Thursday, March 4, 2010

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Video Test in the Wild West!

The blog title fails the Iambic Pentameter test. It succeeds in the "mildly cheesy" category, by far. I have been neglecting my Canon EOS 1D Mark IV audience long enough. Since the camera hit the U.S. market on January 4, 2010, I have been testing the video and still image quality of the camera in between all the new Canon products (T2i) and studying the firmware announcements.(5D Mark II)

The 1D SLR series is the flagship model of the Canon camera lineup. The "1" designation boasts a sturdy and robust weather resistant design compared to the other Canon models. The Mark IV has a lot to live up to considering the demise of its predecessor, the Mark III. In my opinion, the Mark III got a bad rap in the big picture of the camera world. I personally own a Mark III and I love the unique image quality. Yes, I did send it in for the sub-mirror fix and the camera was returned butchered by the Newport News Canon Repair Facility. Butchered meaning they stripped the top and bottom screws that hold the body together. You could literally compress the body like an accordion and dance the polka! Many calls and letters later, the wonderful Irvine, California Repair Facility repaired the repair. The camera is fine now and taking astounding images.

The Canon EOS 1D Mark IV has a 16mp 1.3 crop sensor and now has the dynamic capabilities of HD video capture in all frame rates and resolutions. Enough of the technical talk. I am all about image quality and ISO performance in stills and video, just like my last review of the Rebel T2i. I was worried 16mp would make the image quality mush without all the important skin detail, but I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed by the results. (It better be impressive for the retail price of $5000) As you can see by the images in the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Gallery, you can view for yourself the detail in the pictures.

Run and get this camera if you desire a rugged tank like body with great weather sealing. Walk and get another Canon camera if you do not want to spend $5000. The hefty premium is worth for only the die hard professionals and dedicated novices. How else can one justify the three zeroes in 5000? That is two 5D Mark II's, two and a half 7D's and six Rebel T2i's. Hmmm...Sport photographers love this camera.That is evident from the Vancouver Winter Olympics. It is just about overkill for everything non sports related or events not requiring 10 frames per second. Canon has a camera for every situation at every price range.

ISO evaluation is the next important factor in this review. To make a long story short,ISO 3200 is a dream. ISO 6400 can be used without hesitation. ISO 12800 can be used sparingly but still usable without cringing. ISO 25,500 is for desperate times and ISO 102,000 is absolutely horrible. Check out the photo info in my Mark IV Test Gallery and see for yourself the ISO levels in each image. Enlarge the photo by zooming in and you can compare the ISO noise.

The Canon EOS 1D Mark IV has HD video capture in all frame rates and resolutions like the other Canon HD dslr's.(5DMarkII very soon) Is this feature noteworthy in a camera of this caliber? Yes and no. Yes, the video is outstanding in terms of quality and noise. No, the record button is in a terrible location on the camera. The video capture button (fel) cannot be pressed to record with your thumb. This "thumb" activation of either the set button (5dMarkII) or a dedicated button by the viewfinder (7D and T2i) enables easy access while shooting both still pictures and video of an event. Using my pointing finger to press a tiny button is very awkward. There is more than enough surface area on the back of the Mark IV to put some type of dedicated button but Canon decided on the "fel" button.

Iwill conclude my Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Review with a western goodbye. Canon's flagship is definitely stellar as a technical endeavor but the price is astronomical for the weekend warrior. The Mark IV has every professional's needs when it comes to speed and focus ability. My daughter has a youth soccer game this weekend, so I will post my AI Servo tracking review soon.
The Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Video and Picture Test Gallery

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