This camera is lighter, faster, and
produces bigger, better files than the mk2. If you make a living shooting
pictures, buy it, you may never have to upgrade again. If Photography is
your hobby or passion and you can afford it this should be your last camera
I owned this camera since spring of 2008,
So at the point of writing this review, I used it for nearly a year.
Now, if you are earlier owner, you might have experienced a problem or two.
I was unfortunately one of the owner experienced problem, and had to ship it back to Canon for the warranty repair. So, I was not exactly happy about paying expensive FEDEX freight.
But, rest assured, no other nasty problem occurred after warranty repair, and this camera has been workhorse of my photography.
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III is an engineering tour de force which, true to the
EOS-1 legacy, redefines the state of the art in no uncertain terms. An entirely new 21.1-megapixel full-frame
Canon CMOS sensor delivers astounding image quality and creates new photographic possibilities.
Dual "DIGIC III" Image Processors work in tandem to speed up data handling and camera operation, while further refining imaging performance. Tough, high-durability body and
shutter designs, combined with the unique EOS Integrated
Cleaning System, set new standards for professional dependability. Cutting-edge features-such as a large 3.0-inch
LCD monitor with
Live View Function, and a fast, precise 45-point AF system-make the EOS-1Ds Mark III powerful and versatile. And, of course, the EOS-1Ds Mark III is part of the unparalleled
EOS System, which, with more than
50 EF lenses, 15 interchangeable focusing screens, and extensive wireless
remote control and lighting accessories, is the most advanced and powerful digital photography system in the world.
Now, let get on the review.
This is really wonderful 21.1MP camera, and it is well worth the money.
But, you have to determine if you need to use one.
At the time of release, there were no other full size sensor camera with this resolutions.
Of course, it has been since passed by other manufacture... but I will not going to that comparison.
For Professional User.
Important thing about this camera is economics.
I own EOS 5D as well, and when non-commissioned or low paid project, I tend to bring 5D instead of 1DS MK3.
It is due to the fact, overall operational cost tend to be higher on the 1DS MK3 so if does not paid well, there will be no point to bring it out.
But, if it does paid well. there are enough justification to own this system, and you should used it as much as you can.
And this system is really reliable, once you get past some getting used to.
One more note,
Now I do own several different system including Hasselblad Medium format.
Medium Format Digital System is superior system when you are working in the control lighting environment. However, it is rather difficult to work with in the outside activity.
If you are studio photographer with magazine or commercial client, and do occasional out side shoot, you should own both medium format and this camera.
If you are professional just wondering about medium format and full size sensor camera,but without pressing need, then do not bother with medium format.
People who uses medium format digital normally has pressing reason such as satisfying client's specifications to own such system.
And it is not really versatile system no matter how medium format camera maker and digital back manufacture portray.
Canon 1DS MK3 is really versatile system, and it will satisfy most of design agency, publisher or stock photo agency's requirement, and L lens system are reasonably priced for the performance when looking at the economics.
For Semi Pro or High Amateurs User
For semi professional. 1DS MK3 is not going to make best economic argument, if you do not shoot studio.
If you are part time photographer who shoots mainly events or doing photo journalism.
I will recommend 1DMK3 over 1DSMK3.
Also, for photo journalist purpose, nowadays 5D MK2 actually makes a lot more sense than getting 1DS MK3 due to the their HD capability.
And for the photo journalist, it is not that good idea to carry bulky system.
But, for an amateur user with a lot of spending money,
It is one of the best system to get taste of what real pro are using.
And it does not cost like price of new BMW, and for the financially resourceful amateur, 7 to 8 grand may not be much of money.
When I got 1DS MK3 there were several amateur photographer I taught how to use this camera...
Surprising thing is, there are quiet many of amateur owner, and with very limited instruction to them,
They were able to create very good quality images.
So, kudos to the Canon for new 1DS MK3 interface.
It is actually easier for 1DS first timer than older 1DS MK2 for instance.
Of course, people who were used to with 1DS MK2 or older tend to disagree on this.
Now here are list of main advantage.
1. It is 21.1MP, more than most of commercial assignment requires.
2. Color depth of 14bit per channel is really useful for RAW work flow process.
3. Economical compared to the expensive medium format system, and still get comparable or sometimes superior result if conditions are right.
4. Build like tank, and it can take a quiet bit of abuse.
5. For user who are used to with 20D~50D, 5D MK1~MK2, it is really easy to learn interface.
6. Dust cleaning is really useful.
7. AF + Canon L Lens combinations is superior to the other known system in the market as of 2008-9
8. Liveview is useful to shoot architecture, land scape, and products.
9. RAW file format is supported well by the major commercial software.
10.CF slot and SDHC slot actually helps. It did not occurred to me until I run out of memory card on the locations, and had to run to the nearby local drug store. At least they carry cheap SD/SDHC at any large drug store chains, and it is a lot easier to find those store than locating nearby large electronic store...
11. Battery Life is excellent, it will easily cover half day events with nearly a thousand of picture even with taxing RAW + JPEG shoot.
12. Due to its weight and form factor, it is a lot easier to balance with long heavy lens.
13. When used with L lens, it is somewhat comparable with expensive medium format digital back.
14. Silent shutter mode is somewhat useful.
Now here are list of disadvantage.
1. It is slightly new form factor for Canon, and there are chance you had to send it to the warranty repair if you got the earlier production model.
2.There are something wrong with design of wireless port cap. It is relatively easy to lose one since it sometimes fell off with limited torque applied. I lost several of them already... though I stocked half dozen cap after I lost my first cap.
3. It is heavy and bulky. Thus some times not a ideal for certain situations.
4. Compared to Nikon D3X, it has slightly poor SNR on the third party software RAW processing software, so certain journalistic style shoot might suffer. If you shoot in the studio controlled lighting environment, that should not be a much of issue.
5. Many of RAW development software is actually more well tuned for Nikon, This might to be due to the amount of info Canon release to the third party software developer.
6. It is hard to justify its price for the many of users.
7. However everyone else claimed, it still can not replace medium format digital camera. Lens resolution and clarity of images is not there yet. Of course, that is when looking at 1:1 images side by side.
8. Silent shutter mode is not that quiet compared to some of the most quiet camera in the market. So, application such as close quarter Jazz or Classical music shot are still off the table.
Overall, I will recommend this camera to who,
If you are photographer that shoot tons of weddings at high fee structure, you should get one. Otherwise, EOS 5D nowadays makes very attractive choice.
If you are commercial photographer with clients and sufficient invest in Canon system, why are you waiting?
If you are amateur with deep pockets, this is a camera to get, and impress your photography teacher!
I will not recommend to someone,
Trek photographer who need lighter weight gear or those wild life photographer needs of faster fps should consider other offering from Canon.
Any journalistic style should consider 1D MK3 first unless you shoot tons of interview photo.
Shooting for hobby or fine arts purpose should really consider 5D mk2 before taking financial plunge of 1DS MK3
If you think it is heavy for you, do not get it. It will be too heavy for you after few hours of holding camera.
Hot Shoe Flash for Your Canon Camera
Buy the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III here:
Superb image quality: entirely new 21.1
CMOS Sensor, Highlight Tone Priority, and 14-bit A/D
conversions for outstanding color tones
Dual "DIGIC III" Image Processor for excellent image quality and processing speed
Live View Function capabilities, displayed on the large 3.0-inch LCD monitor
Outstanding durability thanks to a shutter durability-tested to 300,000 cycles, dust- and water-resistant design,
and EOS Integrated Cleaning System
Up to 5 fps, burst rate up to 15 consecutive RAW images or 45 full-resolution JPEGs, and compatible with newest UDMA
high-speed CF cards
Fast and precise AF system, with 19 high-precision, cross-type AF points with f/2.8 or faster lenses and 26 additional
Compatible with wireless file transmitter WFT-E2A, extensive remote control accessories, and 15 different interchangeable
Ec-series focus screens
Canon has released firmware updates for the EOS-1D Mark III and EOS-1Ds Mark III pro digital SLR cameras. In both cases, the firmware fixes the following phenomenon:
• Corrects a phenomenon in which a displayed image becomes pitch-black if it is zoomed in on during Live View shooting.
• Corrects a phenomenon in which "busy" may continue to appear on the camera if the USB cable is disconnected during USB communication.
• Changes the error indications that are displayed on the camera. The error indications are further clarified to make the causes of errors easier to identify, and so that adequate support can be provided to our customers.
EOS-1D Mark III firmware update version 1.2.5