Canon continues to release new product on a semi-regular schedule, announcing the Mark III last week, a camera which looks to be the new benchmark for the fastest apparatus yet.

According to a press release, “The Mark III has a ten megapixel APS-H (1.3x FOV crop) CMOS sensor and can shoot at ten frames per second. It features the updated DIGIC III image processor, a new 19 area Auto Focus system, up to ISO 6400 and a 3.0″ LCD monitor (with a live view feature). The Mark III should ship in April for US $3999.”

I’m most excited about the advances from the new chipset. There looks to be greater latitude with greater crispness up to ISO 3200. That’s great news for the next time you have to shoot in a dark alternative art show, a dimly lit high school gym or for spot news during a riot downtown.

And here’s a feature that’s long been overdue. A new AF button has been incorporated on the camera back, that may seem trivial, but think about all the times you’ve wanted to switch over to manual focus on the fly but had to flip the camera over to flip a switch on a Nikon or slide a button on a Canon. By the time you’ve done it all the moment you saw has passed and you’re switching back to AF. Well Canon saw fit to finally address this nuisance and added a button they promise will allow you to instantly switch auto focus on or off while keeping the eye on the viewfinder. Sweet! And long overdue. We’ll see how well it works, but I love the idea.

Canon also promises a brighter viewfinder. I never noticed any problems with the Mark II N, 20D, or 5D, but brighter is better I guess… but it does make me wonder if it’s an electric eye now, I hope not. But the new LCD shooting mode, where you use the LCD screen for a viewfinder, does make me fear the worst.

There’s improved metering, a self-cleaning system similar to the one found in the new Rebel and the viewfinder also offers a wider angle of view, so now the boarder you see in the viewfinder will be pretty darn close to the one you see in Photoshop. Although it was never that egregious as it is now.

The specs look impressive on paper.

I’m not sure we need it, but I want it.

Actually I don’t want it, but I am glad it’s been announced. For one, there should be a price drop on the Mark II N, the camera it replaces, but more important, we’ll see some of these new features trickle down to the XXD series cameras.

You know those 10D, 20D, 30D (40D?) cameras that aren’t as sexy as the Marks but are just as good and give great results in a small form factor. Sure it’s all plastic, but you save a G, so don’t complain.

Afterall, it’s not the gear, it’s the eye behind the gear.