Canon EOS 1D Mark IV In Depth Review

Introduced on October 20th, the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV came out from behind the curtain with a good deal of pressure placed on it. The problem for the EOS 1D Mark IV is that its predecessor, the EOS 1D Mark III, went through something of roller coaster with its well discussed autofocusing issues, while its competitor, the Nikon D3, won over many frustrated photographers with both impressive AF performance and amazing low light capabilities.

And so, the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV now has to step into the limelight and restore the luster to Canon’s pro series, while at the same time now having to go to toe to toe with the newly introduced Nikon D3s.

So what has Canon done to impress professional photographers? For starters, the EOS 1D Mark IV gets an all new AF system, with 45 points, 39 of them being the cross-type variety. Next, the 1D4 gets a nice bump in resolution, up to 16 megapixels from the 1D3’s 10.1 megapixels, but still on the same and somewhat strange APS-H sensor which offers an unconventional 1.3x crop.

Incredibly the Mark IV is able to maintain its predecessor’s frame rate of 10 fps, with the help of dual DIGIC IV processors. Also incredible, the Mark IV’s ISO range that extends to an eye-popping ISO 102,400, which just so happens to be the same range found on the competing Nikon D3s. Finally, the Mark IV gets Canon’s robust video recording options, including 1080p and 720p video with selectable frame rates.

On paper anyway, the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV sounds a bit more exciting than the Nikon D3s, which looks like more of a refresh than the Mark IV, but Nikon’s task was simpler, tweak and improve an already highly regarded camera responsible for perhaps reducing the amount of long white lenses seen on the sidelines.

The challenges for the Mark IV are more daunting, erase photographer’s angst from the Mark III, and face down the Nikon D3s. Is it up to the task? Read on in our in depth review of the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV.

Competition

The most clear competitor to the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV is the Nikon D3s, at least when it comes to the intended market for both cameras. From a hardware point of view, the 2 cameras are a bit challenging to compare exactly, given the Nikon’s full frame sized sensor and the Mark IV’s smaller APS-H sensor. Still the cameras are intended to perform similar roles, and outside of sensor sizes, the specifications of the two cameras are quite similar.

Specifications

Camera Nikon D3s Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
Price (street est.) $5199 $4999
ISO Range 100-102400 100-102400
Sensor Size 36 x 23.9 mm 27.9 x 18.6mm
Sensor Resolution 12.1 megapixels 16.1 megapixels
AF 51 points, 15 cross-type 45 points, 39 cross-type
Weather Sealing Yes Yes
LCD 3 inch, 921K 3 inch, 920K
Continuous Shooting 9 fps (at full size) 10 fps
HD Movie 720p HD video at 24 fps, connector for external microphone 720p HD video at 50fps/60fps, 1080p HD video at 30fps/25fps/24fps, connector for external microphone
Viewfinder 100% coverage, 0.7x magnification 100%, .76x magnification
Dimensions 6.3 x 6.2 x 3.4″ (160 x 157 x 88 mm ) 6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1″ (156 x 156.6 x 79.9mm)
Weight 44 oz. (1240 g) 41.6 oz (1180g)