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Old Feb 11, 2010, 12:44 PM   #1
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Well, Rob Galbraith came out with his initial focus test of the 1dmkIV. Seems like results were still not good. It will be nice when he and Mike Sturk do the side-by-side testing with the D3s and with the updated mkIV firmware.

Lots of the Canon Faithful were looking for Rob's blessing on this camera and so far it doesn't appear to be there.
http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/mul...=7-10048-10484
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 2:15 PM   #2
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well, indeed disappointing.

with 1 misstep (1dmkiii) people will be willing to hang on and hope for the best in the next model, but when 2 bodies in a row falter in comparison, people will start making the plunge into changing systems.
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 3:22 PM   #3
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well, indeed disappointing.

with 1 misstep (1dmkiii) people will be willing to hang on and hope for the best in the next model, but when 2 bodies in a row falter in comparison, people will start making the plunge into changing systems.
Perhaps. Or do what most of us old school pros do. Manual focus.
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 3:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Hards80 View Post
well, indeed disappointing.

with 1 misstep (1dmkiii) people will be willing to hang on and hope for the best in the next model, but when 2 bodies in a row falter in comparison, people will start making the plunge into changing systems.
It's not that easy for sport shooters...

-> Nikkor supertele's cost a lot more than Canon's counter part - That is if you're lucky, as they are often out of stock @ B&H or Adorama

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Old Feb 11, 2010, 3:51 PM   #5
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Or manage somehow to make great shots with the AF system anyway, which is what half the world's top shooters managed with the 1DMk3.

Let's face it RG is not a top sports shooter any more than Ken Rockwell is a top fine art photographer. He's a working pro but he shoots high-school and a bit of college level stuff and probably makes more from his website than from photography.

I personally expect Canon are more than a bit annoyed that he wasn't overjoyed that it now gets 100% perfection with high-school athletes lumbering directly towards the camera as fast as their little legs can carry them. Last time round that seemed to be the only thing he cared about.

The agencies will do their own evaluations and choose their gear accordingly and the 1DMk4 will probably do just fine. And given that it rather makes you wonder how much of his problems are to do with his skills rather than the camera. I wonder if he and his mate had swapped cameras whether the Nikon would have developed a sudden inability to take more than a few random pictures in focus.

Still, I expect he'll have a significant impact once again on the hordes who buy $5,000 cameras to take pictures of their dogs in the park. Blessed though they be.

P.S. I mean really, he complains about the performance of the AF system for football (soccer) shooting under conditions than hardly any professional will encounter. Yes it may be a poor camera for soccer moms (or dads), but I expect the pros would rather that it perform well under lights and under the conditions encountered in the football grounds of Europe than on a field in Calgary somewhere. I mean Manchester, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan all valid test grounds (and that is where all the beta testing will have been done) - but does any real footy photographer care a hoot whether RG thinks it's a good camera for shooting soccer or not?
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 5:20 PM   #6
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Actually quite a number of pro shooters with the mkIII echoed his results. And, quite a few of the worlds professional shooters (newspapers) shoot HS sports. Let me say this - I'll put a lot more stock in a review of a sports camera based on shooting track, basketball, soccer than one where they're shooting labels. I mean how many reviews out there of the D3/s idmkIII are done by people with NO sports experience.

You also have to understand that to many pro shooters and agencies switching systems is expensive - just like any other piece of equipment a company buys and depreciates. BUT, when it comes time to replace that $8000 lens and their aging 1dmkIIN bodies need replaced more and more could indeed switch systems. In reality a lot of working pros chose to stay with the IIN rather than use the mkIII. Of course there were also a number of pros who felt the mkIII performed quite well.

I am by no means a fan of Galbraith but he's certainly more qualified to review a sport camera than pretty much any review site or photo magazine I can think of. Many of the working pros who have been testing the camera in the field are under non disclosure agreements so they can't publicly give reviews. So while Canon gets the benefit of their input, most of us do not.

As to manual focus - no thanks. Been there, done that. I don't think there's a pro sports photographer out there that would go back to MF. Let's keep things in perspective - even with any issues the MKIII or mkIV had, they'll easily out-perform MF
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Old Feb 11, 2010, 8:05 PM   #7
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Although I don't regularly shoot sports I do like it when a sports shooters does a review so we get real world reviews of the camera being put through its toughest paces and such. I do shoot a lot of action myself just not sports and to get a review or advice from someone who is an action/sport shooter or even words from John G is very very helpful

As for MF for the action I shoot forget it too much work.....

I agree with everything John G said. Maybe John G should build the next Cannon camera for them and get it right for once.

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Old Feb 12, 2010, 7:56 AM   #8
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Dave - sorry, can't build cameras I'm not an engineer. But like any other camera, part of the problem lies in marketing decisions. I strongly disagree with canon's emphasis on megapixels. I think the rush to cram more and more MP into their cameras is what is hurting them at the high end like this where the standards are highest. Nikon, IMO, absolutely got it right going with a 12mp full frame sensor on their D3/S. Quality over quantity. They didn't have to tackle the difficulties with getting so many MP to look good. But Canon is still in an MP race and that's a shame. Ask most pro sports shooters and they'll be glad to go back to 8fps and 8-10mp if they have a reliable focus system AND better high ISO performance.

Now canon has backed themselves into a corner with the more MP = better philosophy. They have to make it work now. Now, this is only one person's test and as you can see from his article there was a firmware release. Who knows whether that fixes what he's describing?

But, with aging units to replace, if there IS a PERCEIVED focus issue with the mkIV - after so many real world pro shooters had actual problems with the mkIII this will be disasterous for Canon. We're not talking about the general hobbyist with too much money - we're talking about all those guys with big white lenses. Olympics and World Cup are coming up. You're going to get a LOT more input from top notch sports photogs after those events. And, of course, the rest of the NBA season. So, a lot of chances for pros to try out the gear in the exact sports this test was done on.
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Old Feb 12, 2010, 8:18 AM   #9
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By the way - for those not familiar with Canon's AF system it might seem confusing as to why AF would work in some sports but not others. Part of the issue may lie in the fact canon uses PREDICTIVE focus. When in AI-Servo, the camera isn't just constantly re-focusing - that would be too slow. It uses complex algorithms to 'guess' at the next focus distance. So, for example - when you have a runner coming right at you velocity is fairly constant. But for a sport like soccer, velocity isn't as constant. That may be part of the problem. The algorithms for predictive focus may be geared too heavily towards one type of action and not react well to others. And of course there are all sorts of aspects regarding how much the camera should try for 'accuracy' vs. 'speed'. And whether or not the camera should use focus points adjacent to the primary point or not.

Also - AI-Servo on the 1d series actually behaves like AI-Focus on the xxxD and xxD cameras. In other words it attempts to detect movement and behave like single shot when a subject isn't moving. If you look at the review and see the comments about the camera having problems after the speedskating race there may again be an issue with the camera confusing whether there is movement or not - and the problem may manifest more in low light. That's the problem with complex systems - (and while I'm not an engineer I am in IT and have worked in software development and as a business analyst for 17 years) - the more complicated you try to make algorithms the more scenarios you didn't think of mess things up. That's why there's the KISS principle - Keep It Simple Stupid - keep things simple and you're less likely to screw them up. Unfortunately in professional cameras, just like cars or other complex electro-mechanical devices you can't keep things simple. BUT, the problems really came in because Canon re-wrote the focus algorithms for the mkIII - not tweaked them over the mkIIN but re-wrote. They re-wrote them again for the mkIV. Tough to re-design a whole system and have it work correctly out of the gate. Hopefully in this case it will indeed be firmware fixable.
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Old Feb 12, 2010, 3:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Ask most pro sports shooters and they'll be glad to go back to 8fps and 8-10mp if they have a reliable focus system AND better high ISO performance.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGVXqba4BJg

And yet in this interview the rep says the sports pros and agencies (who are the customers that have REAL clout) want exactly the opposite. So either he's lying or you are mistaken about what sports pros want (or at least what they tell Canon they want).

When it comes to the performance of the MkIII - it's certainly true that the internet forums had legions of people complaining that the sky was falling and the AF system was terrible. But not everyone who used Canon switched to Nikon, and Nikon were offering some very sweet deals on trade-ins on Canon gear.

No equipment is idiot-proof, and though I'm not claiming RG is a complete idiot, I really don't think he's the kind of person who Canon really listen to.

I'm far from convinced he knows how to get the best from the gear he is using. If he was he wouldn't be shooting the low-level stuff he does, he'd be shooting the high-end gigs instead. But maybe he is a good barometer for the wannabe crowd.

The bottom line is in his pictures. I don't look at his photographs and think "If this guy says so, then I'd better take notice." I also don't think RG did anything like sufficient testing (certainly there was no evidence) to prove that on balance the MkIII was worse than the MkII. The 1D is for sports and wildlife photography in general and I really find it difficult to believe that the engineers are so clueless that they made a system that was significantly worse across all the arenas the camera was designed to perform in. Though for RG's specific requirements perhaps it was (mostly) not as good.

I am not suggesting that there is any particularly good place on the internet where it is possible to find accurate reviews of these things, but Steve and DPreview don't even pretend to evaluate these cameras, and in many ways that is far more honest, and perhaps more useful, than a poorly conducted review by someone with an inflated opinion of their own relevance.
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