The Risks Of Buying The Newest Model DSLRs…
Okay, seriously folks. This actually happens every time. Not just Canon or Nikon, it happens to everybody. (although more often than not, Canon. Hate to say it…) This is the risk of buying the absolute newest camera, right when it comes out. You almost always have to deal with some random flaw or bug. The Canon 5D mk1 had a mirror-falls-out issue that wasn’t corrected until WAY after the camera’s debut. The 5D mk2 had that weird isssue with “light blobs”. Oh, and the Nikon D2, D200, D70, D2X, …allllllll had their “bugs”. Just google “Nikon D70 BGLOD” (blinking green light of death! LOL what an acronym, huh?) Or how about a classic, “Canon err99″…
What the heck am I talking about? This is actually a brand new bug, one I never thought could be possible: The Canon 5D mk3′s top LCD illumination feature actually is affecting 5D mk3 metering. Don’t believe me? Read about it here on DPReview.com, or here on Canonrumors.com. To be honest, this is really no big deal if you usually shoot in manual exposure, or heck if you’re just an experienced photographer in general. You should know metering well enough to not be fooled by a little light leak; or at the very least, just turn off your camera LCD illumination when you’re actually shooting. Duh.
But the point is, you never know what you’re gonna get, as Forrest Gump would say. Buying the newest cameras hot-off-the-shelf is a little like Russian Roulette, especially as a hard-working professional. Sure, some bugs may not affect you at all, but others may be camera-crippling. Especially battery-related issues; brand new cameras can “brick” themselves real quick if there’s a battery issue. (Common with both Canon and Nikon)
Oh, and yes indeed, the 5D mk3 is not alone in this respect. The Nikon D800 may also have an issue according to NikonRumors.com, and while we’re at it the 1DX might also have something hinky going on considering it’s been delayed twice. Canon’s track record with brand new flagship sports cameras is not exactly spotless. (Google “Canon 1D mk3 autofocus fiasco”)
…Sooooo, this is why I personally prefer to wait 1-2 years after a camera’s release before buying. The only time I didn’t do this was, well, when I bought my first DSLR (Nikon D70) in 2004 right when it came out because it was simply the first $999 DSLR that Nikon ever made. Then, I also bought the Nikon D300 just a few weeks after it came out in 2007, because well let’s admit it, prior to the Nikon 3-series generations Nikon was terrible at high ISO….we all wanted to get out of that boat ASAP!
Personally, I sure won’t be buying a Nikon D800 or a Canon 5D mk3 for at least 6-18 months. Yeah, I know it’s a better camera in many ways, but the bottom line is that my D700 is getting the job done just fine, in fact it might even be a batter camera for what *I* do, compared to the D800.
I suppose it’s a little different situation for Canon 5D mk2 owners who want to upgrade to the 5D mk3. Because since we’re on a roll with the whole honesty thing here: While the Nikon D700 has been rockin’ flagship autofocus for almost four years now, …the 5D mk2′s autofocus system is abysmal by comparison. Plain and simple, the 5D mk3′s autofocus system rocks and in my opinion is a must-have upgrade for any wedding etc. photographer who cares about low-light autofocus.
Or does it rock? We’re currently doing a lot of testing here at SLR Lounge, and might have a bug report of our own very soon. There are a few rumblings here and there about 5D mk3 autofocus not working, but they are still far too varied and unreliable… So, stay tuned for another article on that subject.
Bottom line: There’s always a little bit of risk involved with buying the latest-and-greatest, especially the first few ones off the production line. Solution? Don’t buy new cameras, just win them in contests. Of course I’m kidding, but we do indeed happen to be giving away a 5D mk3 / D800. Details below…