s a professional camera body, the availability of the Canon EOS 1D X time for a sporting event as significant as the Olympics will be key to its success.

The camera was announced back in October 2011, even though it was not due to be ready for use until March 2012 at the earliest. This early warning, we were told, was to ensure photo agencies could be made aware of the product in plenty of time to include it in their purchasing plans for the year ahead.

It was perhaps also an opportunity to secure an audience before the announcement of its potential rival, the Nikon D4, which came in January.

Both cameras have since experienced delays in their releases, with the Canon EOS 1D X now looking like it will be in the shops by mid-June. This review is based on a model with pre-release firmware, though Canon Europe has assured us that the camera is performing to ‘release standard’.

The Canon EOS 1D X follows a line of 1D cameras that previously included 1Ds variations for higher resolution studio, portrait or landscape users. However, the Canon EOS 1D X – the 10th Canon pro body – replaces both the 1D Mark IV and the 1Ds Mark III models, despite the resolution being lower than the 21MP 1Ds Mark III.

The only other variation of the 1D is now the 1D C, which also features an 18MP full-frame sensor but is designed for videographers too, having the ability to shoot 4K video. The Canon EOS 1D X then, is a camera designed for a wide range of professional photographers from landscape and nature photographers, through to portrait and press photographers. Sport, however, remains its number one focus, as appears evident from the autofocus case studies in the menu, and is where the camera will be put to the greatest test. Here the onus is on speed and accuracy, to capture often fast-moving subjects in difficult lighting conditions.

The previous 1D Mark IV was no slacker in this regard but the Canon EOS 1D X offers a new faster processor, a more advanced metering system and a more extensive AF system. This should not only cope with the higher resolution full-frame sensor but offer greater performance too.

Canon EOS 1D X sample imageSee sample images here

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