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|| News Item: Posted 2001-09-28

It's Here! A Hands-On Look at the New Canon 1D
By Bob Deutsch, USA TODAY

The new baby has arrived!

After a short time with the new Canon 1D digital pro camera, the bad news is that when I miss a picture now, it will be my fault.

I have been using various non-film cameras since the very early days of "digital" 14 years ago: from the first Canon still video camera, then the Sony Mavica, the tethered Kodak thingy with monitor and recorder in a separate pack worn over the shoulder, the DCS3, and finally the D2000/DCS520.

The one thing in common with all of these cameras was that they were all a big compromise between speed, quality, usability, and getting a picture in the paper. Sure the quality could be awful or sure I missed many peak action frames, but hey, we got one in on deadline. With film we would have all these beautiful frames that no one would see. So we lived with it, for years, until now.

In my quick tryout of the new EOS1D and a longer look at the specs, I think we finally have a camera that will allow us to take back the picture we saw, with a quality that is, for now, sufficient for our needs.

Yes, a 30 Meg file size and a 100-frame buffer would be better, but the technology (at a reasonable price) is not there yet. As the ad says, "No more excuses!"

Photo by
The camera is solid, one piece, and feels just like an EOS1V film camera. Most important for me was that the viewfinder was a "full frame view"large, bright, just like the EOS1V. No more small screens that we old farts can't see through.

The chip is a 4.48 megapixel CCD (still smaller than a full 35mm frame, giving a multiplier of 1.3x). But the viewfinder image is as large as the 1V. It also displays the frames left on the card (one choice among several user selectable settings) and also the number of frames left in the jpeg buffer! That should go a long way to preventing "running out of bullets" in the buffer.

Pick it up and fire away at 8 fps, and you'll realize at once how much a different camera this is from what we have had. My guess is that we'll slow it down most of the time to prevent running the buffer and running out of disks. You can set it at 3 or 8 fps, and set personal functions for other high and low settings. So in effect you can set it at 4 different frame rates (3,4,6,or8, for example). And most importantly, the "lag" to fire is the same as the EOS1V, 55 ms, so no more delay to deal with.

It does Raw files and Jpeg's at simultaneously if desired (with a smaller buffer), a great idea except for events that need the most disk and buffer space. If you do run the buffer, it begins to flush immediately and after a second or so you have several more frames to shoot.

Autofocus is the same as the 1V, 45 AF points and all that, and works great on the 1V and in a quick test with the 1D.

Photo by Brad Mangin

Photo by Brad Mangin
Flash sync is at 1/500 sec. (and probably more), and it is safe to use with strobes with sync line voltages up to 250 volts, including the old unmodified Speedotrons, without filters. The PC sync socket is non-polarized so no more having to switch polarity.

There is a user setting to keep the camera "alive" for up to an hour, so no external "keep alive" switch is needed for remote uses (but it will drain the battery faster). The remote plug is the same as the 1V, the d2000/dcs520 and the d30. And if you get caught in the rain, it is sealed and I'm told it will be fine (do not confuse it for an underwater housing, and the lens must be a newer sealed one also).

There are tons of user adjustable settings. The only things I noticed that are "missing" are a video out, any transmission (cellphone) options, and a "zoom" for the "chimping" screen, which is slightly larger that the D2000/DCS520.

Since the camera I saw did not have the final version of firmware, I can't report details on file quality, other than to say the files I shot during my "test drive" look great.

In short, the new Canon 1D looks to be a high-speed, professional digicam with a great viewfinder, no lag, great feel, great AF, and (probably) great image quality.


For detailed technical specs of the new Canon 1D, go to the official Canon web site:

And for another look at the technical side of the 1D, go to digi-guru Rob Galbraith's site at: and Phil Askey's DP Review at: .

(Bob Deutsch, who has used every form of pro digital cameras and even made good images with a Sony Mavica, is USA TODAY's New York-based staff photographer.)

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