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FORUMS Gear Reviews Camera Reviews
Thread started 12 Jan 2015 (Monday) 20:43
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Canon EOS 1D X, reviewed by johnf3f

TOGGLE RATINGS BETWEEN ALL AND johnf3f (showing now: johnf3f)
Overall Rating9.5
Overall Image Quality9.5
Value for Money7
Must Have7
Suitability to Intended Use10
Got What I Expected9.5
AF Performance10
Handling and Ergonomics9
User-interface7
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photo by Adrian
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johnf3f
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Jan 12, 2015 20:43 |  #1

I do not claim to be an expert but I have used a number of DSLR cameras over the years and have to say that the 1DX is the camera that has made the biggest difference to my photography. This is because the 1DX allows me to (almost) forget about the camera and concentrate on my shooting! My primary photographic interest is wildlife/bird photography so please bear that in mind.

1. The downsides. The 1DX is hideously expensive, even the prices of grey imports are still pretty scary.
2. - it is BIG. The physical size of the camera can be a bit inappropriate/intimida​ting i some situations - not for wildlife as they don't care! Though I did feel a bit of a twit at my Grand Niece's 1st birthday party the other day!
3. - weight. It's heavy! I came to this camera from the 1D Mk4 and was surprised at how much heavier it feels in the hand. I believe the difference is only about 200 grams but it can be significant.
4. - Menu. Though the new Menu system is easy and quite intuitive to navigate it is slow as you need to go through every page in between to get to the one you want - perhaps I have missed something here?
5. - the Multi Function button - I don't have hands like shovels so I can't reach it easily!
6. - AF On button in portrait mode/orientation. In Landscape mode/orientation the AF On button naturally falls under my thumb (I use Back Button Focus) however in portrait orientation I have to search for it - this has cost me a potentially very nice reflection shot of a Bittern.
7. - Battery life. Still pretty good but the 1DX chews up batteries quicker than a 1D4 and much quicker than a 1D3 - so budget for an extra battery or two. Mine doesn't report battery life with non OEM batteries and they don't last as long but at 1/10th the price who cares?

The Upside!
1. -AF. Up until recently I have been using inappropriate AF modes/cases. The result of this was the best AF I have yet used. Now I have changed to case 5 it is even better! My, previous, Canon 1D4 was excellent - the 1DX is significantly better/quicker under all conditions that I have shot in to date.
2. -Metering. The 1DX allows a fair amount of latitude for recovering incorrect exposures - or so I am told. I cannot say if this is true as mine has, yet, to get the exposure significantly wrong. Yes there have been incorrect exposures but they have been my fault not the camera's.
3. - Auto ISO. Lots of cameras have it but with the usable ISO range of the 1DX it really comes into it's own. The default range is up to 12800 ISO which I feel is sensible as above that you may need NR. With my previous cameras usable ISO range was much more restricted so I preferred to set it myself.
4. - EV Compensation on the fly. With the latest Firmware you can adjust exposure compensation whilst in Manual mode and using Auto ISO. I have mine set so that I press the SET button then adjust the exposure compensation with the MAIN DIAL. I find this so quick and easy that I can use 3 or 4 different exposure levels on a passing Aircraft at an Air Display - very handy as the bank into and out of the sun.
5. - Speed. This camera is fast, seriously fast! I am not thinking of FPS as I have reduced mine to 10fps. What I mean is that it responds faster in all departments. There is no, noticeable, shutter lag, AF locks and tracks better/faster than anything I have yet tried from various manufacturers. With a fast card (I use Lexar 1000x 32GB) it dumps RAW files very quickly. At 10fps I get 51+ RAW files before it slows and the buffer is fully cleared in a couple or three seconds. That allows 5 seconds of RAW files at 10fps - better than any Canon yet made.
6. - The big one in my opinion! When this camera is set up to your liking it is VERY simple/intuitive to use, far more so than a point and shoot in P mode! Generally I leave it in Servo AF (I just don't press the AF On button when I want MF) and it doesn't hunt back and forth like previous models, Auto ISO - because it has such a wide usable range. Proper AF point selection helps but, so far, some of my best BIF shots have been with single point Spot AF (no expansion AF points) which is totally inappropriate - but it works even you do drift off the subject - very handy when you are caught out!
7. - IQ. The files that the 1DX produces require little, if any, processing under most conditions. I hate mucking about with images so I like cameras that give me what I want. For competition entries I will use a touch of sharpening and lift the image a little if the light is poor - but not much. I am not saying that the 1DX makes Photoshop redundant but, if the light is good, files need little work and not much more in poor light.

I hope that lot makes sense!
Overall I am VERY pleased with the 1DX, it is not perfect, but it is the closest thing to perfection currently available for my uses. It is not the camera for everyone but for birding/wildlife photography it is the best I have found. Many make a big deal of crop factors but personally I have found that, whilst I do loose some reach, it is nowhere near as much as the 1.6 crop factor would suggest. More importantly I am still getting good images at F8 when APSC users, with 1 or 2 stop faster lenses, are going home.
As you may have gathered I like this camera!
Any comments/queries are welcome, as I have probably missed quite a lot!


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

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NASS ­ Photo
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Jan 13, 2015 14:41 |  #2

John. Thanks for the your Pros and Cons on the 1Dx. I have been debating on purchasing one for a long time. My major concern has been the price. I guess I have to keep saving. Thanks, nick.


NickS

Canon 5DMIII; Canon EF35mm, f/1.4L; EF85mm, f/1.8; EF135mm, f/2.0L; EF200mm, f/2.8L.

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johnf3f
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Jan 13, 2015 17:31 |  #3

It depends where you live and if there are grey imports available.
My 1DX (new) cost 100 GBP less than my 1D4 - so they may not be as pricey as you may think, but they are still expensive!


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

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NASS ­ Photo
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Jan 14, 2015 18:47 |  #4

John. I live in PA. I do not believe in buying grey market. I only purchase from Adorama, B&H, or a local brick and mortar store. Don't flame me for my beliefs. There are numerous posts on why not to purchase from some grey market firms. Hopefully, these stores will lower their price some time this year. Until then, I will keep saving.


NickS

Canon 5DMIII; Canon EF35mm, f/1.4L; EF85mm, f/1.8; EF135mm, f/2.0L; EF200mm, f/2.8L.

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texaskev
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by texaskev.
Jan 15, 2015 03:26 |  #5

4. - Menu. Though the new Menu system is easy and quite intuitive to navigate it is slow as you need to go through every page in between to get to the one you want - perhaps I have missed something here?


The Q button above the selection wheel on the back will skip from one menu group to the next. Its actually very fast to navigate. Its the best menu system on any camera I've ever used.

Thanks for the review!


Canon 1DX II, 1DX, 11-24 F4 L, 100 F2.8 L, 16-35 F2.8 L II, 17-40 F4 L, 24-70 F2.8 L II, 24-105 F4 L II, 70-200 F2.8 L II

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johnf3f
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Jan 15, 2015 16:57 |  #6

texaskev wrote in post #17383316external link
4. - Menu. Though the new Menu system is easy and quite intuitive to navigate it is slow as you need to go through every page in between to get to the one you want - perhaps I have missed something here?


The Q button above the selection wheel on the back will skip from one menu group to the next. Its actually very fast to navigate. Its the best menu system on any camera I've ever used.

Thanks for the review!

I feel like a bit of a fool as I didn't spot that - that will teach me to read the manual!!
Funnily enough I discovered it this am as I was sitting playing with the camera due to the poor weather but thanks anyway!


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

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johnf3f
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Jan 15, 2015 17:04 |  #7

NASS Photo wrote in post #17382740external link
John. I live in PA. I do not believe in buying grey market. I only purchase from Adorama, B&H, or a local brick and mortar store. Don't flame me for my beliefs. There are numerous posts on why not to purchase from some grey market firms. Hopefully, these stores will lower their price some time this year. Until then, I will keep saving.

I totally agree with your position, especially as I believe you can have warranty issues in the US.
Unfortunately here in the UK there is simply no way that I could have afforded the 1DX from a high street retailer as the difference was about $2000 in your money!
This situation is killing our local retailers but I cannot afford that kind of price difference though, where the difference is affordable, I shop locally.


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

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britinjapan
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Jan 20, 2015 07:02 |  #8

A dream camera - thanks for the pros and cons


Canon 6D, 35mm F2 IS, 50mm F1.2L, 85mm 1.2L, 135mm F2L, 24-70 F4L, Tokyo, Japan

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watt100
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Jan 21, 2015 16:16 |  #9

wish the price would fall dramatically




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Palladium
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Jan 22, 2015 13:43 |  #10

johnf3f wrote in post #17379752external link
...
7. - Battery life. Still pretty good but the 1DX chews up batteries quicker than a 1D4 and much quicker than a 1D3 - so budget for an extra battery or two. Mine doesn't report battery life with non OEM batteries and they don't last as long but at 1/10th the price who cares?
...

IMO anyone using aftermarket batteries with High End cameras is asking for trouble.

I don't do it and tell every photog I know don't use them.




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johnf3f
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Post has been edited over 2 years ago by johnf3f with reason 'addition'.
Jan 22, 2015 17:32 as a reply to Palladium's post |  #11

Historically I have found that non OEM batteries have been longer lasting and of higher (real world) capacity than the Canon products. The 1DX is the first camera that I have, yet, owned where the Canon batteries actually showed higher capacity! As to how long they will last - we will see.
Between 2005 and late 2007 I picked up (or received with the cameras) 8 BP 511 batteries. 3 were Canon and the other 5 were various copies. Guess which 3 are paperweights and which 5 are still going strong to this day!
Naturally I understand that some people are nervous about using non OEM batteries but so long as the charger works properly and the camera does not over discharge the battery then there should be no problems. The vast majority of potential problems with lithium batteries are due to the device they are used in and the charger used - having spent the money on a 1DX, and Canon charger, I would hope that they are up to the job!


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

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GregDunn
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Indiana
Mar 13, 2015 13:58 |  #12

I have always used non-OEM batteries on my 7D, 7D2, and 5D3 with excellent performance. Friends (who make their living from photography) have reported to me the results of many cycles of use with 3rd party batteries on their 1D series mk II, III, IV, and x cameras. We all use either the OEM or a qualified smart charger and consistently get better performance from the Wasabi or STK batteries. There was an update made to the (at least) STK batteries about the time of the 5D3 release which corrected an issue with displaying battery status; I think any batteries sold since 2012 should be OK now.

I just powered up my 7D2 a minute ago; all of my batteries are about 1 year old, having been bought at the time of my 5D3. All but one of them are showing full recharge performance. The one which is sagging? One of the Canon OEM batteries.


Canon 1Dx | 5D3 | 7D2 | 6D | 70-200L f/2.8IS | 70-200L f/4 | 24-70L f/2.8 | 24-105L f/4IS | 100-400L f/4.5-5.6IS | 17-55 f/2.8IS | 50 f/1.8 | 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 | 4x Godox AD360

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The ­ Limey
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Jul 31, 2015 07:30 as a reply to johnf3f's post |  #13

Hi John just read your review can i ask where you bought your 1DX thinking about getting one on grey market but a bit worried.
Hoof.


7D,20D,1V.
24-105L.
17-85.4EF-S,50.1.4.

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johnf3f
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Jul 31, 2015 14:50 as a reply to The Limey's post |  #14

I have just checked and the seller I bought mine from does not have any in stock.
Mine came from Fleabay. At the time I bought (Nov 2013) the big (highly rated) E Bay sellers weren't offering the best prices. I have just had a quick look at Flea bay and there are not many available at the moment. HDEW are pretty good from what I hear - but they don't have any in stock at the moment!
Well that wasn't a lot of help was it!

Keep an eye on Flea Bay, do lots of Google searches and don't forget the second hand market. These things are built like tanks and designed to last, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one with 200K clicks on it - so long as it was suitably priced.

Good luck!


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

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The ­ Limey
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Jul 31, 2015 16:04 |  #15

Thanks John l'll keep looking


7D,20D,1V.
24-105L.
17-85.4EF-S,50.1.4.

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Canon EOS 1D X, reviewed by johnf3f
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