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Just in Time

So today, practically the entire Northeastern seaboard was expecting to be hammered by the second of two major snowstorms within days of each other. Those of us north of Central Jersey were lucky enough to have avoided the worst of the first one that had dropped up to 2 feet of the white stuff in places. Earlier this week, I had decided to pull the trigger on a Canon 1D Mark III after seeing how ridiculously low (well, relative to other DSLRs ;-p) the price for these had gotten in the second-hand market after the release of the 1D Mark IV. I figured now was a good time to try out my first "pro" body plus I wanted to compare it to (and possibly replace) the newer Canon 7D that I currently have as my action cam. The 7D's a really impressive body with a great set of features but I haven't been entirely satisfied with the graininess of its high-ISO shots.

Canon 1D3

Luckily, the 1D3 arrived yesterday. Making today the perfect opportunity to test out its weather-proofing in the snowstorm. The snow was coming down quite heavily with occasional high-speed gusts of wind. I had ventured out into a prior storm with the Canon 5D Mark II but that one didn't match the overall intensity of today's brew. I guess I shouldn't be surprised to report that the 1D3 + 24-70mm f/2.8 lens passed the bad elements test with flying colors.

Wet 24-70

The camera was pretty much covered with snow after less than two minutes outside. After awhile I had melted snow running down pretty much every part of the camera and lens. At one point I brought the camera to my face to find that even the viewfinder was covered with snow. But a few quick and awkward wipes from a gloved finger and I was back in business.

Wet 1D3

The above two shots I took after coming back inside and doesn't fully represent what the camera looked like while outside. It definitely took a nice shower out there for about a hour and a half. But after a quick towel off after coming inside, the camera was none the worse for wear. The only thing I had to do was go over the front element of the 24-70mm with a brush and Lenspen to clean off the moisture stains and residual dust. Heft-wise, I was pleasantly surprised. Overall weight with the 24-70mm wasn't too bad. I never thought it to be too heavy while in use. I expect this to be different though with a beefier lens like the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS. I bolted that on last night and yeah, it was a damn heavy combo.


It wasn't all roses shooting with the 1D3 though. For one, I probably won't ever use the vertically-oriented set of controls (nor will I ever buy a battery grip for the non-1D bodies) because I switch focus points using the little joystick. While this works fine in the regular horizontal position, the joystick is pretty much unreachable when shooting vertically unless you have massive hands. Then there's the lack of auto-ISO which I've gotten used to on both the 5D2 and 7D bodies. Yes, changing the ISO is pretty simple but still, I've gotten lazy. ;-p And also there's no way to save multiple custom shooting modes on the 1D3. And then chimping on a 230k dot 3" LCD is really a huge step down from the standard 920k units nowadays. Everything looks so murky comparatively.

In His Element

As for the image quality, out of the camera, the images from the 1D3 at higher ISOs look noticeably less grainy than the ones from the 7D as expected. Other than that, I haven't noticed much else different between images from the two bodies. The only remaining aspect to compare would be the AF system, something that I haven't had the chance to try out yet. But so far, I don't think that a 1-series body would be the best fit for me. Right now the only thing I'm sure of with the 1D body is that I can take it out into pretty much any environmental condition without any hesitation whatsoever. The 5D2 and 7D weather-sealing may be just as good as the 1D bodies but I still feel more hesitant to bring those two out in the rain. Being able to hold the camera normally while shooting vertically would have been a plus but with the joystick location the way it is, that's pretty much not an option for me.

So for the time being, my dream camera still remains the full-frame sensor body of the 5D2 with the AF system of the 7D. C'mon Canon, that's not too much to ask for is it? =p


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 11, 2010 1:02 AM.

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