Image parameters

The Mark II splits its 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 previous iterations of the EOS-1D as you can see from the table below.

Tone curve Yes, via upload Yes, via upload Yes, via upload
Contrast No No Yes, +/-2
Sharpness Level & Pattern Level & Pattern Level
Color space Preset color matrix Preset color matrix Preset, custom matrix
Color saturation No No Yes, custom matrix
Color tone No No Yes, custom matrix

Parameters: Tone curve

Custom Tone Curves can be created using the supplied Canon EOS Viewer Utility while manipulating a RAW file, these curves can then be saved into a .TCD file and uploaded into one of the three custom Tone Curve locations in the Mark II. The samples below were shot one after another in JPEG mode with first the standard tone curve and then a custom tone curve.

Settings: Settings: ISO 200, Canon EF 24-70 mm F2.8L, Color matrix: Standard

Standard tone curve Custom tone curve (very contrasty)

Parameters: Sharpness

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. From a professional workflow and finishing point of view this can be seen as a good thing as it does ensure that no sharpening artifacts are introduced into the image (which can not be removed later) and allows the photographer (or picture editor) to sharpen the image were appropriate.

Personally I prefer my images with a little sharpening out of the camera, I would recommend a Sharpness setting of 3 as this delivers sharp details with very few artifacts, personally however I used a setting of 2 which delivers a very clean image with no halo artifacts but still enough sharpening to 'pull out' the detail.

Settings: Settings: ISO 200, Canon EF 24-70 mm F2.8L, Color matrix: Standard

Sharpness: 0
Sharpness: 1
Sharpness: 2
Sharpness: 3
Sharpness: 4
Sharpness: 5

Parameters: Contrast

Adjusting the tone alters the shape of the 'S 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.

Settings: Settings: ISO 200, Canon EF 24-70 mm F2.8L, Parameters: Shp+2

  Contrast Luminosity histogram