Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Review

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV was introduced way back in 2009 and still remains the popular choice for photographers. It is one of the best offerings of Canon in its 1D series of professional DSLRs. Mainly a choice of sports photographers, this series is optimized for a swift operation. The 1D Mark IV camera uses an APS-H format sensor which assures high image quality results (but smaller in size than full frame). This further ensures a smaller and lighter reflex mirror. This enables the camera to operate at a higher speed. Besides a high capacity battery pack, it also has a high strength construction making it rugged enough to cater the best in a hard professional use situation.

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV

Features of Canon EOS 1D Mark IV at a glance

  • 16.1-megapixel enabled APS-H CMOS sensor
  • Optimal high-speed tracking of moving objects with the help of an upgraded AF system
  • Continuous shooting ability with u to 10 fps
  • 45-point wide area AF with 39 cross-type sensors with f/2.8 sensitivity
  • 121 large image holding capacity of buffer in a single burst
  • 12,800 high ISO (expandable up to ISO 102,400)
  • Dual high-speed DIGIC 4 processors ensuring high image quality and fast operation
  • HD movie recording at 30, 25 and 24 fps
  • 3.0” clear view II LCD catering live view mode
  • Weather resistant body (with 76 rubber seals)
  • Size – 6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in./156 x 156.6 x 79.9mm
  • Weight – 1180 g / 41.6 oz (2.6 lbs)


Physical construction

A high capacity battery increases the size of the camera, thus its weight. The size and weight are an outcome of the well-built construction and other features that make the camera a good choice for professional use. The grip adds to the strength and reliability of the camera. The best part in its built is that there is no poor mechanical coupling to fail in case the camera is dropped or damaged in any other situation. The camera displays a metal chassis which is environmentally sealed with 76 types of rubber seals and gaskets.


Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Viewfinder

The viewfinder assembly of Canon EOS 1D Mark IV is quite similar to that of the 1D Mark III model. Catering a 0.76x magnification and 20mm eyepoint, it has 100% coverage to offer. The eyepiece shutter blocks of the light in the case of long exposures with a dioptric adjustment of -3 to 1 diopters. The focusing screen of Laser-matte Ec-C IV provides a clear image with easy focusing, excellent brightness, and low grain background blur. The photographer can replace it with any of the series of Ec focusing screens as per the requirement.


The Canon EOS 1D Mark IV has a 3-inch LCD monitor to feature with approx. 920,000 dots, wide view angle, low power consumption and high brightness. The photographer can enjoy more natural-looking images (closer to the RGB color space. The screen has a smudge-resistant and anti-reflective coating, the output of which is high contrast image easy to see even in bright sunlight.
The small monochrome LCD (below the main color LCD) displays various items of the camera status. The indicators employed show the kind of media cards in use, size and type image recording, white balance settings and much more.
The usual EOS data such as aperture, shutter speed, remaining shots, battery status etc. can be viewed from the top mounted LCD display.


Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Promo

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV offers an ISO range varying from 100-12,800 without an expansion. If the expansion is enabled using the custom function, the additional ISO settings of 50 (L), 25,600 (H1), 51,200 (h2) and 102,400 (H3) need to be done. There is also an auto ISO function available in the manual mode. This helps the photographer to set the shutter speed and aperture which further enables the camera to select an appropriate ISO setting.


Similar to the other 1D series Canon cameras, this one too doesn’t have a built-in flash. There is a range of reasons for this such as lack of space in the pentaprism area and better weather-sealing (as a pop-up flash allows more area of water and dust penetration).
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV doesn’t have a built-in wireless flash control. In case the photographer wants to use the wireless flash, a wireless master Speedlite needs to be mounted to the hot shoe.


Canon has put serious efforts in terms of autofocus in 1D Mark IV model in comparison to Mark III. It offers one of the best AF options to the photographers. But as per the critics, there are still some lapses, one of which is complexity.
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV has 45 zones, out of which 39 can be manually selected. All of these 39 zones have cross-sensitivity. The center AF zone is a cross-type offering vertical sensitivity up to f4 and horizontal sensitivity up to f/8. The other AF zones offer a vertical sensitivity up to f/2.8 and horizontal sensitivity up to f/5.6.


Canon EOS 1D Mark IV Front & Back

The Canon EOS 1D Mark IV uses the same 63-zone metering sensor as that of the 1D Mark III. The only difference is in the wireframe which is employed to optimize the correlation with the 45 AF zones of the 1D Mark IV. The usual metering modes available are evaluative, partial (13.5%), spot (3.8%) and centre-weighted averaging.
A spot averaging mode is provided where the photographer can take up to 8 spot metered readings. Here, the exposure will be set to the average value.
Over a +/- 3 stop range in 1/3 stop steps, normal and flash exposure compensation is possible.

Live view

The live view mode in Canon EOS 1D Mark IV allows a focus (via contrast) detection or phase detection. A mirror is required to be flipped up using the focus system for still images in phase-detection. A live image is employed in the contrast detection where there is no need to flip the mirror.


The Canon EOS 1D Mark IV is a praiseworthy model delivering an excellent (broadcast) quality in video capture. It is easy to start and stop the video recording using a single button. A drawback here is that there is no dedicated button for this purpose.
In this camera, the photographer needs to select the “movie” option from the Live View menu and then has to use the FEL (Flash Exposure Lock) button to begin or end a video. Any lens compatible with the Canon EOS can be used for video recording. The maximum clip length is 4 GB due to the file system used in the memory cards. Up to the 4GB clip, video with a full resolution of 1920×1080 can be captured at 24 (23.976), 25 or 30 (29.97) frames per second. The clip length gets reduced to 30 minutes (maximum) when shot at a lower resolution.

Highlight tone priority

Another good part of Canon EOS 1D Mark IV is that it includes a highlight tone priority setting. This results in the reduction of clipping of bright highlights.

Self-cleaning sensor

The camera includes a fluorine coating on the low-pass filter in its sensor cleaning system. This results in better dust resistance (using ultrasonic shaking mechanism).