On the 18th October 2011, at 1300hrs Singapore Local Time, I was first introduced to a very powerful DSLR that sets the benchmark for professional level series DSLR, “it’s a monster” something like what we called the Nissan Skyline GT-R 34, the same equivalent of a very powerful DSLR. This was the Canon EOS-1D X and I still recall my first hands on experience with the Canon EOS-1D X, it’s so beautiful and so powerful.
I am a current EOS-1D Mk III user and my experiences with the 1D series DSLR bodies helped me a lot in using the Canon EOS-1D X when I had a hands-on 1 week photography adventure with the 1D X with the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 pan cake lens, courtesy of the special arrangement by Canon Singapore and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.Thank you very much for this wonderful arrangement that gave me an opportunity to test and try it out during the one week stint. Oh yes, if you are keen on the Canon EOS-5D Mark III, do check out my earlier post! While the Canon EOS-1D X wasn’t available to enter any photography competition during my one week stint, I am very happy to have this beautiful and powerful DSLR for a test run and it just reinforces something in me –
My belief and trust in the Canon EOS-1D series especially the Canon EOS-1D X, the strengths, reliability and high speed capabilities for photojournalism, events and high speed sports action photography.
Let me share with all of you, some of the key technical specifications for the Canon EOS-1D X
Canon EOS-1D X Specifications Summary
- Dimensions : 158 x 163.6 x 82.7mm
- Image Sensor : 18.1 mega-pixel 35mm full frame DUAL Digic 5+
- ISO Speeds : 100 – 51200 with (L: 50) and (H1:102400, H2:204800)
- Multiple Exposures : Yes
- Continuous Shooting Speed : 12 fps (Max) / 14 fps (Super High Speed Continuous Shooting)
- Shutter Durability : 400,000 cycles
- Recording Media : CF Cards x 2
- AF System : 61 point high-density reticular AF (41 cross-type points)
- Very fast and powerful DSLR
- Full Frame
- The ability to shoot at 14fps will be most welcome by sports and fast action photography (e.g Formula One, football matches)
- 61 point high-density reticular AF (41 cross-type points)
- Autofocus is very fast and responsive
- Selection of AF Area to suit your needs – Single-point Spot AF (Manual Selection), Single-point AF (Manual Selection), AF Point Expansion (Manual Selection), AF Point Expansion (Manual Selection, Surrounding Points), Zone AF (Manual Selection of Zone) and 61-point Automatic Selection AF
- Grid and Electronic Level display is very useful and handy
- Advanced EOS Movie capabilities
- The ISO Speed range up to 51200 will be very handy if you ever need to use it (e.g. inside an arts performance theatre)
- In fast action photography especially in sports, I will prefer to use high speed CF cards over high speed SD cards (this is my personal opinion). Therefore 2 x CF card slots will be more ideal and suitable for fast action photography.
- Monochrome Picture Style can be activated if you decide to shoot black-and-white photographs straight out from the Canon EOS-1D X (it’s pretty awesome!)
- AI Servo AF Characteristics – latest state of the art technology, very smart, powerful and useful. There are 6 cases and you can fine tune to suit your shooting needs.
- A robust magnesium alloy body, the EOS-1D X features a dust-proof and drip-proof design to meet the high demands presented by the most grueling of shooting conditions.
- New shutter unit featuring carbon fibre shutter blades that are lightweight and more rigid.
- Shutter lifespan of 400,000 cycles !
- Canon EOS-1D X is a very ideal DSLR (A MUST HAVE!) for the semi-professional and full time professional, events, photojournalists and sports photographers.
- You can only use 2 x CF cards and not like the previous 1D series models whereby you can use SD and CF storage cards.
- The ISO speed at 51,200 is grainy. Sometimes it might work for you, sometimes it might not. Another factor is a photographer’s tolerance of grain.
- With the number of controls, dials, buttons, complexity, it might be a huge and steep learning curve for the beginners.
- The Canon EOS-1D X is a very intelligent, state of the art, fast action and powerful DSLR, sometimes it’s just too good and intelligent that the user (like myself) took a while to get used to it.
- No more crop-factor and you might be hindered by it (if you are too used to 1.6x or 1.3x crop factor)
- The price is high and for many people, it’s out of their budget. Therefore, the Canon EOS-1D X suits a niche group of photographers.
There is a key characteristics of the Canon EOS-1D X that I really like it a lot during my one week stint. I didn’t really have the time to learn more of the AI Servo AF Characteristics that have 6 cases that you can fine tune. This marvelous capability will help sports and fast action events photography to capture their images faster and sharper without missing out on the first one or two photos that might be blurred due to the AI Servo focusing the object in action. Canon USA has a pocket guide on the Canon EOS-1D X AF Setting Guide, do download the pocket guide, read it and tune the 6 cases of the AI Servo AF Characteristics.
Do check out my photographs taken with the Canon EOS-1D X here –
The Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 pan cake lens is a value for money lens, lightweight, very portable. It’s sharp at full open f/2.8 and the bokeh is pretty smooth and silky for aperture size at f/2.8. The pan cake lens is an ideal walkabout lens, it will suit the entry level Canon DSLRs e.g. 650D, 1100D and semi-pro level DSLRs e.g. 60D, 5D, 7D. When the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 lens is mounted on the Canon EOS-1D X, it just look a bit different since it’s a small lens on a big DSLR body! However, it’s really handy and useful lens! I believe that (in my personal humble opinion) the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 lens will soon become a MUST HAVE lens (along with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8) among Canon photographers.
From my sharing above, I will not hide away that I am a very big fan of the Canon EOS-1D X and I will love to own it someday, hopefully in the next one to two years. My photography evolves around events and fast action sports photography, the Canon EOS-1D X definitely suits my needs and usage. Since I am not a full time professional photographer, it’s not easy to set aside the amount of investment into the Canon EOS-1D X, with that amount of investment can also be put into Canon EF L prime telephoto lenses investment.
The Canon EOS-1D X is such a beautiful and powerful DSLR, if you are into events, photojournalism and sports action photography, you will go and invest into the Canon EOS-1D X without any distractions and hesitations. If you own a Canon EOS-1D X, you make a most awesome decision in such an investment! Happy shooting and share your photographs!