Today Canon introduced their new flagship DSLR that merges the high-speed 1D line with the high-resolution 1Ds line into a redesigned full-frame DSLR, the Canon EOS 1D X. That is right, X marks the spot were APS-H sensors are over, finally putting an end to the odd 1.3X crop factor which limits wide-angle lens coverage for action photographers.
The 1D X uses a newly developed 18 megapixels sensor with extremely high sensitivity. Its normal ISO 100-51200 range can be further expanded to 50-204800, making it the most sensitive digital camera to date. This CMOS sensor provides improved image quality with greater dynamic range and ultra-fast dual 16-channel read out. A newly constructed carbon-fiber mechanical shutter lets it cycle at up to 14 FPS which the camera can output in JPEG-Only and with the mirror up. In RAW+JPEG mode, the 1D X manages 12 FPS, making it the fastest DSLR.
To keep up with such high frame rates, Canon produced an entirely new 61-point AF-sensor with multi-mode points. 21 of those operate as cross-type points at apertures down to F/5.6 and up to five operate as diagonal cross-types at F/2.8 or brighter. 20 additional points operate as cross-type for apertures of F/4 or bigger. There is so much calculations to perform predictive autofocus with this large array of AF points that Canon provides with a dedicated DIGIC 4 sensor exclusively to it while two DIGIC 5 processors are responsible for the image pipeline.
Also new is a semi-transparent mirror with diverts 40% of light towards a 100,000 RGB pixel metering sensor that feeds a 252-segment metering sensor. The same mirror feeds the large 100% coverage viewfinder with 0.76X magnification.
A number of external refinements over previous 1D/1Ds cameras made it into the 1D X. In addition to dual control-dials with the front one duplicated on each grip, the joystick is now replicated as well. Two customizable buttons on each grip make their appearance and the rear LCD now measures 3.2″ diagonally and has just over 1 megapixels. The SD card slot has been replaced by a Compact-Flash, making this the first Canon DSLR to have dual CF slots. To offload the quantity of images it can produce, the 1D X provides a Gigabit Ethernet port in addition to USB 2.0, HDMI, NTSC & PAL output.
The Canon EOS 1D X is scheduled to be available sometimes in march 2012 for an estimated price of $6800 USD. Canon specifications are mostly complete for this model yet a few key points are missing, most notable its weight, battery-life and buffer-depth.