Canon has introduced what it terms “a completely revolutionized EOS-1D series camera,” the Canon EOS-1D X DSLR. This is the company’s top of the line pro model, a “high-speed multimedia juggernaut” replacing both the EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS-1D Mark IV models in Canon’s lineup.
The 1D X features an 18-megapixel full-frame Canon CMOS sensor, dual DIGIC 5+ imaging processors, 14-bit A/D data conversion and is capable of shooting 12 frames-per-second (fps).
The EOS-1D X features three DIGIC processors, including dual DIGIC 5+ image processors capable of delivering approximately 17 times more processing speed than DIGIC 4, says the company, and a dedicated DIGIC 4 for metering and AF control.
In conjunction with the newly developed 18-megapixel full-frame image sensor, the dual DIGIC 5+ processors provide high-speed continuous shooting, lower noise, and a significant increase in data processing speed than previous EOS-1D models. This allows the camera to perform many functions including chromatic aberration correction for various Canon EF lenses in-camera, instead of through post-production software.
The DIGIC 4 processor utilizes a new 100,000-pixel RGB metering sensor for enhanced exposure accuracy with colour and face detection, and works together with the camera’s new EOS iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) AF.
The 1D X employs a completely new imaging sensor, producing the lowest noise of any EOS digital camera to date, says Canon. The sensor utilizes large pixels – 1.25 microns larger than those in the EOS-1D Mark IV sensor and .55 microns larger than those in the EOS 5D Mark II sensor – together with gapless microlenses to achieve enhanced light gathering efficiency, higher sensitivity and less noise at the pixel level. The new sensor has improved on the very high signal-to-noise ratio of sensor output of earlier EOS models.
The images produced with the camera’s new sensor are said to be so clean that files can easily be up-sized if necessary for even the most demanding high-resolution commercial applications.
The EOS-1D X will also feature new Ultrasonic Wave Motion Cleaning (UWMC), Canon’s second generation self-cleaning sensor unit, which utilizes carrier wave technology to remove smaller dust particles from the sensor and it includes a new fluorine coating on the infrared absorption glass to help repel dust.
Adjustable from ISO 100 to 51,200 within its standard range, the new model offers a low ISO 50 setting for studio and landscape photography and two high settings of 102,400 at H1 and 204,800 at H2, ideal for law enforcement, government or forensic field applications.
The 1D X includes a brand new 61-Point High Density Reticular AF, the most sophisticated DSLR AF system Canon has ever released. The 21 focusing points in the central area are standard precision cross-type and effective with maximum apertures as small as f/5.6, depending on the lens in use. The centre five points are also high-precision diagonal cross-type points for maximum apertures as small as f/2.8. All 61 points are sensitive to horizontal contrast with maximum apertures as small as f/5.6 and 20 of the outer focusing points function as cross-type points with maximum apertures as small as f/4.0.
Other innovations of the new reticular AF include expanded AF coverage area, superior focusing precision and low light sensitivity, and greater low-contrast subject detection capability compared to earlier EOS AF systems.
All AF functions now have their own menu tab for quick and easy access (formerly AF custom functions in previous EOS models). A new AF Configuration Tool allows for customized setting of tracking sensitivity, the acceleration and deceleration of tracking subjects, and AF point auto switching, all of which are easily accessed and adjusted via the new AF menu tab. A built-in Feature Guide advises photographers on which settings to use according to subject matter.
Similar to the AF point selection options offered in the EOS 7D DSLR, the 1D X offers six AF point selection modes: Spot, Single Point, Single Point with surrounding four points, Single Point with surrounding eight points, Zone selection and Automatic AF point selection.
The 1D X features new EOS iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) AF options. The default AF mode uses phase detection AF information, while a new second option uses Face Detection technology to track recognized faces in addition to colour information.
For the first time in a Canon DSLR, a DIGIC processor is used exclusively with the metering sensor for fast, accurate exposure control. The processor takes advantage of the 100,000-pixel RGB Metering Sensor and utilizes 252 zones for general metering or 35 zones for low-light metering to help ensure accurate evaluative ambient or flash exposure. The new subject recognition capabilities enhance nearly all of the camera’s automatic functions, helping to adjust exposure, autofocus, Auto Lighting Optimizer and Automatic Picture Style to the scene being captured for enhanced image quality.
The EOS-1D X is the first EOS DSLR to feature multiple exposure capability. The camera can combine up to nine individual images into a single composite image, with no need for post-processing in a computer. Four different compositing methods are provided, including Additive, Average, Bright and Dark. Compositing results can be viewed in real time on the camera’s LCD monitor, and there is a one-step Undo command that allows photographers to delete an image and try again if desired. The Multiple Exposure mode even allows photographers to specify a previously captured RAW image as the starting point for a new multiple exposure composite image.
The camera breaks new ground, offering a Super High Speed Mode which increases shooting speeds up to 14 fps at full 18-megapixel resolution (JPEG). The new camera is also capable of shooting RAW, JPEG, or RAW+JPEG at speeds up to 12 fps in One Shot AF or AI Servo AF. This new level of performance is made possible by the combination of the 1D X’s 16-channel readout CMOS sensor, Dual DIGIC 5+ image processors, and a completely new reflex mirror mechanism.
The EOS-1D X utilizes new HD video formats. The two new compression formats offered include intraframe (ALL-i ) compression for an editing-friendly format and interframe (IPB) compression for superior data compression. Answering the requests of cinematographers and filmmakers, the EOS-1D X includes two methods of SMPTE-compliant timecode embedding, Rec Run and Free Run, allowing multiple cameras or separate sound recording to be synced together in post production.
Canon says the new full-frame sensor ensures video footage will exhibit less moiré than any previous Canon model, resulting in a significant improvement in HD video quality. A desired feature for many documentary filmmakers using Canon DSLRs was to enable recording beyond the four gigabyte (GB) file capacity. The new camera features automatic splitting of movie files when a single file exceeds 4GB. The new file splitting function allows for continuous video recording up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds across multiple 4GB files; no frames are dropped and the multiple files can be seamlessly connected in post production.
The camera records Full HD at 1920 x 1080 in selectable frame rates of 24p (23.976), 25p, or 30p (29.97); and 720p HD or SD video recording at either 50p or 60p (59.94). SD video can be recorded in either NTSC or PAL standards.
The camera also includes manual audio level control, adjustable both before and during movie recording, an automatic setting, or it can be turned off entirely. A wind filter is also included. Sound can be recorded either through the internal monaural microphone or via an optional external microphone through the stereo mic input.
Photographers familiar with Canon’s EOS 1D-series of cameras will notice the control configuration of the 1D X takes a different approach to button placement. The re-designed exterior and ergonomic button configuration feels comfortable in your right hand, allowing seamless navigation through menu options, says the company.
The Live View Button has been placed near the user’s thumb for one-touch switching between Live View and Viewfinder shooting. The Quick Control Button and menu navigation controls will allow users to change camera settings using only their right hand, for fast, simple one-handed control using their thumb on the scroll wheel. The new multi-controller is positioned by the right hand thumb when the camera is held for vertical shooting and enables the same level of control to camera operators when shooting vertically as they have when shooting horizontally. On the front of the camera are four user-assignable function buttons, two for vertical shooting and two for horizontal shooting, allowing customizable button control when shooting in either position. The camera also features a level of weather resistance equivalent to earlier professional models.
Canon has answered the request of many professional EOS photographers and incorporated dual CF card slots into the new camera for instant image back-ups and enhanced storage capacity.
This camera also features a new shutter design with even greater durability and precision. Rated to 400,000 cycles, the new carbon fiber shutter blades are more lightweight and durable, allowing the 1D X to achieve 100,000+ cycles more than the shutter of the EOS-1D Mark IV. A new shutter motion and new motor help further reduce vibration in the camera. The EOS-1D X also features an electronic first curtain, new to the EOS-1D series DSLRs, for minimal in-camera vibration during image capture.
For pro photographers who prefer a wired workflow and transfer system, Canon has included a built-in LAN connection in the 1D X. The built-in LAN connection features a gigabit ethernet jack capable of 1000BASE-T transmission speeds, offering photographers a stable wired connection for ultra-fast data transmission. If the network were to go down, the camera will attempt to resend images until the files are sent. The EOS-1D X also features a direct image transfer function whereby images can be selected for transfer, and only sent once a LAN or USB connection is established.
The Canon EOS-1D X DSLR camera is scheduled for March 2012 availability and will be sold in a body-only configuration at an estimated retail price of $6999.99.