Conveniently, you can use the playback zoom controls to zoom in either 5x or 10x on your subject, to aid in manual focusing. Canon doesn't set any strict limits on how long you can remain in Live View mode, but it does mention that the sensor heats up in Live View mode and that you may encounter a thermometer icon on the LCD once the camera reaches a certain temperature. We never saw this icon when we used Live View mode, but if you typically shoot in very warm environments (studio-hot lights, perhaps) you may run into it. As you may guess, shooting at higher ISOs should make the sensor heat up faster than at lower ISOs. Canon also warns that increased temperatures can lead to increased image noise.
As usual, along with this new SLR comes a new version of Canon's Digital Photo Professional software for raw processing. This new version (3.0) is very similar to the last version. We did notice, however, that it runs more smoothly on Intel-based Macs than did the previous version, and it now officially supports Windows Vista. If you prefer to use Adobe's Camera Raw plug-in with Photoshop, you may be as irked as we were to find out that Adobe forces you to upgrade to Photoshop CS3 or Photoshop Elements 5.0 if you want to use the latest update, which includes the 1D Mark III as well as Fuji's FinePix S5 Pro, Nikon's D40x, Olympus' E-410 and SP-550UZ, and Sigma's SD14. That's a mean piece of corporate tomfoolery on Adobe's part, especially considering that pro-level photographers who would use the 1D Mark III helped make Adobe the powerhouse it is today.
If you can't yet justify the expense of upgrading to Photoshop CS3, remember that Elements costs significantly less and could serve as a quick way to get the new Camera Raw, especially for pros who may have decided against upgrading to CS3. Other third-party raw processors, such as the latest version of , have also begun adding support for the 1D Mark III, so if you decide against a CS3 upgrade, there are other options available.
In addition to all the features of the camera body itself, the 1D Mark III is made to work with a very wide variety of Canon's optional accessories. This includes an array of Speedlites, one of the most comprehensive assortments of lenses available today, the WFT-E2A wireless file transmitter, which lets you send files to a computer via the 802.11g wireless standard, and the OSK-E3 Original Data Security Kit, which lets you verify that images have not been tampered with. Of course, there are many more accessories, but listing them all here would be excessive.
As our testing analyst Matthew Fitzgerald quipped, the Canon 1D Mark III is "a rocket ship". The camera took 0.1 seconds to start up and capture its first JPEG, then took 0.4 seconds between shots when capturing subsequent JPEGs. When shooting raw, the camera took 0.5 seconds between shots. Shutter lag measured 0.4 seconds in our high-contrast test, which mimics bright shooting conditions, and 1.1 seconds in our low-contrast test, replicating dim shooting conditions. Our tests were performed with Canon's lens.
Continuous Shooting basically lived up to Canon's 10-frames-per-second (fps) claim. We were able to capture full 10-megapixel JPEGs at a rate of 9.9fps with the camera set to its highest quality JPEG compression setting of 10. Canon's claim is based on a lower compression setting of 8, but either way, it feels like you're firing a machine gun (without the recoil or death) when you shoot with the 1D Mark III in high-speed Continuous Drive mode.
Just be warned, if you do shoot 10-megapixel images in Raw+JPG mode, you'll fill up your CF or SD card extremely fast. Full size raw images from the Mark III can easily be 14MB or 15MB, while large JPEGs at the highest quality setting hover around 7MB.
The Mark III represents a major shift for Canon away from the nickel-metal-hydride battery found in previous 1D models (and stretching back to pro-level film bodies, too) to a new, much shorter, lithium-ion battery. The 2,300mAh battery looks almost identical to the one used in the Nikon D2Xs, though we wouldn't try to interchange them.