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Canon 1D Mark IV

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Canon 1D Mark IV Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally very fast, even for a professional digital SLR.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~0.4 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot. (So short that it's difficult to measure.)

Shutdown

2.2 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card. Sensor cleaning on shut-down enabled.

Buffer clearing time
6 seconds
after 60 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
10 seconds
after 25 RAW files*
12 seconds
after 17 RAW+L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 90MB/s 32GB CompactFlash card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

The Canon 1D Mark IV turned in a very fast startup time, making it difficult to measure. Sensor cleaning was enabled on start-up and shut-down. At start-up pressing the shutter button aborts sensor cleaning, as it should. The Canon 1D Mark IV's buffer clearing times are very good, but of course depend on the image quality and size, as well as the speed of the memory card.

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.1 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~1.1 second

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.3 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

The Canon 1D Mark IV's mode switching times are very good, with the exception of Record to Play, which is about average.

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
Optical Viewfinder

0.104 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (Except where otherwise noted, all AF timing measured with Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Macro lens.)

Full Autofocus
Single-point AF
Optical Viewfinder
(Short Release enabled)

0.108 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Prefocused
Optical Viewfinder

0.049 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF
Optical Viewfinder
0.088 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
Optical Viewfinder
0.077 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".
Full Autofocus
Live View
"Quick Mode"
(Phase Detect)
1.084 seconds
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. This is phase-detect autofocus, the camera drops the mirror to focus, then raises it to grab the shot.
Full Autofocus
Live View
"Live Mode"
(Contrast Detect)
1.255 seconds
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. This is contrast-detect autofocus, the camera reads Live View data from the image sensor to determine focus.
Prefocused
Live View
0.113 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button..

The Canon 1D Mark IV's full autofocus shutter response is very fast, at 0.104 second using our standard single-point AF test. Enabling "Short Release" in Custom Function 4-14 actually increased lag a bit, to 0.108 second. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a very short lag time of only 0.049 second. Shutter lag in Manual focus was a bit slower, at 0.077 second, and in Continuous focus mode it was 0.088 second.

The Canon 1D Mark IV's AF lag time in Live View mode was longer (as expected), but not as slow as some SLRs in this mode. We measured 1.084 seconds using "Quick Mode" (phase-detect AF), and 1.255 seconds using Live Mode (contrast-detect). Prefocused, the Canon 1D Mark IV's shutter lag was pretty fast in Live View mode, at only 0.113 second.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance. We also use the same Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro with every camera (on all platforms except Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds and Nikon consumer models lacking an in-body focus motor), to further reduce variation, and because our tests showed that focus-determination time with this lens was close to the fastest, across multiple camera bodies from different manufacturers. Being an older design with a non-ultrasonic motor, it wouldn't be the fastest at slewing from one focus setting to another, but that's exactly the reason we measure focus determination speed, which is primarily a function of the camera body, vs focus adjustment speed, which is primarily a function of the lens.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.29 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, ~0.5 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.27 second

Time per shot, averaged over 40 shots, 10 seconds to clear.

Single Shot mode
RAW + Large/Fine JPEG
0.30 second

Time per shot, averaged over 26 shots, 12 seconds to clear.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.10 second (9.95 frames per second);
46 frames total;
6 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 46 shot buffer capacity.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.10 second (9.95 frames per second);
25 frames total;
10 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 25 shot buffer capacity. Slowed to an average of 0.44 second or 2.30 frames per second when buffer was full, with a cycle time variation of 61%.

Continuous mode
RAW + Large/Fine
JPEG

0.10 second (9.94 frames per second);
17 frames total;
12 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 17 shot buffer capacity. Slowed to an average of 0.64 second or 1.56 frames per second when buffer was full, with 1,150% variation.

Flash recycling

n/a

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 90MB/s 32GB CompactFlash card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times in the Canon 1D Mark IV's single-shot mode were extremely fast at 0.29 second for Large/Fine JPEGs, 0.27 second for RAWs and 0.30 second for RAW + L/F JPEGs.

Continuous mode speeds were also blazingly fast, at 9.95 frames-per-second for JPEGs or RAWs, and 9.94 frames-per-second for RAW + L/F JPEGs. Measured buffer depths were good but not great at 46 L/F JPEGs, 25 RAWs and 17 RAW + L/F JPEGs. (Note that in our cycle time testing we shoot a target consisting of a fine-grained digital noise pattern, designed to be very hard to compress. This gives us worst-case buffer capacity numbers: You're likely to see greater buffer capacity when shooting more normal subjects.)

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

4,434 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, the Canon 1D Mark IV's download speeds are good, but not particularly fast.

Bottom line, the Canon 1D Mark IV is one of the fastest digital SLRs on the market today. We only wish the buffer size was bigger to better accommodate the fast frame rate. At 10 frames-per-second, it only takes about 2.5 seconds to fill the buffer when shooting full size RAWs.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Good battery life for a professional SLR.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Optical Viewfinder)
1,500
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard, Live View LCD)
270

The Canon 1D Mark IV uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is good when using the optical viewfinder, but much lower than some competing professional models (For example, the Nikon D3S is rated at 4,200 shots). Also keep in mind the Mark IV does not have a built-in flash, so that's one reason why the number is much higher compared to SLRs with a flash. We recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the Canon 1D Mark IV is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Canon 1D Mark IV accepts both CompactFlash Type I/II and SD/SDHC memory cards, and does not ship with a card.

Image Capacity with
1GB Memory Card
Fine JPEG RAW RAW
+
Fine JPEG
4,896 x 3,264
Images
(Avg Size)
169
6.1 MB
43
23.4 MB
34
29.7 MB
Approx.
Comp.
8:1
1.2:1
-
4,320 x 2,880
Images
(Avg Size)
215
4.7 MB
-
-
Approx.
Comp.
8:1
-
-
3,672 x 2,448
Images
(Avg Size)
-
66
15.5 MB
-
Approx.
Comp.
-
1:1
-
3,552 x 2,368
Images
(Avg Size)
281
3.6 MB
-
-
Approx.
Comp.
7:1
-
-
2,448 x 1,632
Images
(Avg Size)
483
2.1 MB
98
10.4 MB
-
Approx.
Comp.
6:1
0.7:1
-

We strongly recommend buying a fast, large capacity CompactFlash memory card for the Canon 1D Mark IV: at least a 2GB card, preferably a 4 or 8GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings, or when shooting RAW files or video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)