The Canon EOS-1DS Mark III

The big-boy leader of Canon’s dSLR lineup is the EOS-1Ds Mark III, a workhorse of a camera built to endure the rigors of the field in very rigorous and demanding applications such as outdoor assignments, but optimized for studio use with its large megapixel size and full-frame sensor.

A photographer I know of uses an EOS-1Ds Mark II, for example, which is constructed similarly to the Mark III. He accidentally dropped it on a concrete floor from standing height. Though he caught it on first bounce, and there was a small dent on the corner of the body, the camera’s operation wasn’t affected in the least. I certainly don’t recommend dropping any camera, but it is nice to know that if it happens, you’re still potentially in business!

Not only is the crash impact rating very high on the EOS-1Ds Mark III, the weather sealing is equally impressive. I recently saw a photographer shooting with this camera unprotected in a drenching rainstorm. I was shooting in the same rainstorm with the same camera and lens, but I’d judiciously covered my rig with a plastic bag made for that purpose. Sealed or not, it simply doesn’t make sense to tempt fate with an expensive camera and lens. However, the EOS-1Ds Mark III is sealed around compartment doors and offers rubber grommets around all controls to provide excellent weatherproofing. The camera sports 76 environmental seal points. Add to this the rubber O-ring on Canon’s L-series lenses and the camera is well suited for inclement weather shooting.

The defining characteristic of the EOS-1Ds Mark III is the full-frame, 21.10-megapixel CMOS sensor, allowing for superb detail, as shown in 2-6 and 2-7. At the time of this writing, the EOS-1Ds Mark III is the highest-resolution dSLR on the market. Built for durability that can withstand heavy use, this camera is tested to 300,000 actuations (shutter releases). The EOS-1Ds Mark III is compatible with all EF-mount Canon lenses. While not particularly built for speed and therefore probably not the first choice for sports or news photography (unlike the EOS-1D Mark III), this camera can produce incredible, large images in a wide variety of settings and applications.

No question about it, the EOS-1Ds Mark III feels substantial and unquestionably solid. Based on the Canon EOS 1 series bodies, the EOS-1Ds Mark III with battery is heavy. Throw in a lens such as the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM and the package gets heavier! Packing around that weight for a long shoot is not for the faint of heart. But the image quality, body quality, and the excellent in-hand balance make it worth it.

While many photographers lust after this top-of-the-line camera, the price alone is reason for a long, sober pause (the EOS-1D Mark III, by comparison, has actually been optimized to be priced for news agencies). For working photographers, the question is how quickly the camera can pay itself off and begin making a profit, and whether the resolution and camera features are justified by the work that clients need. For most photographers, it comes down to how badly they want the advanced features and whether they can afford the camera.

Here are the EOS-1Ds Mark III specifications at a glance:

  • 21.10-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
  • 5 frames-per-second (fps) continuous shooting
  • Large buffer — burst of 12 RAW and 56 JPEG images
  • 3-inch, high-resolution LCD with zoom and review modes
  • 19 cross-type AF points/26 assist AF points
  • Customizable Picture Styles
  • DIGIC III Image Processor
  • Dual high-performance memory card slots (CompactFlash and SD)
  • ISO speed range: 100-1600; expandable to L:50 and H:3200
  • Shutter durability of 300,000 cycles
  • Water- and dust-resistant, magnesium alloy body
  • USB and Video for complete connectivity
  • WFT-E2A accessory for wireless and wired LAN compatibility
  • Complete compatibility with all Canon EF lenses and Speedlite EX flashes

Category: Canon dSLR lineup

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