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Paulstw

Canon 7D vs 1D mkIII

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A topic came up the other day on a canon forum about someone wanting advice on whether to swap his 7D for a 1D mark3. I read the thread which ended up turning into an argument about camera bodies, gear heads and defensive motives that didn't really clear anything up. 

 

I started to investigate why they would want to. The reality of it started to appeal to me a lot. Rather than write a lot of text I'll summarise my reasons for switch from the 7D and wonder if anyone uses a 1D3 or 7D and ever wondered too. 

 

These issues are based on my own experience, and are often backed up by other owners to a certain extent. I use UDMA7 CF cards 400x speed for reference.

 

7D
Crop sensor 1.6 (Image quality concern in fine detail).
18mp density on small sensor causing noisy images.
Inconsistent AF tracking on moving subjects. 

AA filter causing image softness

A lot of work needed for post processing to get the best

 

1D mkIII

Crop sensor 1.3 (increase IQ marginally bigger sensor)
10mp density means less noisy images
Dual card slots
Better weather sealing
faster frame rate (10fps)
More reliable AF tracking (based on user comments) 

 

Aside from Alamy, I really love urban wildlife exploration. I'm usually in undergrowth, trees or hiding in the rain with my 7D and 70-200 2.8 several feet from my subject. I love the hunt as a part of the photographic experience. Plan to get a photohide too after Christmas to get ready for better bird pictures next year. 

 

All the things I've heard about the 1D3 performance is promising, however, there's sometimes just a couple of people who say it's not worth trading to. 

 

Any experiences? 

 

 

Thanks, 

Paul 

 


 

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Hi Paul.

Have used the mark 11 for many years now (apart from the wee G9) and it has been GREAT...so the mark 111 should be even better !! However this year I did a shoot with a fellow photographer who had a 5d111(I think) and was JELOUS of the image quality and the high ISO he could go to...Not to mention the muck on my camera compared to his !!

Maybe the LATEST is the best.

Colin.

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When the 7D first came out, I considered it as well as the 1DIII, a friend considered it it too.  I previously had a 1Ds MK II that I had liked but had to sell for various reasons.  I bought the 7D and hated it, she bought a used 1D MK III and she loves it...still shoots horse events and weddings with it.  I shoot stock and portraits and 99% of the time don't print my work - she shoots horse events and weddings with it and has prints on display around town.  Our images are looked at from different standards and at different sizes (she doesn't need to make sure the image is in focus at 100% because she isn't printing at 100% size).

 

The amount of pixels on the sensor isn't really going to make a difference in image quality.  In fact, the higher amount of pixels are going to enable you to downsize the image and hide items like noise (downsize from 18mp to 8mp and it makes a large difference in hiding small issues).

 

One thing I disliked about the 7D was the focusing system.  I couldn't figure it out.  I actually liked the 9 point focus dots that was standard prior to the 7D - 95% of my images are focused from one focus point, and then the image recomposed.  That's how I shoot...it's inherently how we shot back in the film days - we focused on one spot, then recomposed the image.  I still do that with my 5D MK III.

 

You have to remember that the technology of both cameras is over 2 years old at this point.  Much has changed in those 2 years.  I would consider something newer (that will get paid for by stock sales).

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Only reason I compare is due to the fact I can straight swap for a 1d mkiii. Cheers for the replies folks :)

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Paul, do a lot research about the 1DmkIII before considering buying one. The series was plagued with focus issues. The 1DmkIII is the No. 1 reason why Canon shooters fled to Nikon back around 2008-2009. My background is primarily sports photography and I spent those years on the sidelines of many football games feeling the pain of my fellow Canon shooters that were using the bodies. One game in particular, it was a bowl game, a friend shot an entire game with the mkIII and he didn't have any usable images. He is a top shooter for a 100,000+ circ. newspaper, simply put he knows what he's doing. The camera failed him and he basically bashed it into the ground, repetedly, in front of a workroom full of photographers that were editing their take from the football game. This illustrates the frustration shooters across the industry felt about the body. Many national wire service staffs, like the Associated Press, and Sports Illustrated dumped their Canon gear and switched to Nikon and the more reliable D3 just before the 2008 summer Olympic games. Dig around the pro photography website Sportsshooter.com's message boards and you'll find all of the hate being spewed about the mkIII. Even the success of the mkIV couldn't bring many of the old Canon shooters back from Nikon. The reputation was damaged that bad, at least on this side of the pond.

 

As for me, I am a Canon shooter. But, during the days of the mkIII debacle I was using the Nikon gear issued to me at work. But all of my personal work (freelance and stock) was shot on Canon. I hated to see Canon's reputation get such a beat down during that period, but Canon deserved it. They produce a flagship camera that was a lemon. They tried to fix the problem in later production runs of the camera. I think you want to look for a red dot on the box, this is a sign it was retrofitted with a new focusing system that worked a little better, but it never did match the D3. Only until the mkIV came out did the field start to slowly swing back to neutral in the Canon vs. Nikon war. Now they both produce an outstanding flagship in the Canon 1DX and the Nikon D4.

 

So with all of that said, do plenty of due diligence before picking up a camera body you'll want to turn around and bash into the ground repeatedly. Remember, that's a true story. :)

 

Marc

Edited by Hawgshooter
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Paul, do a lot research about the 1DmkIII before considering buying one. The series was plagued with focus issues. The 1DmkIII is the No. 1 reason why Canon shooters fled to Nikon back around 2008-2009. My background is primarily sports photography and I spent those years on the sidelines of many football games feeling the pain of my fellow Canon shooters that were using the bodies. One game in particular, it was a bowl game, a friend shot an entire game with the mkIII and he didn't have any usable images. He is a top shooter for a 100,000+ circ. newspaper, simply put he knows what he's doing. The camera failed him and he basically bashed it into the ground, repetedly, in front of a workroom full of photographers that were editing their take from the football game. This illustrates the frustration shooters across the industry felt about the body. Many national wire service staffs, like the Associated Press, and Sports Illustrated dumped their Canon gear and switched to Nikon and the more reliable D3 just before the 2008 summer Olympic games. Dig around the pro photography website Sportsshooter.com's message boards and you'll find all of the hate being spewed about the mkIII. Even the success of the mkIV couldn't bring many of the old Canon shooters back from Nikon. The reputation was damaged that bad, at least on this side of the pond.

 

As for me, I am a Canon shooter. But, during the days of the mkIII debacle I was using the Nikon gear issued to me at work. But all of my personal work (freelance and stock) was shot on Canon. I hated to see Canon's reputation get such a beat down during that period, but Canon deserved it. They produce a flagship camera that was a lemon. They tried to fix the problem in later production runs of the camera. I think you want to look for a red dot on the box, this is a sign it was retrofitted with a new focusing system that worked a little better, but it never did match the D3. Only until the mkIV came out did the field start to slowly swing back to neutral in the Canon vs. Nikon war. Now they both produce an outstanding flagship in the Canon 1DX and the Nikon D4.

 

So with all of that said, do plenty of due diligence before picking up a camera body you'll want to turn around and bash into the ground repeatedly. Remember, that's a true story. :)

 

Marc

 

Hey Marc, thanks for that. I felt the pain in that story there for that photographer. I have heard of the focus issues, however, I also heard that it was blue dot units that had the fix lol. Weird. I have spoke to MPB Photographic how assure me that they have 2 units with retro fitted AF systems as it matches up with the serial numbers. 

 

Canon seem to be very good at driving folk away. I know this camera seems to be tailoured to sports photographers and I just wonder whether it's purely for that and for everything else it'll just be ordinary. The 1D IV is a grand more expensive than the 1D3. It seems to be a great camera too if you can't afford a 1DX. Of course there's supposed to be a new one on it's way too right enough, so who knows how it'll change things. 

 

1D3 is lighter than a 7D with a battery grip, and the battery grip for the 7D is £150 approx. Seemed like getting a 1D3 wasn't such as step back and in some cases it was an upgrade if resolution wasn't a big deal to you. I do respect that the 1D series does require longer lenses if that's the style you're into but I'm not going to jump right away. 

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Considering the not so wonderful performance of the D3 series for AF on sports/action, I'm surprised - frankly, any and all of these complex dozens of points systems with detailed preference settings rarely work as well as a simple old centre focus spot and keep the subject in the centre crop later!

 

The 7D is noisy and soft, and if you can swap for a 1D MkIII you get a very low resolution camera for the same focal length (wildlife especially).

 

You would be much better off with a 6D if you want full frame (I don't like the 70D much but it's better than the 7D and offers even more reach with tele lenses).

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Considering the not so wonderful performance of the D3 series for AF on sports/action, I'm surprised - frankly, any and all of these complex dozens of points systems with detailed preference settings rarely work as well as a simple old centre focus spot and keep the subject in the centre crop later!

 

The 7D is noisy and soft, and if you can swap for a 1D MkIII you get a very low resolution camera for the same focal length (wildlife especially).

 

You would be much better off with a 6D if you want full frame (I don't like the 70D much but it's better than the 7D and offers even more reach with tele lenses).

 

The 7D is making me lazy. Shoot from a distance, crop later to suit. Still end up with a decent image. 1D3, from reports of usage, is supposed to be better at AF in lower light. I know the 6D is a great camera, but it's an extra £600 over the price of a used 1D3. I'd love a 6D, but only if I had a action/sports/wildlife body I was content with. I've never settled with the 7D for some reason. 

 

If I manage to get a 1D3, and don't like it, then selling it on again won't be a problem it seems. Selling a 7D however is proving difficult, because all anyone has ever heard is bad things about it being too noisy. 

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I'm with Marc on this one. In 2008 I switched from a 1D MkII and 1D MkIIn to two 1D MkIIIs and had a horrific year of shooting weddings with a huge decrease in keepers due to the poor focus reliability - by the grace of god I managed to deliver them all to an acceptable standard but far below my normal expectations and level of comfort. The 1D MkIII was significantly flawed and I'm afraid still wasn't in my case completely fixed even with the HW fix and multiple firmware updates, and a couple of additional trips back to CPS for senior investigation - and I had one with the affected sub-mirror and one supposedly from the new batch.

 

I like Marc's friend gave up and switched to Nikon D3 bodies, but I did it in December 2008 as soon as I had a gap in my shooting schedule and could sell & buy, a last resort and caused by the lack of a like-for-like replacement in the Canon line-up with twin cards and similar AF and low-light performance. The improvement was staggering and immediate and many of my friends followed my lead and switched as well (as had many high profile pros before me).

 

The 1D MkIV is a better camera but I don't believe in the 1-series Canon truly sorted focus until the 1Dx which is back on par (and *maybe* even slightly ahead of the D4 which I now own). This isn't an anti-canon rant, far from it I used them for 20+ years - but you can't ignore this particular models history.

 

So my caution is that there are many 1D MkIII camera bodies out there which had issues - some according to colleagues never did, and some are fixed. If you were to get one I'd caution a serious set of tests before any return period expires to ensure it does perform as expected. 1-series should always have better AF than a similar generation of the semi-pro and consumer models - it is part of the reason you pay a premium, but it entirely depends on the type of photography you do as to whether a 1D MkIII is a *better* body than a 7D, 6D or one of the xxD models.

 

I would caution your statement that moving on a 1D MkIII shouldn't be a problem - they are damaged goods - and you'll have to accept that other will have the same experiences or misgivings based on it's history. Of course the body held it's value far worse than others and if you are able to get it at a lower price because of it's reputation then you may be back in line with a re-sale.

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Sticking with the mark11..

Don't have the money to spend on all these new bodies !!

Wish I did cos they have improved so much(Nikon,Canon & the rest ) over the years.

Stick to 100 asa max & it is FINE !!

Colin.

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There's no better advice than the experience of others. I have no evidence to disagree but whatever canon did to fix the problem has kept current owners happy. Sounds like a risk. I wouldn't know what to expect really as the best body I've had is the 7d.

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FWIW, I've had my 5DmkIII since the first of Sept. and it is hands down the best camera I have ever used. It's a workhorse and can handle everything from sports to weddings to portraits. What has really blown me away is it's lowlight focusing during the last two college basketball games I've shot with it. I've never had a camera respond so well to indoor arena lighting. The lighting in this particular arena isn't bad, it's brightness is set for television broadcasts. But I've always shot basketball using overhead strobes to get the stop-action speed and depth of field. Now shooting at 3200 ISO at f4 @ 1/1,000 and the quality is incredible. Very little noise.

 

Paul, if you can manage to scrape up enough to get a 5DmkIII you'll never regret it.

 

Now if I can just scrape up enough a second body 5DmkIII and dump by mkII's for good. :)

 

Marc

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FWIW, I've had my 5DmkIII since the first of Sept. and it is hands down the best camera I have ever used. It's a workhorse and can handle everything from sports to weddings to portraits. What has really blown me away is it's lowlight focusing during the last two college basketball games I've shot with it. I've never had a camera respond so well to indoor arena lighting. The lighting in this particular arena isn't bad, it's brightness is set for television broadcasts. But I've always shot basketball using overhead strobes to get the stop-action speed and depth of field. Now shooting at 3200 ISO at f4 @ 1/1,000 and the quality is incredible. Very little noise.

 

Paul, if you can manage to scrape up enough to get a 5DmkIII you'll never regret it.

 

Now if I can just scrape up enough a second body 5DmkIII and dump by mkII's for good. :)

 

Marc

 

£2000 is well above my ceiling for a camera purchase. I said to myself a while back that I'd get glass before a body and bought the 70-200 instead of the FF. It will happen one day, I just need to go through a few hurdles to get the one I want. For what it's worth the 7D isn't a bad camera, it's just that crop sensor that lets it down. 

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Well after months of research, and months of waiting on the right one to pop up, I am the proud owner of a totally mint condition 1D MKIII. Sold the 7D and bought the 1D with change left over. Serial number well above the effected range and I'm a very happy bunny indeed. WIth the 400 5.6L bolted on it's faster than anything I've used and should prove to be a great set up. I just need a 24-105 for all things standard and I'm set. 

 

Was a nervous decision but I'm confident it was the right one. 

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