Canon EOS-1D X: New Top-Gun HDSLR


After months of speculation and an untold number of rumors, Canon has unveiled its new flagship camera—the Canon EOS-1D X. Most impressively, the new camera, which replaces both the EOS-1Ds Mk III and EOS-1D Mk IV, improves upon previous Canon EOS 1D-series HDSLRs in every which way.

Starting with the camera’s imaging sensor, the EOS -1D X contains a full-frame, 18.1MP CMOS sensor that features pixels that are 1.25 microns larger than the pixels found in Canon’s EOS-1D Mark IV, and 0.55 microns larger than the pixels found in Canon’s EOS-5D Mk II, which combined with gapless micro lenses, should translate into greater dynamic range, less noise and smoother shadow-to-highlight transitions than both of the aforementioned cameras. As with all EOS 1D-series cameras, the 1D X features 14-bit A/D conversion for optimal color and tonal range.

In the performance department, the new camera boasts a total of three image processors including a pair of Canon’s latest DIGIC 5+ image processors and a DIGIC 4 image processor, which has the sole duty of operating the EOS-1D X’s 100,000-pixel RGB Metering System and new EOS iTR (Intelligent Tracking & Recognition) and 61-Point High Density Reticular AF system.

In addition to 12 frame-per-second continuous shooting speeds (or up to 14 fps in Super High Speed Mode), the new DIGIC 5+ imaging processors allow for lower noise levels, chromatic aberration correction for Canon EF optics (formerly a post-production chore), and a standard ISO range of 100 to 51,200, which is expandable to a lower ISO 50 and an expanded range of up to 102,400 (H1) and ISO 204,800 (H2).

Along with impressive still performance (JPEG/RAW/JPEG+RAW), Canon’s EOS-1D X offers HD video with full exposure control and a wide choice of frame rates, including 1080/30p (29.97), 24p (23.976), 25p, 720/60p (59.94), 50p, 480/60p (59.94), and all with 4GB of automatic file partitioning for continuous recording times of 29 minutes and 59 seconds.

Other features found on Canon’s new flagship camera include fully weatherproof magnesium-alloy construction, an intelligent viewfinder that features a superimposed LCD, a 3.2", 1,040,000-dot Clear View II LCD, a selection of customizable menu controls, dual CompactFlash (CF Type I & II) memory card slots, 36 ms shutter-lag times, in-camera RAW processing, a Gigabyte-Ethernet terminal and compatibility with Canon’s wireless transmitter and GPS receiver systems.

Canon’s EOS-1D X is expected to arrive on our shelves sometime around March, 2012.

Camera Type Digital SLR with Interchangeable lenses
Lens Mount Canon EF
Camera Format Full-Frame
Resolution Actual Pixels: 19.3 Megapixels 
Sensor Type / Size CMOS, 36 x 24 mm
File Formats Still Images: JPEG, RAW
Movies: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
Audio: Linear PCM
Memory Card Type


Video Recording Yes
Audio Recording With Video
Focus Type Auto & Manual

Autofocus Points


Viewfinder Type Pentaprism
Viewfinder Coverage 100%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.76x
Diopter Adjustment - 3.0 to +1.0 m
Display Screen 3.2" Rear Screen   
Screen Coverage 100%
Live View Yes
ISO Sensitivity 50-51200
Shutter 1/8000 - 30 seconds; bulb; X-sync at 1/250 second (stills) 
Metering mode Spot metering, Center-weighted average metering, Average metering, Partial metering, Multi-zone metering
Exposure Modes Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Shutter Priority
Compensation: -5EV to +5EV (in 1/3EV steps) 
White Balance Modes

Auto, Cloudy, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent, Manual, Tungsten 

Dedicated Flash System eTTL Groups: Channels:
External Flash Connection Wireless
Self Timer 10 sec, 2 sec
Battery 1x LP-E4N  Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack
Operating/Storage Temperature Operating
32 to 104° F (0 to 40° C)
Humidity: 0 - 85%
Dimensions (WxHxD) 6.2 x 6.4 x 3.3" / 157.48 x 162.56 x 83.82 mm

Add new comment

Why is it cheaper than the EOS-1DS Mark III?


The $6,800.00 price tag is an estimate from Canon. We'll have a better idea on pricing next year when the camera is available and shipping.

Why should it be more expensive?

The main price differential is determined by the number of megapixels in a sensor. The higher the megapixels the more chances of rejects thus resulting in higher cost..

that is not correct.

Most likely it is cheaper than the EOS-1DS Mark III because it has a 18 megapixel sensor instead of the EOS-1DS Mark III's 21.1 megapixel sensor

The camera shutter doesn't go below 1/30 (except Bulb)?  That'll be annoying for long-exposure shots you want at a very specific time (trying to hit the shutter release button on the remote at the exact time in Bulb mode)!

I wonder why Canon made it only 18.1 MP?  I was hoping their next one would be over 21 MP.

Otherwise, this looks like a great camera!

My god I hope you're joking...

I guess he wasn't!

Why would you hope I'm joking?  These are very valid questions!  Not everybody only prints small photos - some of us own large-format printers - and 1/30th of a second is just wrong to be the last speed before "Bulb" (hopefully it is indeed a typo like others said it must be).  Maybe you only take portraits so don't need low, exact speeds, but in other types of photography, longer shutter times are important (and using a timer to press the button yourself isn't an exact science).

I think you are reading the spec wrong. It says 1/8000 to 30 seconds NOT to 1/30th of a second.

It has been fixed since the article first came out.  It did used to say 1/30.

That's the lowest video shutter speed available. I agree they wrote it here in a confusing way. For regular photography it will likely go down to 30sec. and then you can use the Bulb for longer exposures than that. 

Why do we buy 1DX  18MP,12FPS at $6,800.00  . Please take a look of Sony NEX-7  24PM, 12FPS, only $1,199.00 (Body only)

I've heard great things from a fellow pro shooter about the Sony. I too wonder why Canon is limited it to 18mp.

In what world are you living the? The Canon is  full frame camera, a real SLR; the Sony Nex 7is neither. The Sony doesn't do really high ISO well. And most important, Sony doesn't really have too many good autofocus lenses which will work with the Nex 7. For such a small mirrorless camera, the Sony's shutter is pretty loud and distracting too, unlike say a Samsung or Panasonic mirrorless camera.

 Sony should have put many fewer megapixels in the Nex 7. And the A77 too.

The Canon EOS 1DX and Sony NEX-7 cameras are two totally different beasts.  The Sony is a good quality option, and has nice image quality, but a camera in the 1D series is desinged for the demanding working pro, who needs a body that is durable and will hold up under any working conditions (rain, humidity, dust etc) as well as having  a much larger selection base for lenses and other technical accessories used in advanced applications.  Sony does not have an option for a 400mm f2.8 lens for example.  Wild life and sports photographers need that type of lens combined with the abilty to use wireless triggers for strobes and remote cameras as well as countless other possible applications. 

Larger pixels with a smaller pixel count lends to better low light and High ISO capabilities, which Canon traded in favor of a higher pixel count.  Higher quailty pixels are better than a larger quantity of pixels.  The smaller pixel count also allows for smaller overall file sizes, which means the buffer can allow for faster burst rates, which is another main feature of this camera.

Thanks for knowing what your talking about.

Anyone even needing to ask these questions is obviously not a Pro photographer and absolutely not in need of the Canon.

Can someone tell the people who isnsit that every new camera released needs to have MORE megapixels WHY we do not need them thanks!? The smaller number of megapixels on the larger sensor results in better image quality. Also, the larger files become, the more system resources photographers need to process these files? When you're processing thousands of wedding images in a batch process, this can take quite some time? Most images at 18MP taken on a good ff camera can be blown up to poster size and larger anyway... the image quality of cameras churning out anything over 18-21 MP at the moment is excellent and getting up to the levels of full frame SLR, so why the need to see higher megapixels? We just need more speed, more storage, lower ISO's please.

This should make the sports people pleased.  I could care less about speed and video.   I hope their next offering will blow the medium format digital cameras out of the water.

If they double the sensor size, it will ;)

Yes, it's 30 seconds.

Ah, I hope that's what it is!  Thanks!

I think the 1/30th is a typo on CanonUSA's part.

CPN, Canon UK, and Canon Japan list the shutter speed as 30s - 1/8000th.

i.e. see

Great!  Thanks!

Could you not just set it to bulb and use a timer to get your desired "specific time" long exposure? That's what I thought most people do...or maybe I am crazy, and only I do that...

My remote shutter doesn't have a built-in timer, if that's what you meant.  If you meant just hit the shutter release button when you see the timer get to a certain time, that's not exact (bad case of the trigger finger blues could mess it up).  If it works for you, great!  But, it doesn't work well for everyone.

Anyone who is creative with waterfall and babe long brook shots knows that exposures longer than 1/30s is critical. It's a typo guys! The
Range is really 1/8000s to 30s. There's no way Canon would stop at 1/30!

For time exposures beyond 30 seconds you can use the Canon plug in release TC80 TN-3. With that you can set up to 99 hours automatically timed exposure and it is an intervalometer and a long time delay unit too. I use mine quite a bit

Speed30-1/8000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments) + Bulb (Shutter speed range available varies according to shooting mode)

Think it is 30 to 1/8000 so 30 seconds. not 1/30th

what camera have you seen has a exposure time longer then 30 seconds?? Every camera I've seen has 30 seconds and then goes to bulb.  Is it really that much of a hassle for you to stop it at a certain time after 30 seconds?

1/30 is not 30 seconds.

Just use the TC-80N3 remote for those ultra long exposures.  It's worked great for me for several years.

As for the 18 MP question, they appear to be looking for less noise with larger pixels and better low light performance.  I shoot with a 1Ds mk II now and regularly print to 16x20 with great sharpness.  My problem would be to find lenses that truly handle resolutions higher than this.  I currently use Canon 85 1.2L Canon 24-70 2.8L Canon 70-200 2.8L lenses. Some of my other lenses cannot handle the current 16.7 MP resolution.

The 18 mp sensor with the larger pixel size may well be to optimize the glasses ability to resolve.
when pixels get to small they hit a wall, that wall is the lenses ability to match the resolving capability of the sensor.
Hence Hasselblads 200 mp rig uses a 50 mp sensor.

There is a fundamental limit to the signal/noise ratio for photon detectors: if the number of photons collected is N, the best possible signal/noise ratio is the square root of N. So if an individual detector collects ten thousand photons, the best possible signal/noise ratio is 100. Larger detector collect more photons than smaller ones.  But that "best possible" is never achieved. There is an additional limit set by the capacitance of the capacitors that collect the charges generated by photon detection: an inherent noise mechanism that prevents a capacitor from being preset to an exact voltage, so there is an uncertainty (i.e., noise) in the voltage at which the capacitor starts to collect charges from photon detection. At the end of the integration time (exposrue time), that noise is superimposed on the signal voltage. Careful circuit design can mitigate this effect somewhat. But larger detectors have a larger capacitance and hence lower reset noise. When all of that is taken into account, all other things being equal, a lower resolution imager with larger detectors will have better signal/noise ratio and hence better low light performance. That is why recent Nikon DSLRs that have very good low light performance have relatively low resolution. Canon is just doing the smart thing by limiting the resolution to "only" 18.1 MP.

Before I retired this year, I worked for some 15 years designing imagers for military systems. They were for infrared imaging, not visible, but the principles are the same.

From my experiance with the 7D and my older digiral rebel, higher resolution means that more human errors enter the picture, with the rebel I could take pictures are 1/15 or even 1/10 while with the 7D it is impossible, the hand shaking and lens erores are magnified to the point you see it in the pictures. So 18.1MP is a reasonale option.

However, I am wondering why stop the sutter at 1/30. Many pictues I take are done with lower speeds, especially night shots and nature pictures where there is enough light on one hand but I also like to capture the movement of things, like streaming water for example. exanding the field of view on the expence of shooter speed in low ISO ratings.

Perhaps you should be looking in the Canon Rebel section.

Uh, no, as a professional photographer, I need a professional camera.

I often use shutter speeds below 1/30.  And the pixel question was about the need to print on professional wide-format printers.  Not everybody prints only small photos.  If the bigger pixels make for fine large prints, I'll be satisfied.  Like somebody else posted, it would be nice if there was a way to take home a sample shot from a store's floor sample camera so I could check out the quality and make a print on my wide-format.

From the way you talk and misunderstood the specification, you look like an amateur photographer.

I didn't misunderstand the specification - it was a typo in the article. 1/30 and 30 seconds are not the same. The article said 1/30 would be the slowest before "Bulb" in the 1D X, which would be crazy.

18.1 MP on a full frame senor should make for a very resolute photograph.

best regards.

I have printed large prints at 30"x40" from photos taken with my 7D (and 70-200 f/2.8L IS II) and I can vouch that 18MP is sufficient for 30"x40". I looked at it under a magnifying glass and was just BARELY able to see pixelation, and only in very high-contrast parts of the print.

"I wonder why Canon made it only 18.1 MP?"

The larger pixels are probably a major factor in the wider ISO range. It may also be a factor in the faster drive rate--12 frames/sec, up to 14 frames/sec in "super high speed" mode. More pixels = proportionately larger files, especially in RAW. I'm not really sure what the utility of 21 MP vs 18 MP, but, if you need/want 21 MP, you can get the 5D Mk II, but you'll give up the fast drive rate and super-high ISO.

The listing of the shutter speeds is likely a typographical error on Canon USA's part.  The Canon UK site lists the shutter specifications as "30-1/8000 sec (1/2 or 1/3 stop increments) + Bulb (Shutter speed range available varies according to shooting mode)" which would offer you the 30 second time frame.  Hopefully Canon USA will clarify this in the near future.

Larger pixels with a smaller pixel count lends to better low light and High ISO capabilities, which Canon traded in favor of a higher pixel count.  Higher quailty pixels are better than a larger quantity of pixels.  The smaller pixel count also allows for smaller overall file sizes, which means the buffer can allow for faster burst rates, which is another main feature of this camera.

The 18mp limitation exists also in the 1DMarkIV (which I have been using for 2 years) because Canon could not get a larger sensor magnetically cleared fast enough when shooting 10 frames per second.  The 1D-X shoots 12 frames per second--I suspect the same reason for this frame size.

Does the autofocus work in video mode and is it silent?

As with other Canon DSLR's autofocus will not work in the video mode.


Please stop combining video with still cameras. I hate paying for something that I am not going to use. This feature inflates the price for those of us who aren't onto video.

At least offer two models, with and with out video. You would be able to lower the prices and sell more high end cameras.

If Nikon makes this seperation first I am scrapping my Canon stuff.

I agree. that's why I have a video camera. for videos. I heard the tv show "24" is videoed with cannon cameras. it's because you have more of a selection of lenses.