The Peregrine is the fastest bird in the world; the EOS-1D X is the fastest D-SLR! Period.
It can capture images up to 14 frames per second in full resolution (with Autofocus Tracking and exposure metering turned ‘off ’ and the reflex mirror raised); 12 fps using AF Tracking and metering ‘on’, using a UDMA CF card. That’s blistering fast! It is built like a battle tank and can be used as a weapon in an emergency! Canon announced the 1D X around the end of October 2011, but the product actually entered the Indian market almost a year later.
Design And Build Quality Designed as a professional tool for advanced photographers – professionals and amateurs alike – the Canon EOS 1D X’s body is made with magnesium alloy that offers remarkable ‘battle tank’ build quality with features more advanced than any other Canon D-SLR before! The weather-sealed body is superbly finished; the grip is deep and the index finger falls naturally on to the shutter release button. The vertical grip too is well designed, making the 1D X very comfortable to hold and use.
The Canon EOS-1D X is a D-SLR using a newly-designed 18.1 megapixel full-frame (24 x 36mm) CMOS sensor, complimented by Dual DIGIC 5+ image processors for out-of-the-world processing speeds (approximately 17 times faster than Canon’s DIGIC 4) and superior control over digital noise at high ISO sensitivities. The image processor uses a 4-channel Analog-to- Digital Converter (A/D Converter) that aids in obtaining such blazing shooting speeds. The 1D X is a ‘pro’ model, using magnesium alloy body for extra strength and durability. The body grip is newly designed and the body itself is dust and weather resistant. A newly designed Ultrasonic Wave Motion Cleaning (UWMC) system takes care of any dust that may settle on the Low- Pass Filter. The camera comes bundled with Canon’s Digital Professional Pro software which includes the Dust Delete Data feature, that could be used to clean up any dust that escapes the UWMC.
Every camera needs to autofocus accurately and quickly. And when you consider that the 1D X has to keep up with 12 fps with autofocus, things get even more difficult. To that end, the 1D X employs a newly developed 61-point High Density Reticular Autofocus system which uses a staggering AF point arrangement to ensure greater accuracy. With f/2.8 or faster lenses, 5 central dual-cross-type AF points are activated; 20 outer cross-type points get activated when f/4 lenses are used; 21 central cross-type with f/5.6 lenses and 1 central cross-type point gets activated when a lens as slow as f/8 (or a lens + extender combination that results in f/8) is used (only if the 1D X’s firmware is changed to Version 1.1.1). If you select AF point expansion and the narrowest aperture is f/8, then the four AF points surrounding the central point will act as AF-Assist points. The reader is advised to make a careful study of the AF points selection in order to get the most out of the camera. AF modes are One-Shot, AI Servo and Manual. The 1D X can shoot in light as low as -2 EV (full-moon light). The 1D X can select AF points in 6 ways: single point, single + 4 adjacent points, single + 8 adjacent points, zone selection (the camera’s 61 AF points are divided into 9 zones. All AF points in the selected zone are used to automatically select the point of focus), Auto AF point selection and spot selection. It further has a dedicated AF Configuration Tool for fine-tuning AI Servo autofocus to suit a particular subject or scene by a ‘case’ from 1 to 6. Cases 1 to 6 are six combinations of subject-tracking sensitivity, acceleration/deceleration tracking, and AF point auto switching settings. For flying or fast-moving subjects, the camera uses a 100,000-pixel RGB metering sensor that assists the AF system when in Automatic Point selection mode. The camera’s Intelligent Tracking and Recognition (iTR) AF recognises the subject based on colour and face and tracks it. The 1D X’s Intelligent Subject Analysis (iSA) System uses the face and colour to calculate the correct exposure. Four exposure metering are available:Evaluative (linked to all AF points), Partial metering (approx.6.5% of viewfinder, at center), Center-weighted average, and Spot metering. Shooting modes are Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, and Bulb.
The EOS 1D X lets you shoot in very dark as well as very bright conditions, offering an ISO sensitivity range of 100-51,200, which can be further enhanced to 50 (L), 102,400 (H1) and 204,800 (H2), plus Auto ISO. Using Auto ISO, the user can set Auto ISO range as well as the minimum shutter speed after which Auto ISO should kick in. Auto Lighting Optimizer that automatically corrects for image brightness, can be enabled. Shutter speeds range from 30 seconds – 1/8000sec, plus Bulb. Noise Reduction is automatically applied to long exposures and high ISO shots. Additionally, a newly designed structure of photo receptors on the imaging sensor ensures about 2-stop increase in sensitivity, which translates to higher ISOs with the lowest noise of any EOS digital camera. Exposure compensation (+/- 5EV in 1/3 EV increments) is possible. Multiple exposure (2-9 exposures) can be set. If enabled, peripheral illumination correction and chromatic aberration correction can be automatically applied. The shutter is tested for 400,000 cycles (approximately equivalent to 11,111 rolls of 36 exposure 35mm film). X-sync is available up to 1/250sec.
White Balance on the 1D X can be set to Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent, Flash, Custom and Colour Temperature (Kelvin) settings (between 2500-10,000K). Personal White Balance settings (5 settings), WB corrections and WB bracketing is also possible. The following are the Picture Styles that further refine user control: Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, and 3 User Defined settings (Picture Styles let you select sharpness, contrast, and saturation for JPEG images to your personal liking).
The viewfinder is eye-level pentaprism type and the focussing screen is interchangeable. An eyepiece shutter, that prevents light entering the viewfinder (when the camera is on a tripod) and causing exposure problems, is built-in and so also is dioptre correction. Images can be captured using two UDMA mode-7 CF cards in JPEG, Raw (14-bit) or Raw + JPEG. JPEG quality can be set to 10 levels. The following are some file sizes:
L (Large) – 5184 x 3456 pixels, approximately 17.90 Megapixel
M1 (Medium 1) – 4608 x 3072 pixels, approx. 14.20 MP
M2 (Medium 2) – 3456 x 2304 pixels, approx. 8.0 MP
S (Small) – 2592 x 1728 pixels, approx.
Raw – 5184 x 3456 pixels, approximately 17.90 Megapixel
M-Raw – 3888 x 2592 pixels, approx.
S-Raw – 2592 x 1728 pixels, approx.
The 1D X uses a 3.2-inch TFT Colour, liquid-crystal monitor with 7 brightness levels and a resolution of 1,04 million dots. During in-camera post-processing of Raw files, the user can control the following parameters: Brightness correction, White Balance, Picture Style, Auto Lighting Optimizer, High ISO noise reduction, JPEG image recording quality, Colour space, Peripheral Illumination correction, Distortion correction and Chromatic aberration correction. 31 Custom Functions are available. And up to 10 sets of camera settings can be registered in a card.
The camera is compatible with a newly designed Wi-Fi transmitter that allows the 1D X to be connected to a Smartphone or a laptop Internet Browser. The camera body weighs approximately 1580 g; with the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, approximately 2510 g.
Though heavy, the 1D X balanced perfectly in our hands. The camera is feature filled and unless you are aware of what each feature does, it can be very difficult to set the camera perfectly for optimal image quality (the same goes for such high-end models from other manufacturers). For this reason, the 1D X offers a Feature Guide that explains the menu options. Compared to the user interface in some competing models, the 1D X’s UI seemed more complicated. But again, it is a matter of practice and getting used to. The electronic level and the grid display in the viewfinder and the LCD monitor is a big help in keeping the camera level.
We tested the Canon EOS 1D X using the 24-70mm f/2.8L and 70-200 f/4 L IS lenses. The following parameters were set on the camera: Colour space: Adobe RGB; Picture Style: Neutral; Peripheral illumination and Chromatic aberration corrections: Enabled; Auto Lighting Optimizer: Standard; Long exposure Noise Reduction: On; High ISO NR: Standard. Images were extremely sharp and the colour balance was excellent. White Balance performance was very good, except for AWB in Shade, which gave a slight warm cast. Autofocus was very fast in good lighting but we did notice it struggling a bit in low-light/low-contrast situations. The 1D X’s metering (Evaluative, Partial, Centre-weighted and Spot) all performed as expected.
Canon claim 100 frames buffer and up to 12 fps ( JPEG Large/with best quality) using a high speed UDMA card. Using our much slower card (Lexar, 133x), we measured the buffer size at 75 frames ( JPEG Large/with best quality) giving us approximately 10 frames per second. Similar was the result when shooting Raw. With Raw + JPEG (Large /with best quality) combined, the buffer filled up in 18 frames at 9 frames per second. We did not test Canon’s claim of 14 fps with ‘Autofocus Tracking and exposure metering turned ‘off ’ and the reflex mirror raised’ since we felt that in actual shooting situations, most users were not likely to turn off AF Tracking, exposure metering, and raise the mirror before shooting.
The native file size ( JPEG L/with best quality) is 102.5MB ( 11.52 x 17.28 inches at 300 ppi; 14.4 x 21.6 inches at 240ppi)). At 16.7% screen size, image quality was excellent at all ISO settings (though one could notice a slight softness between the lower and higher ISO images). At 50% screen size, noise was very well controlled at all except the highest ISO sensitivities of 25,600 and 51,200. At 100% screen size, images were relatively noise free up to ISO 1600, but if necessary, I would use ISO up to 6400. Needless to say that for most of our day to day images, we do not enlarge up to 100% and hence this makes the 1D X one of the best noise-free cameras today. I would rate the noise level at ISO 51,200 to be similar to a badly processed ISO 400 B&W film. That speaks a lot about the 1D X. Clearly the 1D X is the best camera in the market as far as low light performance is concerned.
Value For Money
The 1D X body is available at an MRP of Rs.4,29,995. It is a fabulous machine but is almost 23% costlier than its closest competitor, the Nikon D4.
+ Excellent noise control
+ Excellent image quality
+ Amazing burst speed
+ 419-page user manual! (Good, but will everyone read it?)
+ Excellent movie quality
– ‘On/Off’ switch and changing exposure mode need two hands
– Some vertical grip controls need two hands
– Very expensive
– AF points absent at top and bottom (horizontal framing)
– Highlights as well as shadows cannot be optimised concurrently
|Design and Build Quality
|Value for Money
The EOS 1D X is the world’s fastest camera in terms of burst speed. It offers excellent image quality, both for stills and movies. Control over digital noise is of the highest order. What Canon needs to look into is the very high cost.