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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

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78 189774 May 15, 2022
Recommended By Average Price
92% 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: 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: 199
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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Registered: Nov 4, 2003
Location: France
Posts: 768
Review Date: Jan 21, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, the best I have ever seen on a digital camera... No noise at all at 400 iso (I didn't test enough higher ISO to tell more) Faster than the 1 DS
Expensive (especially in France !!!). Everybody knows that the camera it heavy, but it takes place easily in your hand...

I didn't calibrate the colors into the camera. I will do it soon, but they look excellent.
I have set sharpen filter 1 in the main menu, and after processing in PS CS I use unsharp mask 300% / 0.3 / 0 as recommanded for all the EOS D series. It's awesome.

Jan 21, 2005
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Tony Howell
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Registered: Dec 1, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 5
Review Date: Jan 11, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image quality, only need to take one camera out with me instead of 35mm AND 6x6cm
would prefer smaller (less heavy and bulky) battery

Total Joy, excitement, glorious images, happiness, photography is more fun than ever! Sell your film cameras. Yes, all of them. I've never spent this much money on anything apart from a house! Who cares!

Go to my website
for some samples.

I've just put all of my Nikon and Bronica SQA gear on eBay!!

Jan 11, 2005
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Registered: Dec 3, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 242
Review Date: Jan 5, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $8.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Awsome

I love this camera also, but my files are 144 MB at 6144 by 4096 (+) 16 bit.
Is it a trrue 144 mb ?
How do you sharpen to 1
When I go to (filters sharpen) it just sharpens. it does not give me the choise of how much. Please tell me how allthough I'm getting awsome stuf. It could allways get better.Thanx Hugo

Jan 5, 2005
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Registered: May 15, 2004
Location: N/A
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jan 4, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: GORGEOUS files. Nothing I have used before in the 35mm world compares with the images this camera produces. Hands down the best digital camera on the market.
Size and cost.

I have used extensively all versions of the Canon D series cameras. Staring with the D, Ds, the Mark II and now the Mark II ds. There is no going backwards, once you see the files from this camera, you will not want to shoot digitally with anything else. Trust me.

One drawback with the camera is that your workflow can really bog down. You need to max out the ram in your computer to work with these files. I always work with raws at 16 bit, which open up in photoshop at around 95mb. With the original raws unprocessed at around 15mb each. As you can see you can run into some serious storage issues.

Unlike the Ds, I have found that the camera looks best with the sharpening set to 1. And then I apply a very modest unsharp mask in photoshop. With these settings the details are phenomenal. Open them up at 100% and be prepared to be blown away. This has never happened to me before with digital.

Christopher Morris/VII

Jan 4, 2005
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Registered: Aug 26, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 60
Review Date: Dec 29, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,999.95 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fantastic build quality like the 1Ds. Faster than its predecessor.
Weight. Wish Canon had proper protection for the LCD screen.

Enough said already. My prints are far better than any film prints I've made in the
past. Be careful with the lenses u couple with this baby. I'm sure there will be
better cameras in the future and the megapixel wars will be played until kingdom
come (similar to the THD wars of high end audio a long time ago) but this one's
a keeper for a long long time....

Dec 29, 2004
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Registered: Jun 8, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 83
Review Date: Dec 25, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,995.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: I’m very happy with the improved image quality and operational features of the 1Ds Mark II.
Neither the 1D Mark II or 1Ds Mark II has the DOF shooting mode which was available on the 1D, 1Ds and previous EOS film cameras… perhaps this feature will return in the next generation of the camera.

The 1Ds Mark II is a definite improvement over the 1Ds. Faster start-up and many other features such as the ability to view your images on a hotel TV set make 1Ds Mark II more “travel friendly”. Because of the 1Ds Mark II’s higher image resolution, I have to be a bit more judicious in terms of what lenses I work with.

Dec 25, 2004
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Registered: Jan 16, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 24530
Review Date: Dec 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,995.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Beautiful color reproduction, relativley fast capture and process, all the great features of my 1Ds only 1/3 larger capture and a great buffer.
Haven't discovered any yet. Oh ya, I wish it sold for $1595.00, but then I wish Ferraris were $10,000 too.

The camera performs wonderfully and doesn't frustrate you with "busy" very often. The files are beautiful with natural color reproduction and incredible detail. Another great piece of technology from the folks at Canon. I'll be sporting 2 of them just as soon as my back-up comes in.

Dec 20, 2004
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Registered: Feb 16, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 118
Review Date: Dec 14, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,999.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Stunning, gorgeous files, great usable ISO range, all the usual full-frame benefits (big bright viewfinder, no crop etc), great speed & responsiveness. Resolution may be overkill for many situations, but affords tremendous flexibility for cropping/enlarging
$$...Worth the price (to me), but I like to shoot events with 2 bodies, and it's just too much to do that for now. Need to rethink workflow due to huge file sizes.

I am primarily a portrait & wedding shooter. Varios EOS 35mm film bodies & 10D's for digital have been my mainstay (645 for a time, but not for several years). Some my think the 1ds2 overkill for this type of work, but I am loving the huge detailed files this camera generates. High ISO is great, and as mentioned by another reviewer, downsampling to lower resolution reduces noise even futher. For all intents and purposes, noise is not an issue with this camera. I transitioned from film to digital with the 10Ds, but my 1n and 1V still saw service. With the 1ds2 that will no longer be the case, I've got full frame focal lengths and the results in print are not something I can even approach using my best technique with the film bodies. I took out some of my prints from my 645 and I think they are lacking too. Maybe with a proper scan the 645 negs would be just as good or better, but who has the time to fuss with scanning.

File sizes from the 1ds2 are slowing me down a touch in editing & post production compared to before, but nothing insurmountable. Looking at the files and prints makes you forget about all that, the 1ds2 produces incredible results.

Lots of forum talk had me worried about WA, but for my WA lineup(24-70, 17-40, 35/1.4) I am satisfied with the performance. I am not one to shoot test charts so it's possible they are a touch softer at the corners when wide open. It's not something that is noticeable any of my work though. The 24-70 does vignette some when wide open. It does exactly the same thing on my 1V though. Regardless, these are all issues with my lenses, not the 1ds2. Frankly, the fact that the 1ds2 might be good enough to need even better glass makes me feel better about spending the money on the 1ds2.

The files have plenty of quality headroom, prints from the 1ds2 files are better than any I've made with 35mm or 645 film. Canon will eventually come out with a better camera, but the results I'm seeing don't leave me wishing for more, which was not the case with the 10D (or 35mm film for that matter)

In-studio portrait work has been a revelation. 3/4 or Head and shoulder shots at 100% show every flaw in skin and make up. No problem for kids, but anyone past puberty is going to need some extra post work to help soften things up. Haven't done a wedding with it yet, but can't wait. Downside is I will be needing more CF cards though. Many more.

Just for fun & something different I did a couple of quick stiched panos. WOW.

Battery life is great. 1400+ shots off the initial charge and still going. Canon's DPP is ok, not great. I have been using Adobe ACR, so it will be nice to get the update of that software. Past week or so is first time in a long time I've shot JPEG's and frankly the results are really great, but this is for studio work where the lighting is more controled.

There's many 1-series features I could go on about, but the end result is still flooring me, the files are just great. They could have stuck this imaging sensor into a 300D body and I probably would still be just as happy.

Dec 14, 2004
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Registered: Mar 11, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 218
Review Date: Dec 3, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Improved image over the 1Ds. More usable at higher ISOs. Less noise in the darks. Faster operation. Expanded ability for commercial applications making it a better cost to application value than the 1Ds was. Uses same battery as 1Ds and 1DMKII.
Weight. Smallish LCD. As of this date not supported by Adobe RAW.

Replaced a 1Ds with this camera primarily for wedding work to be used in concert with a 1DMKII. However, I believe the new 1DsMKII will now encroach on some commercial work I previously did with a MF back. This increases its value due to the ability to charge digital capture fees which will help pay for the camera.

Right out of the box I shot ISO 800, 1600 and 3200 available light shots all of which were useable. I think ISO 400 will become a standard general setting for wedding work where I used to set ISO 160-200 with the 1Ds.

Used the camera for 2 less critical commercial jobs recently and the performance and image quality was plenty good. In the past I tried the 1Ds in similar circumstances and found it lagged behind the MF backs too much for comfort. So far this camera provides enough for those types of jobs.

Dec 3, 2004
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Drury Armistead
Buy and Sell: On

Registered: Apr 7, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 515
Review Date: Nov 20, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,995.95 | Rating: 10 

Pros: 1) Resolution 2) Faster write times 3) A tad smaller than the 1ds 4) DEFINITELY improved high ISO performance 5) Full frame 6) Improved LCD image quality.
1) Cost....ridiculous (I have no one but me to blame...I fell for it) 2) NO HAND STRAP (for 8k I want a hand strap) 3) Did I mention the price?

The images on my screen look stunning. The 1600 iso images from the Mark II look like the 400 iso images from the 1DS.
It is an awesome piece of technology.... top of the line. Very intuitive. Is it worth $8000? Only if you're willing to spend it.

I'll add to this as I play with it more.

Nov 20, 2004
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Ken T
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Registered: May 16, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 368
Review Date: Nov 18, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $7,999.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent quality per pixel; Superb ISO range; Quick handling; ISO 3200 useability; Buffer adjusts for image size (ie smaller resolutions increase shot throughput); TV-out; Vertical release, thumb-wheel issues of 1DII resolved
Auto WB not seemingly as accurate as 1DII and 20D (preliminary result); Image preview only a preview- to access info or other info, it must write to the CF card (?-only slight delay); Still lower AF coverage of full frame (percentage-wise); No image review without shooting data in frame (small gripe); Still no hand grip supplied with camera; Still can't see ISO in viewfinder when making adjustments No ability to shoot smaller-sized RAW images (ie if you want RAW adjustment capability, you gotta shoot the full 16MP only).

PROS: Like many others I have climbed slowly up the expensive Canon DSLR ladder, bringing me hopefully to my last DSLR in quite a while. Its specs are well-known- but I thought I might share some initial thoughts. First is image quality- I think of all the DSLR's from Canon I've owned (from the D30 to the 1D MarkII) the 1DsII has the finest image quality per pixel, rivaled perhaps by the original 1D. Images straight from the camera at nearly all ISO's just look stunning.

Next is handling- this camera is definetely faster than the original 1Ds in almost every respect. The shutter makes the same 1Ds "clishink" sound rather than the 1D and 1DII "click" sound. Image preview after shooting is initially much faster than the 1Ds, and just a hair slower than the 1DII. However, once you want to zoom in or change whether you want info or not, it takes a moment to think- in this way it is a little slower than the 1DII. It is almost if the camera pops a quick preview right after the shot is taken, and then requires reading from the CF card before adjusted reviewing can occur.

The 4fps speed is just that- and incremental speed increase over the 1Ds. The layout and rear LCD is just like the 1DII, but if you are coming from the 1D or 1Ds, the controls are just slightly different. No troubles there. One really nice feature- I believe the 1Ds limited shots to 10 in a row, regardless of image size. The 1DsII allows jpegs to be written, up to 70-something continuously if shooting in small to medium resolutions. Very nice for snapshots when a lot of action is going on!

For me a HUGE benefit of the 1DsII is the ISO 3200, and when it is shot at small resolution (or sampled to 4MP like the 1D), the noise almost all-but cancels out- it looks much like a 1D ISO 400 or 640 shot. Just amazing really- it makes ISO 3200 just that much more useable.

Another big plus for me is the video out- crazy as it sounds. I have a small TV for when I shoot families in a studio setting, and they can see the results right after the shoot. I wanted to do that with my 1Ds but unfortunately it wasn't supported.

Noise performance at ISO 100-200 is just incredible (to be expected) but where the 1Ds had some noise in shadow detail, the 1DsII is so clean.

The vertical release is much less sensitive than that on my 1DII- an appreciated improvement. It is now nearly identical to the standard release.

Overall the camera is phenomenal- a worthy successor to the 1Ds, although I do have some minor reservations mentioned below. Smile


So far, my biggest gripe with the camera seems to be the auto WB. It seems less accurate in the studio setting than my 1DII or 20D. This is an initial opinion, but it seems that with some subjects the color balance is much too cool, while with others it is much too warm. The same subjects in the same lighting with the 1DII and 20D seemed to produce more natural and consistent WB selections. Hopefully this is not a major issue, and I could have done something wrong with my settings, but it is my initial opinion.

A second minor gripe is similar to what I mentioned above in the positive remarks- while the LCD displays a preview quickly, it is still somewhat of a "false review" and only a preview. The review takes a little longer than I was used to on the 1DII. Not bad, but I think after initial reports my expectations were very high.

While I am a huge fan of backward compatibility, I think there are some elements of the 1DsII design that could have been improved since the 1D came out. The LCD screen is still quite small. I would have liked to see an improvement in the AF coverage of the frame- after shooting on a 1DII and 1D, going back to full frame reveals the smaller AF coverage once again like the 1Ds. Others have mentioned the battery or the 1D-series- not a huge issue for me, but it would be nice to see it get a little lighter if it were possible.

After using the 20D, there are also some gripes with the image display that I have with the 1DsII. The 20D is very intelligent with the review- if you switch to "info" review, the camera remembers that setting and uses that on the next review. The 1DsII has no such feature. Also, the 20D allows a review function that displays the image with no numerical data overlying the photo. On the 1DsII you can display the photo without info, but the numerical data is always at the top. This is visually distracting when reviewing the photo on a TV or viewing a slideshow. This might not be considered a "pro" feature, but I have grown to appreciate it on the 20D.

A wish of mine for some time is a RAW size adjustment in-camera. I believe Kodak has used this feature. On a 16MP camera there are definitely times I'd like to have WB correction and other 16-bit adjustment capability in a smaller file size and smaller resolution. I know it is not a true "RAW" by definition, but I am sure it would be possible and very handy.

Another feature I have wished Canon would implement would be an auto ISO feature (or TvAv lock)- for low-light situations- but this feature would be more important in a sports camera.

Nov 18, 2004
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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
78 189774 May 15, 2022
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $4,779.66
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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