EOS-1Ds upgrade dilemmas

Started Sep 29, 2008 | Discussions thread
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Kelvin L
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EOS-1Ds upgrade dilemmas
Sep 29, 2008

Hello everyone - this is my first DPReview forum post, so please be gentle. I am looking for some feedback from EOS-1D users on their upgrade experiences, as I am currently uncertain about what to do.

I shoot freelance event photography with an ageing EOS-1Ds body which has served me very well. Unfortunately it drops its bundle when I am indoors shooting stage performances and some mixed lighting situations, especially fluorescent and gas discharge lights. I am very keen to get something with decent ISO1600 performance.

I managed to get my hands on a loaner EOS-20D to see if I could work with the crop factor and the different interface (which I understand is very similar to the new 50D and coming 5D-II). My budget does not stretch to the 1Ds-III, but there are a couple of second hand 1Ds-II bodies which may be in my price range.

I was quite impressed with the 20D's high ISO performance, but I had a terrible time with the interface. Keep in mind that I shoot mainly in Spot metering and full manual. The Partial metering circle wasn't too accurate with strong backlighting. The worst bit however was the -2/+2 metering bar in the viewfinder. I had become so accustomed to the wonderful -3/+3 EV metering bar on the right of the viewfinder which followed the direction of the command dial movement. The 20D's bar would also move in the opposite direction to the dials! I also had no idea if I have placed my metering tone on exactly +2 zoning or more than that (and thus blown out the highlight), and I'd have to do an extra jiggle to make sure I was floating around +1.5 / +2.

The 20D shutter release also didn't feel as responsive as the 1Ds. I won't go into the depth of field issues, as that's a given with the APS-C sensor and I can't complain about that.

It appears that the only cameras with a -3/+3 metering bar are the Canon EOS-1D and Nikon D3 bodies.

Using the EOS-1Ds has become second nature to me (previously having cut my teeth on an EOS-1V film body) and I don't even have to think when shooting in manual. It was a real struggle with the 20D.

This is a real shame as I was very impressed with the 20D's image quality. I had almost made up my mind to go with a 50D or 5D-II, sight unseen, but now I'm hesitant. I had taken the EOS-1D interface and responsiveness for granted and just assumed it would carry over to those other models. I won't be crying though about ditching the NiMH battery packs and gargantuan charger that the 1Ds uses if I could get away with it.

I would like to hear from ex-1D shooters who changed over to 5D bodies and whether they survived the transition.

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