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|| News Item: Posted 2009-11-09

Photographer's Toy Box: A Hands-On First Impression of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
By Peter Read Miller, Sports Illustrated

Photo by

Canon 1D Mark IV
About a month ago I was fortunate to get the opportunity to spend a few days shooting with a couple of pre-production Canon 1D Mark IV's. Because the camera had not yet been announced, I was somewhat limited in where I could shoot. In other words, I wasn't able to shoot an NFL game or the like. Also, the raw processing software had not yet been finalized, so I couldn't shoot anything for Sports Illustrated as we always shoot RAW files.

Those limitations aside, I was able to shoot the cameras in a number of situations, each of which posed it's own set of challenges.

I first took the cameras down to the Manhattan Beach Pier one morning. The light was grey, flat overcast. I shot the pelicans and sea gulls that are always flying around down there. Then I shot a JV high school football game in bright sun on a warm day, and finally a Varsity High School game at night in poor lighting.

Here are some of my impressions from those shoots:
• Auto-Focus was very impressive. Very quick acquisition of the subject combined with great tracking regardless of contrast or brightness. I was also impressed with camera's ability to stay with a moving subject (in this case a bird) even when it passed behind a foreground object (a light post).

• High ISO performance. Although without the RAW software I was somewhat limited, I felt that the JPEGs I shot at the night football at ISO 3200 looked every bit as good as 1600 ISO on the Mk III.

• Files. Big and sharp, everything looked great right out of the camera. It was surprising to look at frame counter when I put my 16gb Hoodman card in and see I was getting a little over 500 RAW files instead of the 900 + I was used to with the MK III. I guess I'll be going to 32's.

• Other improvements. I noticed include the LCD that is much sharper and easier to see in bright sun. The buffer has been enlarged to 28 RAW files (this may change slightly on production models). I'd like to see it even bigger, but when you consider the size of the files, 28 RAW isn't bad at all.

• Video. I didn't shoot too much video, but the MK IV does have an impressive array of video features especially the number of different capture speeds including 50 and 60 fps allowing slow motion shooting.

All in all I think the EOS-1D MK IV is a big step forward for Canon, one that will make Canon shooters everywhere very happy campers.

For more tech specs and other details about the Canon 1D Mark IV, check this link:

(Peter Read Miller is a staff photographer with Sports Illustrated based in Southern California. You can see his work at his member page: and at his personal website:

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