Canon’s newest 1D model has no pretenses about being anything other than the high performance leader of the Canon DSLR fleet. You can pay more for the 1Ds Mark III, but not shoot nearly as fast, and with not all that much more resolution than the Mark IV. No built-in flash, no scene shooting modes, and only one shooting mode that allows the camera to make both decisions on aperture and shutter speed. You have left the entry level/prosumer world obehind and are firmly ensconced at the tip of Canon’s technology spear.
Going pro isn’t cheap – the body alone will set you back more than $5,000 once sales tax and shipping are levied on top of the MSRP. The premium “L” series lenses that help maximize image quality aren’t bargain basement equipment either. The 100mm macro and 24-105mm zoom we had for this review came in at about $1,050 and $1,250 MSRP, respectively. The camera is big and heavy, owing at least some of its bulk to robust construction and weather proofing. Continuous shooting speed at full resolution is the highest of any DSLR, and the camera can sustain this pace for more than 120 JPEG captures. Shutter and autofocus performance are solid, there are custom settings for virtually any aspect of camera operation, and image capture imaginable, and image quality is good.
At this level of camera, the performance gains are incremental over more modest offerings from the same company or even others. The Canon 7D, for example, shoots at 8 fps for about 160 JPEG captures and offers an 18 megapixel sensor and 1080p HD video, at a price that’s about $3,300 less than the Mark IV. Shutter lag and autofocus acquisition times clocked in with identical figures for both cameras in our lab tests. Why would anyone spend so much more for what appear to be modest gains in many areas? Perhaps because sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Fast continuous shooting rate
- Solid, weather-resistant construction
- Wide range of ISO sensitivities
- Good image quality
- Size and weight