Saturday, 14 March 2015

My Canon EOS 1D - Finally!

Since my last post about micro-adjusting my 50D, I've shot another wedding.

The images were more successful this time around (i.e sharper), and I was happier with the final result. Happier, but not blown away.

Rebeccah and Aldon's Wedding Party with Wedding cars and drivers.
I've heard it said before that the 15MP sensor on the Canon 50D is very noisy, but I had tended to dismiss this as mere internet pixel peeping. But I'm beginning to understand what they are on about - from personal experience. I'm seeing noise in ISO 200 shots that in previous cameras I've owned (around the 10 to 12MP range) would never have been there. I think that Canon over-stretched themselves with the 15.2MP sensor they put in the 50D, and I think it shows.

Overall, although I hate to say it, I'm distinctly unimpressed with the 50D. There's a lot to like ergonomically speaking, but IQ (and let's face it, isn't that what really counts) isn't up to snuff this time.

So, even though I'd really just got the kit together, I made the decision to move on. And as is my want, I decided that I was going to be an open book. Anything goes, and I was open to any suggestion.

Initially my attention turned (once again) to mirrorless system cameras. In particular, the Sony NEX 6. I figured that if I was going to make a change, it may as well be a decent one - to something totally different for me. I looked at the NEX6, the NEX 7, an Olympus OMD EM5, an OMD EM1, and a Panasonic GH3. I almost, almost pulled the trigger on the GH3, but in the end, I just couldn't do it.

For all their 'hooplah' and attention at the moment, even amongst pro shooters, I still personally don't think mirrorless is quite 'there' yet. Give it 5 years more and I'll be seriously interested. Iron out some of the autofocus issues, shutter shock (no, I hadn't heard of it either - look it up), a few more lenses, better evf technology, and I'll be ready to invest. But for me, at least, DSLR's are still where it's at. Especially since I'm thinking of getting back into shooting a few weddings a year.

So given that a DSLR is still my weapon of choice, and I'd just sold all of my 'new' Canon gear, which system was I going to invest in now?

Okay, yeah - I know. The title of the post kinda gives the game away. But seriously, Canon was the last thing on my mind, considering I had just sold all my Canon gear!

From the sale of the 50D kit I had around $1000NZ to get a body and lens (and hopefully flashgun). What I wanted was a serious amateur/pro spec'd body that gave me a decent frame rate, good IQ and solid autofocus performance. Basically what I was after with the 50D.

I've mentioned Trademe - New Zealand's local internet auction website - many times on this blog, as it's about the only way I have of shopping for used photography gear without going off-shore to ebay. Searching every day on Trademe allowed me to amass a pretty sizable watch-list of stuff, and I even bid on a few of them. Top on the list was a Sony a700 body which eventually went for more than I was willing to pay for (although, as it turns out, it went for a lot less than I eventually ended up paying for a camera body). Then I was seriously looking at its big brother - the full frame Sony a850, but that was definitely going for more than I was willing to pay.

Canon 1D Mk3
Throughout my searching, I always kept a lookout for the camera line that I have long desired to own - the Canon 1D series.

The original 1D Mk1's turn up reasonably regularly, generally fairly cheaply because they are either very well used, or they are just plain old. Shutter count on them tends to be fairly high as well, so they are not really a camera that I get that excited about.

The 1D Mark2 and 2N's appear quite often as well, although again they are usually well used and a fair way gone through their life-span (check my previous post on the Mk2 I almost bought recently).

When you get to the 1D Mk3 and Mk4's, you are starting to talk a little more serious money, since they are 'relatively' newer technology. UI (User interface) from the Mk3 onwards was radically changed as well, making them much more user-friendly and in-line with Canon's enthusiast line, yet with the 1D series build and feature set. I've never really considered the Mk3 or Mk4 cameras in the past because they have tended to be out of my price range, especially the ones in good condition.

My 'new' Canon EOS 1D Mk3
During my search on Trademe, however, a Canon 1D Mk3 turned up that looked in very good (to excellent) condition, for a very reasonable price ($795NZ with a 75-300mm f4/5.6 IS USM lens). It was going cheaper than many 1D Mk2's go for on Trademe for the body only, so not surprisingly, my interest was peaked! From asking questions - and then eventually emailing the owner - it seems that he had purchased the combo for over $1000NZ about 6 months earlier, but found that he used his full frame 5D much more. So he simply wanted it to go to a good home, where it would actually be used (yeah, I've heard that story before too, but through conversing with the guy I actually believe him).

Anyway, to cut an already long story short, although I did 'umm' and 'ahh' for a few days (and almost bought the panasonic GH3 in the meantime), I eventually couldn't help myself, and had to go with the 1D Mk3.

There are lots of reasons for my decision, which I won't go into now, since this post is already too long. I will talk about the 1D Mk3 in my next post, when I will actually have it in my hands and have had the chance to shoot with it.

But for now, I'm super excited about it arriving and can't wait to shoot with it. My son has made his High School long jump team and is competing on Wednesday. Might just be the perfect outing for a Dad and his 1D Mk3.

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