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Canon EOS-1Ds Review

December 2002 | By Phil Askey


Review based on a production EOS-1Ds, Firmware Version 1.0.1

Introduction

The EOS-1Ds is Canon's newest professional SLR. Based on the EOS-1D body the EOS-1Ds raises resolution to 11 megapixels, uses a CMOS sensor (just like the EOS-D30 and D60) and is the first Canon digital SLR with a sensor which captures a full 35 mm frame.

Last year Canon introduced the EOS-1D, it was the first professional digital SLR since the EOS-D2000 which was a collaboration with Kodak. The EOS-1D has a 4 megapixel sensor and can capture at an amazing 8 frames per second, clearly targeted at the sports photographer. The EOS-1Ds covers almost every other type of photography, from landscape to portrait, photo journalism to weddings. The ability to use 35 mm lenses at their designed focal length (field of view) combined with the high pixel count will be strong points for those film photographers who have hesitated on going the digital route because of these two issues. The 1Ds is capable of shooting at wider angle than any other digital SLR (at least until the actual release of Kodak's DCS-14n).

The EOS-1Ds body is based around the EOS-1V professional film SLR. From a size point of view the 1Ds body is almost identical to an EOS-1V with the additional powerdrive booster attached. The base of the camera contains the large battery pack and allows for the integration of a vertical (portrait) hand grip and control system. Build quality is superb, the entire body moulded from magnesium alloy with environmental seals around every compartment door, terminal, connector and button.

Canon EOS-1Ds major features summary

  • Professional EOS Digital SLR
  • Magnesium body, environmentally sealed, based on EOS-1V
  • Integrated battery compartment / vertical hand grip
  • 11.4 megapixel CMOS sensor (primary colour filter)
  • Full frame sensor, no field of view crop / focal length multiplier
  • Output image size: 4064 x 2704 or 2032 x 1352
  • JPEG (Fine/Normal), RAW (12-bit)
  • Simultaneous RAW+JPEG mode (saves RAW plus either Full size or Half size JPEG)
  • Maximum burst speed of 3 fps for up to 10 JPEG frames or 10 RAW frames
  • Option to also record a JPEG file when shooting RAW
  • ISO 100 - 1250 in 1/3 stop steps, ISO 50 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 - 1/8,000 sec (1/250 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 sensor
  • 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, 26 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
  • Supplied RAW conversion application (File Viewer Utility)
  • Supplied remote capture (tethered operation) software
  • Double battery charger

New features / updates since the EOS-1D

  • Full-frame 11 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Continuous shooting down to 3 fps, max 10 images
  • ISO range 100 - 1250, ISO 50 selectable from custom function
  • Noise reduction takes effect from 1 sec (1/15 sec for the EOS-1D)
  • Personal functions can be set via in-camera menu
  • JPEG compression now represented as numbers rather than a ruler
  • FAT32 filesystem support for Compact Flash cards greater than 2 GB
  • Playback magnification now available
  • Images can be tagged with a unique 'signature' for use with Data Verification Kit
  • Improved battery life (thanks to CMOS sensor)
  • Fastest shutter speed down to 1/8,000 sec (1/16,000 sec for the EOS-1D)
  • X-Sync speed down to 1/250 sec (1/500 sec for the EOS-1D)


Eleven megapixels

The EOS-1Ds features a full-frame 11 megapixel CMOS sensor. The sensor makes this camera the first Canon EF mount digital SLR without any field of view crop (focal length multiplier), that 16 - 35 mm lens will provide the exact same field of view on the EOS-1Ds as it would on an EOS-1V with film.

Interestingly despite the increase in resolution compared to the EOS-D60 the EOS-1Ds sensor has a larger pixel pitch because of its larger effective imaging area, this in theory will lead to more sensitivity, dynamic range and lower noise. Below you can see a comparison of the EOS-1Ds sensor beside that from the EOS-1D and EOS-D60. To the right is a shot 'down the neck' of the EOS-1Ds with the sensor exposed.


Camera Type Effective pixels
(millions)
Output
image size
Focal length mult. Effective imager size (mm) Pixel pitch
(�m)
Canon EOS-D30 CMOS 3.25 2160 x 1440 1.6x 22.7 x 15.1 9.9 x 9.9
Canon EOS-1D CCD 4.15 2464 x 1648 1.3x 27.0 x 17.8 10.8 x 10.8
Nikon D100 CCD 6.11 3008 x 2000 1.5x 23.7 x 15.6 7.8 x 7.8
Canon EOS-D60 CMOS 6.30 3072 x 2048 1.6x 22.7 x 15.1 7.4 x 7.4
Nikon D1x CCD 5.33 3008 x 1960 1.5x 23.7 x 15.6 5.9 x 11.7
APS-C negative Film n/a   n/a 23.4 x 16.7 n/a
Canon EOS-1Ds CMOS 11.1 4064 x 2704 n/a 35.8 x 23.8 8.8 x 8.8
Kodak DCS-14n CMOS 13.8 4536 x 3024 n/a 36.0 x 24.0 7.9 x 7.9
35 mm negative Film n/a   n/a 36.0 x 24.0 n/a


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-1Ds custom or personal functions on that particular camera feature.

Because of the similarity between the EOS-1Ds and EOS-1D some portions of this review are based on our review of the EOS-1D. Note however that certain critical points must still be observed and so I would recommend you read the entire review even if you are familiar with the EOS-1D.


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.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2002 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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