Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Review

This review page will be updated when a production Canon EOS-1D X Mark III arrives, but for now, here are my expectations for this camera.

The 2020 Summer Olympics are being held in Tokyo and Canon is a gold sponsor for this major world event. Since 1989, Canon EOS-1 cameras have been the first choice for professionals photographing this and other events of similar media importance. The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II replaced the 4-year-old Canon EOS-1D X just prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics and the Mark II reaches 4 years of age prior to the 2020 event. All this adds up to little surprise that a new ultimate, best-ever Canon EOS-1 camera would be announced at this time.

As I said in the predecessor review, when getting the shot is of utmost importance, the most current Canon 1-Series should be at the top of your very short shopping list. Canon 1-Series bodies have long represented the pinnacle of camera performance, featuring impressive speeds, accurate autofocusing, and dependable reliability. Proof of such photographer trust is bolstered by the gear in use at important-to-the-media events. When heavy media coverage is present at events such as the Olympics, Super Bowl, World Cup, etc., Canon 1-Series cameras always have a very high percentage of representation. The most prominent camera choice of those challenged to capture some of the world's most-widely-valued images is obvious.

Like its predecessors at their introductions, the 1D X III promises to be the best sports/action/media/wildlife camera Canon (and arguably, anyone) has ever introduced. While the III retains the excellent, tough, weather-sealed, very mature exterior design of the 1D X II, promising professionals a simple transition, the internals of the 1D X III are vastly brand new and this camera is feature-loaded, including a blazing fast 16/20 fps shooting speed with a new, high-resolution AF system keeping subjects precisely focused and Smart Controllers to make AF point selection fast. DIGIC X power and a new imaging sensor featuring an innovative new lowpass filter ensure optimal image quality. Those interested in movie capture should find their eyebrows raising at the in-camera-recorded 5.5k uncropped RAW movie capability.

Before continuing the review, I'll take a short tangent to share how this camera name is derived: In competition, "1" is usually the spot you want. It is the same in Canon's DSLR lineup: The single digit "1" means top-of-the-line, best available, you're going to love it. For only 1-Series cameras, the "-" goes between the "1" and the following letter. The "D" means "Digital" (yes, there were 1-Series film SLR cameras). The "X" represents a "crossover" that took place, representing the merging of the 1D (with a 1.3x FOVCF sensor) and the 1Ds (with a 1.0x full-frame sensor) product lines. The "X" also initially represented the Roman numeral 10, representing the 10th generation of Canon pro cameras — starting with the F1 of the 70s. While the latter representation no longer works (the succeeding camera was not called the "XI"), the eXtreme referral still does. The naming approach Canon often gives to a new version of an existing higher-end model line camera is to add a Mark number reference, a "Mark III" in this case.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Front

Summary of Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Features

  • High Image Quality with New 20.1 Megapixel Full-frame CMOS Sensor Combined with Newly Designed low Pass Filter.
  • New DIGIC X Image Processor with an ISO range of 100-102400; Expandable to 50-819200.
  • New 191-point optical viewfinder AF System Capable of Tracking of the Subject's Head and Face using Deep Learning.
  • New Smart Controller Built into the AF-On Button for Fast Control of the AF Point Selection
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF for Fast and Accurate Auto Focus in Live View Using up to 3869 Manual AF Positions and up to 525 Automatic Positions Covering 90%x100% of the Image Area at an EV of -6 ~ 18.
  • High-Speed Continuous Shooting of up to 16 fps Using the Viewfinder and up to 20 fps in Live View (with Mechanical or Silent Shutter), both Featuring Full AF/AE Tracking.
  • Achieves a Maximum Burst Rate of 1000 images or more (RAW+JPEG) in Continuous Shooting with Dual CFexpress Card Slots.
  • 12-bit 5.5K RAW Video Internal Recording and Uncropped Oversampling 4K 60p with Canon Log, 10-bit 4:2:2.
  • Enhanced Operating Controls.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS Technology.
  • Faster Speed and Improved User Interface for Networking with Optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E9 or with Built-in Ethernet Port.
  • IPTC Tags can be applied with a Compatible Mobile Device or PC Connection.
  • Impressive Durability including Dust- and Weather- resistance.

Sensor and Image Quality

The 1D X Mark III gets a brand new Canon CMOS imaging sensor. Interesting is that the 20.1 MP resolution remains essentially the same (the 1D II N was the only previous 1D-Series camera to pause the normal resolution increases) with the same final image pixel dimensions. This relatively low resolution, the lowest among Canon's DSLR cameras, indicates that those using this camera are more interested in speed and performance than ultra-high resolution.

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsViewfinderDLA*
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.6µm5472 x 364820.1 .76x100%f/10.6
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.6µm5472 x 364820.2 .76x100%f/10.6
Canon EOS-1D X1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.9µm5184 x 345618.1 .76x100%f/11.0
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV1.3x27.9 x 18.6mm5.7µm4896 x 326416.1 .76x100%f/9.1
Canon EOS-1D Mark III1.3x28.1 x 18.7mm7.2µm3888 x 259210.1 .76x100%f/11.5
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm5.36µm6720 x 448030.4 .71x100%f/8.6
Canon EOS 7D Mark II1.6x22.4 x 15.0mm4.1µm5472 x 364820.2 1.0x100%f/6.6
View the full Canon EOS-1D X Mark III specifications to compare additional cameras.

At first glance, it appears that the 1D X III's image quality would be equal to that of the 1D X II (on-sensor technology utilization typically accounts for slight differences). However, that is not the case and the 1D X III's image quality is promised to be significantly improved. Some of that improvement is due to a newly developed 16-point lowpass filter that provides optimized point separation in 8 radial directions, increasing the sense of resolution and reducing moiré. With high sensitivity, reduced noise is promised (1-stop was mentioned) and increased readout speed is another benefit of this new imaging sensor.

The powerful new DIGIC X processor has also been utilized for improved sharpness, for noise reduction, and for Digital Lens Optimizer processing. Compared to the dual DIGIC 6+ processors used for image processing in the 1D X Mark II, the 1D X III's DIGIC X processor is up to 3.1x faster for image processing and the computational processing performance is up to 380x faster..

The 1D X III gets a 1-stop increase in its normal ISO range with ISO 102400 now included with an expanded range down to 50 and up to 819200 (H3) also available. Specifically noted was improved image quality in the ISO 1600-12800 range, a range often used by sports, news, wildlife, and other media professionals. While 819200 sounds absolutely amazing and I have yet to see a sample image captured at this setting, it is likely that no one will be satisfied by the signal-to-noise levels at ISO 819200.

The 1D X Mark III supports HDR PQ HEIF 10-bit recording. Your first question is likely "What is HDR PQ?" HDR PQ (Perceptual Quantization) is a new gamma curve based on the characteristics of human eyesight. It supports HDR recording at ITU-R BT.2100 standard (PQ).

Your next question is likely "What is HEIF?" HEIF stands for "High Efficiency Image File Format", a standard created by the MPEG group. As with JPEG, HEIF is a file format used to store image data after the image development process is complete. While JPEG files use an 8-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 lossy compression scheme, HEIF uses a 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 HEVC compression algorithm (also lossy), complying with the ITU-R BT.2100 HDR standard. HEIF provides up to 4x more precision in image data gradation and a wider color range than sRGB and Adobe RGB can store. HEIF files are containers, able to store multiple images (typically compressed with a codec such as HEVC (H.265)) along with image derivations (cropping, rotation), media streams (timed text, audio), depth information, image sequences (like a burst of images, supports animation), image data (EXIF), and more. Huge is that, thanks in part to computing power improvements, HEIF files are compressed to a significantly smaller size than JPEG files, about 50% smaller at similar quality levels. Along with all of the other benefits, Apple migrating to HEIF from JPEG means we can expect this standard to take hold in the industry.

An interesting and welcomed new EOS image quality feature arriving with the 1D X Mark III is a clarity slider. It seems likely that this feature will also arrive in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP).

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Body

Frame Rate, Buffer Depth, Shutter

We have come a long way from the 1989-era EOS-1 professional film camera's 2.5 fps continuous shooting, reaching 5.5 fps with the power booster. We all thought that the 12 frames per second image capture rate capability of the 1D X was incredibly fast and it didn't take long to get used to the extra 2 fps delivered by the 1D X II — the difference was noticeable. The 1D X III does that again with a 2 fps frame rate advantage over the 1D X II, taking in a blazing 16 images per second with full autofocus and autoexposure functionality.

If 16 fps is still not fast enough, open the mirror and shoot at 20 fps in live view, optionally in full silent mode, and still with full autofocus and autoexposure functionality.

Sometimes the difference between an average image and a great one is separated by milliseconds. This camera is all about speed and it is an awesome choice for catching the perfect peak action moment.

ModelFPSMax JPGMax RAWShutter Lag
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III16/20>1000>100029-55ms
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II14/16140/Full/Full59/73/17036-55ms
Canon EOS-1D X12/141803836-55ms
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV10.01212840-55ms
Canon EOS-1D Mark III10.01103040-55ms
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV7.0Full1758ms
Canon EOS 7D Mark II10.01303155ms
View the full Canon EOS-1D X Mark III specifications to compare additional cameras.

When an image is being captured by a DSLR camera, the mirror must be raised. When the mirror is raised, conventional AE and phase-detection AF do not work and the subject is not visible due to viewfinder blackout. With this camera capturing images at such a fast rate, those issues become a greater concern. To this end, Canon has developed a new mirror drive mechanism that reduces the viewfinder blackout and increases the time that AF and AE have to perform their task.

With a 5x larger buffer than the 1D X Mark II, the 1D X III's buffer is difficult (unlikely) to overrun.

When the shutter release is pressed, you expect the camera to capture the picture immediately and the faster immediately is, the more likely you are going to catch the perfect action shot. Canon's 1-Series cameras have consistently provided very short shutter lag and the 29ms number (with decreased shutter lag enabled) is Canon's fastest ever and the 55ms (disabled) spec is still very fast and the same as the 1D X Mark II.

The 1D X III matches the 1D X II's 1/8000 max shutter speed and max X-sync of 1/250.

File Size and Media

Typically, for a Canon ISO 100 non-lossy-compressed RAW image, the file size can be estimated at 1.3MB per megapixel. From a relative perspective, 20.1 MP images do not create large files. However, capturing them at 16 or 20 fps without reaching a buffer full scenario and especially the capture of 5.5K/60p RAW movies places a huge burden on the memory card speed and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III solves that problem by writing image files to CFexpress memory cards (type B only, XQD not supported), the memory card format positioned to succeed CFast 2.0 and XQD 2.0 as the leading format for high-speed data transfer (theoretically up to 2GB/sec.). CFexpress 1.0 cards have a maximum transfer speed of 1.97 GB/s vs. 600 MB/s for CFast 2.0. With dual CFexpress card slots provided, files can be written to both cards simultaneously (for redundancy) or sequentially (for increased capacity).

Note that the dual card slots support identical memory card formats, a very positive change from the 1D X II (and most other Canon dual memory card cameras). While the photographer no longer has a choice of which card format to use (backward compatibility is not available) and may need to remember which card was in a particular slot, no longer must dual card formats be supported, including the spare cards and the card readers in the kit.

Most photographers are not going to have CFexpress cards (or readers) in their inventory and CFexpress cards are not inexpensive. Increased capabilities brought by new technology sometimes have collateral costs.

Introduced with the Canon EOS M50 was the .CR3 RAW format and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III gets this feature. This RAW file format enables new features including C-RAW, compressed RAW with lossy compression vs. the normally compressed RAW with non-lossy compression. Instead of the not-full-featured small and medium RAW formats Canon formerly offered, C-RAW provides full RAW file support along with an estimated 40% file size reduction (about 37% in the above example) over Canon's already efficient RAW file format size. The math adds up quickly, significantly impacting both memory card and hard disk storage capacity requirements. With the M50 review, what started as a quick evaluation of this new feature turned into a sizable project. Check out the article: Should I Use Canon's C-RAW Image File Format? for more information.

Autofocus

Accurate focusing is an extremely critical component of image capture and those choosing this camera typically have extreme AF performance needs. As you likely expected by now, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, featuring a completely new AF system, promises to raise the AF performance bar — significantly.

At the base of this system, the line sensor technology seen in prior models has been replaced by a new high-resolution square pixel AF sensor design based on an image sensor and powered by a DIGIC 8 processor. While the overall spread of the AF points has not increased (that would have been welcomed), the up to 191 AF points, including up to 155 cross-type AF points and 1 dual cross-type point (varies by lens), provides a significant density increase, permitting the camera to be more aware of what is happening in the scene.

The smaller AF sensor pixels sharpen AF resolution by about 28x, permitting focusing on lower contrast, harder to detect subjects and detecting slighter subject distance changes, improving subject tracking and recognition. Along with deep learning technology being incorporated, face detection has been improved with head detection now included.

Impressively, this camera's entire AF area supports f/8 AF with 65 points retaining cross-type functionality, a capability that especially wildlife photographers are going to appreciate.

AF area settings include Spot AF, Single-point AF, AF point Expansion (4-point surround), AF point Expansion (8-point surround), Zone AF, Large Zone AF (all AF points divided into three large zones), and Automatic AF point selection (all AF points available). Selected AF points and areas are illuminated in red.

A new AI Servo AF algorithm promises improved performance including when shooting through heat haze and when the subject is moving away from the camera. The AF Case settings are back, removing Case 5 and 6 and adding AF Case A (Auto), instructing the camera to analyze the scene and optimize the settings in real-time.

The 1D X III significantly expands the AF luminance range to EV -4 - 21 from EV -3 - 18 on the 1D X II.

We have been seeing remarkable live view AF performance from Canon Dual Pixel CMOS technology and this camera promises a significantly improved DPAF experience. The 1D X III's Live View AF point spread has been increased, now covering 90% (horizontal) x 100% (vertical) of the imaging area, up from 80% x 80% on the 1D X II. The Live View AF methods have also been greatly improved and expanded, now including Face detection + Tracking AF (utilizing 525 AF segments — the EOS R has 143), Spot One-point AF (3,869 selectable points), Area expanded AF (cross/periphery), Zone AF, and Large zone AF. Eye and head (used when the face disappears) detection have been added to face detection for improved performance. I've been loving the R's eye detection AF performance and the 1D X III improves on this technology. Still missing is animal eye AF.

Live View AF supports f/11 max aperture lens combinations. The luminance range supported by Live View AF has been increased to EV -6 - 18 from EV -3 - 18. EV -6 is really dark — about the amount of light provided by a half-moon in a dark sky location.

Focus guides are available to indicate back and front focus conditions and MF peaking is available.

An awesome new 1D X Mark III AF feature is the Smart Controller built into the AF-ON button. The Smart Controller optically detects lateral finger movement, moving the selected focus point accordingly. This feature promises to be an exceptionally valuable one.

When using a compatible lens (currently the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens and Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens), Electronic Full-time Manual Focus can be enabled, making manual focusing always available via the electronic focusing ring.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Mirror Up

Movies

The Canon EOS 1D X Mark III has the best movie shooting performance in EOS history. This camera is feature-loaded.

Does uncropped 5.5K RAW movie recording get your attention? This camera provides in-camera recording of 5.5K movies along with simultaneous recording of MP4 data. Bitrates with 5.5K RAW recording are, as expected, very high with 60p delivering 2600MBs and 30P generating 1800 MBs.

The 1D X Mark III supports uncropped (using the full imaging sensor width) 4K DCI (5K oversampling processed to 4K, 4096 x 2160, 17:1), uncropped 4K UHD (oversampling processed to 4K, 3840 x 2160, 16:9), and cropped (1.3x) 4K DCI (4096 x 2160), all with 60p/50p, NTSC/PAL, ALL-I or IPB, support for Canon Log (low contrast and saturation optimal for grading), and with YCbCr 4:2:2 color sampling, 10-bit in-camera (and via HDMI) recording in the BT.709/BT.2020 color space with 12 stops of dynamic range.

Canon Log supports H.265 HEVC encoding for wide gradation, a vivid color range, and a small file size. Canon is touting its oversampling processing used for downward resizing that, along with the improved lowpass filter, promises improved movie image quality.

Normal movie recording outputs MPEG4 H.264 / AVC at 8-bit, 4:2:0 in the BT.709 color space. Audio recording is AAC or Linear PCM using the internal monaural microphone or via the 3.5mm stereo external microphone jack.

FHD shooting at 120p/100p is available (with a 7 minute 29 second single movie length limit vs. 29 min. 59 sec and no audio is recorded).

Movie Servo AF along with AF speed and Subject tracking character adjustments are provided except for uncropped 4K with frame rates faster than 29.97 and for FHD 120p/100p.

New for the 1-Series is that exposure modes and settings can be set independently for still photos and movies, greatly speeding transition between these two modes. Except when shooting in RAW mode, 5-axis electronic image stabilization is available (a narrower image is recorded).

Frame grab from 4K movies is again supported. Individual frames in 4K movies can be saved as approx. 8.8 megapixels (4096 x 2160 px) or approx. 8.3 megapixels (3840 x 2160 px) JPEG still images. Consider the frame rate this provides for your action scenes and consider that both movies and stills can be captured simultaneously.

Exposure/Metering System

The 1D X III gets a new 216-zone (18 x 12) 400,000-dot RGB+IR Optical Viewfinder (OVF) metering sensor, up from the 1D X II's 370,000-dot variant, and the DIGIC 8 processor is utilized for exposure metering. Live View utilizes 384-zone (24 x 16) metering using the image sensor.

Selectable modes include Evaluative metering (linked to all AF points), Partial metering (Viewfinder/Live View: Approx. 6.2%/5.8% of the screen), Spot metering (center, approx. 1.5% of viewfinder, Live View: Approx. 2.9% of the screen), Center spot metering, AF point-linked spot metering, Multi-spot metering (Optical Viewfinder only), and Center-weighted average metering. The metering range (at 73°F/23°C, ISO 100, with evaluative metering) is EV 0–20 (OVF) and EV -3–20 (Live View, movie recording).

Canon's Anti-flicker mode, a game-changer when photographing under flickering lights, especially when photographing fast action under flickering lights, is again featured.

Viewfinder and LCD

Canon's 1-Series camera optical pentaprism viewfinders are differentiating and awesome — huge and bright with a 100% view and plenty of nose relief, keeping nose prints off of the rear LCD.

As mentioned earlier, the 1D X III illuminates the selected AF points and (new) additional display elements in red. Grid lines and an electronic level along with a host of features can be displayed in this viewfinder LCD overlay. A very useful new OVF display element is Time Display, showing the time of day in the shutter speed/aperture area in the viewfinder when the ISO button is pressed during viewfinder shooting standby.

Canon 1D-Series cameras continue to feature an eyepiece shutter, enabling the viewfinder to be closed with the simple throw of a lever. The diopter adjustment is fully covered by the eyecup, meaning that adjustments are not inadvertently made.

The 1D X III's high resolution rear LCD features approx. 2.1M dots, up from 1.62M dots on the 1D X II. This LCD features full touch capabilities, a big upgrade from the 1D X II's very limited touch features. The touch feature is configurable, including a VF shoot safety lock enabled by default. Included is the touch keyboard, greatly facilitating information entry including the entry of copyright information.

Tour of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

Canon's 1-Series camera bodies are very refined and the 1D X Mark III exterior remains very similar to its predecessor (and that camera's predecessor), practically eliminating the acclimation required for serious usage.

To compare the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III with many other camera models, use the site's camera product image comparison tool. For your entertainment, I preloaded the EOS-1D X Mark II comparison in that link. Opening that comparison in a separate tab or window will be helpful for following along with the product tour.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Back

Back of the Camera

If compared very closely, there are a few mostly-minor changes on the back of the 1D X III. The most prominent is the previously discussed Smart Controllers on the enlarged AF-ON buttons. Perhaps next in prominence is the reduced-size memory card door. CFexpress cards being smaller than CFast cards likely made that change possible.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Card Slots

Not obvious in the product images are this camera's illuminated setting and playback buttons, making buttons much easier to find in low light. The other back of the camera changes are minor.

The Menu and Info button once again take up their Canon-standard positions on the top-left. A row of four function buttons line up below the LCD with the right-most button notably able to record voice memos that attach to images. New is that you can annotate while transmitting via Wi-Fi (previous, you had to wait until transfer was complete). The row of four buttons across the top-right include the Live View/Video selection lever surrounding the Start/Stop button, AF-ON for back-button AF capability (and providing Smart Controller functionality), Exposure lock, and AF point selection to enable selecting the AF point via the dials. The Smart Controllers promise to be an ideal method for rapidly changing AF points but the two 8-way (as they should be) Multi-Controllers remain available. Unique to the 1-Series is flip-out-and-twist memory card door switch, a design that works fine even with gloves on.

The built-in vertical grip provides great similarity to the standard grip, providing the same buttons and controls in nearly identical positions.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Top

Top of the Camera

Finding changes on the top of this camera is going to be challenging. Except for the small bulge in front of the hot shoe changing shape slightly, the 1D X III and 1D X II look the same.

Most top-accessed camera features utilize a button press followed by a Main Dial roll to change settings. Those primarily familiar with dials on top of their cameras will need to acclimate, but the button press functionality works great. I had not asked this "Why?" question before, so I asked Rudy Wintson of Canon USA: "Do you know why Canon uses buttons instead of dials on the top of the 1-Series cameras? For better durability? For better weather sealing? Other reasons?" Rudy's reply:

"While I don’t recall hearing an officially-stated reason, there are a handful of factors which I’m sure enter into this:

  • Durability – in the types of run-and-gun situations many photojournalists find themselves in, a protruding dial is vulnerable to impact (especially from the side)
  • Weather-resistance – it’s probably easier to seal a button than it would be a protruding shaft entering into the camera body, and covered by a dial above it
  • Resistance to inadvertent settings – even if a dial is a locking type (and we’ve seen reliability/wear issues with those, over the years), it’s much harder to inadvertently change a shooting mode by pressing a button and turning the Main Dial than it might be to have those on a conventional Mode Dial.

It’s clear that a traditional Mode Dial has its place... Canon has designed pretty much all DSLR models below the 1-series with a conventional Mode Dial. But for these and no doubt other reasons they haven’t articulated, they’ve felt this was a better way to go on the 1D series."

This camera is designed for photographers at the professional (and serious amateur) level and needless complexity has been removed. There are no creative modes. Brace yourself, "Food mode" has once again been excluded from the 1-Series. There are no creative filters.

While the full-auto A+ mode is missing, the "P" (Program) mode (yes, some like to think of it as "Professional" mode) is there for nearly-mindless photography when needed. Three programmable Custom modes are again provided.

The top LCD provides a significant amount of at-a-glance information that is always available when the camera is on (with low battery drain).

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Left Side

Side of the Camera

The left side of the camera has received some relatively minor changes. Primarily, an increased granularity in port covers, going from 4 to 6, logically allowing fewer ports to be opened at once, potentially improving weather sealing. For example, the PC Port, used for controlling strobe lighting, is not likely being used at the same time as the mic and headphone ports, used for video recording. Those ports shared a cover on the 1D X II but the PC Port now has its own cover. The remote release terminal has returned to this location on the camera.

Ports on the left side of the camera, starting at the top-left and proceeding clockwise, are the Extension System Terminal (for the WFT-E9), Ethernet port (Gigabit), USB Terminal (Type-C SuperSpeed Plus USB 3.1 Gen 2), HDMI mini OUT Terminal (Type C), Remote Release Terminal (N3 Type), Headphones, and 3.5mm stereo external microphone jack.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Right Side

Size of the Camera

Canon has spent a huge number of years perfecting their pro camera series and did not opt to change the size in this iteration. Pro DSLR cameras include a built-in vertical grip that makes them the largest DSLR cameras available, though not much different than 5- and 7-Series models with optional grips installed.

ModelBody DimensionsCIPA Weight
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3"(158 x 167.6 x 82.6mm)50.8oz (1440g)
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3"(158 x 167.6 x 82.6mm)54.0 oz (1530g)
Canon EOS-1D X6.2 x 6.4 x 3.3"(158 x 163.6 x 82.7mm)54.0 oz (1530g)
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 157 x 80mm)48.5 oz (1374g)
Canon EOS-1D Mark III6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 157 x 80mm)47.6 oz (1349g)
Canon EOS-1D Mark II N6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 158 x 80 mm)55.5 oz (1574g)
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III6.1 x 6.3 x 3.1"(156 x 159.6 x 79.9mm)49.5 oz (1404g)
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1"(156 x 158 x 80mm)55.2 oz (1564g)
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV5.9 x 4.6 x 3.0"(150.7 x 116.4 X 75.9mm)31.4 oz (890g)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II5.9 x 4.4 x 3.1"(148.6 x 112.4 x 78.2mm)32.1 oz (910g)
View the full Canon EOS-1D X Mark III specifications to compare additional cameras.

Despite the huge list of new and improved 1D X III features, this camera drops some weight, slimming to 50.8 oz (1440g) from 54.0 oz (1530g). Still, this is not a small or light camera.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Bottom

Ergonomics, Build Quality and Durability

One of the reasons I love Canon DSLRs is because of their ergonomics. I can use them for long periods of time for days on end and not be bothered by the grips and the 1-Series bodies are my favorite in this regard. Though subtle changes have taken place over the years, overall, the 1-Series bodies have changed little in their most recent iterations.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR Camera Magnesium Alloy Frame

Many of those buying this camera are counting on it to deliver under even tough conditions and 1-Series bodies have historically been very reliable. A magnesium alloy frame provides superb impact resistance and durability along with strong electromagnetic shielding. This frame offers high rigidity (these cameras have a great solid feel) while retaining light weight. Joints, buttons, and controls feature O-ring seals and silicone boots for superior weather resistance, a need we can't always foresee and a feature that can save the shoot.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR Camera Weather Sealing

A fast frame rate camera used by professionals, especially those capturing action, will rapidly accumulate a significant number of shutter actuations. Fitting is that this camera raises the EOS shutter durability rating bar to a new height: 500,000 images.

ModelShutter Durability Rating
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III500,000
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II400,000
Canon EOS-1D X400,000
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV300,000
Canon EOS-1D Mark III300,000
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV150,000
Canon EOS 7D Mark II200,000
View the full Canon EOS-1D X Mark III specifications to compare additional cameras.

Canon WFT-E9 Wireless Transmitter

Additional Features

Media photographers frequently find themselves in scenarios where their images need to be delivered immediately and the 1D X Mark III greatly facilitates this. Gigabyte Ethernet (with high speed I/F) is built-in and with the WFT-E9 wireless file transmitter (shown above and below), 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO is supported (improved from 802.11ac 1x1). Note that the older Canon WFT-E6 and WFT-E8 wireless file transmitters are not supported by the 1D X III.

Network settings are now consolidated under a dedicated menu system tab, venue communications settings can be configured both online and offline, enabling the camera to be immediately ready to use upon arrival. Communications and function settings can now be shared by multiple groups. FTP/FTPS/SFTP (with WFT-E9), secured LAN, and HTTPS, including simultaneous use of differing protocols, are supported. IPv6 is supported by FTP and Browser Remote.

In addition to being compatible with the WFT-E9 wireless file transmitter, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III has built-in Wi-Fi, providing easy transfer of images and movies to compatible mobile devices using Canon's free Camera Connect app (iOS | Android). This app provides some remote control of the camera's settings and shutter when shooting still images. Wireless remote printing to a compatible printer is also supported via WiFi. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology makes pairing easy with a quick WiFi connection handover and provides Canon BR-E1 Bluetooth Remote compatibility.

In addition to its wireless capabilities, the 1D X III features a built-in GPS. Images can (optionally) be tagged with the camera's GPS coordinates at the time of capture, a requirement for some media jobs.

IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) metadata can be added/edited via EOS Utility (included software) and Browser Remote, including from a smartphone browser (pending a firmware update).

Another new feature is the Factory reset menu option. A factory-configured camera is only 1 step away.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Front with WFT-E9

Flash

EOS cameras have long been compatible with Canon's incredible Speedlite flash system including both optical and RF wireless remote control (with a master flash or Speedlite transmitter in the hot shoe). New for Canon's E-TTL II flash metering technology is "Face priority, Eval (FacePrty)". In this mode, the camera determines if a face is present in the scene and provides proper illumination for the detected face. E-TTL balance from external Speedlites can also now be set to Ambience priority, Standard, and Flash priority.

Battery

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III uses the same battery as the 1D X Mark II, the substantial, powerful, 2750 mAh Canon LP-E19 battery pack. The older LP-E4N battery pack can be used, but note that the continuous shooting speed is restricted (the 1D X II's max frame rate dropped by 2 fps when using an LP-E4N battery pack). Also note that due to multimedia regulations (IEC62368-1), charging of LP-E4N using LC-E19 battery charger included with the EOS-1D X Mark III camera will be deprecated after December 20, 2020. The even older Battery Pack LP-E4 (no "N" on the end) is not supported by the 1D X III.

In the 1D X III, the LC-E19 is rated for a crazy-high approx. 2850 shots (73°F/23°C), a dramatic increase from the 1D X II's 1,210 shots. In real life shooting, the realized number of shots per charge can often be at least doubled and that makes for an extreme number of shots. With the 1D X II, I could capture 5,068 images in a single burst without a big drain on the battery.

Using Live View (and movie recording) depletes the battery more rapidly (610 shot rating).

A 6-level remaining battery charge icon shows in the viewfinder, on the top LCD panel, and on the LCD screen when shooting info is displayed. The camera's battery menu (in the Setup menu) informs of the remaining % of capacity, the shutter count since last charge, and the battery's recharge performance.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Bottom

Which Lens Should I Get for the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III?

When you buy a Canon DSLR, you are buying into an incredible family of lenses, flashes, and other accessories. The array of available accessories is large enough to cause a pro to select the Canon system for this reason alone. The camera body (or multiple bodies as is more frequently the case today) is the base your system is built on and a lens is the next essential piece of kit. The lens is also a very important part of the kit – important is that it does not become the weakest link in the image capture and quality.

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is not available in a kit that includes a lens. Most will not consider this a beginner's camera and a high percentage of 1D X III bodies will be purchased by photographers who already have a kit of lenses, negating the importance for a lens in a kit. Which lenses do I recommend? Review the Canon general-purpose lens recommendations page to find the most up-to-date list of best lens options, but the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens is an excellent first choice for this camera. Then add, minimally, a telephoto zoom lens and a wide-angle zoom lens to your kit.

Price

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, like the 1-Series cameras before it, lives at the top of the descending-sorted price list. If you want the best performance, there is a price to pay for it. Not hard to say is that price will be the limiting factor for sales of this camera. Also not hard to say is that a solid percentage of professional photographers will find this camera worth the price.

This camera will also be incorporated into a significant number of enthusiast kits. There are a significant number of non-professional photographers with adequate resources to acquire the 1D X Mark III and having enough passion for their images to make the investment. When one looks at all of the time, effort and cost that parenting involves, having a pro-grade camera to capture lasting quality memories can be justified by even "just" parents.

Wrap Up

Keeping a review of the incredibly-feature-laden 1D X III concise but complete will be a difficult balance to find and this review will not a complete description of every 1D X III feature available. Canon will publish an intimidatingly-huge owner's manual (a link to the manual will be provided with this review) that highlights all of the features found on this camera and explains their use. Read the manual, use the camera, repeat.

Owning a Canon product gives you access to Canon support and the support I have been provided by Canon's USA division is excellent (sorry, I have no experience with the other Canon divisions). When I call for support, I get an intelligent, easy-to-understand person who sincerely wants to help me with whatever my question or problem is (I challenge them sometimes). Canon repair service, though I seldom need it, is fast and reliable. Those residing in the USA with a 1D X III in their kit along with a nice lens or two will qualify Canon professional services membership and the additional support benefits this membership provides. Media professionals will find CPS setting up at their major events, ready to loan or clean/repair equipment on location.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR Camera

Summary

The Canon EOS 1D X Mark III promises to be the ultimate professional (and serious amateur) camera for sports, wildlife, media, and other critical events. It is directly targeted at professional use where speed, reliability, and bringing home the best possible image are important. If that describes you, this camera has your name on it.

Bringing you this site is my full-time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan

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My Recommended Canon EOS-1D X Mark III Retailers

Where you buy your gear matters. You expect to get what you ordered and you want to pay a low price for it. The retailers I recommend below are the ones I trust for my purchases. Get your Canon EOS-1D X Mark III now from:

B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon.com
Canon USA (new)
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