Body and handling

It shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that the 1D X Mark II is solidly built. It features the same inspiringly-robust-feeling level of build and sealing that the 1D series has had for many years.

A quick glance at the body reveals a form factor that should be familiar to existing users of Canon’s 1D series of cameras, and that’s not a bad thing. Cameras in this class don't tend to see radical design changes between models; they emphasize productivity and dependability ahead of consumer-oriented features or experimental designs. In that spirit, the 1D X Mark II represents a subtle evolution of the 1D design ethos, bringing small but meaningful updates to a body that pros will be able to pick up and use immediately.

From the top, the 1D X II will be immediately familiar to 1D series users. The buttons and their behavior are the same as the 1D X, making it easy to pick up the camera and use it.

The two biggest changes to the 1D X II body are the adoption of a live view/video switch just next to the viewfinder and the addition of a touch sensitive rear LCD.

That touchscreen isn't extensively used. You can use it to set the AF point or magnify the image for manual focus in live view, and in video mode you can toggle servo AF, but that's about it . This means it will never irritate shooters who are expecting an experience like the one they're used to from their 1D X (and 1D IV, and III, and...), but it occasionally feels like a missed opportunity. Why not have an option in the menus to allow touchscreen use of the Q Menu or to position the AF point while shooting through the viewfinder?

The live view/video switch (and start button) make it clear that Canon wants to make the feature readily accessible.

The live view/video switch is a small change to the body (and it brings it into line with other Canon models), but makes it clear that the company expects users of this camera to need to quickly shoot clips of video. The choice of the Motion JPEG format (rather than ALL-I H.264 on more basic models or XF-AVC on the Cinema EOS) and the lack of 4K output suggests to us that Canon has still frame extraction in mind, more than shooting footage as an end in itself.

Battery life

The EOS-1D X II uses the new LP-E19 battery, with which it's rated at 1210 shots per charge. You'll usually get more than this number but it's useful for comparing cameras on a common basis.

The camera can also use the older LP-E4N and LP-E4 batteries but with the max frame rate dropping to 12 fps.