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Timings & File Sizes

Every time you press the shutter release on the EOS-1Ds Mark II a huge amount of data has to be transferred and processed. A conservative estimate would be 12-bits (probably internally as a 16-bit word) for each of the 16.7 million pixels (25 MB), add the processing required to generate a JPEG image and you can probably double that. It's pretty impressive therefore that this camera can achieve four frames per second for up to 35 JPEG or 11 RAW images. Performance of the rest of the camera can be simply described as instant, power-on, auto focus, display, browsing, menus.

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 4992 x 3328 JPEG Fine (approx. 5,400 KB per image).

The media used for these tests were:

  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme III Compact Flash card
  • 8 GB SanDisk Ultra II Compact Flash card
  • 1 GB SanDisk Extreme SD card
Action
Details
Time, secs
(1 GB CF)
Time, secs
(8 GB CF)
Time, secs
(1 GB SD)
Power Off to On   0.0 0.0 0.0
Power On to Off   0.0 0.0 0.0
Record Review *1
RAW
1.4 1.4 1.4
Record Review *1
JPEG
1.3 1.3 1.3
Play *2
RAW
0.9 / 0.6 0.9 / 0.6 0.9 / 0.6
Play *2
JPEG
1.5 / 0.9 1.5 / 0.9 1.6 / 0.9
Play Image to Image
RAW
<0.5 <0.5 <0.5
Play Image to Image
JPEG
<0.5 <0.5 <0.5

*1 Time taken from the shutter release being pressed to the review image being displayed on the LCD monitor.
*2

The Mark II appears to cache images which have been viewed recently to speed up browsing in play mode. The first timing is for the camera to load the image from the media card (if it has not already been cached), the second is if they have been viewed and cached by the camera.

Continuous Drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/200 sec, F5.6), ISO 200. Measurements were taken from audio recordings of the tests. Media used were the same as above.

The tests carried out below measured the following results for JPEG and RAW:

  • Frame rate - Initial frame rate, this was always 4.0 fps (+/- 0.01 fps)
  • Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst
  • Buffer full rate - Frame rate if shutter release held down after burst (buffer full)
  • Next full burst - How soon after you can take another full burst

Burst of JPEG Large/Fine images

Timing
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF
8 GB SanDisk
Ultra II CF
1 GB SanDisk Extreme SD
Frame rate 4.0 fps 4.0 fps 4.0 fps
Number of frames 41 39 53
Buffer full rate 1.3 fps 0.8 fps (1.2 sec) 1.8 fps
Next full burst 21.3 sec 38.6 sec 17.6 sec

Burst of RAW images

Timing
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF
8 GB SanDisk
Ultra II CF
1 GB SanDisk Extreme SD
Frame rate 4.0 fps 4.0 fps 4.0 fps
Number of frames 11 11 11
Buffer full rate 0.6 fps (1.6 sec) 0.4 fps (2.4 sec) 0.7 fps (1.5 sec)
Next full burst 17.1 sec 25.9 sec 15.3 sec

The EOS-1Ds Mark II indicates a pretty conservative 32 frames buffer space in JPEG mode at ISO 100, as long as you use a fairly fast card you can expect at least 35, and in the case of the amazing SanDisk Extreme SD card over 50 frames in a single burst. In the case of RAW the estimated space is exactly correct, it's always 11 frames no matter what media is used. Considering the amount of data being processed and the size of the files generated the EOS-1Ds Mark II's continuous shooting and throughput performance has to be considered pretty incredible.

File Flush Timing

Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card. Timing was taken from the instant the shutter release was pressed to the time the storage card activity indicator beside the storage compartment went out. The Mark II will begin writing images approximately a third of a second after the shutter release and will continue 'in the background' while you take further shots / change settings. Media used were the same as above.

Image type
Time, secs
(1 GB CF)
Time, secs
(8 GB CF)
Time, secs
(1 GB SD)
Approx.
size
4992 x 3328 RAW + JPEG *1 3.6 4.6 3.0 19,972 KB
4992 x 3328 RAW 2.6 3.3 2.3 14,728 KB
4992 x 3328 JPEG (L, q10) 1.9 2.5 1.7 9,800 KB
4992 x 3328 JPEG (L, q8) *2 1.4 1.9 1.3 5,200 KB
4992 x 3328 JPEG (L, q6) 1.3 1.7 1.0 3,500 KB
3072 x 2048 JPEG (M2, q8) 1.1 1.6 0.8 2,200 KB

*1 File size reported here is the size of the RAW and JPEG files added together.
*2 Default JPEG quality.
  The Mark II begins writing approximately 0.3 seconds after the shutter release is pressed so you must subtract this from the above timings to get the actual write time.

As you can see from the figures above there's a fairly big difference in performance between the SanDisk Extreme III CF, the largest Ultra II CF and the Extreme SD card. In real terms with a responable card write times are typically no longer than three seconds, which for a camera such as this (no real sporting pretences) is more than acceptable. As was the case with the EOS-1D Mark II the EOS-1Ds Mark II has its fastest write speeds with the SD card. The graphs below demonstrate that the SD interface is capable of approximately 14% better throughput with otherwise similarly peforming cards.

Card performance: JPEG Fine continuous burst write

Card Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II write speed (JPEG Fine)
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF 6,437 KB/sec
8 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF 3,910 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Ultra II SD 8,055 KB/sec

Card performance: RAW continuous burst write

Card Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II write speed (16 MP RAW files)
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF 7,810 KB/sec
8 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF 5,977 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Ultra II SD 9,065 KB/sec

Cardbus 32-bit Adapter benchmark

Card Cardbus 32-bit Adapter, write speed (16 MP RAW files)
1 GB SanDisk Extreme III CF *1 9,728 KB/sec
8 GB SanDisk Ultra II CF *1 5,138 KB/sec
1 GB SanDisk Ultra II SD *2 9,713 KB/sec

*1 Using Delkin CF CardBus Adapter
*2 Using Panasonic SD CardBus Adapter

Battery life

The EOS-1Ds Mark II features the same large NP-E3 battery as has been used in the 1D and 1Ds. This battery is specified as 1650 mAh at 12 V, which works out as 19.8 Wh (or about twice the power of the EOS 20D's Lithium-Ion battery). Unlike the EOS 20D this battery pack uses NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) battery technology. Once again I'm still surprised Canon hasn't switched to Lithium-Ion or Lithium Polymer batteries which would provide more capacity in a lighter package. That said many users of the EOS-1D Mark II have commented on just how long the battery lasts and our experience was equally as good.

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