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Canon EOS-1D C DSLR Digital Camera Review
canon20140819aa.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Michael Gazzola

Meeting the Canon EOS-1D C for the first time can be likened to meeting a champion sportsman for the first time and initially, being a little in awe. From a distance you’ve read about them online, watched preview and product launch videos, studied and listened to the commentary. Finally now, we get a chance to make our own commentary and share our experiences.

Looking at Canon’s line up the EOS-1D C is filed away in their Video Cameras department, yet it has all the functionality of the EOS-1D X, plus the very tidy addition of 4K video. For those unaware, 4K video is virtually 4x Full HD video, 4096 x 2160 resolution. In short, bloody high definition video!

Whilst the body of the camera looks very similar to the 1D X, this model has Canon’s cinema ‘C’ badge, and that's about where the exterior differences end.

Appearance & Functionality


The Canon EOS-1D C comes with two manuals, a thick one marked with EOS-1D X for the photographic component and a much thinner EOS-1D C handbook dedicated to the video functionality. The reason for this, the EOS-1D C is virtually an EOS-1D X, with 4K video.

The EOS-1D X (read our review of the Canon EOS-1D X here) sits at the top of the pecking order of Canon’s photography line up, yet in the video sector the 1D C does not rule the roost as it lacks a few of the finer professional videographer requirements such as STI connections and proper audio handling.

canon20140819ab.jpgIf you’re familiar with the EOS-1D X then you will be able to find your way around the 1D C very easily. The body shape, button layouts and menu are all cut from the same cloth so transitioning to this camera would be almost seamless.

The body is weather sealed so feel free to shoot in the rain, as long as your lenses are capable of withstanding moisture. Like the EOS-1D X this model too, does not require a separate battery grip purchase as it’s already built into the unit and comes standard with a large 11.1v 2450mAh (Li-ion) battery. If you were to purchase an additional battery, you don't have to worry about an additional charger as Canon includes a dual battery charger as standard.

One of the early differences between the EOS-1D X and EOS-1D C identified is the addition of a headphones audio jack on the side. It appears that Canon have switched the flash sync plug for a headphones audio jack, prioritising this feature for video users of the EOS-1D C over a studio stills flash sync capture for EOS-1D X users. For those still wanting to sync with flash units it can be done via an old-school method using the hot shoe, delivering the same result.

The menu layout is virtually identical to the 1D X and 5D Mark III. There are 5 key tabs followed by a 'My Menu' tab that allows you to easily add shortcuts and customised functions that can be ‘favourited’ and added as key functions - which will inevitably become the most used tab once set up.

Like its photographic sibling the EOS-1D C also has Dual CF slots which require high capacity cards, covering both speed and memory. The EOS-1D C will chew up and spit out any low grade cards, so it's best to stay with a high performance card such as those in the SanDisk 'Extreme Pro' series.
 
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Image Quality


The Canon EOS-1D C has the same 36x24mm, 18.1MP CMOS Dual "DIGIC 5+" sensor, capable in RAW mode of capturing images 5184x3456 pixels. So it should come as no surprise that the EOS-1D C from a photographic perspective produces outstanding imagery.

The low level of grain delivered up to 6,400 ISO (as mentioned in the EOS-1D X review) was outstanding. Even when shooting a stop above this you again see the worth of the investment, especially if you're viewing the images after on EIZO monitor. 
 
Couple those results with great Auto White Balancing and you can, as a photographer, spend more time composing your images and less time on the technical aspect of your images.
 
Our review of the EOS-1D X delivered Canon a Platinum medal award which is our highest available grading, and in the rating breakdown gave ‘image quality’ 5 stars. So predictably, as the EOS-1D C contains the same sensor technology we again experienced the same high quality results for stills capture.
 

View street test images via our Facebook page

 

canon20140819af.jpgLCD / Viewfinder


Canon has chosen again to run with the successful 3.2-inch Clear View II TFT rear screen found in both the EOS-1D X and 5D Mark III models. The LCD has an approximate resolution of 1040K dots and delivers a 100% field of view coverage. The screen surface is finished with an anti-reflection coating and away from direct sunlight delivers bright, punchy images.

The Pentaprism optical viewfinder also delivers a 100% field of view. It offers viewing to change a multitude of functions on top of the standard shutter, exposure and white balancing options accessed regularly along with the tweaking of the 61 point focus area.

Video


This camera is all about the ‘C’ logo on the front. It’s about the Cinema experience that this camera promises to capture, and Cinema experience it should deliver.

4K capture is next generation video. Right now, it is being used on a commercial scale as the set up around this camera requires high specced hardware to both view and edit the massive video files it creates.

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Playback of 4K video is not as easy as dragging the captured file onto your standard desktop computer and just double clicking it to open the file. 4K video is a game played in a new arena with just a few players, and with that comes news boundaries. So naturally, where there is new technology there is the requirement of new and powerful hardware. The standard windows media player simply won't cope and is not the only casualty, as the average machine will need to operate with at least 16GB of ram and a very high quality video card. With 4K, comes an investment.

To put it into perspective at 4 times that of Full HD, just a 35 second 4K capture returns a 2.17GB file. So as you can see, your choice of memory card plays a big part in how long you will be filming for in 4K mode at any one time.

Speaking of time, as this camera falls into the video camera class there are no limits to the length of a single session of video capture. Where photographic cameras (professional and compact) have a limit of 29 minutes 59 seconds, the Canon EOS-1D C is classed as a video camera and as a result has the time restraints lifted.

The EOS-1D C offers 4K, Super 35mm, Full HD, HD and SD capture, ranging from a resolution spread of  4096x2160 down to 640x480 pixels. There is also the option with Full HD to capture video at 60fps which is ideal for high speed action sequences or producing slow motion capture.

We tested Canon’s EOS-1D C review unit with a SanDisk card from the 'Extreme Pro' series and recommend at least the 64GB option. If there are a few coins still in the kitty after ticking off the wish list of goodies then purchasing the 128GB or 256GB options should be the next high priority. All three cards have transfer speeds of up to 160MB/s, which will be a necessity if you're planning on capturing a fair bit of 4K video.

My only gripe, amidst all the buttons and functionality of this camera is that Canon have either omitted or overlooked a dedicated record button for video, opting for the shared use of the capture button, and requiring the user via the menu to action and select the video option. And then repeat the process to return to stills mode.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion


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It's the first DSLR to add 4K video. So how do you compare this unit to its competitors to gauge just how good it really is? Well, you can't. For now anyway, it's in a class of its own. And luckily for Canon the EOS-1D C is setting what appears to be a very, very high standard.

So is the camera good value? Well Camera House have the EOS-1D X listed for $6,999 so in theory you're paying an extra $3000 for 4K video, with the EOS-1D C priced ar $9999. But with that, you have access to an extensive range of lenses both in the cinematic range and photographic as this camera sits nicely in a hybrid area enjoying the best of both worlds.

Bottom line, a large of portion of what makes or breaks a camera is image quality. It’s key, without this you’re being short-changed. However, this is where the Canon EOS-1D C does its finest work. It delivers sharp, crisp and punchy photographic imagery by the absolute truck load. Our 5 star rating for image quality on the 1D X is mirrored here for the Canon EOS-1D C and comes as no surprise.

But it’s the video capture that delivers the knock-out punch. The size and quality of the capture is just amazing. The sharp capture in the Canon EOS-1D C 'stills' finds its way to video, and delivers in spades.
 

Recommendations 

 
Camera House Click Through
SanDisk Click Through
EIZO Click Through
   

Ratings

 
Appearance rating 5 stars
Functionality rating 4.5 stars
Image quality
5 stars
Video quality
5 stars
Lens quality
n/a
LCD screen 4.5 stars
Value for money 4 stars
Street Price - Body Only $9,999.95
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 18.1 Megapixels
Sensor Type
CMOS 36 x 24 mm sensor
Image Sizes 5 Sizes / 1 Aspect Ratio
Lens -
Lens Mount
EF
Resolution Settings: Stills JPEG: (L) 5184x3456, (M1) 4608x3072, (M2) 3456x2304, (S1) 2592x1728,
RAW: (RAW) 5184x3456 (M-RAW), (S_RAW)
Resolution Settings: Video 4096 x 2160 (23.976, 25 fps)
1920 x 1080 (59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, 23.976 fps) intra or inter frame
1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps) intra or inter frame
640 x 480 (25, 30 fps) inter frame
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds Shutter Speed: 1/8000 sec – 30 Sec, bulb, sync speed 1/200 sec.
Shutter Release: 59ms shutter-release time lag
Shutter durability: Approx. 150,000 cycles 
ISO Auto (100-51200), 100-51200 (in 1/3-stop or whole stop increments)
ISO can be expanded to L: 50, H1 102400, H2 204800
LCD Monitor 8.11cm (3.2") Clear View II TFT, approx. 1040K dots
Coverage: Approx. 100%
Viewing Angle (Horizontally/Vertically):  Approx. 170°    
Coating: Anti-reflection and Solid Structure    
Brightness Adjustment: Adjustable to one of seven levels
Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism   
Coverage (Vertical/Horizontal): Approx. 100%   
Magnification: Approx. 0.76x¹   
Eyepoint: Approx. 20mm (from eyepiece lens centre)   
Dioptre Correction: '-3 to +1 m-1 (dioptre)   
Focusing Screen: Interchangeable (12 types, optional). Standard Focusing Screen Ec-CV   
Mirror: Quick-return half mirror (Transmission: reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cut-off with EF600mm f/4 or shorter)
Flash No
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Type: Auto white balance with the imaging sensor    
Settings: AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White
Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom, Colour Temperature Setting.
White balance compensation:
1. Blue/Amber +/-9
2. Magenta/ Green +/-9.    
Custom White Balance     Yes, 5 setting can be registered   
WB Bracketing: '+/-3 levels in single level increments
3 bracketed images per shutter release
Selectable Blue/Amber bias or Magenta/ Green bias
Self Timer 2s + remote, 10s + remote
Stills Format/s
JPEG: 10 compression options (Exif 2.3 compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system (2.0),
RAW: RAW, sRAW (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition),
Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Video Format/s MOV Video: 4K - MJPEG, FULL HD/ HD/SD - H.264 Intra frame / inter frame, Uncompressed 8bit 4.2.2 via HDMI
Sound: Linear PCM, recording level can be manually adjusted by user
Video Recording Time/s Unlimited
Storage Type - External 2x CompactFlash Type I/II (incompatible with Microdrive) (UDMA 7 compatible)
Storage Type - Internal
-
Connectivity Hi-Speed USB, Video output (PAL/ NTSC) (integrated with USB terminal), HDMI mini output (HDMI-CEC compatible), Extension system terminal (for WFT-E6/ GP-E1), External microphone / Line input (Stereo mini jack), Headphone socket (Stereo mini jack), RJ-45(gigabyte ethernet)
Power Source AC Adapter Kit ACK-E4, Battery charger LC-E4N, Car Battery charger cable CG-570 (use with LC-E4)
Battery Options Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E4N (supplied), 1xCR2025 for date & settings
Battery Life Approx. 1120 still images, 2h 10min Full HD, 1hr 25min 4K (at 23°C)¹
Approx. 860 still images, 2h Full HD, 1hr 15min 4K (at 0°C)
Dimensions 158mm (W) x 163.6mm (H) x 82.7mm
Weight 1340g
 

 
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