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|| News Item: Posted 2012-10-01

Hands-on with the Canon EOS-1DX

By Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson
Now that the Canon EOS-1D X is out, and that I have had plenty of time to get acquainted with it I find it is my go-to camera for almost all my photo needs. The 1D X combines the best of everything Canon has to offer, while at the same time fixing big issues and shortcomings from past models.

The 1D X delivers beautiful 18-megapixel full frame images. The images are cleaner and have better dynamic range. I am able to recover highlights and shadows very easy without introducing additional noise.

High ISO files showed a substantial improvement, at 3200 ISO my images looked similar to ISO 1600 on the 1D Mark IV. I’m not hesitant going up to ISO 10,000 or 12,800 for low-light events like high school football. I use Nik Define for noise reduction on ISO’s 800 and higher backing off the default settings by 30 percent results in images will very little noticeable loss in detail or sharpness.

When comparing RAW files against similar shot RAW files of the 1D Mark IV, the 1D X has a much flatter even tone. The 1D Mark IV defaulted the contrast too high, the shadows too dark, and the red punched too much. It could always be fixed with a raw converter but it was annoying to have to start out that way every time. Canon has fixed this, and it is no longer an issue. I had less processing to do on the files speeding up my workflow considerably.

(For a detailed list of spec on this EOS 1D-X, go to this link:

1D X’s new AF system with 61 points is nothing like the old AF systems found in pervious 1D series cameras. The new system acts very solid. Fast at acquiring initial focus and stays on target throughout the frame burst.

The 1D X shares the same AF system with the 5D Mark III the only difference is the 1D X has a 100,000 pixel RGB metering system that’s used with Zone AF modes. With Zone AF modes the EOS iTR system will automatically focus upon the nearest detected subject, and then auto select the nearest point or points within the zone to track the subject. Confusing, but once you use it; it works very well doing a phenomenal job.

AF expansion finally works the way Canon designed it too. I haven’t noticed a difference between the two AF expansion modes, four points vs. eight points. Both are accurate at tracking and provided precise results. With my 1D Mark III’s and Mark IV’s I stuck to AF single point. Single point works very well in low light and low contrast conditions. Single point spot allows for even more precise AF.

The Confusing autofocus customs functions from the 1D Mark III and Mark IV have been moved to a new “AF Configuration Tool”. The menu has six shooting scenes labeled Case 1 to Case 6. Each case is designed for a different type of scenario. I found Case 4, (which is for subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly) to be the most accurate for fast moving sports subjects. The various cases are nice for quickly changing focus requirements without having to mess around with multiple custom functions.

I like having dual CF card slots over one CF and one SD that was used in previous bodies. I found I needed buy the Lexar 1000x cards to really take advantage of the 12 FPS. Using slower cards even the SanDisk Extreme Pro were too slow and I found myself waiting for the buffer to clear when trying to have RAW on one card and large JPEG on the other.

Auto white balance is accurate. It works as described, producing correct white balance temperature. I like that I can still save white balance presets for venues I shoot at often.

The 1D X is an awesome camera, capable of capturing amazing full-frame images under any conditions.

(Jordon Johnson currently shoots for the Minnesota Vikings, Timberwolves, Lynx and Totino-Grace High School. You can see examples of his work on his Sports Shooter member page:

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