First Look: Canon EOS-1D Mark III

How to find a rugged, pro-caliber 10MP DSLR that delivers a blazingly fast frame speed up to ISO 6400.

First-Look-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III

First-Look-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III

Rather than upgrade its popular EOS 30D digital SLR, Canon has surprised us by announcing a pro-level 10.1MP EOS-1D Mark III. (The price wasn't set at press time, but we think it will street for just under $4,000, body only.) With live LCD preview and other enhancements, it's more than an upgrade to the 8.2MP EOS-1D Mark II n it replaces, and may pose a threat to Nikon's 12.4MP D2Xs.

Sports shooters and photojournalists will crave the Mark III's burst speed and improved capabilities in low light. It can capture up to 110 high-quality JPEGs at a blazing 10 frames per second -- the Mark II n topped out at 8.5 fps. In RAW mode the burst capacity drops to 30 images, but still at 10 fps. Such rapid-fire action is backed by a shutter rated at 300,000 cycles and a new 45-zone autofocus system that includes 19 cross-type sensors for precision focus and tracking of subjects in low light.

The camera we looked at wasn't a testable production model, but once we get one into the Pop Photo Lab, we expect image quality test results to improve incrementally over the older Mark II n. Why? The Mark III's new AP S-H-sized 10.1MP CMOS sensor delivers increased resolution and expanded 14-bit color depth. (The 35mm lens factor is still 1.3X).

Canon EOS-1D Mark III • Product Gallery • Image Quality Gallery

Real-world performance boosts should also come from the Mark III's incredible low-light sensitivity (the ISO range has been expanded to 50-6400), improved noise reduction powered by dual Di gic III processing engines, and new Highlight Tone Priority controls.

Do pros really want a giant (and vulnerable) 3-inch LCD on their DSLRs? They should. Since the AF is disabled in Live Preview mode, the larger screen makes it much easier to focus and compose, and for critical work you can focus using the 5X or 10X magnification assist.

The camera can also be controlled remotely via a computer attached by Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connection or an optional Wi-Fi transmitter (with Live Preview active). And the video out port can be used to stream live preview (or playback) video to a big screen TV or studio monitor.

Now, if only the Mark III's light sensitivity and Live Preview mode came in a less expensive body (EOS 40D, anyone?).

New & Noteworthy• 10 fps burst.
• Live preview.
• ISOs up to 6400.
• 3-inch LCD.
• Super-tough, though heavy, body.
• Improved AF system.
• No pop-up flash.
Consider this if...• You're a pro photojournalist or sports shooter who wants to freeze the action.
• You're a studio photographer looking for live preview and remote control.
• You can afford to spend about $4,000 for the camera body alone.

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Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon EOS 1D Mark III with Sigma 300mm f/2.8 USM DG APO. 1/1000 @f/2.8 ISO 125. Otters are fun, but this one looks so serious. There'sgood contrast throughout this challenging scene.Photo By Jack Howard
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Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon EOS 1D Mark III with Canon 70-200mm f/4L. 1/125 @ f/4 ISO400. There's great detail with extremely low noise even after pullingup the exposure about half a stop in RAW processing.Photo By Jack Howard
Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon EOS 1D Mark III with Canon 70-200mm f/4L. 1/400 @ f/4 ISO400. There's virtually no noise in the shadows in this extremely highcontrast scene.Photo By Jack Howard
Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon EOS 1D Mark III with Sigma 300mm f/2.8 USM DG APO. 1/1000 @f/2.8 ISO 400. The outer ring was selected as the active AF area forthis shot, locking onto the otter's snout as soon as it surfaced.Photo By Jack Howard
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Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon EOS 1D Mark III with Sigma 300mm f/2.8 USM DG APO. 1/400 @f/2.8 ISO 1000. This was shot at ISO 1000 without High ISO noisereduction activated. The exposure was pulled up slightly in RAWprocessing. There's not much visible noise.Photo By Jack Howard
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Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon EOS 1D Mark III with Sigma 300mm f/2.8 USM DG APO. 1/1000 @f/2.8 ISO 125. This low ISO image of a dark shiny subject feels like achrome to me.Photo By Jack Howard
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Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon EOS 1D Mark III with Canon 70-200 f/4L. 1/2000 @ f/4 ISO 400.There's excellent midtone and shadow detail in this aquatic scene, andauto white balance was right on with the water highlights, which showno casting.Photo By Jack Howard
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Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon EOS 1D Mark III with Canon 70-200 f/4L. 1/6400 @ f/4 ISO 400.Auto focus quickly found this aquatic subject's eye and tracked itwell with the outer ring selected as the active AF zone.Photo By Jack Howard
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Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon EOS 1D Mark III with Canon 400 f/5.6L 1/800 @ f/5.6 ISO 800.Noise is controlled very well at ISO 800 on this high-contrast scene.Photo By Jack Howard
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Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-Canon-EOS-1D-Mark-III-with

Canon EOS 1D Mark III with Canon 70-200 f/4L. 1/200 @ f/4 ISO 1600.Even at ISO 1600 in a rainy gray setting, there's excellent color andskintones without excessive noise, which was smoothed just a touchmore in RAW processing.Photo By Jack Howard
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