Canon 1D Mark II vs 1D Mark IV
The Canon EOS-1D Mark II and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2004 and October 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-H sensor. The 1D Mark II has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the 1D Mark IV provides 16 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D Mark II and the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark II and the Canon 1D Mark IV is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 1D Mark II and the Canon 1D Mark IV are of equal size. However, the 1D Mark IV is markedly lighter (20 percent) than the 1D Mark II. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark II gets 1200 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the 1D Mark IV can take 1500 images on a single charge of its LP-E4 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1535 g||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon 1D Mark IV||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1230 g||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark II N||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1565 g||1200||Y||Aug 2005||3,999||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 5D||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 1Ds||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1265 g||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon 1D||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1585 g||500||Y||Sep 2001||6,499||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 1D Mark II was somewhat cheaper (by 10 percent) than the 1D Mark IV at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-H sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the 1D Mark IV is 5 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.3. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, the 1D Mark IV uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC IV) than the 1D Mark II (DIGIC II), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the 1D Mark IV offers a higher resolution of 16 megapixels, compared with 8.2 MP of the 1D Mark II. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.70μm versus 8.17μm for the 1D Mark II). However, it should be noted that the 1D Mark IV is much more recent (by 5 years and 8 months) than the 1D Mark II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 1D Mark IV implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 1D Mark IV for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 16.3 inches or 62.2 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.7 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 10.9 inches or 41.5 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 1D Mark II are 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 50-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 1D Mark IV has a markedly higher DXO score than the 1D Mark II (overall score 8 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.5 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.4 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.1||1003||66|
|2.||Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|4.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|7.||Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|8.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark II N||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.2||975||66|
|10.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|11.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74|
|12.||Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63|
|14.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 1D Mark IV indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1D Mark II does not. The highest resolution format that the 1D Mark IV can use is 1080/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D Mark II and the 1D Mark IV are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the 1D Mark IV has a higher magnification than the one of the 1D Mark II (0.58x vs 0.55x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1D Mark II and Canon 1D Mark IV along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II||optical||Y||2.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||n||n|
|2.||Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9/s||n||n|
|7.||Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark II N||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.5/s||n||n|
|10.||Canon 5D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Canon 1Ds||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Canon 1D||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||8.0/s||n||n|
|14.||Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
The 1D Mark II writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SD cards, while the 1D Mark IV uses Compact Flash or SDHC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II and Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 5DS||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 1D Mark III||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark II N||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 5D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 1Ds||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 1D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D4||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the 1D Mark II and the 1D Mark IV have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The 1D Mark II was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark II N, while the 1D Mark IV does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the 1D Mark II and 1D Mark IV can be found, respectively, in the Canon 1D Mark II Manual (free pdf) or the online Canon 1D Mark IV Manual.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1D Mark II and the Canon 1D Mark IV? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II:
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2004).
Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 40%.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.4 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC IV vs DIGIC II).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.55x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 305g or 20 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1500 versus 1200) out of a single battery charge.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 8 months of technical progress since the 1D Mark II launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1D Mark IV is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 1 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 1D Mark II and the Canon 1D Mark IV place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1D Mark II or the 1D Mark IV. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||4,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon 1D Mark IV||5/5||..||..||89/100||..||..||Oct 2009||4,999||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 5DS||..||+||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||amazon.com|
|5.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||amazon.com|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2007||4,499||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 1D Mark II N||..||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2005||3,999||ebay.com|
|10.||Canon 5D||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299||ebay.com|
|11.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||7,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Canon 1Ds||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2002||8,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Canon 1D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2001||6,499||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Canon 1D X Mark III
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Canon M200
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Canon SX60
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Nikon D3000
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Nikon D500
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Panasonic GH3
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Canon 850D
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Canon M6
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D4
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Olympus PEN-F
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Panasonic LX10
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Sony A77
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark II vs Canon 1D Mark IV
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2004||October 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 4,499||USD 4,999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||APS-H Sensor|
|Sensor Size||28.7 x 19.1 mm||27.9 x 18.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||548.17 mm2||518.94 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||34.5 mm||33.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||16 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||4896 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.17 μm||5.70 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.49 MP/cm2||3.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 3,200 ISO||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC II||DIGIC IV|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||74|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.3||22.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.1||12.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1003||1320|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||8.3 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SD cards||CF or SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||1500 shots per charge|
156 x 158 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
156 x 157 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||1535 g (54.1 oz)||1230 g (43.4 oz)|
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