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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

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78 190720 May 15, 2022
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92% of reviewers $4,779.66
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16.7 MP full frame CMOS sensor
4 fps
32 frame continuous shooting
DPP RAW processing software
E-TTL II flash system
Wide ISO speed range
Weather resistant magnesium body
Dual performance memory card slots
LCD with 230k pixels
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Registered: May 6, 2022
Location: N/A
Posts: 0
Review Date: May 15, 2022 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness even at f1.4, nice bokeh, well built, elegant design
Heavy, bulky, poor lens cap.

This is a brilliant piece of glass. Sharpness is awesome, even at the maximum aperture in the centre. This lens delivers contrasty images; sharpness (or "piqué" as it is called in French) is very good all over the frame at higher apertures.

Build quality is at the same level as the Sigma 35 mm Art : solid and trustworthy. I like the "chic" design, also when coupled with the lens hood which comes with it. The lens cap is not of the higher standard as I have some difficulty when putting it back on the lens and want to learn more.

Autofocus is known to be a weak spot of Sigma, but since the Art line came to life, things seem to have changed. At least in my case, using the Canon 5D mark III (famous for its accurate AF system). To be sincere, I had to use the USB dock of Sigma to tune the accuracy of the focus at different distance ranges. After calibration, results were more than satisfactory and consistent, something you can check looking at your f1.4 shots at 100% magnification. AF speed is quite good and silent. I haven't tested the lens for AI Servo, so can't say anything about that point.

The lens is quite heavy and big (but not more than a good zoom).

May 15, 2022
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Registered: Nov 22, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 33
Review Date: Nov 2, 2018 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Image quality, af speed and accuracy, color, build, ease of use, weather sealing, durability, about everything
Dust on sensor requires frequent cleaning, Canon quit supporting it

I am posting a much deserved updayed review. I sold this body 3 years ago,, today I have another on it's way back to my cave. This camera just offers quality images that can't be described!

After 3 years chasing the newest and greatest, I gave up, the 5d line just cant offer the AF accuracy and speed this old reliable can, the new 1D models offer plastic looking photos, they just don't give that life like feel to them this camera delivers.

I don't need a video camera, the 70D does a pretty good job of that, and I don't need more that 2 or 3 frames a second ever. But I do need images that have the rich color and smooth contrasty look that this camera offers so reliably.

I also don't take many pictures under 400 ISO, and don't remember the last time I shot higher than 1600, but if you frame properly, and don;t worry about 100% crops, this old reliable delivers quality photos that I could not produce from the greatest for my taste.

So I have the best ID full frame camera ever in my opinion back in my hands, I just got another with 70,000 clicks on it, in excellent condition, with 3 working batteries to go with the 3 I already have, another charger, and the ST-E3 for 375 USD,, and a smile that wont soon come off!

No one would ever be disappointing in the images this great body can produce when used with good glass, and exposed and framed correctly it takes a backseat no camera! In my opinion every other full frame camera is trying to be compared to it with their images.

Nov 2, 2018
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Registered: Jun 3, 2010
Location: Canada
Posts: 2000
Review Date: Mar 25, 2018 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: It just works. Everytime.
Battery maintenance.

I still use my 1Ds Mark II. It's reliable and it's consistent. Sometimes the files it produces are magical.

I bring it along whenever I'm out shooting with another newer camera. It has saved the day on more than one occasion.

I don't know how, but it seems to work just fine with all my lenses and I've never had any complaints about back or front focusing.

My only real complaint is the buffer. I hate waiting to make a shot and this has happened on occasion. Also it is a pain to keep the NiMh batteries in a state of readiness.

If you can pick one up for a good price, it's worth consideration.

Mar 25, 2018
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Registered: Oct 31, 2012
Location: United States
Posts: 130
Review Date: Dec 10, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent build quality, amazing auto-focus, amazing image quality, great battery life, fast and responsive
Old battery tech, limited ISO range, small buffer for RAW files

I just recently picked this camera up about 2 months ago, and its bloody brilliant. A local camera shop was selling it used for $600, and I couldn't resist because at that price it was a steal.

Overall, I'm very impressed with this camera. I currently also shoot with the 5D, and the 1D IIn, so I'm used to the 1D series bodies and full frame performance, and I was not at all let down by the 1DSII. It is very fast and responsive, great build quality, and the weather sealing is fantastic. The 16.6 MP RAW files are beautiful at every ISO stop, and provide lots of detail and room to push and pull files.

Some people complain about the 2 button operation of the older 1D cameras, but I actually like it, and don't find it a bother at all. I guess its all about what you are used to.

My biggest issues are:
1. Limited ISO range, but the what is there is fantastic. (50-3200) I've also pushed it a stop in post to 6400 on occasion. I think the 5D retains a little bit more data for pushing at 3200 since I've pushed the 5D to 12800, but there is still ample data on the 1DSII.

2. Buffer size. Yes, I know that 16.6 MP RAW files are large, and its an old camera (pre-UMDA support), but I'm still going to complain a little. You only get 10 frames before the buffer fills when shooting RAW, but I haven't had that issue too many times. When it happens, it seems to clear the buffer pretty fast any way. It's certainly a lot better than the EPSON R-D1. That you only get 2 frames before the buffer fills.

3. Old battery technology. You have to discharge and recharge the battery since its an old NiMH design. It lacks the wonderful Li-Ion tech of the 5D. (Side note: A fully charged battery gives me anywhere from 3,000-4,000 shots though, so I can't complain about that!)

Overall, a wonderful camera, and the detail and resolution is amazing. It feels great in the hand, has an amazing viewfinder and AF system.

Oh, and the quiet mode on the camera is really quite nice and useful for noise sensitive events.

View some photos at full resolution taken with this camera in a set on Flickr:

Dec 10, 2014
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Registered: Sep 14, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 171
Review Date: Jun 17, 2013 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 1 

Pros: Image quality, bracketing, custom functions, dual grips
Consistent autofocus issue that renders the camera unusable for anything but landscape photos. I have sent it in 3 times to Canon Factory Repair and they have never managed to fix it.

I would not post a negative review for this product if Canon were able to fix the autofocus that has plagued this camera since day one. I previously owned the 1DS MK I, so I know what to expect from the autofocus of a 1D body. I also own a 5D, which actually outperforms this unit.

I have sent this body in to Canon repair a total of three times now. Each time for the same issue, which has never been adequately fixed. I advise you guys to thoroughly test your cameras after any Canon factory repair, because I honestly think that sometimes they don't even repair the issue and just charge you and send the camera back unrepaired.

I am a fanboy with any other Canon product I have ever used, including the 1DS MK I and 5D. But Canon's factory repair service has been pathetic and has not been able to get my 1DS MK II to original working specifications.

And now I think they might charge me for a third repair since the six months have passed since my last repair's warranty.

I am very unhappy with Canon. If they resolve this situation I might change the review.

Daniel Chui (

Jun 17, 2013
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Registered: Jan 8, 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 1853
Review Date: Apr 29, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, dual cards, large size, great af, full frame, build

IQ, build quality, and af are all excellent on this camera. it was once the workhorse of the pros. For the time I had mine the images that came out of the camera were excellent full of detail and pretty decent dynamic range.

Apr 29, 2013
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Registered: Sep 11, 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 145
Review Date: Nov 3, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: -Dual file write (a back-up is always great) -Excellent IQ (equal to the 5D2) -Indestructible -Used price of $1600 +/- is a great deal -Add the new 70-200 IS V2 and you have a magic combination
-2 button settings takes a while to get used too -Huge battery and charger -Dual write (one file type only)

I bought this as a back-up body. After using it a bit I started including it as a primary body depending on the shoot. The 70-200 v2 pretty much lives on this body and the combination can't be beat. It goes on all wedding jobs and portrait work. It holds it's own well against the much newer 5D2 on bread and butter jobs.

It's not so great at air shows or for birding (nothing beats a 7D for those).

I got mine from ebay for $700 and it needed a new shutter assy. Sun Camera did that for under $300. Talk about a great deal.

Anyone looking for a reliable back-up body won't be disappointed with this camera.

Nov 3, 2012
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Registered: Oct 29, 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 29, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very good autofocus, bright viewfinder, high quality images, 2 CF Slots
display, pricing (new & for spare parts), shutter reliability could be better for 8k initial price, NiMH-Battery, heavy weight

I bought the camera as a replacement for my medium format workhorse. Image quality wise a have never been disappointed. If you shoot with a better lens (EF 1,8/85 or the 70-200L) results are as good as with MF cameras even with fine optics.

Using the 1dsMKII's AF is a joy. I got close to 100% accuracy with both AF modes. AL Servo is superb. I never got similar accurate shots with any camera before. Birds, Sports, running childs and wild pigs. The AF caught them.

O.K., there are some issues I fixed for my own needs.
To avoid post processing one should edit the camera settings to sharpness 5, saturation +1 and contrast +1. So you get a look & feel of an image shot via a amateur camera like the 5d series.
I had better results via manual entry of the color temperature. But AWB is ok für most situations.

There is one thing that made my crazy. The shutter produced dark images at speeds of 1/500 and faster. The camera was sent to repair and the issue was fixed. Not expensive. Hopefully the shutter will last a view years after the 45.000 clicks. I never had such problems with an analog camera or the 5d. It might be a good idea to buy a replacement shutter now because Canon will stop production of the shutter unit soon. I think the rest of the camera parts will work for many years longer.

At the buttom line I can understand that folks prefer the 5d series. The image quality is very close to the 1Ds Series, the IQ is much better for most people. And after a couple of years of usage you can replace the old stuff without breaking your bank account. Therefor a bought the camera in used state.

Oct 29, 2012
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Martyn Frankli
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Registered: Sep 5, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 22, 2012 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: See below

Well here's something...

I wrote a review of this camera two years ago nearly, see two reviews below.

If you read that one my main points were the top of my list was image quality. I considered the 5D RAW image files to be better than the 1DS MK2.

So... here I am two years later to follow up the review below. I think two years of use is fairly good experience to comment further.

Facts: I still have the 1Ds MK2 I reviewed below. Its a wonderful camera and I can forgive the parts of it that are a pain, which really are just the small screen and two button appraoch to everything.

I'm back here to say that every time I have processed the RAW files from the 1D I have always thought, you know, these are not as clean as the 5D RAW files. The 5D RAWS needed ZERO processing most of the time, only a clone or a crop to remove operator error. I rarely ever had to sharpen a 5D image either! Shooting RAW remember... so no sharpening really needed shows are great its RAWS are.

I have missed the 5D every day for the last two years, so much that today, I just bought another 5D mk1 :O.

I will state here and now the 1DS MK2 is a superb body, it does everything I ask of it and it is one hell of a camera, I love it. The images are fantastic, this body is a legend for sure.

I have bought another 5D mk1 becase I have missed the small size of the 5D too, small when compared to the 1DS MK2. If I was to go on holidays the thought of taking the 1Ds mk2 is not plesant, the charger, batteries and size of it are not discreet.

So I think I now have the very, very best of both worlds. The legend that is the 1DS mk2 and the small and ultra clean beautiful files from the 5D mk1.

Two different tools for different jobs. Couldn't live without either of them now.

Jun 22, 2012
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Buy and Sell: On

Registered: Aug 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4468
Review Date: Jul 27, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 


I'm posting this very brief review of the Canon 1Ds II to counter the review that precedes it, a review in which the owner states that, IQ-wise, the 1Ds II is NOT a better camera than the 5D.

I own both and use both. I can say without hesitation that the 1Ds II provides a superior file compared to the 5D. The images are richer, fuller, with significantly better micro-contrast and edge definition. Additionally, the auto-focus is vastly quicker and more accurate, which often leads to a better image. The 1Ds II has noticeably wider d/r and, to my eyes, more vibrant color.

The 5D is a wonderful camera. I prefer it to the 5D Mark II. But the 1Ds II is overall a better camera than the 5D and offers far more pliable raw files than the 5D II. The 1Ds II is high on the list of the top DSLRs ever made.

Jul 27, 2011
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Martyn Frankli
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Registered: Sep 5, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 7, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: See below

The purpose of my review here is to assist owners of the 5D MK1 considering this body.

Having spent weeks trawling the net for the differences between the 1DS mk2 and the 5D, is it an upgrade in image quality or

not etc? I could not really find all the answers I needed. I then knew I had to use my lenses in my style on both bodies side

by side, I couldn't hire a mk2 so in the end the only option left of buying one to get personal questions answered was my

only choice left.

All that I am concerned about is image quality, anything else comes second to me personally. As much as I would like sensor

cleaning, micro lens adjustment, live view, they come second to image quality to me. I could not afford to buy what I really

wanted, the 5D mk2, so the option of selling my 5D and paying the difference to a 1DS MK2 was my best option.

I've shot 5D mk1 and primes for the last two years and taken about 20,000 images so I am quite used to the quality the 5D and

primes can produce.

My biggest question was does the 1DS MK2 produce a higher quality image that the 5D mk1? I can now say the answer from my

experience using both bodies with the same lenses is no, it does not beat the image quality of the 5D mk1. BUT... it does

pretty much match it.

So, question answered! the 1DS mk2 is not an upgrade over the 5D MK1. If thats all you need to know, there's the answer (from

my experience). The MK2 equals the 5D image quality, doesn't better it.

So am I selling this immaculate, mk2 that doesn't have a mark on it? a body that has 10,000 shuter actuations only, a body

that you cannot distinguish from a brand new body? I don't know yet...I am still on the fence... why? well if it matches my

5d on image quality, does it have any features that I consider are reasons to keep it and sell my loved 5d?

Yes, maybe it does.... so if you are on the fence about doing this upgrade path or not, then here are some reasons I found to

keep the 1DS MK2:

Weather sealing, to me thats a plus point as I do shoot in the rain (the 5D used a rain cover)
45 point auto focus and metering tied to focus point.
It shoots MORE images before the buffer fills compared to the 5d mk1 (I shoot RAW)
Vertical shooting, rather than having to add a battery grip to the 5d
Its a pro body, it'll last no matter what you ask it to do.
100% view finder, thats as good as it gets.
Voice notes, thats really quite useful indeed.

Those are the great points that give you more over a 5D mk1.

Ok, only fair I list the points that are not as enjoyable compared to the 5d mk1:
Terrible small screen, the 5D screen is not good, this one is smaller.
The batteries, 5d batteries are cheap as chips, small and light 1DS mk2 batteries are not small.
I'll say it here as a slight negative, the mk2 images produce slightly more noise than the 5d. The 5d images iso 800>1600 are

actually really very good, the 1d are not quite as good, almost....but not quite as good as the 5d.

Some other notes. The weight of the 1DS MK2, many people have said how heavy it is. I have no problem at all, its not that

heavy, honestly, its not heavy, it feels good and solid. Size, my 5d and battery grip are maybe a tiny bit bigger than the

mk2! One thing that will drive me mad short term until I get used to it. The STUPID two buttons to change anything!! that

drives me crazy!! YES, yes, I know pro's in the thick of it will say its good becuase it stops accidental changes in

settings. To me, its a royal pain in the.... in a months time no doubt I'll be saying, oh well, no big deal it is what it is,

I've adapted.

So there it is, I hope this insight of the two bodies side by side with the same lenses helps you if you are reading this

with the same questions I had.

Will I be keeping this pristine 1DS mk2 in favour of my 5D mk1? I'll answer that in a month from now! I'm going to run the 1D

for a month and then make a decison which body I'll keep.

Aug 7, 2010
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mike reid
Buy and Sell: On

Registered: Nov 26, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 4132
Review Date: Jul 20, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Rock solid build quality, Precise AF, Great dynamic range
Images seem a bit soft but this is a common issue, small LCD compared to newer offerings

Really excels with fast L primes. My floral closeups using extension tubes seem to be a bit soft and with less pop than my 5D. The good news is that I can trust and use the AF whereas on my 5D it was a lot more hit and miss.

Jul 20, 2010
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D.K. Owens
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Registered: May 6, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 18
Review Date: Feb 24, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: 16.7 mega pixels still holds it own... Detail of the images are superior to those of some of the newer models. Right now this camera can still be purchased new and runs for $4499.99!!! That speaks volumes.
None... Given it age, at the time it debuted it was King of the Hill...

A splendid tool... Forget about the 3" LCD in newer models and the improvements to menus and controls. We didn't have those luxuries in the days of film!
That said, if you're looking for pure digital IQ at its finest, then Canon hit the number with this camera. What comes out of the 1Ds Mark 2 is detail and resolution at it's finest.
The size of the pixels in this one top all other newer iterations made by Canon. Somewhere around 7.2. None of the larger pixeled models come close. thats means in good to moderate lighting ISO isn't an issue.
Again, detail and resolution to go along with smooth tonal gradations make the camera hold it's own in today's over "pixelated" market. Today one thinks of more megapixels, never considering the size and quality of those pixels.
For the grab and go camera, I'll snatch this one every time because I know that what I get is what I'll want.

Feb 24, 2010
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Registered: Jul 15, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 86
Review Date: Feb 11, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: IQ, AF, gorgeous-to-kill-for images

Got mine yesterday, and after a brief shoot, I understand the excitement. If you can use "L" glass, the 1DS Mark II can give you images of extraordinary beauty, exquisite color and extraordinary detail.

The faster cameras with more features are arguably less important for the budget-minded person looking for a camera that simply produces superb images.

Very little manipulation required in post-processing if you can get it right in camera. Has to be one of the best values and quite possibly the last camera most people will ever need.

Feb 11, 2010
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Registered: Aug 26, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 1044
Review Date: Oct 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible resolution, much more so than the 50D, not familar with the 7D. its a joy to use its focus is just as well incredible.
I wish they wud make a better battery.

I am blown away everytime I open a file, I am using non L lenses and my pics are incredible, I have never had full frame and all my lenses are now what there soppose to be, my loly 28-105 3.5/4.5 MKII is just killer with this baby, I have had several 1D series bodies, original and MKII but never full frame till now, and the resolution is amazing, the sharpness and clarity all come through, if its this good with my loly lenses my gawd what if with L lenses, the 1Ds' is a fantastic camera I cannot put it down its that good, my 50D brought fun to the table but this 1D's opens a whole new world.
and the gallery

Oct 11, 2009
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Registered: Apr 7, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 10860
Review Date: Sep 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Build quality, image quality, menu structure and options that don't require repeated glances at the manual, makes cheap lenses look good and pricey ones look better than most of them deserve, fast, accurate AF. This is where digital officially tapped film on the shoulder and said, "I think I'll be in charge now."
Shutter tends to fail early (so a low shutter count on a new one isn't quite the positive sign we'd hope it would be), batteries and charger (even the travel size) are bulky.

When I picked up my first 20D, it a compromise to what I really wanted, the DsII. At that point, I never thought I'd own one. Having had one, I can't imagine being without it. It's younger brother is getting most of the glory these days (5 extra pixels, live view, and a self-cleaning sensor are big draws to the new body) but for what they're going for used these days, there's no better value.

Sep 6, 2009
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Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
78 190720 May 15, 2022
Recommended By Average Price
92% of reviewers $4,779.66
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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