Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Pro DSLR Announced!

2009 PhotoPlus Canon Featured News Uncategorized

New Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Professional Digital SLRCanon is calling their latest EOS-1D digital SLR the “ultimate multimedia imaging solution.” The new Canon EOS-1D Mark IV has a 16.1-megapixel APS-H (1.3x crop factor) CMOS sensor and captures full-resolution RAW images at 10 frames per second and 1080p video at 30, 24 or 25 frames per second. The new 1D has a standard maximum sensitivity of ISO 12,800, expandable to ISO 102,400. Most important to the sports photographers and photojournalists who make their living with the 1D series, the new EOS-1D Mark IV has an improved 45-point auto focus system that increases the number of ultra-sensitive cross-type AF sensor points from 19 to 39, and has “significantly improved” AI Servo II predictive auto focus programming.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV pro digital SLR - front and back
       For more photos, scroll to bottom of page

There’s a lot of excitement on the Web tonight about the new EOS-1D. A lot of it is because of the camera’s video performance, in particular, the video clips Vincent Laforet posted as soon as the camera was announced (Vincent Laforet’s EOS-1D Mark IV blog post). But for the majority of photographers (myself included), video is still just bonus feature. Still image quality and auto focus performance are the key tools required by working pros who rely on a camera to help them make great images. The 1D Mark IV auto focus and image quality look excellent on paper. Take a look at the key features and specs below and judge for yourself:

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Key Features And Specs

  • 16-megapixel APS-H (1.3x crop factor) CMOS sensor (4896 x 3264 pixels)
  • Sensitivity range: ISO 100 to 12,800, expandable to ISO 50 and ISO 102,400
  • Updated auto focus system with 39 cross-type sensors
  • New, AI Servo II predictive auto focus
  • 10 frames per second full resolution RAW
  • Flash sync: 1/300th second
  • HD video: 1080p at 30, 24, and 25 frames per second – 720p at 60 frames per second
  • Manual video exposure control
  • Optional stereo sound with microphone line-in
  • Dual DIGIC 4 Image Processors
  • 14-bit analogue to digital conversion
  • Three RAW modes (16, 9 and 4 megapixels)
  • 3-inch, 920k Clear View II LCD display
  • “Completely weather-resistant”
  • Rugged, magnesium alloy chassis
  • 100% coverage optical viewfinder
  • 300,000-cycle shutter

I’ll be upfront about my personal bias – the first digital SLR I ponied up for was the original EOS-1D. It set the standard for truly fast, sports-worthy professional digital SLRs. When it was introduced, it had no competition. Nikon has seriously stepped up their game since then, though. Since the Nikon D3 was introduced, they’ve been the ones to beat for image quality – no one has come close. And auto focus issues with EOS-1D Mark III further marred Canon’s DSLR leadership position.

When Nikon announced the ISO 102,400 sensitivity D3S (Nikon D3S announcement article) last week, it raised the bar even higher for pro digital SLRs. It looks like Canon has stepped up, though. Although the 1D Mark IV doesn’t have a full-frame sensor like the D3S, it matches the Nikon’s maximum sensitivity and beats it with more resolution, a faster frame rate and far better video specs. It also looks like the auto focus improvements could be really good. Whether the Canon can match the low noise excellence Nikon has demonstrated, remains to be seen. With more resolution and a smaller sensor, the 1D Mark IV is going to have a tough time matching the low noise of the Nikon D3S. The ISO 6400 D3S samples Nikon published are beautiful and it’s hard to imagine the 1D Mark IV being better. I’m looking forward to seeing some sample photos and making my own studio tests (send me a camera, guys!)

It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement about the new 1D Mark IV. I mean, it’s an exciting camera – the first 1D with video and ISO 102,400 sensitivity! But it’s only right to be a little hesitant after the EOS-1D Mark III’s well-documented auto focus issues. Canon has a lot to prove with the EOS-1D Mark IV. This is the camera they need reclaim the top dog position in the professional digital SLR category. The EOS 5D Mark II got the ball rolling in the right direction again. If the 1D Mark IV performs as promised, I think Canon will be back on the throne. I can’t wait to get my hands on one to shoot some skiing and cyclocross racing!

The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV is scheduled to be available in late December. It’s gonna cost you, though – the US street price is expected to be $4999.00. That’s up about $500 compared to the 1D Mark III price. But it is a lot of camera, especially when you consider it’s got a camcorder crammed in there, along with fast, pro-spec DSLR features. Call your favorite dealer and get on their waiting list now – demand is going to be high for this one.

Official Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Press Release >>


Related Content:
All Canon Reviews
All Digital SLR Reviews
Canon Cameras Forum
Digital SLR Forum
All Canon Camera News And Articles
Canon Cameras Web Site

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - Front
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - Top
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV - Rear LCD

About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

Related Articles

NOTE: There are two ways to comment on our articles: Facebook or Wordpress. Facebook uses your real name and can be posted on your wall while Wordpress uses our login system. Feel free to use either one.

Facebook Comments:

Wordpress Comments:

  • PAul says:

    Well, I said I’d wait for the mkIV to spend my money, and now I’m waiting for the mkV.
    Still no tilt/swivel LCD.
    I can’t be the only short photographer who does overhead shots, surely ?

  • Franglais says:

    The really interesting thing is going to be the image quality at very high ISO, compared with the D3s. But I’m not sure that is important to everyone.

  • Photo-John says:

    Thanks for mentioning the tilt/swivel LCD. I was so caught up in digging through the auto focus details that I didn’t even think about that. I do love the tilt/swivel LCDs on the Olympus DSLRs and I also liked the LCD on the Nikon D5000. It’s likely that Canon’s latest (7D and 1D) were too far along in the development process to add a tilt/swivel LCD. I hope Canon is paying attention and planning to add that feature. If your main focus is action still photography, I don’t think it matters. But if you plan to use the 1D Mark IV for serious video, no titl/swivel LCD is sort of a problem. On the other hand, the Nikon D3S doesn’t have it either. Based on pure video functionality, that still leaves the Panasonic GH1 as the leader. For image quality, Canon is currently the hands-down video leader – unless you want to include Red. But then it’s a whole different ballgame.

  • Dan Barham says:

    Less moving parts to gunk up with dirt, less entry points for water, less that can break – all worth the trade-off of having to stretch your neck once in a while, for me at least. When I’m working in tough outdoor conditions, I don’t want a flappy screen, I want a camera that can be dropped, knocked and left in a puddle of mud for half an hour and still work every time.

  • Photo-John says:

    That’s a great point, Dan. I hadn’t thought about the reliability issues with the 1D. The 1D Series was designed to be abused. So it does make sense to keep the body simple and sealed with this one. Maybe the next 5D replacement would be more appropriate with a tilt-swivel LCD. I do think Canon should start using them. But maybe this isn’t the camera they should do it with.

  • CD Price - drg says:

    Now that is the Auto Focus system in a new camera that I’ve been waiting for from Canon.

    The AF problems aside from previous cameras, if all these are implemented on top of the video system this could be a real winner.

    I’m anxious to see higher ISO real samples from this sensor. It is going to require obviously top end glass as the 1.3x factor sensor will vignette with anything other than full frame capable lenses, but I don’t think I’d be putting a kit lens on it anyway!

    Canon may have gotten the message that more pixels is not necessarily the best solution for every shooter and the one possible weakness could be that they will be competing against a slightly lower pixel count and Full Frame implementation from Nikon. If they can match the performance in noise of even the D3/D700 Full Frame cameras let alone the potential of the D3s Canon will have a major seller. I’ve high hopes.

    So, this brings up the question as what Canon has planned for the 1Ds version of this new generation of high ISO madness, perhaps CES will tell if not sooner.

    Could be a very Merry Christmas.

  • Pingback: uberVU - social comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *