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Canon EOS 1Ds

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41 91008 Mar 17, 2013
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93% of reviewers $4,208.08
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Sensor: 11.1 Megapixel CMOS
Max resolution: 4064x2704 pixels
Capture rate: 3 frames-per-second
ISO 100-1250
Focus: 45 AF points w. One-Shot AF, AI Servo AF, and Manual focus
Flash sync: 1/250 sec
Storage media: CompactFlash Type I and II
File formats: JPEG and Canon RAW
IEEE1394 (Firewire) interface


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Registered: Mar 29, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1050
Review Date: Dec 2, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: High resolution, full frame sensor, 1 series build, quality of files.
The sensor attracts more dust than the 1D and 1D2 and processing time is slower than the other 1D bodies.

I am in heaven, after using the Canon 1D and then a Canon 1D2 I have moved up to a 1Ds. Yes, the technology is older than the 1D2 but my work has benefited from it's features. The larger files, full frame sensor which gives you a 1.0 factor and true percpective of lenses are well suited to my product and fashion work. A one gig card holds more than 80 RAW files and the 3 frames a second is plenty.

If you are a Photojournalist or Sports Photographer, I would recommend the 1D2 or 1D2n. But if you are looking for an affordable body without the 1Ds2 sticker shock and clean used 1Ds is a great choice.

Dec 2, 2006
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Registered: Sep 12, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 5
Review Date: Aug 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Full-frame (duh!), large viewfinder, plenty of resolution, tough and weather-sealed body, excellent out of camera JPEGs, film-like noise
Battery guzzler (only 300 shots at one charge), slow image review, no zoom in function on image preview, prone to dust on sensor

I bought a 2nd hand 1Ds for about S$4.5k (abt USS$2.7k). Replaced the shutter due to wear and tear. Mine looks likes its being heavily used but its internal components are perfectly fine. A workhorse camera and has never failed on me. Its a very addictive camera to use. Besides the full-frame appeal, you'll need good lenses to complement this camera. I've used my EOS 30 for quite a while but the 1Ds just keep growing on me everyday.

Its no point and shoot and takes quite a while to understand the functions and deciding your final image outlook. The menus at first seemed daunting but after using the camera everyday, it doesnt pose as a problem for me at all. In fact, I dont even need to go to the menu once I understood the functions. I dont know if can ever afford another camera like the 1Ds. Looks like its going to stay with me until Canon stops supporting this camera.

Aug 17, 2006
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Registered: Jan 25, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 978
Review Date: Jun 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: 1D configuration, resolution, built quality, "film like" colors, price (for a used copy),...
different menus from "Mark II" versions, LCD screen, writing speed (comparing to second generation)....

Full frame is a FULL FRAME.

I needed 3rd body for my work. My other 2 bodies are Mark IIs (both models). I have tried and handled 5D, 30D,... "sorry, no like"... After 1D body, everything is toy like... Main issue is that I could not digest different buttons on 5D. Long story short, I decided to get a second hand 1Ds. I found one here on FM in immaculate condition. And it was cheaper than a (new) 5D...

The camera clearly shows that this (was) is first generation 1Ds. There are visible upgrades on MKII, but even with all that this camera is still (almost) perfect tool. Most of my shoots I do at 100 ISO, so noise at higher ISO is not an issue for me. LCD is a joke comparing to newer cameras, but I am not one of those guys who keep "image review" on all the time. Just remember people how you used to shoot in late 20th century: film camera anybody?
I find the file size to be in the perfect middle between 1D MKII and 1Ds MKII. Yes, some of the stock agencies I work for do not accept file size in this range, but still I have other camera for that.

I expect to use this "old fart" for a few years together with other DSLRs....

Jun 2, 2006
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Registered: Mar 3, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 6
Review Date: Apr 26, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: High resolution, high per-pixel sharpness, film-like noise quality, excellent 45-point AF, bullet-proof construction. Did I say high resolution?
Weight, modest battery life, slow image review & write times, minimal onscreen image zoom, no orientation sensor, small preview images embedded in RAW files.

Traded $3,000 worth of medium-format gear for a demo unit one year ago. Like the 1D I purchased used for $1,200 in November, this is an oldie but goodie that will serve me well for many years. I use it for landscapes and portraits. If I need speed, I grab the 1D. If I want a lightweight camera for casual use on the road, I grab my 10D. But, when I want the ultimate image quality, which is most of the time, the 1Ds does not disappoint. In terms of resolution, this is really not far behind the Mark II at all, as the latter actually outresolves most of the lenses used on it. The 1Ds gives you just about everything a good L zoom can deliver. Color of RAW files processed in Adobe Camera RAW is excellent. Noise looks more like film grain than that from newer cameras. To me, it's a classic film look that doesn't scream "digital". And, prints can be huge if the glass and technique are good. Also, AF is better than on any "prosumer" body, and the FF viewfinder is a joy.

Image review is slow, onscreen zooming is awkward and limited, batteries last "only" about 500 shots, the thing weighs a ton, and noise becomes problematic above ISO 640.

So what? I shot 35mm transparency film in manual-focus bodies for 20 years. Compared to that, the 1Ds' limitations are minor trifles. This things delivers the good like nothing short of the $8,000 Mark II. At $3,000 in good condition, it's a steal even today.

Perfection it ain't. This isn't for the hobbyist who expects a camera to magically improve bad technique and composition and cure insecurity disorders. For experienced photogs who master their tools, though, this is a sheer joy, a real workhorse that reliably delivers top-notch goods with no nasty gotchas.

Apr 26, 2006
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Registered: May 25, 2004
Location: Spain
Posts: 3749
Review Date: Apr 25, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: FF, 11 million pixel, confidence of a 1D body, film looking prints.
Noise but not an issue if you can control light or have another body,which is my case 1D Mark II N

I bought a Brand New one on Stock for a song and I can stop using it even having a more modern DSRL (Mark II N) but the 1Ds gives me plenty of confidence up yo 400 ISO or even higher taken for granted some post proccesing (Noise Ninja).

I do recomend it if the price is good.


Apr 25, 2006
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Registered: Mar 23, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Mar 23, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very Professional feeling body. I love the Full-Frame aspect. The image quality is simply amazing and you will not miss any details. Use good optics, otherwise, any flaws will appear. Overall, it's an incredible machine for the true professionals who wants a serious camera for their serious passion.
Expensive, but well worth the price.

After waiting for the latest Canon Dslr, I've found the 30D to be a dissapointment. Luckily, a friend of mine sold me the 1Ds. The 1Ds is by no mean, any dissapointment, but more of exceeding my expectations. The image quality is superb. Mate with high quality lenses, this camera is top notch. Sharpness is on the money. Color is great, although it requires PP to meet personal preference. What more can I say about resolution and FF?

This camera allows me to explore more into the realm of photography. It's got way too many serious features, all of which are reasonable vs. hype factor.

Like a bowl of menudos, this camera will probably grow on me as I taste a little bit of it each day.

Happy shooting!

Mar 23, 2006
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Registered: Oct 20, 2004
Location: Estonia
Posts: 940
Review Date: Jan 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Solid built, 11MP, Pro
LCD quality, slow writing to CF cards (compared to 1dmkII i own)

Owning a 1dmkII i decided to get a used 1ds and i did not regret it at all. Excellent camera, superb images, and good price, since the introduction of 5d. Grab one when price will drop below 2500$, you won't regret it !

Jan 7, 2006
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Registered: Dec 9, 2004
Location: Sweden
Posts: 20
Review Date: Jul 27, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,700.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Files with details beyond imagination. (Also easy to enlarge 200-300% with good quality - 50x70cm no probl.) Excellent build quality, good ergonomics. The photographer is in control of everything (and has no excuses anymore.)
Dark screen, slow image display on the LCD monitor after shot.

FF is sent from a good place to all us lovers of wideangle photography!

The speed is ok (compared to a 20D) except a bit slow to see the image being displayed on the LCD monitor after the shot. I've never filled the buffer of 10 RAW-files yet.

Great viewfinder, excellent professional body, 45 selectable AF-points(I use them all, manually!), 3fps and so on. Did I say 11 Mpix Full Frame sensor..? Cool.

The files you can get from this camera is awesome. Very filmlike AND high resolution. The 20D, for example, have lower noice at higher ISO but the images don't have the same "feeling". My solution to the max ISO of 1250 is to get faster lenses, primes.

But you need to really work for the maximum quality. This ain't no point and shoot. Motion blur i.e. is more visible due to the high resolution. And you need good lenses to keep the sensor well fed.

On the negative side: Some times it can be heavy to carry.
A dark screen, hard to see the blue histogram against black background in sunlight. (Why a dark blue histogram?) No longer can I rely on the histo and screen (takes to long time). I have to become better at exposures from the begining (always using manual mode and spot metering).

I choose between a used 1Ds and a new 1DmkII and I'm glad for my choice. (Using it for studio, editorial and street etc.)


Jul 27, 2005
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Registered: Sep 30, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 2140
Review Date: Apr 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: 11 megapixels, sharp photos, accurate metering, and excellent build quality.
write speed could be faster, but for a camera introduced in 2002 this is to be expected.   high ISO performance is a bit lacking but it has taught me to stay within 100-400 for most of my shots.

the limitations of this camera (ISO performance and write speed) have actually taught me to be a better photographer.   how can i complain with that?

Apr 5, 2005
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Registered: Dec 6, 2004
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 100
Review Date: Jan 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, Focus accurancy, Pics right of the cam, Resolution, Handling
Noise, CF-Interface speed, Dust Magnet

Before i had a 10D. Boy what an improvement! Focus is instant and secure, the Pics are waaay sharp. I dont even have in camera sharpening turned on, they simply look good. The balance of the cam is way better than the 10D with BG-ED3. Its not the fastest in review. I think if you're a Landscape shooter or someone thats used to MF its a great Camera. If your more of a P&S with load of chimping or photojournalist or sports photog stay away of it.

I dont have the money for the 1Ds Mark 2 but even if, i dont think i would bit on that offer. I shoot mostly in the 100-400 Range, slowpaced, dont care for review (besides histogram). For me its simply perfect.


Jan 22, 2005
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[ X ]

Registered: Sep 2, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 746
Review Date: Sep 30, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Not bad. "Low" megapixel sensor. Ha! Ha! Read on ..... The new EOS 1Ds Mk II - yes, a Mark II version of the super-camera - makes most other "pro" digi-cams look like Instamatics ...
Probably the cost ...

New Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II has been announced. It's on their website .... so don't rush out and buy that ratty old "plain-vanilla" EOS 1Ds just yet! It's successor is waiting in the wings ....

Biggest improvement: 16.7 megapixels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And a Digic II processor, of course. Faster "write times", Better display. Faster start-up. Yadda, yadda, yadda ....

And ... all of the other neato features us Canon lovers have come to expect with the rest of the top-of-the-line EOS digi-cams.

16.7 megapixels!!!! This is an SLR-sized digi-cam capable of shooting with medium-format film cameras!!!!!!!!!!!

If the phrase "this changes everything" didn't mean anything before, it surely must now.

But I repeat: 16.7 megapixels!!!!!!!!!!!!

This isn't just "raising the bar". It's putting in up on the MOON!!!!

Ciao for now,

Sep 30, 2004
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Registered: Apr 17, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1914
Review Date: Jan 4, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: AF speed, control layout, lag times, FF
Ancient battery design with HUGE charger, best results with expensive glass(not really a - I guess), "only" 3 fps.

After selling my first 1Ds, and switching to a 10D for a short time, I quickly discovered I could not live with all of the shortcomings of the 10D. End result; bought another 1Ds. The AF system and speed are fabulous. The minimal lag time makes pet and hummingbird photography so much easier.

I wish the battery was a Lithium ion, with a more portable charger, something the size of the S50 unit with the folding prongs would be much easier to stuff in my bags.

FF sensor is demanding on glass, particularly WA as others have mentioned.

I would like the zoom capabilities of the 10D, as the 1Ds zoom accessed through the PF is not nearly as versatile.

For the price, I would have also liked ST-E2 functionality built in, and wireless remote receiver built in. I have always been amazed that some of the cheaper Canon's have had that capability through the years, but not the expensive models. So I have to pay $379 for an LC-4, while a digital rebel owner can buy a $25 wireless remote and the receiver is already built-in Uh, O.K.!

Jan 4, 2004
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Registered: May 17, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 281
Review Date: Aug 5, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Resolution. Features. Detail. Full Frame Chip.
None so far. Less noise at ISO 1250 than my Nikon D1x at ISO 800.

I see that the biggest complaint many seem to have about this camera is the noise above ISO 200 but I have say that coming from Nikon the Canon 1Ds has less noise at any ISO compared to my old D1, D1x and D100 hands down. Prints at ISO 1250 from the 1Ds are still very usable.

As for dust on the sensor, my feeling is that any DSLR is going to have it's issues regardless.

The resolution and detail this camera produces is amazing. Better than 35mm film by far.

Everyones needs vary and this camera may not be for everybody.

Aug 5, 2003
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Registered: Jan 31, 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 1011
Review Date: May 27, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: I just love this camera, it is amazing. Details, color is great, less saturated then my ol' D60 but I really like this 1Ds
It could have been faster to transfer when shooting, but I don't really think it is much slower then my old, no I can't really say much bad about it :-) Ok, there is noise in the higher ISO

Not being a Pro, this could be a bit of an overkill, but it sure has added to the fun of making images.

Most of Pro guys have already added the tech details so I will spare you for repeating them.

Could I afford it, I would buy it again!

I am actually playing with the D60 again as I have the camera for service at Canon Australia (WA) and boy do I miss my 1Ds what a difference there is. The 1Ds is just lightning fast, the AF is amazing, the color is soo much better (shooting RAW) and yes, get CaptureOne if you are getting this baby (should have been bundled).

It is a little intimidating to walk around with, especially with the
70-200f/2.8mm L IS, most other dads quickly hides their P&S's cameras but I just love this beast and take it with me all over the place.

Now, all I need now is just to learn to take photos :-) but, it is the best tool to learn with.

Happy shooting and enjoy


May 27, 2003
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Registered: Jan 17, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 12
Review Date: May 22, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: great resolution, quick and powerful focusing logic, reliable metering (all much desired enhancements over my prior D60), full frame viewfinder/sensor
propensity to collect dust on sensor, too much digital noise at higher ISO settings, cost

There has been a lot of wonderful things written about the 1Ds, and they are generally true. While very expensive, it is a high quality camera. The resolution is fantastic - I went out and bought a Espon 7600 so that I could print larger than 12x18 - the camera can deliver this.

There are two areas however that I am disappointed with that I hope Canon will address in their service programs, and perhaps in future cameras. This is not a balanced review - I think the praises have been repeated elsewere and I agree, but here are the real disappointments I see with the camera:

The first issue is the propensity for the sensor to collect dust - major problem for my use. I use this at horse shows, and need to change lenses in less than clean-room environments. Over a few weeks my camera collected an intollerable amount of dust on the sensor. There is no recommended user solution that works (forget blowers - they just wont clear the dust). Although not recommended by Canon, based on the advice of others I have tried the eclipse/swap method. This helps, but with the full frame sensor you mainly move a lot of the gunk to edges. The existing swaps cannot pick the stuff up very well.

This is a major usability issue for SLR digital cameras. The 1Ds in particular seems to attract more dust than my prior D60. In addition, the larger sensor is harder to clean. It has become an issue with the 1Ds.

I am willing to send my camera in to Canon for professional cleaning, but not willing to wait the few weeks it takes for turn around. This has got to be a common issue for many customers. Canon - here is a solution. Offer a quick turn sensor clean only service by appointment. I call Canon and reserve a date. I send in via fed-ex next day and they service and send out same day. I have my camera back and clean in three days. Go ahead and charge me for this service, just make it quick. By having a focused program that does only sensor cleaning and controlling the number of cameras per day there is no reason why Canon could not do this.

My second issue is digital noise. I have found the images not very satisfying above ISO 200. Yes, they work, but I like a clean image. The D60 was much lower noise, as is my backup 10D. In fact, I prefer to grab the 10D when I need to shoot in lower light. And ISO 200 renders even mid day marginal lighting when you need to shoot at 1000th+ for motion. I want a camera with clean images at ISO 400 or 800 - this is not it.

So this is more of an enhancement request summary than a general review, but for the future:

1. Solve the dust problem - by design of the camera, by design of a tool or system for the user to clean the sensor, or by a quick turn service to solve this problem.

2. Reduce the noise problem - this seems to be the next frontier for image quality improvements.

That being said, I would buy it again if stolen, but would not feel great about these issues and the value. Value is secondary however - just address my top two issues and I would be ecstatic about this camera.

May 22, 2003
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Registered: Apr 29, 2003
Location: China
Posts: 318
Review Date: May 14, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Full frame CMOS, Incredible resolution and much better S/N ratio than the D60 and 10D. Excellent body based on the 1D, with excellent AF, metering and weather proof capabilities, 10 frames buffer enough for most situations, battery consumption pretty low so 2 packs will take you very far.
Price, instant review slower than Nikon D100, color tone far from neutral in default setting. Noise above ISO 200 not as good as 10D, CMOS highly dust prone, wish they have a dust shield like the Sigma SD9.

Yes this camera is more expensive than most but at the same time it is better than most. Excellent body based on the 1D/1V, with a matte finish much nicer than the 1V. Full frame is quite a revelation if you've been using a D60/30/10D, but ofcourse you pay the price for it. With this camera you really need to invest a lot of than that MSRP, the camera is very memory hungry, so you need 1G CF card and above, plus u might want to get a DVD-RW to store the raw images, after that you will find the file viewer utility is pretty bad at converting RAW images then you will need to invest in something like Breezebrowser or the awesome Capture One DSLR (another USD500 ouch!). Yes the tone curve is customisable but try doing that in real life and you'll find the interface unlike Canon's fashion is terrible. I guess if you want to extract the best you will need to get them incamera professional profiler thing to get the color really right. Plus the full size 11mega CMOS is very demanding and it shows on many L lenses, such as the 16-35 2.8L and the 24-70 2.8L. Yes the camera can output some excellent A3+ 13x19 prints with aplomb but afterall the output aren't always film like, it shows especially when shooting foliage. But in the studio, you just can't distinguish the output with film. Excellent 1st full size CMOS camera from Canon.

May 14, 2003
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Canon EOS 1Ds

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
41 91008 Mar 17, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $4,208.08
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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