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Canon announces 17.92 million image pixel EOS-1D X
Monday, October 17, 2011 | by Rob Galbraith
Canon has announced the EOS-1D X, its new flagship digital SLR that features a 17.92 million image pixel full-frame CMOS image sensor, 12fps top shooting rate (or 14fps with the mirror locked up), a standard ISO range of 100-51,200 (which can be expanded to as high as 204,800), an all-new 61-point AF system, all-new 100,000-pixel RGB ambient/flash metering sensor, twin CompactFlash slots, dual DIGIC 5+ image/data processors, 1080p/29.97fps video capture with new compression options and timecode embedding, in-camera multiple exposure capability, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a higher-capacity LP-E4N battery, all in a dust and weather sealed magnesium alloy body.

The EOS-1D X is also compatible with Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E6/WFT-E6A and GPS Receiver GP-E1, both of which have also been unveiled today.

Canon EOS-1D X feature summary

Though it resembles the EOS-1D Mark IV in its basic appearance, particularly from the front, the EOS-1D X incorporates a long list of interface, mechanical and electronic changes. The new Canon model represents the most significant reworking of the company's pro digital SLR line since the introduction of the EOS-1D Mark III in the first half of 2007.

EOS-1DX
Front
No Lens
Angle
Back
Side
Top
With this announcement, Canon is also officially discontinuing the EOS-1Ds Mark III (though this is largely a formality, as the company is likely to have stopped manufacturing this body eons ago). Going forward, the EOS-1D X will be the only 1-series camera the company makes, or at least it will be once it becomes a shipping product starting next year.

Here's the new camera, at a glance:
  • Magnesium alloy body with 76 dust and weather sealing gaskets

  • Numerous interface refinements relative to the EOS-1D Mark IV, including two pairs of user-configurable buttons on the camera's front, a reworked button layout on the back that includes two multi-controllers and a touchpad within the Quick Control Dial meant for making silent adjustments to such things as audio levels while video is being recorded

  • 17.92 million image pixel full-frame CMOS sensor. Image dimensions at full resolution are 5184 x 3456 pixels. Among the file format settings are full-resolution RAW plus two reduced-resolution settings: M-RAW (3888 x 2592 pixels) and S-RAW (2592 x 1728 pixels)

  • Optical viewfinder with 100% frame coverage and optional grid display

  • 12fps top shooting rate with full autofocus, metering and other camera functionality; up to 14fps is also possible with the mirror locked up and the camera recording JPEGs only. At ISO 32,000 and above, the EOS-1D X's maximum frame rate drops to 10fps. Also, like the 7D, the camera's frame rate slows from the maximum when the battery's charge level drops below 50%.

  • (The number of JPEG, RAW and RAW+JPEG pictures that can be shot in a burst has not been finalized.)

  • All-new mirror and shutter mechanisms (the latter has a durability rating of 400,000 cycles)

  • A standard ISO range of 100-51,200 in 1/3 step increments, plus 50, 102,400 and 204,800 with ISO expansion enabled. EOS-1D X high ISO performance is promised to be much better than any previous EOS digital SLR, including the EOS-1D Mark IV

  • A top shutter speed of 1/8000 and a standard top flash sync speed of 1/250

  • A startup time of 0.1s, a shutter lag of 55ms and a 60ms mirror blackout time. Shutter lag drops to between 36-55ms via a Custom Function

  • 61-point AF system with 41 cross-type points

  • Dual DIGIC 5+ image and data processors

  • 100,000 pixel RGB ambient/flash metering sensor (that's broken down into different sets of virtual metering segments depending on the ambient light level)

  • Dual-axis electronic level

  • In-camera multiple exposures, with several options for how the camera captures and blends the frames

  • In-camera RAW converter

  • HD video capture at up to 1080p/29.97fps or 720p/59.94fps with new H.264 compression options and timecode embedding (but no RAW video option and no continuous autofocus during capture; the new camera's video mode appears to have received mainly incremental improvements)

  • 3.5mm stereo audio mic jack, now with increased power supplied through the jack

  • New in-camera Chromatic Aberration Correction, which can be enabled for stills and video

  • Gigabit Ethernet wired networking built right into the camera and providing the same set of functions as one of Canon's WFT-series wired/wireless transmitters (though only over a wired link to the camera, obviously)

  • 3.2-inch (diagonal), 1,040,000-dot rear LCD featuring Canon's ClearView II technology

  • Built-in voice memo mic (recording quality is selectable; options are 8khz and 48khz)

  • One-touch zoom to area around active focus point at 100% magnification (plus other zoom shortcut options)

  • New EOS System Monitor screen shows total shutter actuations, serial number and firmware version

  • Twin CompactFlash slots with support for fast UDMA 7 cards

  • Compatibility with the new WFT-E6/WFT-E6A 802.11a/b/g/n wireless transmitter and GPS Receiver GP-E1
Feature highlights

Body The EOS-1D X's body has similar lines to the EOS-1D Mark IV, though it's very slightly taller, deeper and heavier. It has the same 76-gasket environmental sealing as its predecessor too.

Canon has made numerous outwardly-visible changes, particularly at the back. These changes include a new 3.2-inch (diagonal), 1,040,000-dot ClearView II rear LCD, a touchpad within the Quick Control Dial that allows for silent adjustment of camera parameters such as audio levels during video capture, a Live View button to the right of the viewfinder, two multi-controllers (one for horizontal and one for vertical), a Q button that allows for quick access to the adjustment of various camera settings (this button first appeared on the EOS 7D) and a button layout that puts playback controls on the left, beneath the rear LCD, and operational controls on the right.

On the front are four user-configurable function buttons, two for horizontal and two for vertical shooting. Each button in each pair has a different tactile feel so that the photographer's fingers will know which is which. On the top, the flash exposure lock (FEC) button is now a user-configurable multi-function (M.Fn) button.

Canon is naming the body differently too. Rather than calling it the EOS-1D Mark V, thereby carrying on a practice that began when the EOS-1D Mark II came out in 2004, they've broken with that convention and called it simply EOS-1D X. The X, says Canon USA Technical Advisor Chuck Westfall, is meant to suggest three things about the new camera:
  • X for extreme (X-treme) performance
  • X for cross-over (X-over), since this represents the merging of Canon's two pro digital SLR cameras, the higher-resolution EOS-1Ds Mark III and higher-performance EOS-1D Mark IV, into a single next-generation model
  • The Roman numeral X, as in 10, because the EOS-1D X represents the 10th generation of pro-class SLR from Canon since the F-1 debuted in 1971
Shutter and mirror The EOS-1D X incorporates a newly-developed shutter with a 400,000-cycle durability rating, compared to 300,000 for the EOS-1D Mark IV. New coated carbon fibre shutter blades, which are lighter and promised to be tougher than previous 1-series shutters, contribute to the higher duty cycle figure. A lower-vibration shutter motor has made its way into the camera as well.

The EOS-1D X is the first 1-series Canon to feature an electronic first curtain. It comes to life in Live View's Silent Shooting modes, and enables maximum camera stability in situations in which a high magnification lens (supertelephoto or microscope, for instance) and slow shutter speed is used. As its name implies, the CMOS sensor itself, rather than the shutter mechanism, starts the exposure, thereby eliminating any vibration that might come from the initial shutter movement.

The top standard flash sync speed is 1/250, which is lower than the 1/300 of the EOS-1D Mark IV. The shutter mechanism in the EOS-1D X is no slower than the EOS-1D Mark IV, says Canon USA's Westfall, but the larger sensor of the new camera means the shutter blade travel time over the image area is effectively longer, which in turn knocks back sync speed slightly and in fact brings it in line with the full-frame EOS-1Ds Mark III.

Users of PocketWizard HyperSync-capable transmitters will find that this has a similar impact on the top full-brightness flash sync speed achievable with the new camera, probably bringing it down from the EOS-1D Mark IV's 1/500 to 1/400 in the EOS-1D X.

With Canon Speedlites, High Speed Sync above 1/250 is possible as well. On the topic of Speedlites, Westfall says that "[b]asic operation with dedicated flash is the same as the EOS-1D Mark IV."

Like the shutter, the mirror mechanism has been redesigned to keep up to the camera's fast frame rates. It features a new quad-action mirror stopper design, says Westfall, for both the main mirror and the sub-mirror (the latter passes light to the AF system's sensor), which promises greater stability when the mechanism is in the down position and also provides faster up-down movement too.

This contributes to a mirror blackout time of only 60ms, down from 80ms in the EOS-1D Mark IV. This should mean the interruption of the viewfinder image will be less noticeable with the new camera, compared to the previous generation, and the previous generation was already darned good in this way.

Viewfinder The viewfinder optics in the EOS-1D X are the same as the EOS-1Ds Mark III, and as such so are the key specifications, such as .76x magnification, 20mm eye point and 100% coverage. New to a 1-series camera is on-demand grid lines, as well as an AF status indicator within the viewable area that shows when the camera is actively autofocusing, thanks to a new translucent LCD overlay similar to the 7D. In the data below the viewable area the shooting mode is now displayed.

The EOS-1D X is compatible with the full range of Ec-type interchangeable focusing screens.

Image sensor and ISO The EOS-1D X's CMOS sensor is the latest from Canon to weight in at about 18MP, but with the promise of dramatically better high ISO quality than any of the company's other 18MP cameras as well as the 16MP EOS-1D Mark IV.

By adopting a full-frame image sensor in the new model, rather than the smaller 1.3X size found in the EOS-1D Mark IV, Canon was able to increase the pixel pitch from 5.7µm to 6.95µm and increase the total number of pixels by about two million. All other things being equal, larger pixels lead to better high ISO quality than smaller pixels, so the pixel pitch increase alone should mean the EOS-1D X produces better low light pictures than its direct predecessor.

Canon has also evolved the sensor technology, reworking the internals of each pixel on the way to producing what Westfall says is the lowest noise of any EOS digital SLR to date. By way of example, he says that an ISO 51,200 photo from the EOS-1D X shows roughly equivalent noise levels to an ISO 12,800 photo taken with the EOS-1D Mark IV.

Here's hoping that Canon has been able to achieve that, since a true two-stop improvement in the ISO stratosphere would give the new model the high-ISO prowess of the Nikon D3S or better, but with 50% more pixels, and that would be a tremendous and useful achievement for Canon shooters that toil in available darkness.

The camera's ISO range is 100-51,200 in 1/3 step increments (the EOS-1D X can be configured for 1/2 steps and full steps too). Switching on ISO expansion enables the selection of L (ISO 50), H1 (ISO 102,400) and H2 (204,800) in full steps above and below the standard ISO settings.

The self-cleaning mechanism, Canon's Integrated Cleaning System, has been modified. It now shakes the cover glass in front of the image sensor from side to side in what Canon describes as a carrier wave motion, rather than up and down. This is said to help remove both more debris and smaller bits of debris than before. The anti-stick fluorine coating on the outermost layer of the sensor package has also been improved.

DIGIC 5+ processor Canon's next-generation DIGIC 5 processor saw its introduction in PowerShot cameras earlier this year; the EOS-1D X's DIGIC 5+ processor is not only more powerful than that of Canon's point-and-shoot line, there are also two of them. This horsepower is necessary to handle the torrent of data being read out of the image sensor at up to 14fps, and enables new still and video processing capabilities too. These new capabilities include:
  • Chromatic Aberration Correction The new filtering is implemented in a manner similar to Canon's vignette-reducing Peripheral Illumination Correction: profiles of Canon lens characteristics are loaded into the camera for the glass you use most, and then the correction is turned on in a menu. Chromatic Aberration Correction is applied to both stills and video, and addresses both lateral and axial aberrations.

  • Multiple exposure mode Up to nine individual exposures can be combined, with a buffet of frame blending options including four different compositing methods - Additive, Average, Bright and Dark - and two different ways of capturing the source frames.

    The first way involves shooting one frame at a time, watching the blended image build to completion on the rear LCD as each new frame is shot. You can undo the last frame and retake it, you can optionally use a previously-captured RAW frame as your starting point for the multiple exposure and you can choose to save each individual frame as well as the composite frame to the memory card.

    The second way is simpler: shoot a nine-frame continuous burst at up to 12fps and the EOS-1D X will blend them. For classic multiple exposure sports pictures, such as a pitcher winding up to release the ball, this multiple exposure variant is meant to do all the processing work and leave the shooting to you.

  • In-camera RAW converter Pressing the Q button while in Playback mode brings up an overlay; one of the options that appears is RAW processing, which is new to a 1-series camera and which is handled by the DIGIC 5+. Conversion settings that can be adjusted prior to conversion include software exposure compensation, white balance, Picture Style, colour space, Auto Lighting Optimizer, High ISO NR, Peripheral Illumination Correction, Chromatic Aberration Correction and the output dimensions and quality of the converted JPEG.
100,000-pixel RGB metering sensor The ambient/E-TTL flash metering sensor is new to the EOS-1D X. With 100,000 pixels it's effectively a low-res image sensor unto itself, though it's used principally for exposure and not image capture per se. To manage the data generated by the metering sensor, the camera utilizes a dedicated DIGIC 4 processor (the same processor is used to crunch AF data). Depending on the lighting conditions and perhaps other factors, the metering sensor will divide itself into different numbers of virtual metering segments. For example, the standard behaviour is 252 ambient and flash metering zones, but in low light, to aid metering sensitivity, this changes on the fly to 35 zones.

The DIGIC 4 analyses the metering sensor data for more than just exposure. It also can detect faces and colour, then use that information to plot a subject's location and movements within the frame. That information is fed to the AF system, which in turn can use it as part of the AF calculation, including when predictively tracking a subject. The same data helps out in other ways too. For example, it's used to help the Auto Lighting Optimizer function "obtain an optimum balance between the subject and the background," says Westfall.

61-point AF system It's no secret that we've been unimpressed with Canon 1-series autofocus for some time, first with the problem-plagued EOS-1D Mark III and continuing with the sometimes-great, sometimes-horrific tracking performance of the EOS-1D Mark IV. The EOS-1D X represents Canon's opportunity to get back to what they used to do better than anyone: keep moving subjects in focus. Third time's the charm, we hope.

To that end, Canon has dispatched with the 45-point ellipse that has formed the AF backbone of upper-end Canon film and digital SLRs since the EOS-3 in 1998 (though there have been many modifications along the way of course). Taking its place is something Canon calls the 61-point High Density Reticular AF system. It incorporates points that stretch further left and right than before, a shape that is more rectangular than elliptical and which contains a greater number of the "better" cross-type and high-precision cross-type points.

Of the new AF system's 61 points, 41 are cross-type which retain both their vertical and horizontal line sensitivity with f/4 and faster lenses. As with the EOS-1D Mark IV, not all f/4 lenses or lens + teleconverter combos will be able to take advantage of the cross-type sensitivity of all 41 points. Also, says Westfall, "there is more to it than maximum aperture alone." Expect more info from Canon on this topic at the time the EOS-1D X is released.

With most lenses whose maximum aperture is between f/4 and f/5.6, 21 of the 41 points continue to be both vertical and horizontal line sensitive. In addition, a centre column of five points act as high-precision diagonal cross-type with most f/2.8 or faster glass. The precision of these diagonal cross-type points, says Westfall, "is higher than any autofocus system that has ever been offered in the EOS system."

af_points.jpg
Pointy: The 61 AF points in the EOS-1D X. Blue are high-precision diagonal cross-type, red are standard precision cross-type and black are single line sensitive only

The tracking algorithm in the EOS-1D X has been altered relative to the EOS-1D Mark IV and has been dubbed AI Servo III. Canon Professional Network's technical guide to the camera notes the following changes:

With a predictive AF system the camera is continuously recording the position of the subject and predicting where it will be for the next frame based on its motion so far. If the camera fails to detect the subject position in one recording period, the negative result is now ignored and the next focus point is based on the previous accurate results. Equally, if you are tracking a moving subject and an object passes between your position and the subject, the camera could become confused and jump to a new focus distance.

The EOS-1D X will ignore the results when the AF distance appears to jump greatly so that it can continue to track the subject when it reappears from behind an obstacle, based on the results before the obstruction covered the subject. Equally, if there is suddenly a large jump in the focus distance, the camera will not drive the lens to the new distance directly. Instead it will gradually drive the lens focus, based on the previous successful focus distance results.

The increased sensitivity of the focus system has also allowed for faster predictive focus measurements. In previous EOS cameras there was a warm-up period while the AF system began tracking. This has now been reduced so that the EOS-1D X can begin predictive tracking as soon as a subject begins to move.

The autofocus assistance given by the metering sensor goes by the name EOS iTR AF, where iTR stands for Intelligent Tracking and Recognition, and is an optional addition to the overall AF calculation.

AF point selection options are nearly identical to the 7D and are comprised of:
  • Spot
  • Single point (the EOS-1D X allows for all 61 points to be selected individually, or subsets of 41, 15 or 9)
  • Single point + surrounding four points
  • Single point + surrounding eight points
  • Zone
  • Automatic (all 61 points)
af_selection.jpg
Flexible: AF Area Selection Mode screen
The active focus point(s) can automatically switch when the camera's orientation is changed, if desired.

AF system sensitivity has been extended down to EV-2, which is a full stop improvement over the previous generation and is promised to translate to faster autofocus acquisition times in low light. This has been a common request from wedding photographers, notes Westfall.

The lens or lens + teleconverter combo must have an aperture of f/5.6 or faster for the AF system to operate. Previous-generation 1-series cameras were specified to f/8.

Canon has also sought to make it simpler to get to AF system settings. All autofocus-related preferences have been pulled from Custom Functions and now live in their own top-level menu tab within the rear LCD interface. Existing options such as AI Servo Tracking Sensitivity carry over from the EOS-1D Mark IV, while a new option, which dictates behaviour with accelerating and decelerating subjects, has been added.

AF Microadjustment now gives the option to apply two different adjustment values for zooms, one for each end of the zoom range, and you can also apply different adjustment values to two units of the same lens model, differentiating between the two based on their serial number.

There are other AF-related functions on the new camera that don't exist on the EOS-1D Mark IV, says Westfall, as well as a group of AF presets that form the new AF Configuration Tool. A good explanation of how that will work is here. A detailed overview of the EOS-1D X's AF system is here.

eos_1dx_ethernet.jpg
Networked: At upper right, the new RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port on the side of the camera (Photo courtesy Canon)
Built-in Gigabit Ethernet One of our favourite new EOS-1D X features is the addition of a Gigabit Ethernet port on the camera. For photographers that regularly deploy remote cameras, or must move pictures directly from the camera to either an on-site or off-site editor, the RJ45 wired networking jack right on the EOS-1D X should be a beautiful thing.

The EOS-1D X and its Ethernet port has all of the wired network operating features of current WFT accessories, including FTP Transfer, remote control and triggering in either EOS Utility or WFT Server modes, precise time synchronization with other EOS-1D X cameras and compatibility with DLNA-compliant media servers.

EOS-1D X networking is rated to be about three times faster than the (slow, in our testing) Ethernet of the WFT-E2 II/WFT-E2 II A device.

It should be trivial to turn the EOS-1D X into a wireless location camera as well, simply by connecting an AC- or battery-powered wireless router to its Ethernet port.

Canon has also tackled a longstanding flaw found in Canon's WFT transmitters. Starting with the new camera, if the network link goes down, the camera will queue up pictures and then automatically send them when the link comes back, rather than requiring the user to manually select and send pictures that failed to go during the outage, as has been the case to date. This applies to the FTP operating mode and perhaps other operating modes too.

It's also possible to select pictures to be transferred and then later, when the camera joins a network, have the pictures be sent at that time.

Video The EOS-1D X's video mode closely mirrors that of its predecessor, with several small but helpful improvements. As before, you get both manual and automatic exposure control, three static AF modes that can be activated prior to and during video capture, both a built-in mono mic and a 3.5mm miniphone jack for an external stereo mic, a built-in speaker, H.264-codec movie files and a 29:59 clip length limit.

The new camera offers the following video output settings:
  • 1080p: 1920 x 1080 pixels at 30fps (actually 29.97fps)
  • 1080p: 1920 x 1080 pixels at 25fps
  • 1080p: 1920 x 1080 pixels at 24fps (actually 23.976fps)
  • 720p: 1280 x 720 pixels at 60fps (actually 59.94fps)
  • 720p: 1280 x 720 pixels at 50fps
  • SD: 640 x 480 pixels at 30fps (actually 29.97fps)
  • SD: 640 x 480 pixels at 25fps
The 1080p and 720p resolution and frame rate options are the same as the EOS-1D Mark IV, while the SD frame rates have changed, from 59.94fps and 50fps in the previous camera to 29.97fps and 25fps in the EOS-1D X.

Note: Our briefing on the camera noted the changes to the SD frame rates as stated above, but a Canon USA press release gives the SD frame rates as being the same as the EOS-1D Mark IV - meaning 59.94fps and 50fps - and as of this writing we're not sure which is correct.

Other changes include:
  • Longer uninterrupted video Both the EOS-1D Mark IV and the EOS-1D X share the same 29:59 clip length specification, but the former camera will also stop recording when the clip's file size reaches 4GB, and that usually means that 1080p or 720p video capture is halted after about 12-15 minutes, most of the time, such that HD clips rarely come close to reaching the almost 30 minutes allowed.

    The EOS-1D X, by comparison, will keep on recording without interruption right up to 29:59. It's still limited to a 4GB clip length (this is a function of the file system used on the memory card and not an artificial restriction imposed by Canon), but the camera will automatically create multiple 4GB video files to do so, without dropping frames in the process. The clips can be placed in sequence in a video editor; once reunited, the transition from clip to clip will be seamless, says Westfall.

  • Timecodes The EOS-1D X is the first Canon digital SLR with the option to embed SMTPE-compliant timecodes in video clips. Both free run, which is most commonly used in multiple-camera shoots, and rec run, which is better-suited to single camera assignments, are supported. The timecode format is h:m:s:f (hours, minutes, seconds and frames). There is no support for genlock synchronization of multiple cameras.

  • Two compression format options Both are new to EOS. The default type employs an intra-frame compression method, which allows for individual frames to be extracted from the video but at the expense of compression efficiency. The second type uses an inter-frame compression method, which gives much smaller file sizes than the default type, says Westfall, but is not as well-suited to individual frame extraction.

  • Improved audio The external stereo mic jack now provides increased power to connected mics that aren't self-powered, plus EOS-1D X audio levels can now be manually adjusted (in 64 increments) both prior to and during recording. The new touchpad within the Quick Control Dial makes it possible to bump audio levels up or down silently, or nearly so, as it doesn't produce a click sound when operated. (The camera can be configured so that the touchpad adjusts shutter speed, aperture, ISO or exposure compensation instead.)
The EOS-1D X's new Chromatic Aberration Correction can be applied to video as well. Video captured with the EOS-1D X is also expected to show fewer instances of moiré.

Connections Connection options include USB 2.0, HDMI video out (using a Type C connector), analog audio/video out, PC sync, N3 remote and the aforementioned stereo mic jack. A system expansion terminal enables the new wireless transmitter and new GPS unit to be connected. (Neither the WFT-E2/WFT-E2A or WFT-E2 II/WFT-E2 II A can be used with the EOS-1D X.)

cf_slots.jpg
Side by Side: The two CompactFlash slots in the EOS-1D X (Photo courtesy Canon)
Memory cards The EOS-1D X retains the two-card-slot approach of previous 1-series generations, but this time around they're both CompactFlash rather than one each for CompactFlash and SD. Fast card write speeds are expected, owing to the camera's support of UDMA up to Mode 7 (UDMA Mode 7 cards are just beginning to enter the market). The camera will accept both the thinner Type I and thicker Type II CompactFlash variants.

The new model has the same two-card configuration options as before, including writing different file formats to each card, mirroring the same files across both and switching to the second card automatically when the first fills up.

There is a downside to the demise of the SD slot: the EOS-1D X will not take an Eye-Fi wireless/memory SDHC combo card (except perhaps in an adapter). Making up for this is the camera's built-in wired networking, which can be easily morphed into wireless networking with the help of a router.

Battery The EOS-1D X uses a new and slightly higher capacity version of the battery that has powered 1-series digital SLRs since the EOS-1D Mark III launched about 4.5 years ago. Called Battery Pack LP-E4N, the 11.1VDC/2450mAh pack takes the place of the 2300mAh LP-E4 that came before.

The dual-slot Battery Charger LC-E4N, also new, handles charging duties. The LP-E4 and LP-E4N, as well as the LC-E4 and LC-E4N, are 100% interoperable, and either battery model can be used in the EOS-1D X as well as any previous Canons that take this battery type.

Other refinements Canon has woven several other changes into the EOS-1D X, including:
  • Dual-axis electronic level Similar to the feature that first appeared in Canon's lineup in the 7D, an electronic level in the camera detects both pitch and roll; with it, you can level the camera both left/right and up/down, using a display that appears in both the viewfinder and on the rear LCD.

  • User-configurable control lock Now, you can choose which of three controls on the camera will be locked from accidental changes when you engage the Lock position on the camera's power switch. The controls are the Main Dial, Quick Control Dial and both multi-controllers, and you can choose any combination of these to lock.

  • EOS System Monitor A new screen on the rear LCD displays the camera's serial number, firmware version and, most interestingly, the number of times the shutter has been fired. The shutter actuations figure increments every 1000 cycles, and goes up to one million.

    Pressing the Info button while on the EOS System Monitor screen brings up a camera status log. It contains an ongoing record of any error conditions the camera has experienced, and is meant primarily as an aid to a service technician should you need to send your EOS-1D X to Canon for repair.

  • Adjustable voice memo quality Like all earlier EOS-1D cameras, the EOS-1D X can record audio clips that are associated with a particular still picture. New is the ability to set the recording quality to either 8khz for smaller file size or 48khz for clearer audio.

  • Quicker zoom New menu settings lets you dictate the behaviour of the playback zoom; one option will, with a single press of the zoom-in button, enlarge the picture to 100% magnification around the AF point that was active when it was taken.

  • Custom modes Up to three custom camera settings configurations can be registered and recalled in the EOS-1D X. This feature has been available in several iterations of other Canons, but makes its way to a 1-series model for the first time in the new camera. The M.Fn button on the top of the EOS-1D X can be configured to provide direct access and selection of the C1, C2 and C2 modes, among several ways to get to and choose them.
Price and ship date

The Canon EOS-1D X is slated to ship at the end of March 2012. The expected U.S. street price has been set at US$6800, which is about the same as the EOS-1Ds Mark III as it rides off into the sunset, and about US$1800 more than the going rate for an EOS-1D Mark IV. Westfall stresses that the price is preliminary and subject to change before the camera hits store shelves next year, but it does give an indication of the value that Canon thinks they've built into the new camera.
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