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Thread: Canon 1D Mark II N as second body.

  1. #1
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Lex

    Canon 1D Mark II N as second body.

    Second-camera threads seem to be flying thick and fast these days. Here's another log for the fire.

    Yesterday a busboy at my favorite burger joint struck up a conversation about some of my photos from Istanbul, and his room mate is selling his Canon 1D Mark II N for $600-800. Considering that I've been passed up for two assignments because I only have one body, I am very intrigued by this opportunity.

    My current camera is a Canon 60D, which with some additions and modifications is serving me very well. I use it primarily for action, low-light work, event coverage, HDRs, occasional portraits, and some landscapes. So essentially everything.

    The two cameras have remarkably close specs. According to DxOMark, the 1D Mark II N appears to have slight advantages in SNR and low-light performance (it's handicapped by a lower max ISO), but very slightly less dynamic range across the board. Really, I suspect the differences are close enough to be relatively invisible in actual use. These are the factors and questions which interest me, in rough order of importance. Comments, opinions, and sanity checks are welcome, especially from anyone who's used the 1D Mark II N, a camera with similar features, or best of all, has experience comparing it to a 60D.

    • Continuous shooting speed: The 1D Mark II N drives at 8.5FPS. The 60D drives at 5.3FPS. This is a considerable advantage for shooting action, and to my mind, almost worth the price by itself.
    • Low-light performance: All information I can find indicates that the 1D Mark II N has a slight advantage in this arena, even though its max ISO is lower than the 60D's. That said, having a higher ISO does not mean much, since it gives no indication of the actual noise level. Suspect it's safe to say that the 1D Mark II N is less noisy up to its maximum than the 60D is up to an equivalent level. Comments welcome on that conjecture.
    • Pixel count: I am with those who believe that massive pixel counts are mainly important for large prints. The 60D wins with 18MP. The 1D Mark II N's 8.2MP doesn't really bother me, but should it?
    • Autofocus system: 45 points on the 1D Mark II N. That level of control is impressive compared with the 60D's 9 points, but I'm keenly interested in whether the 1D Mark II N focuses faster.
    • Dual card slots: I only have SD cards at present, but on-camera redundancy is worth keeping CF cards around as well. Pretty geeked to have redundant backups immediately after pressing the shutter, assuming the camera can be programmed to do that. Anyone know?
    • Flash compatibility: Is the 1D Mark II N compatible with 580EX II and 600EX-RT flashes? It'd be nice, but not critical, to be able to use the camera with all my flashes (especially in Canon's wireless IR and radio modes) and Pocket Wizards. Still researching this.
    • Crop factor: The 1D Mark II N has a 1.3x crop factor compared to the 60D's 1.6x. Effective focal length difference is obvious, and the sensor differences should also provide improved low-light performance (supported by DxOMark tests). It puts me in an interesting no-man's land between APS-C and full-frame, but I don't see any particular disadvantage. Little odd, that's all. Comments on oddball crop factor are welcome.


    Thanks in advance for your counsel. Unless there are surprises lurking, I'll have a new toy soon.
    Last edited by RustBeltRaw; 8th July 2013 at 12:59 PM.

  2. #2
    dje's Avatar
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    Re: Canon 1D Mark II N as second body.

    Hi Lex

    I think this is a decision only you can make as it depends how much you want to spend. Personally I would probably not go for the 1D MkII N as I prefer to invest in the latest technology. The sensor should theoretically have better noise performance and dynamic range than the 60D but there isn't much in it. This is probably due to improvements in sensor technology (including the amp and A/D converter) since the 1D was introduced. I always wonder how a 45 point auto focus system can give much of an advantage except for very special circumstances. I don't think the unusual crop factor is a problem per se - but you might want to check whether any of your lenses will suffer any vignetting at the wide end ?

    Dave

  3. #3
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Canon 1D Mark II N as second body.

    Quote Originally Posted by dje
    I think this is a decision only you can make as it depends how much you want to spend. Personally I would probably not go for the 1D MkII N as I prefer to invest in the latest technology.
    I'm still wrestling with whether it'd be best to buy the 1D Mark II N with two batteries at $650, or if I'd be happier with a second 60D, T3i, T5i, or another lens. Here's what I think of each option.

    • New lens: I'm well-covered from 11-135mm (16-216mm at 1.6x), which is a good range for my work. I'd like to pick up a 70-200mm f2.8L II at some point, but lacking it isn't holding me back.
    • 60D: There's something to be said for identical backups, but using two of the same camera robs me of the chance to learn something new.
    • T3i: Good option if I want to record video (rare), and a camera different from the 60D.
    • T5i: STM-compatible with video recording. Best option if I want to get truly serious about video, which I don't.

    And finally...

    • 1D Mark II N: Improvement on 60D in several key areas, most notably high burst rate, weather sealing, and dual cards. None of these features exist on the aforementioned cameras, and they happen to be a very good match for the things I'd like to see improved in the 60D. While I haven't damaged my camera, I've certainly used it in situations beyond what it was designed for. A more robust, faster-shooting body would be very welcome. The 1.3x crop factor should be a good match for derby, where my 100mm f2.0 is a little long on 1.6x at my usual shooting position, and my 50mm f1.4 is a little short.


    Having handled another 1D, I am very keen to own one. I would be lying if I didn't admit that the cool factor of a tank-like, once-flagship camera is part of my decision. That being said, I do not want to waste my money, but I don't think the 1D Mark II N's drawbacks are big enough for that to be true. Please keep the advice coming. I have a test drive scheduled for Wednesday, and if there are any facts I'm missing, I want to know as soon as possible.

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