Canon EOS-1D Mark IV review

Started Jan 24, 2010 | User reviews thread
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pursang Regular Member • Posts: 232
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV review

I have been a Mark III shooter since June of 2007. For
my professional work, my primary subject matter is live
theatrical performance which includes acting as well as
dancing ranging from ballet to traditional Tango to the
very fast paced ballroom, specifically shooting Burn the
Floor, which is just completing their Broadway run this
month. Live performance shooting has many of the
same elements of sports photography, except the
lighting is much lower and at times more severe due to
stage lighting. My Mark III performed well in most
instances although I did have occasions where the
autofocus did not perform as well as I had hoped. But
to be fair, I cannot say with 100% certainty that it was
the fault of the gear or the user, me.

I have never been concerned about the 10.1 MP size
of the Mark III having had many of my images blown
up to 6x8 feet posters used on the outside of theatres
and large shots used in four color programs. I had
several concerns with the Mark III which I had hoped
would be addressed in its successor, the Mark IV:

1. A higher ISO range with equal or less noise
2. The ability for the focus point to switch when
changing from landscape to portrait orientation. -
Although the Custom Function allows one to change
the rear wheel to adjust the focus point, I prefer to
use that dial to adjust for exposure. Having to switch in
a very fast paced situation caused me to miss some
great shots.
3. More selection of focus points for manual focus point

Other than those three wishes, I was happy with my
Mark III. In all three cases, the Mark IV met my wishes.
I have done a comparison in low light, low contrast
situations with both Marks at ISO 6400, which for the
Mark III was considered H1. As such, adjusting the ISO
from 3200 to 6400 was not possible in 1/3 stop
increments. More on that later. In the comparison, the
Mark IV handily beats the Mark III in terms of detail and
noise at ISO 6400. Much more detail is visible which has
something to do with a higher MP count, but at 100%
crops, there is a marked difference. The noise on the
Mark IV is less and of a different quality than the Mark
III, more film like than digital.

During performances I had only used ISO 6400 in
conditions which made lower settings impossible. I
have always thought that a noisy shot is much better
than one that is blurred beyond usage. My clients
agree. One of my favorite lenses to use while shooting
on stage as well as from the house is the EF 24-
105mm f4.0 IS L. The focal range on a 1.3 crop sensor
is just PERFECT, but the slowness of the f4.0 kept me
from utilizing that lens with the Mark III unless lighting
was sufficient. This will all change with the Mark IV as
ISO 6400 is just fine using a f4.0 lens in my conditions.

Keep in mind that everyone needs to decide how a
camera is to be used, under what conditions and it is
naive to think that an investment in current glass
won't influence a decision to stay or leave any brand of
camera. I am heavily invested in Canon glass and all of
them are L series lenses. I find that the color and
sharpness of L series lenses are worth the investment,
especially since I purchase most of them on the used
market. There are folks who love to go back and forth
on brand, pixel snooping, stats, etc. in hopes of
proving themselves 'right.' I am NOT one of those
people. To me a mediocre/poor/boring image is the
same whether you take it with film, a full frame DSLR
or medium format camera. (BTW, I'm not sure why
35mm is considered FF anyway. I consider 2.25x2.25
my idea of full frame!) My personal opinion is those who
often argue ad naseum about camera stats take the
lousy or boring pictures anyway.

 pursang's gear list:pursang's gear list
Fujifilm X100T Canon EOS-1D X Pentax 645Z Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM +17 more
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
16 megapixels • 3 screen • APS-H sensor
Announced: Oct 20, 2009
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