Canon EOS 1D X – tracking sensitivity and high ISO samples

From our short time using the amazing Canon EOS 1D X, we have been testing its features (including tracking sensitivity) and image quality (including how well it performs when set to high ISO values).

A feature that we really like about the Canon 1D X is its multi-controller which enables a user to instantly magnify a frame of up to 100% (actual pixels), change among 6 Auto Focus (AF) modes among other applications. If you are going to shoot at sporting events, we recommend using the AF point expansion mode that allows you to use surrounding points which is much better than using just one AF point, added to the fact that you will have more control over all 61 AF points. The AF lock gives even further control, with which you can adjust the tracking sensitivity so that you won’t miss great shots just because something or someone gets in your frame. These are features that we used when covering Euro 2012 Soccer matches, which are more advanced than on the Canon 7D.

High ISO Sample Shots

We tested the Canon 1D X’s high ISO capability with several subjects. ISO (or ASA) is an indication of the light sensitivity of a DSLR’s sensor or the film for a SLR. It may introduce grain (or noise) and reduce image quality — learn more about ISO here. A DSLR is said to have good ISO performance if it produces images with minimal grain even when set to high ISO values.

The first sample image shown below is of a notice board with a stadium map attached.  (The exposure of this image was adjusted by 1-stop in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom)

Canon EOS 1D X - ISO 3200

Canon EOS 1D X – ISO 3200 – f/5.6 – 1/160

Note: This image may not load immediately upon clicking, as it is about 1.87 MB. To view the full sized image, right click on image, and choose to open it in either a new window or tab.

The following sample images were shot in AV mode and are crops of approximately the same size, made to match the same area of the stadium map. Furthermore, the images are JPEGs from RAW files without any post-processing (i.e. sharpening, colors, exposure or other settings) except for Custom White Balance which was set from the same reference point in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. If you wish, you can download the original RAW or JPEG files for more detailed viewing.

Download: High ISO JPG Files (71MB) |  High ISO RAW Files (211MB)

Canon EOS 1D X - High ISO Test

Place your mouse cursor over an ISO number (for a couple of seconds) for the image to load. Captions (in the bottom left corner) will switch immediately.

Noise Reduction

Image noise is a random variation of the color information that has to do with a DSLR’s sensor and not the subject.  Image noise (or grain) can give a certain images an attractive retro look, and photo editors may even choose reproduce this effect in post processing. However, image noise can be unsightly or it may not suit the type of images that you seek to produce. The Canon 1D X has a noise reduction feature that can greatly reduce image noise in images.

Canon EOS 1D X - ISO 3200

Canon EOS 1D X – ISO 3200 NR – OFF

Noise Reduction Sample Shots – Cropped

If you wish to observe even more closely how effective Noise Reduction (NR) is, then you can utilize Adobe Photoshop to do this. All you need to do is to place one layer (with Photo 1) over the another layer (with Photo 2). Note that both photos have an equal ISO value. After this, reduce the opacity, zoom in and observe the differences.  You can try this for yourself with the actual photographs shown below by downloading the JPEG, RAW or PSD files all compressed with ZIP. (The PSD files contains  compressed (ZIP) versions of the cropped images shown below.)

Download: NR JPG files (62MB) | NR RAW files (217MB) | NR PSD files (9MB)

ISO 3200
NR OFF
NR ON
ISO 6400
NR OFF
NR ON
ISO 12800
NR OFF
NR ON
ISO 51200
NR OFF
NR ON

The Canon EOS 1D X is a high end DSLR that is made for professionals or at least for those who want to feel like one. This DSLR has superior ISO performance and an amazing burst rate (12 fps) combined with a great AF system.  An ISO value of 6400 on a lower end DSLR may result in an unattractive image, whereas on the 1D X it may be pleasing to the eye.  Furthermore, the noise reduction feature can even lessen image noise making images appear cleaner, even though at times they may appear to be plastic-like and unnatural.

Slaven Bilic Euro 2012

500mm f/4, ISO 6400, 1/2000 sec Original Photo

P.S. Check out rest of the 1DX pictures on the KL-photo facebook page.

About Tommy

Photography allows me to be what I want to be, to be where I want to be, and to do what I want to do ... I'm not professional photographer and I don't need a title, I love to take photographs and that is what I do, I love to learn and I always try to do it better ...
  • sam

    What NR setting did you use?

    • http://www.canon5dtips.com/ Tom K.

      It was default, standard settings already set on Camera.

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