It won't come as any surprise that the 1D Mark IV is a fast camera - this is Canon doing fast as well as it possibly can. It may be a commercial proposition, rather than a cost-no-object engineer's fantasy, but speed is what the 1D IV exists for and it's hard to imagine Canon doing anything that might undermine the prowess of its prestigious, flagship model.

Timings & File Sizes

Timing Notes: All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a full resolution (4256 x 2832) JPEG Fine (approx. 11MB per image).

The media used for these tests was:

  • 16 GB Lexar Professional UDMA (600x) CompactFlash card
Time, secs
(32 GB SanDisk)
Power Off to On *1   0.3
Power Off to Shot   0.3
Shot to shot time (JPEG) *2
Live view
Shot to shot time (RAW) *2
Live view
Switch from live view   0.3
Power On to Off   <0.1 (effectively instantaneous)

*1 This is the time from turning the switch to the 'On' position to shooting information appearing on the top LCD (as soon as you would be able to verify camera settings).
*2 If you press the shutter button in quick succession in live view the LCD turns dark. In RAW the initial shot to shot time is 0.2 sec.

Continuous Drive mode

To test continuous mode the camera had the following settings: Manual Focus, Manual Exposure (1/640 sec, F5.6), ISO 100. 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 10.0 fps
  • Number of frames - Number of frames in a burst. Using a fast card we exceeded the specified buffer limits
  • Buffer full rate - Frame rate if shutter release held down after full-speed burst (this is an average figure, since once the buffer has been exhausted the frame rate becomes irregular)
  • Write complete - How long after the last shot before the CF access lamp goes out, indicating that all data has left the buffer and been written to the card.

Burst of JPEG Large/Quality 10 images

JPEG quality 10
Frame rate 10 fps
Number of frames
Buffer full rate N/A
Write complete
~1 sec

In theory the 1D Mark IV can 'only' shoot 121 jpeg images when fitted with one of the latest UMDA memory cards but we just couldn't get it to stop. With one of Lexar's 600X UDMA Compact Flash cards, the camera was still firing at full speed, 30 seconds and 300 frames into a burst.

Burst mode (JPEG), 10 fps frame advance, 30 seconds, 200KB MP3

Burst of RAW images

Frame rate 10 fps 10 fps
Number of frames 32 19
Buffer full rate ~4.2 fps ~2.5 fps
Write complete ~7.2 secs ~6.3 secs

In raw mode, the camera will still rattle out images at 10fps for over 3 seconds (2 if you shoot JPEGs as well), making it pretty handy in situations with challenging light where you might wish to correct white balance and tailor the noise reduction at a more convenient moment. Even with a full buffer the 1D Mark IV will shoot erratically at an average of over 4 frames per second - faster than many cameras manage at their best.

Battery life

The Mark IV takes the same Lithium Ion LP-E4 battery (11.1V, 2300 mAh) as the Mark III, which is rated at 1500 shots according to CIPA standards. When using live view that figure drops to a compact-camera-like 270 shots, though we doubt many 1D Mark IV owner will use live view for all their shooting.