Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II SLR Review

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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II

Review posted 01/31/2005

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The successor to the EOS-1Ds SLR introduced in 2002, the 16.7-megapixel EOS-1Ds Mark II camera utilizes a full-size 24x36mm CMOS sensor that eliminates focal length conversion factors, and features dramatically improved image quality made possible by the combination of a new image sensor and Canon's exclusive DIGIC II image processor. The 1Ds Mark II is the flagship of Canon's professional digital line and incorporates or surpasses many of the new technological advances introduced earlier this year on the 8.2 megapixel EOS-1D Mark II pro digital SLR

As the "1" designation indicates, this is the flagship model of the EOS line, Canon has made no compromises with the construction and performance of the EOS-1Ds Mark II. With shutter speeds from 1/8000 second to 30 seconds and Bulb; a 1/250 second flash synchronization; E-TTL II flash metering; ISO Speeds of 100-1600 in 1/3-stop increments (expandable to 50 or 3200 using Custom Functions), as well as 100% viewfinder coverage, the EOS-1Ds Mark II behaves as a professional camera body should. Photographers can expect performance on par with every EOS-1 from the EOS-1V and on. Shutter lag is only 55 milliseconds, focus is achieved with near-instant precision using a 45-point AF system, exposure is measured precisely with a 21-zone metering sensor, and the camera features 20 Custom Functions with 65 settings and 27 personal function settings (with the included software) for the ultimate in customization.

With 16.7 effective megapixels on a 36.0 x 24.0 mm CMOS sensor, the EOS-1Ds Mark II camera offers the world's highest pixel count in a 35mm, full-size digital AF SLR camera. In the JPEG Large and RAW modes, the 4992 x 3328 recorded pixels are easily capable of making 16 x 24-inch enlargements. With a choice of five image quality settings: RAW (16.6 megapixels); Large JPEG (16.6 megapixels); Medium 1 JPEG (8.6 megapixels), Medium 2 JPEG (6.3 megapixels), and Small JPEG (4.2 megapixels). RAW files and JPEGS can be shot separately or simultaneously, for maximum flexibility according to your workflow.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II

Able to stand up to real world conditions - from environmental portraiture, nature, travel or "annual report" type images to high-volume catalog photography, family portrait studios or event imaging applications. This fast digital SLR is a rugged, weather-resistant magnesium alloy workhorse, with a shutter durability-tested to 200,000 exposures (50,000 more than on the original 1Ds camera). The EOS-1Ds Mark II has greatly improved battery life, executing approximately 1200 shots per charge, double that of the EOS-1Ds.

Like the EOS-1D Mark II digital SLR, the EOS-1Ds Mark II model is equipped with two dedicated card slots for Compact Flash (Type I or II including Microdrives) and SD memory cards and allows for either simultaneous backup recording for situations where image capture is critical or individual recording on separate cards for capture of an enormous number of images.

The camera features a brilliant and easy to read two-inch color LCD Monitor with 230,000 pixels and provides 100% coverage. The monitor is equipped with a magnification feature that provides a 1.5 X to 10X scrollable zoom in 15 stops, enabling users to check the focus and exposure of their images with a new level of on-the-spot precision. The monitor also provides five brightness settings, a new and bolder typeface to allow for easier reading of text menus and an auto rotation feature that automatically rotates a vertically shot image to enable easier viewing and downloading.

In addition to the professional-standard four pin IEEE1394 (Firewire) port that enables high speed computer interface at 100 megabits per second, the EOS-1Ds Mark II camera features a video output terminal for viewing the images on a television screen, and a USB port for connection to a computer or Direct Printing with Canon BJ Direct, Compact Photo Printers and any PictBridge compatible printer.

EOS-1Ds Mark II Features:

  • 16.7 megapixel, full-frame (36mm x 24 mm) large plate CMOS sensor

  • Lens mount: Canon EF, compatible with all Canon EF lenses except EF-S.

  • DIGIC II processor faster processing of large files and is twice as fast as the image processor used in the EOS-1Ds

  • 55ms shutter lag, nearly instant "On" and auto focus operations

  • Proprietary noise reduction and high-speed "imaging engine" signal processor deliver outstanding image quality

  • Images can be recorded as Large RAW files or in one of four JPEG formats (Large, Medium1, Medium2 and Small)

  • Users can select RAW + JPEG mode which captures both a RAW image and a JPEG of the same shot simultaneously

  • 4 frames/sec capture up to 32 frames JPEG or 11 frames RAW at ISO 100

  • Images stored on CompactFlash Type I or II or Secure Digital cards, Microdrive compatible.

  • 10 White Balance settings; Auto, Daylight, Overcast, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, and Flash as well as Custom and Personal settings

  • Manual setting of color temperature in degrees Kelvin from 2,800 to 10,000K in 100K increments.

  • White Balance Bracketing captures 3 consecutive images and varies the White Balance up to +/- 3 steps in 1 step increments

  • Color Matrix function: Five standard types plus two types that can be registered with color matrix

  • Up to 3 sets of image processing parameters such as custom tone curves, adjustable JPEG compression ratios, and two forms of image sharpening can be stored and selected for use with any Color Matrix setting

  • 45-point Area AF with a working range of EV 0-18 (at ISO 100)

  • Focusing modes: One-Shot AF, AI Servo AF or Manual focusing

  • AF point selection: Automatic selection, manual selection, home position (switch to registered AF point). Selected AF point display is superimposed in viewfinder and indicated on top LCD panel

  • Metering modes: TTL full aperture metering with 21-zone SPC
    (1) Evaluative metering (linkable to any AF point)
    (2) Partial metering (approx. 13.5% of viewfinder at center)
    (3) Spot metering
    (4) Centerweighted average metering

  • ISO sensitivity: 100-1600 (in 1/3-stop increments), ISO 50 and 3200 available

  • High-speed Firewire IEEE 1394 data and control interface, up to 100mbps

  • Exposure control: Program AE (shiftable), shutter-priority AE, aperture-priority AE, depth-of-field AE, E-TTL flash AE, manual, flash metered manual

  • External flash: Speedlite EX series E-TTL II autoflash. PC terminal for studio flash, operates regardless of sync polarity

  • Drive modes: Single-frame, Continuous (4fps up to 11 frames RAW, 32 frames JPEG)

  • Eye-level glass pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage, eyepiece shutter and dioptric adjustment. Nine interchangeable focusing screens available

  • Shutter speeds: 1/8,000 to 30 sec. (1/3 stop increments), bulb, X-synch at 1/250th sec.

  • Noise reduction for long exposure: Operates at 1/15th sec. or a slower shutter speeds (including bulb)

  • 2-inch TFT color LCD monitor (230,000 pixels) with 100% coverage, brightness is adjustable to one of five levels

  • Image Playback with Histogram, Single image with information, Single image, 4-image index or 9-image index. Highlight alert in single image display formats, any overexposed highlight areas will blink. Playback magnification 1.5X - 10X

  • Custom functions: 20, with 65 possible settings. Personal functions: 27

  • Voice narration recorded with the built-in microphone is attached to the image. Max. 30 sec. per recording, saved as WAV file

  • High-capacity Ni-MH battery pack NP-E3 good for approx. 1200 shots. Rapid dual-battery charger and AC power adapter and DC coupler supplied

Bundled Software

The EOS-1Ds Mark II comes bundled with Canon's EOS DIGITAL Solution Disk (Version 9.0), and Digital Photo Professional (Ver. 1.5), a perfect combination of powerful, easy to use tools designed to seamlessly transform data captured by the EOS-1Ds Mark II into a spectacular digital file, perfect for any application the photographer may have in mind.

The EOS Solution Disk 9.0 includes EOS Viewer Utility 1.2, which provides dedicated support for downloading and simple RAW image adjustment. EOS Capture 1.2 is a remote capture tool for tethered operation, which offers improvements in both speed and usability over previous programs, and PhotoStitch allows for the creation of panoramic images from several different photographs.

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