Monday, 23 March 2015

Sports Day with the EOS 1D Mk3

My Canon EOS 1D Mk3 arrived earlier in the week, just in time to use it to photograph my son competing in the West Coast Junior Athletics day.

As soon as I opened the box containing my new purchase it was love at first sight! What a beautiful camera - big, heavy, incredibly well built and perfectly designed. Form really follows function with the pro 1D series of Canon bodies, and I couldn't be happier.

Joshua competing in the longjump. Canon 1D Mk3 with Canon 75-300mm IS USM
I didn't really have time to come to grips with the myriad options that the 1D Mk3 has to offer - especially in the autofocus custom functions - so the night before I just made sure the battery had a decent charge, the camera was set on servo autofocus, hi speed, and group focus point selection.

As you can see above, the 1D Mk3 nailed the autofocus every time, although it felt a little 'sluggish' in real-time, and I wasn't getting anywhere near the 10fps that the camera is capable of. A little further reading after the fact has enlightened me as to the autofocus options that I probably 'should' have chosen - especially if I want that 10fps machine gun burst. I decided to set the tracking priority to focus, rather than speed - so as a result I think the camera was micro-focusing in between each shot, thereby not attaining its 'full' shooting speed. But, as stated above, it certainly nailed the focus and of the 40 or so images I took, only two were out of focus (and both of those were towards the end of the jump).

"Up, up and away"! Canon ID Mk3 with 75-300mm IS USM, 2000th sec @ f4.5 - ISO 400
I've used Canon cameras my whole photographic career (just shy of 30 years now), so in some ways, using the 1D Mk3 is second nature to me already. BUT, I've never owned or used a digital 1 series before, so the plethora of auto focus options is going to take me some time - and practice - to get to grips with. Canon have a very helpful pdf on the autofocus options available for the Mk3 which can be downloaded from here. I'm going to have to study this and go out and try some of the modes to see what works best for me - something i'm very much looking forward to doing.

For now, I'm happy with my first up attempt at some action shots with the 1D Mk3. I didn't screw it up, and I'm encouraged to experiment some more to get to grips with the autofocus system. And I wasn't unhappy with the way the 75-300mm IS performed either. I'm sure that one day I will 'upgrade' it to the 70-200mm, but until then it will help me learn my way around the camera so that I can really make use of the better lenses when I do get them.

I have a Canon 28-135mm f3.5/5.6 IS USM arriving soon that I will use as a 'walk-around' lens for the camera, which should make a nice combo. Will write more about my journey with the 1D Mk3 as it develops. Can't wait.

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