Canon is throwing down the gauntlet to other camera manufacturers with the launch today of a 21Mp digital SLR (single lens reflex)

The Canon EOS-1DS Mark III is a full-frame digital SLR camera capable of capturing 5fps (frames per second). It can capture 56 large Jpeg shots in a row in continuous mode or 12 RAW (uncompressed) shots, proving that high megapixel counts are no longer a bar to capturing action.

The EOS-1DS Mark III is driven by two Digic III processors and uses a newly-developed 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor. Canon says RAW images (uncompressed Tiffs) of more than 100MB in size can be captured by its new sensor. Images can be composed, previewed and reviewed on the 1DS Mark III's 3in LCD viewfinder which has a Live View mode.

Canon EOS-1DS Mark III

Canon EOS-1DS Mark III

The Canon EOS-1DS Mark III will be a companion model to the EOS-1D Mark III that Canon launched early this year. The 1DS Mark III is Canon's new flagship model and has 57 custom functions including preset and user-definable picture styles.

Preset styles range from standard, landscape and portrait to ones designed with professional photographers in mind. The neutral setting is designed for image post-processing, faithful is for colour matching subjects depend on the colour temperature, while monochrome is a specific setting for sepia, toning and colour filter effects. Users will also be able to add their own Picture Styles or to download additional presets from Canon's website.

Users will also be able to adjust ISO lighting levels easily as Canon has seen fit to include a dedicated ISO button on the EOS-1DS Mark III. The current ISO setting will be on permanent display on the camera's LCD. It has a ISO spectrum of 100-1,600.

As well as now standard Exif data (which logs the settings used for each shot for use when editing or setting up the image for printing) the EOS-1DS Mark III supports GPS tagging so location information about each photo is stored whenever the camera is used in conjunction with a GPS device. The 1DS Mark III has wireless capabilities, too, and can beam photos this way to an external storage device or to an FTP server.

In common with other cameras Canon announced today, the EOS 1DS Mark III will be on sale in the UK from October for £5999.99 .