Everything is different and redone with this newest member of the Canon family.
After the morning academic sessions, Nick, Robyn, and I navigated to the Showroom floor of Imaging USA 2020. Flashing our “Full Access” badges, we entered the building and immediately headed to the larger-than-life Canon booth. Aware of the upcoming Canon 1DX Mark III camera, we wanted to learn more about Canons’ latest professional device. Drew MacCallum, a member of the PR approved team, made himself available to talk Camera tech with Nicholas Calderone and me. The first query was about the motivation for someone to upgrade from the Mark II to the Mark III. Mr. MacCallum noted that it would be easy to say “everything was different,” “everything was completely redone.”
Although it may seem that the new Autofocus feature was a minor upgrade, it was actually completely redone and enhanced. The Autofocus system received a rather large upgrade, with a new engine, and algorithm. Per Mr. MacCallum, the camera was able to access a pseudo database, which allowed the Mark III Camera to learn and anticipate how the subject is moving. With active Head tracking, subject tracking, and eye-tracking within the camera, it can predict, guess, and track where the subject is going to move. Perhaps the subject is too far away, wearing a helmet, etc. The camera AI can still track the subject, which is an enhancement over the previous generation cameras. The EOS R has on-sensor tracking, whereas the 1DX Mark III will do sensor tracking with facial and eye-tracking.
The new autofocus feature uses 191 points of contact. If you had to use scroll wheels, you would likely go crazy. Luckily, Canon thought about this process and created a new finger-sensitive sensor. If you enable all points active, you will see them move incredibly fast, faster than you have seen historically. Some professional photographers are using this to follow the subject for them. With this process active the subject is tracked reliably through the scene, something that you could not do historically through optical viewfinders. They are able to capture 16fps in optical viewfinder shooting. If you go to live view mode you can do 20FPS with auto-focusing and exposure tracking. In silent mode, you can capture 20FPS with an absolutely silent shutter. Thus, if you are at a wedding, you can capture several images without disturbing the bride/groom.
The 1DX Mark III utilizes dual 2GB/s CF Express cards, which is another card standard. Nicholas asked Mr. MacCallum if these cards were made specifically for the camera or not? Mr. MacCallum noted that this format was not unique to this camera and that several brand manufacturers were making these cards. The speed increase available through the memory card will allow for expanded opportunities. Furthermore, Mr. MacCallum noted that the camera was able to shoot in 5.5K Raw video, 2600 Mb/s record time and that it was the most capable DSLR camera that Canon has created. This is a completely different tool, one that can live side by side with other cameras. They have been doing full-frame video for quite some time, 4K cropped. You can get 17×9 or 16×9 USD and the camera can do all of the basic frame rates cropped or uncropped.
The camera should be available for purchase sometime in February and is currently available for preorder. If you are a Canon 1DX Mark II user, you should immediately feel comfortable with the camera. With the new AF on button, you can more quickly acquire your target and with the AI feature, continue to track your target. You can move the point around throughout the 191 points. Just drag the point and you can change the autofocus point. Previously 51 points were available for selection. The 1DX Mark III is 90G lighter than the 1DX Mark II and utilizes the same batteries. The new Digik 8 processor utilizes the battery in a more efficient manner and should allow ~3000 images per charge.
Nicholas then asked why Cannon did not create the 1DX Mark III as a mirrorless camera. When dealing with agency/professional photographers, the optical-viewfinder is more directly tied to the subject. Canon found that several of the more prominent photographers watched their images in real-time because of the lack of need for refresh/lighting. Essentially, the optical viewfinder allows them to feel closer to their subjects. Perhaps in the future, this will change. However, for now, sports/wildlife photographers want the optical option. Another important feature revolves around the lenses. The new RF lenses are built clean/super durable but will not work with the 1DX Mark III. Due to size limitations, the glass will not mount on EF bodies, and it is not possible to adapt them. EF lenses will work on Canon bodies, to include the 1DX Mark III camera. R+D is focused heavily on the RF glass. Moving forward, Canon has a robust lineup of EF lenses and they are focusing on camera bodies. If they need more EF lenses in the future, they may build them based on demand. In the meantime, they plan to continue to focus on RF lenses. They just introduced 15-35 2.8, 24-70 2.8 each as a 5stop lens. Based on size and manufacturing they were able to do it with the RF glass due to the RF sizing. The design specs allowed them to create lenses that you could not make with EF technologies.
If you are looking for the biggest/baddest/newest DSLR on the market, look no further than the Canon 1Dx Mark III. Canon is working to continue building products for all photographers, from amateur to professional. The current Price Point of the Canon 1DX Mark III will be $6499. Look for the body to go on sale in the next few weeks. Additionally, some outlets will provide Body/CF express card and reader bundles. Keep your eye out for the best deals.
As an added bonus, Canon is also working on an AI Culling software plugin to Lightroom. Imagine that you are at a photo shoot and took several hundred images. The software will evaluate the photos, will look for underexposures, overexposures, blinks, and misfires. The plugin will sort those images into categories based on warnings. Ideally, this will help you to sort through and delete poorer images in a more efficient manner. This is currently in pre-beta testing but looks to be quite promising. Lastly, Canon is working to promote and pair photographers with end-users with a new Photographer matchmaking service called Image Connect. Like other matchmaking services, Canon is trying to pair photographers for Pets + Families, with the people who need them. How cannon monetizes this process is still currently in beta testing and may be adjusted based on feedback. Does this setup protect the photographer from more difficult users? Mr. MacCallum noted that conflicts would likely be between the client and the photographer. Again, Canon is looking into its role in this process. Once the two are matched up, what happens? This is still up in the air as to how this process will actually work.