Canon Mount (FD/FL/EF) SLRs:

Canon EOS 1D Series

including the EOS 1Ds, 1D Mk. II, and 1Ds Mk. II
by Karen Nakamura

Overview and Personal Comments

The professional series of the Canon EOS system cameras has been graced with the EOS 1 moniker since the original EOS-1 film camera released in 1989. Since then, the groundbreaking tradition continued with the EOS-1N (1994) and EOS-1v (2000) film cameras. Canon EOS 1 series cameras have represented the best of the best: the best autofocus speed, the best weathersealing, the best ruggedness, and the best reliability.

The first digital '1' series camera was the EOS DCS 1 in 1995. This married an EOS-1N body with a Kodak 6 megapixel chip and cost around $30,000. Six years later in 2001, Canon came up with their own entirely homegrown design and released the EOS-1D which was 4 megapixels but only $7000.

Canon ramped up R&D and produced a quick succession of replacements. The EOS-1Ds came out in late 2002 and had a full-frame 11 megapixel sensor. Then the EOS-1D Mark II came out in mid-2004 with a 1.3x crop factor 8.2 megapixel sensor with very high frame rate (8.5fps) for photojournalists. And the EOS-1Ds Mark II came out in late-2004 with a full-frame 16.7 megapixel chip with slightly slower 4 fps shooting, designed mainly for studio photographers. Using the text or images on this website without permission on an ebay auction or any other site is a violation of federal law.

Canon EOS-1 series cameras all share a polycarbonate shell over a magnesium subframe and can take knocks and bumps very well. All of the camera's dial and controls are weathersealed -- even the lens mount has a gasket designed to seal with the latest 'L' series zoom lenses. These cameras are designed to be used in the worst weather conditions -- rain, hail, sleet, snow, volcanoes, deserts -- with impunity.


EOS 1v (film)
+PB-E2 Motor Drive
Dimensions 161x164x82.5mm    
156 x 158 x 80mm
Weight w/ batteries 1380g + batteries 1585g 1600g


Digital SLRs such as the EOS-1D series aren't my favorite choice for general street photography. They are all much too large and heavy for me. I find I have trouble carrying it unobstrusively. The 1D series are gargantuan. You can't palm them easily for inobstrusive camera work. My Leica M7 just straps to my hand and the lenses fit easily in a pocket.

If you are covering an event, the sheer size of the 1D serves as your instant press pass. Police officers and stadium crew immediately assume that you are part of the media. Now, this can be be good and bad. Good if it gets you backstage, bad if they don't want the press seeing anything. And many sports stadiums in the USA restrict "professional cameras" which means large SLRs and lenses larger than 12" in length. So you might not want to bring your EOS 1D with 100-300mm lens if you're trying to pass as a civilian.

The 1Ds Mark II is single-handedly responsible for many wedding and studio photographers selling off their Hasselblad medium format equipment and going fully digital. The 16.7 megapixel images are that good. That being said, the full-frame sensor reveals every flaw of every lens you have. Expect to budget in upgrades for all of your old-generation L (e.g. 17-35; 28-70) lenses for the latest new-generation L's (e.g. 16-35; 24-70).




The must-buy accessories for the 1D Series are:


Product Tiering

The Canon Digital EOS product tiering currently looks like this:

Level Price Crop Mpix FPS    
Professional Studio $8000 1.0x 16.7 4
1Ds Mk. II
Pro Photojournalist $4000 1.3x 8.2 8.5
1D Mk. IIN
Professional/High-Amateur $3300 1.0x 12.8 3.0    
Midrange Photographer $1500 1.6x 8.2 5
Advanced Amateur $900 1.6x 8.2 3
350D/ Digital Rebel XT


When is the Mark III coming out?

Canon is producing new editions of their professional EOS digital camera models each other year. They tend to release the photojournalist model before the studio model. Right now, they have no competition for either the 1D or 1Ds Mark IIs (the nearest is the Nikon D2X for photojournalists and the Mamiya ZD and Hasselblad H1D for studio photographers), so I imagine that they are not in a rush to get new models out the door.

EOS-1D Mark II
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II Leica R9 + DMR Nikon D2X Mamiya ZD Hasselblad H1D
8.2 mp
16.7 mp
10.0 mp
12.4 mp
22 mp
22 mp
2.0x hsc
Frame Rate
(20 RAW burst)
4 fps
(11 RAW burst)
(10 burst)

5 fps
(15 burst)

HSC: 8fps

(- burst)
or tethered
Tethered 40GB HD
156 x 158 x 80mm
1565g (w/ battery)
1395g (w/ battery)
158 x 150 x 86mm
1070g dry
~ $12,000
¿¿ 2005.06 ??

Giving the pacing of their professional series every two years, my guess is that the next model in the series (the EOS-1D Mark III) will be released 2006.04:




Technical Details

Camera Name
EOS 1D Mark II
EOS-1Ds Mark II
Canon, Inc.
Place of Manufacture
Date of Manufacture
2004.4 2004.11
Focusing System

Single lens reflex
0.72x magnification w/50mm
100% viewfinder coverage

20mm eyepoint relief
Interchangeable matte screen
-3 to +1 diopter adj.

Single lens reflex
0.7x magnification w/50mm lens
100% viewfinder coverage
20mm eyepoint relief
Interchangeable matte screen
-3 to +1 diopter adj.
Lens Mount

Canon EF mount


Vertical focal plane shutter (stainless steel)
30 sec - 1/8000 sec + B & X (1/250sec)
N3 type remote control

8.5 fps continuous shooting; 40 shot maximum burst (JPEG; 20 RAW) 4 fps continuous shooting; 32 shot maximum burst (JPEG; 11 RAW)
Metering System

Built in 21-zone TTL meter
Matrix / 13.5% partial / center-weighted / 3.8% spot modes
EV 0~20 (@ISO 100)

Built in 21-zone TTL meter
Matrix / 8.5% partial / center-weighted / 2.4% spot modes
EV 0~20 (@ISO 100)

External hot shoe
PC cable connector
1/250 sec X flash sync
ETTL-II flash communication

Sensor Type

CMOS 8.2 mp sensor
3504 x 2336) pixels
28.7mm x 19.1mm (1.3x focal length equivalent)
3:2 aspect ratio

Sensitivity: ISO 100-1600 (50/3200 selectable)

CMOS 16.7 mp sensor
4992 x 3328 pixels
36mm x 24 mm (1.0x focal length equivalent)
3:2 aspect ratio

Sensitivity: ISO 100-1600 (50/3200 selectable)

Memory Card
CF Type I or Type II
SD Memory
Battery type

NP-E3 rechargeable NiMH battery (335g)
12V 1650 mAH

Dimensions and weight

156 x 158 x 80mm
1565g (w/ battery)

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My Canon EF Lens Collection
24mm, 50mm, 100mm,
16-35mm, 28-70mm, 28-135mm



Canon EOS System Compatible Flashes (professional models)

Camera Name
550EX 580EX EF-500 54 MZ3
Canon Sigma Metz
Place of Manufacture
Date of Manufacture
  2004.10~ 2000-  
Guide Number
28m @ 24mm
55m @ 105mm

15m @ 14mm
28m @ 24mm
42m @ 50mm
58m @ 105mm

30m @ 28mm
50m @ 105mm
40m @ 50mm
54m @ 105mm
Flash Head
Swivel / bounce
Physical connector
Hot Shoe
Flash-Camera Communication




(through SCA-3102 module)
High Speed Sync
Angle of Coverage
24-105mm automatic
17 mm diffuser
24-105mm automatic
14mm diffuser
reflector panel
(automatic zoom compensation for digital bodies (20Dand 1DMkII only))
28-105mm automatic
17 mm diffuser
24-105mm equivalent
20mm w/ diffuser
Manual Power
    1/1 to 1/128 1/1 to 1/256 (25 levels)
Recycle Time
0.1 - 8 sec (alkaline) 0.1 - 6 sec (alkaline) ~6 sec (alkaline) 6 sec. w/ alkaline AAs
Number of Flashes
(Full Power)
100-700 (alkaline AAs)
~220 (alkaline) 180 alkaline
60 NiCad
Battery type

4 x AA (alkaline; NiCD; NiMH; Lithium)

Dimensions and weight
80W x 138H x 112D mm
405g. (no batteries)
76W x 134H x 114D mm
375g. (no batteries)
76W x 138H x 116D mm
320g. (no batteries)
75 x 125 x 108mm
480 g
Retail price
      $350 new (flash)
$79.95 new (SCA 3102 module)



About Canon

Canon started out its life as Seiki Kohgaku Kenkyuujo (Precision Optical Research Company). Its first goal was to produce domestic inexpensive Leica clones, and it released the Kwanon, its first camera in 1934. Interestingly, they used Nikon lenses since Nikon was already established as an optical lens manufacturer and was not making any of its own camera bodies at that time. Canon soon gained the ability to make their own lenses and never looked back. Nikon also went on to produce some reasonably popular cameras of its own as well.

The name 'Canon' comes from the Buddhist deity Kwanon and early Canon cameras were actually spelled 'Kwanon' and the lenses were named 'Kyasapa' after another deity.

Side note: Canon is my favorite Japanese company along with Honda. I actually interned for Canon Japan (ok, Canon Sales Japan, a part of the Canon keiretsu) during a summer in college and loved my coworkers to death. They keep coming out with innovations that take your breath away.


On the Net


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