Canon EOS-1V Review

Introduction to the Canon EOS-1V

When it was released in the year 2000, it was the greatest film camera ever made. In 2019... It is the greatest film camera ever made. 

OK, perhaps claims of it being the best is  somewhat debatable. Some may argue that Nikon’s f5 of 1996 was up there with the Canon 1V. But one thing is for sure, the Canon 1v represents the pinnacle of professional sports film cameras. It was the end of an era; The end of the line for flagship film cameras. It would be just two years later that Canon would release the digital 1D. We face something similar today in which the upcoming (yet to be announced) Canon 1DX iii, will likely bookend the legacy of the EF mount DSLR. I suspect we will see an RF mount version based on it within the next two years of its release. 

Canon 1V with my 85mm 1.8.

Canon 1V with my 85mm 1.8.

How I got my 1V

I got my Canon 1v a few years ago when I realized that the poor college kid who could never afford decent gear could now easily buy Canon’s best for a mere $499. At the time of writing this article, they seem to be going for closer to $700 on average. Mine was in brand new condition and I was able to order it on Amazon. 

But fulfilling my former, poorer self’s dreams was not the only reason to pick up a 1V. There are more and better reasons for having this camera other than having the best in class.


If you’re at all familiar with current pro DSLRs by Canon, you will feel right at home with the 1V. It’s form factor and button layout are all very Canon-like. I am able to use my 1V exactly as I would my 5diii. Including with back button focus, one of the most important things to me. The only thing you will find missing is  a controller to set your auto focus point. Rather, setting your focus point is achieved by pressing the [•::::•] button and use a combination of your shutter dial and rear controller to move your focus. To this day, you can still set your focus point this way on most Canon cameras- even those with directional controllers. 

Truthfully, as a working professional, this would be a non starter for me with any new piece of gear. But although I would find a focus point controller welcome, I have found that not having one is not too much of a hindrance and I quickly got used to setting my focus point this way. In fact I have felt right at home shooting professional work this way and in practice it has hardly affected my hit rate of keepers. 

Canon 1V with 70-200mm f2.8 and the 24-70mm f2.8

Canon 1V with 70-200mm f2.8 and the 24-70mm f2.8

It’s The Lenses, Stupid

In addition to being instantly familiar with the layout and feel of the 1v, it is entirely compatible with all of my pro glass. Every EF lens I own works flawlessly with the 1V, including those with image stabilization. I have even used vintage m-42 glass on it using an adapter I bought for my 5diii.

Using this camera with all of my pro lenses is like living the dream of my former self. Sure, I have been shooting with pro glass professionally for 10 years, but that was always on digital bodies mostly doing work for other people. Shooting on the 1V is for me. 

EX Flash Compatibility

The 1V is completely compatible with all EX and EZ flash units. I even use Canon’s latest flagship flash, the 600 EX II-RT. Using TTL, the flash works exactly as it should and you can expect consistent results as you would with digital. 

Build Quality, Durability, and Whether Sealing

The EOS-1V is almost entirely made of magnesium alloy. It is robust and feels great in the hand. This is a camera that can take a beating in just about any condition. But more importantly, as a Canon shooter, using it is a pure joy. 

I personally really enjoy shooting with a variety of film cameras. I especially enjoy the ones with the most quirks (Anscomark m, Rollei 35s, Voigtlander Vito ii, etc.), often making them the most difficult to use. But when I want a camera that just does the job, effortlessly and in a way I am used to when working, I choose the 1V. 


Curved, with rounded edges, the Canon 1V is a camera that embraces design ethos of the 90s. It is a minimal camera. Missing are certain dedicated dials like you would find in the Minolta Alpha 9 or Nikon F5. The top left plate has just 3 buttons to control 7 different functions. Changing certain things like drive mode require you to press two buttons in unison and then rotating your shutter dial.

top left plate of the canon 1v.

top left plate of the canon 1v.

Although I am someone that really enjoys the tactile experience of using a camera, the truth is that Canon’s choice in how you operate the camera in no way slow you down once you are used to it. In fact, by clustering everything together so that they are all operated in a similar way, I think there is an argument that the 1V is more efficient than having to reposition your hand to change various dials.

I’ll be honest, as a long time Canon shooter, I have always visually admired the hard lines of Nikon cameras. But design-wise, Canon cameras have always just made sense to me.


Feature wise, the 1V is designed for working professionals. It’s 45 Autofocus are fast even today. Everything a working professional needs is at their fingertips and nothing more. Because I want to focus on sharing what it is like to use the camera, I am going to avoid listing off specs here. However, will link to a resource for that and to a full spec sheet at the end of this article. 

Interesting Features Worth Noting

The Canon is capable of roll number imprinting. Is this feature useful to you? Maybe not. I have yet to use it, but I may play around with it a bit. I think this was most useful in determining who shot what when multiple rolls are developed by a team of photographers. 

The 1V also tracks exposure data. For sure this could come in handy, but accessing it requires dated software on  a dated computer. It’s not worth the trouble to me.

With the 1V you can register a focus point so that you can instantly return to it. This feature is still present in current Canon cameras. I do not use it too often, but I am sure to some it may be helpful. By default, this is set to the middle autofocus point.

My favorite interesting feature of the 1V is the ability to set it to leave your film leader out when you rewind. As someone that develops all their films at home, I love not having to break open a roll to load it onto a reel. Click here to see my savage method of opening film cassettes. 

Rear view of the Canon 1V.

Rear view of the Canon 1V.

Purchasing the 1V

If it’s not already clear to you, any film shooter with existing L grade glass that wants top notch shooting experience and quality of images should own a 1V. When searching for a 1V keep in mind that there are two versions: the base 1V and the 1V HS. The HS model is identical but includes a battery grip that brings its shooting speed up to 10 FPS. However there are 3 different grips that are compatible with the camera in total. I personally use one I rescued from a Canon 1n. It had lots of battery corrosion, but with some white vinegar and q tips I was able to clear it up. 

I bought my 1V on Amazon just a few years ago for $499 with prime shipping and it was worth every penny. It was in like new condition and included the box with all its accessories. At the time of writing this article, prices seem to be averaging around $700 and I doubt they are in the condition mine was in. 

The 1V was a camera built for and used by working professionals. It is not a Leica or collectors item. Because of this, you can expect a fair amount of them to be beat up by now. However, it stayed in production until somewhat recently so you should be able to find some in solid condition.


For any film shooter with existing EF glass, the 1V is a must own piece of equipment. 

If you’re shooting a mix of film and digital, throw it in your bag and effortlessly swap between the two without the need for separate lenses. 

If you want a professional grade film camera that reliably gets the job done with the modern features you’ve come to love and rely on, then the Canon 1V will feel right at home, all while delivering  top notch image quality from your pro lenses.

In the digital age, the best film camera of 2000 will stay the best for the foreseeable future. Do yourself a favor and get one now. 

Event Photography Tips and Tricks (advanced)


Pre-select your focal point.

Rather than waiting for the viewfinder to reach your eye, consider where the point of focus will be and use your controller to set it. With practice this becomes intuitive.


Shoot with both eyes.

While one eye frames the shot, use your other eye to monitor the action. Improves your timing and you’re able to monitor the space while still framing a potential image. This allows you to maximize your coverage when shooting an event.


Read the room.

Follow the energy. This is not hocus pocus. Do not overthink it. Follow where you are naturally drawn to. Something is likely about to happen.


predict a smile.

Have you learned to follow the energy? Good. Now it's time to predict a smile. The trick is to watch the eyes and anticipate the breaks in your subject's sentences.

5. Time your shot ahead of the peak of action. Your motor skills have a delay. Your camera has a delay, albeit short, from the point in which you press the shutter and it actually makes an image.

How to Start a Photography Project

Here’s a quick video on how to get going on starting a photography project. As an event photographer, I find that working on personal projects have given me balance in my work life.

So how do you start a photography project?

The most difficult part of starting a photography project is the first step. But we often over-intellectualize things. We have a desire to fully understand what it is we are trying to explore with our work prior to even beginning. This, unfortunately, has the effect of causing anxiety because we quite literally do not have access at a conscious level to what we want to express.

My belief is that although art can be derived from the intellect, what spurs a creative process is a visceral response to something. We often have much more awareness in our subconscious than we do in our intellect. The process of artistic expression is an exploration of that awareness; it is this process that leads to a conscious understanding.


So put more simply:

Imagine you were given the task of sculpting something complex out of clay. Now imagine if you were asked to do it entirely in your mind. Every detail decided upon, before you even begin. Good luck.

This would be no small task. Not only would it require more bandwidth than you have available, but there comes a clarity when you dive into something hands on and work intuitively. Starting a photography project would be no different.

I hope this helps you on your creative journey as a photographer!

Freelance Photography and Mental Health with Dr. Ali Mattu

In this video I talk with Dr Ali from The Psych Show about Freelance photography and mental health. I truly hope you find this video helpful, whether you're a photographer, creative, someone interested in becoming a freelance photographer, or just curious about mental health. We cover so much in this video including:

-The difficulties of pursuing freelance work.

-What makes you a successful freelance photographer.

-The unique difficulties on your mental health freelancers face.

-How to deal with inconsistency in your lifestyle and your work

-Dealing with the double edged sword of having freedom to do what you want when you want.

-The importance of having a schedule outside of work.

-How to manage a freestyle lifestyle when personal life and professional life blend.

-How to delineate time in the face of hustle culture.

-Finding meaning in your work as a freelance photographer.

-Taking on personal photographic work to find fulfillment when professional work is not enough.

-Staying present on the job.

-How to engage in a flow state.

-Working on your skills as a photographer so that you are always growing.

-The importance of staying connected with your peers when isolated.

-How to avoid burn out as a freelance photographer.

Be sure to check out Dr Ali's channel, The Psych Show. I can not recommend it enough.

Interested in seeing some of my work I do to stay on top of my mental game? Follow the link below!

people who train project link

The People Who Train Project

Portraits of everyday Jiu Jitsu practitioners.

5 Beginner Photography Mistakes

Beginner Mistakes Photographers Make (5 things)

1. The first mistake people often make is looking at what other photographers are doing.

First, I want to say that This can actually do some good: Looking at the work of others can be a good way to get inspiration and to raise your standard of what is possible.

So, what’s the problem?

When everyone looks at what other photographers are doing, their work all starts to look the same. This is obviously something you should avoid. Rather, you should find a way to Be authentic: Figure out what you want to say and do it your own way. Find your inspiration where no one else is looking. Do not limit yourself to what your contemporaries are doing.

My recommendation is to Look at the classic masters of photography for inspiration or even completely different genres of art. You might think that the best way to this is by searching online, but the best way to find what you’re looking for is by checking out old books. I recommend hitting your library and used bookstores up. I personally have a secret spot I buy photography books all the time from for as little as 6 dollars

2. The second beginner photography mistake is thinking that gear matters.

If you think better gear will make you a better photographer you’re wrong. If you're thinking ,“I could do this or that that someone else is doing if I just had that lens or whatever, you're making excuses for not shooting. IF ANYTHING limitations make you a better photographer. It forces you to find creative solutions and to work harder.

Back in the day when I had the original Canon 5d, I did not upgrade to the 5dii. I worked with the limitations of the 5d classic and it arguably made me a better photographer. It sucked in low light, so i had to learn clever ways to use my strobes. Its autofocus and burst rate was slow so my timing had to be spot on. By the time the 5diii came out its lowlight performance and focus system was a game changer but to this day I wonder if my timing was better shooting with a 5d original.

The last three examples are all closely related

3. The third mistake photographers make is not respecting the craft.

I’m not just talking about neglecting the technical stuff like shutter speed and aperture. I’m talking about the concepts behind it all so that you’re not memorizing or mimicking set techniques. You should drive toward having a deep understanding of the art form- its past and its historical context.

4. The Fourth mistake people make is not having a photography teacher.

Most people need a teacher. In my experience there are very few who can read a book or watch

youtube and repeat what they’ve learned. I’m not saying you need to go to school or mentor under a photographer, but if you’re not truly able to teach yourself you need a teacher. I did photography all throughout high school and college and to be honest I didn't learn much but at least I had a foundation. Afterward I mostly taught myself, but when I decided to start shooting professionally i didn't have the arrogance to think I knew everything there was to know. Regrettably I started off by shooting weddings as a second shooter and that experience was incredibly valuable. It doesnt matter where you get your education from but if you can't be self taught you need a teacher.

5. The Fifth mistake photographers make is lacking life experience.

Without life experience, it can be difficult to make meaningful art.


Go live your life.


Find your voice

Go on a journey! And most importantly...


See how I have applied these lessons by clicking below.

My First Roll with the Anscomark M

Anscomark M a Quirky But Fantastic Rangefinder

I recently shot my first roll with the Anscomark M, a little known, but incredible vintage camera. I hope you enjoy it! I will complete a full review of the camera down the road.

Until then, heres a little bit of information about the Anscomark M:

The Anscomark M is a 35mm rangefinder style film camera released by Ansco around. 1960. Although an Ansco branded camera, it was manufactured by Ricoh and sold as the Ricoh 999 in Japan. Fun note, Ricoh is still a big manufacturer of cameras although not well known. Today, Pentax cameras are in fact Ricoh cameras with Pentax branding. The Anscomark M has An internal leaf shutter. Three lenses were made: a 35mm, 50mm lens, and 100mm lenses. The camera included frame lines for each! The camera's nameplate flips up to reveal a selenium meter coupled to the lens's aperture. Exposure is achieved using a match needle. The Anscomark m is non mainstream in its design in that the body has a bottom-mounted film advance lever, and a peculiar shaped triangular shutter release located in the front of the camera.

Birthday Party Photographer at Kidville Brentwood

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Birthday Party Photography at Kidville

Here are just a few images from a recent birthday party I photographed at Kidville in Brentwood.

As always, my core belief when it comes to photographing events of any type is that capturing emotion filled candids should always be a photographers focus. Being able to provide shots like these is what I value above anything else.

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kids birthday party photographer
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birthday party photographer for kidville
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birthday party photographer in los angeles
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If you are looking for a birthday party photographer in Los Angeles, please get in touch. As always, my focus is on creating outstanding images that truly capture something rather than stale, boring images about nothing :)

Watch This if You Want to Take Great Photographs

Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs

I can not over recommend Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carrol. I have not found another book on photography with more concise and easy to understand explanations. I think this is a great book for beginners but also a terrific reference book for advanced photographers and photography instructors. Topics discussed include the following: Composition: leading lines landscape or portrait framing foreground interest getting close symmetry the rule of thirds working the frame visual weight breaking the rules Exposure: modes program mode shutter speed and shutter speed priority slow shutter speeds slow shutter speeds at night fast shutter speeds aperture and aperture priority shallow depth of field deep depth of field ISO manual photography exposure compensation AND MUCH MUCH MORE!

Follow the links below to see my work. Instagram | @retrograding Facebook | Instagram | @retrograding Facebook |


Bulk Film Loader

Bulk Film Loader

Thank you so much for this, David. I will have a video coming soon on how to use this bulk film loader as well as how to use a camera that takes a 126 cartridge. I believe that I should be able to load it with film from the bulk loader. I've already loaded it up with Adox APX 25, a super slow film.

Heres some info on the Legacy Pro Lloyd 35mm Bulk Loader:

"Legacy Pro 63000 Overview Designed to be economical when shooting 35mm roll film, the Lloyd 35mm Daylight Bulk Film Loader from Legacy Pro allows you to load your own 35mm film cassettes for use. This classic daylight loading machine accepts one 100' roll of 35mm film, which can then be manually spooled out into individual cassettes for use. A helpful guide is also printed on the front of the machine to indicate the number of cranks needed to produce 12-, 18-, 24-, and 36-exposure rolls."

I have been a professional photographer for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time. Follow the links below to see my work.

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How to Photograph Celebrities

In this video I talk about my experience photographing celebrities in Los Angles and give my tips on how to do it. I also talk about photographing celebrities on film and how I bring a film camera to every job. I hope you guys find this helpful and/or entertaining! I have been a professional event photographer in Los Angeles for over 10 years . I also teach photography at Barnsdall Art Center. Follow the links below to see my work.

Instagram | @retrograding Facebook | Instagram | @retrograding Facebook |

Why I Shoot Film

Why I Shoot Film

There are a lot of reasons to shoot film, many of which I am sure you've heard. But this video is about why I shoot film. It all comes down to this: I shoot film as a reaction to the over perfected and curated images everywhere we turn. So what is it about film that counters that?

1. the implicit understanding that an iconic moment or any decisive moment came down to the photographer's timing. When you know the photographer used a camera with a 30 frame per second burst, images can feel less significant.

2. Imperfection. Back in college I wanted my film photographs to be perfect. But it made sense back then: film was your only option for the most part of making an image. But now that that has changed, I like my film work to have some imperfection at times.

I have been a professional event photographer in Los Angeles for 10 years. I also teach photography at Barnsdall Art Center. Follow the links below to see my work.

Instagram | @retrograding Facebook | Instagram | @retrograding Facebook |


Why People Like Bad Photography

Why People Like Bad Photography

I have given it a lot of thought: Why do people like bad photography? More specifically why do people like photography that offers little more than aesthetic value. When starting out, photographers tend to be enamored by what they see as good photography, mostly because they do not understand how it is done. But once they figure it, in order to grow as an artist, they should begin asking themselves their intent. Why are they making photographs the way they are making them? How can they make meaningful images and grow as an artist? I have been a professional event photographer in Los Angeles for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time.

Follow the links below to see my work. Instagram | @retrograding Facebook | Instagram | @retrograding Facebook |

My New Favorite Black and White Film


AGFA APX 25 is my new favorite film! Will I use it often? Probably not. Since it's been discontinued for some time now, I am going to cherish what I have left. Although the results when developed in Diafine were unremarkable, this film truly shines in Rodinal. Personally, this is the finest grained film with the best tonal range of anything I have shot so far. Let me know your thoughts! I have been a professional event photographer in Los Angeles for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time.

Follow the links below to see my work.

Instagram | @retrograding

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Anscomark M Film Camera

Anscomark M Film Camera

The Anscomark M is the sturdiest camera I have ever held. "Built like a tank," is one of the most overused expressions when it comes to cameras, but it really does apply here; We are talking WWI era tank to be clear ;) This camera is feature-full from built in selenium light meter, threaded cable release hidden below the shutter button, to it's interchangeable lenses. Unfortunately it can be very hard to find lenses for this camera if you can even find the camera at all. I am looking forward to shooting with this camera and I'm very excited to share my results with you all!

I have been a professional event photographer for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time. Follow the links below to see my work. Instagram | @retrograding Facebook | Instagram | @retrograding Facebook |

Subject Matter, Composition, Lighting: What Matters Most?

Composition, Subject Matter, Lighting: What Matters Most?

There are three main pillars to an image: subject matter, composition, and lighting. All are important, but without a doubt subject matter matters most. Without interesting subject matter an image can be soulless. The more elements you have, the stronger an image, but sometimes subject matter can carry an image alone.

I have been a professional event photographer and photography instructor in Los Angeles for over 10 years. Follow the links below to see my work. Instagram | @retrograding Facebook | Instagram | @retrograding Facebook |

Shooting Detail Shots with a 400mm Lens

I have been a professional event photographer and photography instructor in Los Angeles for 10 years. Follow the links below to see my work and be sure to subscribe to my channel on Youtube for more videos


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How to Use an External Camera Flash // Part 2

Part Two of How to Use an External Camera Flash

In this video I focus on how to properly use modifiers and bounce your flash for more pleasing results.

I have been a professional photography work for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time. Follow the links below to see my work and be sure to subscribe to my channel on Youtube for more videos


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How to Use an External Camera Flash // Part 1: Settings

How to Use an External Camera Flash.

When photographing a wedding, party, or any type of event, You’re not always going to be able to get an exposure with available light. But you’ve probably noticed that on camera flash Well- kind of sucks. Well, It's probably time you upgrade to an external flash


Personally when I'm using flash my goal is to make it look as little like flash as possible - and in the future, I’m going to give you some tips and tips on how to do so. But before diving into that, We need to talk about your basic settings and how your flash works. Like your camera, your flash has a manual mode. But without an effective means of metering - it can be impractical when on the move at a wedding, event, or anything requiring you to be on the move TTL which stands for through the lens, however, is essentially your flash's automatic mode. The way it works is when you begin to make an image your flash actively meters the light returning to your camera and cuts off once its output enough light to make a proper exposure. But also, like your cameras priority modes, you can tell your flash to either under or over expose an image by varying stops. Remember, your flash doesn't know what it is photographing so it will always expose for middle gray. In my experience when photographing a bunch of guys wearing black suits I set my flash compensation to -1 When I shot weddings, when photographing a bride with flash, I over exposed by about a stop.

That's pretty much all you need to know about your flashs' settings to get started.... But what do you need to know about your camera settings? Well because your flash is essentially shooting in auto - In order to have full creative control over how your images turn out its best to shoot in manual as your flash will adjust to your cameras settings for an exposure. However, It's important to note that flash exposure is solely determined by its output relative to your aperture and ISO alone. NOT shutter speed.

So in short: Set your aperture as you would normally dependent on your needs and taste and your flash will adjust. Shutter speed, on the other hand, while not having an effect on your flash exposure does have an impact on your ambient light exposure. But details on that will have to wait for another video.

I have been a professional photography work for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time. Follow the links below to see my work and be sure to subscribe to my channel on Youtube for more videos


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Photographing Jamie Lee Curtis

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work as an event photographer?

In this episode I photograph a Fund Her event hosted by my friend Adrienne and Jamie Lee Curtis. Fund her supports women candidates for office. Link to their site below!

Check out Fund Her:

One thing I love to do is bring along a film camera to every job I shoot. I just get so much job out of shooting film and it really keeps things interesting. I’ve been doing this for a long time so I welcome the change. It keeps me sharp and encourages creativity.

But what you see in this episode is all POV footage of me shooting digital.

What is the job of a roaming event photographer?

As you will see in this video, the main job of an event photographer is to document various interactions. However, if you follow my work, you know that I think every image needs to be about something. That can be an interaction, a reaction, an emotional moment…whatever. So long as it has value. A photographer should never raise their camera just to take a picture. They should be raising their camera because they see something they want to document.

I have been a professional photography work for 10 years while teaching photography at the same time. Follow the links below to see my work.

More videos on YOUTUBE

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