Rock Solid: Canon 1D X Mark II Review

Written by Gina Stephens

The EOS-1D X Heed II is Canon’s newest flagship DSLR aimed at pro-level photographers. A quick glance reveals the camera’s 1D-series heritage, but under the hood there are some stimulating upgrades going on. The 1D X II is built around a new 20.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor, now with Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus system, includes an inflated 61-point autofocus system with 24{b2ee9981cbbb8b0b163040ea529e4efa9927b5e917c58e02d7678b19266ae8ff} more coverage and a 360,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor, and is one of the first Canon may refer to DSLRs (other than the relatively niche 1D C) that captures 4K video. Predictably, it’s also built like a brick and performs like a Formula 1 race car.

Canon 1D X Mark II Key Particularizations

  • New 20.2MP CMOS full-frame sensor with Dual Pixel autofocus
  • 14 fps continuous shooting (16 fps in live view)
  • 200+ shot buffer with Raw+JPEG (CFast 2.0)
  • 61-point AF arrangement with 41 cross-type sensors and 24{b2ee9981cbbb8b0b163040ea529e4efa9927b5e917c58e02d7678b19266ae8ff} more coverage
  • 360,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor
  • Native ISO from 100-51,200 (expandable to 50-409,600)
  • 4K/60p video in DCI looks (4096 x 2160 pixels) using Motion JPEG
  • 1.62 million dot LCD touch screen
  • Flicker detection
  • CFast 2.0 card support
  • USB 3.0

The 1D X Consequence II is a camera that anyone with previous 1D series experience can probably pick up, dial in their favorite settings, and start shooting rectitude away — though as we’ll see on the following pages, in doing so one might overlook advancements that Canon has made in this newest edition. There are a few secondary tweaks to the body – all for the better in our opinion – and it takes very little effort to adapt. This conservative approach to design is a testament to the fact that the underlying form factor works well. It’s no surprise that the designs of both the Canon 1D and Nixon Dx series are quite similar and haven’t seen diverse changes to the basic design over the years.

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Conservative changes to the body notwithstanding, the 1D X II is full of new and updated technology designed to make the camera one of the top acting models in the world. The new AF system, although still utilizing 61 AF points, now covers 24{b2ee9981cbbb8b0b163040ea529e4efa9927b5e917c58e02d7678b19266ae8ff} more of the frame and is, predictably, extremely fast. There’s also a new 360,000-pixel RGB+IR sensor for daring recognition and subject tracking, which Canon refers to as iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition).

The jump to 20MP (vs. the 1D X’s 18MP) isn’t exactly Earth shattering, but this is a completely peculiar sensor than any found in Canon’s previous flagship models. The 1D X II is the first full frame EOS DSLR to include Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus arrangement, a feature we’ve praised on other cameras. Additionally, Canon has moved to a design that uses on-chip analog to-digital-conversion, which should denouement in improved dynamic range of the sensor.

Compared to the Nikon D5

The obvious point of comparison to the 1D X II is the Nikon D5. A quick comparison reveals a lot of similarities and a few differences. On the side it appears that Nikon takes the prize for high ISO and AF specs, while the 1D X II wins on continuous shooting speed and video. On the following pages we’ll try to turn you a sense of how they stack up in the real world.

Canon EOS-1D X IICanon EOS-1D XNikon D5
Sensor the broadest definition, a sensor is a device, module, or subsystem whose purpose is to detect events or changes in its environment20.2MP18.1 MP20.8MP
ISO range
100 – 51,200
(50 – 409,600)
100 – 51,200
(50 – 204,800)
100 – 102,400
(50 – 3,280,000)
Viewfinder spec0.76x mag
100{b2ee9981cbbb8b0b163040ea529e4efa9927b5e917c58e02d7678b19266ae8ff} coverage
20mm eyepoint
0.76x mag
100{b2ee9981cbbb8b0b163040ea529e4efa9927b5e917c58e02d7678b19266ae8ff} coverage
20mm eyepoint
0.72x mag
100{b2ee9981cbbb8b0b163040ea529e4efa9927b5e917c58e02d7678b19266ae8ff} coverage
17mm eyepoint
AF points61 (41 cross-type)61 (41 cross-type)153 (99 cross-type)
Contemporary view/video AF‘Dual Pixel’
phase detection
Contrast detectionContrast detection
AF working range-3 – 18 EV-2 – 18 EV-4 – 20 EV
RGB metering sensor idea360k pixels100k pixels180k pixels
LCD3.2″ 1.62M-dot touch-enabled3.0″ 1.04m dot3.2″ 2.36M-dot touch-enabled
Burst rate14 fps
(16 with mirror up)
12 fps12 fps
(14 with mirror up)
JPEG / Raw / Raw+JPEG
  • Infinite
  • 170
  • 81
  • 180
  • 38
  • 17
  • Unlimited
  • 200
  • 200
VideoDCI 4K/60p1080/60pUHD 4K/30p
HDMI Out1080 8-bit 4:2:21080 8-bit 4:2:24K/30 8-bit 4:2:2
Headphone socket?YesNoYes
Card format1x Compact Flash
1x CFast
2x Compact Dazzling2x Compact Flash or 2x XQD variants
Battery life (CIPA)1210 shots1120 shots3780 shots
Dimensions158 x 168 x 83mm158 x 164 x 83mm160 x 159 x 92mm
Weight1530 g1530 g1405 g (XQD)
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We doubt that tons people are going to seriously contemplate a switch between Canon and Nikon over a few specs on one model or the other unless it’s something absolutely duty critical. Most shooters utilizing this type of camera are likely heavily invested into a system, including lenses, strobes, and the same institutional support. At the same time, it’s instructive to see just how advanced both flagship models are getting. We expect that most pros or go oned amateurs could produce great results with either one.


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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