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Author Topic: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison  (Read 42912 times)

East Wind Photography

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Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« on: February 18, 2013, 10:41:01 AM »
I just completed my two week eval of the Canon 1DX shooting wildlife exclusively.  I shoot regularly with a 5DIII and was curious to see what the 1DX might offer over the 5DIII.  I paired it up with a 600 f/4 and shot with and without a 1.4X III converter.  I tried the 2XIII but at AFMA -20 it was still not focusing...tried a few manual focus shots and LV but gave up.  I spent the first few days getting the 600 and 600+1.4x focus adjusted using AFMA.  Tried the dot method and Focal and just gave up and did it by hand shooting ducks on a lake.  All of my testing was done in RAW mode and images were compared/processed using PS CS5.

Here are my comments after using the 1DX for two weeks shooting various waterfowl and bald eagles:

•   12 fps does not really offer much.  Sounds nice in theory but for wildlife I think it’s excessive.  6 to 8 gives you enough to work with.
•   1DX shutter is LOUD!!!!  So loud that it scares away anything in earshot.  The 5DIII even in high speed drive mode is much much quieter.  Drop the 5D3 into silent mode and ducks within 20ft still cant hear it.
•   Shooting up to ISO 1000 I did not see any improvement in noise levels.  I’m sure it’s better but not enough to notice in real world situations.
•   1DX is 18MP full frame.  Compared to my 5DIII at 22MP full frame, I believe the noise patterns on the 5D3 are actually smaller and less noticeable.  Probobly due to the slightly higher pixel density.
•   I did not see any improvement in image sharpness
•   I did not see any improvement in dynamic range…though I’m sure it’s better…just cant see it in real world wildlife use.
•   The thing soaks battery like no tomorrow.  Had to charge the battery at 50% after two shoots.  Compared to two weeks with the 5DIII and dual batteries in the grip.  1DX you can only have one battery at a time.
•   Some of the added firmware features are nice and there are more programmable buttons but I didn’t find them useful or necessary over what I already have on the 5DIII.  None of the extra features on the 1DX offered anything useful for wildlife photography over the 5DIII.
•   1DX costs twice as much.

The 1DX is clearly geared up for action sports photography and is a bit more rugged and water sealed than the 5DIII.  As much as I wanted to qualify it as a BETTER wildlife camera, I just could not.  Pixel peepers will have their say but for those of us that live in the real world, the 5DIII is just as good as the 1DX and due to the higher pixel density I would put it slightly ahead of the 1DX for this kind of work.

These comments are based on my opinion shooting wildlife for 30 years.  Others will have their opinions and I welcome them for the sake of open discussion.

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Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« on: February 18, 2013, 10:41:01 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 10:55:40 AM »
Thanks for posting your impressions!

Some random comments:

•   Some of the added firmware features are nice and there are more programmable buttons but I didn’t find them useful or necessary over what I already have on the 5DIII.

I like the ability to switch among my C# modes with the M.Fn button and not have to move my hands as they hold the camera.  I have C2 set up for static/perched birds and C3 for BIF, and can switch instantly when a bird takes off, without taking my eye off the subject.

•   Shooting up to ISO 1000 I did not see any improvement in noise levels.  I’m sure it’s better but not enough to notice in real world situations.

I think the ISO noise advantage is really at higher ISO settings. Personally, >25% of my shots with the 1D X are at higher than ISO 3200, and that's especially common with an f/8 lens combo (600 II + 2xIII, for example).

•   The thing soaks battery like no tomorrow.  Had to charge the battery at 50% after two shoots.  Compared to two weeks with the 5DIII and dual batteries in the grip.  1DX you can only have one battery at a time.

Interesting...  I was out shooting yesterday, shot ~500 images and when I checked the battery status, it was 85%.  I do have two batteries, but I've never needed to change one during a shooting day (having two is great for short trips, though...that charger is BIG, and I'd prefer to leave it at home if possible). 

Personally, I'm quite happy with the 1D X, but I'm sure I'd be happy with the 5DIII as well.  IMO, one of the big benefits of the 1D X is the ergonomics - I always use a battery grip, and having the integrated one is a lot nicer, for me.
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East Wind Photography

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 11:03:58 AM »
You need to have programmable C# settings because without the dial on top you have to change the mode with a button press and dial turn.  Difficult to do...at least when your not used to doing it that way.  On the 5DIII you can just swing the dial all the way to end to get to your C# modes.  The programmable buttons definitely take some getting used to and after two weeks I still was not comfortable doing that on the fly with an incoming eagle on approach.  ;)

Regarding battery levels...It's very easy to rack up 500 shots at 12 fps.  I was hitting that easily in one day of shooting.  There is also the chimping effect one experiences with any new camera.  ;)  I'm sure that helped with the battery drain.

Thanks for posting your impressions!

Some random comments:

•   Some of the added firmware features are nice and there are more programmable buttons but I didn’t find them useful or necessary over what I already have on the 5DIII.

I like the ability to switch among my C# modes with the M.Fn button and not have to move my hands as they hold the camera.  I have C2 set up for static/perched birds and C3 for BIF, and can switch instantly when a bird takes off, without taking my eye off the subject.

•   Shooting up to ISO 1000 I did not see any improvement in noise levels.  I’m sure it’s better but not enough to notice in real world situations.

I think the ISO noise advantage is really at higher ISO settings. Personally, >25% of my shots with the 1D X are at higher than ISO 3200, and that's especially common with an f/8 lens combo (600 II + 2xIII, for example).

•   The thing soaks battery like no tomorrow.  Had to charge the battery at 50% after two shoots.  Compared to two weeks with the 5DIII and dual batteries in the grip.  1DX you can only have one battery at a time.

Interesting...  I was out shooting yesterday, shot ~500 images and when I checked the battery status, it was 85%.  I do have two batteries, but I've never needed to change one during a shooting day (having two is great for short trips, though...that charger is BIG, and I'd prefer to leave it at home if possible). 

Personally, I'm quite happy with the 1D X, but I'm sure I'd be happy with the 5DIII as well.  IMO, one of the big benefits of the 1D X is the ergonomics - I always use a battery grip, and having the integrated one is a lot nicer, for me.

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 11:12:34 AM »
The Battery drain may be related to the (correct me if I am wrong) 1Dx being able to supply higher voltage/amperage to the lens so it can AF faster?

Quote
Quote
Quote from: East Wind Photography on Today at 10:41:01 AM
•   Some of the added firmware features are nice and there are more programmable buttons but I didn’t find them useful or necessary over what I already have on the 5DIII.

I like the ability to switch among my C# modes with the M.Fn button and not have to move my hands as they hold the camera.  I have C2 set up for static/perched birds and C3 for BIF, and can switch instantly when a bird takes off, without taking my eye off the subject.

This is a nice feature for sports as well. I do similar things with my Mk3/(now dead) 7D. Can't wait to get a 1Dx from CPS to play with!


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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 11:21:34 AM »
Thanks for your impressions.  While I won't argue with you on overall wildlife shooting, I do think overall, as a whole, the 1DX still offers more.  For well-lit wildlife?  Maybe not.  But considering all "real world" situations, the 1DX is still better.  I'm not sure why you say "us in the real world" because my real world IS low-lit venues with high action, where the 5D3 can't cut it.  Also, if you shoot higher ISO, the 1DX files can be processed, pushed, and pulled far more than any 5D3 file.  Despite having less MP's, the highlights and shadows have more detail.  I will also agree that for wildlife, 12 fps probably isn't needed, although I know gary samples has used that feature quite a bit for his work.  You're right, the shutter is LOUD.

Battery life?  Are you kidding?  I've shot 4 basketball games in high burst mode on one battery :)

For the 5D3, I love the 22 mp, and I also love silent shutter like yourself.  I use it extensively for tennis and golf.  Either way, if the 1DX doesn't offer you anything additional over the 5D3, then use the 5D3.  Afterall, I have one and am very happy with it.

In fact, if the 1DX hadn't come out, I'd probably be shooting everything with a 1D4/5D3 combo.  Good luck and I look forward to seeing your wildlife photography!

I hope you take my comments/arguments as friendly and for fun :).  Afterall, you've been doing this for 30 years!
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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 11:26:21 AM »
Quote
12 fps does not really offer much.  Sounds nice in theory but for wildlife I think it’s excessive


is it !!
Because of the 10/12 fps I have more pictures to choose from a burst of 10/12 fps.

http://www.birdpix.nl/album_page.php?pic_id=335219

Edward
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 11:30:15 AM by altenae »

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 11:36:02 AM »
The Battery drain may be related to the (correct me if I am wrong) 1Dx being able to supply higher voltage/amperage to the lens so it can AF faster?

Yes, the 1-series bodies do drive the lens AF motors faster.  With some lenses, like the superteles, the AF is blazingly fast already, so while there may be a difference with the 1-series, it may not be noticeable. But with a lens like the 85L II, the faster AF is evident.  A long time ago, I read the TDP review of the 85L and noted that Bryan stated, "While this lens certainly has the aperture and image quality to be an excellent indoor action sports lens, the AF performance is only "good enough" in my opinion..."  After getting an 85L, I wondered about that, because the AF was pretty darn slow on my 7D and 5DII.  But Bryan used 1DsIII's to shoot, and with the 1D X, I can see that the 85L does ok in a sports setting.
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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 11:36:02 AM »

East Wind Photography

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 11:44:48 AM »
Well I just got to use it for only two weeks.  During that time while there were a LOT more photos to sift through for post, I personally didn't find that the extra images really gave me any better selection than what I have obtained with the 5DIII at 6 fps.  This is purely subjective to the photographer and varying subjects may offer better possibilities at 12fps.  It just didn't offer me anything more other than extra photos that I couldn't use.

Quote
12 fps does not really offer much.  Sounds nice in theory but for wildlife I think it’s excessive


is it !!
Because of the 10/12 fps I have more pictures to choose from a burst of 10/12 fps.

http://www.birdpix.nl/album_page.php?pic_id=335219

Edward

East Wind Photography

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 11:53:09 AM »
I will try to post some images here soon.  I didn't see any point trying to post comparisons as there was nothing that would have shown one was better over the other.  Regarding ISO, yes possibly if you shoot a lot of ISO greater than 1000 then the 1DX may offer you lower noise and possibly higher contrast detail.  However with wildlife photography that I typically shoot, if the lighting is bad enough to need more than ISO 1000 then I usually pass anyway.  I found even with the 1DX that BIF over ISO 1000 were marginal at best and nothing like what you get at lower ISOs.  Again from a comparison standpoint I didn't see much difference between the 5D3 and 1DX even shooting close to sunset.  I'm not sure I would spend an extra 3K for it if my main subjects were wildlife.

Thanks for your impressions.  While I won't argue with you on overall wildlife shooting, I do think overall, as a whole, the 1DX still offers more.  For well-lit wildlife?  Maybe not.  But considering all "real world" situations, the 1DX is still better.  I'm not sure why you say "us in the real world" because my real world IS low-lit venues with high action, where the 5D3 can't cut it.  Also, if you shoot higher ISO, the 1DX files can be processed, pushed, and pulled far more than any 5D3 file.  Despite having less MP's, the highlights and shadows have more detail.  I will also agree that for wildlife, 12 fps probably isn't needed, although I know gary samples has used that feature quite a bit for his work.  You're right, the shutter is LOUD.

Battery life?  Are you kidding?  I've shot 4 basketball games in high burst mode on one battery :)

For the 5D3, I love the 22 mp, and I also love silent shutter like yourself.  I use it extensively for tennis and golf.  Either way, if the 1DX doesn't offer you anything additional over the 5D3, then use the 5D3.  Afterall, I have one and am very happy with it.

In fact, if the 1DX hadn't come out, I'd probably be shooting everything with a 1D4/5D3 combo.  Good luck and I look forward to seeing your wildlife photography!

I hope you take my comments/arguments as friendly and for fun :).  Afterall, you've been doing this for 30 years!

East Wind Photography

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 11:56:33 AM »
In my case this could be the case.  I only used the 600 F/4 and sometimes with the 1.4x iii extender.  I'm sure the 600 tele pulls a lot of amperage if it's available.  With the 5DIII I think it's limited internally and therefore doesn't drain the battery excessively.

I also don't know the history of the battery I was using...it's possible it had aged quite a bit.  The loaner came from CPS so who knows....

The Battery drain may be related to the (correct me if I am wrong) 1Dx being able to supply higher voltage/amperage to the lens so it can AF faster?

Yes, the 1-series bodies do drive the lens AF motors faster.  With some lenses, like the superteles, the AF is blazingly fast already, so while there may be a difference with the 1-series, it may not be noticeable. But with a lens like the 85L II, the faster AF is evident.  A long time ago, I read the TDP review of the 85L and noted that Bryan stated, "While this lens certainly has the aperture and image quality to be an excellent indoor action sports lens, the AF performance is only "good enough" in my opinion..."  After getting an 85L, I wondered about that, because the AF was pretty darn slow on my 7D and 5DII.  But Bryan used 1DsIII's to shoot, and with the 1D X, I can see that the 85L does ok in a sports setting.

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 11:57:35 AM »
It's okay if you do not choose to share, I simply enjoy seeing others' wildlife photography because it's something I don't get to do myself. 

One thing I did notice was cropping.  I can notice the less 4 MP's in heavy cropping between the 2 cameras.
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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 11:59:58 AM »
The Battery drain may be related to the (correct me if I am wrong) 1Dx being able to supply higher voltage/amperage to the lens so it can AF faster?

Yes, the 1-series bodies do drive the lens AF motors faster.  With some lenses, like the superteles, the AF is blazingly fast already, so while there may be a difference with the 1-series, it may not be noticeable. But with a lens like the 85L II, the faster AF is evident.  A long time ago, I read the TDP review of the 85L and noted that Bryan stated, "While this lens certainly has the aperture and image quality to be an excellent indoor action sports lens, the AF performance is only "good enough" in my opinion..."  After getting an 85L, I wondered about that, because the AF was pretty darn slow on my 7D and 5DII.  But Bryan used 1DsIII's to shoot, and with the 1D X, I can see that the 85L does ok in a sports setting.

True on the super telephotos, my 200 (which I guess is more medium~) and 400 MK II are fast regardless of the body. Good to know lenses like the 85 benefit from the higher voltage. Is it a MK I or MK II?

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 12:02:06 PM »
That is a good point.  I also noticed that if I took an image down relative to what I could do on the 5DIII that it would not hold up.  I would have to back out the crop for it to remain sensible.  While the effect is minimal it may be important for some shooters that cant afford a big tele.  4MP difference doesn't sound like much but it does offer a slight advantage considering pixel density alone.

It's okay if you do not choose to share, I simply enjoy seeing others' wildlife photography because it's something I don't get to do myself. 

One thing I did notice was cropping.  I can notice the less 4 MP's in heavy cropping between the 2 cameras.

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 12:02:06 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 12:03:32 PM »
True on the super telephotos, my 200 (which I guess is more medium~) and 400 MK II are fast regardless of the body. Good to know lenses like the 85 benefit from the higher voltage. Is it a MK I or MK II?

I have the 85L II, which Canon claims has improved AF speed relative to the MkI ('improved' in the sense that a tortise has improved ground speed relative to a snail...).
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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 12:30:18 PM »
True on the super telephotos, my 200 (which I guess is more medium~) and 400 MK II are fast regardless of the body. Good to know lenses like the 85 benefit from the higher voltage. Is it a MK I or MK II?

I have the 85L II, which Canon claims has improved AF speed relative to the MkI ('improved' in the sense that a tortise has improved ground speed relative to a snail...).

Sounds about right. Well I guess like East Wind I will have to do my own testing and see If I just make the dive into 1d territory. Very excited to test the shorter lenses and compare AF speed side by side.

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Re: Canon 1DX vs 5DIII Wildlife Comparison
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2013, 12:30:18 PM »