By Stephen Oachs
After months of reading about, and then waiting for, this new camera to arrive, it's needless to say I was anxious to get out and put this new heavyweight camera through its paces. I decided to head to the San Francisco Zoo — it’s close to home and helps curb my wildlife photography habit since work and budget don’t allow me to get out into nature as much as I’d like.
The new 1d Mark III is a 10.1 mega-pixel shooter, taking a blistering 10 frames per second (in RAW too!), sounding more like a machine gun than a camera. I shot with a 4gig Sandisk Extreme III SD card and noticed it was a bit slow to keep up with the camera’s buffer after long rapid-fire moments. The good news is these chips get cheaper every day so I’ll certainly be upgrading shortly to be sure memory storage can keep up with the camera’s write speeds.
The weather in San Francisco was perfect — low clouds, foggy and cool...exactly the way I like it. The clouds defuse the harsh sunlight making for even lighting with no shadows. The downside is a lower level of light, but from all I’d read about the new 1D Mark III the new Digic 3 processor allows images taken at ISO 800 and higher with very minimal noise — I wasn’t disappointed. I headed for the tiger compound in the zoo, where I knew I could find animals in motion with good, non-zoo looking, backgrounds. This was a great place to test a combination of fast frame rates, high ISO’s and more. I chose to shoot with a Canon 100-400mm IS USM since the San Francisco zoo does a great job of getting you up-close and personal to these majestic, endangered cats.
This shot of the tiger in the bamboo was taken with the Canon 1d Mark III (1/250s f/5.6 at 400.0mm iso800). Using auto-focus, I was able to lock onto the tiger and follow him as he paced in and out of the bamboo and thick brush without any issues. I found this camera to perform very well in low light, allowing me to capture shots that I might have missed in the past.
This happy duck is another example. The light was pretty low, so I locked focus on his head and dropped the ISO down to 200, slowing the shutter speed, anticipated his next flutter and snapped the shot.
I have much more field testing to do before I’m completely comfortable with the new Canon 1d Mark III, but early results with in-hand usage and image results look promising. I’ll write a more in-depth review — stay tuned.
July 19, 2007
By Stephen Oachs