The Canon EOS 5D Mk III has been named Camera of the Year for 2012 by Popular Photography Magazine.

The Canon beat out the two other finalists, the Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha 99, in what the magazine’s editors describe as “one of the toughest decisions in recent memory”. All three cameras are full-frame digital SLRs.

One of the 5D Mk III’s winning attributes was its “superb low light performance”. While the Nikon D800 with its mammoth 36.3MP sensor (compared to the Canon’s 22.3MP) wins the resolution battle hands down, its low light capabilities are less stellar, with the Pop Photography’s tests finding an ISO of 12,800 “unacceptable” on the Nikon.

Nikon shooters will point out correctly that low light is not an issue in the studio, where the Nikon performs almost on a par with medium format cameras. But choosing a winner in an open category is always difficult so it’s ultimately the all-round capabilities that count.

The Canon’s other winning attributes are listed as:

    Excellent balance in image quality
    Advanced video, including direct feed
    Control layout designed for the enthusiast
    Built for the long haul, but not too heavy
    Canon’s huge lens and accessory system.

In addition to the three finalists, the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 and Olympus OM-D EM-5 were awarded Honorable Mentions.

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