Canon 1DX iii or Canon R5 for wildlife photography?

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,649
2,007
Alberta, Canada
I've loved me a few 1D bodies over the years. They were brutes that excelled above the others through the heyday of the 5d3. Critically back then, they also had similar resolution as those bodies they lorded over.

About the time the 5d4 came around, things weren't so clear. It depended on what you shot. Sports photographers and PJs naturally stayed with the 1D series. Resolution above 20mp is somewhat of a nuisance for them it seems. Wildlife people did all sorts of things, again, depending on what they shot. Reach limited guys sometimes used the 5DsR of all things. Some used the 5D4 (I moved to that for the 1.5x resolution and improved sensor). Some went to the A9 (I did that too, eventually, to complement an A7r4 that was dripped with vinegar from 60 megapickles).

So here we all meet up again smoking cigars in the nursery ward of the Canon R5, asking ourselves which would be better: the 1DX3 or the R5; a question that dates us all to the times when people took pictures and didn't care about video and heat whatever the heck vlogging is or was. It appears from what you read on the web that it's only we who care to answer this.

While we can't know for sure, we can surely see that there's very little the R5 can't do that the 1DX3 does, and there's quite a lot it does the 1DX3 can't. Canon being Canon, I wouldn't be surprised if a 1 series in the R format might not do a lot more than give a different form factor. Add some girth to seem girthy, like the outwardly bowed panels on a Ram truck, hiding the small production bits dwelling inside. Slap on the ethernet and other connecting parts that <1/100th of 1 percent of the buyers will ever use. Come to think of it, that could be a good description of the A9II's "upgrade."

To the original person who asked the question, I find myself coming down this way: The 1 series isn't the future. Don't sweat the status implied by slumming with a 5 series, when it beats the pants off the 1 series, at least for now. But do cancel your pre-order for the R5 because I got to watching the vapid Canon video when they were releasing it, and I only pre-ordered 10 minutes in, so there are a bunch of jerks like you in line ahead of me.
I really don't understand why Canon didn't continue with high and low resolution 1 series cameras. I can't imagine wildlife shoots other than those in a blind or in a nature reserve, not cropping. It just seemed wrong to not offer 1 series features in a higher resolution body but the R5 is getting closer - no fancy joystick though.

Jack
 
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tiggy@mac.com

R5
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Jan 20, 2014
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I really don't understand why Canon didn't continue with high and low resolution 1 series cameras. I can't imagine wildlife shoots other than those in a blind or in a nature reserve, not cropping. It just seemed wrong to not offer 1 series features in a higher resolution body but the R5 is getting closer - no fancy joystick though.

Jack
The day the X came out 8.09 years ago, it was hot here. Reached 95 degrees in the early afternoon, causing some sweaty hours refreshing the status page on the web sales page after we'd been able to pre-order earlier in the morning. That part sounds familiar here in 2020.

The messaging materials were quite different. The ones Canon put out that morning were the sort not uncommon among Asian electronics conglomerates of the day. They were aspirational and deliberately vague. In the mid-90s through to about 5 years ago, large Asian firms tended to have US ad agencies develop branding campaigns concentrating on a general, universal concept. To flesh out that concept into tactical details, showing how a product allowed a user to exploit that concept would be to ruin the art of it. The belief was that to explicitly explain the concept would be to destroy its power, as an artist would ruin the value of an oil by narrating each stroke. You add on top of that a very serious cultural translation incompatibility between the electronics client and the agency, and, well, you got some pretty odd branding stuff. There were whole websites dedicated to this. Today we have "See Impossible," which, well, yeah. What you could take away from the campaigns of the day was generally a gist of where the company believed it was heading and why.

Canon's general branding message, starting about 13 months before the launch was "Imagin8ion." Under that theme, the product message on that day with the 1DX was that it was the crossover product. In a world where 18 megapickles was considered more than adequate, this was credible. You may recall that this was right when the 5D3 was launched, the successor to the break-out video rig the 5D2. Canon appeared to be attempting to create an uber camera that it could produce at efficient scale and sell as the top dog to all the niche markets. From a manufacturer's incremental cost perspective, this made a lot of sense; and is the primary answer to Jack's question above.

But this world that Canon partly predicted and partly conceived - the one where 18 MP was adequate for all things; and where a video rig would be used for landscape shots - was never stable. It would have been more stable had the pesky competition not gone and released a number of bodies that made clear we were missing some things others were being given: resolution, dynamic range, video features, and even, eventually, frame speed. But from that hot day in June onward, there doesn't appear to have been an effort among the product managers of the 1 series to be everything to all in its later revisions. Canon evidently did believe that 18 MP was adequate for all markets. They were mistaken, we now know, but they appear to have genuinely believed it.

Products starting design processes that summer wouldn't come out until 2016. The releases in 2016 show us what Canon believed at the moment they were launching the 1DX, and this included the 1DX II, which really doubled-down on the low resolution. It did not attempt to become more useful for landscape or other genres requiring more resolution. The 5D IV was released in that year's late August, and exploded the X concept utterly. It showed that the 5DsR wasn't a fluke. Canon's very perception of the camera world had shifted, and we learned this had happened without us knowing four years earlier, right when the marketing materials were pushing the crossover concept.

This should have been good news for Jack. Canon was making cameras for markets again, rather than just levels of cameras for everyone. But then - and now - there is stubborn confusion among pros and would-be pros about the brand status of the 1 series. Is it the best? Is it the best for a particular purpose? Canon has answered this as clearly as Canon gives answers: The 1 series is the best for the purpose of taking low resolution shots - which is most important for PJs, sports togs, and non-reach-limited wildlife shooters - and getting those images off the camera quickly. The coming R5 may be better by a significant margin for other purposes, and maybe even some of the ones listed above. It is not in the nature of a large Japanese electronics firm to tell you this explicitly. That would destroy the artistic effect of its assembled collection of cameras. Your high resolution best camera exists, and it isn't and won't be in a 1 body. The "cladding" that beefs up the 1 series body to look like a man's man's camera may be applied to a higher-end R body in the future, but it will likely be to suit the man's man market, not the landscape/product photography pro market.

Today is 69 degrees and sunny in a wet woods here in Vermont. I'm going to take my two young kids out there right after I finish typing this and try to "see impossible" or "imagin8" or something. With an EOS R on an adapter on a 1.4x teleconverter on a 600 f/4 II. An insanely inappropriate combination for now, awaiting the release of the R5 in just 6 days.
 
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TominNJ

EOS M6 Mark II
Mar 14, 2015
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the 1DX III is more rugged and will take more hard use and rough handling. Going to shoot in the rain? Hot dusty conditions? Extreme cold? Bouncy 4 wheel drive vehicles on rocky roads?
 
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Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,649
2,007
Alberta, Canada
The day the X came out 8.09 years ago, it was hot here. Reached 95 degrees in the early afternoon, causing some sweaty hours refreshing the status page on the web sales page after we'd been able to pre-order earlier in the morning. That part sounds familiar here in 2020.

The messaging materials were quite different. The ones Canon put out that morning were the sort not uncommon among Asian electronics conglomerates of the day. They were aspirational and deliberately vague. In the mid-90s through to about 5 years ago, large Asian firms tended to have US ad agencies develop branding campaigns concentrating on a general, universal concept. To flesh out that concept into tactical details, showing how a product allowed a user to exploit that concept would be to ruin the art of it. The belief was that to explicitly explain the concept would be to destroy its power, as an artist would ruin the value of an oil by narrating each stroke. You add on top of that a very serious cultural translation incompatibility between the electronics client and the agency, and, well, you got some pretty odd branding stuff. There were whole websites dedicated to this. Today we have "See Impossible," which, well, yeah. What you could take away from the campaigns of the day was generally a gist of where the company believed it was heading and why.

Canon's general branding message, starting about 13 months before the launch was "Imagin8ion." Under that theme, the product message on that day with the 1DX was that it was the crossover product. In a world where 18 megapickles was considered more than adequate, this was credible. You may recall that this was right when the 5D3 was launched, the successor to the break-out video rig the 5D2. Canon appeared to be attempting to create an uber camera that it could produce at efficient scale and sell as the top dog to all the niche markets. From a manufacturer's incremental cost perspective, this made a lot of sense; and is the primary answer to Jack's question above.

But this world that Canon partly predicted and partly conceived - the one where 18 MP was adequate for all things; and where a video rig would be used for landscape shots - was never stable. It would have been more stable had the pesky competition not gone and released a number of bodies that made clear we were missing some things others were being given: resolution, dynamic range, video features, and even, eventually, frame speed. But from that hot day in June onward, there doesn't appear to have been an effort among the product managers of the 1 series to be everything to all in its later revisions. Canon evidently did believe that 18 MP was adequate for all markets. They were mistaken, we now know, but they appear to have genuinely believed it.

Products starting design processes that summer wouldn't come out until 2016. The releases in 2016 show us what Canon believed at the moment they were launching the 1DX, and this included the 1DX II, which really doubled-down on the low resolution. It did not attempt to become more useful for landscape or other genres requiring more resolution. The 5D IV was released in that year's late August, and exploded the X concept utterly. It showed that the 5DsR wasn't a fluke. Canon's very perception of the camera world had shifted, and we learned this had happened without us knowing four years earlier, right when the marketing materials were pushing the crossover concept.

This should have been good news for Jack. Canon was making cameras for markets again, rather than just levels of cameras for everyone. But then - and now - there is stubborn confusion among pros and would-be pros about the brand status of the 1 series. Is it the best? Is it the best for a particular purpose? Canon has answered this as clearly as Canon gives answers: The 1 series is the best for the purpose of taking low resolution shots - which is most important for PJs, sports togs, and non-reach-limited wildlife shooters - and getting those images off the camera quickly. The coming R5 may be better by a significant margin for other purposes, and maybe even some of the ones listed above. It is not in the nature of a large Japanese electronics firm to tell you this explicitly. That would destroy the artistic effect of its assembled collection of cameras. Your high resolution best camera exists, and it isn't and won't be in a 1 body. The "cladding" that beefs up the 1 series body to look like a man's man's camera may be applied to a higher-end R body in the future, but it will likely be to suit the man's man market, not the landscape/product photography pro market.

Today is 69 degrees and sunny in a wet woods here in Vermont. I'm going to take my two young kids out there right after I finish typing this and try to "see impossible" or "imagin8" or something. With an EOS R on an adapter on a 1.4x teleconverter on a 600 f/4 II. An insanely inappropriate combination for now, awaiting the release of the R5 in just 6 days.
Wow, I think you summarized it all very correctly. I never dreamed of being this serious about hobby photography but the seeds were sewn when I was in my 20's with an F1. Trouble is life was far too busy, mostly due to my own choices but some major happenings threw a monkey wrench into my existence. About 10 years ago an acquaintance who was to become a very good friend and partner in crime (photography) showed me what DSLRs had become and the features blew me away.

It was then I dared to present a plan to my wife - a D5100 and a 70-300 that totalled more than I felt I should ever spend and, well she encouraged it and all future purchases as I demonstrated that I really do love nature photography and was producing great photos (by the standards of those who are close to me). The 6D was a "in my ignorance" choice that proved to be very fortunate (I didn't even know what "crop" meant at that time) and the 300 2.8 II with converters was a dream come true.

Then CR reared its ugly head and I started noticing posts by AlanF - we know Alan strives for excellence and his influence on me has been bad - a 1DX2 and 400 DO II bad. And there is one decision that was really hard given that I knew that I needed more pixels but my wife wanted me to have the "best" camera as in "Cadillac". I tried hard to explain how the 5D4 might be better but the video features won out in my decision.

And now here is the R5 finally checking most of the boxes but not having all the 1 series features, like the two front buttons etc. Well, at least there is one front button.:confused:

And why would I even be contemplating what I have not being more than enough! It's illogical, ridiculous, unexplainable GAS. Actually it's not given that the R5 would have been such an easy choice when I was agonizing over the 1DX2 and 5D4. Life is too good for photographers these days .... if they have spare cash.

Jack
 

privatebydesign

Garfield is back...
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Jan 29, 2011
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the 1D III is more rugged and will take more hard use and rough handling. Going to shoot in the rain? Hot dusty conditions? Extreme cold? Bouncy 4 wheel drive vehicles on rocky roads?
Please understand there is a 1D III and a 1DX III, to many it might seem obvious which is meant but it can lead to confusion now and in the future.