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- Canon EOS 1D X
- Canon's 1D X promises to be the do-it-all professional body of choice.
Canon EOS 1D X Digital Camera Review$6,800.00
The Canon 1D X handles as well as you'd expect a top of the line professional camera body to handle. It's not plush, it doesn't have removable grips or a cute leather case. It's a workhorse. The grip is sturdy, the body is well-balanced, and the controls are placed where they can be accessed quickly and easily. That said, the camera is a joy to shoot with once you get adjusted to the control placement. If you have medium to large hands, the button placement is nearly perfect. This is obviously subjective, but most of the people on our staff who handled the camera felt it was carefully designed to accommodate a wide range of hands. It's usable by those with small hands, of course, but reaching some controls may require an extra hand for balance.
The Canon 1D X combines video and still photography controls very well, as most of the buttons and dials either work double duty or are out of the way so as to not be a bother. This is important, as the 1D X will have to live dual lives as a still and video camera in many professional organizations. It's clear that the main priority in the camera's design is still photography, but the video controls are good enough that most videographers will be satisfied.
The biggest improvement to handling with the 1D X is certainly to the layout and design of the camera when shooting using the portrait grip. While it seemed like more of an afterthought on some previous 1D-series cameras, the portrait grip now feels almost as comfortable as the landscape grip. It now has its own multi-controller joystick for navigating the menu, AF-on, AE-lock, AF point select, and customizable multi-function button. The portrait grip feels just slightly more comfortable to use than it does on the D4, despite the similar design.
The one thing we still can't figure out is why cameras don't organize the menu so that it's usable when holding it via the portrait grip. Even though the camera can tell when it's oriented on its side, the menu displays as though you were holding the camera normally. The vertical grip also lacks an exposure compensation button, and neither the depth of field button nor the multi-function button on that side offer it as an option.
Buttons & Dials
It seems both Canon and Nikon came to the same conclusion when redesigning their respective flagship DSLRs this time around: more is better. While the D4 doesn't quite go to the same degree as the 1D X, there are many of the same touches. The 1D X now integrates a second joystick onto the back panel for portrait grip shooters, just as the D4 did. Both cameras also grabbed some popular control features from their prosumer models, integrating them into the professional bodies.
For the 1D X, our favorite addition is the camera's "Q" quick control menu. The same menu that's available on cameras like the Canon Rebel T3i is on the 1D X, offering quick and easy access to some basic control features. It's best used when shooting in live view or videos, but it does have its place for still shooters as well looking for quick access to things like color modes.
In general, however, most of our staff felt the 1D X handled extraordinarily well. The buttons and dials are all placed in appropriate places, the index finger falls naturally on the shutter releases, and the controls you'd need to reach with a single hand are within reach. There's some misses—our staff member with the smallest hands struggled to reach a few of the buttons on the camera—but for the most part the 1D X puts more control at your fingertips than previous 1D-series models, whether you're shooting stills or video.
The rear LCD has a resolution of 1.04 million dots (sub-pixels), and a diagonal measurement of 3.2 inches. That puts it among the top of the class for a standard DSLR. The monitor is fixed into the camera, so for videography you'll have to use an external monitor or deal with having to look silly to get certain shots.
The secondary displays on the Canon 1D X show a bevy of useful information. Most of your shooting information—exposure values, compensation, autofocus modes, ISO speed—are contained to the top plate LCD, while the rear LCD displays information on files, image size and quality, and card information. The displays are useful for separating out information without things getting too cluttered, and both secondary displays can be lit up with a button press, though the buttons lack the backlit labels that the D4 has.
The viewfinder on the 1D X is large and bright, with 100% coverage of the frame. It has a magnification of approximately 0.76x, with a 20mm eyepoint. The viewfinder is adjustable, with a removable eyecup that comes with the camera. The finder makes acquiring and confirming focus very easy, with plenty of information presented around the frame. If you're doing long exposures with the camera, there's also a lever to cover the viewfinder so that there's no extra light leaking onto the sensor.