updated 12:00 am EDT, Tue October 18, 2011
Canon EOS-1D X packs dual DIGIC 5, ISO 51200
Canon brought out a long-anticipated new full-frame EOS pro camera in the EOS-1D X. The 18-megapixel camera unifies the EOS-1D camera line and is a major leap in performance over the 1D Mark IV with two DIGIC 5 main processors with about 17 times more raw power than the DIGIC 4s they replace. A DIGIC 4 still sits inside as a third processor but here is used for very advanced metering: it drives an Intelligent Subject Analysis system that, with a 100,000-pixel metering sensor, can check brightness, target colors, and human faces to get more precise exposure without burdening the main processors.
The two main processors contribute to a maximum continuous speed of 12 frames per second in RAW, even as it keeps up with a new 61-point autofocus system. With 20 f4.0 AF points at its heart, it's reportedly as accurate at the narrower aperture for focus as a 1D Mark IV is at f2.8. The AF system supports full face tracking and will remember familiar subjects.
Moving to the new sensor get a much wider light sensitivity of ISO 100 to 51,200 (up from a 12,800 ceiling) that lets it shoot nearly in the dark, even in normal ranges. At the extreme, users can go to as low as ISO 50 or as high as a record ISO 204,800. The sensor has its own positive effects in 1080p movie making that clean up visual artifacts like moiré and improve the quality in low light. Videos themselves partly overcome the 4GB limit of the file format by auto-creating new files if the recording time runs past the limit.
As Canon's top pro camera, it not only has a rugged design with weather resistance but has a shutter that can last for a long 400,000 cycles. It's Canon's first DSLR with two dust removal vibrators to keep the sensor clean, and a gigabit Ethernet jack is built in to provide high-speed tethering when mobility isn't an issue. The control layout has been revamped to better accommodate shooting in a vertical hold and when the user isn't in a traditional shooting pose, such as when shooting 'blind' or previewing recent shots.
The EOS-1D X will be available only in a body-only form and isn't due to ship until late March. It's being accompanied by both the GP-E1, a new GPS add-on for geotagging photos, and the WFT-E6A, a Bluetooth and Wi-Fi combo add-on for syncing or controlling the camera over short-range wireless. Pricing will start at $6,800 for the body and adds an extra $300 for the GP-E1 or $600 for the WFT-E6A.