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Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II

Canon upgrades their "ultimate" d-SLR with 16.7 megapixels of resolution and significant performance improvements.

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EOS-1Ds Mark II Test Images

Review First Posted: 9/26/2005

Digital Cameras - Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II Test Images

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumbnail index page for the test shots. The data on this page 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 thumbnail index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

"Sunlit" Portrait:
(This is my new "Outdoor" Portrait test - read more about it here.)

High resolution and strong detail, with good overall color. Good exposure, with excellent detail in both highlights and shadows.

  • Exposure compensation: +1.0 EV, slightly higher than average.
  • Contrast/Tone: Excellent. (Using the low contrast setting) Nice highlight and shadow detail, with good midtones.
  • White Balance: 4,900 Kelvin is best. Auto is a hint cool, and the Daylight and Manual settings are a little too warm.
  • Color accuracy: Very good overall, though blues are slightly purplish and the strong reds a hint magenta. Good yellows and greens, however.
  • Skin tones: Pretty good, though a little pink.
  • Resolution/sharpness: Exceptional, strong detail in the flower bouquet and in Marti's face.
  • Shadow detail: Good, with moderately low noise.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files 1DS2OUTK49P0.HTM through 1DS2OUTK49P3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

Contrast Series:
An excellent contrast adjustment, with a wide range, reasonably fine steps, and very little effect on color saturation.

Contrast Series
Lowest
Low
Normal
High
Highest

Kelvin White Balance Series:
The ability to set white balance in units of degrees Kelvin is very handy, giving very fine-grained control, and making it trivial to arrive at the correct white balance setting if you have a color-temperature meter available.
Kelvin Series
4,500
4,600
4,700
4,800
4,900
5,000
5,100
5,200




 

Closer Portrait:

Exceptional resolution and detail, and good exposure.

  • Exposure compensation: +1.0 EV, again slightly higher average.
  • Exposure/Tone: Pretty good contrast, though highlights are just on the verge of being too bright. Shadows and highlights maintain good detail.
  • Detail: Even stronger in this close-up shot, with good definition. (Even though shot at f/8, the incredible resolution of the 1Ds Mark II makes depth of field very much a limiting factor here.)
  • Distortion: Not applicable, will vary with lens used.

 

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.7 EV, see files 1DS2OUTFACK49P0.HTM through 1DS2OUTFACK49P5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:

Because the EOS-1Ds Mark II has no built-in flash, flash results will be entirely a function of the flash unit used with the camera. Hence, there are no sample photos in this section.



 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance
2,800 Kelvin White Balance

Good color with Manual and 2,800 Kelvin white balance settings, higher than average exposure compensation required.

  • Exposure: +1.7 EV adjustment needed, a bit higher than average.
  • White Balance: 2,800 Kelvin best overall, though Manual also quite good (just a little cool in the skin tones). Auto and Incandescent settings both rather warm. (You'd expect a professional camera like the 1Ds Mark II to have its incandescent setting balanced to the 3200K that's used in tungsten studio lighting, but I'm more than a little disappointed by the poor performance of its auto white balance system on this subject.)
  • Color: Skin tones a little pink, and blue flowers are dark and purplish. Reds a little oversaturated, and greens a little warm. Still, not bad, considering the difficult light source.

 

To view the exposure series from zero to +1.7 EV, see files 1DS2INK28P0.HTM through 1DS2INK28P5.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
Noise levels remain quite low, even at ISOs as high as 400. At ISO 800 and 1,600, noise level is a little higher, though the tight grain pattern is unobtrusive and doesn't strongly interfere with fine detail. High-ISO images hold together remarkably well, even when printed at fairly large sizes: Even at ISO 1,600, prints as large as 13 x 19 inches should be quite acceptable for most uses.

ISO Series
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800 ISO 1,600



 

House Poster:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Accurate color, with high resolution and strong detail. (Please note that this is a poster we prepared for the purposes of this test so that it looks the same from camera to camera. As such, the trees and foliage will look the same from camera to camera. It is intentional, and not a sinister plot. To see the trees grow and the seasons change, look to the Far Field shots below.)

  • Sharpness/Detail: A lot of visible fine detail, though details are just a hint soft overall.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Consistent with the rest of the frame.
  • Color: Auto and Manual white balances very close, Daylight setting a hint yellow.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: Relatively slight, barely noticeable in brick patterns.





 

Far-Field Test

High resolution and strong detail, with a good dynamic range. Nearly accurate color, but slightly dark overall.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance, and to present a near-infinite range of detail to the camera. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio.

  • Sharpness/Detail: Excellent, strong detail throughout the frame. Good definition in the fine foliage.
  • Sharpness in Corners: Not applicable, a function of the lens used.
  • Color: Slightly dark color overall, with flat greens.
  • Dynamic Range: Good, strong detail in the bright highlights and in the shadows.
  • Detail lost to anti-noise processing?: None noticeable.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
4,992 x 3,328
1DS2FAR4992F
1DS2FAR4992N
1DS2FAR4992E
3,600 x 2,400
1DS2FAR3600
-
3,072 x 2,048
1DS2FAR3072
-
2,496 x 1,664
1DS2FAR2496
-


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800 ISO 1,600 ISO 3,200

Sharpness Series:

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Hard

Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
Lowest
Low
Normal
High
Highest

Saturation Series:

Saturation Series
Lowest
Low
Normal
High
Highest

Tone Series:

Tone Series
Lowest
Low
Normal
High
Highest

Color Series:

Color Series
Adobe RGB
High Saturation
Low Saturation
Portrait
Standard



 

Lens Zoom Range

The EOS 1Ds Mark II's zoom range will depend entirely on the lens in use. Hence, there are no sample photos in this section.



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good overall color, though dark. High resolution and strong detail.

  • White Balance: Daylight setting has best skin tones, though slightly warm overall. Auto white balance a hint cool, though still good. Manual setting cool and magenta.
  • Color: Dark tones overall. Blue robe a little greenish, but skin tones pretty good.
  • Sharpness/Detail: Very good. (Way beyond the limits of the poster though.)





 

Macro Shot

The EOS 1Ds Mark II's macro performance will depend entirely on the lens in use. Hence, there are no sample photos in this section.



 

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

Good overall exposure and color.

  • White balance: Auto and Manual settings both produced excellent results, Auto slightly warmer. Daylight was a little yellowish.
  • Color Accuracy: Generally excellent hue accuracy, but saturation varies a bit: Reds are a bit hot (as usual with this target), cyans are shifted toward blue (also typical, helps sky colors), but yellows and yellow-greens are a bit undersaturated, pure greens are a bit oversaturated. Overall color accuracy is very good to excellent, but yellows look slightly dull to the eye.
  • Shadow detail and noise: Good detail in the briquettes, very low noise.



Now, for the REAL technoids, Imatest!

I've recently begun using Norman Koren's excellent "Imatest" analysis program for quantitative, thoroughly objective analysis of digicam test images. I've now also begun measuring dynamic range, as determined by Imatest and a Stouffer 4110 density scale, and this information is included on my Imatest analysis page as well.

The results in the tests below mirror those seen above in other test shots. The test series are repeated here without further comment, for the benefit of our more quantitatively-oriented readers.


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800 ISO 1,600 ISO 3,200



Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
Lowest
Normal
Highest


Color Series:

Color Series
Adobe
High Saturation
Low Saturation
Portrait
Standard



 

Low-Light Tests

Great low-light performance, with low noise. Color balance is warm, but still good results overall. Autofocus system works to a bit darker than 1/8 foot-candle, excellent for average city night scenes.

  • Exposure limit: 1/16 foot-candle. (About 1/16 as bright as typical city street lighting at night.) Results are just a bit dim here at ISO 50, but still fairly usable.
  • Autofocus Limit: A bit below 1/8 foot-candle, about three stops darker than typical city night scenes.
  • White Balance: A little warm-toned.
  • Noise Levels: Quite low throughout the ISO range. Even at ISOs 1,600 and 3,200, noise is surprisingly low.
  • Detail loss to anti-noise processing?: Minimal at one foot-candle, and still low at 1/16 foot-candle.
  • General Notes: Thanks no doubt to Canon's advanced CMOS sensor technology, the EOS-1Ds Mark II delivers remarkably clean images down to very low light levels, even at high ISOs. The 1Ds Mark II's AF system works down to a bit below 1/8 foot-candle (Corresponding to a 30-second exposure at ISO 100 and f/8), but there's no AF-assist light to help in absolute darkness. (The excellent Canon external flash units do have bright AF-assist lights built into them, so there's probably no need for an assist light on the camera body itself. - The inherent AF sensitivity is likely to be sufficient for most non-flash shooting situations.)

(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.)

  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
1/16fc
No NR
ISO
50
Click to see 1DS2LL00503.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL00504.JPG
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL00505.JPG
13 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL00506.JPG
25 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL00507.JPG
30 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL00507XNR.JPG
30 sec
f2.8
ISO
100
Click to see 1DS2LL01003.JPG
1.6 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL01004.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL01005.JPG
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL01006.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL01007.JPG
25 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL01007XNR.JPG
25 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see 1DS2LL02003.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL02004.JPG
1.6 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL02005.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL02006.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL02007.JPG
13 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL02007XNR.JPG
13 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see 1DS2LL04003.JPG
1/2 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL04004.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL04005.JPG
1.3 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL04006.JPG
4 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL04007.JPG
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL04007XNR.JPG
6 sec
f2.8
ISO
800
Click to see 1DS2LL08003.JPG
1/5 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL08004.JPG
1/2 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL08005.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL08006.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL08007.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL08007XNR.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.8
ISO
1600
Click to see 1DS2LL16003.JPG
1/10 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL16004.JPG
1/5 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL16005.JPG
1/2 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL16006.JPG
1 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL16007.JPG
1.6 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL16007XNR.JPG
1.6 sec
f2.8
ISO
3200
Click to see 1DS2LL32003.JPG
1/20 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL32004.JPG
1/10 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL32005.JPG
1/5 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL32006.JPG
1/2 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL32007.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see 1DS2LL32007XNR.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

Because the EOS-1Ds Mark II has no built-in flash, flash results will be entirely a function of the flash unit used with the camera. Hence, there are no sample photos in this section.



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Excellent resolution, 2,200 - 2,400 lines of "strong detail."

  • Resolution: 2,400 lines horizontally, 2,200 vertically.
  • Artifacts begin at: ~2,000 lines.
  • Extinction point: ~3,000 lines.

  • Barrel/Pincushion distortion: N/A, will depend on the lens in use.
  • Chromatic Aberration: N/A, will depend on the lens in use.
  • Corner Sharpness: N/A, will depend on the lens in use.



Resolution Series:
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
4,992 x 3,328
1DS2RES4992F
1DS2RES4992N
1DS2RES4992E
3,600 x 2,400
1DS2RES3600
-
3,072 x 2,048
1DS2RES3072
-
2,496 x 1,664
1DS2RES2496
-


Sharpness Series:
Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Hard



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A very accurate optical viewfinder.

  • Optical Viewfinder Accuracy: Right about 100% accuracy, excellent.
  • LCD Viewfinder Accuracy: N/A, LCD monitor for image review and menu display only.
  • Flash Uniformity: N/A, studio lighting used.



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