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Announced in October 2011, the Canon EOS 1D X is the high end full frame Digital SLR from Canon with a professional weather sealed body, it was expected to be available to purchase in April 2012, however this was delayed until mid-June 2012 with the actual sale date later still. However, despite these delays, the Canon EOS 1D X is currently available to purchase from a number of stores, with the camera showing as in stock, so any of these early release issues should now be firmly behind Canon.
The Canon EOS 1D X is the fastest shooting professional full frame Digital SLR shooting at 12fps in JPEG/RAW or 14fps in JPEG only mode. Faster than the 11fps offered by the Nikon D4, the next fastest shooting full frame camera, with the next quickest after this being the 6fps shooting Sony Alpha A99.
The Canon EOS 1D X takes the best of the EOS-1D and EOS-1Ds and is said to combine them into a single unit that gives both high resolution and high speed shooting, although compared to the Canon EOS 1Ds MKIII it sees a reduction in resolution from the 21.1 megapixels down to 18.1 megapixels, and an increase from the 16.1 megapixel APS-H (1.3x crop) sensor in the Canon EOS 1D MK IV.
The 18.1 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor has larger pixels than the EOS 1D Mark IV, and is the first full frame sensor from Canon to feature gapless microlenses to draw more light into the sensor. The ISO range goes from ISO100 to 51200, but is also extendable to ISO50 up to ISO204800. The 1D X promises improved image noise reduction at higher ISO speeds, a wider dynamic range and has a 16-channel readout.
- 18.1 megapixel full frame CMOS
- Canon EOS EF lens mount
- Lens based image stabilisation
- 61-point AF system, 41 cross-type
- 100,000 pixel RGB AE Metering
- 3.2inch screen, 1040k dots
- Weather sealed body
- Full HD video recording 1080p
- ISO50 - 204800 with expansion enabled
- 12fps continuous shooting, 14fps JPEG
- Improved EOS Integrated Cleaning System (EICS)
- Able to focus in EV -2, which is the equivalent of shooting under the light of the full moon
- Dual DIGIC 5+ processors
- Dual axis electronic level
- Dual CF card slots
- Optional WFT-6 Wi-Fi unit, and GP-E1 GPS unit.
- Ethernet port
Handling - The camera feels extremely well built with a re-assuringly solid and sturdy construction, with ample rubberised grip whether using the camera in portrait or landscape mode. The rubber eye-piece around the optical viewfinder is larger, and the view through it bright.
To anyone who's used a previous Canon EOS 1D the layout of controls and buttons should be immediately familiar, and rather than having an optional battery grip, the Canon EOS 1D X has a built in battery grip, which has allowed quick access to controls whether you are using the camera in landscape or portrait mode the camera now has two mini "joysticks" to move through options. In addition the two front buttons have been replicated for use in portrait mode as well.
The rear scroll wheel surrounding the SET button can be used whilst recording videos and is touch sensitive so that the video doesn't pick up any noise from using the control.
In low light, it would be useful if the buttons illuminated, like the Nikon D4, with just the top LCD illuminating when you press the light button. Unfortunately this is not marked in any way, such as with a dimple or dot, so finding this in the dark can be difficult unless you are used to the camera, instead the ISO button has a dot so that you can find it.
Menus – The Canon EOS menus are clearly laid out with each section colour coded and will be familiar to anyone who's used Canon's recent Digital SLRs. You can watch a menu walkthrough video on our YouTube channel, where you'll find a vast array of options.
Auto ISO options are advanced giving you the choice of minimum and maximum settings in manual or auto ISO, although when setting auto ISO, there is a note that pops up letting you know that maximum continuous shooting speed is 10fps if ISO32000 or above is selected.
The camera gives excellent customisable options for the dual CF card slots, including the ability to auto switch to the other card if one is full (unlike the Sony Alpha A99), you can set different images to go to each card, or photos to record to both cards.
|AF Case Options||Custom Buttons|
AF options - there are 5 pages of Auto Focus options including case examples, and Canon has provided a 48 page guidebook available for download. The options give you control over tracking sensitivity, acceleration / deceleration tracking, and AF point auto switching, and there are four other pages of AF options.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 1120 shots according to Canon / CIPA test results, we were able to take 1613 shots before the battery went flat. This is decent, although half that of the Nikon D4, and it's not possible to add another battery grip as you would with a smaller DSLR to improve battery life, instead you will need to purchase a second battery for around £149.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
High speed shooting is at 12fps, or a quicker 14fps continuous shooting option can be enabled in the menus, although RAW shooting is disabled when shooting at this speed. The camera promises 55ms shutter lag, or 36ms via ‘Shortened Release Lag' Custom Function
|Canon EOS 1D X||Nikon D4|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||<0.1||0.1|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.1||0.1|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||0.5||0.15|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||0.2||0.1|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||N/A||N/A|
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
|10-11fps (290 shots)||11fps (118 shots)|
|Continuous Shooting - JPEG 14fps Mode||12fps (High, 36 shots)|
|Continuous Shooting - Flash||N/A||N/A|
|Continuous Shooting - RAW||11fps (34 shots)||11fps (66 shots)|
The camera provides extremely fast focus and shutter response when tested with the new Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM lens, although using the live view mode is noticeably slower. The camera is ready to shoot very quickly after switch on, and shot to shot times are excellent. Continuous shooting is impressive at roughly 10-11 fps shooting JPEGs (in 12fps continuous shooting mode), we were able to take around 290 shots before any slowdown, tested with Sandisk Extreme Pro 90MB/s UDMA6 card*. Shooting RAW it's possible to shoot at 11fps, although the number of shots is less, with 34 possible before slowdown. In H14 mode, it's possible to shoot at 12fps however this is JPEG only, and we were able to take 36 before slowdown. *Results were no quicker with a UDMA 7 card.
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Canon EOS 1D X Sample Photos
Thoresby Hall Converted From RAW | 1/80 sec | f/11.0 | 24.0 mm | ISO 250
Drive Raw To Jpeg (ACR) | 1/200 sec | f/7.1 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
RAW To JPEG some Noise reduction ACR | 1/60 sec | f/2.8 | 70.0 mm | ISO 51200
Sample Photos - The Canon EOS 1D X performed extremely well in our studio with excellent detail and colour. The camera was able to shoot in extremely low light, and in a variety of weather conditions, with successful focus and impressive results even using high ISO settings, although converting the RAW image it's possible to improve image quality.
Canon EOS 1D X Lens test images
Lens Performance - Shooting wide open vignetting is visible when using the lens, and with a full frame sensor the camera is less forgiving of lens performance. Focus is extremely reliable in a variety of lighting conditions. The lens used is resistant to flare, and provides sharp results throughout the zoom range. Exposure is good although does prefer to under-expose rather than risk losing highlight detail.
Canon EOS 1D X ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - ISO ranges from ISO50 all the way to ISO204800, with expansion enabled! Comparing the Canon EOS 1D X to other full frame Digital SLRs, such as the Nikon D4, Canon EOS 5D MK III, and others, including the Canon EOS 6D, the 1D X has lower noise than these other cameras, and shows clean results up to and including ISO12800 and even ISO25600. The camera has particularly impressive performance at high ISO levels, with even better results available when processing the RAW files.
Canon EOS 1D X White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) under tungsten lighting, as well as the tungsten preset give a warm result. AWB performs better under fluorescent lighting with an neutral result, and this gives a better result than the fluorescent preset. Outdoors, depending on light, the AWB can give a cooler look to the image compared to other cameras, and use of RAW is recommended to enable full control of the colour temperature after shooting.
Canon EOS 1D X Other sample images
Canon EOS 1D X Digital filters
Standard | 1/250 sec | f/7.1 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
Portrait | 1/250 sec | f/7.1 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
Neutral | 1/200 sec | f/7.1 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
Landscape | 1/200 sec | f/7.1 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
Faithful | 1/200 sec | f/7.1 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
Mono | 1/250 sec | f/7.1 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
Digital Filters - Here you can see the default colour presets available, each one lets you customise the sharpness, contrast, saturation, and colour tone, with three user defined settings available, and an Auto setting.
Video - ALL-I, and IPB compression options are available, as well as timecode ability. Mono audio recording is built into the camera, with a 3.5mm stereo input jack providing support for stereo sound. Manual audio level control is possible while recording. Additional Canon EOS 1D X videos can be viewed on ePHOTOzine's YouTube channel.
Value For MoneyThe Nikon D4 is available for around £4249, while the Canon EOS 1D X is available for £4849, roughly £600 more than the Nikon D4. If you already have any investment in lenses, then this may play some part in whether you invest in this system or the other, as the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II lens used for testing is available for £1899, while the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 G equivalent is available for £1219, a further saving of £680.
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
The high speed continuous shooting, focus, and ability to use ISO settings with high shutter speeds would ideally be suited to wildlife, sports, low-light or other areas where speed is paramount. The high price tag puts this camera firmly in the professional photographer market, or for those who have ample money to spend on the best available, and the weather sealed body certainly gives a high quality feel to the product. This should be re-assuring to those that invest in the camera, as well as the 2 year warranty provided by Canon.
It's probably also a number one choice for any paparazzi photographer who needs to know they can get the shots regardless of lighting or weather conditions, although the maximum shooting speed we got out of the camera was 12fps.
The Canon EOS 1D X gives the best low light high ISO performance of any full frame Digital SLR yet! One of the biggest negatives about this camera is the price, with the Canon EOS 1D X being one of the most expensive full frame Digital SLRs available, however, for those seeking the ultimate in speed, and low light performance, the price will be justified, assuming you have the budget for it.
|The Canon EOS 1D X delivers exceptional high ISO performance and for those that need the speed, this camera delivers.|
Canon EOS 1D X ProsExceptional high ISO performance
Excellent image quality
2 year warranty offered on Canon Pro bodies
Extremely solid build quality
Large, bright optical viewfinder
Fastest shooting full frame DSLR available
Large bright optical viewfinder
Great 3.2inch screen
High speed focus
Canon EOS 1D X ConsSize, Weight
Expense (Nikon D4 cheaper)
Lacks in camera HDR of following models
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Canon EOS 1D X Specifications
|CCD pixels||18.1Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||Full Frame|
|Sensor Size (width)||36mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||24mm|
|Screen resolution||1040k dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/8000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 204800|
|Video FPS||25, 24fps|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E4N|
|Box Contents||No Data|