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Canon EOS 1Dx Camera Review | As fast as a CF-18 Hornet

A McDonnell Douglas 4-Wing CF-18 Hornet caught cold with a Canon EOS 1Dx

Hi, if you’re reading this blog post than chances are you wondering how the new flagship Canon EOS 1Dx performs in real life situations. Well, after a full month of ownership I can categorically tell you that this is simply the best camera I have ever owned and operated!  I purchased the Canon 1Dx from Henry’s in September of 2012, and it now serves as the main camera in my photography business.  My former camera was the highly regarded Canon EOS 5D MarkII, but after placing the Canon 1Dx in my hands it’s hard to look back.  While my learning curve on the Canon 1Dx has been very steep I’ve now had enough time to form a few quick opinions.

Things I love about the Canon 1Dx:

 The Speed – as in sonic jet speed. Like most professional grade cameras, the fastest shutter speed on this camera is 1/8000th of a second. But, when that shutter speed potential is matched with a burst rate of 14 frames per second, this camera can crank out some serious fire power. While my personal photography style relies predominately on natural timing and patience, having the option to shutter burst a sonic jet right out of the sky makes this camera totally laugh-out-loud awesome!   The picture you see here was taken straight from the camera – no photoshop CS6 editing here.   I Love the thrust!  If you like this picture, then it and others will soon be available for sale in my Prints section.

The Memory capacity – With two Compact Flash card slots available on the 1Dx I never need to worry about running out of memory at a critical moment in time. This is an incredible feature, and speaking from experience, the extra confidence is liberating when you know you can’t miss a shot.

The Eye piece shutter – When performing product photography, or long exposures, I love the built in eye shutter thingamabob which is a much, much better design than the former rubberized piece found on the 5DMarkII strap. Again, just one less thing to worry about and fiddle with.

 

Things I’m learning to live with, but wish were better:

The placement of the exposure meter – The bulk of my photography has been performed with a Canon 5DMarkII, and on that camera body both the exposure meter and camera settings are shown on the bottom horizontal plane. With the Canon EOS 1Dx, the exposure meters are located vertically on the right hand side, while the camera settings (shutter speed, aperture value, ISO, card count, shooting mode) are located on the bottom, horizontal plane. When shooting in portrait mode (vertical alignment) I find it really difficult to scan my settings. Perhaps it’s just me and my personal preference, but having the exposure meter separated from the camera settings has gotten me in trouble on a few different occasions. Speaking from experience, nothing is worse than thinking you have just landed a perfectly balanced meter reading, yet only to learn that reading came with your camera settings shifted to with f/22 and 1/30th of a second – ouch.  I just need to learn how to get use to it, but my eye is protesting and spending more time on aspects than before.

Battery Charger – Holy smokes, it’s huge! Definitely not travel friendly. Be prepared; leave home with charged batteries.

The RAW file conversion – I needed to upgrade my Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop software so that it could read and convert the CR.2 Raw Files into something viewable.   I don’t mind having the latest-and-greatest upgrades from Adobe for my business, but it was an added and unwelcome expense.   While not scientific, I feel as if my 5D Mark II RAW photos were easier to process and convert into JPGs, but my workflow is quickly recovering as I learn more.

Things I need to learn  about the Canon 1Dx

There are a dizzying amount of options on this camera – seriously. I’d really like to learn the difference between the different AI Servo tracking modes, of which there are six options or cases.  My photography style has always placed a premium on:  ready, aim, fire, but with these options I think it would be totally possible to just go ready and fire! LOL Crazy, I know. But, I don’t believe any self-respecting professional would simply just fire and ask questions later.   If you want to continuously burst 14 frames per second all over the place, then maybe a video camera would be better…lol…but if you find yourself needing some suppressive fire here-and-there, then this camera certainly fills that niche.

Canon EOS 1Dx Camera Review | Speed Test Tracking Results: Pass

Canon EOS 1Dx Speed Performance next to a McDonnell Douglas 4-Wing CF-18 Hornet

My Photography Equipment

When I gear up to put my passion into action I only use the very best in digital technology & camera optics!

In my photography business I “make it possible with Canon” equipment, which is proudly stamped in big, bold letters: “Made in Japan”. Built with quality and durability in mind, my photography equipment has proven itself to be bulletproof reliable and always ready to perform: rain or shine; day or night!

As a digital photographer I enjoy using software applications like Adobe Photoshop CS6 & Adobe Lightroom 4.4 to bring my creativity to life with an overall look-and-feel that is natural looking and genuine. To achieve the highest grades in picture quality – both digital & print – all of my work is performed in a RAW imaging format (*.cr2) that I convert into a computer friendly format (*.jpg) for my clients.

To deliver my digital work to clients I use high grade 4.7GB LighScribe DVDs that allow me to burn my copyright material to a disk with a custom monochrome label. In addition, I also offer my clients a secure portal on my website to provide them with anytime access to their photos wherever they have an internet connection.

Yet, even with all the power and ease of modern day photography gear, camera equipment alone can never replace the eye and mind of your photographer! Digital Photography – just like the Kodak film days gone past – remains a very “real” labour of love that requires skill, effort and competence to perform well. Digital photography at the professional level also remains a technically expensive business venture to maintain and grow… I’ve invested heavily in my gear so I can capture your moments with “picture perfect” quality!

 

The Brand Names and Products I Use and Trust…

The corporate logos and product images featured in this editorial section are copyright and trademarked to the corporations to which they belong and pertain. All credit and moral respect is hereby given to others I now write about.

Canon EOS 1-Dx

 

I’m now the proud owner of Canon’s newly announced flagship camera body: the Canon EOS 1-Dx (2012). This is simply the best camera I have ever owned and operated! I purchased the Canon EOS 1Dx from Henry’s in September of 2012, and it now serves as the main camera in my photography business. This 18 megapixel, full-frame, $7,000 dollar CMOS digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera can burst upto 14 frame per second, which is so fast I can photograph a 4-wing CF-18 Hornet thrusting off a runway.  This camera is a real beauty to work with – both under the sun and in low light situations, and this flagship, top-of-the line camera allows me to now do it all!   A special camera for special events!   Jeff and his professional equipment have you covered…

Canon EOS 5D Mark II


The Canon 5D Mark II is one sweet performing camera body that serves as the foundation of my photography equipment. This 21 megapixel, full-frame, CMOS digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera is a real beauty to work with – both under the sun and in low light situations! The profile specs on this camera body allow me to photograph still pictures in RAW format or record High Definition videos at 1080p. My very first camera was a Canon XT Rebel (2006), which I sold for the professional class 5D Mark II when I decided to put my passion into action and start my very own photography business (2009).
 

 

 

Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite


When the time comes to flash the place up with controlled bursts of light I use Canon’s newly released flagship speedlite system: the 600EX-RT! This wonderful piece of equipment allows me to expand my “off camera” flash work by giving me the option to use radio signals (radio transmissions) in activating my gear. Prior to using and owning the 600EX-RT system, I relied upon the very capable and powerful Canon 580EX II system which used optical line-of-sight signals rather than radio.
 

 

 

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro L IS USM


This is one of my favorite specialized lenses! What makes this lens so special for me is two things; First, it can allow me to get really close to small items – like wedding rings, butterfly wings, painted eyelashes – and make them optically appear larger than life size on film! Secondly, as both a prime lens and a macro lens, this beauty can allow me to take incredibly sharp pictures within a shallow depth of field! As one of Canon’s newest updated lenses, it also sports the latest in image stabilization technology, which comes in super handy when a tripod or monopod (my preferred choice – especially in macro photography) is unavailable or not appropriate for use in a given context.
 

 

 

 Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

canon-ts-e-24mm-f3.5-ii
This is my newest camera lens, and my favorite specialized lens in this wide angle focal range!   With this camera lens I can take spectacular, razor sharp photos of architecture and people while using in-camera shifting, tilting and rotating techniques to manage, control, create or correct various optical distortions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM


This is my all-time favorite telephoto zoom lens! I never leave home without this star performer on my camera body, or in my camera bag. As one of Canon’s newest updated lenses, it also sports the latest in image stabilization technology and optical coatings. When I want to create a sharply framed foreground with a creamy and diffuse background from a distance, this is the lens I will use. If I could only own one camera lens, this would be the one!
 

 

 

 

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM


This is my general purpose, high grade, walkaround zoom lens of choice. When I’m on the road or traveling the world by backpack, this is the one lens I like to carry with me to keep my options open and the weight in my backpack down. If we consider the human eye to operate similar to that of a 50mm lens, then this versatile zoom lens sits nicely on the fence to offer photographers a good balance between some telephoto and wide angle photography options.
 

 

 

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

This is my favorite wide angle zoom lens! I use this lens a lot, and especially when photographing architecture or landscapes. I also use this lens pretty often when photographing large groups of people, or when performing full-body portrait pictures in locations with limited space or low light – like in night clubs or small rooms. This camera lens has a nine blade aperture, so it’s my go-to lens when I want to create one of my favorite camera effects (star bursts from line-of-sight light sources)!
 

 

 

 

Canon EF 2x II Extender


This mini lens allows me to functionally extend, or double in this case, the focal range of the lens I thread it onto. I regularly use my 2x extender on my Canon EF 70-200mm to instantly double its focal range to 140-400mm, which is most certainly a significant optical boost! To purchase a dedicated L Series 400mm lens would cost thousands of dollars, and not always practical, so this four hundred dollar gadget can not only save photographers a lot of money, it can further enhance the potential of their high-grade gear. I used my extender extensively when I toured Canada’s High Arctic in 2010 to photograph polar bears from a distance. When I just can’t get close, this is a little gadget you will see me pulling out of my camera bag!
 

 

 

Canon EF 25 II Extension Tube

This little gadget is basically a hollow tube with no glass, and it allows me to physically extend my lenses an additional 25mm away from my camera body. When I thread this onto another lens I can increase that lens’ magnification factor, which comes in really handy when performing up-close macro photography. And, when I attach it to my dedicated macro lens, I can obtain a full 1.5x magnification boost factor! WOW, now that is some really exciting stuff for a photography guy!
 

 

 

Lexar Professional UDMA 300x CF Cards


“When memory matters” I place my full confidence in Lexar and its business tag line. I’ve been using Lexar compact flash cards since the very beginning, and I’ve never had a problem with them. At the present moment I carry 80 gigabytes of memory with me, which effectively allows me to take up to 3,723 RAW photos at 22 megapixels each – WOW. I’ve never taken that many photos in a single outing, but with that much memory power on hand I never need to worry about forgetting, or missing, a moment!
 

 

 

Ultra Violet (UV) Haze Filters

B+W 67mm MRC F-PRO UV Haze Filter

Hoya 77mm HD Digital UV Haze Filter

B+W 82mm Slim MRC #010 (2C) UV Haze Filter

As Hoya and its business tag line says it best, “the difference is clear” when using a UV Haze filter on your camera lenses. But next to helping me clear the air and filter out unwanted UV rays, I also trust Hoya (Japanese) and B+W (German) filters as an extra measure to protect my lens glass from scratches, dust, and oily finger prints! After investing thousands of dollars in camera lenses, adding a protective UV filter at no perceptible cost to picture quality makes great business sense in my books.

 

 

 

 

Polarizing Filters

B+W 67mm Kaesemann MRC Circular Polarizer

Hoya 77mm HD Circular Polarizer

B+W 82mm Kaesemann MRC Circular Polarizer

For a long time, I was highly skeptical about the value of polarizer filters, and especially so given their relatively high purchasing cost. Like other skeptics, I was of the belief that if I wanted to create deeper blues in my skies or darker greens in my grass then all I needed to do was just run a few clicks through Adobe Photoshop CS5. Man, was I wrong, but not totally. While I can still run a few clicks through CS5 to create saturated effects in desired areas, it’s near impossible to replicate the instant value a circular polarizer filter offers with a spin or two. Now, I never leave home without one in my bag, and I almost certainly use them when I want to cut down unwanted reflections. They really do work — with their maximum potential in play when pointed 90 degrees away from from the sun, or light source!