Canon’s EOS-1D Mark IV Gets Rave Reviews at Super Bowl XLIV

Several professional photographers at Super Bowl XLIV captured the action using Canon’s latest professional digital SLR camera, the EOS-1D Mark IV. With initial camera shipments beginning less than six weeks before the game, Super Bowl XLIV was the first major sports event where professional photographers had an opportunity to utilize the EOS-1D Mark IV camera. After the game, Canon U.S.A. interviewed four of these professional photographers regarding their use of the camera and reviews were extremely positive.

“Shooting at Super Bowl XLIV with the EOS-1D Mark IV was a night-and-day improvement compared to previous EOS models. It blew them all away,” says Daniel Powers, staff photographer for Gannett. “The 1D Mark IV exceeded my expectations quite a bit,”

The EOS-1D Mark IV is designed to appeal to professionals across all photographic disciplines, with a new 45-point autofocus system, a 16-megapixel Canon CMOS sensor, Dual DIGIC 4 Imaging Processors, and 14-bit A/D data conversion, all at up to 10 frames-per-second (fps), with the widest ISO range Canon has produced to date.

“Overall, in my opinion, the EOS-1D Mark IV is the best camera Canon has put out so far” says Scott Audette, a contract photographer who covered the game for Reuters. “I would have no hesitation recommending it.”

The camera’s ability to quickly track and maintain sharp focus on subjects provided a valuable advantage for Super Bowl photographers. The EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR camera’s new autofocus system features 45 selectable AF points including 39 high-precision cross-type focusing points along with a newly redesigned AI Servo II AF predictive focusing algorithm capable of tracking fast moving athletes or other moving subjects accurately at speeds up to 10 frames per second.

“Ever since I’ve been shooting with it, I find that I’m able to get entire sequences of sharp images instead of just individual frames. That’s a huge improvement,” remarks Tom Hauck, of Tom Hauck Photography, who photographed the Super Bowl for ESPN the Magazine. “The autofocus and tracking are razor sharp. After the NFL Wildcard Playoff game I was submitting 10 to 12 shot sequences all in crisp focus.”

Each photographer that Canon interviewed had used the camera at various sporting events over the past several weeks and their reported results were exemplary.

“I’ve used the camera in daylight and evening shoots, from professional sporting events to collegiate auditoriums and I got great results regardless of the lighting conditions,” says Powers. “The AF tracking was spectacular [at the Super Bowl]. It reacted very quickly and never skipped a beat, even when subjects were close to the camera and moving fast. One thing that impressed me was the fact that the AF tracking performed just as well at the Super Bowl, which was a night game, as it had a couple of weeks earlier at a day game that I had shot in Green Bay”

Ronald Martinez, staff photographer, Getty Images, had similar sentiments: “The AF tracking is excellent in all the lighting conditions I’ve experienced, ranging from football and basketball to hockey and press conferences. The 1D Mark IV camera’s AF system grabs the subject very quickly and stays with it. It’s been very dependable.”

Each photographer commented on the EOS-1D Mark IV’s new AI Servo II predictive AF performance. Hauck stated, “I noticed that the 1D Mark IV holds focus much better than other cameras I’ve used when another subject temporarily blocks the main subject. Because of this improvement, my sequences were consistently sharp.” Martinez commented: “I knew I had the shots I needed as soon as I took them. I didn’t even have to review them on the LCD. I just handed the memory cards to my runner and kept on shooting.”

AF tracking was not the only improvement Hauck noticed: “I have been taking advantage of Canon’s new orientation-linked focus point selection feature. I’ve got the 1D Mark IV set for center focusing in horizontal orientation, and two points above center for vertical orientation. The camera switches automatically as I turn it, which really makes for a convenient feature when you’re shooting fast action.”

Hauck summed up his overall impression of the camera while photographing a pinnacle play in the game’s ultimate outcome: “I was in the end zone using a 500mm lens on the Mark IV for the game defining interception and I aimed at the cornerback and started firing as he jumped the route. Once the camera locked on, he remained in focus as he ran the full 70 yards to the end zone. Even as other players came horizontally into frame in an attempt to tackle him, the camera never lost focus. When he cut back, breaking free and getting closer, I rotated the camera from horizontal to vertical without taking my hand off the shutter and even the shots taken while turning the camera remained tack-sharp. I don’t believe I have ever fired a consistent 68 shot burst of a single play like that before and produced so many perfectly focused shots.”

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