We have included another Imatest chart below to more clearly illustrate the error between the original colors and those produced by the Canon DSLR. Each square on the chart below represents one of the 24 ideal colors from the GretagMacbeth chart. Each circle represents the Mark II’s rendition of that same color tone. The two shapes are connected by a line that has a length signifying the degree of color error.
As expected, in both the Standard and Faithful modes, the Canon EOS 1D Mark II n produced its best colors from the lower end of the ISO range. The Standard mode over-saturated colors by about 10 percent, although saturation decreased as the ISO was pushed. In the Faithful mode, the camera over-saturated colors by only 0.9 percent at ISO 100. Saturation steadily declined as the ISO was increased; the Mark II n under-saturated colors by 2 percent at ISO 1600. Overall, the Canon Mark II n received an overall color score of 8.81. While many commercial photographers opting for the 1D Mk II n over the 1Ds Mk II will likely be more concerned with speed than overall image quality, in either mode RAW files will be accurate enough that just a few moments in Photoshop will be needed to finish the job. **Still Life Scene
**Below is a candid shot of our still life scene, captured with the Canon EOS 1D Mark II n in its standard picture style.
Click on the above image to view a full res. version (CAUTION: the linked file is very large!)](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=1DMkIIn-StillLife-LG.jpg)
**Resolution / Sharpness ***(6.2)*Canon included a CMOS sensor in the Mark II n that has 8.2 effective megapixels of its 8.5 total megapixels. We tested the effectiveness of the sensor by taking several pictures of an ISO 12233 resolution chart, the same chart that is used by a majority of the imaging industry. We uploaded these images into Imatest, which determined how closely the Canon 1D Mark II n could read the picture and how sharp the image is.
Click on the chart above to view the full size image](https://www.reviewed.com/cameras/viewer.php?picture=1DMkIIn-ResCH-LG.jpg)
In our testing we used a Canon EF 24-70 mm, f/2.8L USM lens. The results below were attained using a 31mm focal length and f/7.1 aperture setting. The output results are expressed as line widths per picture height (LW/PH). Traditionally, resolution tests conducted on 35mm camera bodies were reported as line pairs per picture height (LP/PH), but that was for a fixed imaging medium (35mm film frame). Using LW/PH standardizes the results to apply to sensors of various sizes and dimensions. If the camera was to take a picture with tiny alternating black and white lines in the frame, this measurement would tell us how many lines the camera could read before blurring them together.
The Canon EOS 1D Mark II n performed well by reading 2026 LW/PH horizontally and 1990 LW/PH vertically. By way of comparison, the Canon 5D read 2281 LW/PH horizontally and 2182 LW/PH vertically. This is fairly close to the Mark II n considering the full frame 5D markets 12 megapixels and the Mark II n markets only 8 megapixels. This DSLR received an overall resolution score of 6.2 and over-sharpened images by only 0.11 percent in camera. With the wide selection of Canon EF lenses at user’s disposal, the 1D Mk II n should be able to attain exceptional sharpness with strong definition. While it is slightly faster than Nikon’s D2Hs, the difference in resolution truly sets the cameras miles apart. **Noise - Manual ISO ***(12.21)*The Canon EOS 1D Mark II n has 13 ISO settings that can be manually selected and range from 100-1600. There is also a High extension that is approximately equivalent to ISO 3200 as well as an ISO 50 extension on the other end of the sensitivity spectrum. Below is a chart showing the ISO settings on the horizontal axis and the noise on the vertical axis. The blue line shows the amount of noise in the Faithful color mode and the red line shows the noise in the default Standard mode.
Below ISO 400, less noise is produced using the Standard mode. The two color modes converge right at ISO 400, then the Standard mode produces more noise in the higher end of the ISO range. The best overall score was achieved by the Faithful mode; it earned the camera a 12.21 overall noise score and offered clean images across the sensitivity range. **Low Light Performance ***(7.0)*To test the low light performance of the Canon EOS 1D Mark II n, we captured a sequence of images at decreasing light levels. 60 lux is roughly equivalent to a living room after dusk lit with two soft lamps. 30 lux is the amount of light from a single 40-watt bulb. 15 and 5 lux are near darkness and indicates the sensitivity of the 1D Mark II n’s CMOS sensor and how the camera’s noise suppression mechanisms react to prolonged exposures. * ISO 1600* *ISO H (3200)* *Note: low light images were shot using the camera's tungsten white balance setting. Notice the gradual decrease in color accuracy as the light levels dropped. *
Low light images are very saturated, but as light declines (and exposure duration is increased) saturation does as well. Noise definitely increases as the light wanes, which is quite normal. Below is a chart showing the exposure time on the horizontal axis and the noise levels on the vertical axis. The green dots represent noise from the ISO 1600 setting. The red dots show the noise from the extended High mode that is roughly equivalent to ISO 3200.
The ISO 1600 setting’s longest plotted exposure took 15 seconds, but its resulting noise is definitely much lower than the 3200’s equivalent 6-second shot. All around, the High ISO extension produces a lot more noise than necessary so it is better to simply leave the shutter open longer in the ISO 1600 setting if you are working off a tripod anyway. Our testing was done in the Faithful color mode with the tungsten white balance setting. We used a tripod, self-timer, and mirror lockup to capture the sharpest images.** ****Speed / Timing**Speed and timing tests were conducted with a SanDisk Ultra III CompactFlash card.
Start-up to First Shot (9.98)
The Canon EOS 1D Mark II n has a quick start-up time of 0.08 seconds so photographers can get the shot even if their camera is turned on just a moment before the action. *Shot to Shot (9.94)*
Canon touts the 1D Mark II n as the fastest DSLR in the world. With a 0.1098-second average time between its 47-shot JPEG burst the 1D Mk II n is certainly competitive. After that burst, it took the camera 20 seconds to write to the memory card. When shooting in RAW mode, the Mark II n took 22 consecutive images at an average pace of 0.1133 seconds. It then took about 18 seconds to write to the card. These times are very impressive. *Shutter to Shot (9.99)*The shutter lag was hardly measureable because it was so instantaneous. The time we attained was 0.001 seconds.
Front ***(8.0)*The Canon EOS-1D Mark II n is a big, square camera, about as tall as it is wide. The gaping Canon EF lens mount, which looks awfully big on the Canon Rebel XT and the 20D, is more proportionate on the 1D Mark II n. The camera's viewfinder hump is made up of gradual curves and gentle inclines, and bulges forward only slightly. The lens release is on the right side of the mount. It's a large, rectangular button that projects only slightly from the camera surface. It is easy to use purely by feel. On the opposite side of the mount, toward the bottom, there is a small, glossy black button with a long travel toward the right. It's the depth of field preview button, and it's designed to be actuated with the left pinkie, as the left hand cradles the lens. The EOS-1D Mark II n’s handgrip itself is excellent. It is smoothly curved from front to back, so users can shift their grip without running afoul of any sharp contours. A subtle indentation wraps around the top part of the grip, forming a bed for the user's right middle finger. The cap of the grip juts out a bit with a curved plane that slopes down, and the main shutter release is on that surface. The bottom end of the grip bulges too, forming a spot for the shutter release for vertical shooting. The second release is also set on a sloping plane. The bottom edge of the camera bulges forward to create a comfortable handgrip that's reminiscent of the main one. The EOS-1D Mark II n's battery slides inside the bottom, and half of the two-part battery lock is visible in the lower left corner, opposite the second shutter release. From the front, the Canon EOS-1D Mark II n ultimately looks very businesslike and plain. It's remarkable that on this sedate façade, the whole of the camera's ponderous name appears, in four installments and in various treatments. Gratifyingly, it reads correctly from top to bottom. On the viewfinder, there's the attractive Canon logo, embossed and filled with white paint. Screen printed on the right shoulder is EOS-1. Below that, on its own small badge, is a textured, metallic D. In a similar finish, but much smaller type, is the "Mark II n" to the lower right of the lens mount. There is also a self-timer indicator light on the face of the camera, between the grip and the lens mount. Back***(8.5)*There are 20 controls, two displays, a microphone, a status light, and a door on the back of the EOS-1D Mark II n, but because they're spread over a 6 x 6-inch area, the back still doesn't look or feel crowded. At the top of the back and left of center is the viewfinder, with a diopter adjustment on its left side and an eyepiece shutter on its right. Both are mechanical controls, and they are pretty beefy. The diopter wheel feels a bit loose, but since it's protected by the rubber eye cup, it shouldn't get accidentally jostled out of adjustment. Under and to the left of the viewfinder, the 2.5-inch, 230,000 pixel color LCD and a monochrome text and icon-based LCD share a single plastic slab on the left half of the back. There are five buttons in a column on the left of the displays, on the very left edge of the camera’s back. They are: Lock/voice annotation, Menu, Select, Display, and Memory card select/ image magnify. Below the displays, there are three more buttons: delete, image quality, and white balance. Canon's familiar and sizable "Quick Control" dial is to the right of the LCD, inset significantly from the display surface, but also raised above the thumb grip area further to the right. A large pivoting switch that activates Quick Control is tucked in the triangle formed by the LCD, the viewfinder, and the Quick Control itself. The main power switch for the camera is below the large Quick Control dial. It is a rotary switch with three positions: Off, On, and on with beeps. The beeps confirm focus in one-shot focus mode. It's a stiff switch, so it's unlikely that the camera could be shut off accidentally. The four tiny microphone holes are to the left and slightly above the power switch, between it and the LCD. The EOS-1D Mark II n's memory card door latch is in the same neighborhood. If the Quick Control were a clock face, the power switch would be at 6:30, and the latch would be at four o'clock. Like the main switches on the camera, the latch is a large and secure control. But unlike the other controls, using the latch is a two-step process: there's a small tab to flip up before the latch can be turned. The card door is large, much taller and wider than the CompactFlash and Secure Digital card slots it covers. The door is well sealed, with a rubber gasket and baffle closure. Three buttons in the uppermost right corner of the back select the autofocus sensor, lock the exposure setting, and modify the white balance. It's convenient to hit any of them while the camera is at eye level. All three are duplicated in the lower right corner of the back, for use with the vertical grip. The white balance control is a bit odd – it works in conjunction with the main white balance button under the LCD and the main control dial, so it's awkward to use while the camera is at eye level, particularly when the camera is vertical. **Left Side***(8.5)*The center of the left side of the EOS-1D Mark II n has two rubber doors covering jacks pertaining to both shooting and playback functions. The shooting jacks are a PC sync terminal and a jack for wired remote controls. The playback controls are an analog video out port, USB 2.0, and FireWire. Above the ports, there's a shoulder strap lug inset into the camera. The bottom inch or so of the left side is made up of the camera's battery pack. The battery pack latches are a bit more secure than even the ones on the memory card door. Again, there is a large tab to flip down and then rotate. But to release the battery, the user must take another step – pressing a small button labeled "2."
**Right Side***(9.0)*Moving counter-clockwise from the very top, the right side of the EOS-1D Mark II n features an inset shoulder strap lug, the memory card door hinge, and a big expanse of textured rubber that makes up part of the handgrip. Centered below the grip and card door hinge is a large rotary switch which turns on the controls for vertical shooting. The FEL button, which selects spot metering points, and the main control dial for the vertical grip are also visible from the right.
Top*(8.0)*The top of the EOS-1D Mark II n offers several buttons, nearly all of which activate more than one function. Left of the viewfinder hump, three buttons are set in an elongated triangle. The Mode button is on top. When it's pressed, the main control dial can then switch the camera's exposure mode. The middle button controls the autofocus mode – while it's pressed, the main control dial can cycle through the modes. The bottom button activates the control for metering pattern and flash exposure compensation. The three buttons access even more controls when they are pressed in pairs. Pressing Mode and AF simultaneously allows the user to set the exposure increment between bracketed frames. The autofocus and metering pattern button combine to control the ISO setting, and the Mode and metering pattern button together control the drive mode.
Only people with very large hands will find it easy to hit two of those buttons simultaneously with a single finger. Most users will find themselves making very basic adjustments – setting the ISO – using two fingers on the left hand to press buttons and turning a dial with their right index finger simultaneously. The EOS-1D Mark II n has a flash hot shoe on top of the viewfinder hump, which is compatible with the dedicated functions of all EOS flashes. On the right side of the hump towards the front of the camera, there are buttons for exposure compensation and illuminating the LCD panels. There is a monochrome LCD behind the buttons, which shows exposure and shooting data. On the top of the grip, there's an FEL button for selecting spot metering points, and there’s also the main control dial. **Bottom***(8.5)*Most of the bottom of the EOS-1D Mark II n is the gripping surface of the vertical grip, so a good share of the bottom is covered in a relatively smooth, leather-textured rubber. There is a flush-mount lug for a wrist strap near the vertical shutter release. The strap wouldn't work with the vertical grip. The tripod socket is centered on the lens axis, right where it should be. A look in the battery compartment shows a metal assembly reinforcing the connection.
Viewfinder ***(9.25)*The EOS-1D Mark II n viewfinder is bright and comfortable, with good eye relief. Data displays below and to the right of the image are easy to see without straining. Fine black lines outline a small circle at the center of the frame for the center spot metering area, and they outline a larger vaguely elliptical shape, which shows the area in which the 45 autofocus sensors are arranged. The black lines are always visible, but the red rectangle indicating the autofocus sensor sites will not light up until the AF point selection button is pressed. Exposure scales for both ambient light and flash run vertically to the right of the screen. A two-digit number below the scales shows the maximum burst that the buffer can accommodate. The number varies, depending on the image size, image quality, and how many images are already in the buffer. A JPEG icon lights up if the camera is set to write JPEGs. The data displayed below the screen are modal: not all the following indicators are visible simultaneously. They include: aperture and shutter speed, focus confirmation, AE lock, manual mode indicator, flash ready light, warning for improper flash exposure, high-speed sync mode, autofocus point selection mode, flash exposure lock, "Busy" indicator, active memory card indicator, ISO, white balance correction, shots remaining, and self-timer countdown. It sounds like a huge amount of potentially distracting information, but in regular shooting all you see is the exposure scales, aperture, shutter speed, shots left on the card, and shots left in the buffer. LCD Screen **(7.75)*Color LCD A primary modification on the Mark II n is the improved LCD display. Up from the 2-inch screen applied to the earlier 1D Mark II, the EOS-1D Mark II n offers a 2.5-inch, 230,000 pixel color LCD for image review. The size is adequate for reviewing images for sharpness, and provides plenty of room to peruse menu options. Just as Canon's marketing claims, the LCD is visible over a wide range of angles, and the color and contrast are better than average. We found the screen to have a much wider angle of view to the sides than when viewed from above or below, but it still offers more visibility than many LCDs applied to professional level DSLRs. The screen’s only major deficiency was its inability to handle bright conditions. Under direct sunlight or strong overhead illumination, images on the screen became washed out and visibility was almost entirely lost. *Monochrome LCD*The monochrome LCD on the back of the EOS-1D Mark II n shows a range of shooting data. The indicators are large and readable, and the display itself is sharp and full of contrast. The data shown are: The top LCD panel on the EOS-1D Mark II n shows shooting information that would be familiar to film shooters. The data relates to the mechanical aspects of the camera, rather than digital components. *Flash***(8.0)*The EOS-1D Mark II n does not have a built-in flash. It's compatible with Canon's EOS-dedicated, EX-series flashes, and offers the following flash control options. It's impressive that the EOS-1D Mark II n is compatible with all the EX flashes – they go way back. It's as if you could mount a Model T steering wheel on the latest Ford. Nikon flashes, in contrast, don't maintain nearly as much compatibility. **Lens***(9.0)*The EOS-1D Mark II n is not marketed with a kit lens, but our sample came with a 16-35 mm f/2.8 EF USM lens, which, with the EOS-1D Mark II n's 1.3x magnification factor, looks like a 21-45mm on 35mm body. Canon's EF lenses have a great reputation, and no manufacturer makes a broader variety of autofocus lenses for their cameras. The 16-35mm lens is sharp and full of good contrast. The ultrasonic motor in the lens zipped it into focus very quickly. Of course, the camera's autofocus mechanism is primarily responsible for that, but the lens is clearly not a drag on the system. Click here to view a list of all compatible Canon EF autofocus lenses.
Model Design / Appearance ***(9.0)*Though most DSLRs are driven by functionality and not form, the EOS-1D Mark II n has more than a hint of style. There are plenty of functional justifications for the EOS-1D Mark II n's very streamlined features – nothing sharp to snag on clothes, for instance – but the camera manages to look pretty cool. It's unlikely that anyone would pick up an EOS-1D Mark II n solely because they felt it looked better than the Nikon D2Hs, but it’s something Canon probably took into consideration, and it shows. The EOS-1D Mark II n exhibits excellent craftsmanship, with strong fit and finish. The seams where parts come together match tightly and are all even. The leather-textured rubber that covers much of the camera's exterior has a subtle sheen, while the painted surface has a very slight tooth, almost like fine sandpaper. Unfortunately, the plastic battery module is a different shade of black from the camera body, so it didn't quite match. Size / Portability***(6.5)*At 6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 inches and 43.2 ounces, the EOS-1D Mark II n is about as big as DSLRs get, but the competition is not much different. The Nikon D2X and Nikon D2Hs are 0.2 inches shorter but 0.3 inches deeper, and the D2X weighs about 37.7 ounces. And these figures don't include lenses; the wide aperture zooms that are made for pro cameras are big and heavy as well.
Canon 1D Mk II n compared to Nikon D2H
In short, going out to shoot with the EOS-1D Mark II n involves a high level of commitment, a well-padded camera bag, and a strong back.
Handling Ability*(9.25)* Both the horizontal and vertical grips are comfortable and secure to hold, and the camera balances well in both positions. The camera's weight contributes to its stability (as long as the user's arms hold up, anyway). In addition to the vertical shutter release, the EOS-1D Mark II n has a vertical main control dial, vertical buttons for AF sensor selection, flash exposure lock, AE lock, and selection of a "custom" AF sensor. The vertical controls can be turned off as well. Though the shape of the vertical grip is different from the horizontal grip, the vertical controls are placed to fall under the user's fingers just as the horizontal ones do.
Control Button / Dial Positioning / Size*(8.0)*The buttons, switches, and dials on the EOS-1D Mark II n are sturdy and well finished. They provide very good tactile feedback – they must be pressed slightly further than buttons on many entry level cameras. The minor difference doesn't make the EOS-1D Mark II n slower, but it does make deploying the controls more reliable; it's easy to tell that the button has been pushed.The EOS-1D Mark II n’s largest control is the "Quick Control dial," a rotatable disk that lies flat against the back of the camera. It spins easily, clicking as it turns. The Quick dial’s exact function depends on the camera mode; it can scroll through images in Playback mode, set the aperture or exposure compensation, and scroll through menus. Nikon uses a four-way controller, as well as front and back control dials, rather than Canon's Quick dial. It's a disappointment that the EOS-1D Mark II n didn't get a copy of the small four-way controller found on the Canon 20D. A four-way controller is an excellent tool for navigating in two dimensions – around an image or a menu. On the EOS-1D Mark II n, there is no four-way controller. Two dimensional movement requires using both the main control dial and the Quick dial, often after pressing a button, or while holding one down. Autofocus point selection is a prime example – to select a point when all 45 are active, the user has to press the AF point button and then turn the two control dials. In contrast, the Nikon D2Hs and D2X have four-way controllers that navigate the AF points directly in shooting mode – there's no need to press an extra button or switch between dials. Canon's strategy with the EOS-1D Mark II n is apparently to limit the number of buttons by giving many controls multiple functions. It's great to be able to adjust so many controls with such a clean interface, but the drawback is significant: pressing two buttons while turning a dial is a bit more trouble than pressing one button while turning a dial, or simply turning a dial, although it does provide an additional layer of protection against accidental alteration.
Switching to the registered autofocus point is an example: the default keystroke combination is the AF point button and the Assist/WB correction button. The two buttons sit about an inch apart, with the AE lock button between them, near the right thumb rest. Perhaps someone can activate both buttons with their right hand while holding the camera at eye level, but it wouldn't be easy. It's possible to reconfigure the camera so that the Assist/WB correction button does the job alone, but then, doing a white balance correction could lead you to accidentally switching the autofocus point. I imagine pros accustomed to shooting with Canon SLRs aren't losing lots of images over problems like this, but the setup is more convoluted than it could be.
Menu*(8.0)*The EOS-1D Mark II n's menus are identical to those on the EOS 5D and similar to most Canon DSLRs. The main menu is broken into four categories. They are: Shooting, Playback, Set-up (which is so long that it is split into two menus), and Custom/Personal functions. The menu shows a tab for each heading (two for Set-up) and uses the same color-coding scheme that nearly all Canon digital cameras use to differentiate the categories. The EOS-1D Mark II n menu's advantage over the Canon 20D menu is that it's easier to hop from one setting to another. Though the 20D offers a jump feature, enabling the user to skip over a large number of menu entries at the press of a button, all the controls appear in a single, scrolling list. In contrast, the EOS-1D Mark II n's tabs each reveal a single screen’s worth of settings, so there is less scrolling and cleaner organization.
The menu entries are:
* *Ease of Use***(6.0)*The EOS-1D Mark II n doesn't fight the user. Its extraordinary functions and controls are efficient and logical. But because it has a deep feature set, new users should expect a significant learning curve. The controls that everyone will use commonly more or less naturally fall under the user's hands, but less universal features – tweaking white balance, for instance, or registering an autofocus point—will take some practice before they're easy to implement. Options such as Picture Styles will take some experimentation, not only to see what they do, but to see if they're useful in a given workflow. The EOS-1D Mark II n offers a range of interface customization, and many of the customization options are likely to improve ease of use for some photographers. Given the way controls serve multiple purposes, though, it's likely that tweaking the interface will also be a matter of trial and error. When we review point-and-shoot cameras, "ease of use" often translates into "simple to use." That's not appropriate with the EOS-1D Mark II n.
Auto Mode*(7.0)*The EOS-1D Mark II n offers a program mode, an aperture priority mode, and a shutter priority mode. All three auto modes functioned as designed. However, those who rely on priority modes during commercial shoots will have to become comfortable with the "Quick Control dial" to implement EV compensation adjustments and maximize efficiency.
Movie Mode*(0.0)*While Tim Burton’s "Corpse Bride" was shot with a 1D Mark II, the EOS-1D Mark II n does not officially offer a movie mode, although you can make a heck of a flipbook with a sequence of images shot at 8.5 frames per second.
Drive / Burst Mode*(9.5)*The EOS-1D Mark II n is built for speed. It will shoot at up to 8.5 frames per second, for a burst of 22 RAW images or 48 Large JPEGs at a compression setting of 8. And those users who opt to shoot RAW and JPEG simultaneously can still get a burst of 19 images. For many applications, 8.5 fps is actually too fast. It's possible to set lower frame rates for both a high- and low-speed burst mode. High-speed can be set for 2 to 8.5 fps, and low-speed can be set from 1 to 7 fps. The EOS-1D Mark II n's only competition in the burst mode race is the Nikon D2Hs, which clocks in at 8 frames a second. The half-frame per second difference isn't significant. The significant distinction is that the Nikon delivers 4.1 megapixel files and the EOS-1D Mark II n makes 8 megapixel files. **Playback Mode***(7.5)*The EOS-1D Mark II n plays back images with a few viewing options. The default is a single image, but it's also possible to show the image with shooting data, or to show images in thumbnails of 4 or 9. When reviewing a single image, it can be magnified up to 10 times, and the center point for magnification can be set either to the center of the frame or to the active AF sensor site. The EOS-1D Mark II n also contains an orientation sensor, enabling the camera to display vertical images rotated upright. Pressing the Select button while turning the Quick Control dial scrolls through the images on the media card. The single image and single image with info modes indicate blown out highlights with a blinking warning. Single image with info shows a small view of the image, the aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, white balance, image size, quality, file size and format, file number, metering mode, the media card to which it was written, capture date, time, and either an RGB or brightness histogram. The EOS-1D Mark II n offers analog video out, so images can be played back on either PAL or NTSC televisions, but it does not offer an automated slide show. **Custom Image Presets***(0.0)*The EOS-1D Mark II n does not offer custom image presets in the style of point-and-shoot cameras. The camera's "Picture Style" settings control color parameters, but not exposure modes.
Manual Control OptionsThe EOS-1D Mark II n offers full manual control, as it should. Aperture and shutter speed can be set in 1/3 or 1/2-stop increments. ISO can be set in 1/3-stop increments as well. Manual adjustments for image parameters allow significant changes, as well as numerous file sizes and JPEG compression options.
Focus ***Auto Focus (9.25) The EOS-1D Mark II n has 45 autofocus points arranged in a diamond, clustered in the middle half of the viewfinder. By pressing the autofocus sensor select button and turning the control dial, the user can activate a particular sensor, or even a pattern of sensors.The EOS-1D Mark II n offers one-shot and continuous autofocus modes. We compared the EOS-1D Mark II n with a Nikon D2H (not the current D2Hs) during our hands-on review, and we were curious about how the autofocus performance of the two cameras would compare. Canon's system has 45 autofocus points clustered in the center half of the frame. Seven of the 45 points are "cross-type" sensors, meaning they are sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail, while the remaining 38 points are horizontal detectors. The EOS-1D Mark II n manual adds that six of the seven points are cross-type only with f/2.8 or faster lenses. The seven points aren't spread across the frame— they are the ones closest to the vertical centerline. Nikon's system, on the other hand, has 11 sensors spread much closer to the edges of the frame, and 9 of its sensors are cross-type. The Nikon sensor sites are larger than the Canon’s, so users can focus more specifically with the Canon 1D Mark II n. This level of precision will enable users to focus right in on a subject’s eye rather than the whole cheek and will be quite helpful to commercial shooters. The good news is that we had a hard time confusing either camera in good light, even when tracking fast-moving objects at close range. In very dim light, we found that the Canon would intermittently get lost on low-contrast subjects, racking focus in and out from infinity to the lens’ near limit. Given a couple of chances, it hit focus. In the same setting – a dim transit station, with dirty concrete walls – the Nikon hit focus every time. To examine how important the distinction between cross-type and horizontal-only sensors is, we shot a low-contrast subject that has a bit of detail – a freshly-painted exterior wall of a cinderblock building in shade. We couldn't get the Nikon to fail. The EOS-1D Mark II n’s horizontal sensor, on the other hand, could not focus on the wall when we held the camera horizontally. Turned vertical, the camera matched the D2H. So, in the occasional scenes that give the EOS-1D Mark II n focusing system trouble, either get the cross-type sensors involved, or turn the camera on its side to focus. It just might help. Manual* Focus (8.5)The EOS-1D Mark II n has interchangeable focusing screens. The camera comes with the standard Ec-CIII screen, which provides a crisp, bright view for focusing. Canon also sells the relatively new Ec-S screen, which is best with lenses with maximum apertures of f/2.8 or faster. According to Canon, the Ec-S makes slightly out-of-focus images look more blurry, so that images snap into focus more definitively. **Metering***(8.5)*The EOS-1D Mark II n's metering modes are based on a 21-zone TTL system, with configurations for Evaluative metering, which can be linked to the selected AF point; "Partial metering," which measures the middle 13.5 percent of the screen; and Spot metering, which includes a center spot option, an option to measure at the current AF point, and an option to choose up to 8 spots simultaneously.
Exposure*(9.0)* The EOS-1D Mark II n offers exposure compensation of 3 stops above and below the metered value, in 1/3 or 1/2-stop increments. The camera also offers bracketing over the same range, with the same increments.
White Balance*(9.25)*The EOS-1D Mark II n offers white balance presets, auto, custom, direct entry of a white balance in degrees Kelvin, and the option to save three "personal" white balances via PC software. The presets are: Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Twilight, Sunset, Tungsten, White fluorescent, and Flash. Canon's custom white balance system is convenient and straightforward. The instructions say to take a picture of a plain white surface, then bring up the custom white balance feature and select that image. The great part is that there is no need to take the image of the white surface immediately before setting the white balance – it works with older saved images as well. The EOS-1D Mark II n offers an unusually fine adjustment of white balance. As other Canon DSLRs do, the camera allows adjustment on two axes: Blue-to-Amber and Magenta-to-Green. The adjustments offer nine steps of shift toward each color, and the maximum effect in each direction is very pronounced. In practice, we found the camera’s automatic white balance to be fairly errant in strong lighting; however, most photographers relying on the camera to make rent will probably feel more comfortable using a preset setting tailored to the situation, a Kelvin temperature, or a customized measurement.
Shot using Auto WB under photographic tungsten lamps
ISO*(8.75)*The EOS-1D Mark II n offers a standard ISO range of 100 to 1600, in 1/3-stop increments, and ISO ratings of 50 and H (equivalent to 3200) in extended mode.
Shutter Speed*(9.0)*The EOS-1D Mark II n shutter speeds range from 1/8000 to 30 seconds, with X-sync up to 1/250. There is also a bulb setting available for untimed exposures. * *
Aperture*(0.0)* The EOS-1D Mark II n controls aperture via electronic connections to EF lenses, and offers either 1/3-stop or 1/2-stop increments.
Picture Quality / Size Options*(9.0)*The EOS-1D Mark II n has a native file size of 3504 x 2336 pixels, which is 8.2 megapixels. RAW files and Large JPEGS are recorded at this resolution. Medium1 drops the size down to 6.4 megapixels, Medium2 is 4.3 megapixels, and Small is 2.0 megapixels. JPEG compression can be set separately for each resolution, on a 1 to 10 scale. That is probably overkill, but on the other hand, it's appealing to know that the EOS-1D Mark II n offers the full range of compression offered by the JPEG specification, just in case.
Picture Effects Mode*(9.0)*The EOS 1D Mark II n offers Picture Styles. One style is "Monochrome," but the rest are subtle enough that they wouldn't count as "effects" on consumer cameras. They do however optimize image processing for various kinds of shooting. The settings can be edited and saved as three user-defined styles. "Standard" is the default style. It sets sharpening to 3 on a 0-to-7 scale, and boosts saturation. Portrait adjusts warm tones and drops sharpening to 2. Landscape bumps up blues and greens, and increases sharpening to 4. Neutral doesn't sharpen at all, and apparently delivers a pretty much untouched image. Faithful looks the same as Neutral, but the manual says Faithful is set up to reproduce colormetrically accurate color under 5200K lights. The picture styles can be edited with settings for sharpness, contrast, color saturation, and color tone. Monochrome replaces saturation and tone with "filter effect," which attempts to mimic the effect of color filters on black and white film, and "color toning" which gives a monochrome tint to the final image. The adjustments are powerful. Though each increment of change is relatively subtle, the maximum setting for each is more than what most scenes would need. Canon posts various styles on its web site. Nostalgia lessens saturation in colors other than yellow, for an effect like 1970s vintage color negative film. Clear reduces haze, and is recommended for long telephoto shots. Twilight adds a purple tint to evening skies, though Canon says it has less effect if the sky is pale.
Connectivity*Software (8.5)*The EOS-1D Mark II n includes Digital Photo Professional, an integrated browsing and editing application. Though most users will do better with Photoshop, Digital Photo Professional covers some of the basics – it's useful for sorting and viewing images, and has options for tweaking color and sharpness, and cropping and rotating images. It works with Canon RAW files, offering controls over white balance, brightness, and sharpening. The program also can initiate EOS Capture, the program for controlling the EOS-1D Mark II n via a computer. Computer control is typically a function for studio shooters rather than photojournalists and location photographers; such control on the EOS-1D Mark II n is a bit limited. The controls available via computer are: exposure mode, white balance, ISO, metering pattern, file size, exposure compensation, and white balance fine-tuning. That's a lot, but it leaves out quite a bit, too. It's not possible to change the focusing mode or autofocus point, and it's not possible to shoot bursts or to shoot in Bulb. There is no autofocus or exposure lock. The program does include an intervalometer and timer. The intervalometer will only take pictures every 5 seconds – perhaps the limit is intended to make sure that the images can be transmitted to the computer via the FireWire connection. Canon also includes Image Browser, a consumer-level browser and editor that’s also packaged with Canon PowerShot amateur cameras, and PhotoStitch software for creating panoramas. PhotoStitch is fun, but serious users will find the Photoshop panorama feature more flexible. Really serious panorama makers will probably want dedicated panorama software. *Jacks, Ports, Plugs (9.5)***The EOS-1D Mark II n offers both USB 2.0 and FireWire for digital connections. The USB connection is set up for PictBridge direct printing, and the FireWire connection is for data transfer to computers. The EOS-1D Mark II n also has a PC sync terminal and a dedicated hot shoe for flash sync, and an option to take an external power supply.
Direct Print Options (6.0)*The EOS-1D Mark II n is compatible with PictBridge, CP Direct, and Bubblejet Direct, which means that the user can select images on the memory cards for printing and specify the number of copies of each. Depending on the printer, it’s also possible to print multiple copies of an image on a single sheet, to set the paper size and type, and to print index prints. The EOS-1D Mark II n also offers a way to crop images and imprint shooting data. Battery** (8.5) The EOS-1D Mark II n takes a dedicated battery pack that contains Nickel Metal Hydride cells. Canon estimates the pack’s capacity as 1200 shots at 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 800 shots at 32 degrees. That's plenty of capacity, but it’s not clear why Canon went with NiMH instead of the lighter, higher-capacity lithium-ion cells seen in competing cameras.
Memory (3.0) *The EOS-1D Mark II n accepts both CompactFlash and Secure Digital memory cards. When both are loaded in the camera, it’s possible to set the camera to write each image to both cards; to write to one card until it’s filled and then fill the other; or to write RAW files to one card and JPEG copies to the other.
Other Features*(8.0)**Custom Function Group Settings - The EOS-1D Mark II n can retain three complete sets of custom functions, so users can customize the camera for various types of shooting – meaning they can have their own "sports" setting, "events" setting, and so on. *Eyepiece Shutter - *A small lever next to the eyepiece closes a shutter to prevent stray light from biasing exposures when the camera is not held to the photographer's eye. *Remote Control Units - *The EOS-1D Mark II n accepts a few different remote control devices. One acts like a mechanical cable release. A second has a built-in timer for bulb exposures from 1 second to 99 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds. A third is a two-part wireless remote, with a receiver to connect to the camera, and a sending unit with a range of up to 330 feet. Optional WFT-E1 Wireless Transmitter – *Users can purchase the WFT-E1 transmitter to enable the 1D Mark II n to send images to a computer through a wireless LAN.
**Value***(9.0)*The EOS-1D Mark II n is a heck of a lot of camera—and at $4,000, it had better be. We can judge its value in a few ways, but any way you slice it, this camera is a strong buy. First, we can compare it to the competition: for $500 more than the Nikon D2Hs, it delivers a faster shooting rate and twice as many pixels. The Nikon autofocus system seemed to handle some low-contrast subjects better, but not conclusively so. Comparatively, the 1D Mark II n seems like a great value. Second, let's think about its value as a money-making tool – the EOS-1D Mark II n will make things easier for working professionals. It produces excellent image quality. It's very fast. Its build quality is excellent – though we can't stretch the limits of an imager’s durability, the camera is very solid and should be reliable. Third, we can consider inherent value – what Canon may have spent to get the EOS-1D Mark II n on store shelves. It's hard to find any spots where they seem to have skimped. It can't be cheap to squeeze 45 autofocus sensors into a camera, or to build a data path for 8.2 megapixel images running at 8.5 frames a second. Some expensive invention went into this thing. Heck, weigh it. There's more than a handful of magnesium alloy in that body, which alone can't be all that cheap. **Comparisons
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II -**The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II is Canon's flagship digital SLR and it has the same size and nearly the same layout as the 1D Mark II n. The 1Ds Mark II is designed for studio, catalog, and portrait work, where its large 16.7 megapixel images and full-frame sensor are important. In these situations, its relatively slow burst rate (4 fps) is fast enough. (It's worth acknowledging that stuffing four of those 16.7 megapixel images per second into a camera memory is no small feat.) The full-frame sensor and big files go for a list price of $7,999, about double the price of the Canon 1D Mark II n. However, pro users of the 1D series cameras will almost certainly have more than one camera body. Given the high quality of the EOS-1D Mark II n, and the very similar user experience of the two cameras, it's convenient for pros to use the EOS-1D Mark II n – the less expensive camera – as a second body along with the 1Ds depending on the demands of a particular shoot.
** ***Nikon D2Hs -*The Nikon D2Hs looks a bit weak next to the EOS-1D Mark II n. At 8 fps, it's a touch slower than the Canon, and at 4.1 megapixels, it has about half the resolution. The Nikon has astonishingly fast autofocus, and was apparently made to appeal to spot news photojournalists. The argument goes that those photographers don't need 8 megapixels, and perhaps would rather deal with smaller files than extra resolution. It's reasonable to say that not every shooter needs 8 megapixels of resolution, but it strains credulity to suggest that there is a significant portion of pro shooters who would rather not have it. *
Nikon D2X -* Nikon and Canon seem to avoid going head to head on specs. The D2X, Nikon's flagship camera, is a 12.4 megapixel, $5,000 DSLR with a 5 fps burst mode, as well as a 6 megapixel, 8 fps high-speed mode, which crops the image. With price, resolution, and speed, it falls between the 1Ds Mark II and the 1D Mark II n. Jumping from 8.2 megapixels on the EOS-1D Mark II n to 12.4 with the D2X for $1,000 could make sense to photographers who don't need 8.5 fps very often.
**Who It’s For***Point-and-Shooters - Though the EOS-1D Mark II n can be used in automated modes, it is large, complicated, and expensive. Even folks who own them probably use something other than the EOS-1D Mark II n for snapshots.
*Budget Consumers - *The EOS-1D Mark II n goes for just short of $4,000. Though it's much less expensive than the EOS-1Ds Mark II and a strong value, it's hard to figure how anyone could buy one of these and call it scrimping.
G*adget Freaks - **Are you a Speed Freak too? Crank up this camera’s burst mode and consider how fast all those bits and bytes are getting stuffed onto CF and SD cards. Listen to the clack of the mirror and the snapping shutter, feel its weight in your hands, and marvel at its professional curves. The EOS-1D Mark II n is pleasing to all the Gadget Freak’s senses. (Though admittedly, none of us bothered to taste it. That’s a requirement of a different kind of Freak altogether.) *Manual Control Freaks - Manual control freaks will have nothing to complain about with the EOS-1D Mark II n. Its settings are thorough and convenient to use, and the custom Picture Styles are icing on the cake.
*Pros / Serious Hobbyists - *The EOS-1D Mark II n is a pro camera. Its fast shooting rate and other capabilities are clearly pro-oriented, but a big part of the cost of the camera is justified by the work Canon has done to make it durable – its shutter is rated for 200,000 exposures, and its body is primarily metal. *
Conclusion**The EOS-1D Mark II n is an excellent camera. We can easily praise the image quality and the speed and accuracy of its mechanical operations. As heavy as it is, it balances well in the hands, and the controls and dials work smoothly and quickly. Our complaints about having to combine buttons and dials to set simple controls does not detract from our overall impression that the camera is an excellent piece of equipment and the added security will likely appeal to some users. The relatively few photographers out there who need this kind of speed and are on the fence between Canon and Nikon (without prior lens investment) should probably buy this camera. The EOS-1D Mark II n is the fastest DSLR available, at 8.5 fps, and it has twice the resolution of the runner-up, the Nikon D2Hs. The Nikon seems to have an edge in some focusing situations, and I liked aspects of its interface better, but it's hard to argue against doubling one's resolution. If speed is less of an issue, spending another $1000 for the Nikon D2X is a viable option, with half the resolution, apparently gorgeous image quality, and a (kind of odd) 8 fps / 6 MP mode of its own. Overall, the EOS-1D Mark II n is an excellent tool. Its size, weight, and cost are justified not only by its speed and resolution, but by the fact that it is built to deliver those specs over the course of a long working life.
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