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Product Spotlight: Canon's EOS-1Ds Mark II DSLR



For Big, Beautiful Images Quickly and Easily

Canon's hot new 16.7 EOS-1Ds Mark II is so top-of-the-line, it's hard to know where to start.

Let's start in the studio, where I photographed models in different outfits to see how the 1Ds Mark II would handle skin tones and detailed fabrics. I was delighted on both counts.

I shot handheld quite comfortably, especially at higher ISO settings. And surprisingly, after using the 12-volt nickel metal hydride for two long sessions, for more than 500 exposures, I still didn't have to recharge it.

Before receiving the camera, I had heard about its low noise levels, so I decided to put it to the test. Shooting at several ISO settings, I found that image quality up to ISO 800 is excellent, ISO 1600 is very good, and ISO 3200 is slightly grainy, but has a beautiful film-like quality to it.

Road To Rio

After a few weeks of working with the 1Ds Mark II in my studio, I took it on the road with me to Brazil, to put it through its paces on location.

We had a lot of rain during our stay and I was surprised at how easy it was to maneuver and adjust settings even in nasty weather.

As a Canon owner—I have an EOS-1D Mark II and an EOS-20D—I was completely comfortable with the camera's navigational systems and essentials, such as aperture, shutter speed, image review, and ISO control.

Rain or brilliant sunshine, the images—many of which are featured in this article—were extremely sharp and detailed with enough resolution for almost any assignment. Take a look at the image of the man in the hooded sweatshirt (below), for example. Even shooting in bright sunlight with backlighting, a great deal of detail is visible.

For these large image files, you'll either need to carry a lot of memory cards with you or at least one 4GB card. I brought along a number of 1GB SanDisk and Lexar CompactFlash cards, and a 4GB Lexar card.

The camera captures huge, beautiful images fast! With its full frame 16.7 megapixel CMOS image sensor and DIGIC II Image Processor, I was able to shoot 32 consecutive shots at up to 4 frames per second. It also has decreased start-up and card-writing speeds.

Other reasons to love this camera:

  • It has three LCD displays—top data, rear data, and a sharp two inch, 230,000 pixel TFT rear monitor—so you always know what you're doing.
  • When shooting in RAW+JPG, the large buffer never keeps you waiting.
  • It's compatible with over 50 Canon EF Lenses and the entire line of EOS accessories, including the new Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E1A.
  • The camera adjusts well in bad weather, which we had plenty of in Brazil. Even working without an assistant, I felt like I had one because the camera adjusted so beautifully to changing circumstances.
  • Converting color pictures to black & white was a pleasure. All I had to do was use Canon's supplied Digital Photo Professional program to convert it from .raw to .tiff and Photoshop did the rest.

Tips For Greatness

Before you head off to Brazil—or somewhere closer to home—with the EOS-1Ds Mark II, here are some suggestions to enhance your shooting experience.

Check the manual. Trust me, this shouldn't be only an afterthought. The manual provides a wealth of information to help you achieve the best results. And if you like to experiment like I do, it's even more valuable.

Customize your settings. If you want to optimize your results, become familiar with the camera's custom settings. They may turn out to be your best friends.

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