Canon 5D or Canon 1D Mark III ?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by wadleigh, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. I just got some extra cash from some stock options I sold and am looking to get a new camera.. I currently own the Canon 20D with vertical grip. I find the speed on the Canon 20D not so great when I shoot in RAW mode, however speed is not my top priority.. I would like the bigger LCD screen, and other features as well that are out lately..

    So far it is between the 5D Mark II and the 1D Mark III cameras. Here is what I see as the good and the bad... can you recommend based on the fact that I normally do not do sport photography, however I would like a pro-level camera... ? I do landscapes, nature, animals, portraits, events, and indoor photography like for restaurants and hotels...
    5D Mark II
    + full frame
    + high resolution LCD
    + perhaps the HD video
    - too high MPs means massive files I may not want to deal with, which may slow down Lightroom and Photoshop in post-processing

    - HD video.. perhaps just a little gimmick that i never use
    - not pro level.. no small LCD on the back showing ISO, f-stop, etc.. helpful info!
    - no vertical grip unless you buy it extra..
    - weather proofing not as good as pro level
    1D Mark III
    + speed!
    + pro level weather proofing
    + back screen showing ISO, f-stop and other exposure info without having to see it through Viewfinder, etc.
    + 1.3 crop factor - removes the natural problems lenses have along the edges..
    + 10 MP - managable size files..
    + more AF points, so faster on focusing and more accurate..

    - 10 MP, why does this still seem a little low? or does it even matter?
    - LCD resolution still is the same as older cameras! this sucks! of course you should not base your decisions on the LCD in the first place, but nice to have the high res screen!
    - heavy (not a big deal really since I use my Canon 20D with grip and its heavy enough)
    What else? Thanks!
  2. For the work you do, between these two options, I would go for the 5D Mk II without hesitation. You can use the smaller RAW format if file size is an issue, or shoot at full res. if and when you need it. For your indoor work you get the advantage of full frame with full wide angle coverage - you will of course need the best lenses you can afford. If your work was more sports and journalism oriented, in inclement conditions, the 1D MkIII would be a better choice, but if your 20D has survived without problems you would be paying for features you probably don't need.
    The whole "Pro" thing always seems a bit of a misnomer to me - the question is really whether or not you need a more rugged, more water resistant body (none of them are "waterproof"). An amateur who shoots on yachts or mountaineering needs a 1D series body much more than a professional who shoots fashion or studio product - the "Pro" designation is marketing nonsense really - "Heavy Duty" would be a better description.
    Obviously the final decision is yours and the truth is that both are excellent tools and neither one would be a "bad" choice. If you like the advantages of both and want a to combine them, the 1Ds MkIII has it all (except the video, which probably is a non issue)!
  3. If you are not interested in speed then the the 5D2 is for you. The 5D2 also has an LCD screen showing you the f-stop, ISO etc without looking through the viewfinder. That is not just a feature exclusive to the 1D3.
    Yes, the 1D3 has file sizes that are more manageable but the 5D2 has sRAW1 and sRAW2 which can give the same size files as the 1D3 if required.
    Although the 1D3 has more AF points and has faster AF I would not say it was more accurate. Remember that the 1.3 crop factor also has its disadvantages. It is an awkward camera for true wide angle photos. The 17-40 f4L acts as a 22-52mm lens and you can't use EF-S lenses. The only zoom lens that will give you a really wide angle on the 1D3 is Sigma's 12-24mm.
    If you like shallow depth of field for portraits the 5D2 will make it easier to obtain it with its full frame sensor. The 5D2 is also better at high ISO than the 1D3 (albeit slightly).
    On the downside, the 5D2 has poor build quality in areas (battery door, CF card door). The joystick control is also awkward to use. The AF points are all clustered in the centre of the frame making some off-centre subjects awkward.
    I had the same decision to make and I chose the 5D2. Contrary to popular belief, the 5D2 is a quick camera. People use its frame rate of 3.9fps to label it as a slow camera. It is not. It has the new Digic4 processor and it operates quickly. It is not all about frame rate. Its shutter response and the speed it writes those huge files to the CF card is quite incredible. I also don't like cameras with a built in grip which is another reason I avoided the 1D3. As I said earlier, if you don't need outright speed and the build quality/weatherproofing of the 1 series, the 5D2 should be your best option.
  4. I do landscapes, nature, animals, portraits, events, and indoor photography like for restaurants and hotels...
    Landscapes, portrait and indoor photography are asking for full frame, most animals can be done with full frame, with the exception of birds, where a crop camera would be better, looks like the 5d2 fits the bill or if you want the faster camera also you could go to the 1Ds3
  5. Pro level = 1D series full stop.
    Before all the 5DMk2 users bite back: I'm not trying to rattle your cage.
    The build quality and the interface are what determine the pro quality here.
    All that said. I think the 5D Mk2 better fits the demands of the poster. But it ain't pro level.
    Unless you really need 10fps or hyper blistering (rather than just blistering) AF then there is little else to recommend the 1D Mk3 over the 5Dmk2
  6. The is great post so well and articulately posted, I am in the same dillemma. I shoot with a 500 f4 L IS + 30 and looking for a body UG, still abit confused.
    Hope some experts will give good advice here.
  7. LOL - So... I own and shoot with both 1Ds MkII and IIIs and 5Ds. I have been a full time professional for 25 years, also shoot 4x5 Sinar, Mamiya RZs (scan on an Imacon Flextight) and Hasselblad MF Digital. My 4x5 and MF cameras are not heavy duty or water resistant and therefore presumably not "pro level". In fact I guess that the only time I am using a "pro" camera is when using a 1D series Canon.
    Since when did the water resistant abilities of a camera have anything to do with whether or not you use it to earn your living? Clearly the "Pro" thing is a marketing, ego driven designation and it just muddies the waters when helping people decide what tool they really need.
  8. The Mk 3 also has two storage slots which usually are set up for raw on the CF and jpeg on the SD card. Never have to wory about loosing images. The battery charge just lasts and lasts, if that is important to you. I like the speed of the auto focus. Do a search for the white paper on the Mk3. There is probably one available for the 5D Mk2 also.
    I have the 5D Mk1 and the 1DMk3. I am always shooting with the Mk3, I like the feel of it although it is heavier than the 5D w/o the grip.
  9. Your probably little surprised at the responses, but I have to agree with most that with the type of photography you are going to be using it for, the 5DII is probably your best choice. They are plenty rugged enough for what you will use it for, think about what you have been using and it's lot better built then a 20D. Also the extra WA coverage for indoor shoots like you mentioned will be big help. You also mentioned wanting the extra features and 3" LCD, well the 5DII has them all, 1DIII doesn't. Wait till you see the LCD on 5DII with high resolution screen, it will make your 20D screen look pretty bad.
  10. Either camera can take "pro level" photographs. The real question is not "which one is more pro," but which one is best suited to your particular photographic needs and tastes.
  11. I'll just comment on a "sign error"...
    + 1.3 crop factor - removes the natural problems lenses have along the edges..​
    Problems along the edges are the least annoying for most kinds of photography. The 1.3x crop factor means you enlarge the problems in the center an additional 30%. Soft lenses get softer...
    • Landscapes, events, and interiors - I've never been impressed with the Canon wides, a 1.3x crop factor makes that even more of a problem. It cuts the usefulness of teh wonderful TS/E wides...
    • Portraits - The Canon line is strong, but the 1.3x crop emasculates it. The excellent 85mm f1.8 and amazing 85mm f1.2 are now a mediocre 111mm f2.3 and 1.6 (apertures corrected for equal DOF with FF). The 135 is next to useless...
    • Animals - Well, Ross said "most animals can be done with full frame, with the exception of birds, where a crop camera would be better". I'd have to disagree here. A crop camera is better only if it's equal megapixels to the full frame. The higher pixel density of a 5D II makes it a better "crop camera" than a 1D III. You can shoot with a 5 DII, crop to 1.3x like the 1D III and still have 12.5mp, instead of the 10mp of 1D III.
  12. John Bellenis - how dare you throw sense and logic at what is obviously a religious or metaphysical issue?
    • Animals - Well, Ross said "most animals can be done with full frame, with the exception of birds, where a crop camera would be better". I'd have to disagree here. A crop camera is better only if it's equal megapixels to the full frame. The higher pixel density of a 5D II makes it a better "crop camera" than a 1D III. You can shoot with a 5 DII, crop to 1.3x like the 1D III and still have 12.5mp, instead of the 10mp of 1D III.
    Should have mention AF ability of the Mk III here also, this is where the 5D2 is lacking
  13. Thank you, John Bellenis for shattering the usual dogma.
  14. John Bellens, I'm rather surprised that you didn't suggest to the OP that he look for a clean and low mileage 1Ds2 like yours. Looks like it would fill most of what he wants nicely. Pro build, full frame, lower MPix count than the 5D2, pro AF system... The only major drawback compared to the 1D3 is the frame rate.
  15. To be honest Terry, I never thought of it! Possibly because he was asking us to help him choose between two specific camera bodies, and also because the 1Ds Mk II isn't a current model. I hadn't considered buying second hand - it seems like a bit of a lottery with no warranty, etc. I have never bought a second hand DSLR, although I'm sure there is no problem from a reputable dealer.
    As you say, it could very well be a good option for him, but it still loses out to the 5D Mk II in IQ, max resolution (as mentioned he doesn't HAVE to shoot full size RAW files with a 5D Mk II) and high ISOs. Also, I'm really not sure that he needs the extra build quality. The LCD is much smaller on the 1Ds Mk II than the 5D MKII and it has a generation lower processor, so I don't think it's a slam dunk. However, if he can find a good one at the right price, he should definitely include it on his list of options - it's still an extremely capable camera obviously.
  16. The 50D is pretty much the 5D with crop factor. And at less than half the price I think it is a great alternative if crop factor is not an issue.
  17. "The 50D is pretty much the 5D with crop factor. "

    Whoo, I can see a few comments coming your way about that one. Here's a few for starters:
    5D2 - superior at high ISO
    50D - faster frame rate
    50D - superior AF (although not much in it)
    50D - Built in flash
    5D2 - HD video
    5D2 - Superior battery pack with accurate capacity readout
  18. Wow! What a response - thank you!
    I was actually also considering the Canon 50D as well, because it has the new high res 3" LCD and built well and I would also not have to buy a new vertical grip. The crop factor on the 50D is really helpful with shooting animals.. trust me, you DO need that extra length for many animals except slugs, snails and perhaps your own pets! :)
    As for the comment about purchasing the 1Ds Mark II second hand, this is a good idea normally... however, if I am going to get a new camera with the money I received from my company's stock options.. I might as well get a brand new camera. Also, buying another camera with a small LCD would just piss me off. ha! I really love the 3" LCD screens. I can live without the high res version.
    The 5D Mark II sounds really tempting, however I want to buy a camera that will will replace my Canon 20D - I will still keep it but use it for other things perhaps when I need 2 camera bodies. So, to get the 5D to replace the 20D is a BIG change for me because it moves all of my lenses down to their non-crop-factor focal lengths. So, with the lenses I have (70-200 f2.8 L, 24-105 f4 L, 17-40 f4 L, 50mm f1.4.. it seems I will definitely be wanting more reach in my focal lenses.
    One of my favorite things is to photography on my travels. I enjoy photographing lots of various stuff when in new cities. I find I mostly use my 17-40 L lens but occasionally I put the 70-200mm on my camera to be able to zoom in close to something or to capture portraits of people on the streets.
    With my 1.6x crop factor in the Canon 20D, my 70-200mm lens becomes 112-320. Not bad! Now that covers most things in my world. But if I move to the 5D and take this with me on my travels, I will only have a 200mm reach. However, as others mentioned, I will really love the wide-angle benefits of the 5D.
    Now the 50D is also interesting to me, but I am not sure if the camera is a tighter build than the 20D.. I like the 20D, but the shutter button just is not as great as more the pro level button... different feel entirely.
    Tough decision!
  19. John (Bellenis), that is an excellent rebuttal. I do agree that the whole 'Pro camera' thing is more marketing hype than reality. I have shot for local publications and also for large format (20x30) print with my humble 400D (XTi). No client ever came to me and said "Ermmm...400D? Sorry, that won't cut it. We're gonna give the job to Miss X who shoots with a Pro body." And that's not to say that these (more aptly-named) Heavy Duty cameras don't have their place; they certainly do.
    <p>"Either camera can take "pro level" photographs. The real question is not "which one is more pro," but which one is best suited to your particular photographic needs and tastes." - G Dan Mitchell.
    <br>+1 :)
    <p>In this case, I would also strongly recommend the 5D2
  20. If you can switch systems, looks like Nikon D700 will be perfect for you - full frame, high image quality, and manageable file sizes. With decent speed, and weather sealed body.
  21. Oh, I can definitely not switch to Nikon. I would have to replace my entire lens and accessories to do that.
  22. Hey John, I definately recommend going to your local camera store and trying out the 50D, I've just upgraded to a 50D and it's an awesome camera. Looks like you have a good case to stay with the 1.6 crop factor. I've never held a 20D, but I have held both the 5D II and the 50D and to me there isn't much difference, they both have a nice weight to them and feel very solid.
  23. Jacob, I agree - I think it comes down to me going into the store and getting a good feel for all 3 cameras (50D, 5DMII, 1DMIII) and figuring out what feels good and works for me. The problem for me is that it always it difficult to spend so much time in a store examining these cameras and then not ending up buying anything because the better price is always online somewhere! Plus, the guy just stands there next to you as you try the camera - you cannot really make a fast decision on a camera as soon as you do a few things on it.
  24. I guess I was lucky in the fact that I got to play with a 5DII outside of a store environment, and that I was able to pick up a 50D from a proper store for only about $100AUD more than a grey market import complete with 3 Year Australian Warranty :)
    You can always go to 3 stores and try out a camera in each one so that the sales rep doesn't put the hard word on you to get the more expensive one!
  25. Ha! Sounds like a good idea.. I will do that.
  26. John, why not see if you can hire each of these (excellent) bodies for a week? For such a long-term investment, it would be worthwhile spending that additional cash. You could perhaps plan it to synchronize with a trip where you can then test them in 'real-world' situations.
  27. Yeah, another good idea Mark - I will look into how much that costs. I have seen high prices for renting the 1DMarkIII.
    I have been thinking it over with all 3 cameras: Canon 50D, Canon 5D Mark II, and Canon 1D Mark III.... all 3 have their advantages and disadvantages.
    I went for a walk yesterday with my current Canon 20D and its really great, but the shutter speed with RAW images is very slow. I am not a fan of photographing in JPG at all. I like to have the flexibility of editing my images with the full range of information from the RAW file. So this is something that is really important to me - shooting speed with RAW format.
    Another feature that is required is the 3" LCD, but all of these cameras have that. Just at different resolutions.
    I am tempted to get the 50D because I love the 20D so much, it would be an easy upgrade for me as far as functionality, feel, and little training needed. However, it would be the same darn crop factor and that bugs me with regards to wide angles. I will be keeping my 20D because I love it, but this is why I am leaning more towards the 5DM2 or 1DM3.
    One question I have... my Canon 20D has about 8 MPs on it. The 1D Mark III has about 10 MPs. Doesn't seem like much of a difference - what is the gain here? Can my photos be printed in larger sizes with the 1D Mark III?
  28. Started with the Rebel line, moved to the 5D a few years ago and have been eyeing up the 5DMII. Looks like the MkII is a fantastic bang for the buck. Nice thing I also like about the 5D series is the optional battery grip. I use it most of the time, so gives "more body" and fantatsic battery life, but can be stripped off if you want to lighten the load.
    If you like doing wide angle on landscapes, indoor photography and events, you will appreciate the full frame capability of the 5D. If your worried about the zoom but can sacrifice some speed, you can get a 1.4 or 2x extender for your 70-200.
  29. If you are shooting in places like antartica from a small boat get the Canon 1d Mark III when you see all types of weather. You can slove the crop 1.3 factor for wide angles using a 14mm F/2.8 lens. Canon 5d Mark II don't do so well in low light?
  30. I made my decision and went with the Canon 50D. I figured I just did not need the high-end model (Mark III) for my photography. Sure it would be a great buy, but not needed. And I was not comfortable going from the 1.6x crop factor camera to the full-frame. Big difference and I really wanted that 1.6x extension to my telephoto lenses without having to buy another long lens to also carry around. I have wide angle covered with my 1.6x camera and that is good enough for me. So I simply upgraded my camera to gain all the great features of the 50D. I really wanted the bigger display with high res, plus all of the other bits of the 50D are great.
    I am loving the Auto ISO by the way!

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