Canon EOS-1D Mark IICanon doubles the resolution of their speed demon SLR, while actually increasing its speed and cutting image noise. Amazing!
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EOS-1D Mark II Sample ImagesReview First Posted: 01/27/2005
Digital Cameras - Canon EOS-1D Mark II Test Images
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISOsetting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all*that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested inthe information need wade through it!|
(This is my new "Outdoor" Portrait test - read more about it here.)
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the EOS-1D Mark II did a very good job.
The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which resulted in slightly dark midtones, but still good detail. Highlight detail is also good, despite the slightly high contrast. I chose the Auto white balance setting for the main series, though the Daylight, Manual, and 4,900 Kelvin settings all produced nearly accurate results (just slight color casts).
Marti's skin tones look good here, though slightly pink in a few places, but the blue flowers in the bouquet are darker and more purplish than in real life. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, which is in reality light navy blue, with just hints of purple in them.) The red flowers of the bouquet also have a pink cast, but the strong greens and yellows look good. Resolution is very high, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame, even in the deep shadows. Image noise is quite low, with a small, tight grain pattern.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files E1D2OUTAP0.HTM
through E1D2OUTAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Color Temperature White Balance Series:
(Not shot for the EOS 1D Mark II).
I actually have a shot here, taking with my old
outdoor setup, but didn't feel that this shot was all that essential
to duplicate with the new setup in the studio. (I'm actually debating
dropping this shot from the test suite altogether, feeling it's really
a little redundant.)
Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Great color and exposure with an external flash unit.
The EOS-1D Mark II doesn't offer a built-in flash, but does accommodate external flash units via a top-mounted hot-shoe and an additional PC sync socket. Equipped with Canon's excellent external strobe units, the camera handles flash exposures well, with good exposure and color. With the flash head angled upward to bounce the light off the white ceiling here, I chose an exposure adjustment of +1.3 EV because the overall exposure appeared more even. (The shot taken at +1.0 EV is nice and bright, but the flash coverage seemed less even to me.) Color is very good, if slightly warm from the bright incandescent room lighting. A great performance.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +2.0 EV, see files E1D2INFP0.HTM
through E1D2INFP6.HTM on the thumbnail index page.
Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Great color with the Manual white balance, though the 2,800 Kelvin setting also gave good results. Good exposure as well.
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. The EOS-1D Mark II's Manual white balance setting did the best job here, though the 2,800 Kelvin setting came in at a close second (just a little warm). The Auto setting resulted in a very strong warm cast (I'd expect better from a high-end camera like the 1D Mark II), and the Incandescent setting was also a bit on the warm side. (The warmth with the Incandescent setting is normal for a professional digital camera, as they're generally balanced for the 3200K of professional incandescent studio lighting.) I chose an exposure compensation adjustment of +0.7 EV for the main shot, which resulted in good highlights. Overall color looks great with the Manual white balance, and skin tones are quite natural (though just slightly pink). The blue flowers of the bouquet are dark and purplish, a common occurrence with this shot due to the very warm-hued lighting. Still, really great results overall.
To view the entire exposure series in the Manual white balance from zero
to +1.7 EV, see files E1D2INMP0.HTM through E1D2INMP5.HTM on the thumbnail
Great resolution, though details are a little soft, with accurate color from the Daylight white balance setting.
The EOS-1D Mark II's Daylight white balance
setting actually produced the best overall color here, with the most accurate
white value on the house trim. Surprisingly, the Auto
setting resulted in a strong warm cast, and the Manual
setting was a hint warm as well. Resolution is very high, and detail is
very strong in the fine foliage in front of and above the house. Details
are a little soft, but the image takes unsharp masking in Photoshop(tm)
or other image-editing software very well, and dialing up the camera's
internal sharpness setting produces very crisp-looking images with few
artifacts. (The EOS-1D Mark II features an 8.2-megapixel CCD, which stretches
the limits of this poster as a test target. Even though the poster was
made from a 500MB scan of a 4x5 negative shot with a tack-sharp lens,
cameras like the EOS-1D Mark II can pretty well extract all the detail
that's to be found here.)
Excellent resolution and detail, with good dynamic range as well.
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.
This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the EOS-1D Mark II does an excellent job here. Detail is outstanding, as the tree limbs over the roof, front shrubbery, and house details show excellent detail and great definition in the finer details. Details are just slightly soft throughout the frame (not a problem, just a consequence of Canon's very conservative approach to in-camera sharpening), but still clear, and the image takes unsharp masking in Photoshop(tm) very well. (Try 350% at a radius of 0.4 pixels, to see the detail really pop.) The camera picks up very good detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, which is a trouble spot for many digicams. Detail is also strong in the shadow area above the front door, evidence of an excellent dynamic range. Overall color looks good, and exposure is about right. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by a JPEG Quality series and ISO, contrast, color, and saturation, series.
JPEG Quality Series:
Color Matrix Series:
Lens Zoom Range
The EOS-1D Mark II accommodates a range of Canon lenses, so focal length
range is entirely a function of the lens in use.
Good color, great resolution.
This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue
in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing
a warm color balance. The EOS-1D Mark II's Auto
white balance setting seemed to do the best job here, producing very natural
skin tones and other colors, seemingly unaffected by the tricky subject
coloring. The Daylight white balance setting
produced a warmer tone, while the Manual
setting resulted in a very cool cast. I settled on the Auto setting for
the main image, though some may prefer the slightly warmer skin tones
of the Daylight setting. (And some others may yet prefer the cooler tone
of the Manual setting.) A very slight warm cast gives the blue background
and robe a greenish tint. Resolution is excellent, as the embroidery of
the blue robe and on the red vest show a lot of fine detail. (The original
data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the EOS-1D
Mark II are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster
has in it.) I shot this image with a +0.3 EV
exposure compensation adjustment, as the default
exposure was slightly dim.
As with the Lens Zoom Range above, performance here will vary entirely
as a function of the lens used.
"Davebox" Test Target
Accurate color, though a slight tendency toward overexposure, variable saturation.
The EOS-1D Mark II's Manual white balance
setting did the best job here, producing a pretty good white value on
the large white color block and mini-resolution target. The Auto
and Daylight settings were just a bit warm.
The 1D Mark II wanted to overexpose this shot slightly, so the images
here were all shot with -0.3 EV exposure compensation. The resulting exposures
look good, as the EOS-1D Mark II faintly distinguishes the subtle tonal
variations of the Q60 target. Hue accuracy is generally pretty good, but
saturation is a bit variable. The red-hued blocks are all somewhat oversaturated
(albeit not as much as with some cameras), while the yellow-green and
yellow blocks are somewhat undersaturated, the bright yellow most so.
Overall color accuracy is quite good though, as evidenced by the Imatest
results. Shadow detail is excellent in the charcoal briquettes, and
image noise is very low.
The images series below duplicate examples of various camera controls we've already covered above. I include them here though, for our more analytically-minded readers, who'd like to see the effect of various camera controls with a well-known target like the MacBeth Color Checker (tm).
Color Matrix Series:
Excellent low-light performance, with good color and exposure at the darkest light levels. At f/2.8, AF works down to about 1/10 foot-candle.
The EOS-1D Mark II did an excellent job in the low-light category, and produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with good color at all of the ISO settings tested. The EOS-1D Mark II has a Noise Reduction option to help control image noise, but I didn't see too much different with and without Noise Reduction enabled. Even at ISO 3,200, noise was quite low, but the Noise Reduction option didn't seem to affect the amount of image noise much one way or another. (I suspect it might have more effect on exposures longer than the longest I used here.) The 1D Mark II's autofocus system is also quite sensitive, able to focus at light levels as low as 1/10 foot-candle, with an f/2.8 lens. The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.
(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)
Flash Range Test
The EOS-1D Mark II does not have a built-in flash, so we didn't run this
Very high resolution, 1,600 - 1,800 lines of "strong detail."
The EOS-1D Mark II performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. Test patterns looked clean even at resolutions as high as 1,200 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,800 lines along the horizontal axis, 1,600 lines vertically. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until somewhere past 2,000 lines.
Using its "MTF 50" numbers, which correlate best with visual sharpness, Imatest showed an average uncorrected resolution of 1203 LW/PH, and a resolution of 2032 LW/PH when normalized to a standard 1-pixel sharpening. The rather low uncorrected number reflects Canon's extremely conservative approach to in-camera sharpening. On the other hand, the very high normalized figure shows some of the value of this conservative approach, as there's exceptional detail to be found via post-capture sharpening.
Optical distortion on the EOS-1D Mark II will depend on the lens that
you're shooting with, since the camera is compatible with a large range
of Canon lenses, so I'll forego my normal discussion of it here.
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
Excellent accuracy from the TTL viewfinder.
Unlike many lesser SLRs, the EOS-1D Mark II's through the lens (TTL) viewfinder offers very accurate framing, as I measured approximately 99 percent accuracy in my testing. An excellent job! (I can't understand why manufacturers don't make all SLRs with 100% viewfinders.)