Why I still (sometimes) use a 2008 camera in 2018

Someone commented the other week as to why I still use a Canon 1DS mark iii in 2018, given the model was released in 2008 and effectively retired by Canon in 2012 (when the 1dx was released). So apparently I’m six years out of date. Even in 2008 these bodies cost a staggering £5000 which was a lot to pay for something that was effectively rendered old technology within just four years. It just shows how fast research and development moves. I bought mine second hand.

Anyway the answer is quite simple - I happen to like the quality of the photos it produces! I think Canon have refined a lot of features on their cameras, but this generation had something very “film like” about the sensor, so to me it’s very suited to studio use when fast frame rate isn’t necessary and neither is high iso. To be fair this body has seen a lot of clicks and the shutter is starting to show signs of age (if I shoot at anything over 1/1000 sec I can see a faint tell tale band on the top of the image) but it certainly doesn’t affect it at studio flash speeds. At 100 iso these images are still comfortably on a par with my 5d Mark IV - if not better. Bear in mind of course that I come from a background of shooting a lot of film, so I almost have a recognition of a silver print ingrained in my DNA (I’ve probably got a lot of developer and fixer floating about in my bloodstream as well for that matter but I didn’t drink it, just stuck my hands in it a lot).

It does puzzle me why people chase the latest model upgrade as soon as it’s released - it does depend on your choice of photography of course but sometimes that just isn’t necessary. You don’t always need super high iso or 12 frames a second - or fast autofocus for that matter. I think one downside of technical evolution is that people sometimes  think that all of the features will equate to better photos (funny enough my dad was like that, bless him). It certainly makes some photos easier to capture, I use a 1DX for equestrian and I can have a choice of shots from a burst, but better?  You don’t always need the features. Let’s face it we used to focus manually, even for sports with a Canon 300mm f2.8 🙂 I most certainly wouldn’t deny anyone the pleasure of owning a flagship camera of course - they’re lovely to use, the ergonomics are great, there are endless configuration options to get everything personalised and of course there’s pride of ownership, but the point I’m making is you don’t always need it!

So this one is staying in my bag and I’ll be sad when it decides to give out a final wheeze when the shutter packs in - but to be honest I’ll probably get it repaired to squeeze more great photos out of it. It has a 24-70 f2.8l permanently attached along with a WFT E2 for live view shooting which is reliable, if not a bit laggy. That’s the only bit that could do with a bit more speed (compared to the 1DX) but to be fair the wireless built into the 5d mk IV has the same data rate.


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