Customer Reviews: Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III DSLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL)
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on January 21, 2008
Well if you are looking at this fine piece of Photographic equipment odds are you have been to the Canon website and read the specs. I will touch on a few of the items I have noticed since I purchased mine and have been using it.

1st. The feel, just like the 1D M3, this beast is solid. Not too heavy, but solid in the hand. And here in Alaska, I do put the weather sealing to a test, and just like my trusty 1D M3, the 1Ds passes with flying colors.

2nd. Yes its 21.1 MP, but that should not be your main consideration to buy it. Yah 18x12 @ 300Dpi out of the Camera is nice, but nost people dont print over 16x20, and I have sold a lot of prints from my old 20D at that size or even upto 20x30, as long as you shoot it right in the first place. But this is also a drawback as well. Because of the large file size, esp in Raw, and most, if not all, buyers of this body will/should be shooting in raw, be aware that you will need larger CF cards for it. At least 8gig, I use 12Gig for mine, extreme 3's and they work great! Also be aware if you use the internal high iso noise processing, it slows down the buffering a lot!!!

3rd. Full Frame, just like the earlier 1Ds models its a ful frame sensor. That means 2 things, not only does a 17mm or 14mm lens again be a true wide angle lens, but also with the larger sensor the pixels are more refined and this gives better color and less grain.

4th. The colors of the images in the files. WOW Again the 14bit processors are great!!! Esp for raw, where you can import it in as 16bit for the finer details. One draw back is if you use Photoshop, you will need CS3 to do the raw Conversions, unless you use the Canon program.

5th. You are approaching the image quality of a Dig MF camera, with the portability of a Dslr! Not to mention you can use all the Canon EF lenses, and this camera really should only be used with L series lenses when possible, except for the fisheye as its not made in an L series but the quality is very good anyways. As the Quality of the optics is what affects the quality of the image the most, other than settings in the camera, ie shutterspeed and AV, ISO, etc...

6th. Wonderful Accesories for the camera. I love my wft-e2a. I use it on my 1D M3 a lot and it works great on the 1ds as well. Its a great way to control your camera remotely or to send your files to a remote computer for processing and such while you are still shooting.

This Camera is great. I have used the new nikon d3, and its a much improved camera over the past models, but it does not compare to the top of the line Canon!!!! This camera will not let you down. The noise if shot right is not even noticed until iso 1600 and then you still got to look. ISO 3200 is still great (about the same noise/grain my buddy had on his d200 at iso 400!!!!!)! If you are a Pro and need a camera that can perform the best and give wonderful results, this is it. It kicks butt compared to anything else in the DSLR market!!!
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on February 24, 2009
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.

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.
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on January 16, 2008
In every way Canon has done it again. 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.

My five favorite improvements in no particular order.

Faster and more accurate autofocus

Less noise at high ISO making 3200 a viable choice.

File quality that beats many 22MP medium format digital backs.

Live preview, it's cool, fun, and useful.

Improved handling due to lighter more balanced feel

Yes I know number three will get me in trouble but the price, faster handling, and much broader lens selection make it great choice in the 22 to 30MP range. The 39MP backs are clearly more detailed and smoother but this Canon will push many a P25 and H3D-22 onto ebay in the next year.

Canon has set the standard again the mk3 is truly brilliant. The only better deal may be the well cared for used mk2's easily found on ebay.

I just wanted to add a comment regarding cost. Now that my second mk2 has found a new home I can evaluate the true cost of an $8000.00 dslr. I paid $7300.00 each for my mk2s. Sold them for an average of $3620.00 making the cost if you add in an extra battery and firewire cables for three years around $4000.00 each. I anticipate this kind of return for the mk3s and considering they will work in a high demand professional environment for three years or so I'd say the mk3 is a ridiculous bargain.

By the way both of my mk3s have performed flawlessly and were spot on with regards to viewfinder alignment.
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on January 24, 2008
I've had the 1Ds Mark III for over a month now and have shot in churches, outdoors and in the studio. It excels in every environment. The first thing you'll notice is the immensely big, bright viewfinder. It barely feels like looking through something! The LCD display is very good as well. Build is very solid. I've used it with the Canon 85mm 1.2 II L and the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS L. Both deliver outstanding results and are hand-holdable. The new automatic dust-removal system is very good, leaving only a couple of spots against the blue sky when shot at small apertures, when there used to be countless on the 5D. Image quality is fantastic, and the images are huge, making cropping while retaining a big image easy. The menu system is very easy to operate, custom functions offer a plethora of options. Shutter sound is wonderful, and at 5fps very fast for 21MP. It's expensive for sure, but definitely worth it.
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on February 21, 2009
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III 21.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

I am an advanced amateur and was using the 5D Mark I for the past 2.5 years. I loved the images but hated the focusing. In any kind of shot that involved focusing on a subject moving at walking speed, (or less) the 5D would fail to snap into focus. The second shot would never be in focus. In lower light situations (typical interior lighting, not candles), the 5D was even worse. Sometimes the focusing would force the lens to go to maximum close/distance as the 5D hunted for focus - even when the lens was basically in focus to start - this was guaranteed to miss the shot.

The 1Ds, on the other hand, is great at focusing. Super fast, subjects snap into focus quickly, and focusing continues onto 2nd shots and more. And it will focus on lenses that are 5.6 and above - something the 5D did not do (try a telephoto with a filter or extender). From what I can read, the new 5D Mark II has basically the same focusing system so it is not improved in this area.

What kind of shots am I talking about? Shots of people,kids, basketball, soccer, bands, parades, candids on the street, street life, travel, animals in the wild or at home - I would include most everything except still life/landscape photos. Generally any shot you would not be making with a tripod is a situation where the 1Ds' focusing is vastly superior to the 5D.

High resolution is great. But out of focus shots are not keepers.

Finally, the 1Ds Mark III is much more solid than the 5D - everything from the controls to the shutter sound. I love this camera. My only wish is that it were the same size as the 5D since most shoulde camera bags don't account for its height. I don't mind the weight since the the weight of the lenses I am carrying is much heavier than the camera.
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on January 24, 2009
I've used several Cameras from Canon, including the F-1N, 10D, 20D, 1Ds, 1Ds Mark II, and now the 1Ds Mark III. This camera will provide you with the tool to capture great work, but you'll need the best lenses. Cheap zooms or cheap prime lenses will produce chromatic aberrations that will make the money spent on this camera a waste. In other words, the resolution of the sensor is so high it exceeds many lenses currently on the market.

Why would someone buy this body instead of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II? Because of the build of the body, the durability of the shutter and battery life. These three factors provide the user with a camera that can withstand the extremes of nature while working.

This camera is heavier than the 5D, even if the 5D has the optional grip, so if you don't like a camera with mass, this camera is not for you.

I have used this camera in the rain, sleet, snow, and the heat of summer. It has performed flawlessly. The resolution provides enough data for beautiful 24"x36" prints.

Yes, I'm a professional photographer and am immersed in the software and hardware to make photographs. I'm aware that there's much more to photography than the camera body, but it's the camera body & sensor that's the cornerstone for great images.
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VINE VOICEon December 31, 2007
I was lucky to get my 1ds III from Amazon in December, and have pressed the shutter about 5,000 times. (I'm a hobbyist, albeit an insane one.)

Like many others, I abandoned the Nikon camp when there was no sensible upgrade to the D100 at the time the 20D was launched. With the D300 and D3, Nikon now has gotten a lot better, and depending on your needs, one company may be better than the other. In particular, the 1ds III is better at studio photography and perhaps tonal range than the D3. The D3 is much better at low light photography, and is better for sports photography (especially sports photography that doesn't demand the highest resolution).

But, if you're already invested in one manufacturer's lenses, don't switch. Both Canon and Nikon will continue to leapfrog each other for the foreseeable future, and ain't life grand because of it!

Now to specifics:

1. As impressed as I am with the resolution of the 1ds III, I'm even more impressed with the dynamic range. You should absolutely only shoot RAW -- never JPEG! And make sure your workflow is 16 bit Prophoto; I use Lightroom and Photoshop CS3.

2. Spending $8K on a body and using cheap lenses is silly. I use the 16-35 II zoom, the 24-70/2.8, the 135/2.8, and the 100-400. I also enjoy the 50/1.4 and the 24/2.8 Tilt/Shift lenses.

3. Buy a decent tripod and perhaps monopod. Gitzo carbon is my favorite, but they're a bit pricey...

4. Buy a UDMA compact flash card. I got the Crucial 8Gb Lexar Media Professional Udma 300X Compactflash Cf8Gb-300-380, and then the Sandisk 8GB EXTREME III SDHC SD Card Class 6 (SDSDX3-8192, Plastic Case) for the SD slot. For me, the SD card is for overflow. You should also get a CF UDMA reader.

Suggestion for Canon: I'd really like a mode where pictures are striped across the two cards (shot one to CF, shot two to SD, shot three to CF, ...). This would give a strong measure of protection against one card failure (you'd still have half your shots) without sacrificing space. I bracket a LOT, and a typical day of travel photography will fill both cards!

5. The leads to the next point: buy an extra hard disk to take on the road. I use a 320GB 2.5" USB drive. I download shots to my notebook, do a little editing in Lightroom (tossing the undeniably bad shots), then back up the day's work to the external hard disk.

And I'll echo what another reviewer said. If you take a lot of pictures, think of this camera as a three year investment. If you take care of it, you'll get a good resale value -- and instead of an $8K sunk cost, you can think of it as a ~$1500/yr "camera tax." ($8000 - ~$3500 resale - 3*$1500.) Cheap, huh!

Finally, I get a lot of enjoyment out of my 1ds III. It is one of my truly prized possessions, and has greatly improved the quality of my photographs. I bet it does the same for you.
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on March 8, 2008
Excellent tool for the professional photographer. As a pro with years of experience using 1D series cameras, moving up to the 1Ds was effortless but extremely rewarding. Was making money off of prints from the camera within 72 hours. Build quality and image quality is exceptional. Responsiveness for action sports is accurate, fast and very reliable. Even in low light situations where I am using it at ISO 3200 and f2.8 and wider so that I can use shutter speeds at 1/500 and 1/1000 in high school gymnasiums and pools. So far, studio shots have been blowing me away with the image clarity, contrast and color - especially with L series lenses. Just wish I didn't have to pay the price of a used small car for it and it's impact on increasing my equipment insurance.
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on June 24, 2008
I have a 5D that has been moved to backup duty since acquiring this beauty. The problem I was having with the 5D was that many of my images were getting rejected by the stock agency I shoot for due to excessive shadow noise. I spent hours cleaning up noisy shadows in post, and still got some rejects. Not so with the 1Ds. It produces absolutely clean, perfect, huge files straight out of camera with little or no post work. Even when you turn on the extended ISO and crank it to "Hi" (essentially ISO 3200), The images it produces are just outstanding. It may be a bit big and heavy for the casual user, but pros shouldn't be bothered by it. It is actually not much bigger or heavier than a 5D with a battery grip installed. I like the live view when shooting macros on a tripod. It really helps get the focus just perfect. Battery life is awesome. I shot about 1800 RAW files over a 4 day shoot and still had juice left without charging. Bottom line, if you have the cash, and want the best camera this side of a hasselblad H3d-39, then go for it! You can see some images that I shot with this at my site [...] (the battleship was shot with this and the 16-35)
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on January 27, 2008
A friend has been doing portraits with a special 20x24" Polaroid camera for many years. Polaroid has announced that they are stopping production of the film, so we decided to see if an image from the 1Ds Mark III could be used as a substitute. We created some images with the 1Ds Mark III in the same studio as the Polaroid, using some basic Canon lenses, such as the 50/1.4. We sent the RAW files off to Pictopia to have 20x30" prints made. The resulting images didn't have the interesting artistic variation of the Polaroids, but they were more detailed.

The image quality of the camera is undeniably great. The user interface is more complex than the Nikon D3, for example, with deeper menus. Canon gives you dozens of options for what to do with the two memory cards, for example. The camera sorely needs a "help" button.

What else could this machine use? A built-in GPS and built-in WiFi.

Do you need it? Not unless you are going to make some truly huge prints and you are intending to be disciplined about tripod and lens. Pictopia made us some 20x30" prints from the EOS 5D (13 MP; one quarter the price) that looked great.
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