09/21/2004 - Canon's New EOS-1Ds Mark II Takes Pro Digital to the Next Level
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. At long last, catalog and commercial photographers, stock photographers, studio portrait specialists and other professional photographers of every stripe and specialty can capture brilliant high impact images and enjoy the speed, economy, flexibility, increased workflow and productivity that only digital offers, with Canon's new 16.7 megapixel EOS-1Ds Mark II SLR.
"The EOS-1Ds Mark II digital SLR camera establishes a new benchmark of innovation and excellence not only for Canon but for our industry as a whole and particularly for the community of professional photographers who are our most demanding and discerning customers," stated Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the consumer imaging group at Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc (NYSE:CAJ). "Up to now, many professional and commercial photographers have been wedded to their medium format film cameras in order to ensure the excellence of their images and the ability to make dramatic enlargements with virtually no reduction in quality. With this remarkable new pro digital SLR, we are sending a message to those medium format fans: your digital dream has been fulfilled."
For those wishing to get a first glimpse of that dream, production models of the new EOS-1Ds Mark II camera will be on display at the Canon booth at the Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany starting on Sept. 28th and at New York City's Photo Plus show starting on Oct. 21st at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The EOS-1Ds Mark II camera body carries an estimated street price of $7,999 and is scheduled to begin shipping in November.
The successor to Canon's 11.1-megapixel EOS-1Ds SLR introduced in 2002, the new 16.7-megapixel EOS-1Ds Mark II camera utilizes a full-size 24x36mm CMOS sensor that eliminates focal length conversion factors, and features dramatically improved image quality made possible by the combination of new image sensor technology together with Canon's exclusive DIGIC II image processor.
The new CMOS sensor features larger microlenses over each photosite compared to the EOS-1Ds resulting in an improved signal-to-noise ratio. On-chip noise reduction has also been improved to produce a cleaner signal before the image data is transferred to the DIGIC II image processor. The DIGIC II processor in turn produces rich, high-chroma color gradations for more naturally rendered images. Indeed, it is the combination of Canon's proprietary CMOS sensor and DIGIC II technology that permits the EOS-1Ds Mark II camera to provide what was once considered near impossible: high definition at high resolution with extremely low levels of false color artifacts. DIGIC II also permits faster processing of large files and is twice as fast as the image processor used in the EOS-1Ds.
The EOS-1Ds Mark II camera provides five preset color matrix settings plus two custom settings (as compared with the five presets provided on the original EOS-1Ds camera). In addition, the support for the Adobe RGB color space is improved through the use of DCF 2.0 and Exif 2.21 file formats.
...And White Balance
Inherited from the EOS-1D Mark II model is the new camera's white balance correction feature that permits nine +/-adjustments in full step increments; compensation for blue/amber bias or magenta/green bias; white balance bracketing in three +/- full stop increments and auto white balance derived exclusively from image sensor data. The camera features a total of ten white balance settings:Auto, daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten light, fluorescent light, flash, manual, custom and personal.
Fast, Fast, Fast
The EOS-1Ds Mark II pro digital SLR is ready for action just 0.3 seconds after its power switch is clicked on and fires a fast four frames per second at full resolution for bursts of up to 32 JPEG or 11 RAW images (compared with 3 fps for up to 10 frames on the original EOS-1Ds camera). In a commercial studio environment, the EOS-1Ds Mark II camera will actually shoot faster than the time it takes for most studio strobes to recycle. The camera also offers users ISO options from 100 to 1600 in 1/3-stop increments with the flexibility to expand the range to ISO 50 or ISO 3200 by utilizing the camera's custom functions.
While the new 1Ds Mark II camera occupies the prestigious flagship position of Canon's professional digital line, it incorporates or surpasses many of the new technological advances introduced earlier this year on the 8.2 megapixel EOS-1D Mark II pro digital SLR, which has become a favorite of photojournalists, sports shooters and wedding photographers.
Like its 8.2 megapixel SLR sibling, responsiveness and user-directed adaptability are again clearly evident in the range of the EOS-1Ds Mark II camera's shutter speeds — from 1/8000 to 30 seconds and bulb (with user-set adjustments of 1/3, 1/2 or full stops). The camera's shutter lag time is just 55ms and focus is achieved in a virtual instant thanks to a 45-point AF system. Precision also extends to the EOS IDs Mark II camera's 21-zone metering sensor, which, as one would expect, works seamlessly with the E-TTL-II flash metering technology. Adding to the camera's versatility and ability to reflect the individuality of the photographer using it, the EOS-1Ds Mark II camera features 20 built-in Custom Functions with 65 settings and 27 personal function settings that can be uploaded to the camera with the use of dedicated software.
Recognizing that such customization can be time consuming, all of the camera's settings can now be saved to a memory card and shared with multiple cameras. Should the camera need servicing, the settings can be stored and reloaded after the work is done.
With 16.7 effective megapixels (out of a total of 17.2 megapixels) packed on to a 36.0 x 24.0 mm CMOS sensor, the EOS-1Ds Mark II camera offers the world's highest pixel count in a 35mm, full-size digital AF SLR camera. In the JPEG Large and RAW modes, the 4992 x 3328 recorded pixels are easily capable of making 16 x 24 inch enlargements. What's more, the EOS-1Ds Mark II camera has sufficient resolution to generate a full double page spread at 300 DPI, considered the "Holy Grail" of catalog photography.
Unlike the original 1Ds camera that featured only two image quality settings, the new EOS-1Ds Mark II model places greater control and discretion in the photographer's hands and offers a choice of five image quality settings: RAW (16.6 megapixels); Large JPEG (16.6 megapixels); Medium 1 JPEG (8.6 megapixels), Medium 2 JPEG (6.3 megapixels), and Small JPEG (4.2 megapixels). RAW files and JPEGS can be shot separately or simultaneously, for maximum flexibility according to the desired workflow.
E-TTL II Flash Exposure Control
The EOS-1Ds Mark II Pro Digital SLR camera incorporates the E-TTL II Flash control system first introduced on the EOS-1D Mark II model earlier this year. Though it remains compatible with all EX-series Speedlites as well as the E-TTL wireless autoflash system, the smarter E- TTL II flashmetering algorithm evaluates the subject as a "plane" rather than a simply a point and ensures that images containing various colors and levels of reflection are captured accurately and optimally. The system compares the ambient light with pre-flash data reflected off the subject and recorded by the central 17 metering zones. It then selects the areas with a small difference to be weighted for flash exposure calculation. The system eliminates or under-weights areas with large differences, recognizing them as an extremely reflective object in the background or a highly reflective subject, then smartly ensuring it by considering the distance information data provided from compatible EF lenses. The system similarly prevents over-exposure when photographers lock focus and recompose the shot by considering the flash output level calculated according to the distance. The camera also allows users to select an averaged metering pattern by using its custom function settings.
Pick A Card...
Like the 8.2 megapixel EOS-1D Mark II digital SLR that Canon announced in January, this new 16.7 megapixel EOS-1Ds Mark II model is equipped with two dedicated card slots for Compact Flash (Type I or II) and SD memory cards and allows for either simultaneous backup recording for situations where image capture is critical or individual recording on separate cards for capture of an enormous number of images.
The EOS-1Ds Mark II camera also features a brilliant and easy to read 230,000 pixel high detail color LCD Monitor (compared with a 120,000 pixel display on the original EOS-1Ds), that measures two inches on the diagonal and provides 100% coverage. Image playback can be automatic after an image has been captured and is also reviewable by simply pressing the "display" button on the rear of the body. The monitor is equipped with a magnification feature that provides a 1.5 X to 10X scrollable zoom in 15 stops, enabling users to check the focus and exposure of their images with a new level of on-the-spot precision. The monitor also provides five brightness settings, a new and bolder typeface to allow for easier reading of text menus and an auto rotation feature that automatically rotates a vertically shot image to enable easier viewing and downloading. Manual clockwise rotation of the image is also possible by 90, 270 or 0 degrees through the image rotation menu.
Contributing to the precision and control afforded to its users, The EOS-1Ds Mark II camera's RGB histogram display enables separate checking of color and brightness information for the red, green and blue channels. The RGB histogram can also be used to check other color information not available in the brightness display such as white balance bias, color balance, color saturation and the compression of color gradations. Available when viewing any recorded image in the Single (Info.) image playback mode, the RGB histogram is displayed as an alternate to the luminance histogram, which draws attention to overexposed portions of the picture that lack image information.
In addition to the professional-standard four pin IEEE1394 (Firewire) port that enables high speed computer interface at 100 megabits per second, the EOS-1Ds Mark II camera features a new video output terminal which supports TV connection, facilitating the viewing of images on a television screen, as well as a USB port for connection to a computer or Direct Printing with BJ Direct, Canon's Compact Photo Printers and PictBridge compatible printers.
Able to stand up to real world conditions — from environmental portraiture, nature, travel or "annual report" type images to high-volume catalog photography, family portrait studios or event imaging applications — this fast and fine thoroughbred SLR is also a rugged, lightweight, weather resistant magnesium alloy workhorse, with a shutter durability-tested to 200,000 exposures (50,000 more than on the original 1Ds camera). The camera's EF lens mount is made of stainless steel and is fully compatible with all Canon EF lenses (except EF-S lenses), as well as TS-E and MP-E lenses. Adding to its allure, the new EOS-1Ds Mark II camera fairly sips power from its battery, executing approximately 1200 shots per charge, double that of its original (and recent) EOS-1Ds ancestor.
The EOS-1Ds Mark II camera is bundled with two software CD-ROMs: the EOS Digital Solution Disk (ver. 9.0) which includes Windows and Macintosh versions of the EOS Viewer Utility (ver. 1.2) which allows image downloading, RAW image adjustment and camera setting specifications; EOS Capture (ver 1.2) and PhotoStitch as well Twain and WIA Drivers (Windows only). The second disk, Digital Photo Professional (ver. 1.5) includes a newly updated RAW image processing application to handle the workflow demands of professional photographers. It enables high-speed RAW image processing and preview, support for sRGB, Adobe RGB and Wide Gamut RGB color spaces and is Color Management System (CMS) compatible. The EOS Capture software supports tethered shooting with Digital Photo Professional as well as EOS Viewer Utility to provide a powerful performance combination for studio photographers. As with the EOS-1D Mark II model, no third party image retouching software is included.
New for the EOS-1Ds Mark II camera is the optional Wireless File Transmitter (WFT-E1A)**. Given the enormous popularity of LAN-based image transmission systems and the demands for higher speed image distribution in the reporting fields, Canon developed this new accessory that allows photographers to transmit images from their cameras directly to a computer over a wired or wireless local area network (LAN). The WFT-E1 transmitter includes a mini antenna, a long and short IEE1394 cable, a case and camera mounting screw. The transmitter will also be compatible with the EOS-1D Mark II and the EOS 20D digital SLR cameras via a firmware upgrade. Pricing for the WFT-E1 has not been finalized, but will be announced prior to initial dealer shipments in November.
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