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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
by Shawn Barnett, Dave Etchells, and Siegfried Weidelich
Preview Date: 08/20/07
The full-frame digital SLR megapixel race has a new champion: the 21.1-megapixel Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III. In this case, the only other contender in the race is Canon’s own 16.7-megapixel 1Ds Mark II. While most serious photographers don’t need more than 8 to 12 megapixels, there is a set of pro photographers who need every last bit of detail a camera can give them.
Long hailed by many as a rival to medium-format digital cameras for less money, the 1Ds is extremely popular in the professional portrait and fashion photography world. With the addition of nearly all the advancements and interfaces improvements of its higher-speed brother, the 1D Mark III, the 1Ds Mark III is likely to be even more popular with high-end pro photographers.
Its new 36x24mm sensor records images that measure 5,632 x 3,750 pixels, with a pitch of 6.4 microns. That’s a smaller pixel pitch than in the 1Ds Mark III, whose pixels were 7.2 microns, but Canon says they’ve once again reduced the spacing of the microlens grid, making for more active light gathering over each pixel.
Next to its higher resolution, the other significant feature in the 1Ds Mark III is its faster five frames per second, up from four on the 1Ds Mark II. The 1Ds Mark III can shoot up to 56 large/fine JPEG images or 12 RAW images before the buffer fills. When used with a UDMA memory card, the EOS 1Ds Mark III is purported to be able to write a 21.1-megapixel file in the same time that the 10.1-megapixel 1D Mark III records an image.
Dual DIGIC III processors keep the sensor’s 8 channels of data moving along in parallel, enabling the blazing speeds at the highest resolution the company has produced.
The 1Ds Mark III also has most of what was introduced on the 1D Mark III, including the body, button, and menu layout; the 45-point Autofocus system with 19 precision cross-type points; a 3-inch LCD; Live View mode, with some of the same enhancements now offered on the EOS 40D; and compatibility with the existing WFT-E2A 802.11b/g Wireless File Transmitter.
The Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III is slated to ship in November at a selling price of $7,999.
History. Canon’s EOS SLR system is the oldest and still the largest lens line where the focus motor is built into the lens itself, with no mechanical coupling between the lens and camera body. Other lines, like Nikon, Pentax, and Minolta/Sony, have a mixture of “screw-drive” lenses and electronically coupled lenses. Dating back to 1987, the EOS (Electro-Optical System) line has a huge and growing selection of lenses, some of which Canon has recently updated to meet the greater demands of digital imaging technology.
As the first major manufacturer to use large CMOS sensors in their SLRs, Canon was an early leader in delivering amazing image quality from its sensors even at high ISO. Canon was also the first to deliver a digital SLR with a full-frame sensor, and they delivered it years before anyone else in the form of the 11.4-megapixel EOS-1Ds, which shipped in 2003 (see our preview of the latest in this line, the 1Ds Mark III, announced simultaneously with the EOS 40D). As of this writing, Canon is the only SLR manufacturer to ship a full-frame (35mm-sized) digital SLR.
And Canon was the first SLR manufacturer to introduce a digital SLR priced under $1,000, the EOS Digital Rebel (300D). That revolutionary SLR was also introduced on August 20, back in 2003.