First impressions
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First impressions

Overall, the EOS-1D X II looks pretty much exactly as we thought it would look. It's a solid, high-performance DSLR that works in basically the same way as its predecessors. It improves on them in several respects, which will matter for those that depend on key aspects Canon has improved - F8 autofocus across the entire array, for example, could be game changing for some. But overall, it does not represent a major paradigm shift in either Canon's state-of-the-art, or the digital camera market as a whole. This isn't a criticism - this is what progress looks like at the very top of the market, where letting working professionals get the shot they need matters a lot more than piling on fancy features.

That said, there are two main ways in which we think the camera may prove particularly significant, once it gets into the hands of pro photographers.

The first is autofocus performance. Canon has been developing its iTR autofocus tracking for some time and there's still a chance it'll shine when put to use in the field (despite our initial impressions of its accuracy). And the fact that iTR and AF in general even function at 14 fps is amazing. In the EOS-1D X Mark II, Dual Pixel AF makes its debut in full-frame format. This not only offers fast, precise, and decisive AF in video, but also accurate and quick AF in Live View for stills shooting, albeit of static subjects, without the need for lens-specific calibration, ever.

The second area in which the EOS-1D X Mark II could raise the bar is workflow. The 1D X II features a series of improvements that could make Raw shooting much easier to incorporate into a high-speed press photography workflow. Equally if it helps stills-focused photojournalists to shoot effective video clips, it could prove to be much more of a breakthrough than it initially seems.

It's this second aspect that caught Stead's eye: 'Everything seems designed to help get the images out of the camera and onto the wires as quickly as possible, without the need for a computer - whether you're a JPEG or Raw shooter. It looks like the perfect sports/wire service camera.'