Hands On With The Canon 1DX
I need to firstly make it clear that as this was a pre-production camera, I wasn’t allowed to use my own CF cards for evaluating the images or video (which is fair enough as by the time the camera is released in March 2012, the firmware will have gone through several changes).
What I did get to do was try the camera fully, for both stills and video (checking results on the rear LCD screen), check out the completely redesigned menu system and chat at length with the extremely knowledgeable Graham Smith and Mike Burnhill from Canon.
I must say that I’m very impressed with this flagship camera. It carries on the 1D line and is a rugged workhorse of a machine which has been designed to be even more durable than it’s previous versions (I once stood in torrential rain on assignment for around 6 solid hours with a couple of Canon 1D MkII cameras and ‘L’ lenses. Although my Berghaus Gortex jacket leaked, the cameras carried on working perfectly and never gave any problems).
It’s fantastic having a full frame and fast drive camera, all in one. The 12 fps is just astonishing as is using the 14 fps (with mirror lock up – all of this at 18 megapixels). It’s something I have wished for, for years! The controls on the camera are new, with quite a few being fully programmable. The design and placement for all of these is pretty much spot on (the only problematic one perhaps being having the magnify button which is set low down, below the screen – perfect for reviewing stills, but is a problem for when shooting video and wanting to check focus beforehand (initially spotted by Dan Chung, with whom I’m in full agreement) – I’m sure by launch perhaps one of the more convenient buttons can be programmed via firmware to act as magnify if needed for video).
Shooting up to 51,200 ISO was just astonishing; extremely clean with accurate looking colours. Magnifying in to 100% on an 8000 ISO image made me double take as it looked clean enough to have been a 100 ISO shot! Absolutely amazing. I need to remind readers again though, these were all judged on a pre-production camera using the rear LCD screen.
The AF system is completely new and feels very responsive. The new modes and selection methods with overrides certainly impress.
Another hugely impressive fact is for video shooting the camera has a better file system and no longer drops lines when down sampling to HD. Another massively important addition is adjustable audio meters which display during shooting. Canon have stopped just short by not including a headphone jack. If the AV out port can stream during recording, then perhaps a headphone adapter could be fitted to monitor audio? Who knows!
As far as is the Canon EOS 1DX perfect, we shall have to wait and see. November 3rd is due to see a video product announcement by the company and the rumour sites are buzzing with the launch of the 5D MkIII some time next year.
This certainly seems like a perfect DSLR. Personally, I’d love (as would every single one of my colleagues) a lighter pro body, with a removable grip. Apart from this gripe, it really is an impressive DSLR and ticks almost every box. I can’t wait to test it out properly and see what it’s capable of, both in terms of stills and for video.