Thursday, February 22, 2007
Canon Releases The EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR
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 moirÃ¢â¬Å¡.
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.
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