EOS-1 DX imageCanon?s new EOS-1 DX DSLR will produce the same resolution as the 21-million-pixel EOS-1 Ds Mark III despite having three million fewer pixels according to the company?s senior general manager of photo products, Tsunemasa Ohara.

Speaking to Amateur Photographer (AP) at the Canon Pro Solutions show in London, Ohara explained that with efficiencies in collecting light the newly designed 18-million-pixel sensor used in the EOS 1DX would perform just as well in a Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) test [which measures image characteristics such as resolution].

Asked how the new camera could be an adequate replacement of the higher-pixel density EOS-1 Ds Mark III Ohara told AP that the 21% larger pixels on the new sensor, together with the gapless micro lens array, are able to gather much more light.

?We have designed the Canon CMOS sensor for the EOS 1DX so that it is much thinner than before and so that the photodiodes are closer to the surface of the sensor. This way the pixels collect more light and produce a better, clearer, signal.

?With less noise, and our new improved processing algorithms, the camera is able to reproduce more detail. While using MFT is perhaps not the best way to measure the resolution of the camera, if you did use this method the results for the EOS-1 DX and EOS-1 Ds Mark III would be very similar.?

While it is easy to see how the full-frame 12-frames-per-second camera is a replacement for the sport-orientated EOS-1D Mark IV it is less obvious how it replaces the high resolution EOS 1DS III.

But Ohara assured us that the improvements Canon has made to the signal processing via the use of two DIGIC 5+ processors, along with the physical changes in the sensor, make that possible.

Canon has also redesigned its mirror mechanism to allow for such a high frame rate to be achieved.

Ohara said that gravity now plays no part in the way the mirror flips down after an exposure has been made and that both up and down movements are now carefully controlled by motors.

?We had to prevent the mirror from bouncing when it returns so we could lift it again to maintain the high frame rate. To do this the mirror?s downward motion is powered in the same way that it is powered to go up.?

Asked if a fixed pellicle mirror, of the sort used by Sony in its latest Alpha SLT products, would have helped, Ohara replied that it wouldn?t have been ideal in this case. ?A pellicle mirror provides a good way to create a high frame rate, but in this camera there are other features that would be compromised by the loss of light.? Ohara said.

?We would not have been able to offer such high ISO settings without increased noise, and we?ve found that vignetting is increased when long lenses are used. The EOS-1 DX could not be compromised in this way.?