Canon EOS 1D X Review – An impressive tool with a monster ISO, but don’t forget its in-built infrared filter

Since it was initially unveiled in October 2011, it has taken quite some time for the Canon 1D X to make it into production. The excitement around the debut of cameras for professionals throughout the world has finally begun to die off, however, thanks in large part to the early arrival of products such as the Nikon D4 on the market.

Key Specs

  • 18MP sensor DIGIC 5+ processor
  • Canon EOS EF lens mount
  • Image stabilization is based on the lens.
  • 61-point AF system
  • screen size is 3.2 inches with 1.04 million dots
  • sealed against the body of the element
  • Full HD video
  • ISO range of 100–51,200 with burst mode at 12 frames per second
  • Optional WFT-6 Wi-Fi unit 2.95 pounds

What’s Brand New

Adjusting the autofocus

Another significant improvement to autofocus is a more straightforward setup. The 1D X does away with the intricately interconnected network of custom settings that governed AF performance in earlier models and instead offers six presets that are tailored to certain shooting scenarios (see table below).

Each of these can have its ‘Tracking sensitivity’ (which determines how tenaciously the camera attempts to stick with the initially chosen target or whether it will re-focus on nearer subjects if they cross in front of the target) and ‘Acceleration/Deceleration tracking’ settings adjusted, as well as their AF point auto selection settings (how readily the camera should move off the selected AF point).

Westfall admits that the complexity of the older systems may have prevented people from getting the most out of their cameras: People appreciated the notion of a high-spec autofocus system, but they wished there was a simpler method to get the most out of it. This was a frequent reaction to the Canon 1D III and 1D IV cameras.

The changes that were made from the 1D III to the 1D IV were significant, but they were also small steps forward. In order to make a more significant leap forward this time, we needed to begin from scratch.

AF mode presets for the Canon EOS-1D X, defined by the behavior of the subject

  • Versatile multi-purpose
  • Matters that have a rapid pace of acceleration or deceleration
  • Keep firing and ignore any obstacles in your way.
  • Erratic Subject Movement
  • Suddenly redirect your attention when there are barriers.
  • Objects or phenomena that fluctuate in pace and move in an irregular manner

In addition to making the system more user-friendly, the 1D X sports the first completely new autofocus arrangement that Canon has introduced since the debut of the EOS 3 in 1998, which was during the film era. The new 61-point autofocus sensor features 21 cross-type AF points at the center, and these points are sensitive enough to be used with lenses that have maximum apertures as small as F5.6.

Additionally, diagonal AF elements are included in the center of five of those locations, and they become active with lenses that have an aperture of F2.8 or faster. Twenty of these AF points, located on two sides near the outside margins of the sensor, act as cross-type points with lenses that have a maximum aperture of F4 or faster. All of the remaining AF points are sensitive to horizontal detail with lenses that have an aperture faster than F5.6.

The autofocus point selection may be limited down to a number of subsets of local AF points, much like it can be done with the EOS 7D. It is also possible to change the parameters that are taken into consideration while AF tracking is being done: AF information solely, AF information together with color information, or AF information along with face detection information

Figuring out what the sensor is telling us

When asked to choose the feature that has undergone the most significant change in the new camera, Westfall emphasizes that every part of the camera has been re-evaluated; yet, he ultimately comes to the following conclusion: “If you had to highlight just one item, I’d say the sensor.” Regarding the overall visual quality, it brings us to a whole new level.’

“There are a few factors that we take into consideration when we think about IQ: the most important factor on this sensor is noise. There is no question that the noise level is far lower than that of the 1D Mk IV or the 1DS III. The pixel size is significantly greater than that of the 1DS III or the 5D Mark II (6.95 microns, as opposed to 6.4), and the difference is even more glaring when compared to the 1D Mark IV’s pixels, which measure 5.7 microns. This improves our capacity to capture light and raises the signal-to-noise ratio at the same time. In turn, this does nothing except increase the camera’s dynamic range, which is a positive thing.

And it is because of this enhancement in image quality that Westfall believes the 1D X will appeal to 1DS consumers in addition to those who already own a 1D. I believe that the noise level is superior to anything else that we have encountered in the past, which is the aspect that is going to make it a reality. People are going to feel a lot more comfortable up-resizing a picture when the image is cleaner. Folks who don’t need a 21MP file, to begin with, are going to enjoy the IQ of this camera, and the quality is going to be excellent enough that people who do need enormous files are going to find the photographs clean enough to utilize them.’

Alterations made to the body

Although the body of the 1D X is quite similar to that of earlier 1D cameras, a closer inspection shows a number of improvements and enhancements. The most important modification is probably the installation of a second joystick on the back of the camera. This was done so that users may access all of the camera’s capabilities even when the portrait orientation grip is being used. Additionally, the camera possesses a pair of buttons that may be positioned either horizontally or vertically adjacent to the lens. These are programmable, giving you access to features like the electronic level indicator as well as the ability to go to a previously registered AF point.

In addition to this, the camera now features a button that allows direct access to the live view, a ‘Q’ button that allows instant access to the ‘Quick’ function menu, and the flash exposure lock button has been repurposed as a customizable function button.

Capacity for processing

According to Westfall, the processing of the camera has undergone a significant update. He says, “You’ve got two Digic 5+ processors, which our engineers are saying us are 17x quicker than the Digic 4s utilized in the older versions.” This is something that you would expect to see happen. In addition, the metering sensor is given its own Digic 4 processor because of the increased complexity of its operation and the requirement to interpret its output in order to input it into the AF system.

Because of the processing capability of the camera, it is able to carry out a greater variety of lens adjustments. In addition to the vignetting correction that could be carried out by the 1D Mark IV, lens profiles may be uploaded using the EOS utility, and the camera will then correct for geometric distortion and chromatic aberration (both lateral and axial) in real-time. All of these rectifications are voluntary, and each one can be done independently.

Another advantage of having additional processing power is that it allows for an extension of the ISO range, according to Westfall. He claims that the ISO range on this camera, which is just the basic range, goes from 12,800 on the 1D Mark IV and 1600 on the 1DS Mark III, all the way up to 51,200. And this can be increased to 204,800 if necessary; that’s going to open up a whole host of new opportunities for a lot of people.’

The capacity to take photographs with many exposures constitutes the final processing option. There are four different combinations that may be utilized to generate composite photographs, and these images can be created either from a series of consecutive shots or from an existing Raw file together with extra exposure.

It’s all about the race

Continuous shooting at a rate of 12 frames per second is made possible thanks to a quicker sensor and more processing power, as well as a newly designed shutter made of carbon fiber and a reworked mirror mechanism. If you are willing to record just JPEG photos with the camera, you may shoot at a rate of 14 frames per second. This requires you to lock the mirror up, which also locks the focus.

The shutter is rated to last for 400,000 cycles over its lifespan (a 30 percent improvement on before, despite the additional demands of the faster continuous shooting). In addition, according to the firm, it ought to be more accurate while operating at high shutter speeds. In addition to that, it has an X-sync speed that can go as high as 1/250 of a second.

The jump from 10 to 12 frames per second may not sound all that amazing at first, but when you take into account the fact that the camera is now centered on a larger sensor, there is a significantly larger mirror that has to be moved. This makes the jump sound much more spectacular. Westfall is eager to emphasize the following point: “The high-speed rate has been significantly enhanced.”

In the past, our full-frame cameras have only been able to give up to five frames per second, but this one can shoot at 12 frames per second, and if you’re willing to shoot JPEG, it can shoot at 14 frames per second. With the 1D X, you can have both rapid speed and full-frame quality in your photography.

Next to the lens mount on the EOS-1D X are now two programmable buttons; one set of buttons is dedicated to each position.

In consideration of the role of the flagship

It goes without saying that the ability to just take still photographs is no longer sufficient for a camera of this caliber, and the EOS-1D X is Canon’s most proficient video shooter to date. Even while the headline specification (1080p at 30, 25, or 24 frames per second) isn’t exactly revolutionary, it is evident that Canon has kept movie shooters in mind when developing this camera.

The Canon EOS-1D X provides users with two different compression choices, one of which is called “All-I.” This is a very low compression format that provides outstanding image quality and editability at the expense of enormous file sizes (a 16Gb card will hold around 6 minutes of footage). The alternative is a more conventional IPB compression that utilizes around 1/12 as much space as the original.

The Canon 1D X is the first Canon camera to have the capability of separating a single piece of film into many files. This allows the camera to overcome the 4 GB restriction of the card file system and record videos for up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds in length.

In addition, the camera is able to keep track of the amount of time that it has been recording by utilizing the conventional timecoding methods. Control over the microphone input volume is likewise more refined than ever before, with 64 manually adjustable levels, auto, and a wind-cut filter among the available options. During the shooting process, you may also choose to silence the sound recording.

The 1D X, according to Westfall, offers the capabilities that professional photographers will be seeking. He says, “I think people are looking for a mix between cost and performance – the cameras giving 60P at the type of bit rates that we can give tend to be in a higher price range.” And we are able to provide 720p video with a frame rate of sixty,’ he claims.

“Most of the people we work with are gravitating toward employing 24 in order to simulate a cinematic setting.” On the consumer market, there are cameras that deliver 60 frames per second, but they do not have the bit rate that we are providing. The majority of them have download speeds of less than 30 megabits per second, whilst ours may approach 50.

This is an obvious point of differentiation, and in our opinion, this product continues to push the envelope. When developing this product, compression was the primary area of concentration. The capacity to record lengthier videos was another feature that a number of individuals expressed interest in, and with this model, we have the potential to record videos that are over 30 minutes long.

It will be the most attractive device for anyone desiring movie shooting in a DSLR, he adds, adding that “within this spectrum of goods we provide, this is going to occupy the flagship position.”

Performance

  • Metrics typical of shooting in general (in FPS)
  • From the beginning till the first shot
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • RAW shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag 0.010.10.10.01 Canon EOS 1D X 0.080.150.20.01 Nikon D4 (Shorter bars indicate better performance)

The continuous shooting speed is 12 for the Canon EOS 1D X and 10 for the Nikon D4.
(A higher level of performance is indicated by longer bars.)

The 61-point autofocus system delivers outstanding results in a wide variety of shooting conditions. All of the focusing adjustments can be found on a single page inside the menu system of the camera, and they are quite comparable to the choices that are available on the 5D Mark III. Users have the option to select one of six different instances for automatic focus circumstances, ranging from a multi-purpose scenario to particular settings for things that are moving quickly. The Canon 1D X is in a league of its own when it comes to keeping up with subjects who are always on the go, such as children and skateboarders.

When set to One-Shot mode, the Canon 1D X automatically locks onto targets and achieves near-perfect focus virtually every time. There were very few instances in which the camera was unable to locate the right focus on solitary images, and in the cases in which it was unable to do so, it was primarily due to the fact that the user had made a mistake. The performance of the AI Servo was a little bit different; it was accurate around 95 percent of the time on our moving objects. You will surely obtain the photo you want because of the extremely high burst rate of the 1D X, even if not every single frame is focused precisely sharply on the exact same spot.

The quiet shooting mode on the 1D X still makes a noticeable amount of noise, in contrast to the nearly silent shooting mode on the 5D Mark III.

The 1D X has a continuous shooting mode that is ideal for photographers who capture action and sports. Its burst rate of 12 frames per second is simply unrivaled, and when shooting in full resolution JPEG, the camera doesn’t miss a beat; rather, it continues to take as many pictures as your memory card can store. According to Canon, a maximum of 38 frames may be captured in a RAW burst before the camera begins to slow down. Even when autofocus is off and the mirror is locked, the 1D X is capable of reaching 14 frames per second.

We were using a CF card with a speed of 600x, and we came up just short of this goal, reaching 30 frames before the camera paused to clean the buffer. After then, it will take around fifteen seconds to clear this burst, during which time you are free to shoot further shots if you so want. We have no doubt that if we had used a CF card that was even faster, we would have been able to easily meet Canon’s requirements.

According to Canon’s specifications, the battery is good for 1120 shots, and the shutter is good for 400,000 cycles

Image quality

The image quality is outstanding, which is to be expected from Canon’s top-tier SLR. The Canon 1D X creates photographs that have a gorgeous, smooth appearance at its lower ISO settings, with the results being clean (as predicted) up to and including the ISO 800 setting.

When taking JPEG photographs with the 1D X, noise starts to become discernible at an ISO setting of 3200, which is actually the first evidence of any kind of noise. The Canon EOS-1D X gave great results in the vast majority of shooting conditions when used in conjunction with the two lenses that were supplied to us for the purposes of review. These lenses were the 50mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.2 L.

The colors are vivid without being too saturated, and the results look to be commensurate with those produced by other Canon cameras like the 5D Mark III. The dynamic range is excellent, but the Nikon D4 managed to edge out the competition in our testing to take first place overall. In order to get the most out of each exposure, RAW files generate a large amount of detail that may be used; yet, when it comes to shooting in low light or at a high ISO, the 1D X holds its own with its JPEG files as well. The 1D X has very outstanding noise suppression capabilities. Even at its natively maximum ISO setting of 51,200, the camera produces shots that are quite useable and, with a little bit of noise reduction applied in post-processing, amazingly good.

The images captured at the maximum possible native ISO setting of 51,200 look fantastic. Even the noise seems like it was captured on film, with just very few color alterations (100 percent crop inset).

The white balance is excellent both inside and outdoors, with just a very tiny orange color cast under fluorescent lighting conditions. The color cast is quite minimal. We discovered that it was quite unusual that we needed to modify the temperature or the white balance in post-processing. Casts, on the other hand, are easy to rectify in post-processing. Due to the fact that we were unable to test the Canon 1D Mark IV, we were unable to compare the image quality of the two cameras in order to offer a more accurate comparison.

Video quality

Both the 1D X and the 5D Mark III provide users with a variety of options in terms of resolution and format when it comes to recording video. You can record in 1080p at 24 or 25 frames per second (All-I or IPB), 720p at 50 frames per second (All-I or IPB), or VGA resolution at 25 frames per second (IPB).

When compared to other Canon SLRs, the 1D X’s video recording capabilities are noticeably distinct. To begin, the movie shooting mode must be enabled from inside the menu system before it can be utilized in Live View. Then, expanded focus operates in a manner that is comparable to that of the 5D Mark III. The zoom button is positioned beneath the screen, and magnification is accomplished through the use of the control dial. The usual Set button has been replaced with the M-Fn button directly next to the shutter button. This allows you to start and stop recording using the M-Fn button.

When shooting video, you have access to the complete ISO range, and you can even manually adjust the exposure settings. Using the quiet control pad that is housed within the back dial, you are able to make adjustments to the audio and exposure settings while the recording is in progress.

The 1D X is able to create a video that has a very high-quality appearance to it, which is to be anticipated considering its heritage and the fact that it is descended from the 5D series. The photos are crisp (though to some extent, this will also rely on the quality of the glass in front of the sensor), and there is only a minor degree of rolling shutter noticeable. The images are sharp (though to some extent, this will also depend on the quality of the glass in front of the sensor).

Canon has decided to phase out its full-frame 1Ds Mark III and APS-H 1D Mark IV cameras in favor of a single model, the 18-megapixel full-frame 1D X, which is equipped with the Digic V processors. This move was made in order to streamline the company’s product lineup.

There is no denying that this camera is a high-powered piece of photographic equipment designed for experienced photographers. If the absurdly high continuous frame rate doesn’t tip you off to that fact, the price tag most definitely will.

Structure and characteristics

The Canon EOS-1D X digital SLR camera is dust- and splash-proof, as is proper for a camera of its caliber and stature. It also has a tough fit and finish, which helps to guarantee that the user experience is solid. It is built of magnesium alloy, which is durable and can withstand the harsh circumstances that sports and professional SLR are subjected to. Additionally, it has to be weatherproof to ensure that it will not be damaged by the elements.

The camera features two primary grips; one is designed for typical landscape photography, while the other is a close reproduction designed for taking portraits. Grips guarantee that the body may be held securely in the hand, and they place buttons and dials in an easily accessible location. Both shooting setups provide users access to the shutter button, as well as the AF-ON and exposure lock buttons. The Canon EOS-1D X is a monster of a camera, but thanks to its excellent ergonomic design, holding it doesn’t feel all that burdensome.

The LCD screen on the back of the camera has a resolution of 1.04 million dots and is 3.2 inches diagonally. It has a wide viewing angle of 170 degrees, making it simple to see even in bright outside lighting. In the center of the control wheel, much as on other high-end Canon models, you’ll find a Set button that allows you access to the many menu settings and shooting controls.

Two CompactFlash card slots are concealed behind a door at the back that may be locked. When shooting, the slots provide the photographer with four distinct functionalities: single card recording, overflow control, independent recording of photographs of varying sizes onto each card, and redundancy recording (or RAW and JPEG on either card).

The 1D X features a very wide native ISO range, going all the way up to 51,200, which promises a lot in terms of how well it will operate in low light. When shooting in low-light conditions, you will now have much better visibility of the autofocus points thanks to an upgrade to the camera’s firmware that came out in October 2012. If the firmware is not kept up to date, the points will be black (rather than the regular glowing red).

Because the menu systems and settings are virtually identical, users who are already comfortable with the 5D Mark III will have no trouble transitioning to the 1D X. Dual joysticks, when operated, create a tactile feel that is both firm and responsive. The fact that you need to use two hands to switch between PASM shooting modes is one of the usability quirks that the camera has. You need one hand to click the mode button, and the other hand to turn a dial. The viewfinder is quite large, very bright, and very effective, and it provides complete coverage.

Displaying and modifying shooting choices is possible through both the top and back LED panels of a Canon camera. In addition, Canon has included an actuation (shutter) counter inside the menus, which means that you do not need to take the camera in for servicing in order to obtain this information.

Even though the 1D X is designed to work with a wireless transmitter as well as a GPS unit, we were not provided with either accessory in order to conduct this assessment. In addition, the connectivity options should include a socket for a 3.5mm microphone, HDMI, a port for the remote control, and an Ethernet jack. It is true that there is no headphone jack on the 1D X, which makes it impossible to monitor audio while or after recording.

Connectivity

We will go through how to use the wired LAN feature of the 1D X in the next portion of this guide. Because a wireless adaptor was not made available to us, we are unable to comment on how well it works. Nevertheless, the functionality ought to be the same.

When you connect the 1D X to an Ethernet network, you will have access to the following four primary functions: FTP transfer, download and tethering through EOS Utility, WFT Server for download and tethering through a web browser, and the ability to view images on a DLNA TV by using the camera as a media server.

Once the Ethernet connection has been made, the EOS Utility provides you with a variety of various connectivity choices to choose from.

Because the Canon 1D X, just like the Nikon D4, does not have a DHCP server built-in, in order to take advantage of plug-and-play automatic configuration, you will need to connect the camera to an intermediary device, such as a router that features a DHCP server. In other words, you will need to manually configure the camera. If this is not the case, you will need to manually configure a static IP address on the camera as well as the PC.

As soon as the Ethernet connection to your personal computer has been made, the 1D X will keep the connection active.

Once the camera has been set up properly and is visible to the computer, the EOS Utility will be able to access the camera in a variety of different methods, allowing it to either tether or draw down photographs. Access to exposure settings, a preview image, and fine-tuning autofocus are all available when using the tethering option, just as they are when the camera is linked to a computer using the USB cable. When we evaluated the capability of tethering using Live View, we found that it was effective and relatively rapid, with just a very little amount of latency being evident.

Specifications

Body typeLarge SLR
Max resolution5184 x 3456
Other resolutions4608 x 3072, 3456 x 2304, 2592 x 1728
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels18 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors19 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 24 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDual Digic 5+
ISO100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600, 51200 (50, 102400 and 204800 with boost)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)204800
White balance presets6
Custom white balanceYes (5)
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points61
Lens mountCanon EF
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeClear View II TFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.76×
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject / scene modesNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (Hot-shoe plus Sync connector)
Flash modesE-TTL II Auto Flash, Metered Manual
Continuous drive14.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec, remote)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedAverageSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps, 1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (60, 50 fps)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
MicrophoneMono
SpeakerNone
Storage typesCompact Flash (Type I or II), UDMA compatible
Storage includedNone
HDMIYes (Mini)
WirelessOptional
Wireless notesLC-5
Remote controlYes (N3 connector)
Environmentally sealedYes (Water and dust resistant)
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion LP-E4N rechargeable battery & charger
Dimensions158 x 164 x 83 mm (6.22 x 6.46 x 3.27″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes (by cable and PC)
GPSOptional
GPS notesGP-E1, GPE2

Final Verdict

The Canon EOS-1D X is a fantastic single-lens reflex camera that will not let down consumers who seek the very best from the gear they use since it was designed specifically for professional photographers who shoot sports and other demanding subjects. This digital single-lens reflex camera does not include a headphone monitoring feature, which is a huge letdown for anyone who wants to use it to record high-quality video for professional use. This feature was included on the 5D Mark III.

Pros& Cons

Good For
  • Unrivaled excellence in construction
  • Twenty frames per second with an electronic shutter
  • capture at 16 frames per second using a mechanical shutter.
  • 20-megapixel full-frame sensor with 5.5-kilobytes of raw video resolution
Need Improvment
  • CFexpress memory cards, which might be rather pricey, are required.
  • EF lenses are no longer in development
  • The future will not have mirrors.
  • There is limited support for the HIF picture format.
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Image Quality
Features
Value
Probability
Overall score
Despite its outstanding features and performance, the 1D X is a bit of a niche camera. For most shooters eager to explore the world of full-frame, our Editors' Choice Canon EOS 6D is a superior choice. It's smaller and lighter and doesn't focus or shoot as rapidly, but still produces great image quality and takes the same EF lenses as the 1D X. The EOS 5D Mark III stands in between the two in Canon's full-frame family

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Canon EOS 1D X Review - An impressive tool with a monster ISO, but don’t forget its in-built infrared filterDespite its outstanding features and performance, the 1D X is a bit of a niche camera. For most shooters eager to explore the world of full-frame, our Editors' Choice Canon EOS 6D is a superior choice. It's smaller and lighter and doesn't focus or shoot as rapidly, but still produces great image quality and takes the same EF lenses as the 1D X. The EOS 5D Mark III stands in between the two in Canon's full-frame family