The Canon EOS 1D is the latest addition to my humble photo gear collection. 1D Mark II, that is. Sorry to disappoint but hell, I have no plans to spend $7k or so on the EOS 1DX. Having said that, the second iteration of the EOS 1D series from 8 or so years ago is still one hell of a camera. I was lucky in that I was able to find a mint example at a very reasonable price.
The EOS 1D series cameras are typically used by serious professionals such as sports shooters, fashion photographers or journalists who are in the field day in and day out. Therefore, it is relatively difficult to find a used example that is free of battle scars. And most have racked up high shutter count during its lifetime. Luckily though, mine seems to have come from a photo hobbyist who hardly ever took the camera out. The shutter count is only 4300 (according to Adobe Bridge EXIF data). And the camera feels and looks to support that number in every way. The camera has no signs of use whatsoever. There are no marks or tripod scars underneath. The shutter release feels fresh and springy. It is absolutely mint.
Now, I do admit that I don’t own an EF lens that’s worthy of this machine. But I can have plenty fun adapting my Nikkors and even with the Canon EF 40mm 2.8. But honestly, I don’t think I’ll take the EOS 1D out much. It’s fun to tinker with but I just can’t justify carrying all that bulk and weight when my Nikon D90 or Canon 20D will do just fine for type of photography that I enjoy. However, I now have come to understand what makes a pro-level camera a pro-level. When you hold the 1D it feels dignifying and menacing at the same time. It is heavy (twice the weight of my Canon 20D), but it doesn’t bother you because it feels good in your hands. All of the frequently needed controls are never more than one button away. And it really sounds like a machine gun in burst mode. After holding the EOS 1D even for a few minutes, going back to your typical DSLR makes you feel like your are holding a kid’s toy, seriously.
After playing with the 1D for few days, not only have I developed a deep respect for such class of machines but more importantly, I have realized that professional cameras are not for me. Yes, duh. These cameras are purpose built, highly customizable tools of the trade that help pay the bills. I’ll probably tinker with it for a short while. I must say the sound of the 8.5 fps shutter is addicting.