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The more I practice, the luckier I get!

by Darren

The Canon 1D Mk3 was an unmitigated publicity disaster for Canon, and a financial disaster for many of us who owned it.  There was a perceived problem with the autofocus which most people didn’t seem to experience, yet a lot of people made a name for themselves slagging it off and claiming to be the ones who really knew what was going on.  Web pages dedicated to the latest information sprang up everywhere.

Then there were the high profile people who used it as an excuse to  get sponsorship from Nikon switch to another brand, while most of us who owned the camera couldn’t understand the fuss.  The end result for me came a few weeks ago when I traded it in for the new mk4.  I lost a fortune, thanks guys!

A couple of days after collecting the Mk3, I was visiting my parents and accompanied my Dad to the local park to get some images of their dog, Oscar.  Just like gulls, dogs are a great way of testing/improving your AF skills, so this was a perfect opportunity to put the mk3 to the test.  Unfortunately, Oscar seemed more interested in sniffing every tree stump and shrub in the place, so I turned my attention to this greyhound which was doing circuits of the childrens play park for a good ten minutes.

I stayed and I watched.  I took frame after frame.  I considered my own position and the background composition (which was quite difficult given there was quite a lot of furniture – you can see a pole in the background of this image).  The camera worked fine, as I knew it would.  Up until the release of this camera Canon were the acknowledged masters of autofocus and its predecessor was, without question, the fastest focusing production camera in the world.

Quite a few months later we had some leaflets printed for a stand we were running at a dog show and I used this image.  Proudly I showed a copy of the leaflet to my Dad.

“You were quite lucky with that one weren’t you.”

Yeah, thanks Dad.

PS: If you’re just starting out and you want a bargain, I’d heartily recommend ignoring the hype and getting one of those dirt cheap secondhand mk3s.  I wanted the mk4 for the high iso performance for use in low light underwater, but the mk3 is still a great camera and one to consider if you’re on a budget.  You can probably pick one up for a couple of hundred pounds more than an entry level 550d, so a great buy.  And in an age of full disclosure, I have nothing to gain from recommending it to you – I’ve sold mine!

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