Here’s why Canon’s 1DX Mark III is a better sports camera than the Sony A9 II

By March 26, 2020 No Comments

Canon releases a 1-series frame each and every 4 years to coincide with the Olympics. They’re constructed for velocity and function, and the ones 4 years are put against perfecting the following technology pro-level sports activities shooter. And perfected it’s precisely what Canon has finished, with the EOS 1D X Mark III one of the vital very best cameras these days to be had – be it mirrorless or DSLR. 

And the 1D X Mark III is somewhat of each – whilst it’s a DSLR at middle, the 1D X Mark III delivers impressive effects with the reflect locked up. In reality, if Canon had made up our minds to forgo the reflect totally, the 1D X Mark III would were one heck of a mirrorless wonder. Such a lot in order that we discovered ourselves evaluating it with Sony’s newest sports activities digicam, the Alpha A9 II.

That’s the course cameras are going after all – the way forward for pictures is mirrorless and it’s extremely most probably that the Mark III can be Canon’s final flagship DSLR. 

If that seems to be true, then Canon’s DSLRs are going out with a bang. The 1D X Mark III has some attention-grabbing tech below the hood that provides us a glimpse into the way forward for Canon’s cameras – beginning with the brand new Digic X sensor. This chip, these days discovered handiest within the 1D X Mark III, is so rapid that you’ll watch the focal point field lock onto a subject matter and monitor it in actual time, with almost no lag. With maximum different cameras, Canon’s personal EOS R integrated, you’ll at all times to find that the focal point field wishes just a little little bit of time to meet up with the topic. Now not so with the 1D X, and that is helping stay the autofocus in, smartly, center of attention.

It doesn’t matter what you want to seize, the Canon EOS 1D X Mark III can do it truly smartly | Canon EOS 1D X Mark III + Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM; 1/200 sec at f/2.8, ISO 250

We had been fortunate sufficient to spend a longer time period with the brand new DSLR and had been ready to check it in numerous eventualities – from indoor tennis to beachside surf shoots within the rain, or even in brilliant sunshine on the zoo. We even attempted nonetheless lifestyles. It doesn’t matter what we threw at it, the 1D X Mark III produced fabulous effects.

Keep targeted

When used as a DSLR, this is with the reflect down, there are 191 AF issues to choose between. And like every DSLR, the ones issues are all clustered across the middle. Lock the reflect up and use the 1D X Mark III as a mirrorless digicam and there’s such a lot of extra selectable issues. They’re unfold via all the body, so in case your topic finally ends up on the fringe of a body (as would be the case for plenty of sports activities) you’ll nonetheless be capable to seize pictures that center of attention squarely at the face.

As a mirrorless, there are center of attention issues on the edges of the body to stay your topic sharp as tack | Canon EOS 1D X Mark III + Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM; 1/5000 sec at f/2.8, ISO 5000

That’s additionally as a result of, as a mirrorless digicam, it tracks transferring topics virtually seamlessly in actual time. We are saying ‘virtually’ because it’s no longer completely absolute best. As you’re monitoring and others (be it posts, umpires or different athletes) get in the best way, the digicam does lose the topic, however it’s just about at all times for just a very short while. Monitoring with the 1D X Mark III is a breeze, and we’d cross as far as to mention it plays higher than Sony’s monitoring at the Alpha A9 II.

That’s to not say we’re complaining concerning the Sony’s monitoring and autofocus efficiency – it is a nice digicam however the A9 II takes a tad longer to search out the misplaced topic once more, whilst the Canon does so simply that a lot sooner. And within the aggressive area of sports activities pictures, it might be that break up 2nd that makes the entire distinction to taking pictures a successful second. It’s by means of a long way the most productive monitoring efficiency from a Canon shooter but.

The 1D X Mark III can stay topics in center of attention even if one thing else crossed their trail | Canon EOS 1D X Mark III + Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM; 1/4000 sec at f/2.8, ISO 5000

The place the Sony A9 II excels, regardless that, is eye AF. It’s virtually at all times spot-on, whilst Canon’s face and head detection works a attraction. Eye AF, alternatively, is not as necessary in sports activities pictures as in portraiture. 

Any other issue that makes the 1D X Mark III’s AF efficiency a winner is the brand new Sensible Controller. This optical, touch-sensitive pointer is way sooner to make use of than the standard joystick on any trendy digicam. In reality, it’s additionally a lot sooner than the usage of the Mn-F contact bar that Canon has on its present EOS R flagship. The lightest contact and the smallest motion of the thumb is all that’s had to transfer the focal point level round. If it’s too touchy for you, there are alternatives within the menu gadget to modify that. 

In reality, Canon’s autofocus tech at the 1D X Mark III is just right sufficient not to even want the Sensible Controller. Extra frequently than no longer, the digicam locks directly to the proper topic, until there’s too many stuff going down inside the body and that’s no longer one thing we will be able to bitch about. It’s a disgrace that Canon has no longer carried the Sensible Controller over to the approaching EOS R5 mirrorless digicam however we’re anticipating the AF gadget at the subsequent full-frame mirrorless flagship to be simply as just right because the 1D X Mark III’s.

When the pinnacle or face is not visual, the 1D X Mark III will lock directly to the frame | Canon EOS 1D X Mark III + Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x; 1/2000 sec at f/6.3, ISO 800 

In fact, it’s infrequently truthful to discuss autofocus efficiency with out making an allowance for which lens you’re the usage of. Older lenses – just like the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x (introduced in 2013) that we used right through a browsing pageant in Sydney – can also be relatively slower than more recent ones just like the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM (launched in 2018). In spite of that, the digicam is in a position to cope and you’ll get various nice pictures, it doesn’t matter what lens you’re the usage of – in particular since there are such a lot of very good local choices to choose between.


Gentle it up

The Digic X isn’t the one processor below the hood right here. The 1D X Mark III additionally has a Digic Eight engine that it makes use of for publicity metering when the usage of the digicam’s optical viewfinder (OVF). There’s additionally a brand new 216-zone 400,000-dot RGB+IR metering sensor (up from the 1D X Mark II’s 370,000-dot variant), whilst Reside View makes use of 384-zone metering gadget.

The metering sensor does a just right activity, whilst the HEIF information can retrieve main points if you do not shoot in RAW | Canon EOS 1D X Mark III + Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM; 1/200 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100

The upgrades cross a ways in ensuring you’re ready to reveal as it should be for various eventualities. When taking pictures darkish topics towards a gentle background, as an example, it may be tricky to seize main points in shadows. Alternatively, choosing the proper ISO and opting to make use of Spot metering for person topics makes simple paintings of all of it.

Upload to that the power to seize HEIF pictures way there’s various main points you’ll retrieve right through publish processing, as we did with the chimpanzee symbol above. Whilst the chimp’s face was once completely uncovered in spite of the solar being too brilliant at the back of the animal, the remainder of her frame was once misplaced in shadow, and there was once no hint of the sexual swelling this feminine had within the unique document. Some minor tweaks with a fundamental photograph enhancing app (in our case Apple’s Footage app on a Mac) was once sufficient to deliver out the misplaced main points.

There is no hint of noise at top ISOs | Canon EOS 1D X Mark III + Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM; 1/4000 sec at f/3.2, ISO 8000

Capturing at top ISO values (as an example, ISO 8000 in terms of the picture above) may be no longer an enormous downside for the Canon 1D X Mark III. There’s no proof of noise at ISO 8000, despite the fact that cross as much as sensitivities as top as ISO 21,800 and the Sony does a tad higher. That mentioned, the present low-light king continues to be the Nikon D5, and we’re anticipating the D6 to accomplish simply as smartly, if no longer higher, in the ones scenarios.

Even errors like this overexposed flower has a lovely impact | Canon EOS 1D X Mark III + Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM; 1/250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

The desire for velocity

The 1D X Mark III’s velocity may be one thing that units it aside from mirrorless cameras just like the Sony A9 II. Each cameras most sensible off at 20fps bursts, however the Canon can accomplish that in mirrorless mode when the usage of its mechanical shutter. Alternatively, the A9 II is able to 10fps steady capturing with its mechanical shutter. In silent mode, the Sony can organize 12-frame bursts, however hits 20fps provided that you’re keen to seize compressed RAW information. The Canon achieves that velocity by means of spitting out full-res RAW information.

After which there’s the buffer intensity, which is simply shy of limitless (whilst the Sony A9 II is rated for 361 JPEGs). Upload to that the adoption of CFexpress reminiscence playing cards for the 1D X Mark III and also you’re saving loads of pictures virtually instantaneously. 

We will be able to admit that, at one level right through the ATP Cup tennis finals in Sydney, we were given distracted and had the shutter pressed for longer than we needed and/or wanted and ended up with upwards of two,000 RAW + JPEG information… the Mark III slightly blinked earlier than it was once in a position to be used once more, and all information stored to card. We might by no means suggest doing one thing like that, until you had been checking out the function, however that one mistake gave us an excellent concept of the way briefly the digicam processes information.

You’ll suppose that lots of the pictures captured right through that lengthy burst would have resulted within the overwhelming majority being out of center of attention – we had been in reality stunned to search out that the overwhelming majority had been on level, with handiest about 50 pictures out of center of attention, or even they had been usable if you happen to did not crop in to zoom into the topic. Is going to turn that the 1D X Mark III simply carries on with the activity handy without having an excessive amount of from you.

Whilst the anti-flicker function helps to keep maximum lights problems at bay, there’s some banding on LED presentations | Canon EOS 1D X Mark III + Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM; 1/5000 sec at f/2.8, ISO 5000

Do what you’ll

The 1D X Mark III is a huge beast. It’s no longer a touring spouse and it’s no longer reasonable. Whilst it’s very tempting to suggest the digicam to almost any complicated photographer, it does want greater than some spare alternate to buy. That mentioned, it’s a digicam that may mean you can do anything else, although you aren’t a sports activities or press photographer.

You would possibly not want clever autofocus that’s rapid and exact as a panorama photographer, and also you most probably gained’t want 20fps bursts as a marriage or natural world photographer, however the reality is the 1D X Mark III can maintain all of it. Even video.

For a corporation that shied clear of providing 4K video at a time when the contest had made it the norm – and, when it did arrive, it wasn’t the usage of the total sensor – the Mark III’s video features galvanize. The 1D line was once by no means designed for use as hybrid cameras – they had been traditionally intended for stills – however Canon has proven that it may possibly stay alongside of the days, and we’re having a look ahead to seeing what the EOS R5 can do.