Some four years after the extremely successful Canon 5D Mark II full-frame DSLR camera was released, the 5D Mark III just hit the streets.

It will be competing head on with the new Nikon D800 and observers are expecting a good fight. While Nikon was perpetuating the sensor size hike up to 36MP, Canon has chosen instead to bank on improving quality and kept the sensor at 22MP; the company’s obvious bet is that with a better sensor, users won’t need the extra pixels.

The Canon 5D Mark III features the new DIGIC 5+ processor, improved AF and metering, an extended ISO range, intelligent viewfinder, 3.2″ LCD and on-board multiple exposure and HDR modes. Here’s what the respected dPreview had to say about a first hands-on preview.

It retails for three and a half grands. Ouch. I guess it’s good to have something to dream about. Besides, I’m quite happy with my 7D at the present and can’t even find the time to take her out. But some day, the 5D Mark III will be mine.