We live in a world where you get a new iPhone every year, with or without significant features. It is so refreshing to see a camera like the Canon 1Dx Mark III getting an announcement, even if just a development announcement. It took three years from the release of the Canon 1Dx Mark II to get a sign of life for the series, and we could not be happier.
Again, this is only a development announcement. What this means in practice is, “we’ve been making this camera, just so you know”.
We have the privilege of speaking to Drew Maccallum, a Senior Technical Specialist from Canon, who gracefully took the time to answer (or gracefull ignore) all of our questions, speculations, and concerns. With the PR team being away from the show, we could not get any representative on camera. Drew spoke very selectively about the information he was able to disclose. If you ask me though, he knows more than he shares.
Many most of the questions you’d like to know were responded with a smile and a wave of the hand: “These are not the droids you’re looking for” or something along the lines of “I can’t answer that right now”.
About the 1Dx Series
The 1Dx series has been known for being canon’s Flagship model. The Creme de la Creme, or as Drew put it, a no-compromise camera for professionals. Boasting the highest specs on every release, the camera is known for being the industry standard for pros who use canon.
As Drew mentioned, this is a development announcement, and Canon has been working tirelessly to keep the secrets locked up. So let’s start with what was on the board at PPE 2019. If you want our take jump straight here.
Ultimate Image quality
- New DIGIC and new CMOS sensor
- Improved still image quality at high ISO speed over 1d X mark ii
- 10bit still shooting with HEIF
- 4k movie with 4k60p 4:2:2 10bit Canon Log Internal Recording
- RAW Movie internal Recording
Ultimate Autofocus Performance
- New type AF sensor for OVF shooting to achieve higher precision
- Central AF pixels are approx 28 time higher resolution compared to 1dx Mark II
- High precision AF Detection is achieved by analysis of high resolution AF signal provided by the AF sensor
- New Af algorithm improves stability and tracking using deep learning technology. This applies to both OVF and LV Shooting
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF with approx 90%x and 100% area and max 525 AF areas when automatically selected.
- Wider AF dynamic range with OVF and LV shooting compared to 1d x mark II
- OVF shooting: Higher continuous speed over 1dx Mark II with AF/AE tracking (max. Approx. 16 frames/sec)
- LV shooting: higher continuous speed than 1dx mark II (Max. Approx. 20 frames/sec) with AF/AE Tracking with mechaniscal
- shutter plus also with an electronic shutter
- Dual CF Express Card Slots
- Raw Max Buffer: Higher than 1dx Mark II (maximum over 5 times)
- Built-in Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Low Energy/GPS
- Improved transfer speed using ethernet and WFT connection using WFT-E9 than 1d x Mark II and WFT – E8 *maximum speed over 2 times)
- Improved the user interface for network connection
- Magnesium Body
- Illuminated buttons
- New Device for Af Point Operation in the AF button (also Equipped Multi-Controller)
- Battery is LP-E19 and the number of possible shots is improved from EOS 1D X Mark ii
[Editor’s note: from here on, it is mostly what we think. Drew was a solid bunker and release very little info except for what’s on the board. Drew replied to many of our questions with “well… you can speculate”. So we did]
As you can see from the specs above, the 1Dx Mark III has a lot of cool new features. Unfortunately, nothing more can be said about them since, again, “what you see is what you get”. However, we can make some educated guesses based on the information, industry trends, and the previous generation’s camera.
For example, we know that HEIF is the same process that phones use to create their HDR images, and the technology has been implemented at a much more professional level to introduce fast working HDR. This will take advantage of the already stunning dynamic range the 1Dx’s are known for. We were told that the post-processing latitude is more on par with a 10 bit JPEG.
4k movie with 4k60p 4:2:2 10bit canon Log Internal Recording; this tells us a couple of really important things. First of all, when we spoke with Drew and expressed our opinion of the camera becoming one of the best stills/video hybrid cameras, he agreed and said that “Canon was taking video seriously” and they’ve “been listening to their customers“.
Between the announcement and Drew’s statement, I want to assume that Canon has finally stopped separating their “stills” line from their “Cine” line. I am also speculating that Canon finally added essential video-making features. Things like: Focus peaking, zebras, false color, etc. We did verify that the Canon log means “C-log”. This means that this is the first non-cine line camera (c100, c200, c300) to have a log style color profile. On previous “Stills cameras”, you had to rely on the “neutral” color for your best shot at gradable footage. I think introducing the renowned log profile means two things- the appropriate latitude to work with it, and the tools to work with it correctly in the field.
The 4k @60p also says something about the data rate. Assuming it’s about on par with XAVC-I we can assume a bitrate of about 960mbps. Well within the parameters of CF Express cards. We did see “Dual CF Express Card Slots” on the announcement.
It’s not crazy to assume that they’ve managed to cram FHD at 240 fps. I would also guess that raw video, is totally possible. They wouldn’t say in what constellation or how, but using some math and previous figures, I speculate that there is a good chance for something like FHD 60p with a slight crop to get those data rates within processing power.
Drew did tell us that the models inside the glass boxes are working, functioning models. Hopefully, it means we saw the final camera body (though even this was not confirmed). If you look at the 1Dx Mark III, it looks pretty similar to the previous generation. One exception though, there is a… “thing”… that replaces the AF button. Drew wouldn’t unscrew the box or disable the alarms so we can play with it, so we just have to assume at this point what it is:
- It has a semi-clear glass look to it.
- Shining a light into it shows some sort of sensor that’s inside it.
If I had to make a guess, I’d say it’s probably a trackpad-like interface for smooth AF-positioning. Makes sense, since you have full access to the button both when your face is pressed against the camera, and when you’re holding the camera for video.
You got to give it to Canon when you see the number of features Canon crammed into this body: Internal RAW, 16fps with a mechanical shutter, AI autofocus, dual AF sensors, an ethernet port. It’s no wonder that this is the go-to tool for those at the top.
Price and Availability
Last but not least, Price and Availability. Even if you thoroughly scan the info above, you will not find those two bits of information. We simply don’t know yet. I asked Drew if we can expect to see an update or the camera at NAB and he said “2020 is going to be an interesting year”. I can’t wait to see more info about the camera. We will definitely be watching closely for more concrete updates.
P.S. keep a close eye on the Canon 1Dx Mark II prices (currently $5,499.00). I foresee discounts ahead.
P.P.S. We really want to extend a warm thank you to Drew Maccallum from Canon USA, who diligently and carefully answered everything he was allowed to speak about regarding the 1Dx Mark III.
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