Canon 1D Mark III vs Mark IV

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by avishek_aiyar, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. I am a Nikon shooter, but have been considering a switch to Canon for my 2nd body, which I want pretty much for my wildlife photography needs.
    The Nikon bodies that have the specs I am after are way beyond my budget. Not to mention that I will not be able to buy the AFS telephoto lenses in this lifetime.
    I started looking at Canon and lo and behold I found the 1D Mark III, which seems like a fantastic camera, especially given the price at which I can get it today (a bit above $1000). I am aware of its AF issues, but I guess Canon offers a fix for that.
    My question is: does the Mark IV version offer a significant improvement over the Mark III? It costs close to $1.5K-$2K more and I'd rather save the money and get the Mark III and use the savings on the Canon 600mm.
    I think I am OK with the 10MP since I rarely print beyond 11x14. The main things I am looking for:
    1. Good and accurate AF, especially whilst tracking birds in flight etc.
    2. Decent high ISO performance so I can always use shutter speeds in excess of 1/1000th (can't afford IS lenses)
    I was hoping to get your opinions on this. Coming from Nikon, I have next to no idea about Canons, especially never having handled one.
    The lenses I would possibly get would be the 300 f4 and the 600 f4.
    Many thanks.
  2. I wasn't happy with 1D III for ISO higher than 400, I would like it as a secondary, action only ISO 100-400 camera, while 1D IV is more of an all-arounder, better display (much better, you can't tell if the photo is sharp or not from 1D III display).
    Older technology like 1D III is ok for some, maybe you should get one and try from own experience if it works for you, it just wouldn't work as a primary camera for me (1D X does work for me).
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I shoot the 1D MkIII at 1600 and 3200 all the time. Here's a recent gallery of photos taken mostly at high ISO. And below is a shot at 1600, what more could you want?
  4. I agree with Jeff, the 1DIII is fine at higher ISOs than 400. Given your reasoning about cost of body vs the investment in lenses, I think it is a better option for you.
  5. I shoot the 1D MkIII at 1600 and 3200 all the time.​
    So would I, very happily. It was and is known as a body with very good high(er) ISO performance.
  6. That is one check box taken care of. Any comments on the AF issues....I have been reading comparisons of the camera with others (including my D300) and ironically seen people switch to Nikon (opposite of what I am planning on) because of some nightmarish AF issues.
    I wonder if that is why these are selling for near rock bottom prices today.
    I am primarily getting it for wildlife action shots and if the AF is that bad and unreliable it completely defeats my purpose.
    How reliable is it after the Canon fix?
  7. I have shot both and both are amazing cameras. They are both also worth their prices. The 1D III is a great bargain, but yes, the 1D IV is worth the money if you can afford it. If you can't, then the 1D III is still a superb piece of equipment. The advantages the 1D IV offers are the 16 MP and it performs about a stop better at high ISO's. That being said, the 1D III is also a very good ISO performer. The 1D IV also offers HD video, but that may or may not be a factor. I know you said you only print to 11x14, but the beauty of the higher pixel count on the 1D IV is that it gives you more flexibility to crop without losing as much detail. This can be a big deal when shooting faraway wildlife. The 7D may also be an option since it has an 18MP APS-C sensor. This will effectively extend your lenses even more than the 1D and also put more pixels on your subject. However, it doesn't perform as well at high ISO as the other two cameras mentioned, and given a choice between the 1D III and 7D, I'd choose the 1D; but that's my personal choice. Many people love the 7D and shoot great wildlife images with it.
  8. I've never had any AF issues with the 1D III. The reason for it's low price is because it's three generations old. The 1D IV and 1DX are it's updates. Not to mention the release of the 7D and 5D III, which aren't in the same line, but both have good AF systems and high pixel counts, which make them appealing to wildlife shooters as well. It's simple supply and demand. Photographers have so many options of newer and capable cameras that this one is just in lower demand, but that doesn't mean it isn't a great camera. Remember, this camera retailed for $4500 at one time and it's photos have graced the covers of Sports Illustrated and man other big publications.
  9. That's right on the money, Nathan.
    Back when the 7D was released, I was torn between it and the 1D Mk III which by that time was more or less on a par with the 7D, price-wise, for a used Mk III.
    I was able to get an extended loan of a 1D Mk III at the same time as I took delivery of my 7D, and side-by-side tested them thoroughly for a good week.
    I'm probably known as being a big fan of the 7D's high ISO noise performance (and I still am - I have no problem with 4000 ISO and higher from the 7D, this being straight out of DxO Optics Pro 8 with no additional NR. Here's a 100% crop, again with no additional NR: with some Topaz DeNoise - and at 4000 ISO, why wouldn't I? - it's squeaky clean), and the the 1D Mk III was just as good at the image level.
    The only reason I eventually chose the 7D over it was the higher pixel count/1.6 crop sensor (important to a focal-length limited bird 'tog); and some of the new AF modes on the 7D, which suit my shooting particularly well.
    But in objective terms, the 1D Mk III was near enough faultless - I just preferred some of the things the 7D could do for me.
    I prefer the handling of the pro bodies by miles though - even gripped, my 7D isn't quite the same.
    (Just to make a bit more of a case for the 7D - what can I say? I think it's a great camera!), here's a Real World 3200 ISO image, where I needed high ISO to maintain shutter speed).
  10. I love pro bodies but I too would at least consider the 7D. I used a Nikon D2X for several years, having chose it over the 1D II and 1D III. I recommend you have a good look at the D2X and D2Xs as well.
    I am not sure why you are switching from Nikon to Canon. I assume you are looking at used lenses as well, and the Nikon 600/4 AF-S (non-VR) are about the same price as the Canon 600/4 (non-IS), if not lower. In your case I would find the 600/4 first, Nikon or Canon, at the price/condition you want, and then buy the camera. Yes, I have bought lenses before cameras to mount them on, in the past. The 300/4 from either Canon or Nikon would be good and again about the same price.
    I have a Nikon 400/2.8 AIS, among other manual Nikons, that I use on a 5D II, and I use the Canon 300/4 L when I want autofocus.
  11. If you already shoot Nikon why complicate matters by adding a Canon body? Why not look for a used D3 to go with your current Nikon lenses?
  12. John, would you characterise the D2X/S as being good at high ISO?
    Back in my Nikon days I rather coveted one of these, but by all accounts they were really pretty poor in noise handling terms - they only went up to 800 ISO native (with HI-1 and HI-2 boosted ISOs), and in-camera "baked-in" (to the NEF) NR was applied automatically from just 400 ISO.
    I recall that it was likened to the D200 in noise handling terms, and the D200 was awful - it was, in fact, the camera that drove me to Canon.
  13. Why not look for a used D3 to go with your current Nikon lenses?​
    Or a D700?
  14. Hi John.....I had no intentions of moving to Canon (it still remains a huge decision since all my gear is Nikon) until I saw the prices of the lenses. For example:
    1. The Canon USM 300 f4 lens WITH IS costs the same (or even slightly) less compared to the AFS Nikon version which doesn't have VR
    2. The Canon USM 600 f4 non IS lens seems to be available for less than $4K (at least I saw 2 go for that price on fredmiranda). I doubt I would even get the obselete AF-I version of that lens from Nikon for that price.
    3. The Canon TCs are almost $100 less than their Nikon counterparts....
    I guess part of all this was out of pure frustration that I did not have the foresight to start with Canon in the first place 4 years back, but hindsight is 20/20.
    Don't get me wrong....I love Nikon cameras and glass but this kind of discrepancy in prices between 2 equally strong "competitors" is disheartening.
  15. Keith....I would love the D700 its very attractively priced as well...but the fact that its FX is ironically a deal-breaker.
    I am primarily looking for something for wildlife and I need all the reach I can get, especially given that the longest lens I have is a 300 2.8 with TC (I do have a Sigma 150-500, but prefer not to use it at 500) and even on DX I find it very short. On a 12MP FX, I am not sure I have enough crop margin.....otherwise I would love to get either the D700 or the D3.
    Of course if I can get my hands on a decently priced AF-I 600mm, then the D700 is very much in contention.
    What is the highest usable ISO on that?
  16. Hi Avi,
    I forgot about the reach issue - which is ironic, given that it's one of the reasons I chose my 7D over the 1D Mk III!
    As to the D700, I don't know much about its noise performance I'm afraid - I just know that it's supposed to be quite good.
  17. Avi,
    instead of looking at a new body as a wildlife solution, have you considered (say) a Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS and teleconverters?
    That's how I get out to 600mm, and the sharpness at 600mm, even handheld, is excellent.
  18. Avi,
    The D700 and D3 are extremely good at high ISO (better then the 1D MkIII and about on par with the 1D MkIV). ISO 3200 is very clean. However, I understand your concern about the lack of reach.
    Have you considered something like the D7000?
    As far as your Canon options go I would probably recommend the 7D. It has the reach of a 1.6 sensor, 18MP resolution, extremely good AF and high FPS rate. It is no slouch at high ISO either with no worries at ISO 1600 in my opinion.
  19. Keith,
    I am already shooting with the 300mm 3.8 with a 1.4x TC and plan to get the 2X TC soon. But in my opinion, that isn't enough reach.
    Besides, another reason why I want a body is I am looking for something with better high ISO (to allow for fast shutter speeds). The D300 is barely usable at ISO 1600 and even then I lose quite a bit of DR.
    Jamie: I have looked at the D7000, but the consensus I have got is its high ISO is only marginally better than the D300. Besides, I am so spoilt by the ergonomics, focus sensor layout etc. of the D300 that I doubt I will be able to warm upto the D7000.
    I so badly want to get the D3 now! :))
    I need to investigate the max print sizes that can be obtained from the D3 in DX crop mode: effectively a 5MP camera.
    I am no pro and although I do try to get tack sharp photos with good resolution, I am not looking to sell any of my I am OK with "non-pro" quality prints if the D3 can do that in DX mode.
    Many thanks.
  20. I would imagine A4 would be about the maximum for a 5MP shot when printed well. The D700 is almost as capable as the D3. It shares the same sensor and image quality and also includes a pop up flash.
    I think I will be happy with the 5MP D3/D700 after all!
    Jamie: I pretty much never ever use the pop-up flash and have the SB-400 and SB-600 to fill that void.
    The final piece of the puzzle is AF speed and subject tracking....that will decide which camera I need.
    Sorry for turning this into a Nikon discussion, but bouncing all these ideas off you guys has really really helped.
  22. I believe the AF on the D700 is excellent. AF on D3 and 1D series is probably comparable. 7D is also excellent.
  23. I know Nikon is moving as slow as a snail, but I'd stick with the D300 and wait for the D400. Sure the D700 and D3 have great high ISO, they have no pixels! In the long run I don't think you will be happy with 5 MP. I know you are trying to reconcile resolution and high ISO performance. I am curious in your intended subjects/environments because I don't know why you need superhigh ISO capability with f4 to f5.6 telephoto lenses? Full sun with an f5.6 lens at ISO 100 gets you about 1/1000, shade means you would be going up to ISO 400 to 800, so not that high.
    I used a D2X at ISO 100 with a Nikon 400/2.8 and 1.4x for motor racing, which still beats my current Canon 5D II with the 400/2.8 and 2x at ISO 100.
    As far as pricing of lenses goes I find Canon and Nikon to be pretty close, it's just a matter of stumbling across a great deal on either one, which does take patience.
  24. Hi John,
    Thanks for the advice.....I don't plan the purchase immediately. You are spot on that I am trying to reconcile and the D3 is the best bet out there for my needs.
    As far as high ISO goes, I have faced multiple occasions where I was shooting not just birds (polar bears in AK for e.g.) during sunset, when shutter speeds got down to the 1/250th range.....and I had very few keepers...
    But I totally broad daylight the D300 works just fine....but from my experience last weekend trying to shoot bald eagles when it was slightly are pushing to hit shutter speeds of 1/ the high ISO would definitely come in very handy.
    Regarding the D400: I really doubt that Nikon is going to release least I am tired of waiting for it.
    Rumour has it that the next and only DX camera will be the D7200 and there is a small probability that a D9000 (D400 like camera) will be released....
    We will see...I am going to wait till June-July before I pull the trigger.
  25. What about the new D7100? It comes with a 1.3x crop mode too for longer reach and higher fps. See here:
    • 24.1MP DX format CMOS sensor, with no OLPF
    • EXPEED 3 processing
    • ISO 100-6400 standard, up to 25600 expanded
    • Max 6 fps continuous shooting in DX mode, 7fps in 1.3X crop mode
    • 51 point AF system, 15 sensors cross type
    • 2016 pixel RGB metering sensor
    • Spot white balance in live view mode
    • 1080 60i/30p video recording, built-in stereo mic, mic jack and audio monitoring jack
    • Pentaprism with 100% coverage and 0.94X magnification
    • 3.2", 1.2m-dot LCD screen (640 x 480 X RGBW)
    • Front and rear IR receivers
    • Equivalent water and dust resistance to D800/D300S
  26. I think I will be happy with the 5MP D3/D700 after all!​
    That's only 400 ISO, Avi - and speaking personally I don't find that image very impressive.
  27. Jamie: wow...never knew about that one.....specs look very promising. This effectively rules out the D400.
    The only thing I need to wait for is reviews on the AF and how good it would be for BIF and wildlife tracking like scenarios....looks like the reviews on the D7000 are a bit mixed, with some people loving it and some people not so much.
    Also of course the high ISO performance.
    Keith: I am quite happy with that image, but I just realized that a lot of my current prints are DX crops (as in crops of my 12 MP original D300 image) I will effectively be "double cropping" when shooting with the that can be a big problem.
    Loads to think about......
  28. wow....just checking the might just be the camera!
    AF support upto F8, 51 AF points, a 1.3x crop mode for even more reach and that too at ~16 MP (thats almost like a built-in high quality TC) all this at $1200.... I can't see any reason not to get the camera.
    Just when I was losing faith in Nikon, they release this.....what a coincidence.
    Am still going to wait for user reviews to avoid any surprises.
  29. It's got the makings of a hell of a camera, Avi.
    Assuming the sensor is better than the equivalent(ish) sensor being used in the Sony bodies (which by all accounts isn't that good at high ISO compared to, say, the 16mp sensor in the D7000/Pentax K-5/Sony A77 - interesting how well the 7D holds up in that test though!) and you're OK with the smaller form factor compared to the D300, you should be fine.
  30. That is funny, overnight you may have your answer in the D7100!
  31. Assuming the sensor is better than the equivalent(ish) sensor being used in the Sony bodies​
    I should add that I'm sure it will be!
    The small form factor would be an issue for me though - the D300 is a much nicer camera to handle than the D7000 in my experience.
  32. Keith: same worry at my end. I am going to wait till the middle of the year to see if there are more introductions....I doubt
    it, but still.

  33. Hi all,
    I am Kelum & new to the forum. I would like to buy 1D mark IV camera body.
    From where I can buy this body around 1,500 ~2,000$.
  34. Okay, FWIW, I am not a professional by any imagination. In fact, probably by most people's standards I am a novice hobbyist.
    I would love the get the 1D4, but like you, I have a tough time justifying the price difference.
    I have the 1D3 literally for wildlife and as a camera body that I can take more risks with (by that I mean, I have a white water trip in Costa Rica coming up and am planning on taking the 1D3 body in the raft, I wouldn't even consider taking my 5D3 in the raft!).
    I am not ever going to publish any of my shots. Maybe a few prints to hang on my wall, More likely, I would make some "greeting cards" and use them for stationary (I still like to write an old fashioned letter every now and then).
    My default ISO speed when shooting birds is 800. When lighting conditions permit, I'll drop it to 400. To me, I'd like the flexibility of a slightly higher ISO to make sure I can get the shot with the shutter speed I need/want and an f/8 for DOF. Sure, I'll drop down to ISO 100-200 for stationary subjects with slower shutter speed at f/4-5.6. But I hate being caught in a position and miss a BIF shot cause I am stuck on too low an ISO!
    The 1D3 is fine at 400-800 and can be pushed to 1600 if you are willing to sit longer at your computer!
    The 1D4 is better, yes. But for 3 times as much money. For me, I'll take the 1D3 now and in a few years upgrade to the 1D4, at $1,000 when my 1D3 is worth about $500. That's generally how I like to climb the body ladder - as a hobbyist.

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