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Canon EOS-1D Review

November 2001 | By Phil Askey


Preview based on a full production EOS-1D, Firmware Version 1.0.1

Introduction

Canon's EOS-1D is the first professional digital SLR from Canon since the EOS-D2000 (introduced in March 1998 which was a collaborative effort with Kodak, also known as the Kodak DCS 520). Indeed, the EOS-1D is the first all Canon professional digital SLR. Canon themselves admit that after the EOS-D2000 they were caught dragging their heels somewhat when Nikon released the D1 but believe that they are coming back strong with the 4 megapixel 8 fps EOS-1D.

The EOS-1D is based on the excellent (and highly praised) EOS-1V professional film SLR. The 1D's body is almost identical to an EOS-1V with the additional powerdrive booster attached. The primary differences are the EOS-1D's battery and vertical grip have now become a moulded part of the camera body, and of course that the back of the camera hosts an LCD monitor with variety of 'digital' controls and buttons.

Canon EOS-1D major features summary

  • Professional EOS Digital SLR
  • Magnesium body, environmentally sealed, based on EOS-1V
  • Integrated battery compartment / vertical hand grip
  • 4.48 megapixel CCD sensor (primary colour filter)
  • Focal length multiplier: 1.3x
  • Output image size: 2464 x 1648 or 1232 x 824
  • JPEG (Fine/Normal), RAW (12-bit)
  • Simultaneous RAW+JPEG mode (saves RAW plus either Full size or Half size JPEG)
  • Maximum burst speed of 8 fps for up to 21 JPEG frames or 16 RAW frames
  • Option to also record a JPEG file when shooting RAW
  • ISO 200 - 1600 in 1/3 stop steps, ISO 100 or 3200 available from a custom function
  • ISO sensitivity bracketing
  • Same 45-point AF as EOS-1V
  • Response time similar to the EOS-1V - 57 ms shutter release and 87 ms viewfinder blackout
  • Evaluative, Partial, Center-weighted, Spot and Multi-spot metering
  • Shutter speed range: Bulb, 30 - 1/16,000 sec (1/500 sec flash X-sync)
  • Aperture range: F91 - F1
  • Noise reduction can be enabled for exposures 1/15 sec or slower
  • IEEE 1394 (Firewire) connectivity
  • CF Type I or II (inc. IBM Microdrive)
  • Hybrid Auto White balance combines external white balance sensor and main CCD
  • White balance bracketing
  • Up to three parameter sets: tone (gamma) curve, sharpening, JPEG compression ratio
  • Selectable 'colour matrix' settings define colour space (sRGB / Adobe RGB) and balance
  • 21 custom functions, 25 personal functions, which can be stored into 'function groups'
  • Bracketing of exposure (shutter / aperture), white balance and ISO sensitivity
  • Voice annotation capability (built-in microphone)
  • Illuminated status LCD's
  • Cropped viewfinder (to enable compatibility with EOS-1V focusing screens)
  • Supplied RAW conversion application (TWAIN), supplied remote capture software
  • Double battery charger


EOS-1V meets its digital brother

Here you can see how closely related the EOS-1D is to the the EOS-1V with the powerdrive booster. The entire 'photographic' side of the camera is identical to the 1V, all the controls for exposure mode, AF, ISO, drive, bracketing, metering, exposure compensation, FEL, AF points, AE lock etc. are in the same places. The 1D is slightly thicker and the vertical hand grip now fits flush to the back of the camera (as it is now an integral part of the body). The viewfinder eyecup protrudes further than the 1V and this helps to keep your face away from the LCD screen (avoid 'nose smear'). The final difference is that the 1D is very slightly shorter (vertically).

Summary of physical differences (1D vs. 1V )

  • EOS-1D is slightly shorter (height) by approx. 10 mm, deeper (front to back) by approx. 6 mm and narrower (across the front) by approx. 6 mm than the EOS-1V
  • EOS-1D and 1V are virtually the same weight (both loaded with batteries)
  • EOS-1D eyecup protrudes further (set further away from the rear)
  • Battery compartment and vertical hand grip are integrated into camera body
  • EOS-1D has an additional assist button on the rear of the camera for the vertical grip
  • EOS-1D has a slightly larger Quick Control Dial
  • Power switch has been relocated to below Quick Control Dial
  • Obvious addition of LCD monitor, status panel and 'digital control' buttons
  • Top status LCD has been slightly redesigned
  • Connectors on left side of camera are under two rubber doors: digital, remote, PC terminal
  • EOS-1D has an external white balance sensor on the front, right of the camera


EOS-D30 meets its big brother

As you can see the EOS-1D has much smoother, 'professional' lines than the EOS-D30. With the optional battery pack on the D30 the 1D is very slightly taller and wider. Thanks to its solid metal case the 1D is approximately 300 g (11 oz) heavier.


4.15 megapixels

The EOS-1D features a 4.58 megapixel CCD (not made by Canon), this may well be a departure from the CMOS type sensor used in the EOS-D30 but Canon explained that this was simply to do with the CCD sensor's ability to output its image data at high speed and thus keep up with the eight frames per second specified shooting rate. The other detail about the sensor is its size, it's larger (relatively speaking) than the CMOS sensor used in the EOS-D30 and reduces the focal length multiplier (cropping factor) to 1.3x. This means that Canon's new 16 - 35 mm L lens offers a wide 21 - 46 mm equiv. focal length range.


Camera Type Effective pixels
(millions)
Effective *1 resolution Output *2 resolution Focal length mult. Effective imager size (mm) Pixel size
(�m)
Nikon D1 CCD 2.66 2012 x 1324 2000 x 1312 1.5x 23.7 x 15.6 11.8 x 11.8
Canon EOS-D30 CMOS 3.25 2226 x 1460 2160 x 1440 1.6x 22.0 x 14.9 9.9 x 9.9
Canon EOS-1D CCD 4.15 2496 x 1662 2464 x 1648 1.3x 27.0 x 17.8 10.8 x 10.8
Nikon D1x CCD 5.33 4028 x 1324 3008 x 1960 1.5x 23.7 x 15.6 5.9 x 11.7
APS-C negative Film n/a n/a   n/a 23.4 x 16.7 n/a
35mm negative Film n/a n/a   n/a 35.0 x 23.3 n/a

*1 Effective meaning active pixels used to capture image
*2 Output resolution being the resolution of the final image

As you can see the EOS-1D's sensor is larger than an APS-C size negative and that despite the additional resolution the pixel size is approximately the same as the Nikon D1.


Review Notes

Custom / Personal functions - throughout this review you will see small items written in this blue text, these relate to the interaction of one or more of the EOS-1D's custom or personal functions on that particular camera feature.

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If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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This article is Copyright 2001 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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