Camera review: Canon EOS-1D (preliminary)
17th December - 2001
There are only half a dozen of these cameras being circulated among journalists in the UK, so we are limited to just under a week of hands-on testing. We have a schedule of our own tests to carry out, but if you have a question we can answer about the EOS-1D, either by examining the camera and/or its documentation, or by testing it in a certain way, weíd be interested to hear from you - just hit the feedback button .
After less than 48 hours with the camera, initial impressions are, as you might expect, of awe. I have used Canonís other digital SLR model, the D30, extensively and while the EOS-1D shares many similarities with its smaller, lighter and less powerful sibling, the 1D is far, far more than a beefed up, faster D30.
For one thing, the controls, while retaining a D30-style vertical column of function buttons on the left of the rear fascia, plus the EOS trademark thumb-wheel, are more complex, requiring more manual dexterity when summoning the layers of information display options and controls.
That said, in true EOS-1 tradition, the 1D handles beautifully. Itís heavy, but fits into oneís grip as if it were a natural extension of your hands.
Machine gun action
The temptation to try out the IDís high speed continuous shooting mode was difficult to resist. Itís much like Iíd imaging a machine gun would be like to fire - 8 frames per second. Itís not that quiet either, but sounds the part.
Through the viewfinder
Through the viewfinder you will find a view that is bigger and brighter than the D30, though not quite as spacious as a film EOS, I feel. The on-screen red highlighted autofocus points are reassuring, though Iím trying to find out if itís possible to keep them lit rather than blinking out after about half a second.
This one is going to take a lot of work. Initial impressions are very good indeed. I accidentally left the camera set to 1250 ISO and while you can see the grain if you look closely, itís less evident than a D30 at 800 ISO. There is an ongoing debate about the nature of the grain produced by current 1Ds - with some feeling itís not random enough. Iíll reserve judgement on that for now.
But one thing is for sure, the large 4 megapixel CCD manages to retain plenty of the detail that the 28-70 f/2.8 L lens can throw at it. Just to whet your appetite, below are two thumbnails linking to 640 pixel wide reproductions of shots taken at 400 and 1250 ISO, respectively. There will be a lot more sample images to come as we continue our tests on the camera:
Both pictures were shot using flash bounced from the white ceiling. As I only had a Canon EZ 430 unit to hand (the 1D, like all recent EOS cameras will only work in auto flash mode with the new generation EX flash range), I had to guess the manual exposure. Both images have had basic contrast and levels adjustment in Photoshop and are not meant to be examples of virgin image quality.
Thatís all for now - weíll have further updates during the week, followed by an in-depth review of the 1D once weíve had time to collate all the data gathered.
But in the mean time, donít forget to contact us if you have a question we might be able to answer about this remarkable camera.