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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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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 9/24/2002

11-megapixel (!) sensor delivers 4,064 x 2,704-pixel images
Full-frame (35mm) sensor permits true wide-angle shooting
Full support for RAW file format in-the-box
Highly configurable to suit individual shooting needs/styles.

(Review updated to final status, based on a production model and with a full set of test images on 11/22/2002)

Manufacturer Overview

Ask a photographer, be they professional or amateur, to name the first couple of camera manufacturers that they can think of, and chances are that one of those would be Canon. Ask the same photographer what the Canon name means to them, and many would suggest that they associated the name with innovation, the company having brought such technological advances as Eye-Controlled Focusing (Canon EOS 5, 1992) and the USM ultrasonic motors used in the more recent Canon EF lenses, which are extremely quiet and very fast.

In the digital realm, Canon's progress has been marked by cautious advances, but excellent products when they finally make a step. In the consumer realm, their digital cameras offer good value and exceptional color and image quality. A bit over two years ago, they introduced their first digital SLR, the EOS-D30, and have since then brought to market the EOS-1D and EOS-D60.

With their first digital SLRs, Canon announced a "prosumer" model first, with the D30, followed later by a super-rugged design for professional photographers, the EOS-1D. This year (this article is being written in late September, 2002), they've repeated that pattern, announcing the D60 at the PMA show in February, and now the EOS-1Ds at the international Photokina show in late September. The EOS-1Ds is sure to raise some eyebrows, given its full-frame, 11.1 megapixel CMOS sensor. The resolution catapults us beyond the previous 6 megapixel limit for digital SLRs, and the full-frame design means there's finally a way to shoot true wide angle digital photos with Canon lenses.

In virtually all other respects though, the EOS-1Ds is identical to the 1D, making it a painless process to switch between the two cameras. - In fact, readers already familiar with the 1D can skip most of this review, as most of it will be identical to what I wrote when I reviewed the EOS-1D. (Scroll down this page to see a concise list of differences between the two models.)

High Points

  • Basic camera capabilities and operation virtually identical to Canon's EOS-1v pro film SLR and the prior EOS-1D digital SLR. Similarities include 45-point Area Autofocus, 21-zone Evaluative Metering, dynamic mirror damping ("Active Mirror Control") for very short viewfinder blackout, low vibration, wireless TTL flash capability, ultra-rugged magnesium alloy chassis, and more.
  • 11.4-megapixel CMOS sensor (11.1 million active pixels) delivering image resolutions as high as 4,064 x 2,704 pixels.
  • Full-frame sensor means no focal-length multiplier: Shoot true wide angle with a Canon digital SLR!
  • TTL optical viewfinder (100 percent field of view) with full information display.
  • Lens mount compatible with Canon EF lenses.
  • 45-point, Area Ellipse autofocus area, with One-Shot AF and Al Servo AF modes.
  • Program AE (shiftable), Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual, Depth of Field AE, and Bulb exposure modes.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/8,000 to 30 seconds, with Bulb mode for unlimited exposure times.
  • Sensitivity equivalents from ISO 50 to 1,250. (Default range is 100 to 1,250. Expanded 50 setting is a menu option.)
  • 21-zone Evaluative Metering system, as well as conventional Center-Weighted, Partial (large spot), Spot (both Center Spot and AF Area-linked), Multi-Spot, and FEL (Flash Exposure Lock) metering systems.
  • User adjustable White Balance setting with 10 modes, plus a White Balance Bracketing option.
  • ISO and Auto Exposure Bracketing options.
  • Hot shoe for connecting an external flash unit, as well as a PC socket for electronic flash.
  • 2.0-inch LCD monitor for image playback and review.
  • Continuous shooting mode.
  • sRGB and Adobe RGB color space options.
  • 21 customizable functions, as well as the ability to download three groups of image settings from a computer.
  • Sound recording capability.
  • RAW and JPEG image file formats.
  • Images stored on CompactFlash Type I or II (includes Microdrive).
  • High-speed, IEEE-1394 "FireWire" interface for computer host connection.
  • Optional remote control accessory.
  • Weatherproof body design.
  • Power supplied by (very high capacity) rechargeable NiMH battery pack (NP-E3) or AC adapter kit (both included).
  • Canon Solution Disk interface software included, providing for extensive camera control and customization, as well as processing of RAW image files.

Changes from the Canon EOS-1D

As the flagship of Canon's digital line, many of our readers will already be quite familiar with the Canon EOS-1D professional digital SLR. The EOS-1Ds is clearly based on the same body design, and most of its operation is identical to that of the 1D. There are a few differences apart from the 1Ds' larger sensor though. These are all discussed in greater detail in the body of the review, but I thought it would be helpful to readers to see have them listed here for more convenient, concise reference:

Body Identical
(15 grams heavier though)
Sensor 11.1 MP
4.15 MP
Sensor size 35.8 x 23.8 mm
28.7 x 19.1 mm
Image Dimensions
4064 x 2704,

2032 x 1352
2464 x 1648,

1232 x 824
Sensor Filtration RGB
Exposure Metering Coverage
  • "Partial" metering - 8.5% of viewfinder, at center.
  • Center Spot - 2.4% of viewfinder at center.
  • AF point-linked spot - 2.4% of viewfinder
  • "Partial" metering - 13.5% of viewfinder, at center.
  • Center Spot - 3.8% of viewfinder at center.
  • AF point-linked spot - 3.8% of viewfinder
ISO speed range 100-1250 in 1/3-stop increments

Can be expanded to ISO 50

200-1600 in 1/3-stop increments

Can be expanded to ISO 100 and 3200

Shutter speeds 1/8,000 - 30 sec, bulb
X-sync at 1/250
1/16,000 - 30 sec, bulb
X-sync at 1/500
Continuous shooting speed 3 frames/second max
8 frames/second max
Maximum burst during continuous shooting 10 shots 21 shots (JPEG)
16 shots (RAW)
Custom Functions 21 Custom Functions, 67 settings

25 Personal Functions
(PF13 eliminated, shutter priority release during continuous drive won't override focus-priority)

21 Custom Functions, 67 settings

26 Personal Functions

Cycle time, shutter lag, buffer clearing Slightly slower in all modes, but not as much as I'd have expected, given the huge difference in file sizes.
Rated battery life
  • 20 deg C, ~600 shots
  • 0 deg C, ~450 shots

(With fully-charged NP-E3 battery pack)

  • 20 deg C, ~500 shots
  • 0 deg C, ~550 shots

(With fully-charged NP-E3 battery pack)


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