Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Ė A hands on
I am a Canon user and have been using its 1 series cameras since the film days. I buy these cameras based on its usefulness for my needs, which is primarily wildlife photography.
I had skipped the Canon 1D Mark III and continued with my trusty EOS 1D Mark II. The 1D Mark III, had neither a major jump in resolution to make a difference in large prints, nor did it have an enviable autofocus system. The files of Mark III were however very good. So I was waiting for the EOS 1D Mark IV and had placed an order the moment it was announced. I would honestly share my impressions and the first images from India using the Mark IV. This is especially important, since the first autofocus problems in the 1D Mark III were reported when the weather was hotter. Remember, this is on the basis of my tests over the last few weeks. I will continue to update this over a period of time.

Key features:
  • 16.1 MP camera with Raw, M-Raw and S-Raw modes along with jpeg. The resolution has increased by 60% over the 1D Mark III.
  • 1.3x crop factor. Canon calls it their APS-H format.
  • 10 frames per second with 121 jpeg or 28 Raw shots before the buffer fills up.
  • Dual Digic 4 Processor. The 1 D Mark III had two Digic III processors.
  • ISO 100-12800 (expandable to L: 50, H1:25600, H2:51200, H3:102400) for shooting from bright to dim light with low noise levels.
  • AF Sensor: 45 AF points with 39 of those being cross type sensors with f2.8 support plus new AI Servo II AF with improved algorithm.
  • Movie: Full HD quality (1920x1080 p) and manual exposure control, multiple frame rates (1080: 30p (29.97)/24p (23.976)/ 25p, 720: 60p (59.94)/ 50p, 480: 60p (59.94)/50p). (This is the first time movie mode has appeared in a 1 Series camera).
  • Custom Functions: A whooping 62.
  • 3.0 inch ClearView II LCD moniotor, 160 į viewing angle, 920,000 dot VGA, reflection resistance with multi coating and high-transparency materials for bright and clear viewing.
  • Magnesium alloy body with shutter durability up to 300,00 cycles and exclusive dust and weather resistance.
The 1 series is the top of the line from Canon. And like any 1 series, the build quality is top notch. Canon says there are more environmental sealings in the Mark IV as compared to the Mark III. I have used my 1D Mark II in pouring rain with water running over the front of the lens. I have not had any problems. I havenít had problems with the Canon EOS 40D in the rain. So it should be sufficient to say that the Mark IV would work in similar conditions, even though I havenít used it in rains yet.
The 1D Mark IV looks very similar to the 1D Mark III except for the 3 inch 920,000 dots lcd screen at the back. However, in the inside there are massive changes starting from the new redesigned sensor, AF mechanism, Digic IV processor etc.
The 1D Mark IV is the first Canon 1 series camera to have the facility to record movies. I am pretty excited about this feature. The Mark IV has a full High Definition (Full HD) capturing ability that is at 1920x1080p. This is found in expensive video cameras. When you compare the size of the chip in the top end video cameras, you will realise that the sensor size in those video cameras are much smaller in comparision (8.08mm by 6.6mm ) vis a vis 27.9mm by 18.6 mm sensor of the 1D Mark IV. So the Mark IV chip is about 9.8 times larger. Smaller chip results in greater depth of field. The benefit of the bigger chip of the Mark IV is the shallow depth of field and that cine look. I have been trying movie clips, however the movie review will have to wait for another day.
The first thing I noticed is the battery. It is smaller and wider. The battery charger is redesigned and is flatter and wider as compared to my 1D II.
In the Mark II, Canon had included a household power outlet. I kept on searching for it and couldnít find it. On reading the manual, I found that it is sold separately. On second thoughts, I realized that as a wildlife photographer I donít need it. The studio guys would have preferred it. Anyone who is likely to use the video feature at home or in studio doing a full day video shoot will definitely need it.
The other changes that hit you is the thick manual. I often find people ignoring their manuals and asking me in the middle of the safari about features in their camera. With the Mark IV this is going to be acute, especially since the manual is thick and there are 62 custom functions. You may think the Mark IV is a professional camera and only professionals will buy it. I would say, wait for some more time before the Mark IV is freely available. You will find lot of hobbyists using this camera. Having said that, if you have used a Canon camera before, then the Mark IV wonít be like Greek and Latin to you; however you would need a generous helping hand.
White Balance:
The White balance of the 1D Mark IV is very accurate. I have been shooting in the auto white balance mode (AWB) and havenít found the need to tweak it. Ofcourse, I have not checked it in artificial lighting. As you may be aware, the lighting in the stage shows can be really a challenge. I leave others to test that. However, in dappled lighting conditions, in light and shadows and in low light, the Mark IV did very well.
Dust reduction:
The Mark IV has got the sensor shake mechanism like the Mark IIIs and the 50D etc. In the Mark IV, the top surface of the infrared-absorption glass has been given a fluorine coating to prevent dust sticking to it.
I changed my lens while shooting and didnít switch off the camera as is my normal practice. I got two big dust spots. However, when I switched off the camera and switched it on, the sensor shake gets activated and the dust spots vanished. At narrow apertures like f16, f22 etc the dust becomes highly visible. However, I clicked at f29 to test and still could not find the trace of dust. So Canon seems to have got it right.
Most of the people would be interested in the high ISO images and the Auto focus system. In the first part of this review, I would concentrate on the ISOs.