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Canon EOS-1DS

Canon extends the EOS-1D with 11.1 megapixels, and a full-frame CMOS sensor!

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EOS-1DS Test Images

Review First Posted: 9/24/2002

Digital Cameras - Canon EOS-1Ds 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, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Outstanding resolution and detail with good color, and an excellent dynamic range.

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-1Ds performed very well in this respect.

The shot at right was taken at the camera's default exposure setting, with the Auto white balance, using the camera's Color Matrix two, optimized for producing good-looking skin tones. To my eye, Marti's skin tone here is slightly pale, but overall color is quite accurate. In particular, the blue flowers in the bouquet are almost perfect, with just a hint more purple in them than they have in real life. (For some reason, that particular blue is extremely difficult for most digicams to reproduce properly.)Saturation is a little high in the red flower, which almost glows, but color throughout the rest of the frame looks good.

Most cameras tend to underexpose this shot significantly, reacting to the high key subject and very light background. For some reason, the EOS-1Ds went the other way slightly, overexposing the image slightly at its default exposure setting. To compensate, the shot above has -1/3EV of exposure compensation applied to it.

Resolution is absolutely superb, with incredibly fine detail throughout the frame, and remarkable definition even in the tiniest parts of the silk flowers. Shadow detail is also outstanding, and image noise is low. An excellent job all around!

As noted, I felt that the 1Ds' "auto" white balance setting produced the most accurate results.

White Balance Options
Auto WB Daylight WB Manual WB

Like Canon's other professional-grade SLRs, the EOS-1Ds has five different "Color Matrix" settings, which let you select different color spaces for the camera's output. The table below shows examples of four of these, as applied to this scene:

Color Matrix Options
Color Matrix 1
("Natural")
Color Matrix 2
("Portrait")
Color Matrix 3
("Vivid")
Color Matrix 4
("Adobe")



 

Closer Portrait:

Really exceptional (embarrassing) resolution and detail!

Overall results are similar to the wider shot above, with good overall color, though slightly pale, and exposure. I shot this image with Canon's excellent 28-70mm L-series lens, set to the 70mm end of its range to help prevent distortion of Marti's features. Detail is again remarkable, with very sharp details in Marti's face and hair. (This is almost an embarrassing amount of detail, I won't show this to Marti 1:1 on-screen. ;-) The shot at right was again taken at an exposure compensation setting of -1/3EV, which produced a nicely balanced exposure, although the midtones are a little dark, and the highlights still slightly blown out. Shadow detail is again excellent, with low noise.


 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
External Flash

Good exposure with the external flash, color is a hint warm, but not too bad.

The EOS-1Ds has an external flash hot-shoe compatible with a variety of flash units, but does not have a built-in flash. For this test I connected one of Canon's excellent 550EX speedlights, and bounced it off of the ceiling,with a piece of paper held in front of it as a diffuser for more even lighting. The TTL (Through The Lens) metering provided by the 1Ds/550EX combination seems pretty much flawless, as I could play with the bounce and diffuser position to my heart's content, without affecting the exposure level. The flash exposure compensation also worked exactly as expected as well.

Color balance is slightly warm in these shots, where I used the "flash" white balance setting on the camera. I was a little puzzled by this, since I was using a fairly short shutter time and had the lens stopped down quite a bit - The warm-hued room lighting should have had no effect. One possibility is that the ceiling and walls of this room (that the light was bouncing off of) are slightly off-white, with a warm cast. It's thus possible that the strobe's light picked up a cast from the slightly warm-toned surfaces. Had I shot in RAW mode, it would be trivial to adjust-out this small amount of color cast on the computer.

One of the things I like about external flash units, and particularly those that provide TTL metering is the extent to which I can play with bounce and diffusion to alter the lighting. The two shots below illustrate this somewhat, the first showing more light bouncing off the ceiling, with only a subtle fill from the diffuser in front of the flash head, while the second shot shows more of the light coming from the diffuser (held to block some of the light that would otherwise have bounced from the ceiling), providing more frontal illumination.

External Flash
Bounce 1
(Mostly from the ceiling)
Bounce 2
(More direct/diffused,
less bounced.)





 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance
2800K White Balance

Most accurate color with the Manual white balance option, but considerable exposure compensation required for an accurate exposure. Very low image noise.

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. Of the white balance settings I tested, the EOS-1Ds' Manual option produced the best color. The Auto, Incandescent, and 2,800K settings all resulted in warm images, with the Auto setting producing the warmest cast overall. Even with the Manual setting, color balance wasn't absolutely perfect, having a very slight greenish cast, but Marti's skin tone looks very good. The blue flowers came out quite dark and purplish, however, which is to be expected, considering the light source. (Even with proper white balance compensation, the heavy yellow/reddish cast of the light will distort the color of the blue flowers.)

The shots at right all have a +1.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, though the best exposure was obtained with a +1.7 EV adjustment, as in the main shot. (I didn't have the "auto" shot snapped at that high a compensation setting, so I opted to use the +1.3EV level for all of the thumbnail examples, to aid comparison.) This is a bit more of an adjustment than I'd ideally like to see here - While the large expanse of off-white wall in the background makes this a fairly high-key subject, it shouldn't take anything near +1.7EV to expose it properly.

ISO Series:
The EOS-1Ds generally shows very low noise. (I haven't taken time to quantify it yet, but it looks to be better than any of Canon's lower-resolution CMOS cameras to date.) Though image noise increases with the 800 and 1,250 ISO settings, it still isn't too bad. The grain pattern is very fine and tight, less obtrusive than most digicams I've seen.

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800 ISO 1,250


 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Great performance, with excellent resolution, detail, and color. (Resolution is limited more by the poster, not the camera.)

The EOS-1Ds' Manual white balance setting produced the best overall color here, with the most accurate white value on the house trim. The Auto and Daylight white balance settings also produced great results, though both were just a slightly warm. Exposure is very slightly dark, to my eye, but not bad at all. Resolution is excellent, showing as much detail as the poster has to offer. (The EOS-1Ds is stretching 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, the EOS-1Ds is pretty close to extracting all the detail that's to be found here.) The tree limbs and shrubbery show a lot of fine detail, as does the house itself. Details are a hint soft (a combination of Canon's conservative in-camera sharpening and the limited resolution of the poster), but well-defined.


 

Far-Field Test

Outstanding resolution and detail, with excellent dynamic range.

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-1Ds really shows off its 11 megapixels with it. The level of fine detail is really excellent, with high resolution in the tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house. Even the faint markings of tree bark in the taller trees are distinct and clear. Details are also well-defined, though just a little soft, a result of Canon's very conservative use of in-camera sharpening. - The wisdom of this approach becomes clear when you begin to apply unsharp masking in Photoshop(tm). Because the camera didn't destroy any detail with heavy-handed sharpening, the images respond exceptionally well to unsharp masking in Photoshop or other imaging applications.

Despite the bright sunlight, the camera picks up great detail in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a great challenge for many digicams. At the same time, detail is also very strong in the shadow area above the front door, further evidence of the EOS-1Ds' excellent dynamic range. Overall color is good, though the default exposure is a little dark. Click here for a shot with the exposure compensation dialed up by a third of a stop.) The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
4,064 x 2,704
E1DSFARLFP0
E1DSFARLN
2,032 x 1,352
E1DSFARSF
N/A

 



 

Lens Zoom Range

Because the EOS-1Ds accommodates a variety of lenses, there's no point showing a "zoom range" here - The range will differ with the lens in use.



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good color but slightly cool-toned except for the Daylight white balance, and great detail.

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. Here I was a bit torn between the colors of the Manual white balance setting and those of the Daylight option. IN the end, I decided that I liked the slight warmth of the Daylight version the best, so that's the one I chose for the main selection. By contrast, the Auto setting was much too cool. The blue robe looks nearly right, with only a hint of purple in the deep shadows. (This is another often-tricky blue for many digicams to reproduce correctly, and the EOS-1Ds does a good job.) Resolution is very high, with great detail in the embroidery of the blue robe. (The original data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the EOS-1Ds are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)


Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot

Very tiny macro area with great detail.

Though macro performance will vary depending on the lens in use, I couldn't resist this shot, taken with Canon's 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. While the camera captured a fairly large minimum area of 4.03 x 2.68 inches (102 x 68 millimeters),The resolution is so high that the level of detail resolved is equivalent to what you'd find in a shot snapped much closer with a lower-resolution camera. Resolution is very high, with strong detail in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch. Because the EOS-1Ds doesn't have a built-in flash, I didn't include a flash test here.


 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Excellent color and good saturation.

The EOS-1Ds' Manual white balance produced the best color here, with the most accurate white value in the mini-resolution target and large, white color block. That said, the Auto white balance was practically identical, but the large, white color block showed more green when examined in Adobe Photoshop. The Daylight setting produced a much warmer image. Exposure is pretty much right on the money, with no manual adjustment needed. The EOS-1Ds does a good job with the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target. The large color blocks are about right, though with slightly weak saturation. Detail in the shadow area of the charcoal briquettes is really quite amazing, with low noise to boot, and the last steps of both gray scales can just barely be made out if you play with the levels control in Photoshop. - This is something that almost never happens with the cameras I test, further evidence of the EOS-1Ds' excellent dynamic range.

 

ISO Series:
The 1Ds' ISO can be boosted as high as 1250, and even at that level the images are surprisingly clean. The noise is also very fine-grained, making it much less evident than it might be otherwise. Very nice. Click the links in the table below to see the original camera images shot at each ISO setting.

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800 ISO 1,250

Color Matrix Series:
As I mentioned earlier, the 1Ds has five different "Color Matrix" settings, offering different color spaces and color renditions, accessible via a menu option. The shots below show the results of each of these applied to the Davebox image. (Click the images to see 300 pixel-wide thumbnails, it's a little hard to tell much about color from the tiny swatches below.)

Color Matrix Options

Color Matrix 1
("natural")

Color Matrix 2
("portrait")

Color Matrix 3
("vivid")

Color Matrix 4
("Adobe")

Color Matrix 5
("low chroma")

 

Low-Light Tests

Really excellent low-light performance! Great color balance and low noise.

The EOS-1Ds offers total manual exposure control, from the Bulb exposure setting to the wide range of ISO sensitivity equivalents. The camera performed very well at low light levels, producing clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with excellent color at all ISO settings tested (100, 200, 400, 800, and 1,250). The EOS-1Ds' Auto white balance system proved very capable here, as overall color looked very good. Noise was low in most images, thanks to the camera's Noise Reduction system. Even at ISO 1,250 and 800, noise was only moderate. For comparison, I've included a set of shots at 1/16 foot-candle below, with the noise reduction system turned off.

Overall, an exceptional performance. - I'd somehow expected poor noise performance from the high-megapixel sensor, but the large physical size means that there's plenty of silicon real estate to fabricate good-sized pixels, with the attendant low noise figures. The table below shows the best exposure we were able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all of our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

  1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.3lux
1/16fc
0.67lx
1/16fc
0.67lx
(No NR)
ISO
100
Click to see E1DSLL0103.JPG
2 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see E1DSLL0104.JPG
5 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see E1DSLL0105.JPG
8 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see E1DSLL0106.JPG
15 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see E1DSLL0107.JPG
30 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 100
Click to see E1DSLL0107MNR.JPG
30 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 100
ISO
200
Click to see E1DSLL0203.JPG
1/1 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 200
Click to see E1DSLL0204.JPG
2 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 200
Click to see E1DSLL0205.JPG
4 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 200
Click to see E1DSLL0206.JPG
8 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 200
Click to see E1DSLL0207.JPG
15 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 200
Click to see E1DSLL0207MNR.JPG
15 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 200
ISO
400
Click to see E1DSLL0403.JPG
1/ 2 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 400
Click to see E1DSLL0404.JPG
1/1 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 400
Click to see E1DSLL0405.JPG
2 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 400
Click to see E1DSLL0406.JPG
4 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 400
Click to see E1DSLL0407.JPG
8 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 400
Click to see E1DSLL0407MNR.JPG
8 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 400
ISO
800
Click to see E1DSLL0803.JPG
1/4 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 800
Click to see E1DSLL0804.JPG
1/ 2 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 800
Click to see E1DSLL0805.JPG
1/1 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 800
Click to see E1DSLL0806.JPG
2 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 800
Click to see E1DSLL0807.JPG
4 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 800
Click to see E1DSLL0807MNR.JPG
4 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 800
ISO
1250
Click to see E1DSLL1203.JPG
1/6 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 1250
Click to see E1DSLL1204.JPG
1/ 3 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 1250
Click to see E1DSLL1205.JPG
1/1 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 1250
Click to see E1DSLL1206.JPG
1.6 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 1250
Click to see E1DSLL1207.JPG
3.2 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 1250
Click to see E1DSLL1207MNR.JPG
3.2 sec
F/2.8
ISO: 1250

 

Love high ISO photography? Hate noise? Check out Fred Miranda's ISO-R noise-reducing actions for Photoshop. Incredible noise reduction, with *no* loss of subject detail. (Pretty amazing, IMHO.) Check it out!

 



 

Flash Range Test

 

The EOS-1Ds does not feature a built-in flash, so flash performance will depend on the external speedlight attached. (I can speak from direct experience though, that the 550EX speedlight is *excellent* and works great with the 1Ds.)



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Very high resolution, with 1.600 - 1,700 lines of "strong detail..

The EOS-1Ds performed exceptionally well on our "laboratory" resolution test chart. At lower spatial frequencies, the images were unusually clean, with only barely perceptible aliasing around 1,000 lines/picture height. I found "strong detail" out to about 1700 lines/picture height in the horizontal direction, and 1600 lines vertically. (Those numbers could easily be +/- 100 lines though, as it's very much a judgement call to say where the aliasing at high frequencies obscures the actual target detail.)

Chromatic aberration with the 100mm macro lens used for this shot is virtually nonexistent, showing less than a pixel of coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Resolution Series, Wide Angle

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
4,064 x 2,704
E1DSRESLF
E1DSRESLN
2,032 x 1,352
E1DSRESSF
N/A

 



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

Excellent accuracy from the SLR viewfinder.

The EOS-1Ds' digital SLR optical viewfinder is right at 100 percent frame accuracy, well meeting my expectations here. The outside edges of my measurement lines were just barely cut off, but framing was almost perfection exact.


Optical (TTL) Viewfinder


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