We knew that the sensor Canon had put into its flagship EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR was going to be a good one, and we've put it in front of our studio test scene to see how it stacks up against its sports-shooting peers.

Raw and JPEG performance

Right off the bat, we can see good detail capture for this class of camera at lower ISO values, but that's not really a surprise. These cameras need to just work, in any situation, and the EOS-1D X III delivers in extremely low light with noise levels noticeably lower than its predecessor. The Sony has a resolution advantage, but when we downscale all the cameras to a common resolution, the Canon still looks impressive. However, the Nikon D5 continues to reign supreme as higher ISO values approach absurdity.

Sports shooters and photojournalists also value good JPEGs, as they will often be either forbidden from sending in edited Raw files, or they need to get a smaller file off to their editors as quickly as possible. While the JPEG engines on these cameras are all very customizable, we can see the default values Canon has dialed in are improved. The text here is noticeably less 'blob-y' than the 1D X Mark II, and the Mark III holds onto fine detail better across the scene. The new camera is using finer radius sharpening, which is emphasizing (and not over-writing) the finest detail that it's capturing. It's still not quite a match for the Sony a9, though.

The Mark III also strikes a better balance than its predecessor between noise reduction and detail retention in JPEG at higher ISO values. It's an impressive showing, but again, not quite a match for Sony's context-sensitive noise reduction.

Now it's true that the 1D X III also shoots HEIF files, meant for high-dynamic range displays. These files show noticeably more dynamic range than the company's JPEG files, and we'll be delving more into this in our full review.

Now, let's take a look at dynamic range on the next page.