Canon Releases the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR
Canon, the worldwide market leader in digital cameras, celebrates the 20th anniversary of its top-selling EOS single lens reflex camera system by announcing the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR, the world’s fastest digital SLR camera. At 10 frames per second, the 10.1 megapixel EOS-1D Mark III digital SLR can fire huge motor-driven bursts of 110 Large JPEGs or 30 RAW files because it employs the new Dual DIGIC III image processor engine, providing enough computational horsepower to do parallel processing at a rate unmatched by any other digital SLR. The all-new 10.1 megapixel, APS-H size CMOS sensor which is designed and manufactured by Canon, is the most light-sensitive and innovative sensor that Canon has developed to date. It features a new microlens array and a more efficient pixel structure for ultra-low noise, resulting in exceptional image quality and an amazing ISO range of 100 to 3200 with extensions to ISO 50 and a highly usable ISO 6400. Furthermore, Canon today unveils several new accessories, including the EF-16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens and the Speedlite 580EX II Flash.
Scheduled for initial U.S. shipments in Spring, the estimated selling price of the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR will be similar to that of its predecessor, the EOS-1D Mark II N Digital SLR. This makes the new camera a stunning bargain and a “must have” for most pro shooters on the basis of features, performance, reliability, ease of use and compatibility with the powerful Canon EOS system.
“The new EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR is an essential tool for professional sports photographers and photojournalists because of its exceptional speed and durability and it will attract a broad range of other professional and advanced amateur photographers because of its superior image quality and improved low-light performance,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager of the Consumer Imaging Group at Canon U.S.A. Inc. “In designing the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR, Canon responded to the requests of its many professional customers by adding new features that cater to their demanding needs. But at the same time, we have once again raised the bar for digital SLR cameras by introducing new technologies that only Canon can offer with the legendary EOS System.”
See the Whole Picture with a Live View LCD
One of the landmark functions of the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR is the introduction of a Live View shooting mode, tweaked to meet the needs of professional shooters. Photographers who use point-and-shoot digital cameras are familiar with looking at the LCD screen on the back of the camera to compose their images. Normally, a single lens reflex cannot do this because the mirror that lets you look through the lens is in the way. With the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR, a photographer has several options in addition to conventional SLR through-the-lens viewing. If the camera is going to be close at hand, the new Live View shooting mode lets the user focus and compose on the extra-large 3.0-inch LCD screen and magnify the image 5x or 10x, to achieve the optimal focus. If a user is going to be several feet away from the camera, in a studio, for example, the camera can be connected to a computer with a USB 2.0 high-speed cable. New software included with the camera, EOS Utility 2.0, lets you view what the camera is seeing in real time and control its operation. If a professional photographer is going to be far away from the camera, say, on the other side of a racetrack or stadium, or if the camera is hidden or buried someplace inaccessible, the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR can be operated wirelessly with the assistance of the new WFT- E2A Wireless File Transmitter. This allows users to view images directly off the camera’s sensor in virtually real time with the ability to adjust many camera settings on the fly. As a side benefit, Live View shooting mode helps to reduce vibration by lifting the reflex mirror out of the optical path well in advance of the exposure, improving image quality at slow shutter speeds.
The EOS Integrated Cleaning System
Another first for a professional digital SLR of this caliber is a complete dust management solution, called the EOS Integrated Cleaning System. The new CMOS image sensor is designed with a lightweight infrared absorption glass cover that vibrates for 3.5 seconds when the camera is turned on or off. This brief delay can be cancelled immediately upon startup if desired, simply by pressing the shutter button. In fact, the sensor is sealed around its edges to help keep dust out. The shutter, newly upgraded to 300,000 cycle durability, generates less dust; it fires three times during the process so dust is shaken off the shutter curtains, too. This cleaning system uses very little battery power and can also be turned off in the custom function menu, if the user chooses to do so. The second part of the anti-dust system is a software solution that records the location of any spots that may remain on the sensor as Dust Delete Data and this information is appended to the image file. In the Digital Photo Professional 3.0 software application included with the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR, the spots are erased automatically.
Advanced Autofocus Technology
The brand-new autofocus system in the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR represents a complete reconsideration of professional AF. Like previous EOS 1-Series Canon cameras, the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR has 45 AF points, but unlike its predecessors, 19 of them, rather than seven, are of the high-precision cross-type configuration. In addition to the center point, the new array allows the other points to be divided into groups of nine inner and nine outer focusing points plus a center point, which makes picking an individual focusing point much faster and easier than going through all 45, as in the past. During manual AF point selection, the AF point area is expandable. At the request of sports and wildlife photographers, a new micro-adjustment feature allows for very fine changes in the AF point of focus for each lens type in use, along with the addition of adjustable focus-tracking sensitivity as another sophisticated new AF feature. In addition to the AF sensor itself, other new components in the AF system include the reconfigured concave submirror and the secondary image formation lens, both products of Canon’s vast expertise in optical engineering. Last but not least, the low-light sensitivity of the new AF sensor has been doubled to EV-1 for superior performance compared to earlier EOS digital SLRs.
Twice as Smart With Dual DIGIC III Image Processors
To cope with the voluminous signal processing required by the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR’s 10.1 megapixel resolution and top continuous shooting speed of 10 fps, Dual DIGIC III imaging engines are incorporated for parallel signal processing. The DIGIC III image processor replaces the DIGIC II and assists in rendering very fine image detail and natural color reproduction with 50% less shadow noise than previous EOS digital SLRs. The CMOS sensor reads out to the dual DIGIC III processors simultaneously in eight channels. By having two processors handle the workload, image processing is now approximately 1.5x faster; Compact Flash(tm) access speed is now 1.3x faster and SD card access is now 2x faster. The EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR is compatible with the new high-capacity SDHC format memory card. The extra power of dual DIGIC III processors has also allowed analog-to-digital conversion to improve from 12 to 14 bits per channel, meaning that tonal gradation for RAW images is now divided into 16,384 separate levels per channel rather than 4,096. The difference can be seen in the superb prints and magazine spreads the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR makes, as well as, in its freedom from defects such as moirâ€š.
The Canon Proprietary CMOS Sensor
The all new, 10.1 megapixel CMOS sensor is designed and manufactured by Canon using semiconductor manufacturing equipment that is designed and manufactured by Canon, allowing synergies that are unique in all of photography. The sensor is APS-H size, 28.1 by 18.7mm, significantly larger than the much more commonly found APS-C, usually about 23.5 by 15.5mm. The lens magnification factor is 1.3x, rather than 1.5x or 1.6x. The increased sensor size means that each pixel can be larger for a given resolution. The pixels of the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR are 7.2 microns square. A sensor with 10 megapixels in APS-C size would have pixels less than 6 microns square, smaller and therefore receiving less light, requiring more amplification and producing more noise. The comparison is even more favorable to the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR because Canon’s intense involvement with sensor technology has enabled it to increase the proportion of each pixel that is sensitive to light, called the fill factor, so its pixels are not only bigger, but they are also more receptive to light. Yet another improvement comes from the revised microlens array that collects light for the sensor. The new unit has smaller gaps between the tiny lenses, meaning more light is gathered and less is lost. All of this helps to explain the sensational low-light performance of the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR and the terrific quality of images shot at ISO 3200 and 6400.
Focus On New and Advanced Professional Features
The EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR has several new features that make it much more reassuring and confidence inspiring. Highlight tone priority extends the dynamic range of highlights by about one stop and improves gradation within highlight areas. Safety shift lets the camera automatically change the shutter speed, the aperture or even the ISO speed, according to the photographer’s choice, even if the light level changes out of the range that the settings on the camera can normally handle, thus avoiding unhappy surprises. In-camera noise reduction for high ISO images and silent drive mode reduce a different kind of noise: the sound of the camera shutter in a quiet place.
The EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR is the product of a “reset to zero” design process; absolutely everything was re-evaluated. The result is a new and exceptionally easy to use set of controls. The 1D Mark III Digital SLR uses a Main Dial, a Quick Control Dial, a Multi-controller, a SET button and several other buttons to select and set various functions. In addition, the ISO speed button, AF Start (AF-ON) button, Picture Style button, and Memory selection/Image size/White balance function button have been newly added to make camera operation faster and easier than previous models. This system follows the logic of the EOS family of cameras. You use the Quick Control Dial to make the selection and press the SET button. When you press a button, it remains active for a while so you can let it go and then turn a dial to set something. You use the Quick Control Dial or the Main Dial to select any of the 19 cross-type AF points. Answering the requests of many current EOS system users, information displays have also been improved. For example, both the ISO speed and the metering pattern in use are now visible at all times, not only on the top LCD data panel, but in the viewfinder as well.
The EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR’s power supply is yet another valuable new feature: The camera now uses a new LC-E4 Lithium-ion battery pack instead of the previous NP-E3 Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) type. As a result, the weight of the 1D Mark III Digital SLR with the battery and memory cards installed is approximately 8 oz. lighter than the EOS-1D Mark II N Digital SLR when comparably equipped, and estimated shooting capacity has significantly improved from 1200 shots for the 1D Mark II N Digital SLR to approximately 2200 shots for the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR under normal shooting conditions. Additionally, new technology makes it possible for the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR to display battery charge levels in 1% increments.
The Custom Functions and Personal Functions of previous EOS models have been merged to create an easier to manage set of 57 Custom Functions arranged in four groups according to categories such as exposure and autofocus. Up to six frequently used menu options and Custom Functions can be registered in a new user-friendly feature, called “My Menu.” Up to 10 sets of camera settings can now be saved to one recording medium and moved from one camera to another. Up to five Personal white balance settings and five custom white balance data items can now be registered.
Major advances have also been made in recording, storage, and playback. For example, in addition to the RAW and JPEG options found in previous EOS Digital SLRs, the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR now offers the “sRAW” recording format. “sRAW” has all the flexibility of standard RAW data recording, but at one quarter the resolution and approximately half the file size of conventional RAW images. Another breakthrough option is the ability to record to external USB storage devices connected to the camera via the optional WFT-E2A Wireless Transmitter (see below for more information on the WFT-E2A). Yet another new option is automatic switching of recording media; when the current recording medium becomes full, the camera switches to another automatically and continues recording without interruption. With separate recording, a captured image can be recorded in varying sizes on different media. Each recording medium can be set to record a specific image size (L, M1, M2, S, RAW, sRAW) for each shot. With recording of identical images, the same image is recorded to all recording media. This is also possible with RAW+JPEG and sRAW+JPEG. Any image stored in a memory card or external media can be copied to another installed or connected recording medium.
With the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR, if the card slot cover is opened during the writing operation, an alarm sounds and a warning message appears on the screen to indicate that writing is in progress. The card writing continues even if the slot cover is opened. Also, if you set the power switch to the “off” position during the card writing process, a message appears on the screen to indicate that writing is in progress. After the writing is completed, the power turns off.
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens:
A new EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens succeeds the versatile EF16-35mm f/2.8L USM Lens as a high-performance L-series wide-angle zoom lens, specifically designed for improved peripheral image quality. Compatible with all EOS SLRs past and present, it uses three high-precision aspherical lens elements and two Ultra Low Dispersion (UD) lens elements to minimize lateral chromatic aberration and to produce superb image quality with excellent resolution and contrast. New coatings minimize ghosting and flare. It is an internal focus design, so the front element does not rotate during focusing and zooming, a convenience for users of circular polarizer filters. The lens is also fully gasketed and sealed for dust and moisture resistance, and it features an electronic diaphragm with circular blades for natural-looking background blur effects.
Speedlite 580EX II Flash
The popular Speedlite 580EX Flash is being replaced by the new Speedlite 580EX II Flash, which features a host of improvements, including a metal hot shoe with an improved locking mechanism for added durability, an external metering sensor for non-TTL automatic flash exposure control and a PC socket for use with non-dedicated slave triggers. Fully compatible with all EOS SLRs, the new Speedlite 580EX II is gasketed for dust and moisture resistance, making it possible for users of EOS-1 class digital SLRs and many L-series EF lenses to use flash safely when shooting in dusty or wet environments.
Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E2A
The new accessory dedicated Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E2A allows wireless transfer and backup, as well as remote control of the camera in Live View mode. The new transmitter is much smaller and lighter than its predecessor and more affordable as well. The WFT-E2A has many useful capabilities besides wireless transmission of digital photos. In addition to supporting the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR’s Remote Live View functions, it can also be connected to various Hi-Speed USB 2.0 external storage devices such as high-capacity hard drives or convenient flash drives with much larger storage capacity than the memory cards in the camera, for instant backup as images are captured. Whats more, the WFT-E2A can be connected to portable GPS devices to record GPS information (longitude, latitude, altitude, UTC) which is added to file metadata and displayed on the camera’s LCD screen below the histogram.
Original Data Security Kit OSK-E3
The newly developed Original Data Security Kit OSK-E3 enables independent verification of the authenticity of image data and metadata (including GPS data). Additionally, the OSK-E3 Data Verification Kit features optional data encryption of EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR files upon capture to prevent modification of image data or unauthorized interception of images during wireless transmission.
The EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR will be supplied with the latest versions of Canon’s powerful software applications, including Digital Photo Professional 3.0 and EOS Utility 2.0, which now support the camera’s Remote Live View and Dust Delete Data functions, as well as incorporating a broad range of additional improvements designed to improve image quality and speed up workflow. Also included are new versions of ZoomBrowser EX and ImageBrowser for easy browsing, viewing, printing and archiving with compatible computer operating systems, including Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows XP, as well as Mac OS X.
Canon will display and demonstrate the EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR and its new accessories March 8 – 11 at the PMA trade show in Las Vegas.