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Image Quality / Specific Issues

Nothing can really prepare you for the huge resolution delivered in the huge EOS-1Ds images, as seems to be Canon's philosophy the default sharpening levels are very low (default sharpening parameter is zero), however create a new parameter set with slightly higher sharpening or apply an Unsharp mask to images and detail leaps out of the image.

Noise levels are also very good (as we had come to expect from Canon's CMOS sensor), better than the EOS-D60 at higher sensitivities but not quite as 'buttery smooth' at ISO 100 (odd because the EOS-1Ds pixel pitch is larger). With an sRGB color matrix selected colors are vivid, if a little 'red strong', but that can of course be adjusted for or avoided completely by using the Adobe RGB color matrix.

Sharpening images

As mentioned above the EOS-1Ds has a fairly soft default sharpening level. Below you will find a comparison of this default level, a sharpening level of 2 and a Unsharp mask of the original 'default' image. The first two images were created from a RAW file using the Canon File Viewer utility.

Settings: ISO 100 / Color matrix: 2 (sRGB - Portrait) / Large (output from FVU quality 3)

Sharpening 0 (default)

1,488 KB JPEG
Sharpening 2

1,790 KB JPEG
Photoshop Unsharp Mask
Amount 100%, Radius 0.6
1,372 KB JPEG

Lens aberrations - the implications for a full size 35 mm sensor

The EOS-1Ds has a full size 35 mm sensor, that means it's using more of the glass of a lens than previous digital SLR's which 'cropped' a portion of the center of the lens (the 'sweet spot' as it's sometimes known). This means that the 1Ds is more likely to reproduce lens effects which are normally to be found near the edges of the lens, such as chromatic aberrations. In addition to this the interaction of the lens and microlenses on the sensor surface, especially at high angle of incidence (wide angle lenses) can introduce or amplify such artifacts.

Chromatic aberrations

Even using the best of Canon's L lenses we couldn't get away from the occasional chromatic aberration effect, that said it does require a particular high contrast situation (such as branches against a sky background) to be apparent. Also because of the 3:2 ratio of the image these artifacts are more likely to be visible on the left or right edges of the frame.

Settings: Parameters: Standard / Color matrix: 1 (sRGB) / Large, Fine

Canon EF 28-70 mm F2.8 L @ 28 mm
ISO 100, 1/200 sec, F7.1
5,384 KB JPEG
Canon EF 17-35 mm F2.8 L @ 17 mm
ISO 400, 1/80 sec, F7.1
5,361 KB JPEG

Vignetting / Light fall off

One other phenomenon which film photographers will be aware of but up D-SLR users haven't had to be concerned about is vignetting / light fall off at wide apertures. The thumbnails below are provided to give an impression of the visibility of fall off which now occurs because of the full 35 mm size sensor. Note that this effect is not unique to the EOS-1Ds, it's a well known and documented phenomenon in the film world. It is most noticeable at wide angle and maximum aperture and will vary depending on the lens.

Canon EF 28-70 mm F2.8 L @ 28 mm

  Canon EOS-1Ds Canon EOS-D60

Canon EF 28-70 mm F2.8 L @ 70 mm

  Canon EOS-1Ds Canon EOS-D60
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