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 Post subject: Canon EOS 1D mark II review?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 8:31 am 
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I just thought this review is really out of place in MaximumPC, and while I can understand why its dual processing capabilities are somewhat relevant to computers, I'm afraid as a DSLR review, it's the least informative review I've seen on the MK2...
It also seems like the reviewer had a hard time trying to come up with a negative point... I don't have the issue here, but I remember it had something to do with it's weight and size... hardly a negative point, considering how the weight and size of the EOS-1 bodies actually helps when handling long lenses, it's also very comfortable, and due to it's size, all the controls are well laid out. The reason it's built like a tank is because it's a professional camera for professional use, where it's a tool, and not a precious piece of equipment handled with extreme care, like most amateurs do. There's no smaller and lighter camera that comes close, including the 20D...

The only real negative points worth mentioning (none are really serious):

1. Can't change ISO settings while looking through the viewfinder - annoying
2. Out of the box, color accuracy is slightly off (weak warm colors)
3. Too many button presses (four) to activate mirror lock-up
4. No more external WB sensor, questionable accuracy of auto white balance - only an issue while shooting JPEG
5. Matrix metering, measures reflected light, instead of incident light - not as accurate.

Otherwise this is the best damn DSLR period.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 2:19 am 
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Hey, thanks for posting that. That's the next camera I've been considering and those points were all really useful and important in my decision.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 6:47 am 
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If you shoot RAW, make a custom color profile and perhaps invest in a hand-held meter, most of those negative points are irrelevant... Do you already own EOS mount lenses? or do you plan to purchase a whole system?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 1:11 am 
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Nope, I've got lenses, I have an EOS Rebel, so that's why that's the camera I was looking at. I've got a light meter, is that what you mean or is there a different meter for the digital aspect for the color correcting?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 6:25 am 
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Yeah, an incident light meter. I have one of these: http://www.sekonic.com/Products/L-608.html

What lenses do you have? I got these:

Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX Aspherical
Canon 50mm f/1.4 EF USM
Canon 85mm f/1.2 EF-L USM
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 EF-L USM
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 EF-L IS USM
Canon 300mm f/4.0 EF-L IS USM
Canon 1.4x TeleConverter EF II


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 1:18 pm 
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Yeah, I agree the Mk II review isn't exactly what you're going to find in a traditional PC magazine but you have to realize that it has to be balanced with our readership. This isn't Pop Photo, it's Maximum PC. There so much you have to explain to a crowd that is likely used to digicams in 500 words. Our readers also understand dual proc and RAID more than Bayer interpolated sensor.
However, I still think the review is actually more valuable than what I've seen out there from mainstream computing mags. With that said, for me, weight is not an issue. I've slogged a 400 2.8 IS with a 1D around a race track for six hours on foot so I obviously don't have a problem with weight. For most people though, the 1D Mk II's weight must be highlighted. You better be ready to handle the weight. And frankly, the D2H / Li-Ion battery combo is lighter than a Mk II. I obviously didn't think the weight was enough of an issue to lower the score. While mainstream computer mags would probably complain about the $4,500 price tag we didn't as it's a pro-level, weather sealed camera. I thought that was pretty apparent in the verdict.

1. Can't change ISO settings while looking through the viewfinder - annoying

It's a fair complaint. Canon really needs to add data to the viewfinder.

2. Out of the box, color accuracy is slightly off (weak warm colors)

Sure. This one is fair, but remember the Mk II definitely (note that it is spelled correctly) tends to blow red's so maybe it's done intentionally?

3. Too many button presses (four) to activate mirror lock-up

Yeah, fair bitch if you're a mirror lock-up all the time kind of guy...I didn't find it to be a problem as things don't exactly jump out of the way when you're shooting on a tripod which is where you're likely to use mirror lock up. What I'd really like to see is a macro button that could be bound to several functions. Want mirror lock up? Press button and shoot. Want to shoot one frame in RAW and switch from one shot to AI Servo. Push button. Want to bracket in RAW in One Shot AF, push button. Nobody has that feature that I'm aware of right now.

4. No more external WB sensor, questionable accuracy of auto white balance - only an issue while shooting JPEG

Canon actually says the external white balance sensor was pretty worthless. What is that tiny little window going to do if you're shooting with a 300mm anyway right?

5. Matrix metering, measures reflected light, instead of incident light - not as accurate.

I don't see this as a fair complaint. (Matrix, btw, is a Nikon thing, Canon uses "evaluative." Yeah, it's all the same.) I would like to see the day when we get incident instead of reflective out of a camera. I guess you'd have to fire a small wireless probe out 100 meters or so. The probe would do an incident reading and transmit it back to the body? How exactly would this be done?

Besides, I haven't used my Minolta meter since I started reading the histogram. It seems easier, faster and more accurate to me.

A better complaint would be, where is the color meter? Nikon has it in their cheapo D70, why doesn't Canon? Of course, I guess Canon could probably say just use the historgram. Still, if digicams and most N cameras do, Canon should think about it.

More important to me is the Mk II's AF performance and responsiveness. The MkII is pretty tough to beat.

I agree though, the Mk II is the best damn SLR around *today* and I'd have one if I wasn't married.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 4:34 pm 
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Yeah, I forgot about the battery, Lithium-Ion or Lithium-Polymer would definitely make it a little lighter, but it must be noted that the battery life is down right impressive.

About the histogram... the problem is that you can still blow out one of the RGB channels without knowing it, because the basic histogram only shows the overall luminosity and not individual channel brightness. The trick to maximize your S/N ratio is to expose closer to the right side of the histogram because that's where the most detail can be captured (if you separate the entire dynamic range of a DSLR into five F/stops, the first one alone contains half the data, which is about 2048 tonal steps)... Doing so, increases the risk of blowing out highlights, even tho the basic histogram looks fine and nothing is flashing... The old rule of the thumb is that it's preferable to underexpose then overexpose, but unfortunately, underexposing means your data is closer to the left side of the histogram where only few tonal steps are available and posterization occurs...

This is how the dynamic range scales down:

Within the first F/Stop, which contains the Brightest Tones - 2048 levels available
Within the second F/Stop, which contains Bright Tones - 1024 levels available
Within the third F/Stop, which contains the Mid-Tones - 512 levels available
Within the fourth F/Stop, which contains Dark Tones - 256 levels available
Within the fifth F/Stop, which contains the Darkest Tones - 128 levels available

I prefer using my light meter when I can, especially when shooting portraits or difficult scenes with a dynamic range that exceeds the capabilities of any digital camera (I only bracket in the most extreme cases) and checking the individual color channels for brightness is as important as the basic histogram to me, especially when I expose to the right side of the histogram.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:49 am 
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I don't have anything like that in the way of lenses, just a macro, zoom and wide angle and a few filters. I'm not a pro photographer by any stretch of the imagination, just a hobbiest. I'd tell ya what I use the cameras for mostly but, you'd just laugh at it.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:01 am 
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Yeah, I'd agree. The dynamic range of DSLRs has a long way to go but the "exposing to the right rule" seems to work pretty well as does shooting anything that is critical in RAW. At least the 1D MKII's doesn't blow highlights the way the 10D did/does.

Modder as a practical matter, I think you should seriously take a look at the 20D as an alternative to the Mk II. The Mk II is pretty much a serious, serious amateur/ pro/sports photo journalist body. Unless you really need the duty life, weather/dust resistance and toughness of the Mk II, the 20D is probably a very good alternative. It is not in the class of the Mk II in AF performance but it's plenty of camera for the money and a big step up from a Rebel. The only really bad thing is if you like to shoot wide. The 1.6x crop is a bitch for wides. The Mk II's 1.3x crop is better for wides.

If you do have the cash for the body and new glass though I'd do the Mk II.

Maxx, on a side note do you have any complaints about the AF speed on the 85 1.2? I've read reports that it's kinda sluggish compared to the 85 1.8?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 4:23 pm 
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The f/1.2 is indeed slow focusing, but it's consistent and very accurate. It's really a specialty lens, very sharp open wide, with a color rendition on the warmer side compared to the f/1.8. I wouldn't want to be shooting sports with it, but if the movement is somewhat controlled, and predictable, it's not that bad, and with practice it can be mastered... still, it's real challenge because open wide, the DOF is extremely shallow! Basically, it's not a general purpose lens, not just because of the slow AF, but also because it's grotesqly huge and heavy: http://maxx.wolltech.com/EF85F1.2-on-1Ds.jpg and compared with the non-L f/1.8: http://maxx.wolltech.com/EF85_f1.8_&_f1.2.jpg


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 4:33 pm 
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Yeah, that's supposedly the reason Canon killed the 200 F/2 too. That shallow depth of field will kill you. I wonder if that's the same reason EOLed the 300 F/2...

I was just thinking the other day that Canon doesn' t have too much glass that shows off the wider mount that was the reason for junking FD. With the 50 1.0 gone, it's really just the 85 1.2, 35 1.4 and 2 and 24 1.4 I guess...


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 5:15 pm 
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You mean the 200 f/1.8 right, Nikon just released an f/2.0 but Canon's was f/1.8, an impressive piece of glass in every respect, even AF speed, some say it was the sharpest Canon lens ever. There's talk of a new version coming, since Nikon just released their own, and the old Canon seems to be pretty saught-after, despite the near-MSRP prices even for heavily used examples; http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=9974

Anyway, the next lens on my list is the EF-L 135 f/2.0, probably the cheapest lens from the L lineup, but it's up there with the 300 f/2.8 as far as sharpness is concerned, even wide open.


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