Redesigned both inside and out Canon's fourth generation 'small format' D-SLR sets new standards in every department. One day there will be a better D-SLR than this ... but we'll probably have to wait a while.
If you're thinking that this is just another Canon pro-level D-SLR with a bit of a tidy-up there and few refinements here, then you’re seriously underestimating the tour de force that is the EOS-1D Mark III.
This camera is no mere update… it’s a comprehensive redesign embodying many more changes than simply the adoption of a new, higher resolution sensor. Just about every aspect of the Mark III’s operation and performance has been subjected to some degree of revision with the result that this camera has very little in common with its predecessors. The exception is the basic control layout which has been retained so that owners of the Mk.II and Mk.IIN won’t need to unlearn a whole lot of habits, and these cameras can still be used alongside the Mk.III without creating too much confusion. Nevertheless, as will be revealed, the new model still incorporates quite a number of fundamental
changes to functionality.
As Canon’s EOS – the initials stand for Electro Optical System – celebrates 20 highly successful years, the -1D Mark III represents a rather emphatic re-iteration of the company’s superiority when it comes to SLR design. A superiority that has continued seamlessly from the 35mm era into the brave new world of digital capture. Thus the EOS-1D Mark III embodies two decades of solid development, mixed with liberal dashes of innovation, and it’s evident in how cohesively this camera works. Not to mention its impressive suites of features and specifications.
In fact, it’s hard to look at the EOS-1D Mark III and not conclude – aside from any debates about sensor size – that here is the very pinnacle of 35mm-based D-SLR design. As is asked with each successive version of Photoshop, the question is; are we really going to ever need anything more? Of course, inevitably there will be more, but right now the Mk.III is most
defi nitely it… although the more you delve into the camera’s formidable armoury of capabilities, the more you’re left wondering what refi nements or improvements are actually left. Certainly, in terms of its specifi cations, the EOS-1D Mark III would appear to fulfi l just about every wish that the users of the earlier-generation models might have dreamt up.
There have, of course, been three previous versions, but the revisions made to the IIN model presumably didn’t qualify as being signifi cant enough to represent a generational change. Canon reserves the model number ‘1’ for its professional-level cameras – from the F1 onwards – and so with ‘1D’ signifying the digital SLRs, it’s by the ‘Mark X’ designations that all variants are now known. Of course, there are also two lines of pro D-SLRs – the Ds models with full-size (i.e. 35mm) sensors and the D models with the smaller format (i.e. APS) sensors.
It’s important to note that Canon’s ‘small format’ sensors are more “APS-H” than “APS-C” (both references to the different frame sizes offered by the short-lived APS fi lm format) so the focal length magnifi cation factor – as a reference to 35mm – is only 1.3x compared to 1.5x or 1.6x. All Canon’s pro D-SLRs share the same basic bodyshell with the styling largely inherited from the original 35mm EOS-1. However, there have been quite a number revisions to the ergonomics to improve both the handling and operation of the Mark III.
The Mark III looks big and beefy because it is, but it’s also surprisingly comfortable to handle and exceptionally well balanced when fitted with any of Canon’s weightier lenses… which basically means all the L-series models. The vertical grip is fully integrated into the main bodyshell which eliminates the compromises to overall integrity created by having a connection and a coupling. This is particularly important in terms of the overall protection against the intrusion of dust and moisture which employs a total of 76 seals. Additionally, there are O-rings on the covers for the battery and memory card compartments, and silicon rubber gaskets around the joints of the top and bottom covers.
All the external covers are made from magnesium alloy as are the chassis and mirror box (compared to the previous model’s diecast aluminium components), and this results in a weight reduction of 70 grams. Apart fromits combination of strength and lightness, magnesium alloy is used because it provides good shielding against electromagnetic radiation.