Buy Used 1DIV or New 5DIII for Bird Photography?

Started Nov 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP riknash Veteran Member • Posts: 6,673
Re: Buy Used 1DIV or New 5DIII for Bird Photography?

Tinu_ch wrote:

riknash wrote:

Being not really happy with the AF and mid ISO performance of the 7D for in-flight bird photography, I'm debating what makes better sense. The options seem to be one of the following;

  1. purchase a used 1DIV

I went from the 7D to the 1DIV 18 months ago. I also own a 5DII but I almost never use it for birding even though I think it still delivers a tad more per pixel IQ than the 1DIV. I have no experience with the 5DIII or 1DX.

My experience after 18 months:

1) The 1DIV is better for fast action and BIF than the 7D.

2) With the 7D I tried to stay at ISO 200 as long as possible but was never happy with the look at 100%. On the 1DIV I love ISO 400 and often use ISO 800. I gave up on ISO 1600 and higher for other than documentary use.

3) Reach is an issue most of the time and I compensate for the lower pixel density by using extenders (1.4xII and 2xIII). The main advantages of the 1DIV (ISO, AF) are handicapped because I have to go 1 step farther with extenders to fill the frame (1.4x instead of none, 2x instead of 1.4x). On the other hand, when the lens bare or with 1.4x is long enough I get a big step up both in IQ and keeper rate.

Assuming either a 300mm/2.8 or 500mm/4 lens (not series II), would be used, what makes the best sense for obtaining the best performance for BIF?

Best AF performance should be with the 1DX. I have to guess but I do not expect much of a difference between 1DIV and 5DIII other than fps.

Alternatively, the 1DIV seemed to be the compromise between AF servo performance over the 7D and some degree of ability to crop the image.

That's why I stay with my "old" cameras. I do not feel tempted by the 1DX even though they enabled AF at f/8 recently. I would rather get the 5DIII - not as a replacement for the 1DIV but because it seems to be the perfect allrounder DSLR. However I wait for the field experience with the firmware update promised for April before deciding anything.

Upgrading to a 1DIV, will the performance offset the loss in some crop-ability?

Depends on the situation. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

How many bird photographers have upgraded from a 1DIV to a 1DX and what are the pros and cons? Was it really worth the upgrade or did it require you to also have to upgrade to a longer lens? Are the resultant images that much better?

I would like to hear those opinions too!


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If the text above reads like real English, it must be a quotation
Some of my pictures:

Thanks for taking the time to share your personal experiences using the 1DIV for wildlife.  Your observations support my own limited experiences with that model along with what I understood from what others have said about it. Its not perfect but certainly offers a significant improvement from the 7D in areas I would benefit from. Its really too bad Canon has dropped the APS-H sensor dimension. Imagine a 32 megapixel 1DIV APS-H successor?

Looking at your PBase photo galleries, its immediately obvious none of those images came from my 7D. Very nicely done! There is so much more substance to the images, as they don't have that 'weak' fragile look that haunts most of my photos. A sample of a grey owl from the 7D shot in good light at ISO 400 suggests that the pixels will fall off the screen like sand to the ground. Sure, I could PP the noise out of the photo and tweak everything to try and make it look better, but really, the original photo would have stood strongly on its own if the noise wasn't there to begin with, much like those from your gallery.

Great Grey Owl

 riknash's gear list:riknash's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Canon EOS 7D Mark II Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x +1 more
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