Today, on Tuesday 7th January 2020, Canon announces EOS-1D X Mark III, their latest flagship DSLR camera, an iconic and well known camera among the professionals who push this camera to their limits, high speed, accuracy and tough handling in extreme weather conditions. This is a “monster” camera that professionals out in the field will appreciate and trust for its capabilities, toughness and reliability.
My last decade, was also a “love affair” with the EOS-1D series. This journey started in 2010 when I got myself a used EOS-1D Mark III (making its personal/leisure debut in BMW World Singapore 2010), this was a turning point for me as I embarked on the route towards semi-professional/freelance over the years. This was later followed by witnessing the launch of EOS-1D X, I had the opportunity to review the EOS-1D X, bought a used EOS-1D X, also followed by the announcement of the EOS-1D X Mark II, reviewed EOS-1D X Mark II and finally upgraded to a used EOS-1D X Mark II in 2019.
When Canon announced the development of the EOS-1D X Mark III earlier in October 2019, we were eagerly waiting for the official announcement and it’s finally released! Some personal insights and views from reading the press release, doing my own initial personal comparisons between the EOS-1D X Mark III and Mark II:
- Physically, they look pretty much the same yet there are substantial upgrades inside EOS-1D X Mark III
- New CMOS Sensor
- Digic X image processor
- Dual CFexpress media card slots (No longer CF and CFast)
- 4K video with no cropping (first Canon full-frame camera to feature)
- Using HEIF file format
- 500,000 shutter count cycle (significant improvement)
- 191 AF points (OVF)
- Eye Detection AF (this caught my attention!)
If the opportunity arises down the road, I hope that I am able to review the EOS-1D X Mark III and share more in-depth. For those chasing high megapixels, this might not meet your expectations. Personally, in my own humble opinion, professionals that choose the EOS-1DX Mark III would not be putting too much attention on high megapixels, due to the genre of the photography segments that they are shooting. A new CMOS Sensor and Digic X image processor makes it a better combo to produce improved quality photographs straight out of HEIF or JPEG (I would love to test this theory of mine) for reportage, photojournalism, events coverage submission.
Would I upgrade to the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III? That’s a good question, only time would tell.
Let me share with you more details of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III below.
Canon today announced the release of the EOS-1D X Mark III, built to meet the needs and demands of professionals who require the best from their equipment. With a powerful 20.1 megapixel 35mm full frame CMOS sensor and the new DIGIC X image processor, the EOS-1D X Mark III delivers top-notch image quality in a wide range of shooting situations.
With the ability to capture high-resolution images at up to 20 frames per second (fps) and high definition video up-to-4K 60P featuring Canon’s proprietary Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus (AF) technology, the EOS-1D X Mark III is a workhorse for any professional image creator.
“Those familiar with the EOS-1D X Mark II associate it with imaging excellence. We sought to take that to the next level with the EOS-1D X Mark III,” said Edwin Teoh, Head of Marketing, Singapore Operations, Canon Singapore. “The EOS-1D X Mark III comes equipped with new capabilities that empower exceptional speed and performance, including a newly-developed high-res AF sensor that makes this camera a powerful and versatile one that professionals can trust.”
Some of the EOS-1D X Mark III’s features include:
• A newly developed 20.1 megapixel 35mm full frame CMOS sensor
• Continuous shooting speeds of up to 16 fps (viewfinder shooting) and up to 20 fps (Live View)
with AF/AE tracking
• DIGIC X image processor with CFexpress media (dual slots), which allows a burst rate of approx. 1000 shots (RAW + JPEG)
• New AF sensor combined with AI Servo AF IV1 delivers significant improvement in AF speed and tracking performance
• 4K UHD and 4K DCI movie recording at 60p/50p, and supports Canon Log 4:2:2 10-bit in camera recording
• In-camera recording of 5.5K RAW movies with simultaneous MP4 files
• Built-in Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi with FTP. Supports 5Ghz wireless LAN and compatible
with 2×2 MIMO when used with WFT-E9
The Ultimate EOS Camera: Unparalleled Speed and Performance
Equipped with a newly-developed high-res AF sensor that adopts a square pixel design, there is an increase in pixel density for both vertical and horizontal directions. This pixel miniaturization increases the pixel density by 28 times, resulting in a significant increase of AF points from 61 points (EOS-1D X Mark II) to 191 points (for optical viewfinder shooting) in the EOS-1D X Mark III. Processing speed of the new AF sensor is 40x faster than the EOS-1D X Mark II, resulting in significant improvement in subject recognition and tracking performance.
With the increased number of pixels, minute variations in distance to the subject in focus can be accurately detected. This brings about a dramatic improvement in AF accuracy. All 191 AF points support exposure of up to f/8 over the entire AF area, with 65 cross-type AF points at f/8. This makes the EOS-1D X Mark III great for use with extenders, especially for wildlife or sports photographers.
By reducing noise in the CMOS sensors and improving noise reduction with the DIGIC X, the upper limit of normal ISO speed has been increased from one stop to 102,400. Image quality in the ISO 6400-12800 range, which is frequently used by sports and news photographers, is also improved with better noise control. A dedicated DIGIC 8 processor has been employed for AF management and control of the 400,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor.
The newly developed 16-point low pass filter helps to reduce moir. and colour distortion, as well as improve image resolution. Gaussian filter features have been incorporated within the EOS-1D X
Mark III’s low pass filter to better suit high-resolution lenses. A brand-new feature of the EOS-1D X Mark III is the HDR PQ HEIF, a 10-bit recording standard (for stills) that differs from conventional high-definition standards, which use high-resolution and low noise approaches. The new standard aims to reproduce an image that is close to what is seen in reality compared to conventional image rendering methods, making images look sharper in detail.
HEIF files can be easily converted to JPEG (HDR PQ-quality) format, either in the camera itself or on another device using Digital Photo Professional. HEIF images have a similar “feel” to those shot with HDR PQ, and slightly different from photos shot and saved directly as conventional JPEG files. This feature eliminates the need for RAW development retouching and gamma adjustment process, which was necessary in the past for photos containing strong contrast or lighter tones in neutral coloured areas.
The EOS-1D X Mark III also features a new “Clarity” setting as one of the image adjustment options. This setting is particularly useful when users want to maintain a soft appearance with the subject’s skin, or when they want greater clarity to emphasise qualities such as the hardness of metal or details presented in a scenic view.
Burst shooting on the EOS-1D X Mark III has been increased to a maximum of 16 fps (approx.) to
help the photographer capture decisive moments. One of the issues faced during high burst shooting is the experience of “blackout” because the mirror (retracted when one shot is taken) fails to properly capture a new image for the viewfinder to display. To minimise this problem, the EOS-1D X Mark III uses a new mirror system with a high-speed mechanism to retract and reset the mirror, combined with an optical system that displays images in real time. This greatly improves the camera’s ability to track moving subjects through the viewfinder.
For Live View shooting, the EOS-1D X Mark III is capable of high-speed burst shooting at up to 20
fps (approx.) for both RAW and RAW + JPEG recording. Focus and exposure can also be maintained via AF/AE tracking. The effective AF area during Live View burst is broader than what is available during viewfinder shooting, with tracking up to 525 segments. Even when the electronic shutter is chosen for photo shooting, the EOS-1D X Mark III can perform high-speed burst shooting at up to 20 fps. Additionally, the EOS-1D X Mark III also has the ability to focus extremely well in low light situations (as low as EV-6).
Eye Detection AF and head detection routines help to precisely identify the intended subject when using the EOS-1D X Mark III. The accuracy and stability of human detection functions have been greatly improved, and coupled with the miniaturized AF area division (up to 525 segments), the camera provides excellent tracking performance and focusing accuracy, even for fast moving subjects. When shooting human subjects, the camera will detect and focus on the subject’s eye. Even during burst shooting at a speed of up to 20 fps, the camera maintains its fix on the subject’s eye, allowing the photographer to achieve highly accurate focus. Up to 3,869 AF positions can be manually selected to fine tune focusing.
In the viewfinder shooting mode, the new AI Servo AF IV provides higher predictive accuracy and stability by employing Canon’s most advanced AF algorithm. In challenging shooting conditions such as when the subject is moving away from the camera, the EOS-1D X Mark III is able to maintain highly accurate focus, allowing photographers to capture impressive shots of the desired subject.
New Dual CFexpress Media Format and 4K Video Recording Without Cropping
The EOS-1D X Mark III is equipped with dual CFexpress card slots with CFexpress being a new recording media positioned to be the leading format for high-speed transfer data. The ultra-fast transfer speed of CFexpress media, coupled with the camera’s extended buffer memory, allows the EOS-1D X Mark III to achieve an astounding continuous burst rate of 1,000 shots (RAW). This translates to five times more compared to the EOS-1DX Mark II. With the EOS-1D X Mark II, a photographer could shoot at 14 fps for 12 seconds until the buffer is filled, but with the EOS-1D X Mark III, the duration can last for a minute at 16 fps.
The EOS-1D X Mark III is also the first Canon full-frame camera to feature 4K video without cropping, with the camera supporting movie recording in both the 4K UHD (3840 x 2160, 16:9) standard established by the ITU and is suitable for broadcast content production. It additionally supports the 4K DCI (4096 x 2160, 17:9) standard established by the Digital Cinema Initiative (a group of movie production companies).The EOS-1D X Mark III is equipped with Canon Log whose performance has been proven in CINEMA EOS SYSTEM. Canon Log supports H.265 HEVC encoding, which ensures wide gradation, vivid colour range and small file size.
The HDMI 4K 60p output/Canon Log 10-bit output can be used to transmit 4K movie data to another device for display or external recording. The EOS-1D X Mark III also supports Canon Log YCbCr 4:2:2 10-bit video output and ITU-R BT.2020 colour gamut output. These features make it possible to capture movie images with excellent dynamic range and vivid colour. In-camera 5.5K 60p RAW movie is also available on the EOS-1D X Mark III. The RAW movie’s high resolution, gradation, and editing capabilities allow users to shoot HDR clips, high-contrast scenes, and scenes that require advanced editing. High-speed movie shooting at 120p/100p for FHD is also possible with the EOS-1D X Mark III.
Most of the AF functions used to shoot Live View still photos can also be used for movies. Users can easily switch between movie and still photo shooting with the same operational “feel”. The camera ensures that each function behaves in the same way even though Live View photo shooting has a different subject detection scheme from that of viewfinder shooting. This allows users who are accustomed to AF shooting through the viewfinder to use AF functions effectively when shooting movies.
Enhanced Network Functions and Transfer Speeds
The EOS-1D X Mark III is also equipped with built-in GPS receiver with logging function. This makes it easier and more efficient for news photographers or nature and landscape photographers to maintain a log of shooting locations and manage files. The EOS-1D X Mark III supports up to SuperSpeed Plus USB (USB 3.1 Gen 2) transfer speed. When connected to a PC with a compatible cable, data transfer speed is faster than that of the EOS-1D X Mark II (SuperSpeed USB, USB 3.0).
The EOS-1D X Mark III now comes with built-in Wi-Fi with FTP functions. This greatly enhances photographers’ workflow in the field as they can quickly transfer images conveniently without any additional add-on devices. If a longer range and faster transfer speed is needed, the new WFT-E9 which comes with dual antennas compatible with Dual Band (2.4GHz/5GHz) and MIMO is available as an accessory for EOS-1D X Mark III.
In terms of durability, the EOS-1D X Mark III has a projected shutter life of 500,000 cycles. The main structural parts of the camera are made of magnesium alloy for lightweight and high rigidity. The EOS-1D X Mark III is also water and dust resistant. The AF-ON button now doubles up as a smart controller, which incorporates an optical sensor to detect the finger’s movement. It allows the user to quickly select the AF point easily without releasing the AF-ON button. A new high-definition LCD panel with approximately 2.1 million dots (EOS-1D X Mark II: approximately 1.62 million dots) provides a clear, distinct display – menu and playback operations can be handled using the touch screen.
There are also illuminated buttons on the EOS-1D X Mark III for easier menu and playback operations in dark conditions. The improved viewfinder is able to display key elements (other than the AF frame) in red. This makes it easy to view information even in very dark or extremely bright conditions. The display of other viewfinder elements/information does not impair AF operation.
Robotic Camera System
Along with EOS-1D X Mark III, Canon has launched a Robotic camera system (CR-S700R), a remote control solution for capturing still images using interchangeable lens cameras, via intuitive remote operation. The system consists of a Robotic camera head for Pan/Tilt/Roll/Zoom operation, and an IP Camera Controller (CR-G100) for managing wired connection with camera and PC, as well as its remote operations. By using the optional Camera Remote Application (CR-A100), photographers can manage Live View display and remote release of multiple robotic camera systems and cameras.
Pricing and Availability
The EOS-1D X Mark III will be available later in the first quarter of 2020, with pricing to be advised
at a later date.
EOS-1D X Mark III
Image Sensor Camera
Effective Pixels (total pixels)
35mm full frame CMOS
Approx. 20.1 megapixels
(Approx 21.4 megapixels)
Approx. 400,000 pixels RGB + IR metering sensor
216-zone (18 x 12) full-aperture TTL metering
191 points max. (cross-type AF points: 155 points max.)
*Number of available AF points, Dual cross-type AF points,and Cross-type AF points
vary depending on the lens used.
* Dual cross-type focusing at f/2.8 with center AF point
Spot AF (manual selection), 1-point AF (manual selection), AF point expansion (manual selection, vertical/horizontal), AF point expansion (manual selection: surround), Zone AF (manual selection of zone), Large zone AF (manual selection of zone), Auto selection AF and EOS iTR AF (can recognize colour information, faces, and heads)
Focal Plane AF
Dual Pixel CMOS AF
Image display area max, approx. 90% horizontal x vertical
Number of AF positions: max 3,869 positions
Still Image normal max ISO speed
ISO 102,400 (ISO expansion, 50, 204,800, 409,600, 819,200 equivalent)
Movie normal max ISO speed
ISO 25,600 (ISO expansion 204,800 equivalent)
Max approx. 16 fps (during viewfinder shooting, One-Shot AF/ AI Servo AF)
Max approx. 20 fps (during Live View shooting, One-Shot AF/
Max shutter speed
1/8000 sec. (mechanical)
3.15in, approx. 2.1 million dot
RAW (5472×2886) :
4K DCI (4096×2160) :
4K DCI cropped (4096×2160) :
4K UHD (3840×2160) : 59.94p/50.00p/29.97p/25.00p
Full HD (1920×1080) :
* 119.9p/100.0p used for High Frame Rate movies
Approx. 158.0 x 167.6 x 82.6 mm
Approx. 1440 g (including battery pack and card)
Wi-Fi / Wired LAN / Bluetooth Low Energy Technology
* Information and pictures courtesy of Canon Singapore and Ogilvy *