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21-megapixel Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

Amazon.com has “jumped the gun” by posting a listing for the as-yet-unannounced Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, a 21.1-megapixel “big brother” to the 10.1-megapixel EOS 1D Mark III. If the foregoing link doesn't work, it might have been pulled—I cannot get it to work anymore. But other sites grabbed it: canondrive.com/canon and questionphoto.com.

The specifications are all but the same as the already-released 10.1-megapixel Canon EOS 1D Mark III, varying mainly in image-size-related parameters (megapixels, frame rate, etc). Here are the highlights:

  • 21.1-megapixel CMOS full-frame sensor (5632X3750 with 6.4-micron pixels);
  • 3.0" 230,000-pixel LCD with Live View;
  • 5 frames per second for up to 15 RAW images or 45 JPEGs;
  • self-cleaning sensor unit;
  • the “finest viewfinder ever placed in an EOS camera”;
  • 300,000 cycle shutter.

Without a doubt the 21-megapixel 1Ds Mark III will exert pressure on vendors of medium format digital backs. Whether Canon’s new flagship model can match the stellar results I see from my 10.1-megapixel EOS 1D Mark III remains to be seen. The smaller pixel pitch of 6.4 microns (vs 7.2 microns for the 1D Mark III) means that lens performance will be at a premium. Noise might be significantly higher; the pixels of the 10.1-megapixel 1D Mark III are 26% larger.

Aberration correction—of particular note for Digital Photo Professional users is the addition in version 3.2 of “Lens Aberration Correction” that corrects vignetting, chromatic aberration, “color blur” and distortion, though apparently limited to 29 EF and EF-S lenses—not so impressive since Nikon’s Nikon Capture can correct vignetting and chromatic aberration for any lens.

EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM—A redesigned rectilinear lens with a 114° diagonal field of view, improved peripheral image quality, weather sealing, etc. If the improvements mirror those of the 16-35 II zoom, then the new lens should be an outstanding performer.

Nikon’s offerings—If you’re interested in rumors, check out the credible dpreview.com thread on the Nikon D3, allegedly to be announced on August 23. If true, Nikon might again disappoint (12 vs 21 megapixels), unless the sensor technology is improved eg a true-color sensor.

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