First impressions: Canon 1DX Mk. III

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Once it started to warm up, I had a chance to take the camera out and film some of the touristy and traditional areas of Seoul, South Korea.

The traditional parts of South Korea can be very nice once you see what everything represents. Despite coronavirus keeping people inside, there were a respectable amount of people at the palace. A good 90% had on their masks (excluding yours truly) and they were enjoying themselves as best they could.

On this trip, I filmed with the Canon 1DX Mk III. I wanted to test out a camera the big boys use and I was not disappointed! It’s a massive powerhouse of a camera with wonderful features that I couldn’t get on other Canon brand DSLRs. The last one I used was the 550D and that was back in 2012. When I travel, I use the Sony RX100 Mk.IV.

Positives

The 1DX is so professional looking, I was stopped by someone that worked at the palace because they thought I was filming something for national television. While a camera like this is fantastic, it doesn’t hold a candle to RED cameras. Of course, I don’t expect anyone that doesn’t film to know or understand that but, hey, it’s good to make others think that, no?

I filmed my time at a palace in 4K at 60FPS. I used a 16-35mm f2.8 wide angle lens to show case all I could from afar and to get a good close up shot of people in hanboks (traditional Korean clothes). My goal was to capture a fantastic cinematic look of the palace and what I got did not disappoint. The shots were as crisp and clean as I have ever seen them and I am super happy with the results.

When using a camera like this, I STRONGLY suggest using either a motorized or handheld gimbal/stabilizer. Handheld isn’t bad but if you’re trying to film like I did in the video, you’ll NEED one. You ALWAYS want to shoot for the edit. I captured about seven hours of footage in that 48 second clip. It would have been longer had I had a stabilizer but lesson learned. South Korea camera rental shops have motorized gimbals but not handheld sadly.

The touch screen feature made screen navigation a breeze. On my 550D, I didn’t have that luxury but on the 1DX, it’s here!

Having the ability to use two memory cards at the same time is nice! If one gets full or somehow damaged, the other one will come in to fill the gaps.

Negatives

One gripe I have is the camera is very heavy. Though it’s lighter than the Mk.II by .2 lbs (90g), it’s still freaking heavy. Even with the neck strap, it can still weigh you down if you do not have a strong neck. I suggest carrying this in a specialized camera backpack to hold the camera and lens. I had to carry a thick carrying case to hold the camera and even that was annoying (along with my backpack). If you’re looking for a great backpack to use for the camera and lens, I suggest an Airport Essentials backpack. I used this on a trip to Japan in 2018 and it was a dream to use. Being able to carry on my camera equipment AND computer made the trip bearable.

Another gripe has to do with the data. If you own a Mk. II, you’ll have to switch out your cards. The Mk. III now uses CF Express cards. If you plan on shooting in 5.5K, know that just a few seconds will take a LOT of space. Also, if you’re editing on Premiere Pro, 5.5K is NOT compatible with the program. It is with Final Cut Pro X, but you’ll need a plug in to run it. I STRONGLY suggest shooting in 5.5K if your client wants it that way, otherwise, just shoot in 4K (then again, they won’t know or care, as long as it looks good).

Por closure

All in all, the 1DX Mk. III is a great camera but at this time, I do not need it. If you still have your Mk. II, you’re better off keeping that unless money isn’t a factor and you feel the need for an upgrade.

If you want to see the power of the camera, check out the video below and see for yourself.

Until next time!
Peace & love!