Why you will (most likely) not see many Canon EOS-1D X cameras at the Olympic Games and Formula 1 races this year.
Yesterday, I posted a comparison on Google+ of the 2 new flagship cameras from Canon and Nikon - here:
Today, Nikon officially released the D4 and I was looking for one particular spec with regards to autofocus:
11 focus points (five at center with an additional three to each side) are fully functional when lenses with a maximum aperture of f/8 are used. This enables very precise focus acquisition with sports photography and the like when super-telephoto NIKKOR lenses are used with a teleconverter (2.0x) at a combined aperture value of f/8.
Why do I mention that?
Well, here is what Canon specifies with regards to autofocus and aperture values in their spec-sheet for the EOS-1D X:
One to five cross-type AF points at f/2.8, 10 to 20 cross-type AF points at f/4, and 15 to 21 cross-type AF points at f/5.6.
Sounds all good, right?
But what this means is that lenses with an aperture smaller than f/5.6 will loose auto-focus. Most of portrait, landscape and studio photographers will not worry about this as they're not using those kind of lenses but given the really fast frames per second specs, the great ISO performance this camera is made for wildlife and sports photographers who use very long lenses and extenders. As of today, every 1D body supported autofocus up to f/8:
List of EOS bodies that can AF at f/8
Canon EOS bodies that have a high density, high precision auto-focus sensor with 45 AF points are able to autofocus at maximum apertures of f/8.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III
Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II
Canon EOS-1D Mark II
Canon EOS-1D Mark II N
Canon EOS 3
Although the upcoming Canon EOS-1D X, the replacement for both the 1D Mark IV and 1Ds Mark III, will have 61 AF points, it will not autofocus with any lenses or lens/extender combinations whose maximum aperture is smaller than f/5.6.
By using the 2x Extender, you're loosing 2 f-stops of maximum aperture. This will make 3 of the most used Super Telephoto lenses unusable with the 2x extender:
- Canon EF 400mm f/4
- Canon EF 500mm f/4
- Canon EF 600mm f/4
The longest focal length with autofocus on the EOS-1D X will be 840mm by using the 1.4x extender on the 600mm f/4 compared to 1200mm on the previous 1D models by using the 2x extender on the same lens.
If you are a photographer working at those focal lengths, will you keep shooting Canon by not upgrading to the 1-D X or will you switch to Nikon?