Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Canon 1D Mark IV has arrived – Thanks CameraLensRentals.com! (Updated – 2/3/10 @ Midnight)

Today is a happy day as my Canon 1D Mark IV has finally arrived! Here’s my first pic, which is an unedited JPG taken at ISO 12,800 (click for the original) with a 100mm macro lens (hand held):

f/2.8 @ 1/200 sec (handheld) at ISO 12,800 – In-camera JPEG Large (10)

The above shot did use a JPEG 10 quality (versus the camera default of JPEG 8) and the Strong noise reduction setting (versus the default Standard). I find the noise reduction to be outstanding, and not at all too aggressive (i.e., it’s much less aggressive than most after market noise reduction software). To see the RAW image (converted to JPEG via Lightroom with no modifications), click here.

A quick test of burst mode with my SanDisk 8 GB Extreme III 30MB/sec Compact Flash Memory Card resulted in the buffer write performance I had hoped for:

  • Full RAW mode – 30 frames before the first slight hiccup
  • 40 Frames until consistent pause, 2 frames, pause pattern. With my finger laying down on the shutter, it kept this up until 106 images when I quit but there were no signs that it couldn't do this until the card filled (woohoo).

I don’t have time to play with my camera right now, but a review is coming in the not too distant future. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, CameraLensRentals.com may have a couple units left from its last order. For more information, click here.

If you already have a 1D Mark IV, then check out this cool article.

UPDATE #1 – 2/3/10 at Midnight

Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to play with my new toy tonight, but I did manage to snap off a few shots of the baby which I thought would be a nice test for the auto focus system. These shots were done indoors, at night with only overhead canned lights. I had the wrong metering mode for the situation and I was using my 100mm macro lens which is a very slow focusing lens. Here’s a series of four images taking by me just pressing the shutter release at four separate occasions and never fully releasing it (so I’d stay in AI Servo focusing mode):

image f/2.8 at 1/250 sec using ISO 12,800 (see full settings below)

An interesting note here is that I wasn’t using a manual or center AF point, but rather full AF to see what the camera would do. In short, it nailed. I have other examples and dozens of frames, but the cool thing was that the AF was spot on the entire time! I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new shutter release button because it is much easier to keep it halfway pressed to make series like this successful. My metering was off a bit because I had forgotten to switch back to evaluate from my temporary switch to partial.

Another cool note about the AF performance here is that it locked on using two AF points near his eyes during the entire time in this series, so even his roll didn’t throw the camera off. I wasn’t using any kind of magic face detection or anything – just full auto AF. I found in other shots too that the AF system seemed to do a good job of guessing where I’d want the AF point to be (especially with people – it seems to magically find eyes). I was THRILLED with this AF improvement.

Here’s my EXIF data from DPP 3.7 using the disk that comes with the camera (required as my latest version off the web didn’t read my RAW images):

image For fun I decided to just run Noiseware (Full Strong preset), make a curves adjustment and a touch of Sharpener Pro on the clothes to see how usable one of these images could really be (it’s the image from the top left above):

Click for a larger version f/2.8 at 1/250 sec using ISO 12,800 (see full settings below)

Not bad if you ask me! This is ISO 12,800, indoors at night without a FLASH!!!!! UNREAL!!!

I have noticed that DPP and the in-camera JPEG’s are significantly better than the Adobe Camera Raw processing at this point, but I suspect (and hope) that will change with the next update to ACR/Lightroom.

I also noticed that my camera with a date code of OY0102 came with the latest firmware update that was recently announced.

Overall my initial impressions are very positive.

Custom Function Changes

Here are the only custom settings I’ve changed from their default values:

C.Fn I: Exposure

7 – 1
8 – 2
15 – 1

C.Fn II: Image/Flash exp/Disp

1 – 1
2 – 2
6 – 1

C.Fn III: Autofocus/Drive

8 – 3
9 – 1
11 – 1
14 – 1
16 – 1

C.Fn IV: Operation/Others

8 – 1
14 -1

More to come in future articles, for sure. However I can say right now that this camera is already exceeding my expectations and is a HUGE improvement over my original 1D Mark III.

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