- 18MP sensor
- DIGIC 5+ processor
- Canon EOS EF lens mount
- Lens-based image stabilization
- 61-point AF system
- 3.2” screen with 1.04m-dots
- Weather-sealed body
- Full HD video
- ISO range of 100-51,200
- 12fps burst mode
- Optional WFT-6 Wi-Fi unit
- 2.95 lbs
- Versatile multi purpose
- Continue shooting, ignore obstructions
- Instantly refocus suddenly with obstructions
- Subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly
- Erratic subject movement
- Subjects that change speed and move erratically
Photo by Chris Yang on Unsplash
The Canon EOS 1DX is nearly ten years old, so why are we still talking about it in 2020?
Well, this full frame, professional grade camera is growing incredibly cheap and for professional photographers who are looking for a second or third camera, it’s still a great, inexpensive option.
When it first dropped, Canon wanted to use the Canon EOS 1DX to replace both the sports-oriented 1D series and the studio-oriented 1DS series.
But, over time, it became a cult classic among many photography circles, which is one of the reasons why photographers are so excited for the newest version that dropped earlier this year.
Without further ado, let’s dive right into this Canon EOS 1DX review.
Canon EOS 1DX Specs
The Canon EOS 1DX specs include an 18MP sensor, a weather-sealed body, and an incredible ISO range of 100-51,200.
Obviously a lot of the specs on this camera are going to be dated. As an example, while it can shoot full HD video, it cannot shoot 4K video. Similarly, while it does feature lens-based image stabilization, it doesn’t feature in-body image stabilization.
But, for every outdated spec, it has another which continues to impress to this day.
Other Canon EOS 1DX Specs include:
When the Canon EOS 1DX first dropped, the spec update most people were excited about was the improvement to the autofocus system, which is obviously out of date now. But, for the fact that this camera is almost a decade old, the autofocus system still performs well.
For instance, there are 6 different AF mode presets. These include:
It’s small specs like this that really set the Canon EOS 1DX apart, despite its age.
Canon EOS 1DX Body & Design
The Canon EOS 1DX body is incredibly similar to the Canon 1DX Mark II, for those familiar with the line.
Let’s start with the most obvious differences and similarities between the Canon EOS 1DX features and the Canon EOS 1DX Mark II. While the Mark II features a touchscreen, the 1DX doesn’t.
For me, this can be a frustrating experience considering I’m so used to shooting with a touchscreen, but I know it may be a dealbreaker for other photographers.
Both cameras are built to last forever though. The shutter life expectancy for either is 400,000 cycles (which is great if you’re planning to purchase a 1DX this late in the game since many of them will have racked up some mileage at this point).
The 1DX weighs significantly less than the Mark II at 2.95 lbs, as opposed to 3.4 lbs. The Canon EOS 1DX also measures 6.22 inches by 6.45 inches, making it great for shooters with larger hands or shooters who are going to be working in cold weather, wearing gloves frequently. There’s plenty of room for the button and menu layout.
Lastly, both of these cameras are resistant to water and dust.
Canon EOS 1DX Build & Handling
Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash
The Canon EOS 1DX design is very sturdy. I would argue that it may be more sturdy than its successor. It features a lot of rubberized texture, both along the grip and the bottom of the camera, so you will feel comfortable handling it, whether you’re shooting in landscape or portrait mode.
The menus on the Canon EOS 1DX are very user friendly. Every section is color coded and if you’ve ever worked with a Canon in the last decade, then it’s going to be immediately familiar.
You can use manual or auto ISO options so that you have a choice between minimum and maximum settings.
A lot of this camera is also customizable. For example, you have a lot of customizable options when it comes to the dual CF card slots. You can set your camera to automatically switch to the other card when one is full, you can set your camera to put different images to each card, or you can send each photo to both cards.
But, obviously the best part of the handling of the Canon EOS 1DX is its autofocus system. There are five different pages of customizable options for the AF system. Not to overwhelm you, but the accompanying manual from Canon has a full 48 pages dedicated to things like tracking sensitivity, AF point auto switching, and acceleration/deceleration tracking.
When it comes to the battery life, I’m also pleasantly surprised with the Canon EOS 1DX. Its battery is rated at 1,120 shots. This means that, theoretically, you can get well over 1,500 shots from a single charge. Plus, extra batteries for this camera are relatively cheap if you really think you need more than that.
The one negative I can find about the Canon EOS 1DX handling is that the buttons aren’t illuminated. So, if you’re shooting in low light frequently, this may be a problem. But, the top LCD does illuminate whenever you press the light button.
Canon EOS 1DX Video Performance
I’m a big believer in letting video speak for itself, so thank you to LZFilm for the test shoot.
The Canon EOS 1DX video specs include ALL-I and IPB compression. There is a 3.5mm stereo input jack so you don’t need to rely on in-camera audio. But, if you opt to rely on in-camera audio, the internal microphone captures 16bit mono sound.
This camera features manual audio level control with a meter that can be displayed on the LCD while recording.
You can shoot in Full Hd video at either 25fps or 24fps. You can also use Optical Zoom in videography mode.
As with most cameras to date, you can only record clips for 29 minutes and 59 seconds.
There are also some fun things about the Canon EOS 1DX handling that affect the way you record video. For instance, you can use the rear scroll wheel while you’re shooting videos. It’s a touch sensitive wheel so that you don’t need to press any buttons that could make noise that gets picked up in your video.
Canon EOS 1DX Image Quality
The Canon EOS 1DX image quality is exactly what you would expect of a full-frame camera of this caliber: excellent. Above, see Jared Polin’s reaction to seeing images from the 1DX for the first time.
When it first came out, its ISO range was no joke. At the highest sensitivity setting, this camera could snap the best photos of any camera to date. Much of this is still true today. You can shoot at ISO 51,200 with very little noise.
Obviously, I’m not recommending you shoot at ISO 51,200, but the fact that very little noise is introduced at this level bodes well for its light sensitivity. I typically shoot anywhere between 6,400-12,800 with no problems. After 12,800, noise is gradually introduced to your photos.
The thing that I really respect about the Canon EOS 1DX image quality is that you can shoot in either RAW or JPEG and the image quality is excellent across the board.
When it comes to the Auto White Balance performance, you’ll find that shooting with tungsten lighting will give your photos a slightly warm result, while fluorescent lighting will be much more neutral.
However, when it comes to shooting in natural light with Auto White Balance, you will probably get cooler images than other cameras you’ve shot with before. Obviously, you can control this a bit better when shooting in RAW, so this is what I recommend.
Canon EOS 1DX Price
Since the Canon EOS 1DX was replaced by the 1DX Mark II in 2016 and the Mark III earlier this year, the original Canon EOS 1DX is continuing to grow cheaper and cheaper.
It originally cost $6,800.
But, you can purchase a Canon EOS 1DX for as little as $1,760 on MPB right now.
Or, you can opt for a Canon EOS 1DX in excellent condition for $1,950.
Some of this camera’s specs may be outdated, but the Canon EOS 1DX price makes it more than worth it for me.
While there are hundreds of websites for used photography gear, we have been big proponents of MPB for years. Find out why in the MPB Review article in the learn more link below.