Canon EOS-1D Mark II Review
One difference between the original EOS-1D and the Mark II is that Canon has removed the external white balance sensor. That doesn't appear to have had a negative, nor positive effect on automatic white balance capability. To the Mark II's credit it did do a fairly good job in fluorescent light however incandescent still has a noticeable orange color cast.
Settings: ISO 100, Canon EF 24-70 mm F2.8L, Parameters: Shp+2, Color Matrix: Standard
|Outdoors, Auto||Outdoors, Cloudy, Sunny, Shade||Outdoors, Manual|
|Incandescent, Auto||Incandescent, Incandescent||Incandescent, Manual|
|Fluorescent, Auto||Fluorescent, Fluorescent||Fluorescent, Manual|
White Balance Fine Tuning ('Correction')
The Mark II is unique in providing two different white balance fine tuning shifts (they refer to it as 'correction'). In white balance correction mode you can introduce a blue to amber shift by turning the main dial (top of camera) and a green to magenta shift with the quick command dial (rear of camera). This means you can of course combine them (eg. Blue +4 and Green +4).
|Blue +9||No adjustment||Amber +9|
|Green +9||No adjustment||Magenta +9|
The Mark II has an optional dark frame subtraction noise reduction feature for long exposures. Close examination of the images with noise reduction off shows no hot pixels at all and very low noise characteristics, enabling noise reduction at these exposure lengths doesn't appear to make very much difference (but would probably be more important for very long exposures, such as the 5 minute test below).
Settings:Canon EF 17-35 mm F2.8L, Parameters: Shp+2, Color Matrix: Standard
|Noise Reduction: Off||Noise Reduction: On|
|ISO 100, 13 sec, F6.3|
Five minute exposure
To really test the Mark II's long exposure capability we decided to execute a five minute Bulb exposure, for this I dropped the sensitivity to ISO 50 and increased the aperture to F18. As you can see the camera delivered a very nice clean image with no visible noise.
|ISO 50, 304 sec (just over 5 mins), F18, Noise Reduction On|
The Mark II features a new version of Canon's E-TTL flash metering system. E-TTL II now utilizes additional 'distance information' provided to the camera by the lens (not all lenses provide this, see list earlier in this review). As you can see from the samples below the Mark II had no problems with our rudementary tests.
|550EX direct - Slightly over powered, good white balance, good color||550EX bounced - Good performance, only moderately under exposed|
|550EX direct - Color patches - Even illumination, good metering, excellent white balance, good color|
Overall Image Quality / Specifics
The image quality delivered by the Mark II is every bit as good as we could have expected. The CMOS sensor delivers silky smooth clean images at ISO 100 and 200 with only the hint of some noise at ISO 400 and 800. With eight million pixels packed onto an 1.3x multiplier sized sensor this camera demands high quality lenses, and will only show you its true potential with some expensive glass (or decent prime lenses).
At first at least it's fair to say that Mark II JPEG images do appear slightly softer than expected. Perhaps the increase in resolution has required the use of a different anti-alias filter or places a higher requirement on lens quality or simply that Canon has backed off in-cameras sharpening. Which ever it is we found it was fairly easy to work around this by simply creating a parameter set with a sharpness setting of 2 or 3 (as most people would also do for the EOS-1Ds). We also noted a significant improvement in sharpness shooting RAW and converting in C1 Pro or Adobe Camera RAW.
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