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Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Review

We review the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, Canon's most expensive DSLR, designed for professional photographers, with 20fps continuous shooting and 5.5K video recording.

| Canon EOS 1D X Mark III in Digital SLRs

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Review: Canon EOS 1DX MarkIII (12)

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is Canon's professional full-frame DSLR. If you're looking for high-speed 20fps shooting, 5.5K video, extended battery life, and a tough weather-resistant camera body then the 1D X III could be for you, although you'll need to factor in the price, as this camera is priced at roughly £6499 body only.


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Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Features

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Review: Canon EOS 1DX MarkIII (13)
If you're the kind of photographer who shoots sports, wildlife, or low-light photography then the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III could be the dream camera for you, particularly if the additional size will help balance a large telephoto lens. Helpfully the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III has a large battery that allows for an impressive 2850+ shot battery life, is weather-sealed and "built like a tank" as they say.


Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Review: Canon EOS 1DX MarkIII (2)

It's been four years since the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II was released, and in that time Canon has updated a number of things in the new camera. Both cameras have a 20-megapixel sensor, however, the Mark III offers a higher ISO range up to 102,400 or ISO819,200 extended. Continuous shooting speed has also been improved with 16/20fps available, 16fps with the optical viewfinder, and 20fps when using live view - with AF! AF has been improved, and battery life has been dramatically improved with 2850 shots on offer.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II vs Mark III - some of the key improvements:

  • 3.2inch screen with 2.1m dots (vs 1.62m)
  • 191 AF points (vs 61), 155 cross-type, 3869 in live-view
  • 500,000 shutter life rating
  • Updated sensor with an improved low-pass filter
  • Video: 5.5K raw (60p, 12-bit), 4K DCI (60p) - full width DCI
  • Built-in stereo microphones (vs mono)
  • Wi-Fi / Bluetooth built-in
  • High-speed Gigabit Ethernet and USB C
  • CFexpress support (dual-slot)
  • 1.44KG (vs 1.53KG)


The auto-focus system has been updated and now features "deep learning AF" with there being a new Auto setting for the focus scenarios. The AF system features 191 AF points in OVF, with 155 cross-type AF points, with face/head detection. This increases to 3869 in live-view, with Dual-pixel AF built-in to the sensor, and eye-detection AF available. Focus sensitivity has been improved with AF down to -4EV or down to -6EV in live-view.

Video recording has been improved, with 5.5K raw video recording available as well as CINE-4K / 4K UHD video at up to 60fps, and there are built-in stereo microphones. On the side, you'll find the microphone and headphone sockets, and internally the camera offers digital image stabilisation.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Review: Canon EOS 1DX MarkIII (14)

Key Features

  • 20.1 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
  • 20fps continuous shooting (live-view), 16fps (OVF)
  • 500,000 shot shutter life rating
  • 100% Optical Viewfinder (OVF), with 0.76x magnification
  • 3.2inch touch-screen, with 2.1million dots
  • 191/155 point AF, -4 EV
  • Flicker Detection for artificial lighting
  • 4K 60p / 5.5K raw video
  • Movie Digital Image Stabilisation (IS), image area reduced by 10%
  • Built-in stereo microphones, mic and headphone sockets
  • ISO100 to ISO819,200, Lo 50
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • GPS / GLONASS / QZSM built-in
  • Up to 2850 shots battery life (OVF, 23C)
  • Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body


Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Handling

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Review: Canon EOS 1DX MarkIII (1)

Handling - The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III has a large, solid build quality, and the significant weight gives the camera a noticeable presence. To anyone familiar with the earlier versions of this camera, then the Mark III will be immediately familiar, with almost all buttons being in the same location, and almost all looking the same, however, the AF-On button has changed slightly.

There are four customisable front buttons. There's a top customisable M-Function (multi-function) button. The handling is exceptional with a large handgrip with ample rubber grip, whether you're using the camera in landscape or portrait mode. The shutter release button falls into place, or rather your finger falls into place, thanks to the ergonomic layout of the shutter release button. On top, you'll also find quick access to ISO, WB, and exposure compensation, something we wish all cameras would feature.

What is the AF-EV range? With a good autofocus EV range, down to -4 EV, the camera can focus well in low-light, and indoors. When using the OVF you will find that the AF points are in the central area of the frame, and to get (almost) full coverage of the frame, you'll need to switch to live-view.

If you switch to live view shooting you can select from any area of the screen, and the AF tracking will cover almost the whole frame (with 100%/90% coverage). AF tracking was particularly impressive. You can use the new AF-on button to adjust the AF position by simply moving your thumb over the AF-On button. You can also use the joystick.

There are numerous AF options, with a number of AF shooting scenarios which can be customised, as well as an intelligent Auto mode for when the shooting situation may change. Whilst the camera has built-in help that will give you guidance as to what each option is for, close studying of the Canon manual is recommended so that you are familiar with the multitude of focusing options.

There is a top LCD screen with key shooting information, which can be illuminated. New to the Mark III is a number of illuminated backlit buttons on the back of the camera, which illuminate when you press the light button on top.

The optical viewfinder (OVF) is large and clear and gives a good view of the scene, as well as useful shooting information, without the need to take the camera away from your eye. The optical viewfinder is large and bright and can be customised to show a number of useful things, including a dual-axis electronic level and shooting settings, as well as an anti-flicker warning.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Review: Canon EOS 1DX MarkIII (5)
The screen looks very good with a high resolution and very good viewing angles. The touch-screen has been improved, to let you go through the menus and change settings.

The camera menus have a vast range of options and are neatly arranged into colour-coded sections making it easier to find the settings you want to change. You can also customise the "MyMenu" menus with your favourite settings and these can be renamed so that you can set up certain menus for specific shooting scenarios. You can take audio memos if you want.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Review: Canon EOS 1DX MarkIII (6)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 2850 shots according to Canon / CIPA test results when using the OVF, which is very good for a DSLR, and an improvement over the Mark II.

There are two CFexpress (Type B) slots, and you'll need one of these memory cards for use with the camera. Side ports include a full-size HDMI port, USB Type-C, Ethernet, Flash sync, remote release connection, mic, headphone sockets, and WFT (allowing you to add the Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E9).


Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Review: Canon EOS 1DX MarkIII (8)

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blackcoffee Avatar
3 Oct 2020 1:50PM
"HEIF file format lacks support"

Seriously, how is this a con and negative? It's not the only format if offers, you can still use the usual JPEG and RAW.

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