If you've been a fan of Canon's SLR cameras for any significant period of time, you might be aware that Canon has had two different branches of its "1D" nameplate. One made beautiful, high-density images but was deliberate in its shooting pace -- the other was machine-gun fast, but its shots were not as lushly detailed. The Canon 1D X takes its cue from both sides of that divide, cherry-picking the most attractive features from both lines to arrive at a professional tool that is truly worthy of being called the company's flagship camera.
The beauty of full-frame sensors
Firstly, it features that sought-after rarity in digital cameras: a full-frame sensor. Well-regarded for their light sensitivity, enhanced detail, low noise, and their ability to host lenses that generate spectacular shallow depth-of-field looks, Canon's full-frame sensors set a high performance standard. The Canon 1D X is sure to become a favorite of professional portrait and fashion photographers, as it specializes in generating lush, high-resolution images that speak volumes.
But what of the other side of the 1D pedigree, the rough-and-tumble, fast-firing, go-anywhere favorite of sports and action photographers? Those genes are in evidence as well. The 1D X shoots a blazing-fast 12 frames per second at full resolution (14 frames per second in Super High Speed Mode), and thanks to the twin DIGIC 5+ processors (and a separate DIGIC 4 processor that is dedicated to metering and autofocus), this camera has the capacity to push some raw data in the service of fast captures.
The Canon 1D X features a sophisticated yet logical control interface
How to rethink a camera
This isn't just a mash-up of two respected cameras, though. So much has been re-imagined that it's hard to know where to begin. The light sensitivity of this camera is practically off the charts, with a standard ISO range of 100-51200 and the ability to select ISOs up to 204800. The newly rethought autofocus system is now referred to as a 61-point High-Density Reticular autofocus, and it has 5 central dual cross-type points that keep track of diagonal movement in addition to 21 central horizontal/vertical cross-type points and 20 outer cross-type points. In combination with a new 100,000-pixel RGB metering sensor, this technology will provide exquisite tracking of fast-moving, unpredictable subjects. Birds in flight, crossing jet-skis, dynamic crowd shots, each challenge is a piece of cake for the Canon 1D X.
It's a video artist, too
Canon kick-started the DSLR video revolution with its ground-breaking full-frame 5D a few years back. The 1D X has taken everything they've learned from that introduction and refined it further. They've added an intra-frame compression option, where each individual frame is captured and kept discrete, making the resulting files easier for popular editing software suites to handle. The CMOS sensor's drive system has been tweaked to drastically reduce rolling shutter and moire artifacts. Sound recording has been refined with a 64-step volume control and level-meters that are visible during shooting. Silent adjustments to shots can be made during shooting with the touch pad located on the inner portion of the Quick Control Dial on the back of the unit.
Built to last
And of course, the red bow on this handsome package is Canon's legendary build quality. This is a substantial camera, with excellent grips on both axes of its magnesium-alloy body. Thoughtful gasket placement makes for a camera that is ready for the elements; the unit is both dust- and moisture-resistant. The carbon-fiber bladed shutter is rated to maintain up to 14 frames per second, for up to 400,000 cycles.
As a professional, or an aspiring professional, you will need a tool that is literally ready for any situation. Challenging light? Fast, random motion? The 1D X has you covered, from rooms that are lit by a flashlight, to wide-open skyward motion shots of a Monarch butterfly migration, to the heartfelt impact of a portrait with a secret smile.