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Is The Canon 5D Mark III Good For Video in 2023?

If you’re wondering if the 5D Mark III is good for videography, well it depends.

For its time it was good, really good, but for 2023 there are much better options than the 5D Mark III.

I wouldn’t bother going for it unless you find a really good second-hand deal, you don’t care about 4K, you don’t want 1080p at 60 fps, and you don’t mind using manual focus for video.

Here’s a quick summary table of the pros and cons of the Canon 5D Mark III for videography:

Pros ✅Cons ❌
✅ External Microphone Input❌ No native 4K option
✅ Audio Jack for Headphones❌ No 120 fps
✅ HDMI port and clean HDMI❌ No 60 fps at 1080p (Full HD)
✅ Weather sealed❌ No continuous autofocus in videos
✅ Ok footage if you like manual focus❌ No WiFi capabilities

The best alternative cameras for the Canon 5D Mark III for video in 2023 are the Canon 5D Mark IV and the Canon EOS R6.

The 5D Mark IV basically has all of the pros of the 5D Mark III without any of the cons (except maybe the recording limit and no 120fps).

The Canon EOS R6 improves on the 5D Mark III even further and is even better than the 5D Mark IV for video but at a similar price point.

One thing I love on the EOS R6 is that the 4K crop is only 1.07x with image stabilisation turned off, but on the 5D Mark IV the 4K crop is 1.74x.

Both of these are newer full-frame cameras that improve on the 5D Mark III:

Best Alternatives to Canon 5D Mark III for Video

Canon 5D Mark IV

The 5D Mark IV (released 2016) is 4 years newer than the 5D Mark III (released 2012) and with that, it came with a lot of new tech making it worth the upgrade.

The 5D Mark IV is better than the 5D Mark III for video because it:

  • Can shoot in 4K (1.74x crop) up to 30 fps
  • Can shoot up to 60 fps in 1080p
  • Can shoot in 120fps (in 720p)
  • Has movie servo AF so it has continuous autofocus during video (biggest improvement for video)
  • Higher resolution sensor at 30.4 MP compared to 22.3 MP on the Mark III

The best part is that the Mark IV will use all of the exact same lenses as the Mark III without any issues since they both have the exact same lens mount.

Canon EOS R6

The Canon EOS R6 is an even newer mirrorless full-frame camera (released in 2020) and it’s even better than the 5D Mark IV for video.

Compared to the 5D Mark III the Canon EOS R6 is better for video because it:

  • Can shoot 4k (1.07x crop) up to 60 fps
  • Can shoot 1080p up to 120 fps (buttery smooth slow-mo in full HD!)
  • Has movie servo AF for continuous autofocus in video.
  • Has a fully articulated screen

One downside to the R6 though is that it uses an RF mount so you will need to buy an adapter if you want to use any EF lenses that you have lying around.

Choosing between 5D Mark IV and EOS R6

For 99% of people, I personally recommend picking the Canon EOS R6 over the 5D Mark IV.

The only people that might want the 5D Mark IV over the EOS R6 are people who REAAAAAALLY value the extra megapixels for photos.

But let’s be honest, your clients won’t notice and you probably won’t notice either.

Even though it uses the RF mount you can still use all the EF lenses on it using an adapter and it’s a better camera for video compared to the 5D Mark IV (and WAYYYY better than the 5D Mark III).

There’s way more flexibility with frame rates and resolutions plus the autofocus system is miles better on the R6.

There’s just too many benefits on the R6 to pass it up and it costs a similar amount to the 5D Mark IV at the moment.

5D Mark III vs 5D Mark IV vs EOS R6 for Video

If you’re still not sure, to compare the 5D Mark III to these alternative cameras I’ve made this table of specifications for the main things you’d want to consider:

Specification5D Mark III5D Mark IVEOS R6
Does 4K? NoYes – up to 30fps (1.74x crop)🏅 Yes up to 60 fps (1.07x crop)
Does 1080p?Yes – up to 30 fpsYes – up to 60fps🏅 Yes up to 120fps
120 FPS? NoYes – 720p🏅 Yes – 1080p Full HD
Movie Servo AFNoYesYes
Recording limit29 mins 59 secs29 mins 59 secs29 mins 59 secs
Video Battery life1 hr. 20 min. – 1 hr. 30 min.1 hr. 20 min. – 1 hr. 30 min.🏅 4K – 1 hour 20 mins
Full HD – 2 hr. 25 min. to 2 hr. 40 min.
Autofocus points61 AF points61 AF points🏅 6072 AF points (4968 AF points during videos)
External Mic InputYesYesYes
Headphone JackYesYesYes
Lens MountEF Mount EF MountRF Mount
IBIS (In-body-image-stabilization)NoneNoneYes, 5 axis, up to 8 stops.
Sensor Resolution22.3 MP🏅 30.4 MP20.1 MP
LCD screenFixed (no touch screen)Fixed (touch screen)🏅 Fully Articulated (touch screen)
Max ISO25,600 (expandable to 102,400)🏅 32,000 (expandable to 102,400)25,600 (expandable to 204,800)
Sensor typeFull-frame (36 x 24 mm)Full-frame (36 x 24 mm)Full-frame (36 x 24 mm)
My Rating7/108/108.5/10
Check Current Price ➡️Canon EOS 5D Mark IIICanon EOS 5D Mark IVCanon EOS R6

How Do You Autofocus A Canon 5D Mark III for Video?

For me, this is the biggest reason not to get the 5D Mark III for video.

For autofocus during video on the Canon 5D Mark III you have to half press the shutter button to focus on a subject. 

Unfortunately, if you are recording video on the 5D Mark III you’ll have to continuously readjust focus yourself by half-pressing again.

This is because it doesn’t have movie Servo AF which lets the camera continuously autofocus and track a moving subject. 

The 5D Mark III only has Servo AF in photographic modes. 

Does Canon 5D Mark III have Continuous Autofocus in Video?

No, the Canon 5D Mark III doesn’t have continuous autofocus in video mode, but it does have continuous AF in photographic mode.

This means that if you are recording videos on your 5D Mark III it won’t be able to track your subject if it moves and keep adjusting autofocus. 

In other cameras like the 5D Mark IV you have movie servo AF which does allow you to continuously autofocus on a moving subject in a video.

For this reason, if you’re going to be recording video on the 5D Mark III I think it’s better to use manual focus because you can adjust focus yourself to make it more accurate (although it might take a bit of practice if you’re not used to it).

Can you Shoot 4K on Canon 5D Mark III?

Unfortunately, the 5D Mark III does not shoot 4K video and the maximum resolution is actually 1080p full HD.

At 1080p it can do up to 30 frames per second so you won’t be getting any 60 fps at Full HD.

If you want a camera that can do 1080p 60fps then check out this post of cheap Canon cameras with 1080p 60fps.

The highest resolution where the 5D Mark III can do 60 fps is 720p, and let’s be honest, for 2023 that’s kinda bad. 

What FPS is Video on the 5D Mark III?

Here are the different video frame rates that the Canon 5D Mark III can record at depending on the resolution used.

  • 1920×1080 (1080p Full HD): 30 fps / 25 fps / 24 fps
  • 1280×720 (720p HD): 60 fps/ 50 fps
  • 640×480 (480p SD): 30fps / 25 fps

So if you’re wondering if the Canon 5D Mark III can shoot 120 fps, then you’re in bad luck because it can’t shoot 120 fps in any resolution. 

For 120 fps video you’ll need to consider an alternate camera like the Canon EOS R6 which can shoot 120fps at 1080p.

How long can a Canon 5D Mark III record video?

The recording limit for continuous video on the Canon 5D Mark III is 29 minutes and 59 seconds. 

After that amount of 29 minutes and 59 seconds, the 5D Mark III will automatically stop recording and you’ll have to restart the recording.

Does the Canon 5D Mark III have HDMI Output?

The Canon 5D Mark III can output via HDMI through its ‘Mini HDMI Out’ port. If you’re wondering what HDMI mini is it’s just HDMI Type C.

So if you want to display your camera screen on an external device you can do so by connecting it via a HDMI cable.

The specific HDMI cable you will need is a HDMI to HDMI Mini cable.

Here’s an example of one that will work with the 5D Mark III :

How To Get Rid of Displays and Icons on HDMI Output?

When displaying your camera screen on an external monitor on the 5D mark III you might see lots of icons like the shooting information, but you can get rid of this and get a clean HDMI output.

There are two output settings for HDMI which can be found in the shooting settings menu on your camera.

Mirroring – In this mode no shooting information or overlays will be shown

No mirroring – In this mode shooting information will be shown by default, but you can remove the icons and overlays by pressing the INFO button on your 5D Mark III.

Here’s how to adjust the settings to get clean HDMI out on your Canon 5D Mark III:

  1. Start by making sure your Canon 5D Mark III is set to movie mode
  1. Go to your shooting settings menu (this is the one with the camera Icon)
  1. Go to page 5 of this menu (it should say ‘Shoot5 Movie’ in the top right of your screen)
  1. Here you’ll see an option called ‘HDMI Output + LCD’. Select this.
  1. Here you can choose between ‘Mirroring’ or ‘No Mirroring’.
    • Select ‘Mirroring’ if you want a clean HDMI output by default.
    • Alternatively you can choose ‘no mirroring’ and icons will be shown but you can press the ‘INFO’ button until the overlays are removed.

      This is basically the same as what people call a clean HDMI output

It’s also worth noting that Canon did release a firmware update (version 1.2.1) in 2013 for the 5D Mark III which let it output clean, uncompressed YCbCr 4:2:2 8-bit digital video.

So make sure your model of the 5D Mark III is updated to the most recent firmware version.

You can check for the most recent firmware update on the 5D Mark III at the support page below.

How Long Does Canon 5D Mark III Battery Last for Video?

The 5D Mark III uses the LP-E6 or LP-E6N battery and can do about 950 shots according to CIPA ratings but what about for video?

For shooting movies on the 5D Mark III you should get approximately:

  • 1 hour 20 minutes at 23°C / 73°F
  • 1 hour 30 minutes at 0°C / 32°F

This assumes you have one fully charged battery but the times can vary depending on your usage.

For example, some lenses may take more of a toll on the battery and some video resolutions or frame rates may do the same.

So if you want to be recording for 2-3 hours you’ll definitely need more than 1 battery on the 5D Mark III.

Here’s some replacement batteries for the Canon 5D Mark III:

Audio Jack and External Microphone On 5D Mark III

If you do have a 5D Mark III then you’ll be happy to know that it’s decent for audio.

The Canon 5D Mark III has a 3.5mm input jack for external microphones and it also has an audio jack for headphones so you can monitor your audio when recording video.

The audio jack for headphones is particularly useful and you won’t really find that on any entry-level cameras.

Canon 5D Mark III Video Specs

Here’s a recap of some of the key video specs for the 5D Mark III that you should consider

  • Max resolution: Full HD 1080p
  • Max frame rate: 60fps at 720p 
  • Maximum continuous recording time: 29 minutes 59 seconds
  • Audio: has an external microphone input and headphone audio jack
  • Autofocus: no continuous autofocus (movie servo AF) in video mode.
  • Video Battery Life: 1 hour 20 mins to 1 hour 30 mins.

To see the rest of the video specifications on the 5D Mark III see the table below:

Camera TypeDigital SLR
Sensor Resolution22.3 megapixels
Sensor SizeFull-frame (36 x 24 mm)
Image ProcessorDIGIC 5+
Maximum Image Size5760 x 3840
Video RecordingYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080 (Full HD)
Video FormatsMOV, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
Frame Rates1080p (30/25/24 fps),
720p (60/50 fps),
480p (30/25 fps)
Max Recording LimitUp to 29 minutes and 59 seconds per clip
Video Battery Life1 hour 20 mins – 1 hour 30 mins
Audio RecordingBuilt-in stereo microphone or external microphone
Audio FormatsLinear PCM
Headphone JackYes
HDMI OutputYes
Timecode SupportYes
Manual Exposure ControlYes
Continuous Autofocus during Video RecordingNo
ISO Range100-25600 (expandable to 50-102400)
LCD Screen3.2-inch Clear View II TFT LCD (fixed)

Wrapping up

Now you should know that the Canon 5D Mark III is probably not the best option for video in 2023 because it doesn’t have important features like movie servo AF, can’t shoot 4k 60fps, and has no capability of shooting in 120fps.

You have better options in the Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon EOS R6 with the Canon EOS R6 being better for video specifically.

Further Resources:

Here’s some useful links for each of the cameras mentioned in this post in case you want to double-check any of the info in this post.

Canon 5D Mark III Canon 5D Mark IV Canon EOS R6
Support pageSupport PageSupport Page

Related reading:

If you do still plan on getting a 5D Mark III you’ll probably want to check the shutter count on the 5D Mark III.

If you wanna know what other full-frame cameras there are you can check out this up-to-date list of every Canon full-frame camera.