(UPDATED 6th Jan. 2010)
I shot my first 500 or so work images with the production model Canon EOS 1Dmrk4 ( EOS-1D Mk4, EOS-1D Mk IV, EOS-1D mark 4, EOS-1D mrk 4) today and I was surprised. Not only was the quality of the images with the higher ISOs very nice, but the autofocus performed even better than I had anticipated.
I set the camera to my personal preferences. The only thing I really adjusted (as compared to my using the preproduction model couple of weeks ago) was the reaction speed of the autofocus, which I set to 3/4- setting, if you you can call it so. My MRK3s are set to 4/4.
I had predicted that I might feel it would react slowly in sports, but no way: it was blazingly fast, holding accurate focus as long as I could keep the point over my target. Most of the examples I will show were shot handheld with the 400mm/2.8; from the side of the hill.
I ended up shooting using 19 AF points in AI, as I realized that if I used single point I could easily lose focus if the point drifted away from the target (as it should do).
As the qualification competition started at 16.30 local time, it soon got pretty dark. I purposely pushed the envelope a bit, i.e. using shutterspeeds faster than I normally would have, just to see if I could get away with it. I shot 3200 asa and 6400 asa. Pictures were sharp and well saturated, although one has to admit that if one underexposes under those asa-readings one is bound to have noise throughout the image, but especially in the midtones (which one has to dig up) it gets disturbing.
I also shot some remote stuff (and some images which my client does not allow me to show yet – totally understandable). I had to focus naturally on getting good images of Finnish athletes – and not just playing around and testing a new camera ;-) – so I will not show such a great selection of images today. One good one though:
But this is what I’ll do: I will upload some images to my Photoshelter account. You can view them and download if you so wish (so see grain, sharpness, AF functioning, etc.) All my images are originally RAW , cropped to my liking, developped thru Adobe PS4 extended and the latest version of Camera Raw (5.6). Noise reduction is in ACR alone, no noise ninja nor anything alike. Saved as jpeg 8. Not presented as “my best images” but as illustrative examples of how the camera performs.
They are copyrighted and will be watermarked and should not be distributed further.
I have to make the gallery password protected in order for you to be able to download, but the password will be “mrk4demo” with no quotation marks. Here is a straight link to the gallery.
I will most probably add updates to this post in the days to come, instead of writing new posts daily, as I do not want my whole blog to be about mrk4-testing. But I might do additional postings as well, we’ll see. Stay tuned.
Any requests, questions, feedback etc., please let me know.
Updates after the jump
(UPDATED 29th Dec:) put the images up from yesterday. You have to download to see the exif data, but all the jump images were shot 3200/6400 .
(UPDATED 29th Dec, after the competition:) posted some 12 more images. Janne, Janne and Janne… as it was really big news. I really like the dynamics of the camera (I have ALO set up to normal); I posted one image shot with mrk3 at 1600 and if you compare that to the same jumpsuit orange shot with mrk4 at 3200 about an hour later you can tell the difference, even from a thumbnail.
I talked with a guy from Reuters and he said they were testing two bodies, and that there had been some AF issues (error 110 when Canon only recognizes 99 errorcodes… ;-) ), but it remained unclear to me if this was a production or preproduction model. I would be very surprised if that’d be the case i.e. if Canon would even consider affording to commit a similar mistake they did with mrk3.
Something else I was testing: if you compare DPP and ARC conversion (lightroom or PS4) the DPP produces better results noisewise. But, in my line of work where speed is of the essence, DPP is not an option. Neither is Lightroom, although the new version 3 (still in beta) is very smooth and shows lots of promise (major improvements under the hood).
Somebody asked about my other cameras: one mrk4, two mrk3s and two D5s. But I only have one of each here with me as there is no need for more (I only use a single remote occasionally, if even that.)
(UPDATED 31st Dec. Garmisch-Partenkirchen:) I shot the qualification of Garmisch in grey, low and low-contrast light, in pissing rain. Nothing to write home about. But: I posted this series of 23 images (Canon EOS 1Dmrk4, 400mm 2.8, 10fps, AI, 1000ASA, 1/800 sec at 5.6; all 19 AF-points.) I basically kept the shutter release down and you can see how some of the images do get a bit blurry. Not much, but you notice it immediately.
I am not greatly alarmed – as it was really dark and low contrast light, in the rain, with the 1.4x II teleconverter. But, goes to show that there are limits one can reach.
(UPDATED 1st Jan. 2010, Garmisch-Partenkirchen:) Talked with two of the three Reuter’s guys (I will not mention names as I did not ask permission to do so) who are testing pre-production models here, and they were both very happy so far with their mrk4’s. As I am. I’ve been shooting higher shutterspeeds, higher ASA’s than I would have otherwise, and it just rocks. Especially I am happy with the tone – or call it “sound” as a friend did – of the camera: the images are well saturated and the overall balance is very nice – it could be the workings of the ALO which I have set to normal. As I am happy with it, I have not bothered to examine the reason further….
One more example of the autofocus: a composite I made with 70-200 2.8IS, at c. 115mm (vertical) 800 asa, 1/800th sec at 7.1. The actual series is longer (three images before and one after) consisting of total 11 images; the only one which is a bit off is the one where he is touching ground. I slowed down the drive to 7 fps.
(UPDATED 3rd Jan. 2010, Insbruck:) One advantage of the good performance with high ISOs is that when using remotes really close, you can use shutterspeeds which earlier where totally impossible (if you wanted any DOF at all). The image below was shot on a clamped remote, right under the jumping table, Canon EOS 1Dmrk4, 15mm 2.8 at 2000ASA, 1/4000th sec at f 6.3:
(UPDATED 6th Jan. 2010, Bischofshofen:) I really like the high ISOs. I realize that I have not attached a flash at all during this tournee. Yes, the “grain” ie. the noise is there, but it is not disturbing. What I find incredibly interesting is the saturation or color vibrance of the images – let’s just refer to it as overall dynamics: the images have a beautiful color response, straight out of the camera even if the ASA is pushed to 6400 or 12800. There is lots of questions about the AF or ASAs, but I don’t think I have seen that much reference to dynamics – and it is definitely a point worth noting. See the three examples below (cropped, two with 6400 and one with 12800 asa):