The layout and controls of the 1D Mark III aren't especially groundbreaking, Canon obviously have perceived no need to reinvent the wheel regarding this aspect of the design. Nonetheless, the controls are well-positioned, effective and natural to use, with just enough innovation to impress the professional photographers who make up the camera's core market.
In a significant evolution from the 1D Mark II, and no doubt partly as a result of the increased monitor size, Canon have relocated the controls that were mounted to the left of the screen on the older model. The Menu and Info buttons are just to the left of the viewfinder, with the AF-on and zoom buttons to the right of it. To the right of the screen is the now-standard control dial with the Set button in the middle. The other buttons are arranged below this and the screen in a pleasingly ergonomic layout.
Nonetheless, the sheer size of the body and distance between the controls could make accessing them a little difficult for those with smaller hands. The size has another consequence: weight. This camera packs plenty of it: at around three pounds before you've twisted on the lens, this isn't a light unit, as anyone who has lugged one around in the field all day will testify.
The menu system shows a slightly greater degree of innovation than the physical controls. Canon have taken some care here to streamline and organize the numerous options to make everything as accessible as possible. It's a common fault with DSLR cameras for useful options and features to be so deeply buried in the menu system that they are rarely used. By and large the 1D avoids this pitfall, especially with the 16 custom functions menus that allow you to define and save personalized settings to suit your style, and recall them instantly when required.
However, despite Canon's best efforts, the menu system remains a little complex and unwieldy, perhaps inevitably given the sheer number of available settings and features. Users, especially those new to professional DSLRs, can expect a steep learning curve coming to terms with the array of options on offer, and given the camera's dual processors and extensive internal memory capacity, it wouldn't have been out of the question to have included a little more on-board help.
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