Canon 1D Mark IV Review

 
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Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Operation

The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV's user interface is very similar to that of its predecessor. -- important, given that it's a camera aimed at professional use. Time that might otherwise have to be spent learning a new interface can instead be devoted to shooting photos. The main LCD has been upgraded to a higher-resolution panel with a much higher 920,000 dot resolution, the user interface on the main LCD display given a restyling to bring it up to date, and some minor additions and slight changes made to the arrangements on both LCD status displays.

See the Design tab for more details on control layout and descriptions. See the Viewfinder tab for info on and test results for the viewfinder.

 

Canon 1D Mark IV Top-Panel LCD Display

The 1D Mark IV's Top LCD panel is very similar to that of the 1D Mark III, with only two very slight changes. An extra '1' digit has been added at the start of the ISO sensitivity value, supplementing the previous four digit design. There's also a new "D+" icon that appears directly below the ISO speed text, whenever highlight tone priority is activated. Beyond those slight changes, the 1D Mark IV's top panel LCD is basically unchanged in layout, and it still features the same soft blue backlight when illuminated.

The image below shows callouts for all the information shown on the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV's top-panel display, by default. (Illustration below courtesy Canon USA.)

 

Rear LCD panel. More changes are visible on the Rear LCD panel, , but they're still relatively modest. An extra character has been added next to each of the Raw file format indicators for the two card slots, allowing the 1D Mark IV to show not only the sRaw mode, but also the newly added mRaw format. The positioning of several icons towards the center of the rear LCD panel has also been tweaked to make better use of space, and the horizontal line that separated the white balance modes from the character displays beneath has been removed. In other respects, the 1D Mark IV rear LCD panel is essentially unchanged, and it still features the same soft blue backlight as the top-panel LCD display.

The image below shows callouts for all the information shown on the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV's rear LCD panel, by default. (Illustration below courtesy Canon USA.)


Canon 1D Mark IV Main LCD

The Canon 1D Mark IV's main TFT color LCD monitor is used for status display, accessing menus, image review, and Live View / Movie mode image preview. The 1D Mark IV is the latest Canon model to be upgraded to a gorgeous high resolution 3.0-inch LCD panel, as found on other high-end cameras recently, with approximately 921,000 dots (roughly equating to 640 x 480 pixels, with separate red, green and blue dots per pixel), and also features a wide viewing angle. The LCD panel has a wide 160 degree viewing angle, making it easier to see when framing from awkward angles in Live View or Movie-mode shooting.

Canon has eliminated the air gap between the LCD and cover glass by sandwiching a special optical elastic material between the LCD and the cover glass. This optical elastic material has the same high refractive index as the glass itself. The LCD is covered by a tempered glass cover plate that provides protection against bumps and scratches. The appearance of the LCD is reminiscent of instruments like a liquid-filled compass, with added contrast and less glare. Better yet, it doesn't give your images a blue cast that makes color harder to judge, especially when shooting outdoors.

The LCD's brightness can be adjusted manually in seven steps, but here is no automatic ambient light adjustment, nor any support for adjusting the LCD's color response. As you'd expect for a camera aimed at professionals, there are also no selectable color schemes or font sizes for the displays and menus -- but Canon has restyled these, which couples with the higher resolution to make them rather easier on the eyes.

Canon 1D Mark IV Record Mode Displays

When the Info button is pressed, the 1D Mark IV's rear panel LCD monitor offers a status display, similar to that of the top-panel status LCD, but taking advantage of the more generous real estate available for improved readability. Unlike many consumer cameras, the settings shown cannot be adjusted directly from this display, but rather must be changed using the dedicated buttons or menu system.

The image below shows callouts for all the information shown in this shooting display. (Illustration courtesy Canon USA.)


Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Record Displays
Summary display that comes up when you press the INFO button in Record mode with C. Fn. II-10 set to 0 (Displays Shooting Functions).
Summary display that comes up when you press the INFO button in Record mode with C. Fn. II-10 set to 1 (Displays Camera Settings).

Additionally, the EOS-1D Mark IV's LCD monitor can be used as a viewfinder, via the camera's Live View mode (see the Live View tab).

 

Canon 1D Mark IV Playback Mode Displays

The display mode used in Record Review is the same as was last used in Playback mode, or you can hit the INFO button to cycle to a different mode. Likewise, in Playback mode, you can cycle between the available display options by pressing the INFO button repeatedly. You can also select between the normal luminance-based histogram and an RGB histogram option via a Playback-mode menu item.

 

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Playback Displays
Normal playback mode display, showing shutter time, aperture, exposure compensation (if any), file number, and active memory card. When Highlight Alert is Enabled, overexposed areas will blink as shown above. There is also an option to display the AF point(s) which achieved focus in red.
Pressing the INFO button overlays image recording quality/movie recording size and playback number/total images recorded in the bottom left.
Pressing the INFO button again displays a screen with more detailed shooting info, as well as a luminance histogram. A menu option switches between showing the Brightness and RGB histograms on this screen.
A third press of the INFO button brings up another display with both RGB and luminance histograms.
You can zoom out to thumbnail views, the standard single-image display moving through screens with a 4-image index and a 9-image index display.
There's the usual ability to zoom in on an image, up to 10x magnification in 15 steps, with the location of the current zoomed view within the full frame shown in the little navigator window in the lower right. You can freely scroll around the image as well.
 
There is also a Slide Show function, useful viewing images and movies on a TV. Files can be selected by folder, date, type (movies or stills), or all files can be shown. You can set the display interval between 1 and 5 seconds, and set the slideshow to repeat.

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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