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Canon EOS-1D Mark II N

by Bob Atkins, 2005


The Canon EOS-1D Mark II N is a fairly minor update of the 1D Mark II. The LCD screen size has been increased to 2.5", the buffer size has ben incresed to allow 22 RAW or 48 JPEG bursts at 8.5 fps. There are also a few firmware tweaks as described below in the Canon press release. Price is $3999 and the release date is mid-November according to the information on a few vendor sites.

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., Aug. 22, 2005—After successfully creating the world's fastest digital SLR*, what could Canon possibly do for an encore? Make it even better. And that's what Canon's done with the new Canon EOS-1D Mark II N digital SLR, which preserves the speed, responsiveness, image quality and reliability of the popular EOS-1D Mark II model while incorporating newly refined features that make the camera easier and more precise to use.

Firing at 8.5 frames per second for up to 48 full-resolution JPEG images in a burst (vs. the same firing rate and a 40 JPEG burst for the 1D Mark II model), the Canon EOS-1D Mark II N camera ups the ante while retaining the superb CMOS Sensor of the 1D Mark II model, with its convenient 1.3x lens conversion factor. Along with its improved burst rate, the 1D Mark II N digital SLR adds a new 2.5", wide-angle view LCD/TFT monitor that offers crisp image playback. Start-up time on the new camera has also dropped to 0.2 seconds (from 0.3) with the help of Canon's DIGIC II Image Processor.

The EOS-1D Mark II N camera shares with the EOS-1 series family its all-metal body and chassis and weather-resistant construction with its shutter durability-tested to 200,000 exposures. And perhaps best of all, the price of the new camera, $3,999**, is actually $500 less than the initial price of its predecessor.

"Working photographers will feel at home immediately with the EOS-1D Mark II N digital SLR. It has the feel and responsiveness they have come to know and rely on, combined with a new ease of use they will appreciate and enjoy," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the Consumer Imaging Group at Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. "With the new EOS-1D Mark II N, we've created a new professional standard with enough speed, resolution and features to appeal to a wide range of pros."

Improved Image Playback for Better Views

To give photographers a more accurate view of the pictures they've shot, the EOS-1D Mark II N model has a beautiful new, 2.5" LCD/TFT monitor with 230,000 pixels of resolution for accurate image playback. Its total viewing area is actually more than 50 percent larger than a 2" screen, and its backlight is brighter with six LED modules. Thanks to the new screen, examining images in playback, checking focus, and selecting menu items are now all easier. The improved display enables viewing angles up to a remarkable 170 degrees from any direction.

Sharing the stage with the new, 2.5" LCD wide-angle view display are several significant improvements in image playback. For starters, the user can have a magnified view from any selected AF point. Previously, magnified views took the center of the image as the starting point, but a new menu item enables the user to select a specific AF point and magnify the image in 15 steps with the press of a button. Another new feature on the camera is magnified view during Quick Review. When an image is displayed on the LCD monitor immediately after capture, the user can immediately magnify the view to check focus right away. Other improved playback functions include a last displayed image remembered feature and a more complete INFO display that now shows file size and includes notations for monochrome (B/W) and color (R/G/B) when the RGB histogram is enabled.

Bigger Bursts and Automatic New Folder Creation So Photographers Won't Miss a Shot

Photographers always want as many continuous frames as possible. For many pro shooters, even one more shot could prevent that lost photo opportunity. An improved image processing sequence and a better memory management method in the EOS-1D Mark II N digital SLR has ramped up its burst capability with the camera now able to shoot up to 22 RAW frames and up to 48 full-resolution JPEGs in burst. The camera can also shoot 19 frames of RAW+JPEG (JPEG quality: 8, Picture Style: Standard, ISO 100); and at 59 frames or better at the JPEG Middle 1 setting, 77 frames or better at JPEG Middle 2, and 135 or better at JPEG small, a substantial increase. Professional photographers will love the extra margin of comfort that greater burst performance provides. Additionally, the EOS-1D Mark II N digital SLR now creates new folders automatically when file numbers reach 9999, making the new camera more responsive in fast-moving news and sports photography situations. Photographers can even customize the first four characters in file names, enabling superior image organization and camera identification capabilities.

New Split Recording for RAW+JPEG

Just like on the EOS-1D Mark II model, the EOS-1D Mark II N digital SLR lets the user save the same image simultaneously in both the CompactFlash (CF) and SD memory card slots, a highly effective backup mechanism. Photographers can also record to slot one until it is full and then go to slot two as a reserve. Now, with the EOS-1D Mark II N in RAW+JPEG mode, it's also possible to save the RAW and JPEG images separately in each memory card. The RAW images can be saved in slot one and the JPEGs, in any of ten quality levels, in slot two, or vice versa. Since CF cards tend to be larger, currently, than SD cards, the RAW files will be likelier to go on the CF card in slot one, but this is not required. The new option allows images to be recorded separately according to usage, finally realizing a great potential benefit of the dual slot configuration.

Picture Styles for Better Pictures

In the analog era, photographers would select the brand of film that suited their own shooting style or the subject being photographed. In the digital era, they have to rely on the image quality features and settings provided by the camera manufacturer. Some users, though, have experienced confusion about what effects these settings would have on the image. To provide better clarification, a new feature called Picture Styles combines processing parameters and color matrix settings into easy settings designed to obtain the desired effect, almost like choosing a type of film to obtain a specific result.

For users who do not want to bother with post processing, there is a "Standard" setting within the Picture Styles mode that helps to produce images that look crisp and vivid with the sharpness set to mid-scale and the color tone and saturation set to obtain vivid colors. In the "Portrait" setting of the Picture Styles mode, the color tone and saturation are set to obtain nice skin tones with the sharpness set one step weaker than the Standard setting so the skin and hair look softer. Under the "Landscape" setting of the Picture Styles, the color tone and saturation are set to obtain deep blues and greens, the sharpness is set one step stronger than Standard so the outline of mountains, trees and buildings look more crisp. The Neutral setting is the same as the default setting for EOS-1 series cameras where natural color reproduction is obtained and no sharpness is applied. This is the ideal setting for post-processing. The Faithful setting is the same as Digital Photo Professional's Faithful, so when the subject is photographed under a color temperature of 5200K, the color is adjusted colorimetrically to match the subject's color with no sharpness applied. Monochrome is the same as the EOS 20D camera's monochrome setting and with User Defined, the user can create and save their own preferred settings.

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Bob Atkins (www.bobatkins.com)

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