Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Camera That Can Do Everything: What a Novel Idea!

The Canon EOS 1D X has just revolutionized photography.

Yesterday, canon made big news in the camera market by announcing its 1D X, a camera that is being marketed as a replacement for both the 1D Mark IV and the 1Ds Mark III. How did Canon manage to do this? Well, how about blending the speed of the sports-focused, 1.3x crop factor 1D-series with the mind-blowing resolution of the 1Ds-series. In the end, one gets a 18Mp, FF camera that can do up to 14 frames per second, all aided by an all-new 61 point AF grid.

For many Canon and non-Canon shooters alike, it' s about time.

Since the dawn of the digital era, the pattern has been this: a manufacturer comes out with a professional-grade camera and then, about a year later, takes the camera, sticks in a much higher resolution sensor, and then starts selling the 'new' model for about 50% more. Example: since the dawn of the professional digital era about 10 years ago, Canon and Nikon have bringing low-resolution, high-speed cameras to market for about $5,000 and then, after the new model has been out about a year, jamming a high resolution sensor into the exact same camera, slowing down its frame rate, and charging $8,000 for it.

Needless to say, these companies have been making killings of of the fact that, despite being labeled 'professional,' its top-tier cameras have been anything but all-around photographic tools, but specialized instruments for a specific purpose (action or still shooting). Now, I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of pro photographers owning both a 1D and 1Ds model on the Canon side and a D3 and D3x o the Nikon side.

Well, with the 1D X, Canon has effectively blended its parallel pro cameras into one model that splits the differences enough to be a general purpose camera. Here are some of the key specs.:

18Mp FF sensor. More than the current 1D IV but less than the 1Ds III. Still, when comparing 21Mp of the 1Ds III to 18Mp of the 1D X, the loss of 3Mp will barely be noticeable as even most pros don't go above 12x18 that often as the Average Joe is often simply unwilling to pay for bigger prints.

14fps capability. The 1D x is the fastest mechanical dSLR on the market, easily beating Nikon's D3 (9fps in F and 11fps in crop mode). This is a win-win.

Three processors for fast data writing. Who can complain here?

400,000 shot shutter life. The highest shutter rating on the market, gotta love it.

100,000 pixel RGB metering sensor. Canon finally catches up with Nikon by utilizing a color metering sensor.

ISO 204,800-capable. Generally speaking, the top ISO an all cameras, no matter their rating, is generally crap, the next-highest is often seen as 'usable' in emergency situations. If this pattern holds true on the 1D x, ISO 51,000 will be respectable in performance. Remember when we all thought ISO 25,000 on the D3 was insane when it was first announced?

61 AF points, 5 are cross-diagonal. One can never have too many AF points, at least according to action shooters. One just has to hope that the 1D III new-AF system issues don't make an encore here, ruining what could be the world's very best action camera. |

AF functions have own menu. Access to AF modes is made quick and easy.

Up to 9 shot multi exposure. A Canon first, the rich, artsy-types will love this.

Improved video mode. I'm not a videographer, but Canon says that the entire movie making experience will be a lot better, so I'm taking their word for it.

Wireless control options for multiple cameras. An old hat for Nikon that first appeared in Canonland on the 7D, many pros with dinosaurish cameras in wireless control regard are rejoicing right now.

Needless to say, the 1D x is the most ground-breaking dSLR in quite some time, perhaps since the Nikon D3 really started the high ISO wars 4 years ago with its fall, 2007 announcement. Either way, the real winner in this announcement is the consumer. For Canon shooters, you have quite a camera to look forward to, provided you can afford its expected $6,800 price. For everyone else, Canon has brought a lot of innovations to the market, features that all other manufacturers will be striving to equal or better in their future cameras.

Hats off to Canon for their great, new camera that will only serve to make photographers happy and spur further technological advances of the future.

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