Rock Solid: Canon 1D X Mark II Review
Real-world image quality
by Carey Rose
At first blush, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II looks to be a purpose-built sports-shooting machine, like the Nikon D5. But as we've seen, Canon has markedly upped the dynamic range performance of the sensor in this camera, which, for some users, will make it a better all-rounder than the Nikon.
|Vroom, vroom: the 1D X Mark II's image quality easily matches the very high bar set by its performance figures. Tamron SP 90mm VC F2.8 Macro @ F8 | 1/125 sec | ISO 200. Photo by Carey Rose|
In the process of tweaking their sensor for low ISO performance, it seems as though Canon's color processing has changed very slightly. Warmer tones and yellows in particular are just a bit less rich compared to the Nikon D5's output, and very slightly less so than the 5D Mark III. As for how this plays out in the real world? Well, there's no denying that the 1D X Mark II still offers exceptional color performance, but I mainly found the auto white balance to skew my out-of-camera JPEGs toward the cool side.
|Out-of-camera JPEG||Processed to taste from Adobe Camera Raw|
Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L II IS @ F8 | 1/250 sec | ISO 100. Photo by Carey Rose
To get a lot of that warm color magic back, I frequently felt I had to go into the Raw file to access it. Take the above image, for example. Editing is a matter of personal taste, but I found the auto white balance a bit too cool, and though there are plenty of blacks around the frame, the image still feels flat. Adding in some warmth, contrast and a bit of vibrance in Raw fixed it right up for me.
However, no surprise, the Canon's high-ISO noise reduction in JPEGs performs fairly well.
|While the 1D X II handles colors and noise reduction well at higher ISO values, it unfortunately can't fix your compositions for you. Canon EF 50mm F1.4 @ F1.4 | 1/125 sec | ISO 12800. Photo by Carey Rose|
The 1D X II does a good job of getting rid of large swaths of noise in your images - particularly considering the likely size these images will be viewed at - while retaining acceptable levels of what detail there is from the wide-open 50mm lens. What's more, colors remain pleasingly true to life and in this case, the auto white balance did great.
But the big news for the 1D X II is its dynamic range performance, and chiefly, how it deals with noise in shadow regions as you lift them up in Raw.
|Out-of-camera JPEG||Processed to taste from Adobe Camera Raw|
Canon EF 35mm F1.4L USM II @ F2.8 | 1/3200 sec | ISO 200. Photo by Carey Rose.
The above image is a great example of exposing for the highlights to lose as little of them as possible, which will then allow you to pull up shadows in post. This particular image was boosted 2.25 stops, highlights pulled back down some, and shadows boosted up. This isn't as extreme an edit as some people might routinely do, but it's a good realistic example that shows that the 1D X II files hold their own despite some pretty heavy pushing and pulling in Raw.
After shooting thousands of frames with the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, there are a couple things I've found consistent. It is a matter of taste, but I am personally not enamored with the JPEG engine and default auto white balance behavior. If I were a press shooter sending off batches of out-of-camera JPEGs using the camera's built-in ethernet port, that would be a bummer for me - I'd need to spend some time playing with the JPEG settings to get the contrast, saturation and white balance all dialed in. The noise reduction generally works well, and though it can smudge away fine detail if you look closely, that's not quite as important when your JPEGs are being viewed at small sizes on the web or in print.
On the other hand, the Raws are something to behold. The overall color is still second-to-none and the malleability of the 1D X II's files, especially from a noise perspective on low ISO shots, was a pleasant treat after having used the Nikon D5 so extensively (its Raw files contain much more shadow noise at lower ISO values).
|The much-improved dynamic range of the 1DX II at lower ISO values makes it a great all-rounder. Canon EF 35mm F1.4L USM II @ F8 | 1/400 sec | ISO 100. Photo by Carey Rose|
It's that last point - the quality of the low ISO images out of the 1D X II - that cements this camera in my mind as an excellent, albeit big and bulky all-rounder. This contrasts with the Nikon D5 which, though it too has an excellent autofocus system, high ISO quality and high burst rate, doesn't have the outright quality at lower ISO's that many landscape shooters and the like clamor for.
For the photojournalist that shoots peak action but also wants to shoot landscapes on the weekend and have one camera body for it all, the EOS-1D X Mark II is tough to beat.
|Check out those deep, rich yellows and reds - shame I had to process out the Raw file to get to them exactly how I like them. Canon EF 35mm F1.4L USM II @ F2.8 | 1/4000 | ISO 200. Photo by Carey Rose|
The FlexTILT Head 3D is the first product in Edelkrone's new ORTAK lineup, which is specifically designed to piggyback off the growing trend of 3D printing.
They may not offer latest generation technology, but the Canon T7 and Nikon D3500 boast a price point that's tough to argue with. We think that the D3500 has a slight edge in this head-to-head comparison.
State institutions can't be forced to pay for pictures they take from the internet, according to a Texas appeals court.
Chris and Jordan go back to basics in this week's episode, spelling out the meanings of some common photographic terms that newer photographers may not understand.
Japan's parliament passed a law this week outlawing the operation of a drone while under the influence of alcohol.
Watch out Facetune users—Researchers have created an AI program that will detect manipulations made to portraits and reverse the edits.
Investor Daniel Loeb wants the business unit to become a completely independent public company with its own stock listed in the Japanese stock exchange.
National Geographic has unveiled the winning photographs, including the Grand Prize winner of its 2019 Travel Photographer of the Year contest.
The new method applies correction edits locally to faces while leaving the background and other image elements untouched.
Following a call from the Hong Kong Journalist Association, photojournalists and journalists showed up to a Hong Kong Police Force press conference to protest the treatment of journalists during city-wide protests of a controversial extradition bill.
Samsung Portugal used the Galaxy S10+ to capture 943km of Portugal's coastline from out at sea over the course of an eight-day trip.
Operators have a year to prepare for a new set of common drone rules that will transcend borders. Before, remote pilots had to abide by each country in the European Union's specific set of regulations.
Standardizing processes across multiple photographers and saving them time in the studio is the aim of this new, customizable version of Capture One.
While on assignment in Japan, Chris and Jordan had a couple days to shoot with the Fujifilm XF 200mm F2 telephoto lens, which Chris nicknamed 'The Big White Sharp'. To make things more interesting, Jordan filmed this entire episode using the new Fujifilm GFX 100 medium format camera.
Firmware version 2.00 adds Animal Eye AF, support for Sony's RMT-P1BT wireless remote commander and addresses various stability issues.
Apollo Global Management has agreed to acquire Shutterfly for $2.7B and says it plans to merge it with Snapfish, which was also acquired for an undisclosed sum.
Record audio to go with your instax picture and the viewer can play it back via a QR code on the print. Sounds clever!
In an unusual move, Google has revealed its upcoming Pixel 4 phone well ahead of its expected launch in the fall. A larger camera bump featuring at least two rear-facing cameras is visible in the image tweeted by an official Google account.
These small, fast primes aren't cheap, but neither are the cameras you're meant to mount them to.
Shiftcam's Pro line lenses attach to smartphones via dedicated cases or a universal lens mount.
Cinema5D has shared part one of a two-part documentary that dives into the process Fujifilm went through to bring its GFX 100MP medium format mirrorless camera to life.
Canon's EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D is the latest in the company's line of diminutive DSLRs. Despite its compact dimensions and fairly modest price, it has a modern sensor and produces great photographs - find out if it's right for you in our full review.
Bring your passion for photography and help us build the future of DPReview. Read all the details and find out how you can apply to join our team.
Skylum has announced the latest update to Luminar, bringing with it speed improvements and new features for macOS and Windows users.
The pop-up design allows for image and video recording in both folded and unfolded state.
The 7Artisans 60mm F2.8 APS-C macro lens is available for Canon EOS M, Canon EOS RF, Fujifilm X, MFT, Nikon Z and Sony E mounts.
We sat down recently with Yasuyuki Nagata, head of Sony's global interchangeable lens business, to discuss the company's two new telephoto lenses and Sony's approach to mirrorless product development.
Chris and Jordan, along with Senior Editor Barney Britton, traveled to New York for a hands-on look at Sony's newest super-telephoto lenses: the FE 200-600 F5.6-6.3 G OSS and the FE 600mm F4 GM OSS. Find out what they think so far, and vote to tell us who shot the best sample images.
Two new full-frame telephoto lenses for the alpha system, two very different target users (and price points). Take a closer look at Sony's newest FE glass.
If Sony's new 600mm F4 is a bit too much lens/cash for you, not to worry, the 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 is here for all your telephoto needs. And what it lacks in terms of a fast constant aperture, it makes up for in it in focal length versatility. See our samples.