Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

20.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor | Dual Pixel AF | 4K/60p video

What we like:

  • 14 fps continuous shooting with autofocus
  • Dual Pixel AF is responsive and accurate in live view / video capture
  • Beautiful 4K video

What we don't:

  • Optimizing AF settings takes practice
  • Subject tracking can be inconsistent
  • 4K video limited to Motion JPEG codec
The EOS-1D X Mark II is Canon’s flagship DSLR aimed at pro-level photographers. A quick glance reveals the camera’s 1D-series heritage, but this newest iteration gains Canon's Dual Pixel AF technology and 4K video.
Visually, the camera is almost identical to its predecessor. The camera gains a touch screen, though it’s not extensively used; it can be used to set the AF point or magnify an image for manual focus, but not much more. There are lots of custom function buttons, but the settings available for each are arbitrarily limited, meaning you might not be able to set them to your preference.
The Canon 1D X II is a reliable workhorse that will be on the sidelines of most major sports events around the world, and with very good reason
The 1D X II shoots 14 fps through the optical viewfinder with incredibly short viewfinder blackout, and has a bottomless Raw buffer when recording to CFast cards. The 61-point autofocus system provides 24% more vertical coverage than its predecessors, and a 360,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor enables Canon’s Intelligent Tracking and Recognition (iTR) mode for subject tracking, though it’s sometimes erratic and unexpectedly falls off the subject. The big news is the addition of Dual Pixel autofocus: it’s incredibly accurate for stills, particularly when shooting shallow depth of field, and transformative for video.
The 20.2MP full-frame sensor adopts a new design with on-chip analog to digital conversion. As a result, the camera has markedly increased Raw dynamic range at low ISO compared to its predecessor. There are small gains in high ISO performance as well, which is impressive given that the sensor includes Dual Pixel architecture. JPEGs tend to skew a bit to the cool and flat side, and the simplistic noise reduction at high ISO values means it's beneficial to edit the Raws to get the very best from the camera.
The 1D X II produces high quality video at DCI 4K/60p resolution using a native 4K crop of the sensor, resulting in a 1.34x focal length multiplier. 4K capture is limited to Motion JPEG format, resulting in a high bit rate (~800 Mbps), and requires CFast cards. On the plus side, Motion JPEG makes it easy to extract stills. Thanks to Dual Pixel technology, Autofocus is insanely accurate, subject tracking is effective. The camera lacks many basic video tools such as focus peaking, zebras, or a Log gamma curve, however out-of-camera colors are beautiful, and if you need to get high quality footage quickly, the 1D X II can deliver the goods.
The Canon 1D X II is a reliable workhorse that will be on the sidelines of most major sports events around the world, and with very good reason. It can deliver both very high quality stills and 4K video, with arguably the best video AF system on the market.

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