Finally, Canon gets it right with Mark IV

Posted on December 29, 2009

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, 1/2500 @ 4.0, 200 ISO. 400mm lens with 1.4x converter. Josh Morgan #84 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the football during the game against the Detroit Lions at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California on Sunday, December 27, 2009. (Photo by Brad Mangin)


I had the chance to shoot with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV this past Sunday. Considering all of the focusing problems with their previous top-of-the-line professional camera, I decided to give it a proper test-drive at the Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers NFL game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

The camera had a big white sticker on the front with “SAMPLE” written in black letters. It was loaded up with firmware version 5.8.5.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, 1/2500 @ 4.0, 200 ISO. 400mm lens with 1.4x converter. Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers throws the football while being chased by Turk McBride #75 of the Detroit Lions during the game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California on Sunday, December 27, 2009. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

I have been waiting for over two years to be able to shoot with a Canon camera that I could really depend on, so this test was going to be a real confidence-builder for me. It might sound obvious, but I really need a camera that is capable of delivering sharp pictures. To do my job as a sports photographer, I can’t be distracted by paranoid chimping all the time, worried if my pictures were sharp or not.

This camera performed flawlessly.

To be brutally honest, I found the Canon EOS-1D Mark III to be a complete disaster. I consider it to be the biggest lemon professional 35mm camera in modern photographic history. I have a considerable investment in Canon cameras and lenses, and was reluctant to jump-ship to Nikon.

With the Mark IV, it was do or die for Canon.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV, 1/2000 @ 4.0, 200 ISO. 400mm lens with 1.4x converter. Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions makes a catch during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California on Sunday, December 27, 2009. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

The Mark IV felt good in my hands and I felt confident with it attached to a 400mm 2.8 lens and a 1.4x converter (if the action was farther away). We were blessed with that classic Candlestick Park screaming Winter sunlight and I spent most of the game shooting from the front-lit end zone to take advantage of the great light. This is the easiest light in thew world for a camera to focus in and the Mark IV did not disappoint.

In comparison, using a Canon Mark III with a 400mm lens and a 1.4x converter in this exact same situation was not an option. The results were embarrassing and upsetting. However, the new Mark IV seemed to like working with the 400mm lens and 1.4x combination and delivered some very nice, tack-sharp images.

Depending on how far I was away from the action, I shot part of the game with just the 400mm lens and part of the game with the 1.4x converter. It did not seem to matter much either way as my pictures were sharp with, or without, the converter. I’ve included a 19-picture motor drive sequence (below) of Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson running right at me with the football. This was shot with just the 400mm lens. All images are full-frame. Not every frame was sharp (but most were) – and some of that was my fault as he was moving very fast and it was difficult keeping him framed properly.

Canon Mark IV Motor Drive Sequence #1 – Images by Brad Mangin

The more I shot the more confidence I had. Each time I chimped (using the gorgeous new and improved screen) everything was looking real good. It was becoming quite funny as I was joking with friends during the game (both still using older Canon EOS-1D Mark IIN bodies) that all my pictures were sharp! They kept asking me after every play if my pictures were sharp. There was a funny vibe at the ballpark on Sunday as many photographers were asking me about the camera and hoping so hard that the Mark IV would actually work.

Canon Mark IV Motor Drive Sequence #2 – Images by Brad Mangin

I’ve also included a slide show (above) of a 16-picture motor drive sequence of San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Josh Morgan running right at me with the football. This was shot with the 400mm lens and the 1.4x converter. All images are full-frame. Every frame in this sequence is tack sharp.

Sure, the Canon Mark IV can do many more things than take sharp pictures at a football game. It has many crazy custom functions that I did not use. It does video that I do not care about right now. I simply need a camera that will make sharp pictures. The files are big and amazing.

I shot RAW plus large jpeg and did not get a chance to look at my RAW files because I do not have any software that is capable of reading them (yet). For the techno-nerds out there, I am including an actual RAW file from this camera, shot during this game so you can download it and see the quality for yourself.

The photograph below is a full-frame image of Detroit Lions quarterback Drew Stanton throwing a pass on the run. If you click on the image you will be able to download the original RAW file from my server so you can study it yourself.

*CLICK ON THIS IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD ORIGINAL RAW FILE* Drew Stanton #5 of the Detroit Lions throws the football during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California on Sunday, December 27, 2009. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

Unfortunately I had to ship my Mark IV back to Canon yesterday. The camera is supposed to be released for sale very soon (first reports were that it would be on sale a few weeks ago but that never happened). You can bet that Canon will have an army of people in Vancouver for the Winter Olympics in February loaning out hundreds of Mark IV’s.

Canon should be able to keep long-time (and heavily invested) users like me happy with the new Mark IV.

I look forward to going to the ballpark and being able to relax knowing that I can keep my head in the game and not worry about cameras that can’t focus. 2010 is going to be a good year for Canon users.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Walt Calahan December 29, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    This is great new Brad!!!!!!!!

    Too many of my friends have not wanted to jump ship, so this is their reward for the long wait.

  2. David Seelig December 29, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Brad
    Thanks for posting this, as someone that does some of what I do-pro football- it is reassuring.

  3. Elvir Tabakovic December 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Great news Brad! Thanks for this short review. It would be really nice if Canon offered some kind of replacement program for all of us dissatisfied 1Dmk3 owners..

  4. btezra December 29, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    honest, straight-forward and no b.s. review, which I completely appreciate

    as someone who is more familiar w/ Canon’s prosumer models (10D, 20D, 5D, 5d mkII) and someone who’s only shot w/ the 1Ds Mark II a few dozen times I look forward to investing in the Mark IV one day soon as long as I am assured that I am getting my $’s worth for what I am laying out for such a professional level dslr, your early assessment has me gaining confidence

  5. John McIlwaine December 29, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for posting this report Brad. As a frustrated Mk3 user who would have jumped ship, if I could afford it, this is reassuring news. I look forward to its arrival

  6. Dan December 29, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Great shots from a long awaited body with 100% AF, AI Servo shooting. Owning ALL the 1 D series bodies to date, I still have problems with Canon’s AF. Looks like this may be the “fix”!!
    You did not mention AF point selection of Mode.
    Would it be possible for you to do that?
    Great work!

  7. Michael December 29, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I hope so. But with a 1Ds3 and a 1D3 I can’t afford a Mk4 so it’s a bit bittersweet… Would quite like fixes for the Mk3’s…

  8. André Weigel December 29, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Pretty nice blog post, thank you !
    I had the same experience with the MK IV…

  9. Arthur Morris December 29, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Hey Brad, I think that we met somewhere recently… Del Mar? IAC, thanks for sharing the pix. Were you using the central sensor only or 45 point AAFPS for the football images.

    As for the MIII, surely there were AF problems, especially in the beginning but for more than two years I used them as my workhorse bodies while making a rather nice living as a bird photographer. I made many sharp flight images but wished of course for more consistent AF performance. But I loved the files, the speed, the high ISO performance, and the ruggedness among others. Much maligned, yes, but much loved by me.

    That said I have two MIVs coming soon.

  10. Tito Herrera December 29, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I’m not a sport shooter but I’m a photojournalist so I do action too and I know exactly how you feel, and can’t wait to get one, I just sold my Canon 1D Mark II N on ebay last week and will be getting the Mark IV to replace it as soon as the are ready.

    Thanks for the post it makes me feel better about waiting for it and knowing it will work sounds just great to start the new year.

    Tito H.

  11. dongiorgio December 29, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    great review Brad i wish you had some high iso images 6400iso plus. i have already jump ship to nikon d3 and now the d3s due to the canon 1dmk111 focusing problems and high iso noise.

  12. David Griffin December 30, 2009 at 12:59 am

    just curious, do you use the “back button” to focus or the traditional shutter button on top to focus/shoot?

  13. Florian December 30, 2009 at 1:48 am

    Thanks for sharing the post and info at the game. It was good to see you having fun with the IV at the game, looks like the camera did not disapoint.

  14. Sabyasachi Patra December 30, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Hi Brad,
    Thanks for the review. I feel reassured and am happy to see results with the 400mm f2.8 IS, which I use, albeit for wildlife photography. The year 2010 should be good.


  15. Karl Winter December 30, 2009 at 3:15 am


    I’m a pro sports shooter in England and had a Mark IV from Canon for testing 2-3 weeks ago. I shot a soccer game with it. From speaking to my colleagues here who have also tested the mark IV, (Reuters, Getty etc) let’s just say as far as we are concerned in the UK the jury is still out. The focussing is not faultless and still needs working on….

    I’m certainly not as excited about the mark IV as Brad seems to be…

  16. Michael Bolognesi December 30, 2009 at 4:17 am

    Hi Brad! Thanks for a positive report. MKIV will surely be Canon’s do or die in the pro field. There must be thousands of shooters sitting on the fence right now waiting for a positive report of the MKIV before deciding to jump ship.

  17. John van Kleef December 30, 2009 at 4:47 am

    quote: “To be brutally honest, I found the Canon EOS-1D Mark III to be a complete disaster. I consider it to be the biggest lemon professional 35mm camera in modern photographic history”

    That’s where you loose credibility to me. Since when is de 1D series a 35mm (full-frame) cam?

    Nevertheless, I’m pleased to hear that the new mk-IV is living up to your expectations. I’m waiting for delivery of mine, and hopefully I’ll be impressed too.

    Thanks for sharing your findings here with us.

  18. Mike Doran December 30, 2009 at 5:05 am

    Hi Brad;
    Thanks for letting us download your image to check out the quality of the file. I am impressed with the sharpness of the file. As an owner of Mark III that does
    not seemed to be aflicted with the dreaded focusing problems that everybody else was hit with. I decided to purchase a 7D earlier this month as the cost of the Mark IV was a little high for my budget. After seeing this image I am starting to rethink my options for next year. I would like to see an image shot at a much slower frame rate as most of my photography covers the motorsports world and 2500th of sec. will not showed blurred wheels or high speed pans. Thank you again for sharing this image.

    Mike Doran
    D&W Images
    I am s Senior SportsShooter member.

  19. Jean-Luc Morbelli December 30, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Tahnk you for your post. First units start to be deliver in Europe, first impressions are on line with your post. Looking forward to test on motor sport.
    Happy New Year!

  20. Mat December 30, 2009 at 7:30 am

    I tested it also as a pro, for one of the biggest newspapers in Europe.
    My conclusion: it sucks, in low lighte and low contrast scene I had no focus lock. This means no sharp picture at all!
    Canon does not want to compensate the mk3 users.
    I switched this week to Nikon an the D3s.
    I’m happy now.
    Canon is working, I hope, on the raw images I gave them. But for now the D3s is a better camera.

  21. Anastas December 30, 2009 at 8:23 am

    You can open the RAW file with latest version of DPP – 3.7.3 or with Photoshop with the latest version of ACR – 5.6

    The photos look absolutely great!

  22. Mitch Stringer December 30, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Brad, thanks for the review. My Mark IV order has been in since the announcement. Just waiting for delivery. Baseball 2010 is “looking” better and better.

  23. Khuong D.Chau December 30, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Thanks Brad:
    If Canon want to win a battle between 1D Mark IV or Nikon D3S,They should reimbursed or credit for the owner of 1D Mark III for a long torture before they consider for a new 1D M IV.

  24. Hunter Martin December 30, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Brad, Thanks for sharing your experience with the new Mark IV. You’ve got me psyched to use Canon products again!

    Happy Shooting in the New Year

  25. Paul Morrison December 30, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Thanks Brad. Finally some real positive AF news on the flagship Canon action camera. The sequences were excellent. I am using a III (latest edition/newest software upgrade) and it works great in skiing, ski racing (usually with the 500F4L and 1.4) and mountain biking. No problems with AF whatsoever. I find my III to be equal to, or superior to my recently retired IIn in every AF situation I’ve used it in.

  26. Steve December 30, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Brad, thanks for one of the first “action” reviews of the Mk4. Great news! I’ve been waiting for this for months! I have pestered Canon at all levels to get a Mark4 replacement for my extremely disappointing Mark3 but, guess what, they just DO NOT want to know (or help!). And after 1000’s £’s spent on their equipment over the years! I’ve started saving!! Thanks, Steve (UK).

  27. John Froschauer December 30, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    I’m excited, some hope to not having to switch. I have to admit I am going to give it a good test run before investing this time around. I too have no confidence that the mark III photos will be sharp, after having soft photos in situations that should have been fine. Frustrating.

  28. Fotodog December 30, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks Brad, this is great news, just what my 1D2N has been waiting for. The 1D3 and other Canons have rattled my cage a little but these early reports renew my confidence. For my niche a 24-70 IS and C1 support will complete the picture. 2010 will be a great year!

  29. PAul December 30, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I too skipped the 1DmkIII.
    Hoping that the mkIV would add the killer features I wanted.
    AF that works – yes
    Video fully controllable – yes
    Usable higher ISO – yes
    Tilt/swivel screen – NO

    Ah well, I can always wait for the mkV.
    Until then, my 1DSmkII and 1DmkIIN work just fine, thanks.

  30. Todd December 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I love this quote from Mat who works for one of the biggest newspapers in Europe:

    Mat says:

    “My conclusion: it sucks, in low lighte and low contrast scene I had no focus lock. This means no sharp picture at all!
    Canon does not want to compensate the mk3 users.
    I switched this week to Nikon an the D3s.
    I’m happy now.
    Canon is working, I hope, on the raw images I gave them. But for now the D3s is a better camera.”

    Mat, the camera does have focus lock . . . it’s called “One shot” AF mode. You can accomplish focus lock in AI Servo AF mode as well by using the AF-On button to focus and the exposure button for firing off a shot. Once you’ve got your focus where you want it, just let go of the AF-On button and your focus is locked until you press that button again.

    You’re assessment of this camera is out of line, WAY to premature and quite frankly, irresponsible! And I’m sure Canon is spending all of their time “working” on your RAW images. Get Real!

  31. Jochystarz December 30, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Good Review, Nice Images, hoping the best from canon in their latest releases so i can put some real money into updating and upgrading gear, i been holding up too cause don’t want to go nikon and investment in glass and the fact that nikons just doesn’t feel right in my hands cause the way I shoot (lefteye like joe mcnally) hope canon comes with a more prosumer level FF cam or upgrades their 5DmkII to something with more and faster AF points and frame rate, keep the 21mp do to compliment a paired FF and a Crop bodies !

  32. David Towgood December 30, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Hi Brad,
    first off thanks for the raw file, it certainly works into a very nice finished Jpeg. I’m currently a 1d mk3 user and will be upgrading to the mk4 when I can afford to. A lot of my work is wildlife for magazines and yes I have had some frustrating moments with my mk3 but with saying that without trying the mk4 I’m not sure if in the same instances it would be any better! I would certainly like to be given the mk4 to test drive on a pheasant or two in flight to make an honest comparison and until I get hold of the mk4 I would not be calling my mk3 a complete disaster, infact I feel very happy with most of the photos I have captured with it, check them out on my site

    thanks for your opinion.

  33. W December 30, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    @Mat Huh? well since you can’t get focus lock at all and others who have examples were able to… Then what does that say?

    @Jon Van… Way to find probably an obvious typo.. For someone to lose credibility after doing everything and photographer should do on a “brief” (yes he had it for just this one event as you see) review on something like that I wonder what your real motives are.

  34. Louis December 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm


    All the pictures look great, but I have to say that the last picture in your article where a RAW is provided is completely front focused by at least 100 feet. It’s obvious that the cheerleaders are not sharp!

  35. Brad Mangin December 30, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Dan- I used the regular center focusing point. Nothing fancy.

    David Griffin- I used the back-button focusing method. I have been using the back button now for 20 years dating back to the original EOS-1 film camera. Scary!

    Karl Winter- I also heard bad things out of England. I know they have had many people trying these cameras out since November and they keep tweaking the firmware. The Getty shooters here in the USA used the cameras in December and loved them. Two of my Getty friends who shot with one here in the Bay Area were not happy when they had to send theirs back. Maybe the cameras we tried had newer firmware that worked better.

    John van Kleef- Sorry dude. To old guys like me the Mark IV is referred to as a 35mm camera just like a Hasselblad is a 2 1/4, etc. It is just a figure of speech.

  36. Brad Mangin December 30, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    There are some people who are doubting that I had problems with the Canon Mark III camera in the past. I had nightmares with them since day one. Here is what I said on the message board about the Mark III back on December 11, 2007:

    Since then I signed NDA’s for Canon and tested many firmware updates in the past several years. After going through 8-10 cameras I finally got a pretty decent Mark III from Canon this past summer that has worked pretty well. After going through all of this and turning down tempting offers from Nikon to switch I am very excited about the Mark IV. I will start shooting regularly with them when I report to spring training in Arizona at the end of February.

  37. Axel December 30, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    I looked at the raw file without any sharpening applied and it appears, to my eyes, that the ball is in focus (i.e there was a bit of rear focusing on that particular frame). The embedded jpeg looks noticeably sharper (probably due to in-camera sharpening) and of course a web-sized reduction looks perfect. Let’s wait for lower light, lower contrasts tests…

  38. J M Elario December 30, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    I did jump ship this past June , Nikon convinced me I was not losing my eye site , did not really need to two changes in eyeglasses , & that I did not require psychoanalysis .
    Cost me a large bunch of money$ , but I’m happy with both myself & my work.
    Our operation now shoots both system’s Canon & Nikon, my son is a devoted Canon user.

    My son who gave me a bit of resistance to my change , he’s played with the Nikon’s & has admitted/agreed that their auto-focus system is much better than Canon’s . This past Sunday he picked up a video;s colleague’s new Canon 7D & was blown away with Canon’s improvement with the new focusing , & is very excited to receive our (october ordered) new Mark IIII .
    Joe Elario Photography , upstate NY

  39. Paul December 31, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Thank you for your report. It’s great to know that the AF works!

    The AF system still 45 points similar to the old EOS 1n (other manufacture got 51 points!) but what Canon does is put more cross type sensor in, compare with the old 1D mark 3, plus a fast Digi 4 processor.
    The basic sensor pattern are more or less the same as all other 1 series cameras.

    I am surprise that Canon didn’t put all 45 points cross type! Or built a completely new system!

    I’m thinking about getting one for my dance photography.
    But I’ll wait for more reports before I make my decision, I don’t want to make the same expensive mistake twice!

  40. Pingback: Links for December 30, 2009 « Geoff Thomsen Photography

  41. John December 31, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Thank you Brad for taking the time to post your opinion on the Mark IV. I am waiting to take delivery of my camera. I tried downloading the Raw file but all I got was text. One question I do have is since you were happy with the focusing, was the camera/lens combination sharp right out of the box or did you have to do any adjustments beforehand? Happy New Year and Happy Shooting.

  42. Stu Nowlin December 31, 2009 at 11:31 am


    Thanks for the report! I cannot wait to get my 1D4. I had 3 1D3s. The last one, one of the latest serial numbers, was a stellar performer in motosports, outdoors and with good light. It was still iffy with low contrast, low light but came through if I was careful and had backup shots where possible. The IQ on the 1D3 was outstanding and that is, in the end, what sells for me, especially with weddings.


  43. Brad Mangin December 31, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    John- Try a different browser or restart it as your file got corrupted on the download. If you try again it should work. I did not make any adjustments. I simply put the camera and lens together and started shooting.

  44. Josep Fàbrega December 31, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I wish you could compare the same photos with the new D3 Nikon.
    I know that NIkon D3 has a backfocus/frontfocus fine-tunning in its menu. This fantastic tool permits maximum optimizing of clarity wich each lens. This optimization is remembered forever by the D3’s camera software,
    If we add that NIkon could shot at incredible ISO I’m not totally sure but probably NIkon with nikkor lenses is better option for sport photography than Canon. Nowadays, of course.
    Has Canon fine-tunning menu?

  45. Brad Mangin December 31, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Josep- Yes, you can fine-tune the focus with the Canons. The Nikon D3 series of cameras are terrific. All my Nikon friends are just thrilled with their cameras.

  46. John December 31, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Brad,

    I still can’t download the RAW file. I have tried Safari, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and I continue to only get text. Oh well. Thanks

  47. Larry Goren December 31, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Brad – Thanks for the story and your honesty. Real world info. is valued.

  48. Jim Neiger December 31, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Finally, Canon gets it right with Mark IV

    It’s great to hear that the new Mark IVs are performing well. I am a fulltime pro wildlife photographer specializing in birds in flight. Birds in flight is one of the most challenging applications for a camera’s AF system. I was lucky enough to get 2 Mark IIIs that did not have any AF problems. I am still using one of them while waiting for my two new Mark IVs to arrive next week. I will be happy if the AF functions as well or better than the Mark III. The Mark II has taken a lot of bashing, but there are Mark IIIs that focus fine with no problems. I probably give the cameras as good an AF workout as anyone since my specialty is so challenging for AF. If anyone wants to see some examples of challenging AF images made with the Mark III, please take a look at my website galleries.

  49. Tony Panzica December 31, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Now it would be great to test in a low lit ice rink with some hockey action. I used the Mark3 last year and shot 800k images then had it rebuilt recently. I was happy with it, but at times very frustrated. It is time Canon got it right.

  50. 1d mark iv December 31, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Wouw, its a great camera, cant wait to get it in my own hands. probably need to wait for february.
    my 1dmIII works perfect by the way.

  51. Alex Hardy January 1, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Testing the autofocus in those conditions can’t tell if it’s really that good or not, sorry. You’re shooting bright colors and contrasty jerseys on a plain background. This is the easiest situation for AF to find his subject. Stop the press !!! and don’t buy the Mark IV out of reading only one review. It’s just like visiting a house for sale next to a major road at 11PM with no traffic. I’m sure it will be a fabulous house, but then visit it on high traffic hours and it could become a nightmare. I really want to stay on Canon but i just want to not pump myself up too high reading reviews so i won’t be disappointed too much when i’ll have half of the frames out of focus in certain situations. Photojournalist and sports fotog sometimes have no choice of shooting conditions and they’ll have to shoot on overcast days, rain, backlite…and this is where you’ll see if the AF is that good or not. For sure you need to test a camera on a few days trial and not with only one day. Canon should lend a camera to 10 or more great photographers around the world for a period of 2 weeks to have a real idea of how it works. But are they whilling to do that ? Are they confident enough in their product to let that happen ? Sorry for being so negative on a the first day of 2010, but i have 3 years of frustration that i need to let go to start 2010 well. Hopefuly, i’ll keep shooting with the White Power side and not move to the Dark Side…

  52. Brad Mangin January 2, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Good news! Rob Galbraith has announced that the Mark IV is finally being shipped in Canada and the United States:

    This means that Galbraith will eventually have the definitive test/review published of the Canon Mark IV. Rob’s review’s are always the best out there for working photographers as he uses the cameras for real photojournalistic assignments. It will take a while for Rob to put the camera through his extensive testing, but once he publishes his findings they will be must-reading for all of us.

  53. Dan Smith January 3, 2010 at 9:30 am

    The real test will be in 80-100 degree temps with fast moving action. This is where the MkIII really fell apart. Many had no trouble in cooler weather.
    I hope Canon has it right this time. They said they did with the MkIII. We’ll see.

  54. Terry F January 3, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I am no Canon-basher at all, and Brad is a far more accomplished photographer than I am. I thank him for this posting but I urge readers to to understand that this write up is extremely preliminary and extremely limited in conditions. As an example, don’t I recall that the MkIII’s bad AF started to be noticed more in hot weather?

    I realize Brad is not intending for his blog post to be the definitive word on this new model, but he did choose this very concrete-sounding headline: “Finally, Canon Gets it Right.” We’ve simply got to be careful of what we’re writing and how we’re interpreting what we read. Many, many of the reader replies are basically along the lines of “OK, thanks, I’m putting my order in right now.”

    A few months ago, Bob Davis on his blog wrote a gushing review of the pre-released Pocket Wizzard Minis and Flexes for Canon strobes. “These things ROCK!” were his exact words, but within a couple weeks I was reading all over the Internet that the products were delayed and back into R&D because they just weren’t working right. Be careful!

    Brad has been responsive and candid here and, to be sure, he has taken pains to point out the Galbraith review is coming and that Galbraith’s write-up will be definitive.

    So let’s all be cautious and just take things one step at a time before plunking down thousands and thousands of dollars.

  55. Zhao January 4, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Hi Brad: it is good to read your comments. I am a photography lover in Hong Kong, and is prepared to buy one MKiv. Since you are one of the first who wrote about MKiv, I had very good impression about this new camera. I have never used MKiii, but heard many negative things about it. Many people are talking about jump ship. It seems now that Canon has made big improvement.
    Maybe you can give me an answer: which camera does better focus than MKiii (not MKiv)? D3 or D3s?

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  57. Todd January 4, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Wonderful review. I am glad to see that Canon is finally getting the focusing problems corrected. I have thrown away too many shots because of focus. It would be nice not worrying about it or not fighting with the camera every step of the way.

  58. Travis January 5, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Great review- glad to hear things are gettin better for the mkIV. That camera sure looks wickedly sweet!

  59. Alex Hardy January 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Galbraith is defenetly the man for testing cameras. All past reviews were pin sharp on the equipment he was trying. You need time to achieve that properly and he seems to have taht. I’m sure Brad will be able to do as well, when he’ll have the body for a few weeks.

  60. Paul McCarthy January 6, 2010 at 12:00 am


    Thanks for the evaluation! Great pics! I’ve just confirmed delivery of a 1D MK IV for this thrusday and am pleased you use of the camera went so well. I shoot a variety of sports and am looking forward to the new features and improved AF.

    I am one of the ones who loves his MK III and have thousands of very good images. After the firmware and mechanical fix I ran a MK II and MK III side by side for about two months in heavy shooting. I finally decided to make the MK II the backup and the MK III my “money” camera and have never regretted it. Fine tuning the custom features makes a difference.


  61. Pingback: DWF » Blog Archive » 1D Mark IV Claims Improved Autofocus

  62. karl Bratby January 7, 2010 at 7:06 am

    WOW, canon seem to be onto a winner, apart from i jumped ship to nikon and it better be good to jump back>>>????

  63. Larry Placido January 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Thanks for the info and the great images. It’s good to see that Canon got the problems fixed.

    Hopefully I’ll get the Mk IV some day once I start shooting again more… It’s just hard to justify the cost when one isn’t shooting a lot, esp. in this economy.

    Hope to see you out in Spring Training!

    Larry Placido

  64. Reese Strickland January 7, 2010 at 6:24 pm


    Can you tell me did you shoot anything at really Hi ISO? How did it react… Sharp? Grainy? Any feed back would be great. I got a call today from my local shot today that my Mark IV has arrived.

    The very first one in Iowa! DO I buy it?


  65. Karl Winter January 8, 2010 at 11:09 am


    Yes you could be right there, maybe us Canon shooters in Europe were given a bad batch to play with! Sadly I had to give it back and have no note of which firmware was in the camera.
    I did however crank the ISO up and shot at both 6400 and 102,400. The 6400 pics are amazing, to the naked eye at least and at least as good as the Mark III at 1600 and whilst 102,400 ISO was not fantastic it was still very useable so congratulations to Canon on that one.
    I was working alongside Bob Martin recently at an event here in the UK and Bob was shooting with the Nikon D3S. It was indoor and the lighting was atrocious so Bob was shooting at 5,000 ISO. Well the results were very good (when viewed on the back screen) but as far as noise goes I think the Mark IV will hold it’s own well against the new Nikon.
    Anyway the new Canon is £4,400 here in the UK which about USD 7,000 so I won’t be buying until my next trip to USA!

  66. Brad Mangin January 8, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Reese- I am sorry but all I shot was this one day football game- mostly at 200 ISO. I have heard good things about the camera at night games, etc. but I cannot give you a first-hand report about that.

    Good luck with the new camera- it would be fun to be the first person in Iowa with a mark IV!


  67. Stephen Jensen January 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks for posting this review. I hope we continue to see positive reviews from people using this camera for sports. Canon should offer a generous trade in offer to owners of Canon Mark III.


  68. Matt Snider January 13, 2010 at 4:08 am

    Glad to read such a positive review of the Mark IV. I’m looking forward to Rob G’s exhaustive dissection of the Mark IV under the real-world, harsh conditions he and his team subject cameras to.

    I never really had any focusing problems with my Mark III. I’m generally happy with it, especially the frame rate and quality of the image up to 3200 in low light conditions.

    Fine-tuning the focusing of each lens I use on my Mark III with a LensAlign really made my images pop, too!

    However, based on all the reviews of the Mark III, something was definitely wrong with the camera in either the design or manufacturing that Canon never seemed to get right to many photographers.

    Now that Canon has come out with the Mark IV, Canon should really offer an upgrade path at negligible cost for Mark III owners to avoid a class-action lawsuit. Obviously, Canon figured out what was wrong with the Mark III and redesigned the fix into the Mark IV. That’s prima facie proof of a defect that is easily affecting more than 25 people.

    Canon should simply “make it right” to their Mark III customers and in the same stroke, earn a lot of brownie points for doing what’s right. What they gain in sales and PR will make up for any cost incurred under an upgrade program.

  69. Betty Owen January 17, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Have been lucky enough to get a Mark IV in my hands but do have a question …

    IF you set the Menu to turn on the Live Video … use the video by clicking the SET button … Click again to turn off Live View and do some still photos. …. Will the quality of the still photo be the same as if shooting with the Live View turned completely OFF in the Menu?? or can that Live View be on all the time on the Menu and just make the shift from Video to still by clicking the SET button?

    Many thanks.

  70. Thierry NGUYEN CUU January 17, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I was still hesitant on teh Canon 1D Mark IV until I found your post.
    Having had the Mark III (I shoot mainly wedding so Ai Servo is not “really” an issue for me) but having a top-of-the-line camera with flaws is just not acceptable.

    Thanks for the post.


  71. Brad Mangin January 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Betty- I do not know anything about the video capabilities of this camera, etc. so I cannot help you with your question- I am sorry about that.

    Thierry- good luck with your new camera!


  72. jerry eisner January 18, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Brad i love the report but but but, it looks like so many of the shots were at very high shutter speeds which would tend to make all the shots at least very sharp from very minimal camera movement. then by shooting from the side lines the depth of field increases because the dof increases as the distance increases even at F4. so i certainly love your shots and want to believe in the new Mark four but i think it needs to be tested under more adverse conditions. Thanks for listening. Je

  73. Brad Mangin January 18, 2010 at 2:23 am


    Being a sports photographer who has shot professionally with Canon cameras and long lenses (400mm 2.8 and 600 4.0) since 1987 wide open I know what the cameras are supposed to deliver on the ball field- and the Mark III failed miserably. Shutter speed had NOTHING to do with the sharpness problems that the Mark III suffered from.

    In sports I shoot a fast shutter speed wide open- and the Mark IV did a nice job in the game I used it for. The 10 plus Canon Mark III bodies I shot with (supplied by Canon) did not do well over a 2.5 year period. This has nothing to do with camera movement- this is because the cameras had severe flaws.

    Again- all I know is what I shoot- sports- but for my needs the Mark IV performed better than the Mark III. Your mileage may vary.


  74. Paul January 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm


    Thanks again. i’ve been shooting the Mark IV for about two weeks now. It did a great job in a BB court where the lighting is,may we say, crappy. I got about 3x the usable images than I usually get.

    Last evening however, it’s performace blew me away. I was shooting a D 1 hockey game between Miami (Ohio)[2nd ranked nationally] and University of Alaska Fairbanks (20th ranked). I use strobes – 7 – to light up the arena. Using a 300 mm f2.8 lens the photos were out of this world. 16 MP is a large playground! You can pick up the expressions on the players faces. Using the assist points, highlight expansion (our guys wear a predominantly white jersey) the images look fabulous. Focusing using ambient light is right on.

    The Mark IV does present a problem though. I usually shoot 350-450 images per game. Usable output more than doubled so you have to make a lot more choices of which great pictures you want to work on!

    A welcome problem!

  75. dongiorgio January 29, 2010 at 4:01 am

    hi there brad we tested the new canon 1d mk1v we found problems with focusing on certain subjects still a big improvement over the old 1dmk111.the mk1v works well without servo mode.the photography student that bought the camera contacted me at work and said that there was a firmware upgrade today .
    brad what does this mean !!!!!

  76. DwD February 2, 2010 at 1:51 am

    I’m not sure if this in on subject. I’ve been totally a Canon shooter since 1985. But I was shooting with the Canon MarkIIN (three bodies) and then purchased the Nikon D3 and lenses, and flashes last year……I was impressed. But my MarkIIN still outedged the D3 in autofocus performance on fast moving subjects. All of the top Canon cameras still use the TTL-AREA-SIR AF-dedicated CMOS sensor….the Mark IV, the Mark III’s, the Mark II’s……. execept both Canon 5D’s which focus like crap because they don’t have that particular autofocus sensor. After one year I got rid of my Nikon. (Although I was only going to keep it for 3 months.) I think the Nikon lenses are built better, I think the quality of the Nikon files were cleaner, the brilliant ISO of the Nikon is amazing, but I found the Canon still retains the leadership in sharp focus on fast moving subjects. I figure that the sharp focus of the image is still the number one priority in the image. You can have everything else, but if it’s not in focus, it’s worthless.

  77. dongiorgio February 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    well its out now the report from rob galbraith test 1dmk1v check it out:

  78. Pingback: 1D Mk IV -- More AF Problems for Canon? - PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photo Forum

  79. Rolgordijnen April 26, 2010 at 5:21 am

    Amazing photos. damn i need a mark iv aswell! 🙂

  80. Diseño paginas Web November 20, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Good Review, Nice Images, hoping the best from canon in their latest releases so i can put some real money into updating and upgrading gear, i been holding up too cause don’t want to go nikon and investment in glass and the fact that nikons just doesn’t feel right in my hands cause the way I shoot (lefteye like joe mcnally) hope canon comes with a more prosumer level FF cam or upgrades their 5DmkII to something with more and faster AF points and frame rate, keep the 21mp do to compliment a paired FF and a Crop bodies !

  81. alquiler departamentos miami December 12, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Wonderful review. I am glad to see that Canon is finally getting the focusing problems corrected. I have thrown away too many shots because of focus. It would be nice not worrying about it or not fighting with the camera every step of the way.

  82. dove hunting in argentina January 17, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    I was still hesitant on teh Canon 1D Mark IV until I found your post.
    Having had the Mark III (I shoot mainly wedding so Ai Servo is not “really” an issue for me) but having a top-of-the-line camera with flaws is just not acceptable.

    Thanks for the post.

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