The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is the company’s most recent high-end, ultra-tough, and extremely quick DSLR camera. The exterior design is very identical to that of earlier Canon EOS-1D bodies, some of which date back more than two decades. On the other hand, the inside has undergone significant revisions.
If you have the strength to hold the camera in front of you for lengthy periods of time while using the Live View mode, you can use this large DSLR camera as if it were a very powerful mirrorless camera. This is true even though it has a double grip and is a DSLR.
This is a camera that can take you beyond shooting in 8-bit JPEG as your “finished image,” that features AF topic identification based on machine learning in both the optical viewfinder and the live view shooting mode, and has some excellent video capabilities (including internal Raw video).
Because there is a lot of information to go over about the EOS-1D X Mark III, let’s get started with a very extensive list of essential specs before delving into exactly what this all means on the next pages. There is a lot of information to go over regarding the EOS-1D X Mark III.
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is the most well-rounded and well-specced camera currently available on the market for both stills and video shooters who have the necessary funds, with the exception of landscape and studio specialists who need massive amounts of megapixels.
This is because these types of photographers require extremely high-resolution images. Despite the ever-quickening rate of technological advancement and the ever-shortening duration of product cycles in the industry, it is abundantly evident that Canon intends for the 1D X III to continue to be of service to professional users for a considerable amount of time in the future.
What’s new, and how does it stack up?
The interior of the EOS-1D X Mark III is where all of the most significant updates have been made. However, there have been some modifications made to the exterior as well. It is important to note that there is so much to discuss in relation to autofocus that we have spent the entirety of the page that follows to discussing that topic in further depth.
A 20.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with Dual Pixel focusing is at the core of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III camera. It is accompanied by a brand new Digic X processor, which Canon says should be called “ex” and is not the Roman numeral for the number ten. According to reports, the performance of the new CPU is significantly superior to that of the two Digic 6+ processors found in the earlier Mark II model in terms of both image processing and computing speed. These enhancements bring with them a plethora of new capabilities, the most notable of which is the capacity to capture images at a rate of up to 20 frames per second while maintaining autofocus and autoexposure in live view utilizing either the mechanical or electronic shutter (16 fps using the OVF). The new mirror and shutter drive mechanisms, which were fine-tuned using simulations, make it possible for the camera to achieve quicker burst rates and minimize the amount of viewfinder blackout.
The sensor and the Digic X processor work together to provide a maximum native ISO value of 102,400, and they provide a maximum extended ISO value of 819,200. Both of them are one-stop enhancements in comparison to the Canon 1D X Mark II. When we asked about the benefits of using the quiet, totally electronic shutter, we were assured that customers may anticipate experiencing substantially fewer rolling shutter artifacts. Despite the fact that our data point to a strong rolling shutter performance, this camera is still unable to compete with the readout speed of Sony’s a9 and a9 II sports cameras.
Image via Canon
A recently developed lowpass filter, also known as an anti-aliasing filter, can be seen in front of the sensor. The one on the 1D X III is unique, despite the fact that they are typically designed to divide light beams in order to mitigate the impacts of moiré patterning. This filter, which Canon refers to as a 16-point lowpass filter, offers separation in eight different radial directions. Canon states that the ’16-point separation creates an MTF pattern that closely mimics a Gaussian curve’ for more naturally faded backgrounds and improved sharpness for in-focus portions of your photographs. This is in addition to the fact that the ’16-point separation’ is effective in preventing moiré.
pictures saved in the HEIF 10-bit HDR format
The EOS-1D X Mark III is one of the first cameras that we’ve seen that goes beyond 8-bit JPEGs and produces out-of-camera photos that more completely leverage the advantages in current screens and sensors. This makes it one of the first cameras in its class. You are now able to provide a more natural-looking perspective of the environment with greater dynamic range since modern displays are capable of displaying a greater range of brightness than was before achievable.
If you have an iPhone, there is a good probability that you have already been capturing images in the higher-quality HEIF format. It is actually more of a set of standards than a single file format, and it is far more complex than JPEG. It supports sequences of pictures, encoding of up to 16 bits, larger color gamuts, and rich metadata. HEIF also produces smaller file sizes than 8-bit JPEGs as a result of the more effective compression used in the format.
The solution that Canon uses to offer 10-bit files with HDR encoding makes use of a non-linear tone curve called the perceptual quantizer (PQ). This tone curve was developed to encode high dynamic range in a manner that is compatible with human perception. It is a standard that is being embraced more and more often for HDR content. In addition, pictures are stored in the expansive Rec. 2020 color space, which makes it possible to select from a more extensive color palette.
When you watch images on high-dynamic-range screens, such as those seen in HDR televisions and the most recent iPhones and iPads from Apple, HDR playback enables a more realistic viewing experience for the viewer. This means that rather than trying to cram highlights and shadows into the limited dynamic range of a standard JPEG (which, ironically, can sometimes result in an ‘overly-HDR’ look), displaying HEIF files on an HDR monitor allows for truly bright brights and dark darks, which is closer to the contrast we perceive in the real world. This is because the HEIF file format has a higher bit rate than the JPEG format.
The rear panel of the Canon 1D X Mark III does not support HDR, but if you shoot in this format, there is an option called “view assist” that makes the files appear more or less normal when you review them in playback. You also have the option to prioritize the accuracy of the highlights or the mid-tones in the image.
Simply said, there is not a lot of support for these photos just yet, and Canon is not the first consumer camera maker to offer HDR capture for still photographs (Panasonic supports still capture based on the HLG standard). However, we are impressed by Canon’s forward thinking in embracing this new format, and we hope that more firms will follow Canon’s lead in this regard.
To promote its use, if you decide to shoot in HEIF format, your camera will allow you to convert the resulting files to the more common JPEG format on the fly, should you or your client require them. You are also able to record them simultaneously with the Raw and C-Raw files which are the industry standard (although doing so may cause the camera to run more slowly).
AF-ON Smart Controller, in addition to additional improvements in operability
What Canon refers to as the new AF Smart Controller is included in the package for the 1D X Mark III. There are now sensors concealed within the camera’s two AF-ON buttons. When you drag your finger over the buttons – they function almost exactly like highly fine touchpads – you can change the placement of the AF point in the optical viewfinder as well as in Live View. It might seem like a gimmick, but it really performs rather admirably. This is not a touch bar blunder in the style of the EOS R. Within the settings, the user is provided with granular control over the sensitivity of the Smart Controller, and it is even usable when wearing gloves.
There are also a handful of illuminated buttons on the rear plate, which glow in conjunction with the top LCD information screen. These are both nice improvements. In addition, there is a new menu option that can be used to do a full factory reset, and users may expand the menu interface by double-tapping with two fingers in order to make it easier to read.
Canon has come out swinging in terms of video on the EOS-1D X Mark III, calling it the ‘greatest movie shooting performance in EOS history.’ (Canon has come out swinging in terms of video on the EOS-1D X Mark III.) If you think back to when Canon released the first EOS-1D X, you might recall that the company also introduced a companion model called the EOS-1D C. It was a variant of the EOS-1D X that was focused on video rather than still photography and included improved video capabilities and performance. Because it already has some substantial video skills built-in, the EOS-1D X Mark III thankfully does not require a second, dedicated ‘C’ model to fulfill its video needs.
Know that the 1D X III has the capability to record 5.5K/60p 12-bit Raw video internally to a CFExpress card. We have a full sample reel coming up later in the review, but for now, know that the 1D X III has this capability. Take into consideration that a 128GB card can only contain around 6 minutes of footage at that resolution before you start shooting.
If you don’t have a personal server farm to store all of that Raw video, the 1D X III also shoots cinema 4K at up to 60p in both All-Intra and IPB formats. However, if you want Dual Pixel AF while you’re shooting, you’ll need to enable a cropped 4K/60p or drop to 30p. Additionally, it shoots a 10-bit 4:2:2 BT video.
The HEVC file format is used to hold the 2020 Canon Log when it is recorded in any of the 4K modes.
The film captured in DCI 4K is oversampled from 5.5K, whereas footage captured in UHD 4K is oversampled from a crop that is somewhat smaller. During our first experiences with the camera, we discovered that the video focus was of very high quality. In either of the video modes, though, you won’t be able to make use of the zebra exposure warnings; but, you will have access to focus peaking as well as Canon’s manual focus guide.
Because of the rocker switch on the rear plate of the camera and the fact that the camera now remembers distinct exposure settings for still photography and video recording, it is a breeze for hybrid photographers to go back and forth between still photography and video recording.
Cards for the CF Express standard, networking, and flash memory
The 1D X Mark III does not have the mismatched CFast and CF card slots that its predecessor did; instead, it has two slots that are compatible with CFexpress cards. CFexpress cards are very lightning-fast, but much like the rest of the market’s current crop of quick storage, they are prohibitively expensive. However, the write rates that they are capable of enable the 5.5K Raw video recording as well as the virtually limitless continuous shooting that the 1D X III is capable of.
Professional customers will be glad to see updated networking choices such as gigabit ethernet. In addition, Canon has integrated GPS and Wi-Fi with Bluetooth for the user’s convenience. The availability of simultaneous communications methods is a feature that deserves special attention. This means that you may use an optional external wireless adapter (the Canon WFT-E9) to transfer files to an FTP server. On the other hand, you can utilize the camera’s built-in Wi-Fi and the EOS Utility software to control the camera remotely and make adjustments to its settings, for instance.
Consumers of flash will also welcome the new E-TTL exposure choices since they provide users greater control over the desired outcome. These include face priority and a new option to bias an image’s exposure towards either the flash output or the scene’s ambient illumination, depending on which set the user chooses.
It should not come as a surprise that a lot of Canon’s efforts have gone into making the autofocus system even more capable because the EOS-1D X Mark III is likely to be the camera of choice for many of the world’s best sports photographers. In fact, it should come as no surprise that the autofocus system is the primary focus of the company’s efforts.
There were speculations going around that the next camera in the 1D series will be a hybrid DSLR/mirrorless model. That might very well be the case, and I’ll explain why in a moment. It appears to be a DSLR that has taken a lot of cues from mirrorless cameras in terms of design and functionality.
As a digital single-lens reflex camera from the 1D series, it is most likely to be taken primarily utilizing the optical viewfinder in conjunction with a secondary, specialized phase-detection autofocus sensor. This sensor, in contrast to every other DSLR we’ve seen in the past, utilizes a grid of pixels rather than a set of line-shaped sensor strips; this gives it the appearance of an image sensor.
Because of this, the autofocus system has more scene information to work with when trying to determine how to offset the stereo pair of images from ‘left-looking’ and ‘right-looking’ (or up-and-down looking) AF detectors. This allows the system to determine how far to drive the lens in order to achieve focus more quickly and accurately.
Because of the smaller and denser pixels, the resolution of the focusing system has been effectively increased, which has contributed to the rise in the number of autofocus points from 61 to an amazing 191 points. 155 of these autofocus points are of the cross-type, meaning that they are sensitive to detail in both the horizontal and vertical planes. The enhanced resolution of the grid-type AF detectors not only helps improve focus on low-contrast subjects but also makes it possible to reliably detect even the most minute differences in distance to the subject.
The autofocus points with the highest degree of sensitivity are sensitive all the way down to -4 EV (one stop slower than the Mark II) and all the way up to 21 EV (three stops higher than the previous model). You will still have access to 191 autofocus points even if you add a lens or lens/teleconverter combo that has a maximum aperture of F8 (65 of which remain cross-type).
Taking pictures in live view
When the live view mode is activated on the 1D X III, the camera takes on the appearance of a mirrorless camera. It is possible to shoot at a rate of up to 20 frames per second while maintaining complete autofocus and autoexposure, and the shutter can be entirely mechanical or totally electronic.
This places it in a position where it is nearly comparable to the best sports-shooting mirrorless model that is currently on the market. However, despite Canon’s promises of the lowest level of rolling shutter they’ve yet achieved, Canon has not yet been able to match the fast readout, non-existent levels of rolling shutter, nor banding under artificial light that the Sony a9 has achieved.
When working in live view mode, the autofocus capabilities of the 1D X Mark III’s Dual Pixel AF system encompass 90% of the scene’s width and 100% of the scene’s height. The camera itself will choose any of 525 segments across the screen (compared to 143 on the EOS R), while you have the ability to manually choose any of the camera’s 3869 available places.
Autofocus in live view is compatible with lenses that have a maximum aperture of F11, making it possible to use combinations such as an 800mm F5.6 lens in conjunction with a 2x teleconverter. When using an F1.2 lens, the AF utilizing the center point (AF-S) is rated to work down to -6 EV, which most likely translates to a value that is somewhat lower than -4 EV when using an F2.8 lens. This shows that AF performance in low light is comparable to that of shooting with an OVF when using an F2.8 lens, while performance is improved when using faster lenses. Dual Pixel AF, in our testing, has been shown to perform significantly better in environments with low levels of available light.
Learning using machines and following subjects
When it comes to subject tracking, Canon DSLRs have historically been known to lag behind the competition. Subject tracking refers to the capability of the camera to automatically move AF points as required to follow your subject throughout the frame. The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III features a number of substantial upgrades designed to change that.
The most recent versions of Canon’s focusing algorithms (which are utilized in both OVF and live view mode) were created utilizing machine learning, which involves ‘training’ the system to detect subjects by presenting them with millions of photographs. Although the camera cannot learn on its own, the autofocus (AF) mechanism may be trained to recognize specific categories of subjects.
Specifically, the camera is equipped with face and body detection, as well as a “People Priority” option, which allows the user to instruct the camera to prioritize focusing on human subjects over non-human ones.
The company claims that the algorithms were trained using appropriate data sets that took into account the AF system that was being used: optimizing for either the 400,000-pixel resolution of the RGB + IR metering sensor for OVF shooting or the image sensor for live view shooting. More specifically, the AF system has been trained to recognize human heads and eyes.
The Dual Pixel AF in live view has seen considerable improvements, which is encouraging news for Canon’s next mirrorless product lines. To comprehend and follow a subject throughout the frame in live view, the 1D X Mark II only employed brightness, color, and face-detection data. However, the 1D X Mark III adds depth-of-field information as well as eye and head identification to better understand and track your subject.
When it comes to distant subjects that are difficult to isolate against their backgrounds using distance information alone, the AF system prioritizes luminance, color, and pattern detection in order to understand your subject. This is because distance information alone does not provide enough information.
When compared to the 1D X Mark II, the autofocus arrangement of the 1D X has received a simplification. In place of the previous six presets, there are now only four, each of which may be customized to meet the specific needs of your shooting situation. According to Canon, the ‘Case 1’ mode will handle a wider variety of subjects and subject movement better than the other shooting modes.
The most significant alteration, however, is the addition of a mode labeled “Auto.” This analyzes the movement of your subject as well as any other movement in the scene (such as other possible subjects entering and exiting), and it attempts to alter its settings so that they are appropriate for the circumstances.
The AF area modes have now been made substantially consistent between shooting with the OVF and shooting with Live View, with the exception of the “Face+Tracking” option, which is absent when shooting with the OVF.
Structure, operatives, and maneuvering
To say that the EOS-1D X Mark III is instantly recognized (at least to us camera folk) as a member of the 1D series of cameras is an understatement. The camera has the same fundamental structure as its predecessors, which dates back decades. However, there is a plethora of room for improvement, and a few long-standing problems still exist.
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is a huge camera that features an inbuilt vertical handle that houses a battery that is likely capable of jumpstarting your automobile. It has the sensation of a weapon that may be used for self-defense in the house when held in the hand. There is, of course, nothing shocking about all of this information; yet, Canon has a few surprises up its sleeve with this most recent model. First, let’s have a more in-depth discussion of the AF Smart Controller that we presented before.
AF Smart Controller
Even though they don’t take up much area on the 1D X III, the two AF Smart Controllers are likely the most important change to the camera’s handling (at least for the people who are supposed to be using the camera). They function in a manner very similar to that of little touchpads, as you merely need to slide your thumb around on them in order to change the autofocus region being displayed in the viewfinder or in live view mode.
Users of Canon cameras have the option to disable both the vertical and horizontal smart controllers, or they can choose to disable simply the vertical one. You may also modify their sensitivity on a scale that goes from minus two to plus two. Our research has shown that if you reduce the number of autofocus points visible in the viewfinder, you should probably alter the sensitivity of the Smart Controller to compensate.
In live view, the AF Smart Controller is also by far the finest way to manipulate the region that is autofocused on by the camera. You can fine-tune your area using the classic AF joystick (and holding it in one way accelerates the movement a little), and of course, you can also tap the touch-sensitive rear LCD as well (more on that later). But the Smart Controller achieves precisely the ideal blend of speed and precision for us, and once again, you can tune this into your preferences using the sensitivity scale.
Now, why would you choose to make use of it? It has been developed to provide for a quicker approach to picking our AF area in general, but it is especially helpful for shooters who “back-button focus.”
When you do this, you uncouple autofocus from the shutter and utilize only the AF-ON buttons. Because of this, the AF-ON button should be a touchpad so that you may move your AF region around while continually focusing. This is of less significance if you are making use of the camera’s tracking modes; nevertheless, for users who prefer focusing on a single point or a zone, this might be a very useful new function.
The electronic touchscreen
We are proud to introduce a full-function touch-sensitive rear LCD for the first time ever on an EOS-1D camera (the previous model had very limited touch functionality). You can manage the focusing in live view, access the menus, double-tap to zoom in playback, swipe to scroll through photographs, and a lot more thanks to its fluidity and responsiveness, which is what you would expect from a Canon product.
Another new feature is the capability to pinch-zoom when in the menus in order to enlarge the text on the screen. People who normally use glasses but aren’t now sporting their prescription eyewear could find this useful.
There is no option to utilize the touchscreen as a touchpad for your viewfinder AF point when the camera is held up to your eye, but the smart controller makes this feature completely unnecessary anyhow. It is interesting to note that the options do not include an option to completely deactivate the touchscreen.
Personalization in addition to the existing controls
The 1D X III, like its predecessors in the 1D series, does not have a mode dial. Instead, you must press the ‘Mode’ button, which is located on the upper left shoulder, and then manually adjust the dials. This control philosophy (which has been honed over quite some time, we should add) carries through to the rest of the camera; from drive mode to metering, white balance to ISO, many shooting parameters are configured by pressing a direct button and manipulating either the front or rear dials. This philosophy has been carried through to the rest of the camera.
The catch here is that, in contrast to many of the other rivals, only a small fraction of the external buttons can be changed, and even those that can have fewer possibilities than you would normally anticipate. (In this article, we went into great detail about the EOS 5D Mark IV; the 1D X III offers more possibilities, but there are still restrictions.) We obviously do not anticipate that each and every user will be influenced by this, but we do not believe that providing consumers with additional options for customization is inherently a negative thing (so long as those options are well-organized).
The depth-of-field (DoF) preview and M-Fn2 buttons, which are located beneath your ring finger and middle finger, respectively, provide the most degree of personalization available of all the buttons. They can provide you with immediate access to a variety of autofocus configurations, lead you straight to the settings for your network, let you establish a new folder on your card, and do a great deal more besides.
You are able to create three AF modes that are entirely distinct from one another by using the shutter button, the AF-ON button, and the Auto Exposure Lock (AEL) button. You are able to define your beginning location, AF case, and whether you want single or continuous autofocus, as well as the area mode you want, by using the AF-ON and AEL buttons.
When you combine this with the settings that you can obtain on the DoF and M-Fn2 buttons, which were just covered, you get a good array of possibilities that allow you to very rapidly adjust to new circumstances as they occur.
Management of live views
We have stated in a previous article that if Canon were to remove the mirror box from this camera and replace it with an electronic viewfinder, you would virtually have a mirrorless sports camera that is on the cutting edge.
If you use the EOS-1D X Mark III in live view, you can unleash outstanding Dual Pixel AF performance as well as 20 frames per second burst speeds with either a mechanical or electronic shutter. However, this is not something that Canon has done (yet). Although those burst speeds do not prevent blackouts in the way that Sony’s a9 models are able to, it is still not overly difficult to keep up with the action.
No, what makes utilizing this camera in live view challenging is the weight of the device, as you would have imagined. I was able to utilize the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III quite a bit in live view mode to capture video, in addition, to still images, and it wasn’t too difficult to do so with lenses of a reasonable focal length. However, if you want to utilize live view with bigger lenses or lenses with a focal length of 70–200 millimeters or more, you should consider using a monopod or tripod.
Even if you don’t require 20 frames per second, you should still think about using live view since this camera’s live view focusing system is just more competent than the viewfinder autofocus system, despite all of the enhancements that have been made to the viewfinder autofocus system. It can’t be helped. You have pupil detection, as opposed to the OVF’s head detection, a much, much larger AF point coverage, and you won’t ever have to worry about having to bother about micro-adjusting your lenses.
If anything, the EOS-1D X Mark III is a reasonable sign of what Canon’s next EOS R5 will be capable of, which is to say nothing of what a future EOS R1 will be capable of.
Integrated antenna for wireless connections
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS antennae that are incorporated right into the camera. The GPS antenna in particular is likely to come in handy for anybody operating away from the grid. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi make it exceedingly simple to transfer photographs taken with the camera to your phone, where they can then be uploaded to any social network of your choosing.
In everyday use, it performs exactly the same duties as Canon’s consumer-oriented cameras. Turn on Bluetooth, launch the Canon Camera Connect app, and choose the 1D X III from the list of available cameras. From that point on, all you have to do to view your photographs is start a Wi-Fi connection by tapping the option that says “pictures on the camera.” Other capabilities, such as shooting with a remote live view and adjusting the settings of the camera, are also available from inside the application.
The Canon 1D X III is a professional-grade DSLR that comes equipped with a variety of advanced wireless and file transmission functions. You may save different configurations to ‘banks’ for easy recall, and you can connect Canon’s WFT-E9A wireless transmitter for 5Ghz Wi-Fi to increase the transfer speeds or operate with FTP servers. Both of these features are available to you. You may also hardwire into the camera using gigabit ethernet.
At long last, Canon has introduced the world’s first camera capable of simultaneously supporting various network protocols. This means that you could, for example, set up the 1D X III as a remote camera that is set up to auto-transfer files with the WFT-E9A, and then connect to the camera’s built-in wireless antenna with your phone to adjust settings even if you do not have physical access to the camera itself. You could also set up the WFT-E9A to transfer files automatically.
Battery and memory cards are both included.
The LP-E19 is the same battery that is utilized by Canon’s 1D X Mark III. This is going to be excellent for professionals, rental homes, and agencies that already have a number of them (they aren’t exactly cheap, after all), and with the help of the newest processors in the camera, they travel further than they ever have before: CIPA estimates that the camera is capable of taking 2850 pictures when utilizing the OVF and 610 while using live view.
Keep in mind that you will most likely receive far more than this. You will get more than 30.5 seconds of use out of the battery pack if you shoot at a quiet 20 frames per second while in live view.
Quality of the Image
We go into some length previously in the article on the HDR / PQ potential of the EOS-1D X III, but we thought it would be helpful to have a look at what you may anticipate if you wanted to play with it on your own. For instance, let’s imagine you wanted to record an event in HEIF so that it could be seen on an HDR television; but, what would happen if you subsequently wanted to view the same image on standard dynamic range (SDR) displays?
As of the time of this writing, you may convert HEIF files to JPEG using either the in-camera or desktop version of Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software. You have no influence over the process in any way, shape, or form with either choice, but the end effect is notably distinct from what you would get with a regular JPEG straight from the camera.
In-camera conversion of HEIF images to JPEG format
If you want to start shooting in HEIF in preparation for an HDR workflow, you can safely convert the files to JPEG, and even though the converted files will look a little bit different than standard JPEGs, they will still look fine on most SDR displays. If you want to start shooting in HEIF, you can safely convert the files to JPEG.
HDR representation of HEIF file formats
When it comes to recording and displaying high dynamic range situations, however, the most significant advantage of shooting HDR PQ HEIF images is afforded by the use of these files. Although it is difficult to demonstrate on a website using only SDR output, we have utilized a camera to photograph the output of the 1D X III being shown on an HDR display while maintaining the same exposure.
You may get a sense from this of the additional highlight range that the HDR output of the 1D X III provides you with. The increased dynamic range of the output helps to alleviate some of the flat results that necessarily result from trying to cram a large scene dynamic range into the capabilities of an SDR display. These flat results are caused by trying to squeeze a large scene dynamic range into the capabilities of an SDR display (by, for example, darkening highlights and lifting shadows).
To prevent highlights from being overexposed when shooting in HDR HEIF mode, Canon suggests using the Highlight Tone Priority (HTP) setting on your camera.
Because of the limitations of your SDR display, this comparison of the differences between standard dynamic range (SDR) and high dynamic range (HDR) pictures is inevitably restricted.
On an HDR monitor, which is capable of brighter whites and darker blacks, the shadow region would be brighter and able to express more contrast on the screen, while the sky would be brighter still and more distinguishable from the foreground, just as it would be in the real world. This is because HDR monitors are capable of displaying a higher dynamic range.
It is interesting to note that the ‘Standard JPEG’ versus the ‘JPEG converted from HEIF’ rollover above has the exact opposite effect: whereas the converted HEIF file demonstrates reduced sky brightness, the slider above demonstrates increased sky brightness while still retaining the hues of the sunset. This is an example of a “JPEG converted from HEIF.”
This is because the HEIF files were able to record a greater dynamic range, while the HDR display was able to present that range as brighter brights and deeper shadows respectively.
Video may be recorded with the 1D X III using the entire width of the sensor in the camera. This 5.5K region may be scanned at up to 60 frames per second and captured in a wide range of output formats and resolutions. The exact dimensions of this region are 5472 by 2886 pixels. The internal Raw capture option, on the other hand, is the one that has received the most attention thus far.
Raw footage is a really significant thing to have. A major portion of the camera’s dynamic range is stored in a manner that allows for a great degree of latitude in post-production in the video that may be captured by several cameras. This allows for a great deal of creative freedom in the final product. Despite this, not all of the information that was initially gathered is preserved in this manner.
Raw video, much like Raw stills, gives you access to most of the sensor’s original output, if not all of it. This gives you more processing leeway in terms of tone information as well as white balance, due to the fact that the three color channels haven’t been fixed in relation to one another.
It is important to keep in mind that autofocus is unavailable in the 60p Raw mode, as well as in any other 60p preset. Because of the extremely high bit rate, you will be able to fit almost six minutes of film at 60 frames per second into a 128 GB card.
If you configure the camera to write Raws to card 1 and MP4 to card slot 2, you will have the ability to concurrently record a DCI 4K MP4 file that may be used as a proxy. The IPB compression technology is used for proxy file storage.
10-bit Log capture
In addition, the 1D X III features a Canon Log mode that is 10-bit. When this is off, the camera captures all of its videos as 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 files; however, when Canon Log is enabled, the camera changes to 10-bit 4:2:2 recording using the H.265 codec.
(5472 x 2886)
|29.97, 24.00, 23.98|
(4096 x 2160)
|All-I or IPB||940 / 230||Linear PCM or AAC|
|29.97, 24.00, 23.98|
|470 / 120|
(4096 x 2160)
|940 / 230|
|29.97, 24.00, 23.98|
|470 / 120|
(3840 x 2160)
|940 / 230|
|470 / 120|
(1920 x 1080)
|180 / 60|
|90 / 30|
Extremely high-speed video.
Depending on whether you have the camera set to record for NTSC or PAL, the 1D X III also has the capability of capturing Full HD footage at either 119p or 100p. The frame rate that you use is determined by which system you have the camera set to record for. This film is rendered at a quarter speed, either 29.97 or 25 frames per second.
When taking still images or videos with the 1D X, the exposure settings, including white balance and Picture Style, are kept fully separate from one another. Again, this makes it much simpler to transition between shooting video and still images, and you can do so with the peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t mistakenly take a series of still images with a shutter speed of 1/50 of a second.
The camera, on the other hand, can only deal with exposure time in terms of the shutter speed. Instead of being able to specify a shutter angle that is proportional to the frame rate, this implies that you will have to be cautious to modify the shutter speed when going back and forth between frame rates of 60p and lesser frame rates.
“Enable” and “Enhanced” are the names of the two different degrees of digital image stabilization that are available on the 1D X Mark III. These give a growing amount of stability by cropping the frame to a greater and greater degree in order to get the desired effect. The lower crops, as one might anticipate, make it more difficult to accomplish wide-angle framing and have a detrimental effect on the amount of noise that is present in the image.
In video mode, the camera provides the same autofocus area modes as it does in the stills mode; however, the AF mode that you choose does not transfer over when switching between the two types of photography.
The responsiveness and sensitivity of the AF system to changes in distance, known as Movie Servo AF track sens., may be customized in the Spot and 1-Point AF area modes of the camera. You can also choose the pace at which the camera forces a change in focus (Movie Servo AF speed). If you want to do a slow (Auto) focus pull by tapping on the screen, you should use the Spot or 1-Point mode instead of any of the other modes since all of the other modes will refocus at the normal pace.
The camera gives you the choice to focus at the standard speed while you are setting up the shot, and then switch to the preset movie autofocus speed once you begin recording.
If you wish to be able to stop and restart the focusing in the middle of a movie, you may program a few of the camera’s buttons to operate as a ‘Movie Servo AF Pause,’ which will allow you to do so. Assigning a button to do the function of “AF Stop” accomplishes essentially the same thing, but requires the button to be kept down.
The performance of autofocus
One of the most trustworthy (and thus, useable) video AF systems that we’ve come across is Canon’s Dual Pixel AF system, which, in essence, enables each and every pixel to contribute to the system’s overall AF efforts.
However, the zone focus modes offer more dependability if you’re trying to keep a specific subject in focus but can be sure they’ll stay in roughly the same place within the frame. Although we found the subject tracking to be fairly reliable in terms of staying on the right subject, we found that the zone focus modes offered more reliability.
If you want to shift focus from one subject to another, the 1-point and spot settings are excellent choices since they allow you to adjust the pace at which the re-focusing occurs as well as the responsiveness of the camera. We were able to get accurate results from this, and there was very little chance that the focus would “hunt” or “overshoot” when we moved it to a different distance, which made it a really helpful tool.
The camera’s focus tracking mode also works quite well, remaining steadfastly attached to the topic it is following. This mode will especially track faces if you have chosen to concentrate on them as your objective. However, due to the size of the camera, it is not always simple to tap the screen in order to select a subject, and as was previously said, you do not have any control over how quickly or slowly the focus reacts.
You are able to record movies using Auto ISO with the 1D X III, even when manually adjusting the exposure settings. You are unable to set a minimum shutter speed threshold for it to maintain; however, you can specify the highest ISO setting that it should use, and you can use the exposure compensation scale that is displayed on-screen to adjust the level of brightness that the camera is attempting to keep consistent.
The adjustments to the brightness that are made by Auto ISO are made quickly and smoothly, without any discernible lag or stepping.
If you activate the Canon Log function, the camera will immediately transition to the 10-bit H.265 mode, as was previously described. As is customary for Log modes, the camera makes use of a flatter gamma curve that is intended to incorporate a more dynamic range. This allows the camera to distribute the available data values more evenly between the stops of light that are captured, thereby increasing the amount of latitude that is available for color grading.
In Log mode, increasing the base ISO to 400 allows for a reduction in the metered exposure, which results in an increase in the available dynamic range. Lower ISO values are possible, however, these are extension settings that clip the highlights early, which in turn reduces the overall dynamic range that is preserved in the file.
You have a selection of color matrices available to you when shooting in Canon Log mode. The ‘Cinema EOS Original’ matrix is set as the default, and it produces colors that are identical to those produced by the EOS-1D C. However, you also have the option of selecting ‘Neutral,’ which is intended to produce an accurate color response. Which one you pick is going to be determined by the color grading procedure you have in mind.
Using the ‘Characteristics’ menu option, you may additionally alter the amount of sharpness, saturation, and hue shifts for each individual color channel. Finally, if the ‘Color Matrix’ setting is changed to Neutral, you will be given the opportunity to select whether the camera will produce an HDMI signal using the REC 709 colorspace or the broader HDRTV REC 2020 colorspace. This option is available only when the ‘Color Matrix’ setting is changed to Neutral.
The rolling shutter values for most of the camera’s video modes are at around 15 milliseconds, which is a terrific result and will eliminate the need to worry about rolling shutter in all except the most severe situations. It is interesting to note that the camera produces figures that are somewhat less spectacular in full-width 24 and 30p settings, which increases the likelihood of skewed verticals.
|Body type||Large SLR|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Max resolution||5472 x 3648|
|Other resolutions||4368 x 2912, 3648 x 2432, 2736 x 1824|
|Image ratio w:h||3:2|
|Effective pixels||20 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||21 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Full frame (36 x 24 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|ISO||Auto, 100-102400 (expands to 50-819200)|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||50|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||819200|
|White balance presets||7|
|Custom white balance||Yes (5 slots)|
|File format||JPEG (Exif v2.31)HEIF (10-bit)Raw / C-Raw (CR3)|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Number of focus points||191|
|Number of cross-type focus points||155|
|Lens mount||Canon EF|
|Focal length multiplier||1×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Viewfinder type||Optical (pentaprism)|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/8000 sec|
|Exposure modes||ProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual|
|Flash X sync speed||1/250 sec|
|Drive modes||SingleHigh-speedContinuousLow-speedSilent singleSilent high-speed continuousSilent low-speed continuous|
|Continuous drive||20.0 fps|
|Metering modes||MultiCenter-weightedSpotSpot AF-areaPartial|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|Format||MPEG-4, H.264, H.265|
|Storage types||Dual CFexpress type B|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 GBit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (HDMI mini)|
|Remote control||Yes (Wired, wireless, smartphone)|
|Battery description||LP-E19 lithium-ion battery & dual charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||2850|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||1440 g (3.17 lb / 50.79 oz)|
|Dimensions||158 x 168 x 83 mm (6.22 x 6.61 x 3.27″)|
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III has a place of honor among the very greatest single-lens reflex cameras ever produced. It’s quick, it’s tough, and it delivers some of the highest-quality images we’ve ever seen produced by a Canon camera (limited resolution notwithstanding, since speed is the name of the game here).
An experienced professional might pick up a regular EOS-1D and get right to work with minimum hassle, but doing so would mean losing out on some essential advances that Canon has added in this workhorse sports photographer. Canon has included a lot of new features in this camera.
The AF “smart controller” is not a gimmick, and the new autofocus technology provides better performance than it ever has before while still being simpler to operate. The incorporation of HDR image capture utilizing the HEIF format offers some kind of protection against the foreseeable future (though you may need to upgrade your monitor to really get a feel for it). The fact that the camera may be connected to several devices or services in parallel will make previously unavailable options available to both experienced photographers and novices alike.
There is absolutely no better DSLR on the market today that is capable of capturing video. The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is a large and heavy camera, but if it’s internal Raw and 10-bit 4:2:2 C-Log capture, accurate and easy-to-use autofocus while recording, and the ease of switching from stills to video (the camera remembers your settings for each separately) are enough to convince you that it should be your next hybrid camera, then you shouldn’t let its size and weight discourage you from purchasing it.
When it comes to subject tracking through the viewfinder, we find that competitors such as Sony’s a9-series and Nikon’s D5 both have an advantage over this camera. This is the case despite the fact that the focusing mechanism is quite capable (we received a Nikon D6 too recently to include it in our side-by-side testing for this review).
The EOS-1D X III, on the other hand, is superior in live view; during our testing of its focusing capabilities, it successfully followed the subject’s head, despite the fact that the subject’s face was concealed. And because of the nature of the market area that it competes in, it is not going to be the first choice for photographers who capture landscapes or studio scenes and simply want more megapixels. However, when compared to its immediate competitors, it offers superior image quality in the vast majority of scenarios.
It is simple to take pleasure in using a camera such as this one, and it is difficult to foresee anyone actually using it to its utmost potential; one might argue that the EOS-1D X Mark III is meant to never limit anyone. It is a camera that allows you to “grab the shot” in practically any circumstance, while at the same time staying out of your way as you take images.
It’s possible that some people may complain and say things like “DSLRs are dinosaurs” and other such things, but the reality of the matter is that many professionals and organizations might not be ready (or able) to move to mirrorless cameras just yet. When they push the live view button, the EOS-1D X III will provide them with more than enough satisfaction for many years to come while also allowing them to get a glimpse of what the mirrorless future has in store for them.
Canon EOS 1D X Mark III Price
Pros & Cons
- Both the JPEG and Raw formats boast excellent image quality.
- The outdated JPEG file format may easily be replaced with HEIF HDR files because of their superior capabilities.
- The most impressive Canon autofocus to date
- The best video quality and feature set in its class
- Very low levels of background noise and a wide dynamic range.
- The viewfinder’s subject tracking can’t compete with the finest of its competitors.
- The complexity of menus is growing, and they may benefit from increased structure.
- The variety of customizable choices might be increased.
- Electronic shutter has a diminishing effect on dynamic range.
- Live view is required for the best autofocus topic tracking, which is quite problematic.