Canon Unveils £5k 1D X

Canon has today announced the 18.1-megapixel EOS-1D X, the latest addition to its professional DSLR line. The new model will ship in March 2012 with a launch price of around £5,300, although this has yet to be confirmed.

As the new flagship model, the 1D X is built around a full-frame 18.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and dual “DIGIC 5 ” image processors. This enables the EOS-1D X to shoot at a maximum continuous speed of 12fps (14fps when the mirror is raised and focus locked), so the 1D X looks set to primarily appeal to professional sports and action photographers.

1d x
It’s worth noting that the switch to a full-frame sensor (from the APS-H sensor used by all previous EOS-1D models) means that action photographers will no longer be able to apply the 1.3x crop factor of APS-H. However, the increase in resolution does allow for slightly more aggressive cropping, which strikes us as a reasonable trade-off.

Likewise, it’ll also be interesting to see how studio photographers react to the new model. It’s now well over three years since the release of the 21MP, full-frame EOS-1Ds, in which time Nikon has addressed the specific needs of studio photographers with its 24MP D3x. Sony has also targeted the studio market with the 24.6MP A900 and, more recently, the 24.3MP SLT-A77. Does the EOS-1D X offer enough to win over the studio set?

The new model offers a standard sensitivity range of ISO 100-51,200, with the option to extend this up to ISO 204,800 although this comes at an as-yet unspecified reduced resolution. Metering is handled by a separate 100,000-pixel RGB sensor using its own DIGIC 4 processor.

1d x

Autofocus gets a boost over existing models too. The 1D X implements a newly-developed 61-point AF system, with 21 of the central AF points being cross-type sensors.  

On the back of the 1D X, Canon has increased the size of the Clear View II TFT monitor from 3in to 3.2in, with a corresponding increase in resolution to 1040k-dots. Naturally, those wishing to use the optical viewfinder will find it offers 100 per cent coverage.

The new model is able to record 1080p Full HD video at a choice of 24, 25 and 30fps. Audio is recorded in stereo by default and benefits from a wind-cut option. In addition, the 1D X offers a stereo microphone input for more professional sound options.

Elsewhere, the 1D X comes with dual CF card slots to ensure speedy data transfer, but lacks any SD/SDHC compatibility. The shutter has undergone a redesign too, and is now rated at 400,000 actuations.

Interestingly, the new model also offers compatibility with a new WFT-E6A wireless file transmitter that will be supplied as an optional extra. In theory, this could make the worldwide distribution of Olympic imagery shot on a Canon 1D X almost as fast as Usain Bolt. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how widely the 1D X is adopted by photographers assigned to cover the London Olympics.

And, of course, we’ll endeavour to bring you more on the Canon EOS-1D X as soon as we can.