Canon EOS-1D Mark IV – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Dpreview has released an in-depth review of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV:

“From the point-of-view of the tasks it was built to tackle, there is nothing that can touch the detailed, high resolution images that it can deliver ten times a second.”

“Its high ISO performance is also very good indeed – it may not quite be able to match Nikon’s full-frame D3s in the very lowest of light but nothing can.”

DxO labs have posted an interested comparison between Canons flagship and the Nikon D3s stating that the Nikon camera has an incredible f-stop advantage of up to 1.7:

“The Nikon D3s achieves an exceptional result with a score of 3,253 and takes the lead for DxOMark Low-light ISO rankings. This result is obtained thanks to a slightly better SNR and a better Dynamic Range in comparison with the D3. The Canon EOS 1D Mark IV ranks 12th with a score of 1,320. So for high ISO, and after normalization, the difference between these two sensors is more than 1 f-Stop.”

Clearly, the pixel gain of the Mark IV comes at a price.

Dpreview about the Nikon D3s: an absolutely outstanding camera, but…

Dpreview finally has posted it detailled review about the Nikon D3s. Two quotes from the conclusion page:

“Judged on its own merits, the Nikon D3S is an absolutely outstanding camera. It offers exceptionally good image quality across an extremely wide range of ISO settings, and its key systems (AF, white balance and metering) are at least on a par with the best available in other cameras from rival manufacturers.”

So far so good. But:

“My problem with the D3S isn’t what it can do – which is in all respects exemplary – but what it can’t. Even when the D3 was announced in 2007, some commentators expressed surprise that Nikon didn’t go with a higher resolution sensor. Almost three years later, and 12 million pixels looks even more conservative alongside newly-minted competitors like the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV. Nikon’s view is that in this section of the marketplace, better image quality at high ISO settings is worth a penalty in resolution. Anyone that shoots regularly in low available light would probably agree, but it can’t be denied that this extra high-ISO boost answers a criticism of the D3 that no-one really had.”

IMHO Dpreview fails to see what the exceptional high ISO capabilities of the D3s are: an outstanding feature.

Of course, if all you do is making pictures in bright sunlight or in the studio where you have light under your control, the D3s probably won’t be your best choice. If you are a Nikonian probably you are better served by the D700 (price) or the D3X (resolution). But why grumble about the main selling point of a camera dedicated to sports and available light photography? It’s all about the speed, autofocus and ISO.