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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

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75 170216 Dec 10, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $4,779.66
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16.7 MP full frame CMOS sensor
4 fps
32 frame continuous shooting
DPP RAW processing software
E-TTL II flash system
Wide ISO speed range
Weather resistant magnesium body
Dual performance memory card slots
LCD with 230k pixels
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Registered: Jan 10, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 11904
Review Date: Dec 21, 2005 Recommend? | Price paid: $7,200.00

Pros: Deatils from 16MB, Build quality.

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.
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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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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Registered: Dec 4, 2005
Location: Norway
Posts: 1
Review Date: Dec 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $8,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Quality all over, hardly any noise even at ISO 800, huge 16.7 MB making highly detailed photos possible. Clearly better than my Canon D20 (and my former and present Nikons, Sonys, etc.).
Menu system not as smart as Canon D20, but you'll learn it. Weight! Combined with Canon's 70-200 L or other "solid" lenses it turns into a real huge and heavy monster.

The price of this huge monster is high, but then you get a camera of an unbelievable quality. It is solid as a rock and the photos are brilliant (hardly any noise at ISO 400-800 at all). I have sold thousands of photos on stock, but with this camera the photos seldom need any work at all in Photoshop. The photos are simply brilliant.

I have "been digital" from the very beginning, years ago, and have had and have a whole series of digital cameras (Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc.), but this one is far better then anything I have ever tried.

Dust has not been a real problem for me as I am very careful when changing lenses (shut it down before changing lens). I have had the Mark II for about 8 months and when dust turns up it is often easily blow away, it not I wipe it (carefully) with a sensor brush. Used it in deserts, north of the polar circle, and in rain forests, it has always been very reliable.

Even taking the price into consideration I am highly pleased with this camera. The camera is heavy, really heavy, but I guess you can't make such a high quality and robust camera without the kilos.

Be prepared, though, this camera attracts a lot of (unwanted) attention, both from the public and other photographers.

Dec 4, 2005
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Registered: Jul 16, 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 52
Review Date: Sep 15, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: incredible image quality -> no need for much post-processing, bright VF, solid
eats up memory, expensive

Use it to experience the power of it

Sep 15, 2005
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Registered: Dec 12, 2004
Location: Belgium
Posts: 2530
Review Date: Sep 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Quality of pix and 'pro' feel/possibilities - second to none I've tested so far. Build quality. Viewfinder. Weatherproof. High ISO handling. Versatility
Useless software (but I guess all 1Ds2 shooters own CS2 anyway); ergonomics could easily be improved (menus); price; slight shutter delay with remote control (problem with all DSLR's); weight.

A (heavy) dream - great workhorse, build like a tank, delivering superior quality pics, reliable, ... I haven't got the issue of vertical line distortion - I guess that could come from the lens, as this sensor reaches the limit of some lenses, even L series. Just awesome !

Sep 2, 2005
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Keith Flood
Buy and Sell: On

Registered: Nov 25, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 402
Review Date: Aug 29, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality is breathtaking, build quality is outstanding, battery life is great.
Had to have my shutter replaced in 6 months, price but it is worth it.

I've had my 1DsII since 12/04 and has lived up to my expectations for this incredible camera. I did have the shutter assembly act up which Canon took care of without question. I did much research to see if this was a common problem and it appears not. It is hard to describe the differnce when you put on the 17-40L on this body and look through the viewfinder and then try it on a 1DII body. But there is a huge differnce in angle of view and brightness in the viewfinder. This is a wonderful camera and will surely be one remembered after it is long been replaced.

Aug 29, 2005
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Registered: Feb 15, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1012
Review Date: Aug 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $8,900.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: I love the camera. It feels and weighs like a pro camera should... and the photos are exceptional. I shoot weddings, and often raise the ISO to 1600, and even higher, with results that people love. I bought it on the first week of January this year, and have already gotten over 20,000 shots from it.
The software that comes with it - especially if you have to process raw files. AAAAAARGGGGGGhhhhhhhh! Canon people, are you listening?????

I've used non-canon lenses with it, and even when the reviews have said the lenses weren't "sharp enough", I am fine with that. I photograph people, and I don't want it to be tack-sharp anyway. In fact, I tend to "soften" all the photos afterwards, still.

My biggest complaint is the camera grip must be ordered separately. I just used the one that came with my Kodak Digital camera. You need it if you're going to be carrying this behemoth all day (for weddings and stuff).

.... and the software that comes with it just isn't up to speed with todays software.

Aug 2, 2005
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Richard Smith
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Registered: Jan 16, 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 592
Review Date: Jul 6, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $9,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Handling, Film like Picture Quality.

I have had about 6 months use of this camera.
First one was returned for poor focussing, second one had the same problem but I got it recalibrated instead (Bad Quality Control Canon).

But after the initial teething problems it is everything it was supposed to be.

As a long time 1 body user the handling is wonderfully familiar to me.

I can see me sticking with this for a number of years. Canon will have to come up with something pretty special to get me to upgrade.

Now I can shoot tetherd with C1 I have everything I need.

Jul 6, 2005
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Registered: May 2, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 15
Review Date: May 2, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic solid build. Easy to use if you are new to digital and with a huge amount of fine image control as you learn what this camera's computer can do. Hasselblads are not up for sale yet but I have used them only three times in four months. Justified the huge outlay on the need to not upgrade as the image quality has arrived.
I dont like the need to hold the review button in when scanning through pictures, preferred my 10D where you just need to turn the dial. Serious line distortion. A standard 50mm lens is incapable of flat copy work and it is a struggles even with the 24-70 2.8l. Quite a problem as a large amount of my work involves copying flat artwork and but hoping to fix it with the new Photoshop CS2 which I have read will have adjustments for len distortion but beware if you need straight lines at the edge of frame!

Canon Ds1 mark 2 Four months on

May 2, 2005
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Registered: Mar 31, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 0
Review Date: Mar 31, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Being the first time using a the new Eos IDS mark II and using it in different weather conditions I must say this is a really good camera. But read the review. part!. Camera handling is very good. The quality of images is superb.
Sealing of the rear panel is not very good. After 5 days of work I got some dust already inside the panel. The price is also very high but compensates with the quality of images.

I donīt know if any of you try to do any job where vertical lines are important? Recently I was shooting some vertical lines in the facade of a buliding and I find out that: at the corners of the frame, lines were not vertical at all. They curved towards the centre of the image even with a 70-200 2.8 L -IS lens!. With a wide angle lens is very noticeable. You see this effect through the the camera and at the final print.
Does any of you have this same problem? I tested 2 bodies and have the same problem. At the store where I bought the camera told me that this a problem they have been experiencing with other cameras and different sensors, and is a problem of the lenses, not the camera (Eos 1 DS Mark II)..Perhaps.. but what will happen to anyone doing architecture photography.. work with photoshop to get rid of the problem!
How can Canon with this 7,000 Euros camera permit this terrible effect?? I donīt believe it.
Is it there any software that will get around this problem?

Mar 31, 2005
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Registered: Nov 23, 2004
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 1
Review Date: Mar 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image Quality, build, handling,
It would be nice to shoot smaller RAW file's.

I love every aspect of this camera. The image's it produces are magnificent. Raw files are wonderful to handle with the Adobe plug-in, it gives you great control. I do have some problems cleaning the enormous sensor, but this could be inexperience on my part. This is absolutely the best camera I ever owned.

Mar 30, 2005
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Registered: Apr 15, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3826
Review Date: Mar 25, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,995.95 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Iso is fine up to and including 800. The write speed/buffer size. The review times are quick. FF sensor (duh)
No bluetooth. The file size is huge (processing currently on a G5 2gigHtz with 4 gigs of RAM) and tends to frustrate if you are a little impatient. Best to batch and leave for a while.

Mar 25, 2005
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Registered: Jun 13, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 53
Review Date: Mar 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,769.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image Quality, build, handling, buffer & write speed.
Cost, doesn't seem as 'snappy' as a 1D Mk II. Our first 1Ds Mk II was defective with a marked sensor (not dust). To be fair CPS were very good and it was replaced in 2 weeks - which was how long it took for Canon UK to get stock!

It does exactly what I expected it to do - the image quality is stunning. It is just like the 1D Mk II which I love but with a bigger sensor.... perhaps not quite as snappy in use as the 1D Mk II but it is aimed at a slightly different group of photographers.

Everything is spot on - if you are prepared to spend the money you won't be disappointed.

Mar 7, 2005
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Registered: Dec 6, 2004
Location: Denmark
Posts: 15
Review Date: Feb 16, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality is superiour....second to none (DSLR)
None - zip - Nada. I donīt even weep over the price I paid - worth every Euro.

This is the best investment iīve made buying equipment - ever !

Used to be Nikon F3HP - but that was a while ago :-)

This camera delivers beyond your wildest dreams. Had the Canon 1D mark 2, but sold it after 2 months - It was surely a nice camera, but it did not do the trick for me, coming from a 6mp Canon. So i sold it for this new top-of-the-line camera.

I know that this will be the first camera iīve owned, that does not need replacement within a couple of years due to lack of performance or resolution.

This will be enough even in 10 years time to deliver professionel prints to customers.

Beware of which lenses you attach to this monster - itīll eat bad lenses for sure. Primes are at their best with the new 1Ds2

Applause - Canon - Very well done


Feb 16, 2005
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Registered: May 2, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic glass like images, very usable high ISO's, very fast write time to sandisk extreme III cards, hard to fill buffer even shooting raw, much improved ETTLII. Very reasonable price considering quality, reliability and what it replaced in film and processing.
None! I say none but I know the next generation will be even better. What could they do to improve near perfection?

In over fourty years as a commercial shooter I never thought the day would come that film would be replaced and the quality of digital would exceed 120 chrome. What's next? It's hard to imagine anything better but I'm certain canon will improve on near perfection.

Switching from nikon a couple of years ago was the second best business cecision that I have made. The best decision was going digital six years ago.

Hats off to Canon!

Feb 5, 2005
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Registered: Sep 21, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 50
Review Date: Feb 1, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Have a 1D / 1DS. Shot with both for a few years. The MK2 ups the ante. I suppose that I'll never have to upgrade again ??????? who am I kidding ...there will be a better camera next year but this is the first time that I may choose to stay with what I have. I can easily achieve medium format film quality so I'll keep my Mk2 and my 8x10 Deardorff. I think that covers the bases.

Feb 1, 2005
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Registered: Sep 18, 2003
Location: Canada
Posts: 36
Review Date: Jan 22, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Image quality exceeds my Hasselblad with film and blows away 35mm film. Impressive 24x36" prints on an Epson 7600 with very smooth tones. The ergonomics feel good.
Some banding in the even toned shadow areas at times.

This is my first digital camera so my experience to compare to other digital units is limited. I scan 35mm and 6x6 pos/neg film on a Coolscan 9000 and make my comparisons to the output I can get on an Epson 7600 wide format printer. I did not believe statements that 35mm based digital could rival medium format until I did my own comparisons. The only thing I do not like is the banding I can see in some images, and can see in some of Canon's own sample images for download. It can show in some shadow areas of even Raw files, (wether converted in Capture One, Photoshop Raw, or Canon's own utility), even if I do not push the shadows much. As this is my first digital experience I do not know if other models/brands have this as well. The color is more realistic but not Velvia like right out of the can.

Jan 22, 2005
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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
75 170216 Dec 10, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $4,779.66
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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