Conclusion - Pros

  • Class leading resolution, the best we've ever seen *
  • First full 35 mm size sensor digital SLR, offers excellent wide angle opportunities
  • Excellent color response with good selection of color matrices (inc. Adobe RGB)
  • Based on the superb EOS-1D/1V
  • Controls intuitive for EOS-1V and EOS-D2000 / D6000 users
  • Very large viewfinder view, 100% field of view and 87 ms blackout time
  • Low noise, even at high sensitivities, ISO 50 offers even cleaner images (less dynamic range)
  • Conservative approach to sharpening, plenty of sharpening options in-camera and post-shot
  • Excellent and supremely fast auto focus, 45 point AF and a large AF area for focus tracking
  • Amazing construction, 'hewn from a solid block of metal' feel
  • Environmentally sealed, can withstand a lot of punishment
  • Respectable continuous shooting capability considering the amount of data being shifted
  • Good buffering system with good Compact Flash write speeds
  • RAW+JPEG feature provides a 'ready to use' as well as a 'digital negative'
  • Huge range of custom and personal functions (more than ever)
  • Personal functions can now be enabled/disabled in-camera
  • In-camera configurable tone and sharpening (two different parameters)
  • In-camera configurable JPEG compression ratio (important with such big images)
  • Playback magnification now added (although doesn't go far enough for me)
  • Three types of bracketing: Exposure, Sensitivity (ISO), White Balance
  • ISO sensitivities selectable in 1/3 stop steps. ISO 50 as custom function option
  • Virtually instant startup time, no delays operationally
  • Inbuilt portrait grip
  • Excellent (if slightly conservative) matrix metering
  • Superb long exposure performance (fifteen minutes, no problem, little noise)
  • Extremely flexible controls, lots of options for the photographer
  • Interchangeable focus screen
  • Supplied hand strap
  • Good, large, 2" LCD (although no anti-reflective coating)
  • Illuminated status LCD's
  • Firewire (IEEE 1394) connectivity with remote computer control
  • Good battery life (seems better than 1D)
  • CF Type II support - officially supports IBM Microdrive, supports FAT32 >2 GB cards
  • Voice annotation feature (built-in mic)
  • Much improved stand-alone RAW conversion software plus third party options
  • Battery / Double Charger and AC Adapter all included with camera
  • Full EOS lens compatibility
  • Data Verification Kit option

* At the time of publication of this review

Conclusion - Cons

  • Some moiré occasionally visible
  • ISO 100, ISO 200 noise levels not as low as EOS-D60, better at higher sensitivities *
  • Full size sensor means that edge lens aberrations are now more visible than APS-size sensor
  • Maximum sensitivity of ISO 1250 may be limiting to some photographers
  • JPEG files are not tagged with color profile when Adobe RGB color matrix is selected
  • Slow RAW conversion, Canon File Viewer Utility feels lethargic
  • Menu system can at first be frustrating
  • There should be a custom function to allow settings to be changed with one hand
  • No GPS / serial connection
  • No video out

* Although at the same print size noise will be less visible due to the larger image size of the 1Ds

Overall conclusion

The EOS-1D broke several barriers, it was the first digital SLR with full environmental seals (and apart from the 1Ds still is), it was also the first digital SLR to deliver that huge 8 frames per second shooting speed (and still is). Canon's "1" SLR's have always represented the most prestigious and highest quality of their time and the EOS-1Ds certainly lives up to that billing, it also breaks barriers, it's the first released digital SLR with double figure effective pixel count and it's also one of the first released digital SLR's with a full 35 mm size sensor (Contax's N Digital has been in and out of release status).

The full size sensor means several things, firstly that the field of view of a lens used on the EOS-1Ds is identical to the same lens used on a 35 mm film SLR. This means that lenses are being used as designed, and that all those super wide angle lenses really can come into their own.

The full size sensor also means a big viewfinder view, in this respect the 1Ds is the most pleasant and exciting digital SLR I've shot with, when I first picked up the 1Ds and looked through the viewfinder I couldn't get over how much you can see and what a huge difference this makes to framing and focusing, to "seeing" the shot. This is so hard to describe but trust me when I say your first look through that viewfinder will be a revelation.

Canon's full size CMOS sensor is certainly something that their R&D department should be proud of, it's clearly cutting edge technology to be able to firstly (a) have a full 35 mm size sensor which is economic enough to produce, (b) deliver a huge pixel count across that large frame size and (c) have enough bandwidth and processing power to shoot at up to three frames per second. On top of all that image quality is simply superb, great resolution, low noise and the excellent color response that we've come to expect from Canon Digital SLR's.

What more can I say? I love this camera, it's addictive, you get the first hit when you pick it up, look through the viewfinder and press that shutter release, it's one of the most effective and rewarding photographic tools you can use. The next hit comes when you see the images on a monitor (and prints look even better still). Simply the best (at the time of writing this review).

Highly Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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