Let's start by having a quick look at how the EOS-1Ds Mark III compares to the camera it replaces, the 16.6MP EOS-1DS Mark II. The Mark III is a fairly significant upgrade to the Mark II in feature terms, but how does it compare image quality-wise?
We no longer have access to the EOS-1Ds Mark II, and our studio comparison shots for that camera were taken with the Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8 L (@70mm) as it was tested before we standardized full frame comparisons with the use of an 85mm lens. Therefore for the comparisons with the Mark II we've used the same lens.
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II sharpness
The default sharpness setting on the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II is 0 (Zero), this effectively equates to no sharpening at all which will obviously produce a soft looking image. In all our previous EOS-1D series reviews we have always used level 1 or 2 sharpness, including in our image quality comparisons. This has changed with the current generation and the default sharpness is now a little higher, so for these comparisons and those that follow, the Mark III is left at its default setting.
Studio scene comparison (JPEG)
Canon EOS-1DS Mark III vs Canon EOS-1DS Mark II
- Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III: Canon EF 24-70 mm F2.8 L @ 70 mm, Aperture Priority, ISO 100 (default base) JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer
- Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II: Canon EF 24-70 mm F2.8 L @ 70 mm, Aperture Priority,
ISO 100, JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters, Self-Timer
Canon EOS-1DS Mark III
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II (shp 1)
5.3 MB JPEG (5616 x 3744)
4,879 KB JPEG (4992 x 3328)
But there's more to camera resolution than megapixels and there's no doubt looking at these results that the Mark III - even taking into account the slightly higher default sharpening - is capturing an astounding level of detail and visibly (though perhaps not dramatically) bettering the Mark II in its JPEGs. As an aside, it's also obvious that the 24-70mm L is more than a match for the new sensor. Our only negative comment would be that despite the high resolution the output is a little soft (the 'per pixel' sharpness may be excellent for a 35mm format camera, but compared to a medium format back with no Low Pass Filter it lacks crispness).