Canon's latest professional DSLR flagship provides functionality and performance to meet most photographers' requirements.Photo Review was given a hands-on preview of Canon's latest pro-camera, the oddly-named EOS-1D X, just under a week before it was due to be announced worldwide. As a result we are able to present a 'first look ' at a powerful and versatile full-frame DSLR that combines impressive high-speed shooting with a wide range of functions to help photographers obtain excellent image quality in almost any situation. . . [more]
Photo Review was given a hands-on preview of Canon's latest pro-camera, the oddly-named EOS-1D X, just under a week before it was due to be announced worldwide. As a result we are able to present a 'first look ' at a powerful and versatile full-frame DSLR that combines impressive high-speed shooting with a wide range of functions to help photographers obtain excellent image quality in almost any situation.
The new EOS-1D X combines the best features of the current EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS-1D Mark IV and adds some new and innovative functions to meet the needs of today's professional photographers. (Source: Canon.
Features of the new camera include a larger 18.1 megapixel (effective) CMOS sensor that provides a significant step-up from the EOS-1D Mark IV in performance and functionality.
The new camera is scheduled for release in March 2012 through Canon Professional Dealers. Pricing has still to be determined.
Build and Ergonomics
As expected, the EOS-1D X continues to offer professional standard robustness, boasting a magnesium-alloy chassis that is light yet tough and durable. Dust and moisture sealing is applied at 76 locations to ensure reliability under arduous shooting or extreme environmental conditions.
Front and rear views of the magnesium-alloy chassis of the EOS-1D X. (Source: Canon.)
The shutter mechanism has been tested to 400,000 cycles and carbon-fibre shutter blades ensure low friction during rapid bursts of shots. The mirror mechanism has also been strengthened to tolerate high burst speeds with reduced mirror and sub-mirror bounce.
In response to user feedback, the user interface in the EOS-1D X has been improved with redesigned buttons and controls and improved menu structures. The front panel features new Multi-Function buttons that enable users to assign customised functions such as Electronic Level Display or Registered AF so they can be accessed by touch, without requiring the photographer to look away from the subject.
Front view of the EOS-1D X without a lens, showing the new multi-function buttons beside the lens mount. (Source: Canon.)
Other new buttons designed for direct touch control include a Live View/Viewfinder button, a Quick Control button for changing settings with the right hand and a Multi-Controller for easy AF point selection when shooting with the camera held vertically. A new Camera Guidance feature provides a clear and concise explanation of individual settings when the Info button is pressed.
Rear view of the EOS-1D X showing the dual CF card slots. (Source: Canon.)
Many frequently-used operations, particularly those associated with autofocusing, have been consolidated into the Menu to provide consistent, easily located controls. They have also been organised hierarchically for easy, logical access.
The top control panel has a similar layout to the EOS-1D Mark IV but a new button has been added for accessing the white balance sub-menu. The FEL button has been replaced by a programmable M-Fn button.
The top panel of the EOS-1D X. (Source: Canon.)
Like its predecessor, the EOS-1D X has dual memory card slots for CompactFlash and SD memory cards and offers full support for the latest high-speed, high-capacity products.
Canon has also beefed-up its EOS Integrated Cleaning System with the addition of a new 'carrier wave' type of vibration that is designed to remove extremely light weight dust particles that may become visible near the minimum aperture (f/22 or higher). A new System Status Display also keeps users up to date with performance and service-related information such as shutter count.
The Ultrasonic Wave Motion sensor cleaning module, which is new to the EOS-1D X. (Source: Canon.)
Sensor and Image Processing
A larger (36 x 24 mm) 18.1 megapixel chip in the EOS-1D X replaces the 16.1-megapixel 27.9 x 18.6 mm sensor in the EOS-1D Mark IV. Although the actual difference in resolution between the two cameras is relatively small, the EOS-1D X's sensor provides larger photosites with a pixel pitch of 6.95 microns to improve the camera's light-capturing capabilities. Gapless microlenses have been overlaid on each photosite to further improve light capture within the photosite well.
These improvements in light-gathering have enabled Canon to reduce shutter release lag to a barely-perceptible 36 milliseconds and extend the new camera's sensitivity range to cover ISO 100 to 51200 in its normal range. Extensions to ISO 50 (L) below the normal starting point and ISO 102400 (H1) and ISO 204800 (H2) at the upper extremes provide settings to handle all light levels with low image noise.
The image processing system in the new camera is also new and offers a 30% increase in processing speeds over the EOS-1D Mark IV. The new Dual DiG!C 5+ chips include four integrated circuits that provide direct read from the image channels at 14-bit depth. The top continuous shooting speed is raised to 14 fps with mirror lock-up for fixed-focus shooting and to record motion trails as JPEGs or 12 fps with autofocusing for JPEG and CR2.RAW files.
As expected, the EOS-1D X supports both JPEG and CR2.RAW file capture, with three JPEG sizes and two compression levels available plus three raw file sizes. Any raw file size can be combined with any JPEG size and compression level for RAW+JPEG capture for additional versatility. The table below provides a guide to typical file sizes.
5184 x 3456
3456 x 2304
2592 x 1728
5184 x 3456
3888 x 2592
2592 x 1728
5184 x 3456 + 5184 x 3456
3888 x 2592 + 5184 x 3456
2592 x 1728 + 5184 x 3456
Although the EOS-1D Mark IV supported Full HD video recording it suffered from the same problem as other video-capable DLSR cameras: clips weren't fully compatible with professional video codecs, despite supporting the standard MPEG-4 recording with H.264 compression and PCM audio. This made it difficult to integrate video from DSLR cameras into professional footage at the editing desk.
The EOS-1D X has gone some of the way to resolve this issue by providing a choice between the ALL-I Intra-coded Frame format, which captures all frames as key frames is ideal for situations when individual frame grabs are required. Alternatively, the high-quality, high-compression IPB format is available. It uses differential compression based around predicting the content of future frames, with reference to both previously captured frames and subsequent frames.
When filming with ALL-I, file sizes will be roughly three times larger than with IPB. It is also easier to edit to an individual frame without degrading the image quality. Despite producing larger files, ALL-I compressed footage actually requires less computer processing power than IPB or IPP. Consequently playback is smoother on lower specification computers.
Time code support is also included using the industry standard of Hour:Minute:Second:Frame as defined by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). The frame count runs from 00 to 29 frames. When filming at 30fps, frames are counted to 29 and 1 second is added to the 30th frame to return the counter to 00.Four settings are available for time coding:Count Up, Start time setting, Movie Rec. Count and Movie play count.
and The EOS-1D Mark IV's lack of direct video recording has been addressed by enabling one of the Multi-Function buttons to be programmed as a movie on/off button. The button beside the shutter release is well suited to this purpose.
Manual control over audio recording is also available both before and during shooting via the touch-sensitive arrow pad. Photographers can change camera settings soundlessly so no camera noises are included in recorded soundtracks.
The new sensor and image processor also improves movie recordings by reducing the incidence of moiré and false colour in clips. The camera's expanded ISO range is also available for movie recording, enabling clips to be captured in very low light levels. To assist with shooting continuity, the camera automatically segments files for each 4GB of recorded content.
What Else is New?
Despite having re-jigged the AF system in the previous model, Canon has introduced a new AF system in the EOS-1D X. With 61 AF points (up from 45) and including 41 cross (up from 39) and a new AF point array that is 4 mm wider than the EOS-1D Mark IV's, it uses a different layout that enables lines of cross points to be applied across a wider area. This makes it better able to handle subjects with confusing patterns as well as low-contrast situations.
The wider AF sensor array pattern used in the EOS-1D X.
The location of the cross sensors (crossed lines) and unidirectional sensors (vertical lines) in the EOS-1D X's AF sensor array.
A new Ai Servo AF III algorithm improves focus tracking speed and stability. In addition, the new AF system has improved environmental stability and can operate in light levels as low as -2EV. The entire array is usable at apertures down to f/4 with all Canon lenses and the central section of the array can be used for focusing at f/2.8.
For the first time, the menu system in the EOS-1D X includes a page where photographers can fine-tune autofocusing to suit different subjects. The AF Configuration tool menu provides six 'cases' covering different pre-set scenarios. Photographers can adjust four parameters in each case: tracking sensitivity, acceleration and deceleration, AF point switching and AF point selection and subject recognition.
Autofocusing is further enhanced by a new, semi-automatic Smart AF Adjustment feature that accurately adjusts camera and lens focus and records the settings, to ensure focusing is optimised for every combination. The feature will be ideal for all photographers who use multiple camera and lens combinations.
In addition, the EOS I-TR system provides 'intelligent' tracking AF by taking account of colour and facial recognition to improve focus tracking. Photographers can set the camera to focus on a particular face or colour and up to 35 faces can be stored in memory and identified in a frame.
Canon has also introduced a new ‘intelligent' AE system that employs a 100,000-pixel RGB AE sensor in the viewfinder housing plus a DiG!C 4 image processor dedicated to AE. These work together in a new EOS-ISA (intelligent subject analysis) system, which enables subject recognition based on brightness, colour and facial features. The system should be a boon to sports photographers when photographing fast and often erratic moving subjects.
This is the first time Canon has integrated colour information into exposure metering. The new system is also expected to provide significant improvements to auto white balance performance as well as E-TTL flash information.
Some new additions offer photographers scope for more creative shooting. Among them is support for multiple exposures, enabling up to nine frames to be superimposed. Photographers can determine the exposure levels for each of these frames.
Users can rate images and video clips in the camera and schedule playback according to file ratings. In-camera copyright data embedding is also available.
The Dual Axis Electronic Level introduced in the EOS-7D has been ported into the EOS-1D X, where it provides indications of both pitch and roll angles in the viewfinder or on the LCD monitor. The EOS-1D X also supports image processing adjustments (automatic contrast and brightness corrections) for Auto Lighting Optimiser, Highlight Tone Priority and Peripheral Illumination Correction inherited from the EOS-1D Mark IV and introduces new corrections for chromatic aberration during shooting.
These features provide a faster workflow for those requiring press-ready images direct from the camera. Support is also included for 1000 Base-T Gigabit Internet connections, enabling photographers to transmit images directly from the camera to other internet-enabled devices.
Concurrent with the unveiling of the EOS-1D X, Canon has also announced two new accessories. The compact Wireless File Transmitter unit (WFT-E6) offers extended functionality for the EOS-1D X in the form of synchronised shooting with multiple camera units, remote control shooting, image review and download using an Internet browser, and high-speed Wi-Fi or Bluetooth file transfer.
Canon will also introduce a new GPS receiver (GP-E1), which adds location and direction information to images during shooting for such uses organising news coverage and research. Bundled software enables tracking of shooting locations on a map. Together, these devices will extend the appeal of this camera for news agencies, police and security organisations due to the ability to effectively catalogue images and synchronise units for purposes such as 3D image creation.
Canon is currently celebrating two important EOS milestones. September 2011 marked production of the company's 50-millionth EOS-series SLR camera, with 10 million units being manufactured in the last 16 months. The first professional model, the EOS-1, was introduced in 1989, with the first pro DSLR, the EOS-1D announced in September 2001.
It will also manufacture its 70 millionth EF lens before the end of this month, with 10 million units being produced in the last nine months. First introduced in March 1987, along with Canon's EOS SLR camera system, the current EF lens line-up, comprises 66 models ranging super-wide-angle to super-telephoto zoom lenses and including a wide variety of special purpose lenses.
Image sensor: 36 x 24 mm large single-plate CMOS sensor with 18.1 megapixels of effective resolution
Image processor: Dual DiG!C 5+
A/D processing: 14-bit
Lens mount: Canon EF
Focal length crop factor: 1x
Image formats: Stills - JPEG (1o compression options), CR2.RAW, sRAW, RAW+JPEG; Movies - MOV (Video: H.264 intra frame/inter frame, Audio: Linear PCM) with support for ALL-1 and IPB formats
Image Sizes: Stills - JPEG: 5184 x 3456, 4608x3072, 3456 x 2304, 2592 x 1728; CR2.RAW: 5184 x 3456; mRAW: 3888 x 2592, sRAW: 2592 x 1728; Movies: Movies - 1920 x 1080 at 60 / 30 / 25 / 24 fps; 1280 x 720 at 60 / 50 fps; 640 x 480 at 60 / 50 fps
Image Stabilisation: Lens-based
Dust removal: New 'carrier wave' vibration-based self-cleaning sensor unit
Shutter speed range: 30 to 1/8000 sec. plus Bulb, X-sync at 1/250 sec.
Exposure Compensation: +/-5 EV in 1/3- or 1/2-EV increments
Exposure bracketing: AEB +/- 2EV in 1/3-stop or ½-stop increments
Self-timer: 2 or 10 second delay
Focus system: TTL phase detection AF sensor with 61 selectable AF points (incl. 41 cross-type points); sensitivity to f/4 for all points, f/2.8 for central points); Orientation linked AF point selection and AF point registration; AI Servo II AF algorithm; Automatic point-of-focus compensation for spectral source variation; Spot AF; Subject Tracking AF available
Focus modes: One-Shot AF, AI Servo AF, AI Focus AF, Manual focusing (MF)
Exposure metering: 100,000-pixel RGB AE sensor plus DiG!C 4 image processor dedicated to AE; 256-zone TTL full-aperture metering with Evaluative, centre-weighted average, partial (approx. 8% of viewfinder at centre) and spot (approx. 3.5% of viewfinder at centre) modes
Shooting modes: P, A, S and M plus My Settings menu, programmable with up to three sets of settings
Picture Style/Control settings: Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Def. 1 - 3
Colour space options: sRGB, Adobe RGB
Custom functions: 31 with 99 settings (up to 10 can be registered to function buttons)
ISO range: ISO 100 to 51200 (expandable to L: ISO 50 and H2: ISO 204800)
White balance: Auto, Preset (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten light, White fluorescent light, Flash), Custom, Colour temperature setting (2500-10000K); White balance correction and white balance bracketing features provided
Flash: External only
Sequence shooting: Max. 14 fps with mirror lock-up (JPEG only); 12 fps for Raw files; buffer capacity 120 Dual slots for CompactFlash cards (Types I & II, UDMA 7 compatible)
Viewfinder: Optical pentaprism viewfinder with 100% FOV coverage, interchangeable focusing screens, dioptre adjustment of -3.0 to +1.0 dpt
LCD monitor: 3.2-inch colour LCD Screen with 1,040,000 dots plus anti-reflection & smudge-resistant surface
Live View Modes: Quick, Live & Live Face Detection AF Modes
Data LCD: Yes
Playback functions: Single, Single + Info (Image-recording quality, shooting information, histogram), 4-image index, 9-image index, image rotate possible; Playback zoom: 1.5x to 10x; jump by 10 or 100 images, jump by screen, by shooting date, by folder, by movie, by stills; highlight alert; histogram; movie playback enabled (LCD monitor, video/audio OUT, HDMI OUT); movie edit
Interface terminals: Hi-Speed USB, Video OUT (integrated with USB terminal), HDMI (HDMI-CEC compatible), Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45), extension system terminalfor WFT-E6/GP-E1, Stereo mini jack for external microphone
Power supply: LP-E4N rechargeable lithium-ion battery plus one CR2025 for date settings; 6 level + percentage charge indicator
Dimensions (wxhxd): 158 x 82.7 x 163.6 mm
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