Canon EOS-1D X

18-Megapixel Full-Frame CMOS Sensor, Full HD Video Recording, 61-Point Autofocus, new and faster imaging processors, 14-bit A/D data conversion. With a week to PhotoPlus Expo, Canon announces their new EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera.

The EOS-1D X replaces the EOS-1Ds Mark III and EOS-1D Mark IV, and many 5D Mark II owners will be flocking to Canon’s exhibit in New York’s Jacob Javits Center next week.

Here’s a humbling statistic for those of us accustomed to counting motion picture cameras by several thousands. By September 2011, Canon delivered 50 million EOS SLR cameras. By the end of October, they will have built 70 million EF lenses.

HD Video – New Compressions, Longer Recording, Better Image 

Let’s start with all the good news for filmmakers. We remember, of course, that this is primarily the top-of-the-line digital still camera—intended for the London Olympics, news, editorial, fashion, advertising, events, and hostile environments. But it also has the potential to shoot great video. The 1D X has a new full-frame 24 x 36 mm CMOS sensor like the 5D Mark II — but it has larger pixels. Larger pixels usually mean more sensitivity and a better signal-to-noise ratio. More on that later.

The camera has two new compression schemes: intraframe (ALL-i ) that’s quick and easy to edit (but results in larger files), and interframe (IPB) for better data compression (smaller file size, more challenging to edit). SMPTE timecode can be generated as Rec Run or Free Run. Multiple cameras, digital slates, and external sound recording devices can be synced.

The new full-frame (24 x 36 mm) EOS-1D X CMOS sensor exhibits less moiré than any previous Canon model, resulting in a significant improvement in HD video quality.

The 1D X breaks the 4 GB barrier. If a clip reaches the 4 GB limit, a new clip is created without dropping frames. The new file splitting function allows continuous video recording up to 29 min 59 secs across multiple 4GB files.  Multiple files can be seamlessly connected in post.

The camera records Full HD as .mov files in MPEG-4 H.264 codec 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 NTSC or PAL.

There’s a 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.


Canon’s legendary Chuck Westfall briefed us on the 1D X. The “X” symbology comes from “Extreme,” “Crossover,” and this is the 10th generation Canon Pro SLR. They call it “The Camera With Three Brains.” It has 3 DIGIC processors, including Dual DIGIC 5+ image processors capable of delivering approximately 17 times more processing speed than the previous generation, and a dedicated DIGIC 4 for metering and autofocus control. With the newly developed 18-megapixel full-frame Canon CMOS 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. An interesting benefit of this increased processor speed is in-camera chromatic aberration correction for various Canon EF lenses.

A new 100,000-pixel RGB metering sensor helps exposure accuracy by using  color and face detection.

The new 18-megapixel imaging sensor of the 1D X has 6.95 micron pixels, which are 1.25 microns larger than the ones the EOS-1D Mark IV sensor and .55 microns larger than those on the EOS 5D Mark II. Gapless microlenses are used for greater efficiency, higher sensitivity and less noise at the pixel level. A new Ultrasonic Wave Motion Cleaning (UWMC) uses carrier wave technology to remove smaller dust particles from the sensor and has a new fluorine coating on the cover glass to help repel dust.

The shutter blackout time (time you can’t see anything in the viewfinder) is 60 milliseconds. The LCD monitor in the back is 3.2 inches, with 1,040,000 dots (same as the 60D). The viewfinder has .76x magnification and a 20mm eyepoint.

The low-light capability of the EOS-1D X is incredible. Adjustable from ISO 100 to 51,200 within its standard range, the new camera 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. Sleuths, law enforcement, government and CSI photographers will be anxious to try this. 204,800 ISO!

All Autofocus 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.

EOS iTR AF: Intelligent Tracking and Recognition

The Canon EOS-1D X features new EOS iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) AF options ideal for wedding and event photography as well as sports and photojournalism. The default AF mode for the EOS-1D X uses phase detection AF information, while a new second option uses Face Detection technology to track recognized faces in addition to color information, ideal when shooting events such as tennis or dancing where facial recognition of the original subject will help keep that person in focus throughout the scene.

Exposure Control

For the first time in a Canon DSLR camera, a DIGIC processor is used exclusively with the metering sensor for fast, accurate exposure control. The EOS-1D X’s Metering Sensor has 252 zones for general metering or 35 zones for low-light metering.  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.

Multiple Exposure Modes

The EOS-1D X is the first EOS Digital SLR with 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 for maximum creative control, 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 EOS-1D X’s Multiple Exposure mode even allows photographers to specify a previously captured RAW image as the starting point for a new Multiple Exposure composite image.

Super High Speed Still Mode

The Canon EOS-1D X camera offers a Super High Speed Mode which increases still shooting speeds up to 14 fps at full 18-megapixel resolution in JPEG mode . 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 for enhanced performance in sports photography and other applications requiring high-speed digital capture.

Ergonomics and Design

The control configuration of the EOS-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.

The Live View Button has been conveniently 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 camera is weather resistant like the EOS-1D Mark IV.

The 1D X uses 2 CF cards in dual slots, with UDMA 7 CD support. The CF slots can be independently assigned (one for JPEG, one for RAW), used to “mirror” (backup), or increase storage capacity.


For photographers who prefer to be wired, there’s a built-in Ethernet connector in the EOS-1D X DSLR. The built-in LAN is gigabit Ethernet 1000BASE-T. The theory is that many photographers prefer to use a stable wired connection for ultra-fast data transmission, especially in places where wireless may cause interference. If the wired network goes down, the camera will attempt to resend images until the files are sent.  The EOS-1D X also features a direct image transfer function where images can be selected for transfer, and only sent once a LAN or USB connection is established. The camera can act as a server, accessible from any computer, iPhone, iPad or browser.


Canon’s WFT-E6A Wireless File Transmitter is 802.11n.  With this new dust and weather resistant model, you can synchronize clocks on multiple cameras and use it to link multiple cameras. Bluetooth-compatible equipment can be linked to the device as well.

Canon’s GP-E1 GPS Receiver attaches to and is powered by the body. With its electronic compass, the GP-E1 will log movement – latitude, longitude, elevation, and Universal Time Code.

Ready when you are

The Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera is scheduled to ship March 2012, giving photographers just a few months to practice before the summer Olympic games in England. This camera will raise the bar.


Leave a Comment

2 Responses:

  1. Jan Becker says:

    My jaw is on the floor. Besides the insane ISO and the fixed audio problem I’m staring at 14 fps at 18 megapixels. That’s quite a resolution. And if you combine those frames it’s almost like – film!

  2. Pingback: Canon EOS-1D X | Film and Digital Times: News | Kelly On A Tangent