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Thread started 16 Dec 2014 (Tuesday) 11:07
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Canon EOS 1D Mark III, reviewed by Levina de Ruijter

TOGGLE RATINGS BETWEEN ALL AND Levina de Ruijter (showing now: Levina de Ruijter)
Overall Rating9
Overall Image Quality9
Value for Money9.5
Must Have9
Suitability to Intended Use10
Got What I Expected9.5
AF Performance9.5
Handling and Ergonomics9.5
User-interface9.5
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Levina ­ de ­ Ruijter
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Joined Sep 2008
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Post has been last edited 3 months ago by Levina de Ruijter. 4 edits done in total.
Dec 16, 2014 11:07 |  #1

I just bought a used 1D Mark III and, coming from a 1D II N with, at times slightly wonky AF, this camera is absolutely fantastic. Autofocus is quick and accurate, it will find tiny song birds, hidden in the clutter of a tree without a problem. It focuses in low light (of which there is a lot at the moment) and as far as AF goes it's in a different league than my old 1D2n. Clearly my 1D2n was a bit of an anomaly in that area as it is known as a camera with superb AF. Well, mine had a real problem with small birds in a tree against a light background; the camera would focus all over the place but not on the bird. Obviously this was the first thing I tested with the 1DIII and it has no problem at all with it.

Another thing I'm impressed with is the noise. I'm getting less noise at high ISO speeds (1600 and higher) and the noise is finer and easier to deal with in post.

I love the colours this camera gives me. They seem just a tad richer. I'm not very technical and don't know if it's because the 1D3 is 14 bit depth as opposed to the 1D2n being 12 bit, or the 2 mega pixels more, but I have noticeably more wiggle room in post.

So far I am happy with my new camera. It does take some getting used to though. You would think that after shooting with a 1D2n for 2,5 years, a 1D3 would be no different, but it is. Everything is different: ergonomics, user inter face, weight even. But it is wonderful that everything is there at the touch of just one finger. There is also a dedicated ISO button which is a true blessing and I have my joystick back; I had one on my very first camera, the 40D and missed it dearly on the 1D2n.

I am still just exploring the camera and the weather is not helping, but even with dark, dull light and high ISO speeds this camera can perform. I can't wait for Spring and good light!

EDIT: I need to add something. The first 1D3 was not focusing properly. It did reasonably well with stationary birds but as soon as a bird was moving the camera could not focus properly. Birds in flight, gulls fighting in the water or on land for food, everything was out of focus, although whilst shooting the AF was or seemed spot on. I also thought that with stationary birds the shots were not as sharp as I was used to. Examining my shots, I found that the camera was front focusing or back focusing or side focusing. Pretty bizarre all. I tried out different settings, including those from expert bird photographers, thinking that what worked for them would work for me. It didn't. I tried Micro Adjustment. Also made no difference. I then read up on the 1D3's AF drive, educated myself thoroughly on Custom Function Menu III, but to no avail. In the end I could come to no other conclusion than that my 1D3 had a faulty AF system. I went back to the shop. They believed me without questioning and gave me another 1D3 and this one is brilliant.

What is remarkable about that first malfunctioning 1D3 is that its serial number is way out of the affected range of 1D3's with a hardware AF problem, that Canon provided a fix for. And what's even more remarkable is that when researching my AF problems, I found other reports of people experiencing the same kind of problems, also with serial numbers much newer than the faulty batch. I think this is something to look out for when buying a 1D3. I have shot with four 1D3 now. The first was three years ago. It was a loan and it was perfect. The second and third had a severely malfunctioning AF drive so I had to return them. The fourth is the one I have now and it is perfect. So that's a 50-50 rate. That's not good.


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Levina ­ de ­ Ruijter
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Post has been last edited over 2 years ago by Levina de Ruijter with reason 'Added a pic'. 5 edits done in total.
Dec 16, 2014 11:07 |  #2

Dark and windy, so not really ideal for testing out a new camera. Still, impressive IQ for those conditions and those settings. Spring is going to be good this year! :-)

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Levina
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CyberDyneSystems
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Dec 17, 2014 22:02 |  #3

Great review, and I agree 100% about the colors.
When I first started shooting with the 1D3 the colors and flexibility in post (shooting RAW and converting to 16 bit tiff) was an eye opening improvement over any previous camera. (Indeed the 1D3 was the first 14 bit color DSLR)

It was a break through in image quality and a whole lot of other things as well. In fact, a simple thing like "Live view" on the 1D3 was the landmark step that brought us video on the 5D2 soon to follow. MFA is now standard on all serious DLSRs, the list goes on.


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Levina ­ de ­ Ruijter
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Dec 18, 2014 03:25 as a reply to CyberDyneSystems's post |  #4

I forgot to include Live View or MFA in the review, but yes, they are great to have. And I love that small, light weight battery. And you can check it in the menu, now that is really handy. That little battery is a marvel anyway, it seems to go on forever! :)


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Maxdave
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Dec 18, 2014 06:24 |  #5

When I first got my 1D3, in addition to what CDS says above, I was impressed with how nice it was to hold and handle, and how when used it seemed in a strange way to actually think with you (that sounds crazy, I know).

It impressed me enough that I decided only to ever replace it with a 1D4 or a 1D X. I have since found and got the former, and I held and briefly used an "X" a couple of weeks ago, and I have the itch again ... but that 1D3 was an eye opener.

Maxdave


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texaskev
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Jan 03, 2015 20:32 |  #6

Its still my most trusted body. I've used it on 100s of shoots and its never let me down!


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watt100
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Jan 05, 2015 08:56 |  #7

Levina de Ruijter wrote in post #17335903external link
Dark and windy, so not really ideal for testing out a new camera. Still, impressive IQ for those conditions and those settings. Spring is going to be good this year! :-)]

also pretty good for sports and action shots




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urbanfreestyle
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Jan 05, 2015 09:03 |  #8

The thing i love about the 1D3 is that despite it looking like a square brick it's REALLY comfy to hold and very ergonomic (for me at least) I love using this cam for my motorsports shooting and in the skatepark the burst comes in really handy. I can't fault it...


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ruskivolk
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Feb 10, 2015 15:42 |  #9

I assume shooting birds, you've dealt with dynamic range topics when going against the sky. How's the camera dealing with that comparing to other cameras you've used?




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Levina ­ de ­ Ruijter
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Feb 11, 2015 08:36 |  #10

ruskivolk wrote in post #17425803external link
I assume shooting birds, you've dealt with dynamic range topics when going against the sky. How's the camera dealing with that comparing to other cameras you've used?

Shooting birds in flight, against a bright sky, is a matter of correct exposure, regardless of camera. The 1DIII does as well as any other camera I've shot birds with. The camera – any camera – will expose for the sky and thus underexpose the bird. This means you will have to compensate that by overexposing a bit. I'm usually somewhere between 1 and 3 stops, depending on bird and type of sky. Take a shot and check the histogram. Adjust from there.


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Poindexter
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Feb 11, 2015 10:09 |  #11

Levina de Ruijter wrote in post #17335902external link
coming from a 1D II N with wonky AF

Is that a technical issue with your old mark II or do you just believe it was "wonky" due to the AF improvements of the mark III?

Aside from this I enjoyed reading your review. I've been toying with the idea of getting rid of my 1Ds II for a 1D III to compliment my 1Ds III and your review is pushing me over that edge. Switching from the II to a III is such a big step up in usability. The double button pressing in the original 1D bodies and mark IIs certainly won't go down in history as phenomenal innovation. Although the image quality, autofocus, durability, and dependability of the 1D (and s) mark IIs is still fantastic today.

Once you go 1D it is really hard to go back.


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Levina ­ de ­ Ruijter
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Feb 12, 2015 16:24 |  #12

Poindexter wrote in post #17426998external link
Levina de Ruijter wrote in post #17335902external link
coming from a 1D II N with wonky AF

Is that a technical issue with your old mark II or do you just believe it was "wonky" due to the AF improvements of the mark III?

No, my particular copy of the 1DIIN had an issue with AF. Especially with tiny birds against a bright background it had serious trouble focussing on it. It would focus everywhere but on the bird. My old 40D and 5D classic never had a problem with it, so I always assumed it was the 1DIIN's AF. In fact it was the main reason I decided to upgrade after yet another maddening experience of not being able to shoot a Robin in a tree against a bright sky. I'm happy to report that my "new" 1DIII has no problem with that scenario whatsoever. It's amazing how it can find those tiny birds in the clutter of trees, regardless of background. :)

Aside from this I enjoyed reading your review. I've been toying with the idea of getting rid of my 1Ds II for a 1D III to compliment my 1Ds III and your review is pushing me over that edge. Switching from the II to a III is such a big step up in usability. The double button pressing in the original 1D bodies and mark IIs certainly won't go down in history as phenomenal innovation. Although the image quality, autofocus, durability, and dependability of the 1D (and s) mark IIs is still fantastic today.

Once you go 1D it is really hard to go back.

I'm truly pleased my review was helpful. I do have to say however, that if the 1DIIN's AF would have been functioning properly, I would probably not have upgraded to the 1DIII because despite its AF problems I did love that camera. Images were sharp, rich in detail and had great clarity. I could push ISO to 1600 if I had to and still have acceptable noise levels, provided I could expose to the right of the histogram.

Having said that, the 1DIII is really wonderful. I never had a problem with the double button pressing, but to be able to do it the easy way again is really nice. And although the difference in weight between the cameras is only some 300 gram, the camera is noticeably lighter and sits better in my hands. It just feels really good. Then there is the amazing battery: some 2100 shots on one charge! And I love to have the joystick again and the pretty accurate battery stats, a dedicated ISO button etc. etc. So yes, I am really pleased with the camera and can't wait for Spring to arrive so I can go to the countryside and look for waders and raptors and what have you and hopefully do some serious shooting. :)

Good luck with your decision!


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EOSFelix
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Mar 05, 2015 02:37 |  #13

Hi Levina,
I Know that this is a very old post, but probably only you can help me...
I shoot MotoGP and actually I have a 5DIII with some lenses. Now I need a second body for backup purposes.
My options are 7D (the old one) and 1D MarkIII

In terms of Autofocus and image quality what could be the right choice for me?

Thanks in advance,
Felice


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Levina ­ de ­ Ruijter
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Mar 05, 2015 09:57 as a reply to EOSFelix's post |  #14

I'm not sure I'm the one to advise you here, Felice, because I never owned a 7D or shot with one, so I can't compare the two cameras from my own experience. The question whether to get a 7D or a 1DIII is asked often on the forum and some will favour the one, others the other.

All I can say is that when I wanted to upgrade some time ago, I read a lot of reviews and especially user experiences and understand that the 1DIII has better AF, better noise control at higher ISO speeds with cleaner files that require less work in post. Personally, I would take the 1DIII over the 7D as I think it's the better camera, especially for sports. And I love the files.

Here's a thread that might be of help to you: http://photography-on-the.net .../showthread.php?t=1​297524

Hope this helps.


Levina
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Levina ­ de ­ Ruijter
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by Levina de Ruijter.
Mar 05, 2015 10:07 |  #15

Two more shots. Again from some regulars in a local park.

A juvenile gull that reminds me of a marsh herrier... :-)

IMAGE: http://cdn.ipernity.com/200/71/88/37197188.0d2be93b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: http://www.ipernity.co​m/doc/288477/37197188] (external link)

And another Heron

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Levina
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Canon EOS 1D Mark III, reviewed by Levina de Ruijter
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