Body & Design

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The EOS-1Ds Mark II's body is identical to the EOS-1D Mark II which in turn was almost (some very subtle changes) identical to the EOS-1D and EOS-1Ds. The body itself is based on the EOS-1V, it has an extraordinary solid robust feel about it, very tight seams and absolutely no movement or give in any part. Rubber seals around compartment doors and rubber grommets around all controls provide full weathproofing, when used with L lenses which feature a rubber O-ring the entire camera is 'shower proof'.

The EOS-1Ds Mark II has control system which is designed to avoid accidental settings changes (a must for professional photographers). Almost all settings changes / navigation require the combined use of a button and a dial. This can take a little getting used to but does soon become second nature. The large quick control dial dominates the rear of the camera and provides control over LCD functions as well as exposure compensation and aperture selection in Manual exposure mode.

Side by side

Below you can see the EOS-1Ds Mark II beside Nikon's twelve megapixel D2X. From a build and finish point of view these two cameras are very similar, the only visible difference perhaps being Canon's cleaner, minimalist approach to design and control layout. Of the two the EOS-1Ds Mark II is the heavier at 1.55 Kg (the D2X weighs 1.25 Kg). Some of this at least is due to Nikon's use of a smaller lighter (but higher capacity) Lithium-Ion battery. It will be a surprise to some no doubt that Canon has stuck with 'NiMH brick' for the EOS-1Ds Mark II.

In your hand

Both hand grips are deep and well design (being based on the EOS-1V) with a distinctive middle finger recess. In your hand the camera feels weighty but well balanced and extremely solid. The depth of the recessed 'lip' at the top of the hand grip provides a vital key for locating the correct grip as well as providing additional grip ability

LCD Monitor

The Mark II's rear LCD is a newer 2.0" 230,000 pixel type (compared to 120,000 pixels of the EOS-1Ds). It is protected by a plastic screen (which extends over the rear status LCD). The screen apears brighter and sharper.

It doesn't however have an anti-reflective coating as we have seen on numerous Nikon digital SLR's.

Top LCD Panel

The top LCD panel provides information related to the cameras photographic settings such as exposure, drive mode, metering, focus mode etc. As shown below this panel has a blue LED backlight which can be turned on by pressing the backlight button.

1 Shooting Mode
(P, M, Tv, Av)
6 Metering mode
(Eval, Partial, Spot, CWA)
2 Aperture
DEP point number
AEB amount
AF point selection
Memory card number
7 AF Mode
(One Shot, AI Servo)
3 Shutter speed
Bulb time (Min/Sec)
AF point selection
FE lock (FEL)
Busy (busy, PC)
Error (Err)
8 Drive Mode
(Single, Low speed continuous, High speed continuous, 10 sec self-timer, 2 sec self-timer)
9 Exposure level / exposure compensation scale
4 ISO indicator 10 Battery level (four stages)
5 Shots remaining *1
ISO speed
Self timer countdown
Bulb time (Hours)
Error code
Remaining images to record
11 Personal Function indicator
12 Flash exposure compensation indicator
13 Auto Exposure Bracketing indicator

*1 • C.Fn 8 allows you to select remaining shots, ISO sensitivity or shots in folder for this display.

Default display is indicated in bold.
Diagram reproduced from the EOS-1Ds Mark II 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 LCD is backlit by blue LED's 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 White balance mode
(Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash, Manual, Color Temperature)
5 Folder number

Compact Flash card slot
Selector & indicator

6 File number *1
Color temperature value (PC-1 - PC-3)
3 Secure Digital slot
Selector & indicator
7 Data transfer icon
4 Image size & quality
RAW / Large / Medium1 / Medium2 / Small
RAW + Large / Medium1 / Medium2 / Small
8 White balance correction
Blue to Amber
Green to Magenta

*1 • C.Fn 8 allows you to select file number or remaining shots for this display.

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