The entire camera is built to withstand photographing in the most appalling light possible. The testers available at Canon’s Pro Solutions event in London had their Compact Flash cards taped in (pre-production samples was the reason given) so it's a tricky thing to test, but the maximum ISO is 204,800, or a stop further than the Nikon D3s.
Screen size has increased slightly
Test images on these pre-production models taken at ISO 204,800 showed a pretty vast amount of noise, even on the small preview screen on the back, but it’s the 1D’s performance at more practical higher speed ISO settings - say ISO 2000-6400 - that will be of most interest to professionals.
It's not just a whizzy sensor; there are no fewer than 41 cross-type autofocus sensors on-board, and 61 AF sensors in total. Of these, the cluster of five AF points in the middle of the frame are dual cross-type sensors, which should make focusing in normal light faster, and should improve focus performance in challenging conditions.
Customisation options abound
In use, the huge number of AF points is a slight faff; if you’re trying to select a particular one from all 61 you’ll be scrolling for ages. The menu system allows you to cut down the number to choose from; you can opt to only have the cross-type sensors available for selection, for instance, or only the nine central points. As ever, if you don’t like something out of the box, there’s probably a custom menu selection for it.
Canon has moved the goalposts in terms of frames per second performance as well. It was already quick, with 10fps on the EOS-1D Mark IV, but it now offers 12fps as standard, with the maximum number of frames available yet to be confirmed. If you've ever found 9 or 10 frames a challenge to control, this is going to be another hurdle to master.
At full pelt, the mirror stays up during continuous shooting
And, for those who are either photographing Really Fast Things or are Really Bad Photographers, a frankly berserk 14fps mode has been included as well. This comes with a few catches – it works by not returning the mirror to the start position after every shot, which will make tracking harder, and it only evaluates autofocus and exposure on the first frame.
Next page: Media burst
Touch screen controls make no sense when the camera is held against your face. Unless you have a particularly agile tongue.
I'm not a pro, or am I? Anyway...
I'd say even before the lenses the thing that matters the most is the grissly sinuey hunk of meat behind the camera, i.e. the photographer themselves, and the only way they will get up to scratch is lots of practice. A cursory glance around Flickr will show amazing pictures created on the most humble of equipment.
I just wish these **full frame** digital SLRs weren't so huge, admittedly this is something from the film days too (the EOS 3 and EOS 1/n/v weren't exactly small either) -- and this is one reason I still use my Olympus OM2ns all the time, they're small and fit my small hands.
I know there's micro 4/3rds but there's trade off there too.
Note to self: Subscribe to the notion that a professional photographer hulks around massive man-cameras with paparazzi zoom lenses :)
That said, I still use a Minolta Autocord and that's not that small. But it is light!
Oh well whatever, the most important thing remains the photographer and their vision whether they use a little Canon Ixus or a Nikon D3x
looks nice but no longing here ... for once
I've owned a number of Canon DLSRs over the years (since the D30) and I've had my 1DsIII for about 3 1/2 years now and setting aside the absence of video - which is not my thing anyway - I am still very happy. Looking at the new 1DX I am impressed but that sense of longing and "how can I affford it?" isn't there this time. Phew. For professionals - as opposed to just keen amateurs like me - this will be a nice top of the line model and good luck to Canon...
PS For those who are not pros, remember its all about the lenses in the end.
I bought all my digital cameras because they look cool and not because they take good pictures or are good cameras.
re: cropped sensor DSLRs
They're very close to APS-C sized sensors. Canon and Nikon are slightly different to each other, nbut not very much. Nikon has a crop factor of 1.5, Canon's is 1.6. In both cases they can use the same lenses as their film bases ancestors (Nikon going right back to ancient manual lenses, Canon not so far back since they changed mounts when they introduced autofocus). The use of a lens designed for a larger sensor (or piece of film) has two main effects:
1) The image circle projected by the lens is bigger than it needs to be. This can be a positive since lenses which might have had slight vignetting problems are now bright across the whole i image. On the downside you're possibly carrying more glass than you need to be. Both Canon and Nikon have smaller lighter lenses designed specifically for the smaller sensors at those focal lengths where a saving can be made.
2) Framing is as if you were using a longer focal length than the real focal length. Multiply the focal length by the crop factor to get the equivalent. So a 50mm prime goes from being your 'normal' lens to a mild telephoto 80ish mm, which makes a nice portrait lens. A 35mm wide angle prime becomes a nice 'normal'. With zooms its not worth worrying so much, zoom till the framing is right, but you'll find lens changes being required at different times than you're used to.
Alternatively just get a full frame digital.