Canon EOS-1D X: Lab Test Results & Comments

Our initial report on the Canon EOS-1D X appeared in the Image Tech section of our homepage at www.shutterbug.com and was based on a preproduction model. This is our final report based on a factory-ship model.

The new Canon EOS-1D X is the fastest SLR camera. It offers 18MP resolution, very good reproduction of details and colors, professional handling (customizable settings), and Full HD video capabilities.

The Canon EOS-1D X is a professional camera system that is geared toward sports and reportage photography. It offers extremely high speed and is fully customizable to fit the needs of every photographer. The 1D X has a very massive and robust body. Many function elements are implemented in dual versions to allow for comfortable shooting in both landscape and portrait orientation. Small joysticks and numerous setup dials help the user to navigate through the very comprehensive menus and to set up all parameters very quickly.

The camera has a very large LCD screen on the back with a resolution of 1,040,000 pixels, which creates a brilliant and extremely detailed image.

It allows for excellent visual evaluation of sharpness and color. The camera offers extreme high-speed modes with up to 14 images per second in full 18MP resolution. In standard settings it is able to record up to 12 images per second in full resolution with an activated AF system. The higher burst rate uses a special image mode, which has to be activated in the custom settings and is then available in the “DRIVE” mode settings. In this special mode the camera locks the mirror into an upright position and also locks the AF setting of the first picture of the image series; that’s how the camera achieves that amazing 14 frames per second rate.

The camera offers a very large LCD screen with ultrahigh resolution (1,040,000 RGB dots). Many setup dials, joysticks, and the large parameter dial allow for very fast and intuitive set up of all parameters.

The camera was tested with the Canon EF 17-40mm 1:4L USM lens. All interfaces on the left-hand side of the body are protected by rubber caps.

The camera has a large status LCD on the top. On the left side are function buttons to change exposure modes, AF modes, drive modes, and many more parameters.

The Canon uses standard interfaces like USB and HDMI. In addition, it has an Ethernet interface for direct integration into a local area network and fast data transfer to PCs or image servers.

The camera is able to record Full HD video and can use various kinds of image compression techniques. It can use standard H.264 compression and a special H.264 mode, which allows the user to save all single frames instead of using GOPs (Groups Of Pictures).

Image Quality
Color:
The camera showed a very good reproduction of the color test chart. The automatic white balance system causes a slight shift into cooler colors but the very intense shift of blue colors into the magenta direction isn’t as intense as in images taken with the first 1D X preproduction test sample. While the preproduction sample showed a very intense oversaturation (average of 107 percent), the saturation in standard setting is 95.51 percent in the shot taken with the final Canon 1D X. Skin tone colors are very exactly reproduced.

The automatic white balance setting caused a noticeable shift into the bluish colors, which is unusual for Canon SLRs. Skin tones are very good with a slightly higher magenta rate.

Sharpness: The resolution result of the final version is even a little higher than the result of the preproduction model. The new camera reproduced the ISO test chart with 3397 of 3456 lines per picture height (preproduction sample: 3358 lines). The test image was taken with the EF 17-40mm 1:4L USM.

High sharpness is also a result of the sharpening settings (filtering) in “STANDARD” image mode, which was used in our tests. Just like the preproduction sample, the camera causes a slight overshot effect. The level of sharpening is on the same level as an average sharpness setting in a Raw converter program. The high sharpness is visible in our test shots. The spool of threads in the upper right of the standard test box are reproduced with rich details and even the red spool shows a high differentiation of the red nuances.

The standard test box shot shows very crisp and clear image details. In this case, the white balance setting (automatic) is nearly perfect. Differentiation of red colors (spool in the upper right) is very good.

Noise: The noise results of the final version of the Canon 1D X are excellent and are even a little better than the excellent results of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. But the differences are very small. Images look very clean up to ISO speed settings of ISO 3200. In images taken with ISO 6400 and higher you will notice color clouds/color smear in homogeneous color areas. The maximum of ISO 51,200 shows clearly noticeable anti-noise filtering effects, but these images are still usable for editorial photography/photojournalism.

The camera showed a very good reproduction of the color test chart. The automatic white balance system causes a slight shift into cooler colors but the very intense shift of blue colors into the magenta direction isn’t as intense as in images taken with the first Canon EOS-1D X preproduction test sample.

The dynamic range results are also excellent. With 12 f/stops, the final camera version topped the preproduction model (11.8 f/stops).

The Canon EOS-1D X has a list price of $6799 (body only).

For more information, visit: www.usa.canon.com.

Pro
+ Very high results in resolution test
+ Precise color reproduction
+ Extremely massive and sealed body)
+ Professional handling, a lot of individual settings to customize the camera
+ Full HD video, including Intra-Frame-Based and in “ALL-i”-mode

Con
- High price

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