Canon 1D Mark IV review

Design

The look and shape of the 1D Mk IV is little changed from the Mk III; an almost square shape with a good sturdy grip on the front and shallower vertical grip running along the bottom. Even without a lens the camera feels heavy but well built and capable of some serious use. It was once said that a previous version of this camera could be dropped down a flight of stairs and still survive. I wouldn't want to try it, but I believe this one would too.

Previous models have been criticised for their handling, but in the grasp of a professional the controls are spaced enough to allow for quick and almost ‘blind' use. There is a selection of controls for use in a vertical position, which can be disabled using a lock switch to avoid accidental pressing when not in use. You control most adjustments using the front finger dial and the signature large wheel dial on the rear, though there is also a small joystick-style control for faster selection of AF points.

A top LCD panel displays most of the handy shooting information, which is also shown to the side and underneath the image through the viewfinder. A secondary LCD panel sits underneath the main LCD on the rear displaying image quality and white balance information, with function buttons to quickly change both. These buttons also allow picture style control, card selection, image locking, voice memo and delete functions. By pressing the info button, the main LCD screen also displays a full summary of functions.

The only real criticism comes more from the menu system: though finding your way through the main functions is fast, a few options appear unnecessarily complex. The ISO expansion sits in the custom functions as ISO speed range. Also the controls for the AF tracking, though very sophisticated, appear overly complex. To set the tracking to your style of shooting required at least three custom functions to be accessed - this would have been clearer as one function with further degrees of customisation.

Live view control also needs to be simplified to allow stills and movie to be jointly selected, as on the 5D Mk II.


 


Compact System Camera Reviews

Price as reviewed

£3,950.00

Scores

Scores
Design 19/20
Image Quality 19/20
Performance 19/20
Value 19/20
Features 19/20
Overall Score 95%