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Gadget Review: Canon's Mark III

Filed on January 16, 2020
Gadget Review: Canons Mark III

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. This is the approach Canon has taken with the new EOS 1DX Mark III. Before I jump into this review, let me remind you that the camera body tested was a pre-production model and all the photographs were shot using a pre-production firmware. So, the final production copy may vary. This just might be the greatest sports action DSLRs. Let's hope it is the last of DSLRs Canon will produce as we are witnessing the industry shift towards mirrorless systems.

The Mark III sports an all-new 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor that has a low pass filter that is supposed to mimic a no low pass filter. It would have been just better to do away with the low pass filter, but Canon engineers seem to have stuck with it. When the EOS R was launched, we all anticipated that IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation) will be in the works for future models. However, that is not the case as the Mark III still lacks the IBIS. But I, personally, am not bummed out about the lack of IBIS.

There is a new DIGIC X processor that powers the camera. Now Canon wants us to call it the "X" instead of 10 to avoid confusion. The X processor is 3.1 times faster than the two DIGIC 6+ processors found in the predecessor, the Mark II. The ISO for the new sensor ranges from 100-102400 expandable up to 819200, which is one stop better than the older version. On testing, I found that there's a lot of improvement in noise between ISO 6400 - 12800, which is also one-stop better than the nearest competitor.

When Canon invited us to shoot high-speed track cars at the Ascari race track in Malaga, Spain, I knew they have tweaked out the autofocus for the Mark III. In terms of AF (Auto Focus) points, you now have 191 with 155 of them being cross-type. As always, they are clumped in the middle just the way DSLRs do. It is the same size as the Mark II but only more points. With a redesigned AF settings page, there is something new Canon has announced with this release. The new face and head tracking technology that uses Deep Learning. Not to be confused with Artificial Intelligence.

The 1DX Mark III is one of the first cameras to implement the Dual CF Express card. These are the future. They are superfast, not super expensive and hopefully, super reliable. Now Canon says you can do 1000+ RAW+JPEG files without ever outrunning the camera. I have not tested this claim but from what I have experienced, it sure can.

The Mark III can shoot 4K full-frame video at 59.94 FPS and it also supports a 5.5K 59.94 FPS. Video shooters will be disappointed that the video screen is pretty barebones. You will need an external monitor for better control. This camera's primary focus is for action and photojournalists, so, lack of video features did not really bother me.

Mark III has an in-built WiFi, along with Bluetooth and GPS. You can also get an external dongle for faster transfer speeds. Something I have always wanted in Canon cameras, the back-illuminated buttons have finally made an appearance. Which will come in handy when shooting in dark situations. Built like a tank literally, the camera is weather-sealed and is even 90gm lighter than older 1DX Mark II.

So, the Mark III is set to be available sometime in February 2020 and it is going to cost you $6,499, which is $1,000 more than the Mark II. This is awfully expensive, but for the people who need it and want it, they will surely spend on it. Canon has taken a mixed approach with the Mark III. With a combination of mirrorless technology and the greatness of the 1DX Mark II, the Mark III is sure to win hearts for sports and action photographers out there.

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