One smart idea is the Save/Read Camera Settings feature. Once you have your camera set up exactly the way you want it, you can save all of your settings by using a selection in the first Setup menu. The Mark II N will store your settings in a small CSD file on the root level of your card, which you can then load onto another camera or save for future use. It's a huge timesaver.
Canon has managed to improve all aspects of continuous-shooting performance for the EOS-1D Mark II N. It retains its fastest rated full-resolution drive speed of 8.5fps in optimal conditions, but Canon claims the buffer will now hold 48 JPEG images (up from 40), 22 raw files (up from 20), or 19 raw+JPEG before reaching capacity. In our tests, we managed to capture 257 small JPEGs at 8fps and 100 raw shots at 3fps before buffer crawl set in.
Like the Mark II, the buffer will continue to write images to the card even if you accidentally open the card door. The top status LCD will blink and tell you how many frames it has left to flush out of the buffer, but it will continue to write without a problem.
Canon has also improved the time it takes to clear the buffer. In previous tests, the Mark II took almost a minute to clear the entire buffer after shooting a burst of 20 raw+JPEG files. With the Mark II N and a SanDisk Extreme IV CF card, it took only about 22 seconds to write 21 raw+JPEG images. The Mark II N also zips through reviewing images on the LCD -- close to instantaneous, in fact -- a big improvement over the Mark II.
Since the Mark II N has the same excellent 21-zone evaluative metering and 45-point autofocus systems as the Mark II, its automatic shooting modes still do an amazing job at getting the exposure just right.
The Mark II N uses the same rechargeable nickel-metal-hydride battery as its predecessors. That means you won't have to buy a bunch of new batteries, but it also means Canon didn't implement a newer, longer-lasting lithium-ion or lithium-polymer battery -- such as the never-ending Nikon D2H cell.
The photos we've taken with the Canon EOS-1D Mark II N files are smooth and show almost no noise at ISO 100 and ISO 200 -- even ISO 400 and ISO 800 look very good. There is no sign of the banding that plagued images from the EOS-1D. As with most dSLRs, however, you must be careful not to underexpose your images. Noise can be seen very clearly in images that are too far underexposed. Just to be safe, we prefer to overexpose our images about half a stop, then bring the exposure down when converting the raw file with image-processing software.
Mark II images also have very little sharpening applied right out of the box. Some people may be put off by the resulting softness of the images, but we like this approach, because it allows you more control in applying your own sharpening afterwards. If you prefer to apply sharpening in-camera, we recommend using a sharpness setting of 3 or 4.
Because of its high resolution and superb image quality, the Mark II N will demand a lot from your lenses. For example, our 1.4x teleconverter, which worked perfectly on the EOS-1D, doesn't give us sharp results on the Mark II. The camera's high resolution shows even the slightest imperfections, so you'll have to use the highest-quality lenses to get the best results.
Edited by Lori Grunin and Aimee Baldridge
Additional editing by Kate Macefield