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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

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74 156170 Jun 17, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $4,889.65
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.70
8.20
9.5
1dsmarkii

Specifications:
16.7 MP full frame CMOS sensor
4 fps
32 frame continuous shooting
DPP RAW processing software
DIGIC II
E-TTL II flash system
Wide ISO speed range
Weather resistant magnesium body
Dual performance memory card slots
LCD with 230k pixels
<a target=_blank href=http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=139&modelid=10598>More info...</a>


 


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davidmarsh
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Registered: Oct 26, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 137
Review Date: Sep 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: The finest DSL I have ever used, and I have used most of them!
Cons:
None, but I feel I should say something so here goes...its too high

I am always amazed that when reading the reviews on Canon DSLRs that everyone say they are heavy. Young children are heavy when little babies but we carry then everywhere. All they do is poo and make a mess, yet we do not complain. Your Canon, however, needs no feeding, no bathing, no patting on the back and unlike babies, they can make you money and also make you look important. The Canon 1DS MII is the most important looking camera around and does produce stunning results especialy when shooting in low light situations like concerts. They handle noise very well and if the users of these cameras read the manual, they will discover some fantastic and important features that really help you capture great images. An example of this would be the 'focus lock', the '8 point exposure control', the multi controls for both portrait and landscape images. It is heavy because it is durable, strong and can be abused without any issues.

Sep 15, 2007
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Conner999
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Registered: Jan 22, 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 3686
Review Date: Jun 5, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,200.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ (see comments), build, ease of use, tunability, AE & AF engines
Cons:
HEAVY (surprise, surprise), RAW files take some work, Have a blistering PC/Mac, manual on the light side. Like any ultra-res body, watch for camera shake. DPP sucks.

Only had this baby a short time - came across a deal too good to say no to, so decided to give her a try. While selling it for reasons below, would recommend it -- to the right user.

Built like the proverbial brick outhouse. Would stop a bullet if that's a feature anyone is interested in. Many moan about the controls and menu system - don't give it any mind. As a dedicated Nikon user, I was fine-tuning the camera easily with maybe 30 min playing with it. Settings can be changed in seconds and tuned 8 ways from Xmas. Keeping in mind what they are all for...lets say the manual could use some work.

With a 3-4 sharpeness setting Jpegs are excellent OOC. Raw files take some work - likely due to a robust AA filter. That in itself is no issue, but bear in mind a basic 16 bit TIFF is > 90MB. Start adding layers and LR, PS, etc and things get real slow, real quick if your computer is not up to snuff (my reason for selling).

Less than top-shelf glass goes over like a lead ballon on this sucker. DPP software does great pic rendition, but PITA in use. AF and AE engines were a sweet surprise - AE bang on 8 times /10 - some minor tweaking will fix rest. AF is FAST & quiet on top L USM glass. No hunting.

For a photog looking for a FF to use in rugged conditions with a high-end computer and TOP glass, it would be a no-brainer. For the rest - a 5D would do 90% of the job for 1/2 the scratch.


Jun 5, 2007
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bslotte
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Registered: Feb 4, 2006
Location: Finland
Posts: 19
Review Date: May 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Resolution Smooth noise at high ISO (smoother than the 5D) Build quality Ergonomics Customizability Viewfinder
Cons:
Weight Ridiculously big battery charger Small rear display


I got this one second-hand after the 5D. Had to sell the 5D to finance it. Anyway, no regrets (although my occasionally aching right arm would perhaps disagree).

Noise was a very important issue for me (I often shoot a whole evening at ISO 1600, since I hate flash), and coming from the 5D I'm picky about this. So is the 5D or 1Ds mk2 better in the noise department? I would say that both are about equal. The 1Ds mk2 does have a bit more noise at 1600 and 3200, but on the other hand its noise seems to be a bit more even than the 5D's (due to better electronics design and electromagnetic shielding, I would guess) and thus less annoying.

At first I disliked the loud shutter sound (5D is much softer-sounding), but now I'm totally used to it and even like it a bit!

I have not so far noticed any significant difference between the 5D's and 1Ds mk2's autofocus. Some people say that there is a big difference but I have not noticed it. In whichever case, it certainly isn't worse. Maybe if I used servo AF (which I rarely do) I might notice a difference.


May 25, 2007
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tech058
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Registered: Dec 24, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 28
Review Date: Mar 25, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: AF is blazing fast
Cons:
Image review 10x magnification is poor

Well, even though I didn't own the 5D and the 1Ds Mark II at the same time, I did some comparisons from shots older shots I had from my 5D with recent shots with the 1DsII.

What I determined:

1. Resolution was a bit better for the 1DsII but not significant.
2. At 100%, noise was slightly better for the 5D at 1600 and noticeably better at 3200, however, when reducing the 1Ds down to 5D resolution the noise drops to a similar level and the 1DsII responds to ACR noise reduction slightly better than the 5D. Over all I would say the 5D is better in terms of noise because it just comes out nice, but the 1DsII can be just as nice with a little work.
3. difference in 3fps and 4fps is actually pretty noticeable but 3fps was enough for me, however the 5D can take more shots before filling up the buffer, thats a real bonus for me.
4. Color seems to be much more accurate and consistent with the 1DsII, but you can correct this with a color calibration macro in ACR.
5. The custom features on the 1DsII are outstanding.
6. Spot metering is far superior.
7. AF is mind boggling (but I imagine no better than the 1DII).
8. Dual cards is neat but not a big plus for me.
9. Menu system is far better on the 5D but "safer" on the 1DsII
10. The camera just "feels" much more like a solid piece of equipment (The feel and AF is what caused me to fall in love with the 1-series body over the 5D).
11. I really miss the 5D's little thumb stick to control my AF-point selection.
12. 100% viewfinder coverage in the 1DsII is REALLY nice. No more guessing, what you see is what you get.

One large difference I noticed was that I could expand a raw 1DsII image significantly more than a 5D raw image. This is only useful if you want to print a 1,000" x 1,000" print though.

All in all, I would only recommend the 1DsII over the 5D if you really like a sturdy body and AF and FF are crucial and you need the really high end custom functions that come with a 1-series body.


Mar 25, 2007
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tonyabbott
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Registered: Jul 24, 2006
Location: Spain
Posts: 30
Review Date: Sep 24, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

 
Pros: Update to my previous review. Superb images, accurate exposure in difficult light, reliable.
Cons:

I am not sure whether I am allowed to update my previous review of this camera, where I gave it an 8, but since then I have been to Namibia for 2 weeks, and taken around 4,000 photos without a problem, and I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

As I did not have time to send the camera to Canon to have the shutter bounce problem solved before I left, I took the camera plus a borrowed 5D as back up. During the whole time I was there I had no problems whatsoever, and the camera performed impecably, I didn't use the 5D once. I was travelling around in a 4WD on dust covered gravel roads, and sand, and was amazed that the sensor only needed a brush over every 2 or 3 days with Visible Dust's Arctic Butterfly, to keep it clean. Also the L lenses didn't suffer either from dust intrusion, (I was constantly changing between 24-70, 70-200 and the 400 5.6). Exposures were spot on, even though Namibia has very contrasty, brilliant light.

I will now send the camera to have the shutter problem resolved, and have the rear LCD cover removed, cleaned and re-sealed.

Based on this recent performance I would like to change my rating to a well deserved 10.


Sep 24, 2006
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johnnyfoto
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Registered: Sep 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 11
Review Date: Aug 7, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Love this Camera!!!! The cost is cheap if you look at phase one or other backs of the same size. And much easyer to use!!!
Cons:
I'm having a problem with the fire wire port, I use it a lot and has now gone bad for the second time??? Anyone else have this problem?



Aug 7, 2006
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tonyabbott
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Registered: Jul 24, 2006
Location: Spain
Posts: 30
Review Date: Jul 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Beautiful images, excellent exposure and dynamic range, raw images, when processed correctly beat what I was getting with scanned slides from my bronica 6x6.
Cons:
Came with a lump of grunge on the sensor cover, over time fine dust or pollen has appeared under the rear LCD panel, shutter problem (see below)

Up until a few days ago I would have given this camera almost full marks in every catagory. It is a fantastic machine capable of producing absolutely beautiful images. I have even taken shots with this camera for trade fair stands, with images blown up to 4 metres high,and they were excellent. I was a litle disappointed when I first bought it to find a lump of grunge on the sensor cover, and the intrusion, after a short while, of fine dust or pollen behind the LCD cover. This camera is supposed to be weather sealed, and for the price, it really shouldn't arrive with crap already on the sesor cover. However these 2 points I can live with, considering the quality of the photographs.

However, last weekend I was taking shots from a boat, of yachts taking part in the America Cup, in Valencia Spain. I was useing my 400 5.6, (which by the way is a fantastic lens) at high shutter speeds (1/1600-2,500) to counteract the movement of the boat. When I downloaded the shots I noticed a thin white line down the left-hand side of portrait shots, and across the top of landscape ones. It seems, from what other people have experienced who have had the same problem, that this is due to shutter bounce, at high speed, and may indicate that the shutter is on its way out. The camera is out of guarantee, but has only 2k shutter firings recorded. I have been in touch with Canon in Madrid, who tell me it will cost 600euros to replace the shutter and clean.

When I remarked that did they think that a camera body that costs almost the same price as small car, should have this problem after so little use, there reply was, "this is the problem nowadays with electronic devices".

I really do find this an unacceptable excuse, and am quite disapponted with Canon's response.

Tony Abbott, Spain





Jul 28, 2006
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perspective
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Registered: Oct 10, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 589
Review Date: Jul 19, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Stunningly beautiful photographs
Cons:
Price - I'm constantly, and deathly afraid that it will be stolen from me.

I hardly know where to start, so let me start with a summary: This camera takes the most stunning pictures imagineable. You cannot do better unless you spring for a 30+ megapixel camera for $30,000 (or more).

We're talking almost 17 megapixels and no matter what others say, that does matter. That pixel depth is going to help in a multitude of ways. Even if you're going to dilute it down to 72 dpi, the pictures are still going to be better than a 8 megapixel camera will produce because the re-sampling algorythm will have more data to use to begin with so you will have a truer image left over even after massive re-sampling.

You can create a 12x18 print with this camera at nearly 300 dpi. That's quality. I've done a lot of prints from this camera and the only times I've been disappointed is when I did something dorky - the camera never fails to do well.

There's something immensely satisfying about being a photographer and having the privilege of owning this camera. It is a privilege too because you're going to shell out a lot of money for this camera and you're going worry that some day a better one will come out and your investment will be halfed, and over time whittled to a fraction of what you paid.

I had the 20D for a while and wanted to move up. I struggled with the decision to buy either this camera or the 5d. Both are full-frame; but in the end, I felt that for landscape photography, which is my what I like best, I needed the extra pixel density. That's not the only reason if I'm being totally honest. I am one of those people who has to have the best I can get, even if I don't really need it. In this case I did need it, or I convinced myself I did - either way I cannot really tell the difference because I've probably fooled myself into thinking I needed the extra megapixels just to satisfy that itch in my brain that makes me do some of the more outlandish things I do (like buying $7,000 cameras). That's how I know I must really be an artist, I'm not completely sane.

People comlain that this camera is heavy. So what. If you need 16.7 megapixels then you're going to have to expect that will come in a slightly larger package than 8 megapixels. You're not going to walk around the street taking candids with this, are you? Well maybe you're an artist and loopy just like me so maybe you will use it for street photography. Really though, for that, a 20D or 30D is much better probably, unless you want those candids to pop off the paper like only a picture taken by a 1ds Mark II can. I do notice the weight, but I'm zen about it - it is what it is and there's just no need to complain and no one is going to take you seriously bitching about a camera that cost more than most very good Jet Skis. I will tell you that this camera weighs more than a 20d, 30d or a 5d and leave it at that.

The files it creates are large. Don't buy this camera unless you have a good computer to process the files with. If you have to have the camera and have a crappy computer, at least make sure your spouse or your kids have a good computer you can borrow. Otherwise you'd better save another $1500 so you can buy a Pentium D with 2 gigs of ram.

All of the technical data that people tell you about this camera is true. The colors are spot on, and the images are maleable within Photoshop to the Nth degree. The camera doesn't leak, everything works very well 98% of the time. The buttons are really hard to get used to so when you buy this camera you should practice a lot first by shooting candids of your wife and kids until they boot you from the house. Really, you're actually going to have to practice for awhile before you will remember how to manipulate the buttons on this thing. After you do, you're good to go and you will almost never accidently set the aperature to 2.8 for that landscape shot or 32 for that picture of the flower you want with the nice bokeh. It has a button positioned perfectly for those portrait oriented shots too, this is something I really appreciate.

I think you should never use the jpeg feature of this camera and only output RAW files though. I think you give up too much just putting the camera into sRGB or aRGB and allowing the camera to process the JPEG. I *always* output to RAW and set the white-balance, adjust exposure and curves outside of the camera. I'm sure if you're reading this though and thinking of buying this camera you don't need this drivel from me so let's move on.

Every now and then a company creates a product that is truly special. The Canon 1ds Mark II is that camera that reigns above all others right now within the realm it is designed for. This camera will give you higher quality results than you can get from 35mm film. I've owned a lot of film cameras (most of them Canons, Minoltas and Olympus camera bodies) and none of them can, or could touch this piece of nirvana. There are medium format cameras that come close (they are sharper, but with more grain) and large format cameras that still produce better pictures, particularly for mega-sized prints (even then, not always) but for an all-in-one camera that is as portable as this one, as easy to use (well relatively so, you'd better know something about photography) this camera still reigns supreme. Poke around and read reviews from other sites, you will have a very hard time finding anyone with a negative word to say about this camera. Despite it's cost, I have never once regretted buying this camera.


Jul 19, 2006
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clocksley
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Registered: Mar 7, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 547
Review Date: Jun 20, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build quality, Image quality, Quality!!!
Cons:
Heavy, even more with a large lens attached. Small screen. Menus (much better operation on 1D N)

I took the plunge and got the best camera Canon make at present - and I'm not disappointed. Like the 5D it is full frame, but unlike the 5D it doesn't seem to have metering "mad moments", and the focus is pretty much instant.

It is however a massive camera, and weighs a tonne with a big white "L" glass on the end. It is also pricey and I can't help feeling this will seem very expensive in a year from now when more models appear and prices fall.

If you want to go all the way for quality of image and camera then go for it - if you want 90% then save yourself a fortune and get a 5D.


Jun 20, 2006
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KETCH
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Registered: Apr 22, 2006
Location: Italy
Posts: 5
Review Date: May 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,650.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Solid like Italian marble, yet feels just perfect in your hand, smooth and curvy, all the bottons on the right place, so fast I look for cops before I shoot, constructed like a armer vehicle, autofocus very impressive w/45p, love this camera never step down fron the 1d series again, trully unbelivaible machine.
Cons:
Absolutelly nulla, nada, rien, nothing, nudda.

I can definatelly feel up pages talking about the 1D MARK 2 n, is just that great, but I weel be short, also becouse the more I write the more errors I will make my inglish is not as good, but I tell you if you are in the market for a new pro camera look no more this is it!!!

I my self try for months different cameras, Nkon, Kodak, Fujitsu, Mamiya, but at the end also thanks to the reviews of this fantastic site I decide for the Canon 1D mark 2N and love it!!!


May 1, 2006
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lenslover
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Registered: Mar 22, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3
Review Date: Mar 28, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Build quality that inspires confidence, processing speed, large, detailed files, relatively low noise, good battery life
Cons:
It's certainly expensive, however it does have a lot to offer. My MAJOR gripe is that although it excels in perfect front lit conditions it REALLY struggles at times in non standard/moody lighting. AF can be a bit sketchy

There's no question that I'm a perfectionist and to that end I'm very difficult to please, particularly when I have high expectations for a camera with a gargantuan price tag... I have owned two of these bodies and as digital SLRs go the 1Ds mk 2 is the pinnacle of technology and build quality rolled into one. The key to that last sentence is 'technology' and that's where the shortcomings lie. My first issue with the Canon arose as a result of compatibility problems whilst using Lexar cards (back in winter 2004/5). Many of you will have heard the stories of lost images etc. Well I lost a great deal of money as a result of that and I have to say having shot film for many years my first foray into the digital arena was going anything but smoothly, as most will know the more complicated a system is, the more likelihood of a failure... My second issue is that I am now making photographs with a very compact and complicated high powered computer. This requires maintenance and some of this is particularly tricky, so much so that Canon no longer warranties their own sensor cleaning - I never had problems like that when I was having my 1V Hs serviced! The third issue which occurrs even when I have exposed manualy and have selected only the centre AF point is the tardiness of the AF. Admittedly if you want a body for fast action then really the 1D mk 2 N is the one to go for, but the AF has proved woefully inadequate and therefore untrustworthy so, as a result I spend the majority of the time manually focusing in situations where I would normally have employed AF. My fourth and most important issue centres around image quality and, which for me is the most important consideration when buying cameras/lenses. I have been highly impressed by the 1Ds mk 2s performance under controlled lighting, in fact the results when shooting on Canon's finest glass are phenominal, however in non-standard lighting, or shall we refer to it as 'interesting lighting' I have encountered problems. In short I own what many regard as the finest digital camera available and yet I still reach for a film body when the conditions are moody. I hate to say it but I just can't get as excited about the results from the 1Ds mk2 as I still get from a well exposed, thoughtfully composed, crisp tranny shot on oneof my favourite emulsions. The images produced from this camera, although fantastic by digital standards are lacking and I think the element they lack is depth. Denounce me as an analogue purist, but here we are in 2006 approximately 117 years after the first photographic film was loaded into a Kodak camera, we have transparency and black and white films that yield near perfect renditions of reality and yet in the short time digital cameras have become more widely available image quality seems to have devolved rather than evolved, the illusion of speedier, less complicated workflow has ultimately led to quality being compromised and photographers spending more time in front of a computer screen than out making pictures. I will continue to shoot 120 and 35mm tranny alongside my 1Ds 2 for as long as I see (photographic) magazines displaying images showing all manner of aberrations including 'artefacts' and 'banding' across smooth, graduated tones. Roll on tri-tiered sensors (that rumour has it fuji are working on) that bring us closer to the day when digital offerings are truly on par with film. If you've reached this point, I hope I haven't pontificated too much and I hasten to apologise for being so long-winded!

Mar 28, 2006
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Olsen
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Registered: May 4, 2003
Location: Norway
Posts: 147
Review Date: Feb 18, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Awesome resolution on large prints. Beats medium format. Incredible low noice on high ISO. Fast buffer handling of large files. Great flexibility regarding custom tuning of just anything from tonal range, contrast, sharpness, WB and what not. Sturdy; you can kill a man on short distance.
Cons:
Heavy. Probably too flexible regarding custom tuning (what is the ideal tuning of this monster?!) Demanding on your lenses. Lots of CA and light fall out on WA lenses; you have to stop them down. Cumbersome 'mirror up' shooting by custom function. No Canon WA good enough for this camera.

The 1Ds II is an awsome instrument, - at a fair price.

I don't have the same blood dripping relation to my 1Ds II as I had to my 1Ds, - my first camera of this class, knowing that we shall part when a heftier Canon camera is introduced. I finally had my 1Ds ideally tuned regarding tonal range and sharpness etc. when we parted, - I sold it. The same tuning is more difficult - due to more posibilities - to hit with the 1Ds II,- if at all possible. I am still fumbling around trying our different settings having had the camera since april 2005. I miss a book that digs deep into this camera's abilities regarding custom settings and capabilities and systematically presents how they look on screen or paper. Something like Wildi's Hasselblad Manual. There should be a Pulnitzer Price waiting for anyone who dared attack such a momentous task.

I have always regarded myself as a '100ASA man'. Not anymore. The low noice level and surefootedness of the automatic white balance of 1Ds II on high ISO are mind boggling. They will change photography.

Demanding on lenses, but don't loose out of sight that still quite a few comes out very good on a 1Ds II. Like the 35 mm 1,4L, 24-70 mm 2,8L (and indeed 28-70 mm 2,8L), 17-35 mm 4,0L. Sure, 1Ds II compromises quite a few Canon lenses that Canon now must phase out for better ones. You have to work stopped down. Preferably to the aparture that produces the best result (in 100% in PS - the tool that has made us all resolution & optics freaks) Not at all unusual for anyone experienced with dark room work and MF, - or photography a bit above ordinary amateur level.

Far better battery economy than 1Ds, but it is just as inconvenient whenever the battery falls flat. Demands two batteries.

The best viewfinders of the business. As bright and large as it must be for checking if the motive is sharp. A pritty obvious and important thing, really.

Sturdy as a tank. Swinging it above your head by it's strap you could kill a man on short distance, - and keep shooting with it afterwards (like documenting the dead body). But I found the surface treatment on the 1Ds stronger. The 1Ds II gets scratched easier. Not a good thing if you are dependant on a good 2.hand price to finance the next Canon moster (22 million pixels?).

And heavy. You'll end up as a gold mine for a ciropractician.

I find the 'in the box software' a bit slow and cumbersome - but still far faster and better than what came with the 1Ds. I am not sure if I have really picked up the reccommended work flow. Anyway - I hate the PC part of modern digital photography! Which reminds me that both 1Ds and 1Ds II are cameras for those who love to read manuals and flick around with raw files.



Feb 18, 2006
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dave chilvers
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Registered: Jan 11, 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1691
Review Date: Jan 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: The ultimate
Cons:
Weight

Cameras have come and gone since I got my 1Dsmk2(for me the 20D and 5D) and like all new kids on the block they have +`s and -`s but when the honeymoon period is over the m2ds is still the king.
I made a big mistake when testing the camera against the new arrivals, I tested my WA lenses against it and in fairness there doesn`t appear to be much of an advantage but put on an 85 or better still a 135f2 and see the increase in fine detail.
It`s a shame that the out of the camera files aren`t quite as good as the 5D but with a few profiles and patience you will be very pleased with the results. It`s not the lightest camera around but the thought of it is worse than the actual.
It really is the only camera you will need if you can run to it. There is talk of an upgrade in the near future which might give you the larger lcd and bigger buffer and that would be a plus but I can`t imagine it being as big a jump as from the 1Dsmk1 so don`t have any doubts this thing is an absolute joy to use and own. You might find it next to you on the pillar because it is that good.


Jan 13, 2006
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ladomat2001
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Registered: Sep 7, 2005
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 23, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Built like a rock, perfect "fit". Currently best Camera. Sold D2X and switched to the "dark" side. Film like look of the pictures, beats my mamiya AFD 645 hands down (scanned film). Superb dynamic range. Colors and Exposition is displayed quite correctly on the lcd.
Cons:
Small LCD Screen (compared to D2X). Need some time to get used to the menu options (but its a minor issue). Price.

Had boughed a D2X 6 moths ago. But since i rented the 1ds mk II for a job (the D2X resolution was not enough), i have to admit its a camera that suits me most. The look of the files is more Filim like, The resolution IS higher than D2X, because of the better dynamic range you can process the canon images more (if you postprocess your picture). There is more "material" to work with. THe nikon LCD is bigger, but mostly shows completely "wrong" colors and exposition - so you can't really judge the picture. Canon also has a battery charger where you can plug to batteries, and a AC conntector (if you work in studio its very handy - don't need battery).
If you are wildlife or sportfotographer - buy nikon. if you are fashion or in general studio photographer - it'S canon.
The AF works greate. I am really impressed - since i was a nikonian... Nikon delivers more crisp and sharp images "right out of the box" but if you post product your pictures like me it's much easear with the canon files. Last but not least - the dynamic range. What really was disappointing to me with nikon, were the often blown highlights and lost details in bright areas. Canon handles this issue very well - the detail is still there and also the noise is much less in higher iso than nikon. Both cameras are greate though, depending on your tasks.


Dec 23, 2005
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absolute
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Registered: Dec 23, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Dec 23, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,000.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Almost everything. It's a monster of a camera.
Cons:
Everything about the menus. Unwanted attention.

I really do love this camera. It's unlike anything I've used before. However...

The menu system is absolutely rediculous. It's so much harder than older models were. I had a D30 before and the menu system is the easiest thing ever. It actually made sense. You would hit the menu button, then use the dial on back to move through. Then there was a select button in the middle of the dial. Easy!

Now, you have to hold down a button the left while using the dial to move around. Now that select button is on the left with all the other buttons instead of in the middle of the dial. Why? You can't do anything with the dial now without holding down a button on the left. Why? What a hassle. You can't even scroll through the pictures you've shot without having to hold down the select button at the left the entire time you're scrolling with the dial. This is just plain stupid.

I know it doesn't sound like much, but I have better things to do when I'm on a shoot that stop and think about all the proper procedures for changing a setting or looking at pictures I've shot. If I had any hair left I would have ripped it out by now. It's also much harder for me because I shot so many years with that D30's logical set up. If I'd never been exposed to what Canon can do when they're thinking, I guess I wouldn't know what was wrong about this set up. It's like surfing to a web page that's overly complicated for no apparent reason. It's irritating.

Also, since it is a full frame camera I've been getting a lot of vignetting in the corners. This happens a lot when I have a filter attached to the end. Neither the software included or Photoshop CS2 really does that good a job of getting rid of it. That's a little dissapointing.

My only other beef is the lack of a small built in flash. Yes, yes, pros don't use such things. Well, that's not true. I used the flash on my D30 a lot. There are occations when all I need is a little bit a back fill. I really don't need to strap that big speedlite on the top. Since I use this camera for everything, not just the pro stuff, sometimes it's nice to put on a small lens and use a little built in flash.

Plus, you thought the camera was heavy? Try putting on a nice heavy lens and then attaching a huge speedlite to the top. Not only is it heavy, it looks rediculous. You might as well where a big sign that says "Hey. Come over here and ask me some questions. Or, better yet, just stare at me for a while then rob me when I leave."

Overall, you will LOVE this camera without question. There is nothing else like it. It does so much so well that the things I mentioned are not too big a deal. I just thought you might like to know about them. Plus, if anyone from Canon is reading, please fix those menus! Of course, it's too late for me. I'm going to have this camera for so many years fixing those menus won't make any difference. By the time I'll need a better camera I'm sure we won't even need them. We'll be able to take pictures by just pointing our fingers at something.

I'd mention the good points but I really don't have to. If you're wondering wether a it has a feature you like: Yes. It does. How well does it... Answer: Very, very well.


Dec 23, 2005
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Pondria
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Registered: Jan 10, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 11900
Review Date: Dec 21, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: $7,200.00

 
Pros: Deatils from 16MB, Build quality.
Cons:
Price

1. Is it bulky ?
Having heard so many times how bulky and heavy 1D-series are, I was really worried about it. This was actually the most negative factor for the decision. But when pulling it out of the box, I was quite surprised that it is rather compact. It is taller than D30 due to the Grip. That is pretty much it. That said, shooting around for an hour with 300/4+1.4x, I felt the real pain on my left wrist. The weight matters for long use. I'm reluctant to just let it hang on my neck without the left hand supporting the lens.
http://www.sesee.com/Photo/Exports/D30-1Ds2.jpg
It is pleasant to see that some D30 design look is still maintained. ( Look at the shutter button area ).

I have rather small hands. It fits in my hands.
http://www.sesee.com/Photo/Exports/JHL-1DsMK2.jpg

2. Lens focal length
I feel as if I got a new set of lenses. Every lens is a new lens indeed. This is kind of a bonus as you won't feel the itch for new lens for a while. Even 50/1.4 seems to be wide. 24mm is seriously wide. I am not sure if I need any wider. I can understand why folks want 500mm or 600mm lenses. The barrel and pincushion distortions are much more visible at the edges, if the lens has it. And the Zeiss 28/2.8 still does well on FF.
http://www.sesee.com/Photo/Exports/YZ5P0257.jpg

3. Usability
The most striking difference from D30 is the Responsiveness. Everything is very fast - Turn-on, Review, AF, etc. It is always ready to fire. Well then, I got used to the speed quickly. It feels natural now. The viewfinder looks indeed clean and wide. Manual focus is easier with the brighter VF. I also appreciate the extra design cares gone into the details like door locks, tight seals, Firewire connector harness etc. I don't like the cheapy neck strap or missing hand-strap ( extra to buy ). The menu and buttons are both good and bad. It seems that every operation needs two or 3 fingers. I know it's an accident-proof design. But I fee it's too much.

4. 45points AF and Exposure
Probably all new DLSRs have better AF than D30. Thus, I am not a good reference point. All that I can say is that it's fast and accurate. The AI-servo actually works. I was walking back and force inside the house aiming various points to test the servo. My wife thought I was getting insane. The servo tracks well. I went out to Bayland and shot everything moving and flying - ducks, airplanes, seagulls. The tracking was only limited by my skill to keep the subject within the focus area in the frame. The Evaluative exposure calculation is more accurate than D30. With D30, I almost always get a portion of highlight blown. So, I set it -1 EV all the time. 1Ds2 controls the highlight better.
http://www.sesee.com/Photo/Galleries/WildLife/YZ5P0175.jpg

5. File size
The 16MB files are no fun to deal with. I really like 3 MB files from D30. I didn't want to spend big $$$ on the faster CF cards. So I went for Hitachi 6GB Microdrive. My old IBM 1GB MD is still working fine. So, I have some trusts on the MD technology. And this seems to be OK. The camera has large buffer to store about 10 RAW files. Except when I fill the buffer with the multi-shot mode, the CF card speed doesn't affect the one-shot type shooting.

6. Image Details
The power of the 16MB files are in the details. And the details were surprising. The Shot below was taken with 50/1.4 with flash. The bottom one is the 1-1 crop of the top-left corner of the pillow. See what's captured in the yellow circle. However, do I ever need this much of the detail ? How many extreme large prints am I going to make when the 16x24 prints from D30 on the wall still looks very nice ? I don't have an answer. Wink
http://www.sesee.com/Photo/Exports/1Ds2-detail.jpg

7. High ISO
High ISO performance to me is OK. Maybe I expected too much. It is not something phenomenal. With D30, I can go up to ISO 400. And I have to live with some noise. With 1Ds-2, I would comfortably go up to 800 without worrying too much about noise. But I wouldn't go above it. The shot below is taken @ ISO 3200 with 100/2 @ f/8. No noise reduction or sharpening is applied. When reduced to a web size, especially with so many pixels, you won't see the noise Wink But the 1:1 crop shows quite a bit of noise.
http://www.sesee.com/Photo/Exports/1Ds2-ISO3200.jpg

8. ETTL-2
I can confirm that ETTL-2 works more reliably than the old ETTL. I do not have the new 580EX. But 550EX had no problem doing ETTL-2. Finally I can avoid the situation where an aunt's P&S does better flash than DSLR Wink

9. Weather Seal
I went out, when it was raining. It wasn't a shower but I got some drops on the camera. I actually let it. I don't care any more, right ? Wink The lens front glass is still exposed although the hood protects it. So, don't aim something upwardly on the sky ( I actually did LOL ). I feel that I need a raincoat and a hat before a camera need weather seals.

10. Battery
It's heavy and large. I cannot tell how long it lasts yet. After the first charge, I took about 300 shots. The indicator still shows full. I'll report back when it's done.

11. Is it worth the money ?
Wink No, it is not. That should be one line answer. But then, life often requires more than one line.



Dec 21, 2005
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