Body & Design

There's not a lot new to see on the 1D Mark IV compared to the last generation - the controls will be instantly familiar to anyone who has used a Canon 1D series camera. The 1D IV's LCD is the same size as its predecessor's but has been upgraded to a 920,000 dot version, rather than the 230,000 dot unit in the 1DIII. Although this doesn't affect your photographs in the slightest, it does help you get a much quicker impression of whether you've got the shot or not. The higher resolution screen is also very useful for fine focus using magnified live view and for shooting video (which has to be done via live view).

EOS 1D Mark IV compared to EOS-1D Mark III

Where as the 1D Mark III represented a comparatively large step forward from the 1D Mark IIN (and we're still talking about cautious and considered steps, rather than giant leaps), the Mark IV is visually near-identical to its predecessor. Canon says it has re-shaped the buttons and refined their feel to help operation of the camera while wearing gloves. However the similarity is such that there's no point us showing them alongside one another (the most visible difference is a neater rubber cover over the WFT-E2 II socket, and the anti-reflective coating on the Mark IV's LCD makes it appear darker).

Side by side: Nikon D3S

Although the fine detail of the designs differ, both Canon and Nikon have come to a fairly similar conclusion about what this type of camera needs to look like and what it needs to offer. Both have two substantial grips that can be comfortably held when shooting over long periods and (once you've become acclimatized to one particular company's layout) quick-to-use, ergonomic control layouts. There's little to choose between the two in terms of build quality and, whichever marque you align yourself with, you're still going to be carrying around the best part of one and a half kilos (over 3 pounds).

In your hand

The 1D IV has barely changed its body shape at all compared to the previous generation - it's big but it fits very well in the hand, and all of the key shooting controls are positioned within easy reach. The ergonomics aren't quite so convincing when shooting in the portrait orientation, with a slightly narrower grip and less recessed, more pointed thumb rest not providing the same level of comfortable support.

LCD Monitor

The Mark IV gains the high-resolution, 920,000 dot LCD that Nikon has offered since the D3. The usefulness of that resolution extends well beyond live view, making it much easier to assess image quality as you shoot.

Top LCD Panel

The top panel is virtually identical to that on the Mark III, itself a slight revision of the one from the Mark II (The only addition is a 'D+' symbol that denotes the engagement of Highlight Tone Priority). Despite the greater prominence given to the status panel display on the main LCD, many users are likely to find themselves still referring to the top panel when changing settings. it provides clear, easy-to-read information (there's something about one option disappearing and another appearing elsewhere that makes it quicker to register what's changed, rather than watching words change on the rear LCD).

1 Shooting Mode
(P, M, Tv, Av)
6 AF Mode
(One Shot, AI Servo)
2 ISO Speed
AEB amount
Dust Delete Data acquisition (----)
7 Drive Mode
(Single, Low speed continuous, High speed continuous, 10 sec self-timer, 2 sec self-timer)
3 Shutter speed
Bulb time (Min/Sec)
FE lock (FEL)
Busy (busy,)
Error (Err)
Sensor cleaning (CLn)
8 Exposure level /
exposure compensation scale
9 Mirror lockup
10 Auto Exposure Bracketing indicator
4 Aperture
AEB amount
Dust Delete Data acquisition
11 Flash Exposure Compensation indicator
5 Shots remaining *1
Self timer countdown
Bulb time (Hours)
Recording media full (Full)
Error code
Remaining images to record
12 Battery level indicator (5 levels)
13 Metering mode
(Eval, Partial, Spot, CWA)
14 Highlight Tone Priority
15 ISO

Default display is indicated in bold.
Diagram adapted from the EOS-1Ds Mark IV manual with permission.

Rear LCD Panel

The rear LCD panel provides information about the digital portion of the camera including current image quality setting, white balance, folder and file number and other associated information. Just like the top LCD this one is backlit by blue LEDs which can be turned on by pressing the backlight button on the top of the camera. A complete breakdown of information provided on the Rear LCD Panel is shown below.

1 Compact Flash Icon (Arrow denotes it as selected medium) 7 Image size & quality
Large / Medium1 / Medium2 / Small JPEG
2 Secure Digital icon (Arrow denotes it as selected medium)
8 Wired LAN connection *2
3 External media icon (Arrow denotes it as selected medium)*1 9 Wireless LAN connection *2
4 White balance correction indicator 10 Data transfer icon (when connected to PC)
5 Monochrome shooting 11 Folder number
Recording media indicator (Full/Err)
6 White balance mode
(Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, Manual, Color Temperature)
12 File number
Color temperature value
Custom white balance number
Personal white balance number

*1 Only displayed when connected to WFT-E2 II and external media in use
*2 Only displayed when connected to WFT-E2 II

Default display is indicated in bold.
Diagram adapted from the EOS-1Ds Mark IV manual with permission.