Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Review created 2010, latest update 2012. photos: Canon EOS 1D Mark III

Canon EOS 1D Mark III (aka Canon EOS 1D3) was my primary camera body from October 2009 to August 2013 and I used it very actively. It was replaced by Canon EOS 6D.

When my beloved 40D started to show signs of use on the shutter release button I checked what was the situation on the market. Just about then the rumours on Canon EOS 1D Mark IV got hotter and somebody started to sell a pile of ex-retailer display Mark IIIs on eBay at a reasonable price. I decided to pick one of these. And what a wonderful camera body it was!

The build quality of Canon EOS 1D Mark III was the best you can get. Canon EOS 40D was a well-built body but 1D Mark III felt even better. The batteries were huge and so were their capacities. I calculated that a fully charged battery would last for over 4,500 shots in my typical use. The weight of the body was not too bad. It felt like 40D with the battery grip but I assume it must have been a heavier.

Image quality wise 1D Mark III was not much different from 40D. In cat show photography there are other things that make more difference to the image quality than the fine details on camera body image quality. It is easy to see that 1D Mark III had less sensor noise than 40D had. ISO 6400 was perfectly usable and I used it often. The ten frames per second frame rate was also an significant improvement over 40D. I was thinking that it wouldn't make much difference to go from 6,5 fps to 10,1 fps but I was very wrong. It was easier to get good series of action shots. But the best thing Canon EOS 1D Mark III offered compared to Canon EOS 40D is the configurability: all aspects could be configured including AF sensitivity, fps and filenames written to the cards.

There were also some things that were better in 40D than in 1D Mark III. The Live View on 40D had the ability to hit AF-ON to flip the mirror and to execute autofocus. On 1D Mark III there was not such a feature. Also the shutter release button of 40D had a more accurate feeling. Well, it felt nice but wasn't designed to heavy duty use since 40D started to show the first signs of use namely on the shutter release button.

There used to be lots of discussion on 1D Mark III's autofocus behavior in AF servo mode. Since then Canon has made firmware changes to fix the issue and offered a free AF mirror readjustment. My body received both. But since I didn't using AF servo mode I couldn't really care.