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5D or 1D - decisions, decisions...?

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12 Jan 2009 - 10:22 PM

Hi all,

I've been using a Canon 30D for the last few years & it's been everything I wanted it to be. I'm just about to set off to Southern Africa for a few months (making the most of redundancy) & I've now got a decision to make: EOS 1D MkIII or EOS 5D MkII?

I'd always anticipated upgrading to the all singing, all dancing 5D MkII, but now I've come to the crunch point & I have to put the money on the counter - so I figured I'd get a few opinions.

It's primarily for wildlife photography & yes, I do sell the odd shot via stock & will try to market directly when I return. What would you do if it was your cash?

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strawman  1022010 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
12 Jan 2009 - 10:26 PM

Me 5D MKII and spend the cash left over on any lenses I wanted.

Big Bri
Big Bri  1315605 forum posts United Kingdom
12 Jan 2009 - 10:30 PM

Me 5D MKII and spend the cash left over on tequila

stevie e2 Member 101198 forum postsstevie vcard United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jan 2009 - 12:00 AM

South Africa & wildlife?
1D Mk 3, definitely.

sidaorb  83857 forum posts England2 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jan 2009 - 12:21 AM

Mmmm fast running wildlife, got to be the 1D Mk3 and lots of cards for that burst rate Wink

13 Jan 2009 - 7:51 AM

Both cameras are different tools and there is a case for both however:
The 5D has double the resoultion but the 1D is over twice as fast plus the AF is better and it's weather sealed and better made which will be useful in the dusty conditions in Africa.
To my mind it's a fairly straight choice between speed and resolution and given that you're probably not going to spend the entire time shooting cheetahs running at full tilt then I'd probably go for the 5D as the larger files will probably be more beneficial both for stock sales and cropping in when you can't get close enough.

jondf  82475 forum posts
13 Jan 2009 - 9:13 AM

What a lovely decision to have to cogitate over Grin

XxPaulxX  8260 forum posts England
13 Jan 2009 - 9:47 AM

Indeed Jondf Smile What about one of each BD? Grin

Have a great trip Smile

13 Jan 2009 - 11:00 PM

Thanks for your recommendations. I think samfurlong summed it up well: quality of an older but solid model, or the latest processors with more 'cropability' (& I'm sure, quality too).

Y'know, I still feel drawn to the 5D MkII. The low light level capabilities just seems to open more doors for me. When it comes to technology, I've always gone for the most up to date as everything becomes out of date so quickly - I don't want to be behind the game before I start. Plus, let's face it, the 5D is a good pedigree.

But then, that 1D does have mega FPS.... No, it's final, I'm going 5D MkII. Thanks for your input, it's helped me focus!

Coleslaw e2 Member 913403 forum postsColeslaw vcard Wales28 Constructive Critique Points
13 Jan 2009 - 11:02 PM

You won't regret it. Enjoy!

stevie e2 Member 101198 forum postsstevie vcard United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
14 Jan 2009 - 5:41 AM

Quote: Thanks for your recommendations. I think samfurlong summed it up well: quality of an older but solid model, or the latest processors with more 'cropability' (& I'm sure, quality too).

I sort of agree with Sam but, having been on half a dozen African safari trips over the past few years:

1. Power can be an issue, particularly if you're staying in tents miles from anywhere. The 1D Mk3 new batteries go on for ages before they run out of juice.
2. The two cameras I use on safari are actually a 5D and a 1D Mk 3. I would never recommend just one camera for this sort of trip but if I had to choose one of these two it would be the 1D Mk 3
3. Dust and weather sealing are a definite issue. If you're animal watching you are likely to spend 6-8 hours hanging out of an open Land Rover on a dusty plain ( and when it rains in Africa it RAINS)
4. Speed and speed of focusing is a big consideration. It's not entirely about catching a cheetah at speed, if you manage to catch a cheetah hunting, you'll have done well! It's more about catching a fleeting glimpse, getting a good shot of an animal just before it bolts. Safari photography isn't landscapes - you don't always have the time to think, carefully compose, put your filters on, bracket exposures and so on.
5. The metering is so important - needs to be very accurate, especially in 'spot' mode. Animals don't go where you want them to go and so often you're into the light in a high-contrast situation
6. Similarly, the better focusing system of the 1D Mk 3 is invaluable.
7. The 1.3 crop of the 1D is avery good compromise for wildlife.



elowes  102832 forum posts United Kingdom
14 Jan 2009 - 9:55 AM

I agree with Steve.

The 1dMkIII seems to me to be a better choice for a safari. I have not used one but I know a wildlife photographer who does and cannot get over how good and versatile the focus is. The image quality is superb as well.

The price difference between the 1D3 and the 5D2 is 10-15% so you will not get many lenses for that money.

However, if the safari is a one off wild life adventure would you make use of what the 1D3 offers?

14 Jan 2009 - 10:22 AM

Second Steve on this I have a MK 3 & the focusing is sublime the images per second is greater also & you have two card slots I think the 5D has only one.

14 Jan 2009 - 10:29 AM

Not sure why anyone would thing a crop camera is better for wildlife - bizarre theory that one Smile

The 1D 3 has great weather sealing which is a plus point (no-one has enough experience of the 5D 2 to make an objective judgement on that as yet).

As to the 1D 3 autofocus, I'd be wary of taking to heart some of the comments about AF especially in regard to fast moving wildlife in hot bright conditions.

These are exactly the conditions under which the fault manifested itself and prompted Canon to recall the camera and the "experts" on the fault still maintain that it is not right yet. The AF of the 5D 2 is not that of the 1D 3 as I understand things and that has to be a major plus factor when comparing the two cameras.

The image processing technology in the 5D 2, greater cropping flexibility ex-camera (due to the number of pixels) and based on what I have read about and results I have seen from the camera would lead me to recommend the 5D 2 over the 1D 3 for the specific 'assignment' you are describing

Finally, as has been touched on, you do also have to take on board the use you will put the kit to after you return. The 1D 3 is 'old' technology now and will undoubtedly be replaced soon. The 5D 2 is state of the art.

Last Modified By User_Removed at 14 Jan 2009 - 10:33 AM
14 Jan 2009 - 1:55 PM

I have used a Canon 5D Mk1 and the 1D Mk11 these are my thoughts.

You'll get larger images with the 1D, but the image clarity will be better with the 5D. Build quality scores with the 1D, but there is additional weight. The controls and general usage is easier on the 1D. The extra drive speed is not always what you would expect, any faster than around 3.5 frames a second the autofocus cannot keep up. You may find some of your lenses show fringing on the 5D but this is not a fault of the camera, can be removed with software quite easily.

I would go for the 5D assuming it is the same or better than its predecessor or better still buy a secondhand 5D and a sensor cleaning kit as dust spots will show eventually.

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