The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is a dream for sports and action photographers: extremely fast and extremely persistent in series, with an extremely fast-reacting and very accurate autofocus. The 20 megapixel sensor delivers top-quality images, even in very low light. But the Canon 1D X Mark III not only shines when it comes to photography, but also when it comes to filming – Canon’s top professional camera scores here too with top quality and many professional functions, such as the possibility of recording videos with even higher resolution (5.5K) and in record in RAW format. Is there anything else to complain about? Just in terms of weight and price – the EOS-1D X Mark III is not only quite heavy, but also quite expensive.

The EOS-1 has been Canon’s top professional model for 30 years. Digital for many years, it has had the suffix X since 2012 – like “extremely fast”. The Canon EOS-1D X Mark III is (as the name suggests) the third X variant that now replaces the EOS-1D X Mark II. And currently sets the standard for professional SLR cameras, as the test by COMPUTER BILD shows.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III: Heavy Metal

The front of the EOS-1D X Mark III resembles its predecessor almost like an egg to the other; only the lettering has another I added. The back, including the controls, also remains largely unchanged – an important factor for the main target group of the professional camera, professional sports photographers, as they hardly have to relearn. The battery (Canon LP-E19) remains the same, but lasts longer thanks to new, economical electronics. In the test, the Canon 1DX III managed over 1,600 photos with one battery charge – and that despite extensive excursions into the camera menu and extensive viewing of the recordings on the camera display. With the typical use of such a top professional camera – continuous shooting – the battery should last much longer: 3,000 to 5,000 photos with one battery charge shouldn’t be a problem. The battery lasts an extremely long time when filming, and the battery was only empty after about five hours. A real record value!

The Canon 1D X III takes a whole new approach to controlling the autofocus metering point. In addition to the usual joystick, there is also an optical sensor in the AF-On button. This works in a similar way to a touchpad: the measuring point is moved by swiping over the sensor. Unlike a touchpad, however, this also works when the photographer is wearing gloves – an optical sensor makes this possible. However, the operation requires a little training, because unlike joysticks, there are no rest points between the individual autofocus fields. But the point on which the camera should focus can be moved faster than with a joystick. The EOS-1D X Mark III may have lost 90 grams compared to its predecessor, but it remains a real chunk: with the battery and memory card, but without the lens, it already weighs 1,440 grams.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III: Not More, Better

The EOS-1D X Mark III has a new image sensor with the same resolution (5472×3648 pixels) as its predecessor, but more sensitive to light. There is also a new image processor (DIGIC X) with significantly more power. The combo convinced in the test across the board with detailed and crisply sharp images, especially in low light and with a high ISO setting, the EOS-1D X Mark III is one of the best that can be bought at the moment. ISO 6400, for example, looks hardly any worse (minimal loss of sharpness, very little noise) than the standard setting ISO 100, even in the 100 percent view. And even with ISO 25,600 and 51,200, very attractive photos are still possible. Another practical benefit of the new processor: the EOS-1D X Mark III can also take photos in HEIF format (High Efficiency Image Format).

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III: Ultra fast

In terms of continuous shooting speed, the EOS-1D X Mark III increases again: When taking photos through the viewfinder, 15.1 frames per second were possible in the test – of course with exposure adjustment and very precise focus tracking. In Live View, up to 20 frames per second are even possible – only the Sony Alpha 9 and Sony Alpha 9 II system cameras can currently do this in full format, but they have to switch to the electronic shutter to do this. The Canon 1D X III maintains this extreme speed with the mechanical shutter – with fewer exposure problems such as banding in tungsten light that can occur with electronic shutters. Canon has redesigned the entire mechanism in the camera for this purpose. This makes the EOS-1D X Mark III a little quieter. If you shoot series at full speed, you still have the immediate attention of those around you. A new type of memory card ensures greater endurance in series: The EOS-1D X Mark III comes with two slots for CFexpress cards such as the SanDisk Extreme pro CFexpress. Even after a few hundred photos, all you have to do is take your finger off the shutter button and the camera is immediately ready to take pictures again. And when you’re on the move, the images are transferred from the camera in no time at all, thanks to the fast USB socket (USB 3.1 Type C).