I was finally able to get the new camera (Canon EOS 1Dx Mark III) out to some night rodeo action. First of all, it felt good to be taking action shots again. I love the challenge of action shooting.
First things first, though. A rodeo always has a patriotic National Anthem, and the 2021 Elizabeth Stampede’s XTreme Bulls did it right…
Once the sun goes down, it has often been a different story, as night time action can be a significant obstacle for me with my 14-year-old 1D Mark III camera. As you can imagine, I was eager to experience shooting with the new 1Dx Mark III.
It did not disappoint.
In the past, I had to leave a night rodeo when the sun went down. A lot of the outdoor arena lights are fine for watching a rodeo from the stands, but not for photography purposes. Just not enough light to support a fast enough shutter speed to capture the action. And my older EOS 1D just did not have the High ISO capability to bump the shutter speed and still have usable images.
As you can see from the above image, the new Canon EOS 1Dx Mark III allowed me to stay and shoot the bull riding action under the lights. While my older version had a usable ISO of about 2,500, the new 1Dx Mark III allowed me to shoot the bull riding with an ISO of 25,000 and still have usable photos to send to the magazine that will publish my coverage. It is a massive difference, and will boost my freelance capabilities by a significant amount.
A winning ride under the lights…
I am highly satisfied, so far, with the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark III’s capabilities and am looking forward to working over this coming weekend to put it through even more paces.
The new camera arrived a few days ago! I’ve been busy shooting with it around the property and learning what it can do. I’ve also been reading the manual – yes, I do that – to try and get up to speed with all the latest features that have been added to Canon pro DSLR cameras (EOS 1D series) since I last purchased the 1D MkIII 14 years ago.
Let me tell you, the upgrade is massive. One of the first tests I put it through was to check out its High ISO performance. My trusty old 1D MkIII could not get useable shots at anything higher than 2,500 ISO. The image was simply too noisy (full of grain and chromatic issues). Even at 2,500 ISO, it was a must for me to use noise reduction software in post-processing to produce images I could send to magazines for publication. Does the brand new 1Dx MkIII live up to its hype and will it help reduce my workflow on High ISO images?
In a word… Yes! The following close up of the side of an antique hat box was captured using an ISO of 40,000 (which is 16 times greater than I could ever do with my previous camera and still have a useable image). Although resizing for web use takes out image grain, the image was very useable at its original size. No noise reduction software was used on the following image.
My next test was wandering outside and testing it out in some challenging light conditions. One light condition I have often encountered when shooting for magazine stories has been the high contrast, direct sun issue. I can usually figure a way to obtain another angle that will avoid the direct sun that can cause flares and blow out highlights on an image, etc., but I can’t do that every single time. So I took some shots that had bright setting sun (lower and more direct towards the lens) in the background of a scene with a lot of contrasting dark and light colors. That can be pretty tricky for the camera to process, but the 1Dx MkIII handled it with aplomb.
I was using the Aperture Priority setting and opened the lens up fairly wide (F5.6). While the background light was bright, it did not blow or become too contrasty (is that even a word?). In fact, the darkness around the edges of this image was from a software filter. The original image had consistent light from edge to edge.
I’ve also shot in burst mode with AI Servo tracking and it has not lost a shot to blurred focus yet. Granted, I’ve just been focus tracking our older dog and our fairly low-key horses, but it hasn’t missed yet. And the burst mode is impressive at 16fps vs my previous 10fps. I shoot burst mode on a regular basis for my rodeo photography. My old 1D would miss the focus on a number of shots during some indoor event lower-light burst shooting, but I worked around it to make sure I caught peak action (most of the time!). With the 1Dx MkIII, there does not appear (as of yet) that there will be a need to work around indoor event lower-light burst mode misfocuses. That factor will lessen my need to take more shots, which will decrease my after-event work to choose the shots to send to the magazines. In other words… it will be a big time saver. I will be shooting some evening outdoor rodeo performances within the next couple of weeks. I will really put it through its paces then.
I still have to put the 1Dx MkIII through some challenging video capture scenarios, but the quick videos I have taken so far (mundane stuff like rainfall and our old pup) seem to point toward a robust and user friendly experience. It looks like I will be able to quickly switch back and forth between still shooting and video capture, which will open up a wider range of opportunities for magazine submissions. That’s what the pro cameras are supposed to do, right?
Thanks for reading. I will make further posts as I continue to use the latest Canon 1Dx MkIII. It should be a fun ride.