EOS 1D Mark III
My history with this body is complex, and difficult. It is well documented in the posts of the time on this forum, though some serious digging would be required.
First, let me say that when Canon announced this camera, it was as if they had designed it specifically for me and what I wanted in a Camera in 2007 exactly.
From a thread originally posted in 2004, asking for our wishlist shortly after getting our 1D2's
Thanks For listening Canon!!!!!!!
Interesting ideas... hmmm...
My next gen 1D dream list?
1. Menu System
Start the transition from the clunky 1 series menu system to the more evolved 10d/20d menu system
Dump the half ton NIMH for a newer lighter and more powerful L-ION
This would make the Camera much lighter and give it even longer battery life.
Yep.. give us the 20D's AF point selector please
Check!! (though I can't use it to select AF points YET! )
Check, maybe not 1/500, but faster.
We'll Have to revise the spec sheet for the "1DSUX-2000" to include;
Check!!!! (well 14bit aint bad! )
Check! Got it anyway @ 10fps...
Adjustable frame rate with Camera Controls
Currently to change from 8.5 fps to say 5fps as i have done,.. one must tether the camera to a PC and use a Personal Function Why?
Simple firmware changes should allow us to copy from card to another in camera. Also as Longwatcher says.. RAW to one card and jpeg to another would be nice.
Done, that an more options! Cool!
The "1" bodies allow you to save groups of custom functions in presets.. but I had always dreamed of a camera with settings just the 10D/20D has on a dial... ala "Sportsmode", "Landscape" etc.. but allow the user to define EVERY setting for each of the modes. Ie: one setting for "indoor lowlight shooting" would allow me to spec AV with full open aperture, ISO 800, frame rate, single or AI.. different CF and PF settings, Even Which CARD to write to! etc... Then I could record a "bird in flight" setting.. AI servo, ISO 400 etc... and to get back to these setting once recorded I simply turn the dial.. or to keep the "1" weather sealing" it could be a menu on the LCD of 5 or more presets.
This Alone has been one of my own personal most sought after features in a high end pro body, and the 1D MkIII HAS IT!
I shoot a lot of Birds, and a Lot of indoor low light performances,. I can now set my camera up for these two TOTALLY different applications with one change in the menu settings! (once I record them)
Well, that all looks great doesn't it?
However, the 1DIII was in fact a bipolar camera at launch. It promised (and offered) so many advances, including the premier of "Live View" that would eventually evolve into the video capabilities that now adorn all modern DSLRs. The increased color bit to 14 per channel (up from 8) and more.
And indeed, in my hands the 1D III felt like exactly what I wanted. It offered so many design and engineering improvements over the 1D2, and virtually everything I had asked for. The color and work-ability of the RAW files far exceeded previous generations, the customization were multitude and easy to access.
Then there was this problem with the AF system.
My first 1D3 was crippled with AF problems. They manifested themselves only under certain conditions, but those conditions included those under which a bird photographer was constantly working. It also effected sports photographers and many other types of high paced shooting.
It took Canon over a year to finally solve the hardware issues that plagued the 1D3, and to replace my own terrible copy. This scar can not be ignored when reviewing the 1D3, especially if you were one of the many that suffered from it's results. This all happened to me at a time when I was most active in my shooting, both wildlife, and performance work in a dark theatre. The Split personality shown dramatically in my hands as the 1DIII literally mopped the floor with any previous model I had owned shooting dance, music and performances under dark theatrical liking, while at the same time utterly failing to EVER track a bird in flight when the 1D2 was so epic-ly good at that task.
During that time the 1D3 (the bad one) went to Africa with me.
Again, the dual personalities were visible daily, as the 1D3 provided perfectly sharp images of large beasts moving slowly, or idle birds perching in trees, but failed so often for my usual favorite subjects, birds in flight.
To cut the AF story shorter, almost exactly 18 months after receiving my twisted bi=polar 1D Mark III, after it's 4 trips back to Canon to repair or update, or for the two hardware recalls, I finally was able convince Canon to replace my failed 1DIII (this was not easy, and is an entire story unto itself)
The New 1DIII was vastly superior, and in fact I would say simply "Worked" and soldiered on for me for another 5 years or so with no issues. I never felt as confident with it as I did the 1D2 that was amazing out of the box on day one for AF, but all of it/s superior ergonomics and image quality still made up for that in the long run, and in a big way.
Today the 1DIII is a bit of a dinosaur, but be sure to understand that the 1DIII was a break through turning point in Canon 1D Series design. It is THE biggest upgrade in the 1 Series since launch with all other 1D upgrades before or since feeling incremental as compared to the leaps that the 1DIII was over it's predecessors. In your hands the 1DIII will feel as modern as it did to me in 2007.
If budget is a concern, but fast action and rock solid durability are required, the 1D3 is a hard to beat option for the price they sell for now.
Recommended with strong reservations*
*This of course assumes that you buy a used body that is not still plagued by the problems that many shipped with, and in some cases could not be fixed.
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