and video capture, and in fact, it’s one of the most popular HDSLR cameras. The 5D Mark II and 5D Mark III were used and are being used in Hollywood. The 5D Mark II (previous model) was used shooting some scenes in Captain America, Escape from Tomorrow, ParaNorman (3D stop-motion animated film), Dimensions (award-winning British sci-fi film), Black Sawn, Red Tails and others. You can shoot videos at 1080p 30/24 frame rates. Videographers have the option to select shooting either in All-I or IPB compressions, with All-I resulting in larger file size but higher image quality. You also have both a heaphone jack and mic input to connect an external microphone. When it was launched, the 5D Mark III lacked a clean HDMI output, but Canon add Clean HDMI output and improved AF performance in the new firmware update.

The 5DMKIII is built to perform. It has magnesium-alloy body with 150,000 shutter cycles and it’s dust and weather resistance and s an improved self cleaning sensor unit to further prevent dust spots in your images. Canon added a new Live View switch at the top with start/stop button and 8-way multi controler, which I find to be very convenient to use.

The camera features a 61-point high-density AF system with 41 cross-type AF point and 5 dual diagonal AF points (to f/2.8) and center AF point which is cross-type at f/8. The camera can shoot at 6.0 fps in continuous shooting mode. The speed is one of the thing that professional can expect from a full frame camera, but the viewfinder certainly plays an important role as well. If you haven’t shot with a full frame before, you don’t know what you are missing. The 5D Mark III features an Intelligent Viewfinder with Superimposed LCD. It utilizes aspherical lens elements that provides the photographer a crystal clear view of the scene. You can even turn off the shooting information to get a clean and clear view of the subject without any distractions.

At the back of the camera you’ll find a 3.2″ 1040K-dot anti-reflective ClearView II LCD display. This large LCD is very useful for professional that need to check focus and sharpness on the spot, as well as for video recording (although the rear LCD is not tiltable, but fixed in position).

Among the 5D Mark III features are built-in HDR and multiple exposure modes, Raw+JPEG, CF+SD dual card slots, comparative playback function,  GP-E2 GPS receiver compatibility, 14-bit RAW,  1/8000 sec shutter speed and more. I personally found the AF configurations to be more robust than any DSLR I’ve shot with in the past.  There is a configuration option to every aspect of the AF functionality, giving photographers a huge range of creative possibilities.

Before we move on, check out this informative Canon 5Dmk3 review by Philip Bloom, DP, direction and filmmaker. If you are into video shooting, you’ll love this video.

..and last video by spikyhead180 YouTube user that explains about the 5D Mark III functions.

This is just a glimpse of the 5DMK3 features. In the next section we’ll dive deeper into the 7D Mark II and 5D Mark III specifications and learn about each camera’s cons and pros.

7D Mark II vs 5D Mark III

Now it’s time to dig deeper into each camera features and see how it compared to its peer. Let’s learn more about the cons and pros of each camera. Here you’ll get to cross-check the camera specs with your shooting style needs and see which of the two fits you best.

Canon 7D Mark IICanon 5D Mark III
AnnouncedSeptember 15, 2014March 2, 2012
Build QualityMagnesium alloyMagnesium alloy
Weather ResistanceDust and water resistance

*equal to EOS-1N
Dust and water resistance

*equal to EOS-1N
Both the 7D Mark II and 5D Mark III built to a higher standards with full magnesium alloy body and dust and water resistance equals that of the EOS-1N.

You can shoot with both cameras in harsh weather-conditions. From my understanding, Canon doesn't not recommend shooting with the camera in the rain, but following the EOS-1 series page here, the EOS-1 can be used in the rain or snow.

I assume that both cameras will function well in snow or rain, but I personally wouldn't put mine to a test, but I wouldn't be worries if a few drops has fallen on the camera or I am caught in the rain for a few minutes.

The 7D Mark II however if said to have four times the weather resistance of its predecessor, the 7D. So on it's own it's improved.

I hope that Canon will give us photographers more accurate information about it in the future, instead of us needing to guess it ourselves based on various official and unofficial resource.
magnesium alloy body
Shutter Durability~200,00 cycles~150,000 cycles
The 7D Mark II shutter is more durable than the 5D MK2 one.
Sensor20.2MP (effective)
22.4x15.0 mm (APS-C)
4.1 µm pixel size

Dual Pixel AF CMOS
(on-sensor phase-detection)
22.3MP (effective)
36.0x24.0 mm (Full Frame)
6.25 µm pixel size
The 5D Mark III is a fully frame sensor, which is significantly larger than APS-C. We can see that reflects in the pixel size as well, considering both are very close in terms of image resolution.

There is a 2.15 micron difference in size, which should give the 5D Mark III and advanced over the 7D Mark II in high ISO. In the next section we'll see if it is indeed the case.

That aside, another reason why photographers prefer full frame is for being able to the full wide field of view of Canon wide EF lenses. The 5D Mark III has a 1x crop factor, whether the 7DMK2 has 1.6x crop factor. So if you mount a..let's say.. 17-40 mm lens on both cameras. The 5D will give you that exact 17-40 mm focal length, whether the 7D will give you ~27.2-64mm focal length that results in narrower field of view, more tele. This can be and advantage on the 7D, depends on your shooting style.

Another reason is for a give focal length and aperture, the full frame sensor will give you shallower depth of field. Giving your more room to control the shallow depth of field effect.
High ISOOK, now for the most interesting part, the high ISO performance comparison between the 7D Mark II and the 5D Mark III.

I use comparomter tool to compare the two cameras and see which one performs better.

So let's see if an older generation full frame camera from 2012 can beat a new-gen APS-C camera..let the fight begin!

ISO 100 - the 5DMKiii image look slightly sharper, but it's very small to be significant. That said, the 5D Mark III certainly shows a higher dynamic range which can be clearly seen in the texture area of the napkins, especially in the reds. You can also observe a slightly higher contrast and deeper blacks, and the image also looks cleaner if you observe the dark area shadow closely. So we can see an advantage in favor of the 5DMKII starting from ISO 100.

ISO 200 - 800: Climbing up the ISO scale, I can see that noise is slightly more evident on the 7D MK2, especially if you compare two sample images in ISO800 -- in the 5D Mark III the image is super clean without noise, whether in the 7D Mark II you can see noise in the mid-tones and dark areas, not a lot, but it's visible in 100% scale.

ISO 1600 -- noise is visible in all parts of the image, but especially in mid-tone and shadow areas. The 5D Mark III is remarkably clean, but this is where noise starts kicking in, but it's almost not noticeable - excellent performance from the 5D Mark III so far. I was expecting a bit more from the 7D Mark II to be honest. This certainly gives a good understanding of the benefits of shooting with a Full Frame vs APS-C, especially in low-light.

The same trend is on ISO3200 as well, but as the 7DMKII sample image getting much more noisy, the 5D Mark III looks to me the same as in ISO1600, honestly I can't tell the difference - WOW!

Moving on to ISO6400 - quite massy on the 7D Mark II. On the 5D Mark III we can see a big difference from the previous ISO speed, with much more noise. There is also chroma noise in some areas, although high ISO performance is till very impressive, but I was expecting a more gradual increment in noise. Weird, but that's how it is.

ISO 12800 is certainly the end of the road for the 7D Mark II. On the 5D Mark III the image is noisy, but still usable for small prints and small details are VERY well preserved. In fact, this opens up more opportunities for photographers who prefer shooting without a flash and just with a fast lens, or photographers with a slow lens shooting without a flash.

It gives you more control over the exposure and all that without having a huge impact on image quality.

So we have our answer. The 5D Mark III is a clear winner here, by quite a larger margin.

The 5D Mark III can climb up to ISO 102400, whether the 7D Mark II can shoot up to ISO 51200.

I probably wouldn't pass ISO 12800 with the 5D Mark III, unless there wasn't any other option to capture the image, because it really start to look bad. You won't notice it in a small image though, so that's why you can use it for certain type of shots.

I would say that the 5D Mark III has 2 stops advantage over the 7D Mark II, maybe slightly more. The other most important thing for me was the higher dynamic range of the 5D Mark III, which is not less important in my opinion.

As of the time of writing, there isn't any score for the Landscape (Dynamic range) on DxOMark. Looking at the ratings, we can see that the Nikon D810 has by far the highest rating of any camera to date15.8 EVs, followed by Nikon D610, Nikon D800 and Sony RX1.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is far below with 11.7 Evs, same as the older 7D. I don't expect the 7D Mark II to make a huge difference, but Canon said that the DR has improved over the 7D, so I am interesting to see how it turns out in DxOMark score (you check it out on this page.

For those of you who think that this doesn't matter or think that the difference is too small to make any difference, watch the video below. The dynamic range should have an impact on landscape photographers, or any photographer for that matter. You certainly should be looking for the camera that has the highest dynamic range among the other things you compare between two cameras.
Image ProcessorDIGIC 6 (Dual)DIGIC 5+
The DIGIC 5+ is an improved version of the DIGIC 4 and 5 processors with improved speed and the addition of the Intelligent Subject Analysis system.

The DIGIC 6 is Canon's latest gen image processor which offers improved speed, better noise reduction algorithms and improved video stabilization among others. It also ads 1080p60 and MP4 video container.

Of course we've seen that in some aspects like noise reduction, nothing beats larger pixels, no matter how good the image processor is, light is the most important aspect of any picture taken.
ISO100 - 16000
Boost: 51200
100 - 25600
Boost: 50, up to 102400
Uncompressed FormatRAW (14-bit)

RAW (14-bit)

AF SystemHybrid AF (Live View/Video)
Phase-detection AF for stills

65-point all cross-type AF
Center AF point is dual cross-type at f/2.8

EV -3 max sensitivity

Full-time AF (continuous focusing while recording video)
Phase-detection AF for stills
Contrast-detection AF for videos

61-point, 41 cross type

1-5 cross-type AF point at f/2.8, 10-20 at f/4 and 15-21 at f/5.6 (depends on the lens)

EV -2 max sensitivity

No full-time AF (no continuous focusing while recording video)

*Inherited the EOS-1D X AF system
A good surprise we've got here. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II has an AF sensor that is even better than the 5D Mark III (And the EOS-1D X) when it comes to the number of AF points and cross-type points. It's also more sensitive, so you can shoot with it in dimmer lighting conditions as well.

This certainly an important feature that many photographers are looking for on their next DSLR camera.

No doubt that for video recording and Live View, the 7DMK2 wins hands down. That said, professional videographers might not give the full-time AF a big significance, as many prefer to use manual focusing and have more precise control how the focus switching is applied to a specific scene instead of letting the camera do it by itself.

That said, I think that with the new advanced 6 presets, videographers will be able to capture some scenes in a way that it was very hard to achieve manually, or even no possible at all, at least not at the first take with the 5D Mark III.
AF Assist LampYes

Options: Enable/Disable/External Flash/IR AF only

*With an EOS-dedicated Speedlite
100% coverage
Clear View II LCD
Not touchscreen
100% coverage
Clear View II LCD
Not touchscreen
Neither have a tiltable nor a touch-sensitive display. I think that most people who buy one of these cameras couldn't care less about these two features. In fact, I think it's preferable because it allow easy fitting to professional rigs, that videographers prefer to use for the professional videos. I have to admit that I wouldn't reject having a tiltable or fully articulated display on any of these cameras.

The 5DMK2 has a slightly larger display, but it's quite significant when you put them side by side, and as I mentioned before, the larger the screen the better, as it helps in checking focus and sharpness of your photos on the spot.
100% coverage
0.63x magnification (35mm equivalent)

Intelligent Viewfinder
100% coverage
0.71x magnification (35mm equivalent)

Intelligent Viewfinder
The 7D MKII although smaller than 5D Mark III, feature a new Intelligent Viewfinder with new electronic level display, Large zone AF frame lines, more shooting information can is displayed on the screen at the same time.

For me the viewfinder size is what matters the most. Shooting with both APS-C and Full Frame, I just felt spoiled with the huge viewfinder view of Full Frame DSLRs, and it's hard to get back.
Anti-Flicker ShootingYesNo
The 7D Mark II can detect flickering and alerts you on the viewfinder and also allows you to let the camera take the shot only at the pick light volume. Pretty useful isn't it?
Light Metering System150,000-pixel RGB+IR
252-zone metering

Evaluative/Partial (6%)/Spot(1.8%)/Center-weighted average

Metering range: 1-20
63-zone SPC

Evaluative/Partial(7.2%)/Spot(1.5%)/Center-weighted average

Metering range: 1-20
Another feature that put the Canon 7D Mark II ahead of the 5D Mark II and the EOS-1D X (100,00-pixel RGB metering).

Another important feature that the 7D Mark II has an advantage over the 5D Mark III.

It should give the camera the option to make better decisions based on the light information for the exposure and also to support the advanced EOS iTR AF system as well. This is need in order for AI Servo AF to work at its best. Having said that, if the user manually selects the focus point, the subject tracking performance shouldn't be affected and perform virtually the same.
Shutter Speed1/8000 sec1/8000 sec
Built-in FlashYesNo
External FlshYes, via hot-shoeYes, via hot-shoe
Flash X Sync Speed1/250 sec1/200 sec
Continuous Shooting10.0 fps6.0 fps
The 7D Mark II offers a very high burst speed, faster than the 5D Mark III.
Exposure Compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
Video RecordingMOV (H.264)
1080p 59.94/50 IPB
1080p 29.97/25/24/23.98 All-I/IPB
720p 50.94/50 All-I/IPB
480p 29.97/25 IPB

MP4 (H.264)
1080p 59.94/50 IPB
1080p 29.97/25/24/23.98 All-I/IPB
1080p 29.97/25 Light IPB (stronger compression, ~2.5x times smaller file size than IPB)

720p 50.94/50 All-I/IPB
480p 29.97/25 IPB

29.59 min. max recording

Stereo sound
MOV (H.264)

1080p30 All-I/IPB
1080p25 All-I/IPB
1080p24 All-I/IPB
720p60 All-I/IPB
720p50 All-I/IPB

480p30 IPB
480p25 IPB

29.59 min. max recording

Stereo sound
Uncompressed HDMIUncompressed 8bit 4.2.2 via HDMIUncompressed 8bit 4.2.2 via HDMI (via firmware update)
Headphone JackYesYes
Mic InputYesYes
The 5D Mark III like the 5D Mark II is being used by professional videographers. There are many rigs and other accessories that were designed to work with the 5D Mark III/II.

The 7D improve upon the 5DMK2 with more video frame rate and compression options and we finally have a headphone jack as well.

This puts the 7D Mark II as a great alternative or for some videographers a better camera for video recording than the 5D Mark III, considering its full-time AF, more advanced AF system and light metering sensor and 1080p60 (progressive frames).

Yes, you read it right, no 4K video recording. I don't know whether it can be enabled in future firmwares, I do hope so. But this still unfortunate, and I'm, sure that if the 7D Mark II had it, it would have attracted even more buyers which are into videography.

There of course a few reasons why the 7D Mark II is behind the 5D Mark III. This include the ability to take advantage of Canon cinema lenses with their equivalent focal length and aperture, a wider range of rings and accessories, more prominent blurring (for a given lens with the same settings). I assume that the some rigs that are compatible with the 7D Mark II, but that's something that you need to check out yourself. I'm sure that fully compatible ones will be released to the market very soon or are already released (although I tried to Google with the 7D Mark II keyword and found none).

Memory Card SlotCF (Type I) + SD Card slot (Dual card slot)CF (type I and II) card slot
Built-in GPSYes +
Digital compass
(compatible with the GP-E2 GPS module)
Battery Life (CIPA)670 shots800 shots
Dimensions149 x 112 x 78 mm (5.87 x 4.41 x 3.07″)152 x 116 x 76 mm (5.98 x 4.57 x 2.99″)
Weight910 g (2.01 lb / 32.10 oz)950 g (2.09 lb / 33.51 oz)
USB PortUSB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Interval ShootingIn-camera

Built-in time-lapse fixed point shooting and bulb without the need for a remote control.

Interval/No. of shots
Via remote control and computer
AF MicroadjustmentYesYes
In-camera lens
aberration corrections

Before we continue to the conclusion section, let’s first take a look at some two sample videos taken with each camera.

First is the Canon 7D Mark II sample video.

Canon 5D Mark III test film


Both cameras might look very similar on the outside, with the 5D Mark III being bigger, but there are significant differences between those the 5D Mark III and the 7D Mark II. You first need to understand the benefits of shooting with a full frame camera, and obviously see that when it comes to image quality, the 5D Mark III takes the 7D Mark II hand down, regardless of the 7D Mark II new sensor and stronger and more advanced (Dual) image processor.  The 5D Mark III is a king when it comes to low-light performance, but the 7D Mark II gave it a good fight. I personally would expected a better performance, but I’m probably always expecting much more in each iteration, and most of the time I get disappointed :)

That said the Canon 7D Mark II has several advantages over the 5D Mark III, including among others: smaller body (if that’s of an important), full-time AF in video recording and Live View, AF sensor with more AF points and more of them are cross-type and it’s 1EV more sensitive (better in low-light conditions), better light metering sensor, smaller but more advanced viewfinder, built-in AF assist lamp, pop-up flash, Anti-flicker/timelapse/in-camera HDR shooting modes, faster burst and flash X sync speed, 1080p60 and the ability to shoot between MP4 and MOV,  dual-card slot, better reach to due the sensor crop factor USB 3.0, built-in GPS and compass (records the direction the camera/photographer is facing (great to determine the exact position you took the shot when you come back to the scene) in most part.

For approx. $1800 for the body, the 7D Mark II doesn’t come cheap, but it’s significantly cheaper than the 5D Mark III (~$1600 less). No doubt the the larger viewfinder, better high ISO performance and higher extended ISO, better battery life and larger screen are great advantages that the 5D Mark III. For landscape photographers this is not a question. The fact that you can take advantage of Canon’s ultra-wide angle lenses can definitely widen your creative borders, and for some photographers it’s a must have.

As a dual I think that they both work great, but if you are not buying the 7D II as a backup/secondary camera, you certainly pay a good attention to the differences I’ve mentioned here. Maybe you have many EF-S lenses from your older camera, and you might pay extra for losing money on those lenses in order to buy new EF lenses instead.

The question is whether the Canon 5D Mark III is worth it (for YOU) over the 7D Mark II. In my opinion, it is, at least for the price difference. I would prefer buying the 7D Mark II and for the price difference, I would buy a better lens or two. I also shoot more tele than wide-angle, so I earn from the crop factor focal length multiplication there, great for wildlife photography. I think that with one or two fast lenses, you won’t get to the point that you need to shoot at very high ISO and therefore won’t get noisy image (although high ISO performance is very good, don’t understand me wrong here).  If low-light photography is your primary, no doubt in my mind that you should buy the 5D III.

So there you have it. I hope that this article was able to provide you with the information you need to make a decision. If you have question or have anything new to add, please add your helpful and knowledgeable thoughts in the comment section below. I would love to hear your opinion about the two cameras and how the two differ in related to your particular shooting style.

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