Landscape Photography Equipment – My time with the Canon EOS 1ds Mark III
I’ve been using the Canon 1ds Mark III for over a year now for my landscape photography and thought I’d share my experiences. I know it’s getting on a bit now, but the Canon EOS 1ds mark III camera gained a lot of attention in the landscape photography world because of its technical features and robust design.
Many landscape photographers have said that this camera is worth the investment because of its usability and the quality of images and video this camera can deliver.
Add to this a robust magnesium alloy weatherproof body and you have an almost perfect outdoor partner to accompany any photographer on a Landscape Photography trip.
It’s safe to say Canon has always been one of the go-to brands to buy from if you need a high end full-frame professional camera. The 1ds Mark III is Canons flagship camera for landscape photographers around the world. Even though it’s getting on in terms of age, it is arguably still one of the best cameras on the market right now for Landscape Photography.
This camera is best known for its 36x24mm full frame CMOS sensor, 45-point AF system, and the awesome twin DIGIC III processors. It has approximately 21.1 Megapixels, delivering images up to 5616×3744, ensuring you capture the most beautiful photos, even if you need to crop it’ll give you significant latitude to manoeuvre.
In the world of landscape photography there’ll be times when you will be thankful for the low ISO rates available, allowing you to absorb the scene before you as you decide. Add to this the 63-zone metering system and the Highlight Tone Priority function, you can ensure adequate expansion of the 1Ds’s dynamic range for greater depth and tonal detail in bright areas.
This camera is renowned for its ability to produce professional looking images; obviously this is dependent on the photographer wielding it. Due to the intuitive layout of both external and internal menu system, you will not have a problem getting to know the 1ds Mark III.
Ok it’s a little heavy compared with similar full body models on the market, but this is something that’s forgotten about after a few hours of use. Personally it’s reassuring to feel the weight, knowing you can trust the build quality almost justifies some of the investment!
Canon lists the technical components of this camera as follows:
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III is an engineering tour de force, which, true to the EOS-1 legacy, redefines the state of the art in no uncertain terms. An entirely new 21.1-megapixel full-frame Canon CMOS sensor delivers astounding image quality and creates new photographic possibilities. Dual “DIGIC III” Image Processors work in tandem to speed up data handling and camera operation, while further refining imaging performance.
Tough, high-durability body and shutter designs, combined with the unique EOS Integrated Cleaning System, set new standards for professional dependability. Cutting-edge features – such as a large 3.0-inch LCD monitor with Live View Function, and a fast, precise 45-point AF system – make the EOS-1Ds Mark III powerful and versatile.
And, of course, the EOS-1Ds Mark III is part of the unparalleled EOS System, which, with more than 50 EF lenses, 15 interchangeable focusing screens, and extensive wireless remote control and lighting accessories, is the most advanced and powerful digital photography system in the world.
Who should consider buying this?
Professional photographers and enthusiasts serious about landscape photography, those who demand only the highest quality results should consider investing in this camera. Of course there are other Canon models on the market with remarkable technical features.
Take for example the fantastic Canon 5d Mark III, but if you require the robust selection of features and weather proofing the 1ds Mark III affords then this is the camera for you. The 1ds Mark III camera has built on the reputation of its predecessor, and I don’t think many will argue that the release of the Mark III only strengthens the 1ds pedigree. Saying that, I don’t think many will argue this camera is a significant investment either.
However, it might just be what you need to get yourself on the next rung of the professional or serious amateur landscape photography ladder. Many photographers swear by the reliability of the Mark III and have relied on it to help take their photography to the next level, allowing them to realise what they visualise in the field.
Due to its 35mm sensor size the Canon EOS 1ds mark III camera has been heralded as the digital equivalent of the original analogue 35mm film camera. What this means is the image you see through the viewfinder is the image captured, there is no in-camera cropping.
The increased maximum resolution and a pixel count reaching more than 21 megapixels ensure every image captured is going to contain maximum detail. Couple the technology of the 1ds Mark III with the resolving power of one of canons flagship L series lenses and you are guaranteed pin-sharp images time after time.
I’ve shot very little video on the 1Ds so can’t comment how it performs here. I would encourage you to pop over and visit Jon Roemer’s blog on ‘Learning to See’ with the 1ds mark III, it’s an excellent read and goes into great detail on shooting video post firmware 1.3 upgrade.
I would also encourage you to visit the Digital Photography Review article on the technical aspects of the 1ds Mark III, it’s a great read if you would like the low-down on the 1ds Mark III’s technical abilities.
The main pro to investing and using the Canon 1ds Mark III is the consistent delivery of professional looking high quality images time after time. Thanks to its next generation CMOS sensor there is very little noise introduced during image capture. Even up to ISO 1600 you can be sure of a noise free image time after time.
The robust shutter housing ensures professional grade reliability, and apart from the re-assuring shutter actuation sound the camera is whisper quiet to work with. Another pro to using this is the fact that it offers live view shooting, allowing you to ‘preview’ the exposure of a particular image before committing it to the memory card.
The other noteworthy pro is it’s exceptional build quality, there is little doubt this is a camera aimed at the professional market. If you keep in mind that this is meant for serious photographers, more likely professionals earning a living from their landscape photography, it becomes clear why this camera commands the price point it does. If you only plan on creating pictures for the internet if might be worth considering another model from Canons wide wage of bodies.
The main downside with the Canon EOS 1ds mark III (for some people anyway) is the fact that it’s a little heavy to lug around for long periods of time. If you have been used to other lightweight cameras that are available on the market, this might be a consideration.
The price is a little high, but it’s important to remember this is a professional grade camera, with a build quality to match. When you look at other cameras in this category, it’s probably the right price point for Canon to pitch their professional products in this price range.
Despite there being a few downsides, this is a fantastic camera. It is certainly worth investing in if you are a professional or serious amateur landscape photographer demanding high quality images.
It’s the ideal workhorse for any photographer looking for exceptional build quality and reliability and who might be ready to take their photography to the next level.
If you are a landscape photographer serious about image quality, you really should consider the 1ds Mark III. It really does have the ability to transform your landscape photography, providing it’s driven correctly of course ;).
Have a great day!
Barney Delaney is a photographer specialising in Landscape Photography from around the world. He is based in the Cheshire Peak District of the UK. Click Landscape Photography to purchase prints by Barney Delaney.