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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

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.