The EOS-1Ds Mark II divides image parameter adjustment into two groups, the first is 'Parameters' which provides for control of the Tone Curve, Sharpness and Contrast. The second is 'Color matrix' which provides for control of Color space, Saturation and Color Tone. This is a notable improvement over the EOS-1Ds as you can see from the table below. Note the only parameter we have not provided samples for is Tone curve, you can see this setting in action in our EOS-1D Mark II review.
|EOS-1Ds||EOS-1Ds Mark II|
|Tone curve||Yes, via upload||Yes, via upload|
|Sharpness||Level & Pattern||Level|
|Color space||Preset color matrix||Preset, custom matrix|
|Color saturation||No||Yes, custom matrix|
|Color tone||No||Yes, custom matrix|
As with previous professional digital SLR's Canon has taken a 'hands off' approach to image sharpening on the Mark II. The Sharpness setting on the Mark II ranges from 0 (virtually no sharpening) to 5 (sharp). The Standard image parameter set has a Sharpness setting of 0, so essentially 'out of the box' the camera has almost no sharpening applied to its images. While this can be seen as a good thing from a 'purist' point of view it does leave images looking overly soft. After quite some experimentation we found that a setting of 1 or 2 gave the best compromise between sharpness and avoiding an over-processed look to the image.
Adjusting the tone alters the shape of the curve used to map the linear image data captured by the sensor into the correct gamma. A lower contrast setting maintains more of the original data's dynamic range but leads to a flatter looking image. A higher contrast setting stretches the grayscale (dark to light) of the image and could lead to clipping of both shadow detail and highlights. As you can see this is a fairly subtle adjustment, there isn't a huge difference between -2, 0 and +2.