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Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review Date: Jul 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Beautifully designed, quality-oozing body, excellent .JPG/RAW image quality, very responsive and accurate in every step of the way.
You can not store (on-board) live-view video, limited on-board NR user-settings, LCD color-reproduction is not accurate enough for deep/tough color evaluation.

After owning and operating two (2) bodies for over 7 months (blue-dot and non-blue dot), below is a summary of these bodies' performance:

1. Image quality: the cam's imaging engine produces vivid, contrasty and sharp .JPGs all the way up to ISO3200, albeit with slightly more conservative sharpening and a slight decrease in saturation as you reach ISO3200 (it is the way it has been implemented, though). However, detail is very well conserved, and you can pull out tons of it from ISO3200 on your post-processing bench. Now, from .CR2 raw files, you can extract all the detail and color you want, at any ISO speed, especially if you profile your cam correctly (in Lightroom/ACR, for instance).

2. Responsiveness/Speed/Focusing: This camera clearly performs better than my previous (and wonderful) 1D2/1D2n bodies. Focusing speeds are *dramatically* increased, specially in OneShot mode, where the cam will travel all the way from focus-acquisition to focus-lock in basically no time (accurately), allowing you to capture scenes that will take you completely off-guard, even if you forgot to set servo. Now, in AI-SERVO, these 1D3 bodies operate with clearly more precision than our 1D2/1D2n, based on the increase of keeper-rates that we have experienced on equivalent scenarios. On simple, static subjects, our former bodies' AI-SERVO seemed a bit more erratic/jumpy, whereas the 1D3's focus just stays put and locked. Focusing-and-tracking on a dark-subject against a bright-background, as well as low-light focusing, are two key areas that have been significantly improved with respect to our 1D2/n.

3. Body design and operation: this cam just looks beautiful from every angle, it handles wonderfully, it is easy to use, button layout is simple, the weather-sealed Joystick is a WONDERFUL feature during OneShot or AI-Servo operation, and menus are very well organized. In contrast with the 1D2/n, the custom-menu functions allows us to group some key functions such as AF control, battery, dynamic range control, exposure and sensor cleaning, allowing you to immediately prepare or adapt the cam. to any shooting circumstances and forgetting, for the most part, about everything else. Combine this menu, with AutoISO on TV mode, as well as Aperture Value Range, and you have a perfect "PJ" mode that you can control at will (perfect for street/social/events and unpredictable indoor/outdoor lighting changes).

In summary, this is the very best all-round 1-series we have owned, to date. The only thing that this cam needs is more granularity on its NR engine configuration (for outputting .JPGs that may require so), and on-board capture of LiveVideo, which would allow you to bring the best out of everything this camera already has to offer).

Load any (and wonderful) EF 24-105 f/4L IS, EF 70-200 L IS (f/2.8 or f/4) or longer, and get ready for some serious fun!