Canon 5D Mark III vs T3
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EOS Rebel T3 (labelled Canon 1100D in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in March 2012 and February 2011. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (5D Mark III) and an APS-C (T3) sensor. The 5D Mark III has a resolution of 22.1 megapixels, whereas the T3 provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 5D Mark III||Canon T3|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|22.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor||12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 102,400)||ISO 100-6,400|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.2 LCD, 1040k dots||2.7 LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|6 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|950 shots per battery charge||700 shots per battery charge|
|152 x 116 x 76 mm, 950 g||130 x 100 x 78 mm, 495 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EOS Rebel T3? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon T3 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon T3 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Canon 5D Mark III. Moreover, the T3 is substantially lighter (48 percent) than the 5D Mark III. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 5D Mark III is splash and dust resistant, while the T3 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 5D Mark III) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (T3). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon 5D Mark III||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||33.5 oz||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499|
|Canon T3||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||17.5 oz||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|Canon T100||5.1 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||15.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2018||399|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||5.9 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||31.4 oz||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|Canon 5DS||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon T5||5.1 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||16.9 oz||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|Canon 6D||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Canon G1 X||4.6 in||3.2 in||2.6 in||18.8 oz||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|Canon T4i||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.1 in||20.3 oz||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon 5D Mark II||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|Canon XS||5.0 in||3.9 in||2.6 in||17.7 oz||500||n||Jun 2008||449|
|Canon 5D||6.0 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||31.6 oz||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299|
|Nikon D610||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D600||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D800||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Nikon D800E||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The T3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 87 percent) than the 5D Mark III, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 5D Mark III features a full frame sensor and the Canon T3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the T3 is 63 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the 5D Mark III uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5+) than the T3 (DIGIC 4), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 22.1MP, the 5D Mark III offers a higher resolution than the T3 (12.2MP), but the 5D Mark III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.25μm versus 5.15μm for the T3) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the 5D Mark III is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the T3, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 5D Mark III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 5D Mark III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 28.8 x 19.2 inches or 73.2 x 48.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 23 x 15.4 inches or 58.5 x 39 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 19.2 x 12.8 inches or 48.8 x 32.5 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon T3 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS Rebel T3 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 5D Mark III provides substantially higher image quality than the T3, with an overall score that is 19 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.1 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the 5D Mark III provides a higher video resolution than the T3. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the T3 is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 5D Mark III and the T3 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the 5D Mark III offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the T3 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 5D Mark III has a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.50x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 5D Mark III, the Canon T3, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
One feature that is present on the 5D Mark III, but is missing on the T3 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The 5D Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the T3 uses SDXC cards. The 5D Mark III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the T3 only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon EOS Rebel T3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 5D Mark III has a microphone port, which is missing on the T3. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 5D Mark III (unlike the T3) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 5D Mark III and the T3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The T3 was replaced by the Canon T5, while the 5D Mark III was followed by the Canon 5D Mark IV. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 5D Mark III better than the Canon T3 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (22.1 vs 12.2MP) with a 35% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (19 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.6 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5+ vs DIGIC 4).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.50x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (950 versus 700) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the T3).
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel T3:
- More compact: Is smaller (130x100mm vs 152x116mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 455g or 48 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (87 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2011).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 5D Mark III is the clear winner of the match-up (21 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon T3 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 5D Mark III or the T3 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Canon 5D Mark III||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499|
|Canon T3||80/100||69/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|Canon T100||o||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2018||399|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|Canon 5DS||+||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 5DS R||+||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon T5||+||..||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|Canon 6D||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Canon G1 X||+||76/100||4/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|Canon T4i||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|Canon 5D Mark II||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|Canon XS||82/100||+ +||3.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2008||449|
|Canon 5D||88/100||+ +||o||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299|
|Nikon D610||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D600||+ +||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D800||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999|
|Nikon D800E||..||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D X Mark III vs Canon 5D Mark III
- Canon 1D X vs Canon 5D Mark III
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Canon T7
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Olympus E-330
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Olympus E-420
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Panasonic FT7
- Canon T3 vs Hasselblad X1D
- Canon T3 vs Kodak S-1
- Canon T3 vs Nikon D3500
- Canon T3 vs Panasonic GF6
- Canon T3 vs Sony A6100
- Canon T3 vs Sony A99 II
Specifications: Canon 5D Mark III vs Canon T3
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon T3|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||March 2012||February 2011|
|Launch Price||USD 3,499||USD 449|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon T3|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||22.0 x 14.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||323.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||26.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||22.1 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5760 x 3840 pixels||4272 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.25 μm||5.15 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.56 MP/cm2||3.76 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||720/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 102,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5+||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||81||62|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||21.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||11.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2293||755|
|Screen Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon T3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon T3|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||6 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||150 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon T3|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 5D Mark III||Canon T3|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||950 shots per charge||700 shots per charge|
152 x 116 x 76 mm
(6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
130 x 100 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||950 g (33.5 oz)||495 g (17.5 oz)|
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