Another feature the 1Ds Mark III shares with its 1D cousin is the Picture Style menu in which you can quickly adjust sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone to change the overall look of the images you capture. In addition to six presets, which can each be modified as you see fit, there are three user-defined settings so you can make up your own.
Among the presets is a monochrome setting, which includes filter effects that mimic traditional -- yellow, orange, red and green -- black-and-white filter sets. In addition to the filters, there are also toning effects, such as sepia, blue, purple or green. The black-and-white filter effects are subtle, but do a decent job of approximating the effect of real filters. Best of all, you can access the Picture Style menu from a dedicated button next to the FUNC button, so if you want to create different styles for different situations, it's easy to switch between them quickly.
As has become the norm on high-end dSLRs, the 1Ds Mark III includes a slew of custom functions, so you can tweak the camera to your heart's delight. That means you really should sit down and read the manual -- at very least the section that details the custom functions. If you don't you'll be missing out on a lot of the things this camera can do.
For example, you can extend the sensitivity range from its default of ISO 100-1,600 one stop in either direction, to cover ISO 50-3,200, though the camera displays L and H respectively for these extremes. You can also limit sensitivity to a tighter range, or do the same for shutter speeds or apertures.
Some of the buttons, such as the aforementioned AF-On button, can be changed to perform slightly or very different functions. With the AF Microadjustment function, you can fine tune the AF so that it focuses slightly ahead or behind the point that it normally would focus to.
This can be set to apply only to certain lenses, or all lenses. Nikon offers a similar adjustment in the D3. Canon also lets you save up to three sets of custom functions, so if you share the camera, or want certain settings for certain types of jobs, you can save them and switch among them quickly and easily.
As usual, the 1Ds 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 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.
Performance is a strange area for the 1Ds Mark III. Although it has two Digic III processors to crunch all the bits that constitute 21 megapixels of image data, the sheer number of pixels means that it can't keep up with Canon's own 1D Mark III, or Nikon's D3, when it comes to continuous shooting. That said, it does excel at all other areas of performance.
Part of the joy of shooting with a camera of this calibre is its consistency of operation. The 1Ds Mark III delivers very consistent results. Its automatic white balance is a great example. Not only does it do a phenomenal job of neutralising colours under tough conditions, but it also serves up predictable results when returning to similar conditions.