The Pinnacle of the EOS 1D series.
Since the 1Dx forced the 1D and 1Ds series together, the 1D Mark IV remains (for now?) the Pinnacle of the 1D action oriented 1.3x APS-H sensor body.
I have owned every body in the series in the order they launched with the only exception of the "minor upgrade" 1D Mk2N. ( the "N" was not a new camera, but a 1D2 with a few added features and improvements. Performance remained identical. )
Without question, the series improved as you would expect, and the 1D4 is the best of the best.
I expect to use for a very long time.
The AF system is as expected in any 1D body, top of the line for it's era. The last iteration of the amazing 45 point AF system first seen the EOS 3, it was both improved over the earlier versions, refined vs. the 1D3's problem prone launch, while at the same time familiar to use and adjust for those of us who had been using it's predecessors.
While the 1D3 was the first DSLR to incorporate the "Live view" feature that eventually made video possible, it was the 1D4 that was the first 1D with video capability. Here it is not a strong suit, no the more affordable contemporary 5D2 may have been a better choice for Video, but still to have the option in the 1D4 remains a plus.
• 27.9 x 18.6 mm CMOS sensor
• 1.3x crop factor
• 16.1 million effective pixels
• 3:2 aspect ratio
With a full res image size in RAW and jpeg of 4896x3264 it is still a very good resolution today, but falls behind the current crop 22mp and 36p modern DSLRs.
It maintains the 1D3's max timing of 10fps, but increases buffer capacity to 121 frames for Large/Fine JPEG, and 28 frames for RAW.
Movie mode offers u to full HD 1920 x 1080 in H.264
The last 1D AF system sports;
• 45-point TTL
• 39 cross-type points, require F2.8 or faster lens *
• TTL-AREA-SIR with a CMOS sensor
• AF working range: -1.0 to 18 EV
Metering is handled by 63 zone metering linked to all AF points.
Native ISO modes from ISO 100 - 12800 expandable in software up to ISO 102400
Focal-plane shutter adjustable from 30 seconds - 1/8000 sec
• 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV increments
• Flash X-Sync: 1/300 sec
All of this wrapped into Canon's (and arguably the entire industries) most rugged and durable body.
In it's day, the 1D4 was likely the top performer in ISO noise handling / image quality as well. Where the 1D3 with it's first ever 14 bit AD color processor was a big step up over it's older brother, the 1D4 takes it even further. Today the image quality in dark scenes and high ISO settings is in the same ballpark as Canon's 5D3/6D (though not quite as good) and is only given the smackdown by the much larger pixels equipping 1DX. (6.9µm vs 5.7µm)
With it's combination of speed, durability, superb AF and still very capable image quality and noise handling, the 1D4 remains at the time of writing this, one of the premier action oriented professional camera available, even if used is now the only buying option. It is the last of it's kind, and will be the standard bearer for some years to come.
Used prices at the time of writing in early 2015 are now dipping down below $2K largely due to the 7D2, which is pretty amazing considering mere months ago it was still averaging up around $3K used.
The 7D2 is stealing a lot of the old 1.3x 1D format thunder. Where the 7D was only an "affordable alternative" to even older used 1D bodies when it came out, the 7D2 is another story all together. It is a direct competitor to the original 1.3x 1D line, not an affordable alternative. Some are even comparing it to the much more costly 1Dx.
Recently i have added a 7D2 to my line up and I plan to attempt a complete side by side comparison in the near future. that the two are now priced nearly equally is impressive indeed.
As of April 2015 I am still leaning towards the more familiar 1D for many reasons, however I am also becoming more and more amazed at the abilities that have been packed into this little 7D2.
7D2 has actually pretty much replaced the 1D4 for me.
It's advances in features, controls, EF-S compatibility and compact size with equal or better performance vs. the 1D4 mean it is the one I grab when action is what I am shooting.