Basic Specifications
Full model name: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Resolution: 20.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: 35mm
(36.0mm x 24.0mm)
Kit Lens: n/a
Viewfinder: Optical / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 51,200
Extended ISO: 50 - 409,600
Shutter: 1/8000 - 30 seconds
Dimensions: 6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3 in.
(158 x 168 x 83 mm)
Weight: 54.0 oz (1,530 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 04/2016
Manufacturer: Canon
Full specs: Canon 1D X Mark II specifications
20.20
Megapixels
Canon EF 35mm
size sensor
image of Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Front side of Canon 1D X Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon 1D X Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon 1D X Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon 1D X Mark II digital camera Front side of Canon 1D X Mark II digital camera

Canon 1DX Mark II Review -- Now Shooting!

by
Preview posted: 02/01/2016

Updates:
02/01/2016: Downsized pre-production gallery images posted
05/02/2016: First Shots with a production model posted
06/06/2016: Gallery Images with production model posted
06/13/2016: Performance page posted
06/22/2016: Field Test Part I posted
: Image Quality Comparison and Print Quality Analysis posted

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

In the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics, Canon debuted their latest professional DSLR, the 1D X. Now, here we are on the eve of another summer Olympics, and Canon once again is pulling out the stops for its massively powerful, top-of-the-line EOS camera, the aptly-named Canon 1D X Mark II.

Describing 1D-series cameras usually conjures up adjectives like "beast," "monster" or "king," and the Canon 1DX Mark II is no exception with top-notch specs for both still shooters and video creators alike. Historically, the straight 1D-series cameras (as opposed to the "1Ds" models) were more about speed and performance than sheer resolution, and the 1DX Mark II is a continuation of that trend, though there's a bit more image resolution to go around this time.

Ultimate EOS: new sensor, faster processors & more

Sporting a newly developed 20.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, the 1DX II offers a slight bump up from the 18MP resolution of the original 1DX and is similarly spec'd in that regard compared to its major competitor, the 20.8-megapixel Nikon D5. The Canon 1DX II features a fixed optical low-pass filter on the image sensor to help guard against moiré patterns and other aliasing artifacts. Coupled with a pair of all-new image processors, the new DIGIC 6+ to be exact (up from the dual DIGIC 5+ setup of the 1D X), the new "Mark II" version can chew through full-resolution images at up to 14 frames per second (up from 12fps) with auto exposure and predictive autofocus when using the optical viewfinder. And photographers can push the speed even faster up to 16fps when using Live View (an increase from 14fps on the original model).

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

This new sensor and processor setup also offers improved expanded ISO capabilities. While the native sensitivity range remains unchanged at ISO 100-51,200, the Canon 1DX II offers a higher expanded ISO up to ISO 409,600. According to Canon, a priority was put on capturing and resolving better shadow detail with higher ISOs, so we're anxious to see how a production version tests in the lab. According to Canon, the new sensor and processor should exhibit better dynamic range and color noise characteristics over its native ISO range than the original 1DX.

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II also brings over the flicker detection system of the 7D Mark II, which helps avoid differing color and exposure within a frame, or during a burst of frames. Though usually imperceptible to the human eye, cameras can often catch the on/off cycle of certain types of artificial lighting, especially when shooting a fast burst of continuous frames. The Canon 1DX II can detect and subtly adjust the timing between each continuous frame in order to capture shots at the optimal lighting level. For sports photographers, particularly those shooting indoor sports under artificial lighting, being able to avoid poor exposures due to flickering lights is a very helpful feature.

61-point AF with improved tracking, better in low-light and at f/8...

Top-notch autofocus performance is a crucial feature of Canon's 1D-series cameras, and the new 1D X Mark II offers a number of improvements, including the reintroduction of a past feature thanks to user demand. The Canon 1D X Mark II builds upon the 1D X's 61-point AF system with an expanded AF point coverage area. And similar to the earlier Canon 6D, the 1D X II's central AF point is sensitive down to -3EV -- an increase from -2EV of its predecessor -- which allows the 1D X II to autofocus in exceptionally dark conditions (think moonlight-level of darkness).

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

In the original Canon 1D X, all 61 of its AF points were sensitive down to apertures of f/5.6 and only a center AF point (with four expansion points) was sensitive at f/8, but now the new 1D X II offers focusing down to f/8 for every AF point -- excellent news for users of long telephoto lenses and teleconverters! The Canon 1D X II AF system has a total of 41 cross-type AF points in its array with five dual cross-type AF points, 20 cross-type AF points down to f/4-5.6, 21 cross-type AF points at f/5.6, and 20 horizontal-line sensitive AF points at f/5.6.

The camera also features a new and improved AI Servo III+ predictive autofocus algorithm, which aims to improve speed and accuracy for fast-moving subjects. Additionally, the EOS iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) system has been improved thanks to the 1D X Mark II's all-new 360K-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor (a first for a 1D series camera). The refined iTR system, which uses face recognition and color information to enhance AF tracking, should offer improved precision and better tracking performance compared to the earlier 1D X.

There are a total of seven AF point selection modes, including two AF point expansion options with either four points surrounding a central point or eight surrounding AF points. There are also two Zone AF configurations, a smaller nine-segmented mode or a Large Zone AF option with all points divided into three large groups of active AF points.

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

...and red AF points in the viewfinder are back!

Though it may seem like small change, many pros clamored for their return and Canon obliged -- red AF points are back! Through the viewfinder, red-colored AF points can now be set visible at all times, and at two adjustable brightness levels. The original 1D X had visible yet black-colored AF points in the viewfinder (they only illuminated red when adjusting the AF point). The AF point(s), however, remained black or non-illuminated during normal shooting, which could make them difficult to see, especially in darker shooting conditions. The reintroduction of red illuminated AF points is, therefore, a welcomed change.

Robust in-camera RAW processing with Digital Lens Optimizer

Normally reserved for post-processing after the fact on a computer for Canon EOS cameras, the new 1D X Mark II has a built-in Digital Lens Optimizer function. Borrowed from Canon's Digital Photo Professional imaging software, the 1D X II can now apply lens-specific diffraction compensation as well as chromatic aberration correction, distortion correction and peripheral illumination correction in-camera. This is potentially a big time-saver for the professional photographer, especially news and/or studio photographers who often rely on delivering finished files directly from the camera and soon after capture. As part of the 1D X II's in-camera RAW processing, DLO corrections can be applied during JPEG conversions, which is a much faster workflow than dumping memory cards of images, sorting and then converting RAW files into images using a computer. All four types of lens aberration corrections can also be applied to JPEG files as the images are being shot.

The 1DX II also features Canon's Fine Detail Picture Style as first seen on the 5DS and 5DS R. This real-time option lets you sharpen JPEG images similar to how unsharp mask works in Photoshop, with much superior results than the default Canon sharpening algorithm.

Shooting fast with CFast

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

In an interesting shift compared to the 1DX, the new 1DX Mark II features one UDMA 7 CompactFlash Type 1 slot and one CFast 2.0 slot rather than dual memory card slots of the same type. The newer CFast-format memory cards, according to Canon, are seeing faster adoption rates in the marketplace compared to other high-performance storage formats, such as XQD memory cards for example. The use of CFast 2.0 memory cards in the 1D X Mark II, given their much faster read- and write-speeds, therefore allow for increased performance for stills and video capture.

While using either a CF UDMA 7 card or CFast 2.0 card, the 1D X Mark II has an unlimited buffer capacity for JPEG files -- in other words, the buffer is limited only by the capacity of the memory card. However, for RAW or RAW+JPEG modes, buffer capacity differs depending on memory card type. With a CFast 2.0 card, the RAW buffer is a very generous 170 shots, according to Canon's numbers, while a UDMA 7 CF card "only" allows for 73 shots. RAW+JPEG offers an 81-shot buffer with CFast 2.0 and 54 frames with CF UDMA7 cards.

First full-frame camera with Dual Pixel CMOS AF

The updated 20-megapixel full-frame sensor in the 1D X II is more than just a standard CMOS chip with a higher resolution; it's the first full-frame sensor with Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. Dual Pixel CMOS AF with its on-chip phase-detect autofocus sensors not only helps for super-quick autofocusing for Live View still image shooting, but also for quick, accurate and smooth AF operation for videos.

If you're not yet familiar with Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology,
jump over to our special in-depth look this technology from our Canon 70D review.

During our brief hands-on time with a Canon 1DX II prototype, Live View focusing was blazingly quick thanks to the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. For still shooting, autofocus felt nearly instantaneous upon half-pressing the shutter button, and for video, focus adjustments appeared smooth and cinematic.

4K video makes its way to a more affordable EOS camera

Video recording has been a staple of EOS cameras for years now, and despite being a flagship EOS camera, the original 1DX was still lacking on a few sought-after video features. A prime example being, if you needed video resolutions beyond 1080p, you needed to jump to the pricey Cinema EOS line with either the similarly-sized 1D C or the top-of-the-line C500 video camera to get 4K video recording.

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

With the Canon 1D X Mark II, you can now shoot Cinema 4K video (4096 x 2160 aka DCI 4K) at up to 60fps, which is great for high-resolution footage of not only action, sports and other moving subjects, but also pretty much anything else. The camera also offers DCI 4K video at 30fps (29.97), 24fps (23.98) and true cinema-centric 24.00fps. (PAL frame rates of 50p and 25p are also available.) Interestingly, there's no UHD (3840 x 2160) option.

4K video is captured in Motion JPEG format, for all frame rates, and offers a high-quality bitrate of approximately 800Mbps for 60p and 500Mbps for the lower framerates, according to Canon's specs. Given the high data rates for 4K/60p footage, Canon recommends using CFast memory cards for 4K capture. The 1DX II also offers a 4K Frame Grab option in Playback mode, which allows you to pull 8.8-megapixel still images from a 4K video.

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

For 1080p video, the Canon 1DX Mark II is capable of a slow-motion-friendly 120fps, making it an even more capable camera for a variety of filming scenarios. The 1080/120p video mode is only offered in .MOV format with ALL-I compression for the best possible image quality (approximately 360Mbps bitrate). All other 1080p video framerates in MOV mode are offered in ALL-I or the space-saving IPB compression schemes.

Full HD video is also available in the standard array of slower framerates, from 60fps (59.94) down to 23.98fps (and true 24.00fps for cinematic work, as well as PAL options). Mobile device- and web-friendly .MP4 video is also offered at 1080p resolution in a variety of frame rates from 60p to 24p (and PAL) with IPB compression. IPB Light compression (approx. 12Mbps) is also available for 1080/30p (or 25p) video.

Although some pro-level video features like focus peaking or zebras are still not available, and video recording to an internal memory card has a maximum time limit of 29:59 per clip, the Canon 1DX II does offer clean, uncompressed 4:2:2 -bit HDMI out with audio (with no time limitation when not recording internally), but only at Full HD resolution. Simultaneous internal recording at up to 4K and 1080 HDMI streaming is however possible. Plus, in addition to the stereo microphone input seen on the original 1D X, the "Mark II" now also features a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, which can be used to monitor audio during video capture.

Hands-on with the characteristically big & beefy 1D X Mark II

As with other 1D-series cameras, the Canon 1D X Mark II is as rugged as they come for an EOS DSLR, and the build quality is top-notch. The camera is built around a durable magnesium alloy chassis that features the highest level of dust and weather-sealing that Canon offers on an EOS camera with higher-grade environmental protection than the 5D- and 7D-series cameras. The Canon 1DX II even has a mag-alloy mirror box, and its shutter mechanism is rated for 400,000 actuations -- with a built-in shutter counter like the earlier 1DX.

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

The look and feel of the Canon 1DX Mark II is classic 1D-series quality. Yes, the camera is heavy at about 3.4 lbs (1.53 kg) body-only, but its characteristic "built-like-a-tank" construction ensures it can withstand the wear and tear of daily use that a professional photographer or videographer will throw at it. This camera is built to last.

And though it may look like another 1D-series camera, there are a few small but notable new features that are making their way to a 1D-series for the first time. One minor tweak to the external design is a slightly thinner handgrip. The camera's characteristic full-size handgrip with integrated vertical grip can make for a rather thick handgrip, which can be a bit cumbersome for users with smaller hands. Canon tweaked the design of the grip to be slightly thinner, making it easier to wrap your hand around the camera. It's a very subtle change, but when comparing the 1D X II to the original side-by-side, the new design is noticeable and quite nice -- it's not drastic enough to negatively affect users with larger hands, in our opinion, but it simply makes the camera all the more secure in the hand.

Moving to the rear of the camera, the Canon 1D X Mark II is the first 1D-series model to feature a touchscreen LCD. The 3.2-inch TFT LCD display features 1.62-million dots of resolution and seven levels of brightness adjustment. The display is fixed, and not articulated in any way for the sake of durability (we're told the touchscreen capability itself has no effect on durability of the screen). In use, the touchscreen works very well. It's very responsive and tap-to-focus to select new focus points and set subject-tracking all works smoothly and easily.

While many other touchscreen-capable cameras, including Canon models, usually allow for the use of the touchscreen to operate a number of functions including navigating menus and changing settings, the 1D X II opts for a much more simplistic approach. The touchscreen is only active when selecting an AF point during live view shooting or in movie mode, otherwise the touch functionality is disabled. For long-time 1D owners, the standard Canon menu system and UI are operated just as before with physical controls -- so picking up the 1DX Mark II should feel right at home for those accustomed to its predecessor.

Brought over from the 5DS and 5DS R cameras, users of the "Q" Button for Canon's Quick Control interface now gain the ability to customize this layout and what settings and other information are displayed.

Wi-Fi has yet to be built-in on a 1D, but GPS now comes standard

Looking at the top of the camera, one will certainly notice the small "hump" at the top of the pentaprism housing. This is for the 1DX Mark II's new built-in GPS receiver. In a professional workflow, GPS functionality can be quite useful. For instance, for wildlife photographers and photojournalists, GPS metadata can help keep track of locations. Sports photographers can sync multiple cameras more easily and accurately. Users can even automatically sync their cameras' time with the GPS system's atomic clock. In professional shooting scenarios, such as press and event photography in particular, where metadata is critical for editors, wire services, and for simple organization, the addition of GPS functionality can be a nice benefit.

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

Though there isn't built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, the 1D X Mark II debuts with an updated wireless transfer accessory called the WFT-E8 (seen in the above image). This small optional accessory now offers 802.11ac wireless connectivity for faster transfers of photos and videos to connected mobile devices using Canon's Camera Connect app (iOS/Android). For wired connectivity, there are upgrades in this area as well, as the camera now includes a USB 3.0 port rather than USB 2.0. There's also a built-in 1000BASE-T Ethernet port.

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

Other minor exterior tweaks include a wider, easier to operate multi-direction joystick button on the rear of the camera and a new Live View/Movie Mode toggle switch, which is similar to that on the 5D-series and 7D-series cameras.

New battery offers lots of shooting time

The Canon 1D X Mark II comes with a new rechargeable lithium-ion batter pack, the LP-E19. Similar in shape to the 1DX battery pack, older batteries from earlier 1DX cameras are compatible in the 1DX II, but not vice versa. According to CIPA testing, when using the optical viewfinder, the 1DX II's battery should allow for between 1020-1210 or thereabouts (depending on the ambient temperature). Battery life drops dramatically though for Live View shooting, with approximately 240 shots per charge at 32°F (0°C) or 260 shots at 73°F (23°C).

Pricing & Availability

As with the previous 1D X, the Canon 1D X Mark II is being sold body-only. Set to become available in April 2016, the Canon 1D X Mark II has an estimated retail price of US$5,999, which is a sizeable reduction compared to the original 1DX's $6,799 launch price. Canon is also offering a "Premium Kit" configuration for an MSRP of US$6,299 that includes a 64GB CFast 2.0 card and card reader.

Canon 1D X Mark II Review -- Product Image

 

Canon 1DX Mark II Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing Canon 1DX Mark II image quality to its predecessor, the 1DX, as well as to its closest competitor, the Nikon D5. We've also included the Canon 7D Mark II and Nikon D500, since they offer the top frame rates currently available from pro-level Canon and Nikon APS-C DSLRs (~10 fps), as well as the Samsung NX1, which is capable of 15 fps.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Canon 1DX II, Canon 1DX, Canon 7D II, Nikon D5, Nikon D500, and Samsung NX1 -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Canon 1DX Mark II to any camera we've ever tested!

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon 1D X at Base ISO

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 100
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 100
Canon 1D X at ISO 100

The 20-megapixel 1DX Mark II captures a bit more detail than its 18-megapixel predecessor, particularly in the red-leaf swatch where some of the fine thread pattern is resolved, but the difference is pretty minor and otherwise the images are very similar here at base ISO.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon 7D Mark II at Base ISO

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 100
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 100
Canon 7D Mark II at ISO 100

Canon's top-of-the-line APS-C DSLR offers the same resolution, but its smaller APS-C sensor means that noise levels are a little higher at base ISO, which translates to slightly less detail thanks to noise reduction which has to work a little harder to produce similar noise levels.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5 at Base ISO

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 100
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 100
Nikon D5 at ISO 100

Image quality from these two rivals is actually fairly close, with the Nikon producing an ever-so-slightly crisper image in some areas, thanks to a slightly tighter sharpening radius and higher contrast, while the 1DX II appears sharper in others. Interestingly, the 1DX II shows a slightly higher amount of aliasing artifacts, which indicates it has a fairly weak AA filter. Colors from the Nikon are a touch warmer as well, but otherwise image quality is quite comparable here at base ISO.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Nikon D500 at Base ISO

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 100
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 100
Nikon D500 at ISO 100

This comparison to the 21-megapixel APS-C Nikon D500 reveals the Nikon produces slightly higher noise levels as expected, but otherwise the differences are very similar to the D5, although this time it's the Nikon which shows slightly higher aliasing, thanks to the lack of an AA filter.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Samsung NX1 at Base ISO

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 100
Samsung NX1 at ISO 100

We decided to include the Samsung NX1 in this comparison because it is able to shoot at 15 frames per second and it has one of the best performing APS-C sensors to date. The resolution advantage of the 28-megapixel Samsung NX1 is easy to see here at ISO 100, as well as are much stronger aliasing artifacts, though sharpening halos are a little less obtrusive than the Canon's. Noise levels are similar, no doubt due to stronger noise reduction given the 1DX Mark II's pixel pitch is about 80% larger than the NX1's, but color and saturation are better from the Canon.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon 1D X at ISO 1600

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 1600
Canon 1D X at ISO 1600

The 1DX Mark II continues to resolve fine detail a little better than its predecessor here at ISO 1600. Luma noise appears to be a bit higher in the shadows from the Mark II, but chroma noise is better controlled which may be why the 1DX II doesn't do as well with our tricky red-leaf swatch (the fabric has probably also faded slightly since the 1DX was shot). Still, overall image quality is similar.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon 7D Mark II at ISO 1600

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 1600
Canon 7D Mark II at ISO 1600

The advantages of a full-frame sensor with more modern tech (such as on-board A/D conversion) are more obvious here at ISO 1600. The 1DX II produces a noticeably cleaner image than the 7D Mark II, and it's more detailed as well.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 1600
Nikon D5 at ISO 1600

Again, fairly similar image quality from these two rivals at ISO 1600 apart from color and contrast, though the Canon image appears slightly cleaner in the shadows and dark areas.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Nikon D500 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 1600
Nikon D500 at ISO 1600

Compared to the state-of-the-art APS-C sensor of similar resolution in the Nikon D500, the advantages of the Canon 1DX II's full-frame sensor are not as stark as compared to the 7D Mark II, but they are still quite visible with lower noise levels and better detail.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Samsung NX1 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 1600
Samsung NX1 at ISO 1600

The Samsung NX1's resolution advantage is quickly diminishing here at ISO 1600, thanks to much higher noise levels and stronger noise reduction needed to mitigate it. The Samsung continues to produce fewer sharpening halos, while the Canon produces better color and saturation levels.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon 1D X at ISO 3200

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 3200
Canon 1D X at ISO 3200

The newer 1DX Mark II does a little better with fine detail in most areas while continuing to produce similar noise levels, but the difference in images here at ISO 3200 is likely not enough to get anyone to upgrade for image quality alone.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon 7D Mark II at ISO 3200

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 3200
Canon 7D Mark II at ISO 3200

Unsuprisingly, the advantages of the 1DX II's full-frame sensor are even more obvious here at ISO 3200, with much better detail and much lower noise.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Nikon D5 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 3200
Nikon D5 at ISO 3200

Once again, very similar image quality from these two rivals at ISO 3200 apart from color and tone curves, though the Canon does show slightly lower luma noise in the shadows.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Nikon D500 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 3200
Nikon D500 at ISO 3200

The 1DX Mark II pulls a little further away from the D500 here at ISO 3200, with lower noise, better detail and a crisper image overall. The Nikon continues to produce noticeably warmer colors.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs Samsung NX1 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200
Canon 1D X Mark II at ISO 3200
Samsung NX1 at ISO 3200

The Samsung NX1 is working hard to keep noise under control here at 3200, but it can only do so much with a noisier sensor. The Canon 1DX II clearly outperforms it here in all respects, except in high-contrast areas.

Canon 1D X Mark II vs. Canon 1D X, Canon 7D Mark II, Nikon D5, Nikon D500, Samsung NX1

100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Canon 1D X Mark II test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Canon 1D X test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Nikon D5 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Nikon D500 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 6400
Canon
1D X Mark II
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
1D X
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
7D Mark II
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D5
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D500
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Samsung
NX1
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it, too.  Here, all cameras in this group do well at base ISO, though the higher-resolution Samsung NX1 is able to resolve more detail, though its contrast is the lowest. As expected, the full-frame models hold up the best as ISO rises. The 1DX Mark II does do a bit better than its predecessor, but nothing to write home about. The Nikons offer the highest contrast of the group, with surprisingly little difference between the full-frame D5 and sub-frame D500. The 7D Mark II trails the pack at higher ISOs, in both detail and contrast.

 

Canon 1DX Mark II Print Quality Analysis

High-quality prints up to 30 x 40 inches at ISO 50-400; Nice 8 x 10 inch prints all the way up to ISO 25,600; and a 4 x 6 inch print just squeaks by at ISO 102,400.

ISO 50/100/200/400 prints all look practically identical and altogether quite excellent up to a whopping 30 x 40 inches and beyond. Despite its 20-megapixel sensor, the Canon 1DX II is capable of making impressively large prints. At 30 x 40 inches, slight pixelation is visible upon close inspection, but at a normal viewing distance for prints of this size, they look great. Colors are very rich in this range of ISOs, as expected. We saw an ever-so-slight softening of very minute details in the ISO 400 30 x 40 inch print, but not to a degree as to impact print size, in our eyes.

ISO 800 images show just a hint more noise, but it's mostly confined to the shadows -- and even then, it's very minimal. Prints up to a sizable 24 x 36 inches are still very good, with lovely fine detail.

ISO 1600 prints look very similar to ISO 800 ones, with only a bit more shadow noise. Fine details are still crisp, and colors are vibrant and saturated. As such, we're happy to call the print size at 24 x 36 inches here as well, as the subtle increase in noise does not impact print quality all that much.

ISO 3200 images begin to display a slight drop in detail due to noise, though not to a very significant degree. The noise itself is increasingly visible in the shadows. Still, the camera is able to make nice, large prints up to 20 x 30 inches.

ISO 6400 prints show a bit too much noise for us to confidently call them at 16 x 20 inches, so we're playing it safe at 13 x 19 inches. A 16 x 20 inch print could certainly be used for less critical applications.

ISO 12,800 images display stronger, more visible noise, but detail overall, up to an 11 x 14 inch print, looks very good. Again, for less critical applications, you might be able to get away with bumping the print size up by one.

ISO 25,600 prints top out at 8 x 10 inches, as noise has become quite strong reducing fine detail at larger sizes.

ISO 51,200 images appear surprisingly clean when you stop at 5 x 7 inch prints. Noise, otherwise, is very much an issue at this ISO level, however colors still appear quite vibrant in our test prints.

ISO 102,400 prints are very noisy, but the 1DX II manages a usable 4 x 6 inch print. Any larger, noise and a lack of fine detail are very problematic.

ISO 204,800/409,600 images, while perhaps useful if you simply need to "get the shot," are just too noisy and lacking in fine detail for print making.

The Canon 1DX Mark II manages a fantastic showing in our print department, despite packing a modest 20-megapixel full-frame sensor that's obviously designed for speed rather than resolution. It certainly won't get any awards for sheer resolving power, considering the 36-50-megapixel full-frame cameras out there today, but it nevertheless manages some surprisingly large prints -- up to at least 30 x 40 inches -- at up to ISO 400. As ISO sensitivity rises, the 1DX II remains thoroughly impressive, even managing a nice 11 x 14 inch print all the way up to ISO 12,800. Even when the ISO reaches six digits, the Canon 1DX II is able to make a usable print, a 4 x 6 at ISO 102,400. However, the top two ISOs beyond this should be avoided for prints, as they are just too noisy.

 

Canon 1DX Mark II Field Test Part I

Big & bulky but oh so fast: The 1D X II hits the sidelines

by William Brawley |

Canon 1DX Mark II shooter's report photoAs a long-time Canon user, I've had a chance to use a number of different Canon cameras, including a brief time with a beat-up, old 1D Mark II N that I purchased as a backup camera. Most of the time, though, I've stuck with smaller cameras, like the 7D and 5D Mark II. The old 1D Mark II N was big, heavy, had an outdated battery and tiny, low-res LCD screen, but it was built like a tank, had fantastic autofocus and still took excellent photographs for what was then about a six year old camera.

Since that time, I sold off that trusty 1D and haven't had the need for a $5-6K 1D-series professional DSLR for my personal, non-professional photographic pursuits. As a now-hobbyist photographer, a 1D-series camera is way more camera than I need, but when it came time for us to review the new 1D X Mark II camera, you better believe I jumped at the chance.

Being Canon's latest and greatest flagship camera, one designed for lightning-fast performance and speedy AF, I wanted to test the 1D X Mark II under more appropriate conditions than what I typically go for. Cue a handful of emails requesting media credentials for a variety of local sports teams. So, for this first installment of our Canon 1D X Mark II Field Test, in addition to discussing my take on the camera's handling and design, I put the 1D X Mark II to the test photographing both soccer and rugby, which offered a variety of fast-paced, fairly unpredictable subjects.

 

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