Conclusion about using the Canon 1Dx Mark II as a blogger and YouTuber. In recent months and years, we have often written about cameras for vloggers and YouTubers that were handy on the one hand, but also offered very good quality. Among the favorites for a long time were the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon EOS 6D Mark II and also the APS-C camera Canon EOS 80D. But more and more often we resort to a setup with the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II for the YouTube channel, but also for other professional videos.
Vlogging Camera – the perfect solution? Canon 1Dx Mark II
To put it straight, the Canon 1Dx Mark II is not a camera for beginners and for people who run the YouTube channel and blog only as a hobby or work semi-professionally. The Canon 1Dx Mark II is in the high-end segment of Canon with a market price of currently just under 6000 EUR in Germany, or in the USA currently 5499 USD (circa 4700 EUR).
Anyone holding the Canon 1Dx Mark II in their hands for the first time will immediately realize the difference between the previous cameras from the Canon segment and the flagship. Due to the permanently attached handgrip, the camera initially appears squarer and also considerably heavier.
At 1300 grams (housing only), the housing is significantly heavier than the housing of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (approx. 800 grams) and feels even more valuable. As a user, you immediately notice that the camera is intended for continuous use, for difficult shooting situations and high loads, and can cope with every demand.
In contrast to the combination solution of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with one card slot for SD cards and one card slot for Compact Flash cards, the Canon 1Dx Mark II has two slots for Compact Flash cards (or CFast cards). Here, you should also consider directly at the time of purchase what the camera will primarily be used for, since the difference between regular Compact Flash cards and CFast cards is also serious.
While standard and good SD cards with 128GB are available from 40 EUR, Compact Flash cards from 80 EUR, a CFast card will quickly cost 200 to 400 EUR. For using the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II exclusively for photography – even with high frame rates – the regular SD cards or Compact Flash cards are sufficient, but if you want to use the camera to its full potential, you should go straight for CFast cards for videos.
Canon 1Dx Mark II – high-end solution for professionals
The Canon 1Dx Mark II was introduced by Canon in spring 2016 and is still absolutely up-to-date today. Canon rumors say that the successor, the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark III is expected to be released in spring 2020, fitting for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo at home. A perfect presentation area for the new professional device from Canon.
Rumors also say that Canon would install an in-camera image stabilizer, a larger touch screen and significantly more AF sensors in the new model. So it will still take a good 20 months until that happens, and even after that, the current Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II is still absolutely a top device with the following values:
20.2 MP CMOS full-frame image sensor
DUAL-Pixel autofocus (where would we be without this technology!)
Continuous shooting of up to 14 frames per second in RAW (16 via Live View)
Buffer for 200 shots in series (RAW+JPG) with CFast card
61-point autofocus with 41 cross-type sensors and 24% more coverage
ISO range from 100 to 51,200 (expandable up to 409,600)
1.6MP touch screen
4K video recording at 60fps in MJPEG
As you can already see, the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II is meant for the absolute professional, for sports shots, fast moments and offers a reliable partner for every photographer with its absolutely reliable AF system and high frame rate. When you try a high-speed shot for the first time, you as a photographer are surprised by the noise and have all your attention just on the spot. That’s what happened to us during the test shots, where you just wanted to photograph a few seagulls and every visitor turned around 🙂 .
Even if the housing compared to the predecessor EOS 1Dx has not changed much, which is also very good, but the technical data has been seriously improved. Starting with the possibility to record a CFast card, recordings now in 4K and 60fps (instead of previously in Full HD with 60fps) and the significantly improved RGB measuring system with now 360,000 pixels (instead of previously 100,000 pixels). In addition, there is the change to the Digic6+ sensor and a slightly increased megapixel resolution from 18MP to 20MP.
Those who, like us, have already gained experience over a longer period of time with the Canon 1Dx or the Canon 1D Mark IV/III, will not have to make any major changes when switching and will immediately recognize the popular menu and the essential buttons directly. This makes it easy, especially for professionals, not to interrupt the workflow and just quickly take over the settings from the “older” devices.
A positive change is the touch screen, as well as the now merged switch for photo/video recording. It makes a positive difference, especially in everyday situations, when you can switch directly between photo and video recording without having to leave the viewfinder.
Even though Canon now offers native 4K video recording at 60fps per second on the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II, it’s unfortunately somewhat questionable why the format has been changed to MP4 and there is no longer an option for recording in All-I H.264 or XF-AVC (as in the C100 or C200).
This would make post-processing video much easier and even more detailed. For people who only want to shoot regular video resolution in 60fps and 4K, the recordings are absolutely sufficient, but support for XF-AVC or ALL-I H.264 would be desirable, especially in the price segment. Maybe it will come with the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark III in spring 2020.
Basically, however, it is clear that users of this camera category rely on post-processing for videos, and color grading is also one of the standards. Here, the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II leaves many competitors from other brands far behind. While many providers only offer bitrates of up to 100MBit for video recordings, the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II records its videos with up to 360MBit. This of course means a lot of additional image information that can be processed perfectly afterwards.
Even a comparison with the popular professional cameras from RED, the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II often does not have to shy away from and at first glance the difference is not too noticeable. In a price comparison, a Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II is “only” 6,000 EUR to a RED with over 20,000 EUR.
Autofocus on the Canon 1Dx Mark II
We’ve held many different cameras in our hands over the past few months, and certainly there are some models with many more AF fields, a higher number of cross-type sensors, or even 3D autofocus. At first glance, these values are certainly tempting, but compared to many other manufacturers, Canon continues to play the supremacy with the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II.
Anyone who has once worked with a Canon AF system, knows the touch monitor and has used the dual AF functions will not want to change again. Sure, it’s very tempting to have eye tracking that has to be activated via a special button each time before taking a photo, but the autofocus system in the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II offers clear supremacy in terms of reliability.
The Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II is absolutely reliable in both photo shoots and especially in video shoots and can be used precisely, especially in combination with a gimbal (such as the DJI-Ronin M or DJI-Ronin S). While other manufacturers lose focus at the latest with elaborate panning movements, the Canon camera’s autofocus system precisely holds focus and reliably tracks it.
Battery and battery life with the Canon 1Dx Mark II
When you take the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II’s charger out of the box, you already have an idea of the power the camera’s batteries contain.
Even the smaller batteries (LP-E6N), which are used in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV or also Canon EOS 80D, are easily enough for 75 to 90 minutes of video recording. However, the batteries in the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II can easily record 3 hours (!!) of video and last the whole day, even on busy production days for photos. In comparison, the Sony A7 RII/III’s battery life is just 45 minutes with a break in between due to overheating.
If you’re looking for a reliable camera with adequate battery life that you can rely on all day, you’re absolutely on the safe side with the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II. We’ll the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II with a spare battery in the photo backpack and are a whole production day (about 180 minutes of video, a lot of Dual AF) on the absolutely safe side and need at most in the late evening hours in very cold situations a spare battery. This is where the advantage lies with the Canon charger, as it can directly charge two batteries in parallel overnight.
Color-Science and Skin-Tones – Canon 1Dx Mark II
It’s almost unbelievable how many cameras you’ve held in your hands, how many cameras perhaps had a better dynamic range, but when it comes to color management and skin tones, Canon always convinces.
So even with the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II, it’s hardly surprising that the camera draws natural skin tones that aren’t too red or too green, have enough contrast, and yet don’t offer too much unnecessary saturation.
Compared to Sony, Panasonic or even Nikon, Canon has the best product on offer here for natural colors that can still be playfully adjusted without looking directly “artificial”.
The color management of the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II is again completely convincing both in photo use, but especially in video recordings in 1080p or 4K. We film our YouTube videos with a very flat color profile, since the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II does not offer its own C-Log on the system side (like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, for example) and use our own LUTs in post-processing in Adobe Premiere.
Low-light performance with Canon 1Dx Mark II
For videographers and vloggers, using the camera throughout the day and evening hours is especially important. How does the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II perform at sunset or in the subsequent “blue” hour. It is well known that Canon cameras deliver very good quality in the evening hours, even if they are not the test winner, but they work very reliably.
The Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II can also confirm this impression and even surprises in a very positive way. Up to an ISO value of 3,200, you see almost no image noise and no grain, and at resolutions below that, an atmospheric and very good image is created.
Those who “have to” use the camera with ISO 12,800 in evening situations, for example as a wedding filmmaker, need not worry either. The image noise can still be adjusted well in post-processing afterwards. Here, the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II can compete well with many rivals and does not have to hide behind newer models from the company.
4K recordings in 60fps / crop factor – Canon 1Dx Mark II
Compared to many other cameras, the Canon 1Dx Mark II records in 4K resolution at up to 60fps, which is also already suitable for nice slow-motion shots in many movies. Combined with the higher bit rate of the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II, the amount of data produced is naturally very high and it is recommended to use the CFast memory cards to ensure a constant writing flow.
Very pleasant with the Canon camera compared to, for example, the Nikon D5 or Panasonic GH4 is the lower crop factor when shooting in 4K. While the Canon 1Dx Mark II has a factor of only 1.4, the Nikon D5 has a factor of 1.5 and the Panasonic GH4 has a factor of 2.4. We use the Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II or the Canon 35mm f/1.4 for most video recordings on the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II.
A good alternative when shooting in 1080p is the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L III, which is especially popular with travel photographers or travel videographers, as well as wedding photographers and wedding videographers, and makes a safe package when used with the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II.
What is positively noticeable when shooting video with the Canon 1Dx Mark II is that the rolling shutter effect in both 4K, as well as 1080p, is significantly less compared to other models and the shift in the image is generally very low.
Even compared to Canon’s two years newer system camera, the Canon EOS-R, the rolling shutter effect is significantly lower, making it very suitable for quick snapshots or sports scenes.
120fps – slow motion with Canon 1Dx Mark II
In the last few years, slow-motion shooting for B-rolls in 120fps has become popular, especially among videographers and YouTubers.
Certainly, there are already countless smartphones and APS-C cameras that also offer 120fps, but if you take a closer look at these recordings, you can see the differences very quickly.
We have also tested different models for this, smartphones from Huawei, Samsung or even Apple, different APS-C and full-frame cameras from Sony and compared the pictures. Surely, it is often only details that make the difference, but when comparing the pictures of the Canon 1Dx Mark II with other recorders, the difference is directly noticeable, especially in the image sharpness.
While the other shots look very soft and creamy after a short time, the slow motion shots of the Canon 1Dx Mark II are razor sharp and tell their own story in every single frame.
It’s hard to imagine that after a few shots with the Canon 1Dx Mark II, you’ll find other shots nice, but far from competitive with the Canon 1Dx Mark II. Especially those who want to work with emotions and moods as videographers have a clear winner at the latest when shooting in 1080p and 120fps – the Canon 1Dx Mark II, which also completely thrilled us in this regard.
Menu navigation / Usability – Canon 1Dx Mark II
It has to be said that Canon’s menu is still the best menu in many cameras. It’s tidy and clear, can be assigned individual functions with the “My Menu” fields, and can be called up quickly. Only some fully customized individual functions on buttons would still be desirable for the next model especially for professional photographers and videographers.
It would simplify the workflow for people who regularly switch between video recordings in 24fps and 120fps, as well as quickly take spontaneous photos. However, once you get used to the Canon menus and the different areas, you won’t want to hold another camera in your hands.
We have also tested various more current models from other manufacturers in comparison and also frequently frequented corresponding forum entries and here the opinion is very clear. You can’t design it better than Canon – it’s tidy and easy to find, and doesn’t take ten sub-pages to adapt to.
Vlogging Camera Canon 1Dx Mark II – first impression
As also mentioned in the introduction, the Canon 1Dx Mark II is not a camera for beginners and amateur vloggers. Likewise, the camera’s size and weight make it unsuitable for people who simply want to carry it in their handbag for an event or use it as a quick-and-shoot camera.
Of course, it should also be clear to vloggers that the camera weighs between 2500 and 3500 grams, depending on the lens, so you’ll need a bit of practice to “vlog” with it at your leisure.
However, what the Canon 1Dx Mark II then offers is an absolute professional device with fantastic image quality and an absolutely reliable autofocus system.
We’ve been big fans of Canon’s DUAL AF feature since the Canon EOS 80D, and it again shows its high reliability in the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II. In conjunction with the touch monitor, focus points can be easily moved or adjusted on the monitor even during video recording.
Even though the camera naturally has a price tag of just under 6,000 EUR, the price/performance ratio is justified. In many situations, the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II can keep up with the much more expensive RED cameras and leaves other manufacturers with low prices far behind in image quality, monitor, autofocus system and menu navigation.
We will subject the camera to another extensive endurance test in the next few weeks and then write a long conclusion on how the Canon 1Dx Mark II performed in difficult shooting situations and in everyday life. For us, the Canon EOS 1Dx Mark II is still the absolute flagship of Canon’s DSLR series, even two years after its release.