Points in Focus Photography

Canon EOS 1D Next, Rumors and a Rant

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I hate reading the rumors and rumor sites, they’re like a train wreck, horrible but so very hard to to look away from.

The rumor mill seems pretty consistent on the perspective that the next EOS 1D will be an APS-H camera, and why not Canon’s own Chuck Westfall mentioned that Canon is committed to the APS-H format sometime ago in a Tech Tips. Further, apparently sports and journalistic photographers have put their backing behind the continued existence of this third class format as well.

I think there are compelling reasons to move on at this point. APS-H may have made sense when it saved some money compared to the larger full frame sensor, and sensors were clearly exotic and expensive to make. That would be what 5 years ago? The EOS 5D, EOS 5D Mark 2, Nikon D700 and Sony Alpha 900 have shown that a full frame sensor can be packaged in a body that costs less than the 1D. Clearly if a full frame sensor can be made inexpensively enough to put in a mid-tier camera at acceptable profit levels, the same should be true with a top-tier camera. Sensor cost certainly shouldn’t be an issue, nor do I think it ever was, in the ~$4000 price tag on an EOS 1D body.

What’s worse, APS-H buys us nothing over a full frame sensor and costs us wide-angle. No where in the idea of a sports or low light camera does it say it needs to be crop too. But wait, crop gives us free telephoto, you say. Oh no, not when the pixel density doesn’t increase as well. The only way to make your sensor size act as a free teleconverter, relative to a crop from the larger camera, is to make the pixels in the smaller sensor smaller.

Camera Native Resolution
(in MP)
Native Crop Factor Resolution if Full Frame Resolution cropped to 1.3x
(in MP)
Resolution if Cropped to 1.6x
(in MP)
TC Factor for a 10.1MP image
1D 10.1 1.3 17 10.1 6.7 1.3
1Ds/5D-II 21.1 1 21.1 12.4 8.2 ~1.44
40D 10.1 1.6 25.9 n/a 10.1 1.6
Native crop factor is relative to a full frame image equivelent to a 135 format film frame.
The TC factor is the field of view equivalent crop factor compared to a full frame image when cropping to a fixed resolution.

So long as the APS-H sensor’s pixel density continues to remain behind that of it’s full frame cousins, as it should to keep those high ISO capabilities where they should be, it never will get as much “reach” as they do. In fact, if it wasn’t for the 50% drop in frame rate (which is almost certainly due to the 2x increase in data that needs to be processed) you’re be better off shooting with a EOS 1Ds Mark 3 and cropping to if reach alone was your objective.

For all that non-gain in reach, we really do lose wide angle. What makes it even worse, is that by sharing the full frame mirror box of the 1Ds, there is no specialized ultra-wide but crop glass. Even if Canon made a 12mm ultra-wide, let alone a 12-20something mm ultra-wide zoom, it will always be wider on the 1Ds or 5D than on the 1D. Of course this doesn’t mean that the 1D is useless for anything but sports but it is limited in a way that the Nikon D700 and D3 aren’t.

I just don’t see any advantage to keeping the APS-H format at this point. For a long time I felt that Canon’s APS-C bodies were the second class citizens in the Canon lineup. When compared to Nikon’s DX bodies, they certainly are. However the APS-H 1D is almost certainly the 3rd class citizen. It’s a cropped sensor with less “reach” than the current full frame ones and no access to crop specific glass to give it really wide angle coverage that the APS-C bodies have.

Comments

e

When you say “you’re be better off shooting with a EOS 1D Mark 3 and cropping…” I think you actually meant “1Ds Mark3” instead ;-)

V. J. Franke  | admin

re: e,

Yes, you’re right, that was a careless typo. Thanks for pointing it out. It’s been fixed.

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