Canon EOS-1D X Review

by on Oct.18, 2011, under New Cameras

The World woke up this morning to news of Canon’s latest flagship professional DSLR: the new Canon EOS-1D X. A full review will follow soon, but in the meantime, here are some of the highlights that this formidable new full-frame DSLR has to offer the discerning pro:

Canon EOS-1D X – key features

  • 18.1 MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • Up to 12fps and 14fps shooting
  • 100-51200 ISO, up to H:204800
  • 61 point AF system
  • 100,000 pixel RGB AE metering with DIGIC 4
  • Full HD 1080p EOS movie
  • Dual “DIGIC 5+” processors
  • Clear View II 8.11 cm (3.2”) 1040K-dot LCD
  • Ethernet port


The new 61-point wide-area AF system looks particularly interesting; I was impressed enough with the EOS-1D Mark IV responsiveness in this respect, so I can’t wait to see how the upgraded system performs.

The pioneering incorporation of dual latest-generation DIGIC 5+ processors should ensure a snappy performance from the EOS-1D X, and I’ll be interested to see whether the resolution hike for its newly-developed 18.1mp Full Frame CMOS sensor will affect image quality, particularly in terms of noise control throughout its expanded ISO sensitivity range, which now spans 100-51200, expandable up to an unprecedented 204800.

It looks like action photographers are well-catered for, with a very impressive-sounding new super high-speed mode extends the shooting speed to 14fps (JPEG format only). In standard mode, those Dual DIGIC 5+ processors allow for continuous shooting up to 12fps with 14-bit A/D conversion and full camera operation – making it the fastest of any currently available DSLR.

Budding film directors will get Full HD 1080p movies from the EOS-1D X, maintaining manual control over settings while shooting.

Those are just some of the key highlights of what looks to be a truly outstanding new professional DSLR – read on for the full press release, specs and images, and be sure to come back for news of my full review once the EOS-1D X review units become available.




Performance redefined – Canon unlocks new possibilities for professional photographers with the EOS-1D X

United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, 18th October 2011 – Canon today announces the arrival of the EOS-1D X – its next generation professional Digital SLR (DSLR). Offering an unparalleled combination of speed, resolution and image quality, the EOS-1D X is the ultimate camera for capturing stunning images and Full HD movies. Whether shooting in the studio, the sports field, or anywhere in between, this model is ideal for virtually any professional photographer. The new model launches as the flagship in Canon’s DSLR line up – marking the 10th generation of Canon’s professional system with the most advanced EOS model ever produced.

The culmination of 40 years’ experience in developing professional cameras, the EOS-1D X represents a new era for the EOS system and supersedes both the
EOS-1D Mark IV and the EOS-1Ds Mark III. Combining a new 18.1MP full-frame sensor, a redesigned autofocus (AF) system and powerful new metering technology with new dual “DIGIC 5+” processors, this camera has been designed to offer unparalleled usability and image quality – ensuring any scene is captured with greater accuracy and speed than ever before.

“The EOS-1D X is the ultimate camera for all types of photographer” said Kieran Magee, Professional Marketing Director, Canon Europe. “Professionals often shoot in fast-paced, high pressure situations, and the EOS-1D X provides the features and performance they need. We’ve carefully listened to the needs of professionals and created a versatile, powerful camera that will meet the requirements of more photographers than ever before.”

Setting new standards
The EOS-1D X offers a comprehensively-upgraded specification that’s packed with new technologies. A newly-developed full-frame 18.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor offers exceptional flexibility, allowing photographers to shoot a wider range of scenes and subjects in high resolution. Redesigned architecture offers an incredible ISO range of 100-51200, expandable up to 204800, while dual “DIGIC 5+” processors offer a 2-stop improvement in noise performance – making it easier to capture outstanding quality, low noise images, even in extreme low-light conditions.

The new 61-point wide-area autofocus system offers even greater sensitivity, delivering increased precision and speed. With 41 cross-type points, including five dual cross-type points, the camera’s AF system offers unsurpassed accuracy across the frame, while new AF pre-sets are specifically designed for shooting common challenging subjects – providing exceptional reliability in notoriously difficult shooting situations.

The EOS-1D X also features a newly-designed RGB metering system, providing incredible levels of accuracy. A 100,000 pixel RGB metering sensor is linked to the AF system and powered by its own dedicated DIGIC 4 processor, detecting faces and colour to ensure correct exposure levels and improved AF tracking, even when shooting the most challenging of scenes.

Extreme power
Powered by next-generation processing technology, the EOS-1D X is the first-ever camera to feature dual “DIGIC 5+” processors. Offering performance up to three times faster than standard DIGIC 5, each processor is designed to manage huge levels of image data while simultaneously reducing image noise. In combination with the sensor’s 16-channel read-out, the dual processors enable full-resolution continuous shooting up to 12fps with 14-bit A/D conversion and full camera operation – the fastest of any DSLR currently available (according to Canon research, correct as of September 2011).  A super high-speed mode extends the shooting speed to 14fps (JPEG format only), while a new shutter and mirror mechanism reduces shutter lag and mirror bounce, delivering consistently high performance when shooting at high speed.

The film-maker’s DSLR
The EOS-1D X is ideal for all professionals who want to exploit the EOS system’s extensive selection of lenses and accessories – whether shooting stills or HD movies. Users can record Full HD (1920x1080p) movies from the full-frame sensor with a full range of manual settings to control exposure, focus and frame rate (1920 x 1080: 30 (29.97), 25, 24 (23.976) frames per second, 1280 x 720: 60 (59.94), 50 fps, 640 x 480: 30 (29.97), 25 fps), while sound levels can also be displayed and adjusted on the LCD screen, ensuring complete control over every aspect of a shoot.

Thanks to the power provided by the dual “DIGIC 5+” processors moiré artefacts are also reduced, while EOS Movie now offers longer recording options, automatically creating a new file once the 4GB file limit has been reached. A new intra frame video codec also maintains the highest possible video quality, limiting compression of image data so users retain increased levels of information for post-production editing.

Designed for professionals
The EOS-1D X offers a carefully revised version of the classic EOS-1 series design, with larger, more tactile buttons that make it easier for users to control settings – even in extreme conditions where gloves are required. Two multi-controllers and a touch-sensitive control wheel, for use in movie mode, make it easier to change settings, while a range of customisable function buttons allow users to set-up the camera to suit their individual needs by allowing shortcuts to the features and pre-sets they use most.

A 100% viewfinder makes framing each scene easy, while intelligent viewfinder functionality instantly adds a grid display when required. A large, 8.11cm (3.2”) Clear View II LCD screen offers a 1040K-dot resolution, and the anti-reflective structure prevents light reflections or glare when viewing images in bright conditions. A hardened glass cover also provides resistance to knocks and scratches commonly picked up while shooting on the move.

The menu system also features a comprehensively redesigned user interface, incorporating Help functions to make camera operation faster, clearer and easier. Additionally, a new dedicated AF tab allows photographers to access and customise AF pre-sets for common shooting situations or subjects, allowing users to concentrate on capturing the moment without the need to constantly adjust camera settings.

Built to last
The EOS-1D X offers a highly durable body constructed from high-grade magnesium alloy that provides protection against both the elements and the knocks of everyday use. The latest implementation of Canon’s EOS Integrated Cleaning System also uses technology adopted from Canon lenses, using wave-based vibrations similar to that of Ultrasonic Motors to shake dust and dirt from the sensor even more effectively.

An enhanced shutter mechanism also provides extended durability, providing 400K shutter cycles so photographers can rely on their camera to meet the challenge of repeated, demanding shoots. The EOS-1D X also features Canon’s protective sealing around the controls and cover seams, making the camera dust and water-resistant when combined with Canon’s range of weather-resistant EF lenses – perfect for shooting in a range of weather conditions.

Enhanced connectivity also ensures photographers can send images to picture desks or studios quickly and securely. An integrated gigabit ethernet port provides a fast, reliable way to transfer images from on-location events or in a studio, without the need for an adaptor.

The EOS System – unrestricted creativity
As part of the award-winning EOS System, the EOS-1D X is compatible with the world’s largest selection of lenses, Speedlite EX flash units and an extensive range of accessories. The ideal upgrade for existing EOS-1D Mark IV and EOS-1Ds Mark III users, it’s also compatible with numerous EOS accessories, allowing the new body to seamlessly join any existing EOS-1 series kitbag.

In addition, launching alongside the EOS-1D X is the new WFT-E6 – a new, compact WiFi transmitter designed for transferring images when a wired connection isn’t available. Supporting the 802.11n WiFi standard and offering Bluetooth support for connectivity to external GPS devices, the WFT-E6 offers secure transfer of images and video to an FTP server, or the ability to display content on a compatible screen over a DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) connection.

The EOS-1D X will also be compatible with a new GPS receiver – the GP-E1. Enabling users to add location information to EXIF data and geographically track the progress of travelling shoot, the GP-E1 is particularly useful for wildlife or location-based photographers who may need to record the location of a scene for future reference.

Canon EOS-1D X – key features

  • 18.1 MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • Up to 12fps and 14fps shooting
  • 100-51200 ISO, up to H:204800
  • 61 point AF system
  • 100,000 pixel RGB AE metering with DIGIC 4
  • Full HD 1080p EOS movie
  • Dual “DIGIC 5+” processors
  • Clear View II 8.11 cm (3.2”) 1040K-dot LCD
  • Ethernet port


Product Specification
Type 36 x 24 mm CMOS
Effective Pixels Approx. 18.10 megapixels
Total Pixels Approx. 19.3 megapixels
Aspect Ratio ‘3.2
Low-Pass Filter Built-in/Fixed with fluorine coating
Sensor Cleaning EOS integrated cleaning system
Colour Filter Type Primary Colour
Type Dual “DIGIC 5+”
Lens Mount EF (excludes EF-S lenses)
Focal Length Equivalent to 1.0x the focal length of the lens
Type TTL-CT-SIR with a dedicated CMOS sensor
AF System/ Points 61 Point / 41 f/4 cross-type AF points inc 5 dual cross type at f/2.8
The number of cross-type AF points will differ depending on the lens.
AF Working Range EV -2 – 18 (at 23°C & ISO100)
AF Modes One Shot
AI Servo
AF Point Selection Automatic selection: 61 point AF
Manual selection: Single point AF (61, 41 cross type only, 15 or 9 points selectable)
Manual selection: Spot AF
Manual selection: AF point Expansion 4 points (up, down, left, right)
Manual selection: AF point Expansion surrounding 8 points
Manual selection: Zone AF
AF points can be selected separately for vertical and horizontal shooting
Selected AF Point Display Superimposed in viewfinder
Predictive AF Yes, up to 8m
AF Lock Locked when shutter button is pressed half way in One Shot AF mode or AF-ON button is pressed.
AF Assist Beam Emitted by optional dedicated Speedlite
Manual Focus Selected on lens, default in Live View Mode
AF Microadjustment AF Menu
+/- 20 steps ( wide and tele setting for Zooms)
Adjust all lenses by same amount
Adjust up to 40 lenses individually
Adjustments remembered for lens by serial number
Metering Modes TTL full aperture metering with 252 zone from 100,000-pixel RGB AE sensor
(1) Evaluative metering (linked to all AF point)
(2) Partial metering
(3) Spot metering:
Center spot metering
AF point-linked spot metering
Multi/Spot metering (Max 8 spot metering entries)
(4) Center weighted average metering
Metering Range EV 0 – 20 (at 23°C with 50mm f/1.4 lens ISO100)
AE Lock Auto: In One-shot AF mode with evaluative metering exposure is locked when focus is achieved.
Manual: By AE lock button in P, TV and AV modes.
Exposure Compensation ‘+/-5 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments (can be combined with AEB).
AEB 2, 3, 5 or 7 Shots +/-3 EV 1/3 or 1/2 stop increments
ISO Sensitivity* Auto (100-51200), 100-51200 (in 1/3-stop or whole stop increments)
ISO can be expanded to L: 50, H1 102400, H2 204800
Type Electronically-controlled focal-plane shutter
Speed 30-1/8000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments) + Bulb (Shutter speed range available varies according to shooting mode)
Type Auto white balance with the imaging sensor
Settings AWB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, White
Fluorescent light, Flash, Custom, Colour Temperature Setting.
White balance compensation:
1. Blue/Amber +/-9
2. Magenta/ Green +/-9.
Custom White Balance Yes, 5 setting can be registered
WB Bracketing ‘+/-3 levels in single level increments
3 bracketed images per shutter release.
Selectable Blue/Amber bias or Magenta/ Green bias.
Type Pentaprism
Coverage (Vertical/Horizontal) Approx. 100%
Magnification Approx. 0.76x¹
Eyepoint Approx. 20mm (from eyepiece lens centre)
Dioptre Correction ‘-3 to +1 m-1 (dioptre)
Focusing Screen Interchangeable (12 types, optional). Standard Focusing Screen Ec-CV
Mirror Quick-return half mirror (Transmission: reflection ratio of 40:60, no mirror cut-off with EF600mm f/4 or shorter)
Viewfinder Information AF information: AF points, focus confirmation light, AF status indicator
Exposure information: Metering mode, shooting mode, AE lock, shutter speed, aperture,
exposure compensation, ISO speed (always displayed), exposure level,
exposure warning
Flash information: Flash ready, FP flash, FE lock, flash exposure level
Image information: White balance correction, highlight-tone priority (D+), maximum burst
(2-digit display), CF card information, JPEG/RAW indicator, battery check icon.
Composition information
Grid, electronic level
Depth of Field Preview Yes, with Depth of Field preview button.
Eyepiece Shutter Built in
Type 8.11cm (3.2″) Clear View II TFT, approx. 1040K dots
Coverage Approx. 100%
Viewing Angle (Horizontally/Vertically) Approx. 170°
Coating Anti-reflection and Solid Structure
Brightness Adjustment Adjustable to one of seven levels
Display Options (1) Quick Control Screen
(2) Camera settings
(3) Dual Axis Electronic Level
Modes E-TTL II Auto Flash, Metered Manual
X-Sync 1/250sec (EX series Speedlites only)
Flash Exposure Compensation ‘+/- 3EV in 1/2 or 1/3 increments
Flash Exposure Bracketing Yes, with compatible External Flash
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Second Curtain Synchronisation Yes
HotShoe/ PC Terminal Yes/ Yes
External Flash Compatibility E-TTL II with EX series Speedlites, wireless multi-flash support
External Flash Control via camera menu screen
Modes Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual
Picture Styles Auto, Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful, Monochrome, User Defined (x3)
Colour Space sRGB and Adobe RGB
Image Processing Highlight Tone Priority
Auto Lighting Optimizer (4 settings)
Long exposure noise reduction
High ISO speed noise reduction (4 settings)
Auto Correction of Lens Peripheral illumination
Chromatic aberration correction
Distortion correction
Resize to M1, M2 or S
RAW image processing – during image Playback only
Multiple exposure
Drive Modes Single, Continuous L, Continuous H, Self timer (2s+remote, 10s+remote), Silent single shooting
Continuous Shooting Max. Approx. 12fps. (speed maintained for up to TBA images (JPEG) or TBA images (RAW) (with UDMA card)¹ ² ³, 14fps with mirror locked up and exposure and AF locked on first frame
Type Electronic viewfinder with image sensor
Coverage Approx. 100% (horizontally and vertically)
Frame Rate 30 fps
Focusing Manual Focus (Magnify the image 5x or 10x at any point on screen)
Autofocus: Quick mode, Live mode, Live Face detection mode
Metering Real-time evaluative metering with image sensor
Active metering time can be changed
Display Options Grid overlay (x3), Histogram, Aspect ratios
Still Image Type JPEG: 10 compression options (Exif 2.3 compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system (2.0),
RAW: RAW, sRAW (14bit, Canon original RAW 2nd edition),
Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
RAW+JPEG Simultaneous Recording Yes, any combination of RAW + JPEG possible, separate formats to separate cards possible
Image Size JPEG: (L) 5184×3456, (M1) 4608×3072, (M2) 3456×2304, (S1) 2592×1728,
RAW: (RAW) 5184×3456 (M-RAW) 3888×2592, (S-RAW)2592×1728
Movie Type MOV (Video: H.264 Intra frame / inter frame, Sound: Linear PCM)
Movie Size 1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps) intra or inter frame
1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps) intra or inter frame
640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps) inter frame
Movie Length Max duration 29min 59sec, Max single file size 4GB
Sound Files WAVE (monaural)
Folders New folders can be manually created and selected
File Numbering (1) Consecutive numbering
(2) Auto reset
(3) Manual reset
Custom Functions 31 Custom Functions with 99 settings
Metadata Tag User copyright information (can be set in camera)
LCD Panel / Illumination Yes / Yes
Water/ Dust Resistance Yes
Sound Memo Up to 30sec per image – 48Khz or 8Khz
Intelligent Orientation Sensor Yes
Playback Zoom 1.5x – 10x, Pixel level magnification
Display Formats (1) Single image with information (2 levels)
(2) Single image
(3) 4 image index
(4) 9 image index
(5) Magnified view
(6) Movie edit
Slide Show Image selection: All images, by Date, by Folder, Movies, Stills, Rating
Playback time: 1/2/3/5/10 or 20 seconds
Repeat: On/Off
Histogram Brightness: Yes
RGB: Yes
Highlight Alert Yes
Image Erase/Protection Erase: Single image, All images in folder, Checkmarked images, unprotected images
Protection: Erase protection of one image at a time
Data Verification data not available
Menu Categories (1) Shooting menu (x4)
(2) AF Menu (x5)
(3) Playback menu (x3)
(4) Setup menu (x4)
(5) Custom Functions menu (x7)
(6) My Menu
Menu Languages 25 Languages
English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Turkish, Arabic, Thai, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese
Firmware Update Update possible by the user.
Computer Hi-Speed USB
Other Video output (PAL/ NTSC) (integrated with USB terminal), HDMI mini output (HDMI-CEC compatible), Extension system terminal (for WFT-E6/GP-E1), External microphone (Stereo mini jack), RJ-45(gigabyte ethernet)
Canon Printers Canon Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge
PictBridge Yes
Type 2x CompactFlash Type I/II (incompatible with Microdrive) (UDMA 7 compatible)
PC & Macintosh Windows XP (SP2/SP3) / Vista inc SP1 (excl. Starter Edition) / 7 (excl. Starter Edition)
OS X v10.4-10.6
Browsing & Printing ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser
Image Processing Digital Photo Professional
Other PhotoStitch, EOS Utility (inc. Remote Capture, WFT utility*), Picture Style Editor
* Requires optional accessory
Batteries Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LP-E4N (supplied), 1xCR2025 for date & settings
Battery Life Approx. TBA (at 23°C)
Approx. TBA (at 0°C)
Battery Indicator 6 levels + percentage
Power Saving Power turns off after 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30mins or Off.
Power Supply & Battery Chargers AC Adapter Kit ACK-E4, Battery charger LC-E4N, Car Battery charger cable CG-570 (use with LC-E4N)
Body Materials Magnesium Alloy body covers
Operating Environment 0 – 45 °C, 85% or less humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 158 x 163.6x 82.7mm
Weight (Body Only) Approx. TBA
Viewfinder Eyecup Eg, Eg-series Dioptric Adjustment Lens with Rubber Frame Eg, Anti Fog Eyepiece Eg, Focusing Screens Ec, Angle Finder C
Wireless File Transmitter Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E6
Lenses All EF lenses (excludes EF-S lenses)
Flash Canon Speedlites (220EX, 270EX, 270EX II, 320EX, 420EX, 430EX, 430EX II, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, Macro-Ring-Lite, MR-14EX, Macro Twin Lite MT-24EX, Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2,)
Remote Controller/ Switch Remote control with N3 type contact, Wireless Controller LC-5
Other Hand Strap E2, GP-E1 GPS reciever


¹ with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m-1 dpt

Continuous Shooting

¹ Based on Canon’s testing conditions, JPEG, ISO 100, Standard Picture Style. Varies depending on the subject, memory card brand and capacity, image recording quality, ISO speed, drive mode, Picture Style, Custom functions etc.
² Maximum fps and buffer capacity may be reduced depending on the cameras settings and light level
³ With Battery strength 50% or higher

Battery Life

¹ Based on the CIPA Standard and using the batteries and memory card format supplied with the camera, except where indicated

*Recommended Exposure Index

All data is based on Canon standard testing methods except where indicated.

Subject to change without notice.

up to 12fps with 14-bit A/D conversion and full camera operation

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