Canon 1D Mark III Review

 
Camera Reviews / Canon Cameras i Initial Test

Canon EOS-1D Mark III Performance

We'll have full results once we get a production unit into the lab for testing, but in the meantime, here's a few measurements we took with the pre-production unit.

NOTE: All performance numbers shown here are from a prototype camera: production models may show improved performance, please don't view the results shown here as final!


Timing and Performance

Excellent speed for a professional digital SLR.

Startup/Shutdown
Power on
to first shot
~0.1 second
Very fast, really limited by our own reaction times.
Shutdown
~0 second
Very fast, unmeasurable.
Buffer clearing time
38 seconds
(22 RAW + LF JPEG shots*)
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. In the case of the Mark III, worst-case buffer clearing corresponded to 22 RAW + Large Fine JPEG shots using Continuous HI mode.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
TBD second
Time until first shot is captured.
Record to play
TBD second
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.
Display
recorded image
TBD second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus
0.069 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (See note*** in paragraph below, camera alternated between 0.120 and 0.069 second in this test.)
Prefocused
0.054 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Continuous AF
0.074 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.064 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode,
Large Fine JPEG
TBD
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length.
Single Shot mode,
640x480 JPEG
TBD
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length.
Single Shot mode,
RAW
TBD
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length.
Early shutter
penalty?
No
Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.
Continuous HI,
Large Fine JPEG
0.11 second (9.52 frames per second);
11 frames total;
22 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 11 shots. Shutter speed: 1/400s. Lens: EF 70-200mm f/4L USM @ f/4.
Continuous HI,
Large Fine JPEG
0.12 second (8.44 frames per second);
31 frames total;
19 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots. Shutter speed: 1/400s. Lens: EF 70-200mm f/4L USM @ f/22.
Continuous HI,
Large Fine JPEG
0.11 second (9.26 frames per second);
11 frames total;
20 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 11 shots. Shutter speed: 1/400s. Lens: EF 50mm f/1.8 II @ f/1.8.
Continuous HI,
Large Fine JPEG
0.11 second (9.4 frames per second);
12 frames total;
13 seconds to clear**
Time per shot, averaged over 12 shots. Shutter speed: 1/400s. Lens: EF 50mm f/1.8 II @ f/1.8.
Continuous HI,
Large Fine JPEG
0.15 second (6.56 frames per second);
29 frames total;
19 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots. Shutter speed: 1/400s. Lens: EF 50mm f/1.8 II @ f/22.
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
TBD KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
More than 770=USB 2.0 High

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 133x CF memory card. (**denotes Lexar 300x CF memory card.) Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The Canon Mark III's performance was excellent overall, starting with a startup time that was really faster than our human reflexes. Full AF shutter lag was almost as fast as prefocused and manual focus lag times, which were also excellent. ***We did encounter an odd phenomena in checking full-AF lag times, namely that the time alternated seemingly at random between 0.069 second and 0.120 second. This variation was persistent across different lenses, and didn't correlate with any changes in either the scene or camera settings that we could detect. For what it's worth though, it did seem that pressing and holding down the shutter button produced the shorter times more consistently than did "punching" the button briefly.

Continuous HI mode speed was very impressive, but we noticed performance varied depending on the lens and especially the aperture used. Stopping down lenses to very small apertures slowed continuous-mode shooting, apparently because the lens aperture must return to its maximum setting between each shot for metering and/or focus determination. For best continuous speeds with the Mark III, use L-series lenses and shoot with the lens wide open. Again, keep in mind that this is a prototype, so these numbers may change once we test a full production unit.

Battery Capacity

Battery
Excellent battery life with the rechargeable LiIon battery pack.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
LiIon rechargeable battery
2,200

The Canon EOS-1D Mark III uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power, which is included with the camera, along with a charger.

Being an SLR, power consumption will depend a lot on what lens is being used, and how much the autofocus motor is used. For this reason, the usual CIPA battery-life test methodology doesn't really apply. Also keep in mind that the Mark III has no built-in flash, and that standard CIPA protocol tests with 50% of shots with flash enabled.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 

Canon 1D Mark III

Your purchases support this site

Buy the Canon 1D Mark III


Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

Follow Imaging Resource

Enter this month to win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate