Written by: Aidan Noda
The Canon 1D Mark II, released in 2004, is the successor to the critically acclaimed 1D Classic released by Canon 3 years prior. The Canon 1D Mark II improves on the 1D Classic by adding 8.5 frames per second burst rate, a new 8.2 Megapixel CMOS Sensor, an extended battery life, an improved 1/8000 shutter speed, a larger, high resolution LCD screen, and the newly introduced Digic II processor. Physically, the 1D Mark II (and the entire 1D/1Ds series as a whole) are much bigger and heavier than the other DSLR’s that Canon manufactures (xxxxD/xxxD/xxD/xD series) even while they have the portrait grip mounted on the bottom. In addition, like most professional grade DSLR’s, the 1D Mark II has a large, bright viewfinder ensuring what you see is truly what you get.
Since this Digital SLR has such a high burst rate and number of focus points, it is clearly aimed at sports and action photographers who need the extra speed, accuracy, and precision that they cannot get with other cameras of the same class (including the full frame Canon 5D). The 1D Mark II uses the APS-H Sensor that implicates a 1.3x crop ratio to all Canon EF lenses (APS-C is 1.6x, Full Frame is 1x). Due to the larger sensor, the photographer can capture more detail in their shots; something that most photographers would find useful.
The Camera has a very good ISO range with the option to use ISO 100-1600 and an extra Low or High option for additional range. Generally, photos should be used with a maximum ISO of 800, unless some sort of photo editing software is used in which case up to an ISO of 1600 would still be considered a usable photograph . Overall, it is a very capable camera especially when combined with fast aperture lenses (lens that open up wide allowing more light).
The only downsides to the camera I could find were the price (retail), the 2 button systen used to operate the 1D Mark II, and the weight of the camera, especially when combined with professional grade L lenses.
Currently, they are on the used market at around 800 USD which is the same amount you can buy a used Canon 60D, their latest model from their xxD line. This leads to a choice between the newest technology or form and function. The 2 button system takes some getting used to, but overall it is simple after usage. In order to make any changes to the menu, playback images, or even change certain functions on the camera (ISO, drive mode, exposure compensation, etc) you need to press a combination of buttons. Lastly, the weight of the camera can be overbearing at times. This can either be a positive or a negative depending on the photographer. I personally find the extra weight appealing, but I can see how others can be put off by the bulkiness of the camera.
Overall, I am very pleased with this camera and think it makes a fine addition to the 1D series. It blows other companies out of the water save for Nikon who also has their own line of DSLR’s rivaling Canon’s 1D series, the D1 series. I would highly recommend this camera to the professional or even advanced amateur looking for a worthwhile upgrade at a fair price on the used market.
1) 100% Image in View Finder
2) Good ISO Range
3) Numerous focus points and high burst rate
4) Large LCD Screen
5) Long Battery Life
1) Heavy weight
2) Retail price is expensive
3) Two button system can be troublesome at first
4) No auto-focus for video
5) May not be the best choice for amateur or beginning photographers