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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
Kit Lens & Mount
We tested the Canon 1D X with the 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens. This is the "original" version of the lens, as version II is just shipping as of this publication. The "original" version that we've used is notorious for having a wild copy-to-copy variation, but we've double-checked our numbers with the folks over at LensRentals.com, who have tested over 120 copies of the lens. All the sharpness numbers for our copy meet their acceptable standard, so our numbers are representative of the quality you could expect with a Canon 1D X and an off-the-shelf version of the original 24-70mm f/2.8L.
The new version of this lens is supposed to be dramatically sharper, however, than the lens we tested. This will impact our results and our samples, many of which look soft out of the camera (with no sharpening applied). We encourage anyone considering the 1D X to pair with either version of the 24-70mm f/2.8L lens to read Roger Cicala, founder of LensRentals.com, and his take on the differences between the two lenses.
The new version of the lens simply wasn't available as of testing. If you are pairing the Canon 1D X with a sharper prime or the newer 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens, you will likely get better results than we did with the original version of the lens, of course. This 24-70mm f/2.8 lens does, however, match up better with the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens that we used to test the Nikon D4, the 1D X's chief competition.
The Canon 1D X uses the standard Canon EF mount. It is compatible with EF lenses only, as the more compact EF-S lenses will not work with the body. The lens mount is all metal, as you'd expect, with a standard lens release on the front of the body.
The image sensor on the 1D X is a full-frame (36mm x 24mm) CMOS image sensor with a total resolution of 18.1 megapixels. For those who perhaps aren't familiar, the full-frame image sensor is about 2.5 times larger than a normal APS-C image sensor. Full-frame image sensors are designed to replicate the image area of 35mm film, which will allow you to use 35mm film lenses and achieve the same angle of view as you would on film.
Convergence areas of different sensor sizes compared
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.
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 Canon 1D X offers a ton of connectivity options for the working professional photographer. As is standard, there is a mini USB 2.0 port on the left side of the camera, hidden behind a port along with an HDMI output. There's also an Ethernet jack on the left side of the camera, which is very useful for connecting the camera to the wider world (or just transferring files off). The wired LAN port has its own 115-page instruction manual, though, so get ready to spend some time configuring it if you're not up to speed on network protocols and troubleshooting.
The wired LAN allows more flexibility than you'll get with most cameras, is a fully compatible Gigabit Ethernet port, and has three major functions. The first is the camera's ability to transfer images to an FTP server automatically as they are being shot. The camera can also function remotely from a computer using the EOS Utility software that comes with the camera. Most interestingly, the camera can function also as a server, with remote shooting functions available for up to three different users at a time, accessible through any home web browser. Both forms of wired shooting also let you view the images on the memory card, and there's also DLNA functionality when connecting the camera directly to a DLNA-compatible device, such as a television.
The camera can also use Canon's wireless transfer device, the WFT-E6 Wi-Fi unit. With this, all of the same wired LAN functions are available wirelessly. Users can also easily use this (or the wired LAN port, in a more complicated setup) to sync time codes across multiple 1D X cameras. This will allow you to easily record video or take sequences of shots that are synchronized with several cameras for later use.
As on most pro-style bodies, the battery on the Canon 1D X integrates right into the outer shell of the body, sliding into the portrait grip. The Canon uses the LP-E4 battery pack, as well as the newer LP-E4N. Either battery can be used with the body, and the camera comes with an LP-E4N as well as the appropriate charger. The 1D X's spec sheet on Canon's website did not list an updated CIPA rating, but we found we were able to capture several thousand shots on a single charge, as well as a few dozen short video clips, before needing a charge.
The Canon 1D X sticks with the dual Compact Flash card slots for the new body, with the ports placed in the usual position within the standard landscape grip. The dial to release the memory card port has been moved down slightly from its position on the 1D Mark IV, but it's otherwise the same action to unlock. It's a more complicated motion than the simple lever that is on most bodies, securely keeping the CF cards in place when you want them to, as it's almost impossible to accidentally open the card door.