Published on April 9th,2010 at 1:45 PM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

[Review] Canon 1D Mark IV

Canon 1D Mark IV Review

Being a major player in the photography world forces you, for the better or worse, to keep-up working hard in order to improve your already spectacular products… And like Nikon, Canon decided that it was time to offer to its high-end clients and professional users an upgrade of its top-of-the line EOS-1D by adding some long awaited upgrades ranging from the image processor to the censor itself.

First Impression
Designed for a very particular niche of photographers, including photo journalists and sports/action photographers who just cannot afford missing a shot no matter what the shooting conditions are or the subject speed is. Like the Nikon D3s, the 1D MK IV is an impressive camera that can be compared by size and weight with a Canon 5D MK II and its Battery Pack. As you would guess and like many High-end cameras in this categories, Canon worked hard on our 1D ergonomic as well as offering a reliable-in-all-weather-conditions body capable of sustaining both physical and climatic shock without failure.

Compared to its predecessor, the 1D MK III, today’s 1D MK IV does not offer much of aesthetic change, and technically speaking both share the same body, and the only differences between the 2 are that the Mark IV plate is glued on the camera front, and the the MK IV has an upgraded LCD 920,000 dot monitor compared with the 230,000 dot one previously installed on the MK III.

No, really if you have ever played with a MK III or used one of several Canon DSRL before, the MK IV won’t strike you as being utterly different.

Let’s Shoot baby.
Clearly Canon did not bother to mess-up with the 1D MK IV body reserving most of the changes in this new opus for the inside of the camera itself. Just to give you a clear understanding of what’s new here, we have summarized the major changes in a list below:

– 16-Megapixel Resolution APS-H (1.3x) Sensor
– ISO Sensitivity – from 100 up to 102400
– Redesigned 45-Point Autofocus System
– Fast 10 fps Continuous Shooting with Dual DIGIC 4 Image Processors
– Approximately 100% Viewfinder
– 1080p Full HD Video Recording at Selectable Frame Rates

As you may all be aware of, we at HIC and Akihabara News, are not professional photographers, and despite our needs for sharp and perfect pictures, especially for both and we humbly call ourselves advanced users… This said, our approach to such DSLR is also very different from many other future owners of the 1D MK IV and both the video and photo aspect of this camera are important to us, especially in low light. Finally for our test we used the following lenses from Canon with the usual EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM.

Shooting with a 1D MK IV normally should be a magical experience, but strangely we did not feel this magic in our hands as we had done with the Nikon D3s for instance.

All the shots we have taken regardless of whether we were on the Full manual or not were just of “average” quality, lacking sharpness. We cannot say that they were so bad but were certainly far from being stunning / smashing… And things got even uglier when shooting with the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens either at day or night…

We reset the camera several times, tried with different lenses either the ones from Canon or the ones we own and the result was just the same… “OK” feeling. To give you a level of comparison, the same shots using the same lens gave us better result on my 5D MK II…

Added to this is rather low quality video in all settings ranging from the 1080 to 720p, with unbearable moiré pattern on every single building we had in the background of our video. You would immediately understand why, as far as we are concerned, the camera’s photo and video qualities have so far been pretty disappointing.

Moiré Canon 1D Mark IV Review Video

However, one of the major selling points of this new 1D MK IV is its ISO sensibility, and we hoped that this new feature would help us change our mind about and level of appreciation of this camera… And well, like the D3s, the 1D MK IV is not a miracle worker… Sure you will be able to shoot pictures in pitch black without a tripod but at which cost? Let’s say that up to ISO 4000 you will have noise-less pictures, but above this mark, noise on picture is picking-up…

You can access or Photo sample gallery here via our Flickr account

Now what can we say? Well to be very honest with you, we have been very disappointed by the 1D MK IV, so much so that we have started to wonder if the test camera we had did have some major flaws, however, it is interesting to notice that we also had some troubles with the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens on our 5D MK II, making us think that apparently this lens (we tested 2 different models, one from Canon and one of ours) no longer fits the new High-end Canon Generation DLSR monstrous sensor requirement.

So finally who’s to blame? Us for not being capable of taming the 1D MK IV, yep for sure we may have made some mistakes but after all we used SO many cameras that we must have started to know how to use them by now… Canon Lenses? Or the 1D MK IV?…. We believe, well rather we hope, that the answer resides in a bit of both the lenses and the body itself who may have had some problems but as for today and after spending a full week with the 1D MK IV, we are still not sure whether to recommend this camera or not.

Via Canon
Category Review Cameras
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  • CaNOn

    Seems to me that it’s not a recommendable camera.

  • Sakaphoto

    Ever since Nikon’s D300, Canon have been making more mistakes. Even their firmware updates have been mistakes too often. I’m sure they’ll have this body’s problems fixed within a few months, but it always makes me wonder how they let them out the door fairly broken.

    The sensor on this one should be quite noise-free since it’s larger than the typical APS-C sized sensor they use in the lower-priced models, giving it a lower pixel density than recent models.

  • Richard Kaufmann

    English expression: “Horses for Courses.” Cameras in the high-price bracket tend to specialize. The 5D II has a full-frame sensor (and except for the video is a down-scoped variant of the 1ds iii). The 5Dii and the 7D are amazing at video. The D3S is better at ultra-low-light stills. But if what you want is 10fps of high rez images, I doubt you’ll find anything touches the 1dmkiV. If I made my living doing sports photography, I’d own it.

    For a very responsible, detailed review of the 1ds iv, please see

    And the 16-35 II is a great wide angle lens. The Nikon 14-28 is better (boy, I wish I could have that lens on my 1ds iii)! But I get a LOT of great images from my 16-35. A very good review of it is at

    Finally, you really should discuss your post-processing workflow. I’ve never (never!) taken a JPEG image with my 1ds, so cannot comment on how they look. I have taken ~30,000 RAWs, though, and using a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop, I get cracking good images. Given that Canon sensors spit out 12 bit pixels (which for some reason becomes 14 bits in the file), and JPEGs are limited to 8, you’re leaving behind a lot of the image. So, are you folks shooting JPEGs? And things like noise reduction and white balance should be done in post. Right?

    Pardon me for saying so, but your review seems written from the perspective of a non-photographer picking up a professional tool. As I said, horses for courses; understand what the camera is for and then write something that explains how it will be judged by its intended users.

    • Daimaou – G-A.G

      We only shoot in RAW, but for Flickr we uploaded JPEG… On a side note I don’t know why people are so crazy about Dpreview, there is better professional website than this Amazon front store.

  • Cadence SF

    I like that Canon EOS-1 Professional series hasn’t change their body design. They’ve perfected it, and it keeps the cost down to not have to redesign it from ground up.

    Though, I’m surprised that they didn’t produce it in “full frame” format.

  • Ike

    I really like the review, just like Daimaou mentioned I’m also not a fan of DPr. But what I would like to add to this review, is the fact that the 1D mIV is a camera build mainly focussed to and for sports… Canon should have supplied some of the prime lenses that the target audience will use non-stop. I’m referring to the EF 200 F2 IS USM, EF 3 and 400 in both F2.8 and F4 and now with the revision the IS II. It would be good to do some re-reviews about this camera. Since the upgraded firmware was build to get the most out of the lenses in the sports/action segment. Here I only see test with lenses you normally use on the midrange segment (40D up to 7D max), no professional will use lenses like a small zoom on a 1D mIV. 24/70mm – 24/105mm and 70/200 probably being the big exceptions. It is strange to see that the 70/200 F2.8 IS II USM performing poorly in your test results. I found that lens to be spot on perfection compared to the old one.



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