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Canon's EOS-1D X Mark II - Continuous Shooting Up to 14 fps; First Ever Full-frame Camera with Dual Pixel CMOS AF

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR camera goes on sale in April. A flagship model, it is poised to be the successor to the EOS-1D X. Here’s our first report on this astounding new product, first announced on 2 Feb 2016. (Reported by: Makoto Suzuki (Digital Camera Watch))


The successor to Canon’s flagship full-frame EOS-1D X

The original EOS-1D X, which went on sale in June 2012, merges the APS-H sensor-equipped EOS-1D lines with the full-frame EOS-1DS lines of professional cameras. Its successor, the Mark II, likewise uses a 35mm full-frame equivalent CMOS sensor—updated with 20.2 effective megapixels and equipped with the Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. Continuous shooting speed has also been increased to up to 14 fps (during viewfinder shooting) and up to 16 fps (during Live View shooting).

Other new features include an improved AF/AE function, compatibility with 4K movie recording, a built-in GPS unit and additional in-camera lens aberration correction functionality.

A 20.2-effective megapixel sensor and Dual DIGIC 6+

The number of effective pixels has been increased to 20.2 megapixels from 18.1 on the EOS-1D X. The ISO speed ranges are ISO 100 – 51200 (normal) and ISO 50 – 409600 (expanded). The imaging processor has experienced an upgrade from Dual DIGIC 5+ on the EOS-1D X to Dual DIGIC 6+, and this improvement in processing power is accompanied by the inclusion of real time diffraction correction for the first time ever on an EOS camera.

Dual DIGIC 6+

Also available for the first time ever (on a 35mm full-frame camera) is the Dual Pixel CMOS AF. First used on an EOS on the EOS 70D which went on sale in August 2013, it helps increase AF speed, and is beneficial during Live View shooting and movie shooting.

Yet another first is the inclusion of a touchscreen monitor, for the first time ever on a camera in the EOS-1D series. This is useful for AF point selection and display magnification during Live View shooting.

Continuous shooting speeds of up to 14 fps. Up to 16 fps during Live View

In terms of continuous shooting speed, the Mark II can shoot up to 14 fps, which is 2 shots per second more than the EOS-1D X’s maximum 12 fps. It also has a shutter durability of 400,000 cycles.

The shutter unit

To aid high speed continuous shooting, a new main mirror drive system has also been implemented in the EOS-1D X Mark II. On the EOS-1D X, the up/down motion (“bound”) of the main mirror is controlled by a spring mechanism, which makes it difficult to reduce the speed of the motion (i.e., the mirror bound time). On the Mark II, however, a motor-driven mirror bound prevention mechanism has been added, which uses speed reduction cams to “brake” the mirror right before it flips up/down, thereby softening the impact of mirror shock. To aid AF/AE function, another new mechanism has also been incorporated to absorb the energy from the bound of the secondary mirror.

The light box and shutter cocking mechanisms

The silent shooting modes are drive modes where the mirror’s up/down actions and shutter cocking are carried out at a slower speed than with normal shooting so as to soften mechanical driving noise. Silent continuous shooting is available up to 5 fps. For single shots, there is a ‘Silent single shooting’ mode where the shutter cocks and the mirror goes down once you release the shutter button.

A new 61-point AF sensor where all points focus at f/8

While the Mark II has the same maximum 61 AF points (up to 41 cross-type) as the EOS-1D X, vertical-wise, its AF area is larger. The lower limit of the focusing brightness range at centre is EV-3, while it was EV-2 on the EOS-1D X.

The AF sensor

All the AF points are now able to work at a maximum aperture of f/8 (out of which up to 21 points are cross-type. On the EOS-1D X, only the centre AF point and 4 points surrounding it were able to do so). As a result of this, even if your maximum aperture becomes f/8 due to the use of an extender, you will still have more shooting freedom when using AF.

When it comes to AF area selection modes, the Large Zone AF mode (with 3 selectable areas), available on the EOS 7D Mark II, has also been included on an EOS-1D series camera for the very first time. A face priority mode has also been added to EOS iTR (Intelligent Tracking and Recognition) AF.
Where AI Servo AF is concerned, in cameras to date, tracking performance has improved for subjects moving towards the camera as well as for those that move erratically. In fact, the AI Servo AF III+ on the EOS-1D X Mark II has overcome the issues previously experienced on the EOS-1D X with subjects that rush towards the camera and promptly dash away (such as with motorsports).

The 61-point all-cross type AF unit

The improved metering sensor comes with an anti-flicker feature

For the first time on a camera in the EOS-1D line, an anti-flicker feature has been included. This feature reduces the effects of flicker from artificial light sources in order to regulate inconformity in exposures and colours during continuous shooting. When flicker is detected, a “Flicker!” warning icon appears at the bottom right of the viewfinder display.
Subject recognition and exposure accuracy has improved due to an increase in the number of pixels in the newly developed 360,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor (100,000-pixel RGB on the previous model). The improvement also applies to EOS iTR AF tracking accuracy.

The 360,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor

Ample viewfinder information display. Also, a revival of red AF point display

There is more information displayed within the viewfinder image area on the EOS-1D X Mark II compared to previous models. The two-axis electronic level (which can also be displayed in AF mode) is to the top-centre of the area, while various mode setting indicators occupy the bottom-centre. The exposure level indicator used to be only on the right outside the image area, but in the EOS-1D X Mark II there is another one at the bottom of the image area.

In addition to that, the display of AF points in red, last seen on the EOS-1D Mark IV, has been revived on the EOS-1D X Mark II. This ties the EOS iSA System in nicely with the red superimposed optical display—you can now see the AF points you selected as well as the points available for selection even in the dark, which contributes to the ease of AF point selection in conditions of low light intensity.

Organic LED (OLED) is used for the information display outside the viewfinder image area, to improve the display’s response in low temperatures and its readability in high contrast.

Supports 4K 60p/50p movies, and can also record in Full HD at 120p/100p

The EOS 1D-X Mark II is the first EOS to support 4K 60p/50p movie recording. Recording in Full HD resolution at 120p/100p has also been made possible. The combination of Dual Pixel CMOS AF and the 1.62 million-dot touchscreen monitor enable you to use the touchscreen to carry out focusing even during movie recording.

There are 10 selectable AF speed levels for Movie Servo AF, and AF tracking apparently covers the entire frame even during High Frame Rate movie recording at Full HD 120p/100p. You can also start and stop movie recording with a smart device with the help of a wireless file transmitter (sold separately). This is particularly effective for photography using drones, as it is resistant to Wi-Fi interference, and even if the connection is lost due to distance, it will reconnect by moving closer.

As yet another EOS first, there is a new Frame Grab function that allows you to extract a single frame from approximately 60 frames (50 frames with PAL system) for every second of 4K movie recorded and save it as a still JPEG photo of approximately 8.8 million pixels.

Built-in GPS. Also, compatible with high-speed communications using the 5GHz band

With the inclusion of a built-in GPS, syncing time and geotagging location information into the image EXIF data is now possible even without a separate accessory. The GPS on the EOS-1DX Mark II is also compatible with the GLONASS and Michibiki satellite navigation systems. Position accuracy is better than that of the previous GP-E1/GP-E2 GPS units, and there is also an in-device logging function.

The separately sold Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8 supports the new IEEE802.11ac, and therefore has an improved communication speed. With the Wireless File Transmitter, the camera can link with the Camera Connect app, which allows connection to smart devices.

Attached with the Wireless File Transmitter WFT‒E8

A new in-camera lens aberration correction and Digital Lens Optimizer

The EOS‒1D X carries out peripheral illumination correction and chromatic aberration correction during JPEG shooting, and the EOS-1D X Mark II, in addition to that, is also able to carry out distortion correction (available on the EOS 7D Mark II) and diffraction correction. This makes it much easier than before to shoot at small apertures, and thanks to the speedy image processing by Dual DIGIC 6+, the corrections are said to have no adverse effect on continuous shooting speed.

Until now, lens aberration correction data had to be registered to the camera using the EOS Utility computer application. However, the EOS-1D X Mark II comes with peripheral illumination, chromatic aberration and distortion correction data built-in, which should help to save a significant amount of trouble. New lenses will have the lens aberration correction data built-on, and the camera will read the data directly from the lens.

Furthermore, the Digital Lens Optimizer, which to date had only been accessible with the Digital Photo Professional (DPP) computer application, has now been installed into the camera and can be used during in-camera RAW image processing. This is also an EOS first.

Two card slots—one for CF, one for CFast. Can use same battery as EOS-1D X

There are two slots for recording media, one for a CFast 2.0 card and another for a CF card. Both CFast and CF support an unlimited number of continuous shots in JPEG. For RAW images, 170 shots are possible with CFast 2.0 cards, and 73 shots with UDMA 7 CF cards. In comparison, the EOS-1D X (CF cards only) supports 100 JPEG shots and 35 RAW shots.

The Mark II also supports exFAT, which removes the 4GB limit on movie file sizes, thus saving the inconvenience of having to stitch movie files together. However, the file size limit still applies for CF cards with a capacity of 128GB or less as the card will be formatted in FAT32.

The camera comes bundled with battery LP-E19. LP-E4/E4N, which the EOS-1D X and some other cameras use, can also be used on the Mark II. The new, bundled charger LC-E19 can also apparently be used to charge the LP-E4/E4N.

Modified grip and improved controls

“Professional use” often implies long hours of shooting, and with that in mind, modifications have been made to the camera controls. The grip has also been made smaller so that even users with smaller hands will find it easier to hold.

Modifications have been made to the vertical grip so that it adheres better to users’ hands from the middle finger to the little finger. The position of the button on the vertical grip has been changed to ensure the same operational feel as the regular button.

The camera is highly customisable; you can assign button functions to various features, such as “Playback”, “ Magnify/Reduce” or “Erase” to either the button near the lens mount or the Exposure compensation/Aperture button.

Dimensions are approximately 158 × 167.6 × 82.6mm (W × H × D), and the weight is approximately 1,340g (body only; in accordance with CIPA guidelines).

*The release dates referred to in this article are all based on the Japan market.
*The information in this article is correct at the time of writing, and may differ from the current situation.

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