Dennis Hissink : January 29th 2004 - 05:00 CET
Canon's EOS-1D II: 69 Megapixels per second
Canon introduces a new remarkable digital SLR camera for the professional photographer. The EOS-1D II combines impressive speed and high resolution, the EOS 1D II delivers approx. 8.5 frames per second at 8.2 Megapixels, taking over from Canon's EOS-1D. These figures are quite impressive and somewhat suprising. Canon has integrated three new technologies to deliver the EOS-1D II's high-speed / high-resolution combination: Canon's next generation DIGIC II processor, a new CMOS sensor, and a new extra large buffer system. These technologies work in concert to deliver 40 frame bursts at 8.5 fps in JPEG, or 20 frame bursts in RAW mode. This high level of performance can be achieved in either Single Shot AF or AI Servo AF mode. |
New CMOS sensor|
The pixels of the new 28.7mm x 19.1mm APS-H size CMOS sensor measure 8.2µm square, similar to the 8.8µm square pixels of the award winning EOS-1Ds. A new on-chip noise elimination circuit eradicates fixed pattern and random noise. A low-pass filter placed in front of the sensor reduces false colour and moiré effects, while the infrared filter suppresses red fringing caused by sensor reflections and fog.
The CMOS advantage
Going against the market trend of purchasing CCD sensors from third party manufacturers, Canon chose instead to pursue its own CMOS development program. Research and development investment has resulted in sensors with higher speed, higher resolution, lower noise and minimal power consumption when compared to competing CCD technology. The launch of the EOS 1D Mark II represents a strategic move for Canon, which now has its own CMOS sensors installed across its entire D-SLR range.
Canon considers in house manufacture of all key D-SLR components to be of significant strategic advantage. Canon is now the only manufacturer to offer a choice of digital SLRs with 3 different sensor sizes.
Second generation DIGIC
A new generation DIGIC II processor provides the processing power necessary to deliver unprecedented levels of resolution and speed. The technology combination of CMOS, DIGIC II and a new buffer system allows EOS 1D Mark II to shoot and process over 69 Megapixels of data per second. Start up time is within approximately 0.5 seconds after turning on the camera. The processor's upgraded capacity has also led to advances in the image processing algorithms to improve white balance, auto exposure and overall image quality. Photographers can choose JPEG images with four resolutions, each with ten selectable levels of compression rate. The EOS 1D Mark II supports sRGB and Adobe RGB colour spaces with user settable colour saturation and tone levels, and provides five preset and two user-definable colour matrices. White Balance (WB) bias is correctable by +/- 9 levels for both blue/amber and magenta/green bias and the camera supports WB bracketing up to +/- 3 levels.
Shutter durability improves by 33%, to 200,000 cycles. A weather resistant magnesium-alloy casing with over 70 moisture resistant seals protects the camera.
A 'Back-Up' mode, designed for critical shooting situations, allows simultaneous recording to both CF and SD memory cards. When one card is full, it is possible to cancel the Back-Up mode and elect to shoot to the card that is not yet full.
In 'separate recording' mode, images are written either to the CF or SD card (as selected by the user). When the selected card is full, a 'Card Full' warning is displayed, giving the user the option of switching to the second card if one is inserted in the camera.
Camera settings can be saved to the card, a valuable feature for professionals that personalise their cameras and need to move preferred settings to rented or loan equipment, or for agencies that have a large number of photographers and therefore a need to standardise the camera settings or format of files produced.
Distance linked flash
EOS 1D Mark II features Canon's new E-TTL II flash system to optimise flash exposures, particularly with moving or off-centre subjects. Based on a new flash algorithm, it links distance information from the camera/lens system to the 21-zone evaluative or averaged metering readings from the pre-flash. Areas with abnormally high levels from reflections are ignored for flash calculation, thus greatly reducing the possibility for errors caused by subject reflection.
Extreme low (50 ISO) and high (3200 ISO) settings are selectable to further extend the camera's wide 100-1600 ISO speed range if needed. Metering modes draw on a possible 21 zones and include evaluative (linked to any AF point), partial, centre spot, AF point-linked spot, multi-spot, and centre-weighted average. Images can be automatically rotated and checked on the 230,000 pixel LCD for focus and composition, while a 15 step 10x zoom offers the opportunity to check specific detail. Interfaces include video out (for display in both NTSC and PAL formats), IEEE1394 (Firewire) and USB. The camera is PictBridge and Direct Print compliant for PC-less direct printing to any brand of compatible photo printer. A brightness or RGB histogram can be displayed during playback. Shutter speed range is from 1/8000 of a second to 30 seconds, with a super quick 40 ms shutter lag and noise reduction settable via Personal Function 26.
New Digital Photo Professional image processing software is provided for high-speed processing of lossless RAW files. Processing with Digital Photo Professional is approx. 6 times faster than the previously supplied File Viewer Utility. It allows real-time display and immediate application of adjustments to images and includes a wide array of RAW, TIFF or JPEG image editing functions, which give control over variables such as white balance, dynamic range, exposure compensation and colour tone. sRGB, Adobe RGB and Wide Gamut RGB colour spaces are supported, and an ICC (International Color Consortium) profile is automatically attached to RAW images that have been converted to TIFF of JPEG formats. This allows images to be displayed in their faithful colours in software applications that support ICC profiles, such as Adobe Photoshop. Image processing of various parameter changes can now be batched rather than carried out sequentially, vastly increasing the efficiency of applying a number of changes to the same images.
EOS Viewer Utility is also supplied, providing control over camera settings such as white balance, tone curve, colour matrix settings, JPEG image quality and personal functions.
Lens and flash compatibility
The EOS 1D Mark II is compatible with over 60 Canon EF lenses (excluding EF-S lens) and the entire EX series Speedlite flash range.