This morning, Canon released the EOS 5D Mark III, a much-anticipated digital SLR camera that adds a slew of new innovative features to trump its 2008 release of the 5D Mark II.

The retail price is $3,499 for the camera body and $4,299 for the kit, which will include a Canon 24-105mm F/4 lens. Optional accessories include a Wi-Fi transmitter and a GPS unit.

The Mark II was widely lauded for its ability to record HD videos, but the Mark III can record HD-quality movies for nearly 30 minutes at a time; there's even a headphone jack thrown in for good measure. The new version also offers a much-widened ISO range of 50 to 102,400, and a whopping 61 autofocus points.

And while the Mark II featured a 3-inch LCD panel with a resolution of 920,000 dots, the Mark III has a 3.2-inch screen jam-packed with 1.04 million dots. Its low-light performance is excellent, as is to be expected by anyone familiar with the Mark II; the capability this time around is slightly improved by a 22.3 megapixel full-frame sensor. And check out the burst mode: the Mark III can do six frames a second compared to its predecessor's four.

Canon has stepped up its weatherproofing on the Mark III so that it can better withstand the elements during tough shoots. And just for fun, there's a new Creative Photo button, allowing users to toggle between picture styles and multiple exposures.

And there's one more thing Mark III offers that Mark II no longer does: bragging rights. There's been plenty of speculation surrounding this product release and how it compares to other options like Canon's own EOS 1DX or Nikon's D800. We've yet to see how consumers will respond, but Mark III is already being hailed as a game-changer.

That means the 4-year-old Mark II is far from center stage. But at $1500 less that its successor, it's still a solid camera with great value.