Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Review: Canon’s Flagship Full Frame DSLR

Exciting upgrades make this camera something truly special.

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The EOS-1D X Mark II is the new full frame flagship digital SLR from the Canon stable. This camera is built for performance making it possible for professionals looking for the ultimate in 35mm digital SLR segment to keep churning out images no matter what the weather is or the subject.

It is easy to get biased when you have a camera like the EOS-1D X Mark II in your hands. And then, this is an upgrade over an equally amazing camera; the original EOS-1D X. Plus, Canon promises some really exciting upgrades which makes this an even more mouthwatering proposition to write about.

Sensor

Under the hood the EOS-1D X Mark II is powered by a 20.2 megapixel CMOS sensor. Please note when it comes to full-frame sensors, 20 megapixels is quite a lot. Especially as the individual sensors are larger in size and have greater ability to trap light.

Image Processing

Image processing is handled by dual DIGIC 6+ image processors. It is one of the fastest systems in the market capable of handling the blistering high speed of the EOS-1D X Mark II’s continuous bursts shooting.

Auto-focusing

The EOS-1D X Mark II is powered by a 61-point High Density Reticular AF II system. These cover nearly 24% more coverage area than the previous camera. 41 of these AF sensors are cross-type and produce stunning results in most lighting conditions. The center AF point is sensitive down to -3 EV.

Plus, a dedicated a DIGIC 6 image processing sensor is used for faster metering of scenes and better auto-focusing performance. This sensor also has a hand when shooting videos as well as when shooting continuous fast bursts of stills.

The EOS-1D X Mark II is the first ever 35mm DSLR that incorporates the dual-pixel CMOS autofocusing technology. We are familiar with the capabilities of the dual pixel CMOS AF technology. This technology is geared towards live video shooting and helps produce smooth auto-focusing especially while shooting videos.

Canon launched a new line of lenses when they introduced this new focusing technology. These lenses have the new STM or Stepping Motor auto-focusing technology. Dual pixel CMOS AF is compatible with the new STM lenses.

ISO Sensitivity

The native ISO range of the camera is 10 – 51200. It can be further expanded to 409600.

Still Shooting

There are two continuous shooting speeds on the EOS-1D X Mark II. One when you are shooting in live-view with the reflex mirror away from the path of the sensor and locked. Shooting at that position is faster. 16 frames per second. When the mirror is down, however, continuous shooting speed is still a fantastic 14 fps.

With a CFlash 2.0 card you can capture a maximum of 170 RAW images and an unlimited number of JPEGs. With the Compact Flash card types you can capture a maximum of about 73 RAW frames and an unlimited number of JPEGs at the maximum resolution. Actually, you are limited to the size of your memory card.

Video Shooting

The EOS-1D X Mark II is the first full-frame Canon DSLR that comes with built-in 4K video capabilities. It records 4K DCI videos at a frame rate of 60 fps. You can make 8.8 megapixel grabs from the video being recorded. At full HD resolution the EOS-1D X Mark II can shoot at a frame rate of 120. If you ever wanted to compile slow motion videos of your kids, or pet, or your travels, the EOS-1D X Mark II is a great camera for such purposes.

A built-in mic allows you to record sound bites along with your video clips. Sound quality is not that great though. Obviously, not in the same category as the EOS-1DC, but the EOS-1D X Mark II can hold its own when shooting everyday videos. To counter the problem the EOS-1D X Mark II comes with the option to attach an external microphone.

But then the EOS-1D X Mark II is not for travel and family pictures only. This is a serious piece of camera. Meant for serious photography work.

Rear LCD Screen

The rear LCD screen on the EOS-1D X Mark II is a large 3.2” one with a resolution of 16.2m dots. The LCD screen has touchscreen properties and that makes focusing in live-view shooting conditions that much easier. However, the touchscreen does not allow you to select AF points when shooting through the viewfinder.

There is no tilting or flipping features on the LCD screen, yet. Diagonal angle of view of the screen is a regular 170 ˚.

Connectivity

The 1D X Mark II still does not have built-in wireless or Bluetooth or even NFC connectivity. But it has GPS. That means you can shoot and record the locational data of your shots for later tagging.

Storage

The camera accepts both CFast 2.0 and CompactFlash cards.

Build Quality and Weather Sealing

The 1D X Mark II, just like the original EOS-1D X before it, comes with excellent built quality. This is a camera that is designed to take much abuse and yet deliver exemplary quality work. There are functionally no major changes between the layout and the overall body design of the 1D X Mark II compared to the original 1D X. If you are upgrading to the new model from the earlier one, buttons and dials will fall in place nicely. Subtle changes like the video / live-view lever are the only exceptions.

Conclusion

Compared to the original EOS-1D X the new EOS-1D X Mark II is a much improved shooter that should give its main rival the Nikon D5 a stiff competition. One of the biggest plus points of the EOS-1D X Mark II is its pricing. It is about 500 bucks cheaper.

But that is not the only USP of the camera. This is a very capable camera with one of the fastest continuous shooting burst and built-in 4K video capabilities. It also has the better metering sensor of the two cameras referred here. Plus, it also has the advantage of being the first 35mm digital SLR with dual pixel CMOS AF system. That makes the EOS-1D X Mark II one of the best live-view auto-focusing cameras in the business. It lose out to the D5 on the total number of AF points as well the total number of cross-type AF points, battery life and bulk.

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