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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Are you happy with the Canon Mark IV?
Thomas B. Shea, Photographer
Pearland/Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 11:11 PM on 12.20.11
->> I have been very frustrated with Canon. I had to send my Canon Mark III to Canon 8 times to get the focus fixed. It focuses great now but 8 times come on.

Then I purchased a refurbished Canon 7D from Canon, but I am quite disappointed in the focus in that camera also.

So before I buy another expensive camera I contacted Nikon to see if I could try a Nikon D3S. They were very generous and sent me a body and couple of lenses and I was amazed. The flash technology was far superior also.

The Nikon D3S was like pointing your finger at a subject, tact sharp and the lack of digital noise at 8000 and 10200 was amazing. Nikon let me try the equipment for three weeks and I was very sad that I had to send it back.

If I won the lottery or was rich I would switch to Nikon no questions asked, but I am not very lucky and I am certainly not rich. I have way too many lenses to switch without it costing me quite a bit.

So I contacted Canon told them I was thinking about switching and they sent me a Mark IV to try out. I only had it for a week, so I shot a bit but did not really put it through all the test shoots I wanted.


So I am asking you Canon, Mark IV shooters are you happy with your Mark IV now that you have owned yours for a while? I have been told by Canon reps that I should wait for the New Canon EOS 1DX coming out in March. But at $6800 dollars that camera better blow away all Nikon and Canon cameras.

Are you happy with the Mark IV ?

Will you give Canon one more try with the new one in March?
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Andrew Nelles, Photographer
Chicago | IL | usa | Posted: 11:24 PM on 12.20.11
->> I have been shooting a 1D4 since they first hit the shelves, and picked up a second body a few months ago to replace an older body.

I've been very happy with them. I came from a Mark III also, I was one of the few who had a positive experience with it, but the 1D4 was still a very noticeable improvement in both AF and image quality.
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David G. McIntyre, Photographer
Beijing | . | CHINA | Posted: 11:33 PM on 12.20.11
->> Happy is an understatement. I LOVE it. When I first tried it last year at the Vancouver Olympics, returning it back to Canon was the low point of the games for me. When I got back to Hong Kong from the games, I ordered two bodies and sold my Mark III's. I use them every day, and even like them more then my 5D Mark II.
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Aleksi Lepisto, Photo Editor, Student/Intern
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 12:10 AM on 12.21.11
->> I don't shoot Canon, but I have friends (actually, almost all of them) who do shoot Canon, and a few of them were really unhappy with the Mk3. At least one of them has moved to the Mk4 and says it's what the Mk3 should have been, and has been extremely happy.

In fact, I have heard of people switching to Nikon around the time of the mk3 and a few when Nikon came out with the D3. I think it's just a matter of timing. It seems to me like Nikon was really strong at a time when Canon was struggling a bit, and that created some mixed reactions.

I know people who were fine with their Canon Mk3's too...I almost think it's just a matter of a sour taste from the Mk3 problems.
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Alan Herzberg, Photographer
Elm Grove | WI | USA | Posted: 12:19 AM on 12.21.11
->> Completely, 100% happy. So happy with the first one, I bought a second one a month later. No regrets. I had a Mark III and while it worked ok, there was always the feeling it should have been better. Not so with the Mark IV.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 1:15 AM on 12.21.11
->> A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!
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Tod Gomes, Photographer
Pleasant Hill | CA | USA | Posted: 1:29 AM on 12.21.11
->> LOVE mine! Been using it since October last year.
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Gene Boyars, Photographer
Matawan | NJ | United States | Posted: 7:04 AM on 12.21.11
->> What Liddy and everyone else said....I skipped the Mark III because of all the problems, I got the Mark IV about 18 months ago and it is all it was advertised as and more.
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Frank Mattia, Photographer, Assistant
Chattanooga | TN | USA | Posted: 8:22 AM on 12.21.11
->> I have a Mark III and was lucky enough to buy it from a SS member who had all the focus problems with it so Canon just sent him a new one with a high serial #(after the fix) and I'm very happy with it. I got a Mark IV loaner from CPS to try out for 10 days. As soon as I sent it back I started saving my money for the IV. I will keep the III and I use a 7D as a back-up. I use all Nikon equipment at my regular job and alot of my co-workers like me own Canon equipment for there personal use..
I'm hoping with the release of the 1D X in March, there might be a few more than there are now, good used ones on the market at more affordable prices.
BTW, my second loaner is on the way from CPS, so I get to really put it to the test w/ 2 Bowl Games and 2 SEC basketball games.
And from just what I have seen, Canon support is much better than Nikon support. For all Nikon shooter, I maybe wrong about that, it's just what I have seen.
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Tim Vizer, Photographer
Belleville | IL | USA | Posted: 8:47 AM on 12.21.11
->> I use a IV and two IIIs and by far the IV is the camera of choice -- best one I've used in all my years..... but I'd still like to test drive a D3S and have that comparison experience.
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Salisbury | NC | USA | Posted: 9:26 AM on 12.21.11
->> I love my Mark IV ... the second one. The first one suffered from terminal "ERR 99" disease.

As for the 7D, I hated it until I sent it to CPS, which found the sensor was WAY out of alignment. Since they adjusted it, it has given me outstanding stuff. I use it as the backup to my Mark IV.
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Gary Cosby, Jr, Photographer
Decatur | AL | USA | Posted: 9:33 AM on 12.21.11
->> I have a split personality. I shoot Nikon D3s at work every day and a Canon 5D for freelance stuff. A friend loaned me his 1d Mark IV and a 400 f2.8 for a night, high school football game. I shot at ISO 8000 and had nice results. The D3s is smoother at the high ISOs but I was not at all disappointed in performance of the Canon. The AF was about the same as the D3s from my limited sample. In my mind, Canon's color rendition is always a bit warmer than Nikons and I like that. I have told many folks that, in my opinion, the two companies are a coin toss right now. They are both making great products.
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Walt Middleton, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbus | OH | USA | Posted: 10:37 AM on 12.21.11
->> Yeah, I'm realy happy with my Mark IV bodies...
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Ed Chan, Photographer
San Diego | CA | US | Posted: 12:51 PM on 12.21.11
->> I've owned the Mark IV, then switched to the D3s. I found that the AF on both to be excellent; the Nikon AF is superior to the Canon in ridiculously low light.

I liked the Canon for it's larger file size that provided additional cropping choices and APS-H sensor for more reach.

I prefer the Nikon at 1600 ISO and above. 3200 ISO files are beautiful, where with the Mark IV they were acceptable.

I liked the Canon better for outdoor sports, the Nikon for indoor sports. Ultimately I made the switch to Nikon.
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Dallas | TX | US | Posted: 2:23 PM on 12.21.11
->> /begin rant

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that we, collectively, demand way too much from camera and lens technology.

[hold off on the pitchforks and torches, people. let me finish.]

Look, I hate it as much as the next guy when my camera messes up, and I of course hate it even more when it screws me out of an important photo. But the fact is, as time goes on, that happens with less frequency.

The camera I was issued in January of 2003 when I took at job at The Paris (Texas) News was a Canon D-30. A D-30. Anyone remember that camera? It was a piece of shit.

In addition to daily feature hunting I shot sports pretty much every night I worked. Sports. With a D-30. Dark stadiums, dank gymnasiums. Did the D-30 do well? Of course not, but it was all I had and I made it work.

At some point I bought myself a used 1D and wow was I impressed. Now if 2011 me went back and looked at those files, I would find 2003's enthusiasm to be wildly idiotic.

I'm reminded of what the great Louis CK said about cell phones -- about how we get pissed when a call gets dropped or the line isn't clear. Somehow we've lost sight of the fact that whatever stupid thing we were saying went all the way to space and back faster than we could possibly fathom.

I apply the same logic to cameras. The computing that goes on between the lens, focus, sensor, etc. is something my feeble brain could never comprehend. When I make myself aware of that, the little hiccups now and then don't piss me off as much. I figure since success rate is FAR higher than the failure rate, it all comes out in the wash.

Another thought. Back when the Cowboys were moving from Texas Stadium to their new digs, I worked on a video where I interviewed our veteran sports photographers about their experiences at the old venue. Unfortunately that video never made, but in the process I learned a lot of cool things.

Apropos to this topic, I remember the great John Rhodes telling me about times when you couldn't take a photograph. Not because someone wouldn't let you -- because the cameras literally couldn't take the photo. The glass wasn't fast enough (aperture wise, not focus ... everything was MF back then), the film wasn't fast enough, etc. All the photographers back then new it, accepted it, and moved on. It's just the way it was.

Fast forward to current times. The other day I shot a prep basketball game in a venue that only a couple years ago I would have HAD to strobe. I was running late and feeling too lazy to even work with lights. Shoot ruined? Nope. Just cranked the MkIV's to 6400 and went to work. Were the files amazing? Of course not. They had noise, and of course the autofocus struggled at times in the low light, but the fact is I walked out of there with about a dozen photos I felt very fine about submitting to my paper.

6400 iso. Anyone remember what 3200 speed film pushed a stop looked like? Shit. Total shit.

So I guess the point is, while I don't begrudge folks for expecting consistency and quality from these very expensive investments, I just hope people don't loose sight of the fact that the technology at play here is crazy advanced, and has gotten so relatively quickly.

Yes there are dud cameras -- the D2h's and MkIII's of the world. And I'm sure there's been plenty of crap lenses, too. But weigh that against how far we've come. This whole business where we wander around like little photographic Goldilockses -- this camera's too slow, this lens is too soft -- accomplishes nothing.

Barring a genuine turd product from Nikon or Canon, let's take the bad with the good and accept the fact that nothing will ever be perfect, although if you ask me, we're pretty damned close.

end rant/

I love my Mark IV's, Thomas. Accomplish everything I need for daily metro work, sports and so forth. Not sure how much more you expect from your cameras, but I'm happy to say mine leave me satisfied and then some.

- gerry -
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Kevin Krows, Photographer
Forsyth | IL | USA | Posted: 8:37 PM on 12.21.11
->> Thanks Thomas for having the stones to ask the question....

It took 6 attempts, but CPS came through with three 1D Mark III bodies that work. Very happy and blessed to to have them.

I've field tested the 1D Mark IV twice. In March, not overly impressed. Took another test drive last week (ala firmware updates etc.)and thought it handled very nice. AF was very stable and the files are much better than the Mark III for sure.

From a business perspective, I don't believe the Mark IV will afford me any more strategic advantage than the Mark III's I have. Video is not important to me so it boils down to AF and clean files.

The 1DX, however, seems like a much better investment. The acid test will be just how clean those high iso files are. Night football is big business for me so there could be real payoff. Low-light auto focusing is very high on my list of improvements.

Finally, you need to give some thought to the train wreck caused to the back end of your business as a result of larger file sizes. Fast CF Cards, more storage space, faster computer, faster card readers, and so on.

I'll start with one 1DX, keep my Mark III's, and make decisions from there.
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James Durbin, Photographer, Student/Intern
Carbondale | IL | USA | Posted: 3:11 PM on 12.23.11
->> I wish I had more experience with Nikon so I could really give you some well-rounded advice. I know from my editing work that the D3's produce some amazing files, but I don't have firsthand experience operating them. Regarding the Mk4, when the Canon reps gave me a 1Dmk4 to shoot with for a few days of assignments I was blown away. I'm still using 1Dmk2's for my personal cameras, shooting them on RAW to get higher ISO ability out of them because they are beginning to show their age. The 1D4, quite honestly, allowed me to take pictures I could not have taken before. The sun went down and I was doing an in-depth story on a 51-year-old race car driver at some backwoods barely lit dirt track. I was able to photograph him in the pits, working on his car and out on the track racing at high shutter speeds and with little noise. I would have been nothing but a spectator if I had been using my 1Dmk2's in those same conditions.
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Paul Barkley, Photographer
Lidcombe, Sydney | NSW | Australia | Posted: 4:26 PM on 12.23.11
->> Well said G.J
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Thomas B. Shea, Photographer
Pearland/Houston | TX | USA | Posted: 6:22 PM on 12.23.11
->> Thank you all for your feedback. A sportsshooter member called me personally and we talked about how much work does the camera do and how much work does the photographer do. We agreed you can have the best camera and it won't make you more creative, it is the photographer that does that. The photographer the pushes the shutter, chooses the composition , f-stop, shutter speed and iso or as I still call it from the film days, asa.

It is great to have auto-focus and 10 frames per second. I remember shooting chrome with a manual focus with my Nikon FM body and Tokina 70-200 4.5 zoom lens with on camera Vivitar 285 flash trying to shoot night time high school football and soccer when I first started out.

The question I need to ask myself, if I were to invest in another camera will I get more work?
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 9:13 PM on 12.23.11
->> I'm pretty happy with mine, but I will say - it's a heck of a lot more picky than anything else.

If I have a lens that's more than +/- 3 off, it has a really rough time, and it also doesn't work nearly as well with my older 70-200 v1 as it does the 70-200 IS II. I'm guessing it just needs a lot sharper level of contrast to lock into, and if it's not getting sharper where it's expecting that to happen it'll fail to focus. It is also very dependent on settings, thus Canon's new interface to the autofocus system in the 1D X.

Even just switching on and off AF expansion it feels very different, and it doesn't have as much of a dominant area in the middle of the frame that it prefers. Sometimes the camera will pick a different part of someone than I'm expecting when I have the AF speed set differently, especially if I have all points and no expansion enabled. Also, every once in a while if I set the AF speed to be too slow it will just lock onto something in the background rather than the subject I'm following in front of them, when the two are moving together. It seems to happen a lot when I'm in the end zone and a pass comes my direction - on the switch from QB to receiver it will just stick on someone chasing the receiver rather than jumping forwards. Usually those situations are predictable so I'll switch to single point with expansion beforehand, and my mark II-N had similar issues if the AF speed was set to slow.

That said, when calibrated and set up, it's always better than my mark 2-n, which was far better than the Mark 3 I borrowed from CPS after the whole AF debacle ended. The quirks it has are pretty predictable and minor, with simple workarounds.
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 9:16 PM on 12.23.11
->> I forgot to mention that it's much quicker and more reliable than the 1Ds 3 I shot for a year before picking up a IV. The 1Ds 3 is basically a working version of the 1D 3 in that respect.
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David Seelig, Photographer
Hailey | ID | USA | Posted: 1:13 PM on 12.24.11
->> Better IQ then the 1ds mk111 as well
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Matthew Hinton, Photographer, Assistant
New Orleans | LA | USA | Posted: 5:02 PM on 12.24.11
->> Both cameras will get you more work because of the ability to shoot in low light improves your shooting options immensely, especially for news. The D3s is better in low light but the Mark IV is superior to the Nikon D700 in low light. I've never used a D3 so can't speak about that. There tends to be less shadow detail in the Canons compared to the Nikons though. So try not to underexpose on the Canons especially in low light.

I own a D3s and have a company provided Mark IV. The D3s focuses better. The Mark IV focuses well but if you have dark uniforms there will be random jumping from sharp to not sharp.

What I mean is you hold down the shutter at 8fps or whatever and the first frame is tack sharp, the next frame out, the next frame tack sharp. This doesn't happen as much on the D3s.

This is not isolated to me this has been seen by many on staff, and others including a Getty staff photographer. It maybe that we have the mostly Black and a little Gold uniforms that offer little contrast at some games which causes the problem. The Nikon doesn't have as much trouble though.

For most games I have Mark IV with a 400mm 2.8 fixed and the Nikon D3s with a 70-200mm 2.8. I've gotten the front page of the newspaper most games I've shot and it is usually the Nikon that gets the front. It might be due to the fact that the full-frame 70mm is that much wider than the 91mm equivalent on the Mark IV and I can get a little more context to the image for a touchdown.

The Mark IV often takes a frame to get there even in daylight. They are about equal for basketball but I favor the D3s because the Mark IV will still randomly jump.

Also good luck at getting the Mark IV to actually shoot at it's top FPS when auto-focusing. You'll often hear appreciable gaps between frames no matter what the custom function. Drive priority seems to work better. It's still pretty darn fast but often not 10fps.

The 7D is not great. It resembles sharp. It's noisy. You can't tag images for later editing. Don't waste your money. Buy a 5D Mark II for a second body.

If you ever need anything repaired Canon is a million times better if you sign up for the Silver membership. Nikon service is not good. They will look at your lens or camera with a magnifying glass and say any scratch or minuscule crack constitutes "impact damage" and void your 5-year warranty, even if the "crack" is an unrelated part of the lens to the thing you need repaired. Search the web for Nikon and impact damage.

The Mark IV you can live with under warranty. If you own a Nikon budget around $500-$1000 a year for repairs for "impact damage."
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James Durbin, Photographer, Student/Intern
Carbondale | IL | USA | Posted: 1:28 PM on 12.25.11
->> Thank you Matthew for that comparison.
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Aaron Babcock, Photographer, Photo Editor
Lincoln | NE | | Posted: 7:48 PM on 12.29.11
->> Absolutely love mine. Used the Mark III and the 7D. No comparison.
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Mike Doran, Photographer
Petaluma | CA | U.S.A. | Posted: 12:43 AM on 12.30.11
->> I also love mine and have used the Mark III and own a 7D although my niece who is my assistant has the 7D.
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Steven Mullensky, Photographer, Photo Editor
Port Townsend | WA. | USA | Posted: 2:07 PM on 12.30.11
->> Since we're talking about Mk IV's I'm hoping someone in the SportsShooter community might be able to help me trouble shoot a Canon Mk IV that I purchased new in November.

My other camera, a Mk IIn with an older 70-200 2.8, was great but I was expecting better things with this new camera however my images are decidedly soft. I'm shooting basketball, indoors, at high ISO and focus on Ai Servo at 400-500 sec. and 3.5 aperture.

Before I send this in for checking I want to make sure that the problem isn't me and something I'm doing or not doing. Has anyone has experienced soft images with a Mk IV and how did you correct it?

Thanks.
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Frank Lauri, Photographer
Larksville | PA | USA | Posted: 7:20 AM on 12.31.11
->> I bought my MK IV new in Feb. 2010 and had a MK IIn as my backup. Since the IV was far superior over the MK IIn, I rarely used the backup....thus when I did need to bring it out...I had to get re-aquainted with some of the settings.

Additionally....when shooting basketball or wrestling in some of the high school gyms and the lighting is poor, the Mark IIn falls short of the MK IV.

So last week I pulled the trigger on another MK IV to keep the other one company. Transitioning in now easier for me who relies on survival by sending myself e-mails and voice messages to remember things.

But seriously....I absolutely love this camera and one thing I have to experiment with...which I have not yet done...is play around with the video capabilities. So I'll be toying with that option a little in 2012.
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Chris Wood, Photographer
San Diego | CA | US | Posted: 2:26 PM on 12.31.11
->> I always hear all these great things about Nikon - but whenever I use them I am always underwhelmed. Mind you - but experience does not include the D3s or D3x but I have used D3, D300 and D200 extensively and I don't think they lived up to the hype I hear about Nikon.

On the issue AF - My worst Nikon experience was with a D3 while photographing gymnastics teams in a well lit convention center. We were doing team photos with a portable studio setup and the camera was having a hard time locking focus on the shiny sequenced uniforms. I was left either with manual focus or focus/recompose.

On flash systems - I have found the Nikon flashes to be finicky and somewhat unreliable. The thermal protection on the SB900 makes the flash pretty useless if you leave it turned on - and unprotected if it is turned off. I have also found the TTL flash metering to be no better than Canon. Nikon has a great wireless command system but it is nowhere near as good as the Pocket Wizard (AC3) system that is available for Nikon or Canon.

Having just complained about Nikon, I would not want anyone to think I hold Canon in overly high regard either - Both systems have their inherent weaknesses. Here's a couple of Canon complaints

Canon AF - 1DmkIV does not like to use the flash AF assist beam in the dark. I don't know why - but my 5DmkII does much better in the dark as long as a flash is attached (wedding receptions).

Image Noise - I have not found a linear relationship between ISO performance between brands. I shoot a lot of weddings with a guy who uses Nikon D700. At ISO 3200 the Nikon file is superior to Canon 5DmkII or 1DmkIV. But at ISO 6400 the files from the D700 really fall apart while the Canon files remain in much better shape (especially in the shadows). Since I shoot ISO 3200 more than I use 6400 I really wish my cameras were just as clean as the Nikon files.

Bottom line - If I had to replace ALL my gear tomorrow I honestly don't know which brand I would go with...
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Gregory Greene, Photographer
Durham | NH | USA | Posted: 9:23 PM on 12.31.11
->> @Steven - Not sure if this is your problem or not but I had to up the shutter speed a bit on my 1D4 coming from my 1D2. The pixel density of the 1D4 is a lot less forgiving and 400-500 is just barely stopping action.
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Steven Mullensky, Photographer, Photo Editor
Port Townsend | WA. | USA | Posted: 2:00 PM on 01.01.12
->> Hello, Gregory.

Thanks for the response.
Shutter speed? Didn't think of that as my MkIIn seemed to handle those speeds very well.
I'll give it a try at Tuesday night's game.

And a Happy New Year, too.
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Matt Ryerson, Photographer
Lincoln | NE | US | Posted: 6:25 PM on 03.06.12
->> Mark IV: I sleep with mine tucked under my pillow. 7D never been happy with it.
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James Durbin, Photographer, Student/Intern
Kirkwood | MO | USA | Posted: 8:22 PM on 03.06.12
->> Since this thread was posted I have acquired a Mk4. I am incredibly blown away by the resolution and "pulling power" of the camera, even on JPG medium. Cropping is effortless and grain is barely present even up to 6400 ISO. Focus seems to be very intuitive, but I have found that when you have all focus points enabled the camera will tend to pick up whatever object happens to be moving faster rather than the one that is the subject. It occasionally makes mistakes, but it is hard to blame the camera vs human error.
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James Brosher, Photographer
South Bend | IN | United States | Posted: 9:26 PM on 03.06.12
->> Want to completely agree with what Gerry said above. At the end of the day, it's just a box with a hole in it. The most important part of any camera is a couple inches behind the viewfinder.
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Brian Davidson, Photographer
Independence | Mo | USA | Posted: 10:23 PM on 03.06.12
->> I own a mk IV and a 50d. I really want to have two MkIVs... Anyone selling theirs for a 1d X ?


I love my Mk IV ! =)
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Andrew Carpenean, Photographer
Laramie | WY | USA | Posted: 10:39 PM on 03.06.12
->> I don't discount what Gerry said forementioned, nor what James just reaffirmed (how profound), but for me for the thousands of dollars spent for camera equipment (especially if it comes out my pocket. I want the damn thing to work and to work well. At the end of the day yes its a box with a hole in it, but a very expensive one indeed. One that I fully expect to perform well and in knowing that I made a good choice. Especially when it can come down to getting the shot vs. not getting the shot.

Needless to say this is why a lot photographers on here bring up "what do you think about this piece of equipment"? Before they buy it for themselves or make an investment for a business. Having purchased new camera systems for two publications in my career it doesn't sit well with me in having to tell the publisher the equipment we just purchased isn't very reliable. Just my rant...

Mark IV: Hands down the best Canon digital camera I've shot with to date. Is it perfect, no, but its a far cry from it's predecessor the Mark III. That being said it struggles on occasion in low light situations although at high ISOs it looks so much better than anything before.

The color saturation in standard mode in daylight is spot on. Indoors AWB is lousy, mixed light, even worse. Setting the camera to other white balance modes helps, but I still find myself color correcting, a lot. The 580EX on camera in TTL isn't very reliable, horrible at times. The metering system can be an issue too. I find myself switching to spot metering in high contrast situations such as stage lighting.

I hope this helps in your decision.
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Thread Title: Are you happy with the Canon Mark IV?
Thread Started By: Thomas B. Shea
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