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Old Mar 13, 2007, 5:47 AM   #1
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Just thinking out loud....

The 1D Mk II was IMO a camera aimed primarily at photojournalists, sports and wildlife photographers.

But the 1D Mk III is a big enough step up that it is now a serious option for a single all-purpose replacement for the older 1 series film cameras. Canon themselves peg the resolution equivalence at 10Mp.

If I was keen on sport or wildlife stuff it would be a no-brainer, just get the 1D Mk III.

However my primary interests are portrait and landscape, with an as-yet unexplored interest in Macro photography, but only the very occasional foray into sport or wildlife. So is the Mk III still a sensible choice?

Build quality and expected camera life:
Big advantage to Mk III. I could easily imagine the Mk III lasting me for 5-10 years. The 5D probably more like 3-5. So in terms of a notional amortisation the Mk III costs about the same per year as the 5D, though obviously with a bigger up-front cost.

Action (sport/wildlife) photography:
Mk III obviously, no contest, but I don't do much of this.

Crop factor and lens choice:
Advantage to 5D. I find the 1.3 crop to be particularly annoying.

I like my kit to be reasonably portable so I generally stick to 3 lenses, two zooms for coverage and a nice fast normal prime.

My ideal coverage would be an EFL of:
1. 24-100.
2. 70-300.
3. 40 prime.

So on the 5D that's a pretty good match.
1. 24-105
2. 70-300 DO
3. 50 f1.4 and/or 35mm f1.4 L.

On the Mk III it's not so good.
1. 24-105 => 31-136 I will miss the coverage at the wide end.
So could go for 16-35 but that's going to be a bit short at the tele end. Nasty compromise for my "main" or walkaround lens. I would really like something like a 20-70mm L option here.
2. 70-300 DO - fine, gets a bit longer, but that's cool.
3. 35 f1.4 L => 45 - actually pretty good, prefer to 5D option.

Image quality:
1. Resolution advantage to 5D, nice for landscapes. However it's entirely possible with the improvements to the sensor that the 10Mp of the Mk III is going to be as crisp and sharp as the 12.8Mp of the 5D for enlargements of A3 or bigger. Fewer pixels but better means that interpolating to larger sizes might be just as good with the Mk III.
2. Dual digic III v Single digic II - obviously a big advantage to the Mk III i.t.o. processing options.
3. Focus adjustment for individual lenses!! - to me this is probably one of the biggest advances included in ANY camera in history. Truly revolutionary. This means you don't have to worry about "bad copies" anymore, you can do the calibration at home. Awesome advantage to the Mk III and possibly very significant to system IQ.
4. An extra ISO stop to 6400. Advantage to Mk III obviously, though it's still possible that the 5D might out-perform the Mk III at any given ISO stop up to 1600. Not a big deal, but nice to have.
5. Anti-dust on Mk III, not a big deal, but nice to have.
6. Mirror lock up and Live preview. Big advantage to Mk III. I'm far more likely to get into Macro photography than action stuff, so a very interesting development here.
7. 14-bit v 12-bit. Big advantage to the Mk III obviously. I really do expect the increased tonal range to make a significant difference to final IQ, and particularly for landscape and portrait work.

1. Mk III has nicer screen.
2. Vertical grip built in. Nice, but I would never add an external grip for the 5D.
3. 5D much smaller and lighter. Big advantage to 5D for me personally.
4. Higher capacity battery and dual memory cards. Advantage to Mk III. Not a huge deal but a nice advantage nonetheless.

1. Big advantage to 5D. Big enough that it may offset all the other advantages the Mk III might have. Do I really want to be turning up to social occasions with a 1D? I know I would feel very awkward about it.

1. Well obviously the 5D is half the sticker price, but in terms of the cost/year of expected use there's probably not much in it. Small advantage to 5D perhaps.
2. In terms of up-front cost however the expenditure would be something like
£2250 for the 5D + 24-105 L + 50mm f1.4, and £4540 for Mk III + 24-105 L + 35 f1.4L. Basically twice the up-front cost, which would hurt a little bit, but not too much.
3. I might want to add the 35L to the 5D at some point anyway because I think I will probably prefer 35 to 50 in general usage.

I guess I'm leaning toward the 5D - it seems like the somewhat more sensible option on balance. Probably 55-45 in favour of the 5D at this point.

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Old Mar 13, 2007, 7:56 AM   #2
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Hold on, be patient. Last Sun I spotted the 5D in a big electronic store in S. CA, Fry's Electronic which is very unusual for a Canon pro camera to be displayed at a consumer store, normally we see the 30D, XTI at Circuit City, Best Buy...ect. Hopefully the next Canon upgrade would be the 5D or 40D, there are some movement to watch on Canon side, monitor prices of those cameras, the 5D and 30D from now until the summer time.
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Old Mar 13, 2007, 8:52 AM   #3
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If you can wait, I would at least wait to see some production-model photos from the Mk III. I generally agree with your reasoning, though.

If you're really serious about landscape stuff, then you probably want the 5D because it will let you use real wide angle lenses without having to do to good-but-not-great "wider" lenses like the 17-40 f4 L. I've heard some people say this lens has serious problems at the wide end, others say that its great. I've concluded that its a mix of standards (being very high ones) and lens quality (some are not as good as others.)

So being able to use a good non-really-wide lens might be better. You don't really want to have to step up to the 16-35, that is an expensive lens. And the new model is probably more so (but hopefully even better quality.)

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Old Mar 13, 2007, 11:34 PM   #4
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Speaking of lense, the 5D has the advantage over the m3 as the money you save for the camera can go to much nicer glass!! in macro, the m3 has a slight advantage due to sensor size. my 2 cents.

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Old Mar 14, 2007, 1:22 AM   #5
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for the price of $4000 today u can buy both 1D Mark II and 5D and have two of the best cameras.you cancarrry the 1D Mark II for sports and birds,while enjoy the amazing pictture quality of the 5D in rest of the situation.

even better would be to get a 5D and a Id the 4 mp one, since most of the sports shots, u will try to get in the centre with minimal cropping and this is one of the earliest speed demon, fast enough for many and hence have 1000 more dollors to buy or save to buyy a 500mm f4 lens....

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"a moderately meaning 2000 actuations still under warranty 5D today can be bought for 2100 dollors. An used 1D still goes from 800-1100 dollors. An used 1d MarkII somewhere between 2000-2300(while adorama has a refurbished one for 2350)

sorry for confusing u

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