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Thread: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

  1. #1

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    Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi all

    I have just registered here on this site and as per my welcome speech I mentioned issues I have with teh 1D Mark III. DOes anyone have information on guidance to the vast array of custome settings for this body?
    Regards
    Rob

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Rob,

    I don't normally like to gloat, but I personally guarantee that I can tall you everything you've ever wanted to know about the 1D3, and more

    ... so just ask away!

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Colin,

    Feel freat to gloat. In general I am v diapointed with the ID3 as on am now on my 2nd one, you will be more than aware of the autoficus issue with this release. In general my images with this camera are of lower quality than my 5D. Do you have advice on the custom setings for different situations, sport, low light (music photography), etc.
    How happy are you with yours?
    Rob

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Rob,

    I had one for about a year before upgrading to the 1Ds3, which for all intents and purposes is the same except for twice the resolution & 1/2 the frame rate. The AF issue was - in my opinion - one of the worst examples of "internet hysteria" that I've ever has the displeasure of witnessing; people seemed to fall into 2 general groups:

    1. The lynch mob. "My mother's dog's vet's uncle's wife's hairdresser's brother has one, and he can't take a single shot that's in focus", and

    2. Those who have actually owned or used one who - generally - found the AF to be one of it's greatest assetts, not one of it's greatest liabilities.

    Yes - undeniably - there was the AF sub-mirror issue which Canon fixed free of charge (and other minor firmware tweaks) but as a case in point, mine was one of the "affected" ones and after some initial restless nights worrying that I'd bought a lemon (I was an "early adopter"), in the end I didn't even bother sending it in as it was going just fine (including Formula 1 power boats coming as near as damn it straight towards the camera at over 100mph, and "chair-o-plane rides" where my daughter was whizzing by so fast I had to "follow the blur" around from the back of the ride, but the camera nailed it just fine). In the end I encouraged people who were concerned about "AF gate" to simply make their own mind up by trying it for themselves; several did and were all very happy with the camera. I asked my dealer how many he'd sold and how many came back with AF problems - he said "we've sold about 30, and only had 1 come back - and on that one, the AF was totally screwed up".

    Basically, it all came down to two things (1) the notorious Rob Galbraith tests, which were designed to torture the AF in a quite specific range of areas (in my opinion it definately became "personal" between Rob & Canon in the end), and (2) Shooters not setting it up and using it correctly (with many being ex 1D2n shooters); with the 1D3 / 1Ds3 (in servo AF mode) you MUST acquire initial focus with the centre AF point.

    In the end Canon listened - conducted extensive tests - identified the root cause of the problem - fixed it - apologised - and moved on. Overall they found the 1D3 to have better AF performance than ANY other Canon camera released up to that point (as one might expect with seperate CPUs for focus calculation & lens drive, and processing around 3 times as much information as the 1D2N), but the damage to it's reputation was already done.

    So that's a bit of history (according to me anyway)

    You've mentioned that you're getting better results with your 5D a couple of time now, but you haven't mentioned anything specific - so it would be great if you could "fill in some blanks" in this regards. The 5D by virtue of being FF has a slightly tighter DoF, and slightly more detail by virtue of the increased pixel count, but in terms of AF speed, accuracy, & low light performance the 1D3 eats it for breakfast. The 5D was basically just a FF version of a 20D / 30D - the 1D3 is vastly superior technology - so sounds like something isn't right somewhere. Having said that - in terms of picture quality - you probably won't see a lot of difference between any camera for any middle-of-the-road scene that's reproduced at a modest resolution; it's advanced firmware features of 1 series that give you the edge when "the going gets tough".

    By the way, what lenses are you using with the camera?

    Instead of writing 1/2 a book on how I've got my camera setup, how about I eMail you 1/2 doz Canon white papers (as PDF's) on the camera and then you could come back with specific questions on the setup, or post some specific image issues for us to address?

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 31st January 2010 at 10:01 PM.

  5. #5

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Colin

    Many thanks for taking such time to respond to me. You make very interesting observations about our ID3. Many which I have not heard before. Let me address all your points and questions when I have time to do so later in the day, and I look forward to, hopefully, maximising the potential locked inside this camera.
    Lenses I use are 400mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8, 24-70 mm f2.8, 17-40mm F4.5-5.6 and my very rarely used 100-400mm f 4.5-5.6.

    Best Regards

    rob@robphoto.ie
    www.robphoto.ie

    Hi Colin

    Let me try and adress all the points you have rasied and hopefully you can help me dispel my unease with the camera. I would say that I fall into the 2nd category of those who own one, however I would say that the AF point would not be one of the greatest assests.
    I am hoping that the reason for this is that I am not using the camera in its optimum setting to realise its full AF
    potential. To clarify the issues I have with 1D3 are poorly focused under exposed images, in particular low light. I have consistently made different changes to the custom settings, all to no avail. To be honest I think some of this is lack of full understanding of the settings and also, perhaps not using correct metering modes and use of all the AF points. This, I think, is what is letting me down. It may also explain why I get better results with my 5D in that the settings are fewer and AF points less on the 5D.
    Hope this calrifies the issues. Writing this has confirmed what has being nagging at me at the back of my mind, in that its possible my lack of understanding which contributes to this poor performance, and I am hoping now that your help may overcome this.
    I look forward to your thoughts on this

    Best Regards
    Rob
    Last edited by robphoto; 1st February 2010 at 08:24 AM. Reason: update2

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    No worries Rob - look forward to hearing from you.

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Colin

    Let me try and adress all the points you have rasied and hopefully you can help me dispel my unease with the camera. I would say that I fall into the 2nd category of those who own one, however I would say that the AF point would not be one of the greatest assests.
    I am hoping that the reason for this is that I am not using the camera in its optimum setting to realise its full AF
    potential. To clarify the issues I have with 1D3 are poorly focused under exposed images, in particular low light. I have consistently made different changes to the custom settings, all to no avail. To be honest I think some of this is lack of full understanding of the settings and also, perhaps not using correct metering modes and use of all the AF points. This, I think, is what is letting me down. It may also explain why I get better results with my 5D in that the settings are fewer and AF points less on the 5D.
    Hope this calrifies the issues. Writing this has confirmed what has being nagging at me at the back of my mind, in that its possible my lack of understanding which contributes to this poor performance, and I am hoping now that your help may overcome this.
    I look forward to your thoughts on this

    Best Regards
    Rob

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Rob,

    So in summary, 2 issues; focusing and metering?

    What say we explore these one at a time, starting with the metering?

    First up, what metering mode are you using (Evaluative, Partial, Centre-Weighted, or Spot)?

    Second up, what kinds of scenes are giving poor metering (any examples you can post?)

    Third up, how much do you understand about how metering works?

    Forth up, do you have a gray card that we can use for some exposure tests?

    Also, are you shooting RAW or JPEG, and what post-processing software are you using?


    Sorry to throw these questions back at you, but I need to get a better understanding of what's happening. 1 Series cameras have 63 metering zones (as opposed to 35 on most other Canon cameras) and this CAN give slightly different results in high contrast scenes, but usually this give better results, not worse.

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Colin

    I generally use spot metering for music photography.
    Scenes would include low light, back lit concert lighting but I notice this acorss different scenarios.
    I think I'm ok on my understanfing of metering.
    I dont have a grey card.
    I generally shoot just Jpeg for music as I tend to have to get it out fast on the wire. I know I should probably shoot in both!
    in general I use basic Photoshop Elements to post process, contrast adjustment and file re-sizing.

    I think where the problem may lie is with how all the AF points work, use of AutoFocus button, when to use and when not to. etc.
    In general my sports (soccer & rugby) stuff comes out ok, just a matter of getting used to my 400mm f2.8 prime lens. However I could still use some advice on what metering to use here.

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Rob,

    Apologies if this is telling you something you already know, but spot-metering catches out a LOT of people ...

    With metering in general (eg all modes except spot), the camera really has no idea if you're metering a black cat on a black rug, or a polar bear in a snow storm so - in essence - what it's doing is looking at the range of brightnesses in the scene and aiming for the middle (somewhat over-simplified with zone-based metering, but you get the idea).

    Spot metering is different though - it'll assume (unless you tell it otherwise) that what you meter is a middle gray ...

    - Spot meter a black cat and it'll give you a gray cat.

    - Spot meter a white polar bear and it'll give you a gray polar bear.

    Unlike other metering modes, spot metering has no range of measurements to compare against (with the 1D3 you can graph up to 8 spot readings and set your exposure accordingly, but that's another lesson for another day ) So in other words, if you spot meter something that's pure white, the camera will under-expose it by 2 stops; point it at something black, it'll over-expose it by 2 stops ...

    ... or put another way, if you're spot-metering something white, you MUST dial in 2 stops of EC (Exposure Compensation) (ie spin the QCD (Quick Control Dial) with your thumb to move the dot up 2 stops on the EV scale. If you spot meter something black, then you MUST spin the QCD the other way to move the dot 2 EV down (or rather 2 stops below the centre EV mark) on the scale.

    Once you get this sussed, spot metering is really cool as it tells you EXACTLY how things are going to expose. I was giving a lesson on this to a wedding photographer collegue of mine - we went outside and I spot metered the clouds - a fence - the ground and a car, and said to him "when I take this shot, the car will expose as a mid-tone - the fence and ground will expose as shadows, and the clouds in the sky will blow" I then took the shot and without looking, handed him the camera and said "see, I was right wasn't I" ... kinda the photographers version of a "cool party trick", but that's the power of spot metering when you understand it ... and the good news is, it's easy to understand

    ... and this is probably the bit where you reply "yeah, but I already knew all that"

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Thanks Colin,

    Yes & No I'm aware of the differences in how the metering works but what you mentioned is the practicalities of spot metering. Is this a standard compensation of 2-stops for both white and black subjects? Does this just apply to spot metering? I am presuming so as partial & evualative metering take into consideration most of the viewed image?
    Be interested in how to use the grey card as I never really have! As previous I stated I am really going back to basics here but think it will be worth it!!! Im also interested in the AF techniques and which to use on the 1D3 for different situations.

    Regards
    Last edited by robphoto; 1st February 2010 at 12:11 PM. Reason: update

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Quote Originally Posted by robphoto View Post
    I think where the problem may lie is with how all the AF points work, use of AutoFocus button, when to use and when not to. etc.
    Hi Rob,

    Bear in mind that I'm a Nikon shooter, so I can't help you with Canon specifics.

    While Colin has started on the metering, I'll jump in with my modus operandi on AF points

    I have 11 AF points - which is enough for me
    I always have the AF set up in the "use a single point" mode, that way I can far better predict what it is going to do.
    When composing a shot, I make the AF point over the point of interest in the subject active and shoot.

    I have found if I have the AF set up to try and average several points, or track things using several points, it just results in more soft shots

    Don't get me wrong; I can see that in some circumstances (e.g. a bird in flight against the infinity of a cloudless sky) other modes might be of more use, or if I was shooting in a controlled macro/still life studio environment perhaps, but for my picture taking habits (outdoors - wildlife, etc.), single point mode, and choosing which one dependent upon composition, works for me.

    Hope that helps,

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Dave

    Thanks for the reply and suggestions. I think my problem lay be with the increased AF functionality with the 1D3. If I can capture that (pardon the pun) then I hope to improve the quality I get with it.

    Colin, Maybe thats worth looking at, if I dont actually have my AF points set up correctly ! God that would be embarrasing !

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Quote Originally Posted by robphoto View Post
    Thanks Colin,

    Yes & No I'm aware of the differences in how the metering works but what you mentioned is the practicalities of spot metering. Is this a standard compensation of 2-stops for both white and black subjects? Does this just apply to spot metering? I am presuming so as partial & evualative metering take into consideration most of the viewed image?
    Be interested in how to use the grey card as I never really have! As previous I stated I am really going back to basics here but think it will be worth it!!! Im also interested in the AF techniques and which to use on the 1D3 for different situations.

    Regards
    Hi Rob,

    This surprises a lot of people, but in a purely reflective scene (ie no backlighting or specular reflections) there's only a 4 stop spread - and (you guessed it) meters are calibrated to aim right for the middle (middle gray). You'll hear the term 18% reflection being middle gray, which is "close enough to the truth" at this stage. So yes - EC=+2 for white and EC=-2 for black is standard.

    Try it for yourself - spot-meter something white and apply EC to raise the dot to +2 EV - and then spot-meter something black and you'll see the dot pop down to -2. Take the shot and both will be exposed correctly. That's the bit that sucks a lot of people in with spot metering; they think that if they spot meter then it'll get the exposure right for just that spot ... but what you're really doing is saying to the camera "hey camera - I'm pointing to a medium gray; set the exposure of everything else relative to this" so if you're "lying" to the camera and really - say - pointing to something white - then everything will be under-exposed by 2 stops because the camera believed you

    You need a slightly different mindset for the other metering modes - they're really a way of saying "tell me what's important in a scene". With evaluative, you're saying that everything is important; with partial you're saying the "lump in the middle" is important, and with centre weighted you're saying that "everything is important - but - the lump in the middle is more important" (so give more weight to what's in the middle). Yes, all modes are capable of being "fooled" - it's just that the more zones you're using, the greater the chance that there will be a good range of contrasts in the scene. Basically all the camera is doing is looking for a 4EV range of brightness in whatever area it's been told to consider; it'll then set the exposure so that the lowest brightness records as a black, and the highest will record as a highlight. So if the scene has little contrast (ie "black cat on a black rug" then it's fooled because it can't tell the difference between that and a "white polar bear in a snow storm at night". the dynamic range is the key to metering being able to work things out, and spot-metering (almost by definition) doesn't have any contrast.

    A gray card is simply a way of saying to the camera "meter off this, cause it's spot on" (no pun intended!). When you spot meter something you THINK is a middle gray, the accuracy of the exposure will depend on how close you were to a middle gray (without applying any compensation) ... when the middle gray is a gray card you can be 100% certain that you've got it right.

    Personally, for theatre lighting etc I probably wouldn't use spot metering; if the lighting was fairly consistent I'd use manual (after getting the exposure looking good on the review screen and histogram), and if the lighting was dancing around a bit I'd probably go for centre-weighted average.

    Does this help?

    PS: I'm deliberately avoiding the AF thing at this stage for 2 reasons (1) I've just woken up (and can't face it), and (2) I'd rather work on one thing at a time so I can get this sorted for you before we introduce other variables

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Colin

    Yes I agree about the AF issue. Lets park for now. You say 'So yes - EC=+2 for white and EC=-2 for black is standard.' So that, on my 5D is to fully over / under expose? Is this shhoting at manual? Also you say 'spot-meter something white and apply EC to raise the dot to +2 EV - and then spot-meter something black and you'll see the dot pop down to -2'. Do you mean in the same shot or 2 seperate shots? Is this with both white & black in the subject matter / photo?

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi.

    First, I am not here to bash on Canons. I have absolutely nothing against Canon or any other camera manufacturers. However, I am here to give you some non–fictional facts based on my personal experiences (and the others' as well).

    Second, Colin, your 1Ds Mark III is strictly a studio camera while the 1D Mark III are for photojournalism, which is the same with Nikon's D3X as a studio camera while D3 / D3s are for photojournalism. Studio cameras normally have slow AF performance because their AF sensors aren't as light sensitive as the photojournalist cameras.

    Third, actually, the AF issue in Canon 1D Mark III are not based on human error, it is based on how Canon use its engineering skills to build their cameras.

    Many people reported their 1D Mark III's fails to deliver sharp images by either slightly or heavily back–focusing or front–focusing – even with proper AF settings, it will not change anything. Hence the reason why Canon kept coming out with more than five firmware updates for the 1D Mark III that addresses AF problems. None of the firmware updates actually fixed it. No surprise, the latest 1D Mark IV still have AF issues and Canon recently came out with a new firmware update, which they claims to fix the issue, turns out it did absolutely nothing to improve its issue.

    After hearing many of my subscribers on YouTube in regards of AF issues on their 1D Mark III and considering to switch to Nikon D3 (it was way before D3s came out). I, myself, decided to test my theory and went to a local professional camera / video / audio store of Samy's. They have many 1D Mark III's on their shelves. The manager nicely allowed me to take them all out on real field testing in the back of the store in the broad sunlight, borrowing my brother as a skateboarder for me to take pictures with the 1D Mark III's. Dialed in the AF settings and B.D.E. setting of 1/500s at F/5.6, ISO 200 (balanced exposure from actual B.D.E. exposure). I tested 17 copies of 1D Mark III that has all latest firmware updates installed. The first time, I decided to swap the lens with another lens (70-200mm ƒ/2.8L USM IS to be specific) because it could be a faulty lens. I decided to go back in the store and borrow a rock–solid Gitzo tripod legs and head combination, threw on the 1D Mark III, focused manually on my brother (when he is sitting down) then tried again with AF. Turns out manual focusing is the way to go because the AF badly front–focused. In the conclusion, after loading all images from all bodies, sharpened in Lightroom, saved as uncompressed TIF, turns out I was wrong, neither one of the lenses are faulty; it's the bodies. Only one out of seventeen bodies actually nailed the focus. I repeat, one out of seventeen cameras actually worked while the rest back–focused and front–focused few inches off. The closing statement happen to be it's the faulty camera bodies.

    Okay, back to YouTube and shared my story with the Canon shooters. By the very next week, they all switched over to Nikon and are very happy with their choice. Two years later, they are still using their Nikons without a problem, they felt it was the most rightful choice they have ever made and should have gone Nikon in the first place.

    Many current and former Canon photojournalist got fed up with their 1D Mark III because of the AF issues. They are photojournalists, which means they are always on the move and they do not have time to whine about AF issues on the 1D Mark III. Eventually, they decided to switch to Nikon D3 / D3s, which turned their world downside up because it could nail the focus. Why? Because D3 and D3s have much detailer toilet-paper-long menus of AF settings that could allow you to control how you want your D3 / D3s' AF to behave. I was told, only two of my YouTube subscribers had D3's that needs to be serviced to have them calibrate their lenses and bodies to make it work. Their D3's began to lose its accuracy in AF performance is because they basically worn the camera out from heavy shootings (say, 2,000 to 5,000 images per sports event). For your information, a member on this forum, AmberGlass, she uses both systems of Nikons and Canons, she rented and test drove three copies of 1D Mark III from the same store and needlessly to say this, she still got the same results.

    So, Rob, if AF is your major concern, I strongly recommend you to rent either D300s, D700, or D3s out and see for yourself. D300s is a DX digital SLR camera (crop camera, using a crop factor of 1.5X) while the D700 and D3s are both full frame (FX) digital SLR cameras. The AF performance is no different between all these three cameras since they have similar AF menus. You could ask either AmberGlass or me for our advices or opinions on the Nikons.

    In addition, you can successful accomplish sharp images more than 90% of the time with Nikons if you use the camera properly such as:
    • Proper shutter speed (1/250s or faster)
    • Proper aperture (NEVER shoot wide open because it is chromatic aberration that could cause a severe loss of sharpness in images)
    • Proper handling techniques with short and long lenses
    • Proper AF settings
    • Proper AF motor drive settings

    You can review some of Nikon D3's settings on our YouTube videos, below. The settings are similar on D300s and D700 as well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1dorRVdPuw (Part 1)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbanzFj-JxY (Part 2)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ITyG3UK370 (Part 3)

    These settings are very common sense, which shouldn't have happened to 1D Mark III's or 1D Mark IV's.

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Thanks Likiwiguy for that. Easier said then done swapping all my gear out for Nikon!! Not an overnight process considering all my gear is Canon!!
    Last edited by robphoto; 1st February 2010 at 09:25 PM. Reason: update

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Quote Originally Posted by robphoto View Post
    Hi Colin

    Yes I agree about the AF issue. Lets park for now. You say 'So yes - EC=+2 for white and EC=-2 for black is standard.' So that, on my 5D is to fully over / under expose? Is this shhoting at manual? Also you say 'spot-meter something white and apply EC to raise the dot to +2 EV - and then spot-meter something black and you'll see the dot pop down to -2'. Do you mean in the same shot or 2 seperate shots? Is this with both white & black in the subject matter / photo?

    Oops - sorry - was still partly asleep when I wrote that; the little metering exercise was referring to manual exposure mode. So put the camera in manual exposure and spot metering modes - point at something white and adjust the exposure so that the dot is reading +2 EV - then point at something black and watch it drop to -2 EV.

    It will work just the same for the 5D, although they may have different spot-metering areas.

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Quote Originally Posted by Lilkiwiguy87 View Post
    Second, Colin, your 1Ds Mark III is strictly a studio camera while the 1D Mark III are for photojournalism, which is the same with Nikon's D3X as a studio camera while D3 / D3s are for photojournalism. Studio cameras normally have slow AF performance because their AF sensors aren't as light sensitive as the photojournalist cameras.
    Hi Lilkiwiguy87,

    Traditionally people have thought of the "s" sub-script varients as being "studio cameras", and whereas it's true to say that they're excellent studio cameras (due to higher pixel counts, full frame, etc), it's not true to say that they're "strictly a studio camera". Horses for courses - the 1D3 has the crop-factor and higher frame rates making it more suitable for sports shooting and photojournalism where as the 1Ds3 has it's strengths in landscape, architecture, studio etc, but with a BIG overlap between them (I've owned and used both extensively).

    Also, they share the same AF design.

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    Re: Custom Settings for 1D Mark III

    Hi Rob, fyi Lilkiwiguy didn't say that you should jump ship to Nikon. He suggested you try out the cameras he recommend if you want to see a difference in AF performance. But although Canon and Nikon are two difference systems (like PC's and Mac's), they do share common feature sets and controls but "worded" differently. You asked for help in the custom menu settings, well, take a look at the Nikon's settings and cross over similar available settings over to your camera, skipping ones that do not apply.

    I use both Canons and Nikons. Why? Old habits die hard. When I graduated from college with a photojournalism degree (film/another lifetime ago) and had the opportunity to intern with a multimedia agency (like Getty), often times they will assign gear to you. (Freelancers buys, own, and services their own gear). If you worked with Nikons and they assign you Canon, well you better learn how to use it fast because no one will help you. It's not the camera's fault if you screw up because you're not familiar with it; nor will your boss or mentor accept that as an excuse. If you use your own gear, that's fine but don't expect your boss to replace it if something happens; that's why freelancers needs to carry their own gear insurance.

    A skilled and knowledgeable photographer knows how to use their cameras to their greatest advantage, and learn how to adapt around their limitations/faults (whether by design or from overuse). 90% of photography is all about "problem solving and guess work". Hoping for the best will make a career in photography "very very short live".

    Photographers are a dime a dozen, and you can be easily replaced by someone who is more capable and adaptable. Even established and award winning photographers like Joe McNally (has been fired from Time Life magazine) and Annie Leibovitz (fired from Cosmetics contracts) have suffered when their work is not meeting contractor's/employer's standards.

    Not starting the age old Canon verses Nikon war. But I will say though the D3 series and the 1D series are made specifically for two different needs. Yes, it's all the same sensor and technology but the main differences is the faster AF engines; the 1DM3&4 and the D3s are designed speed "when capturing the moment is crucial and time is not on your side".

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