Canon 1D X vs Canon 5D Mark III

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Introduction

The Canon EOS-1D X is a high-level, professional camera that is oriented towards those who earn for living by capturing photos, and even though this camera was released in March 2012, it has quickly established itself as one of the best cameras in this category and was heavily praised by the photographers due to its tremendously good capabilities.

On the other side, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III is one of the best full-frame DSLR cameras that you can find on the market, that kind of gained an epic reputation throughout its existence, because it is a fast and strong performer that offers the photographer a freedom to try him/herself shooting different types of photography.

Both cameras have their own advantages and disadvantages, as well as areas where one of them is better than the other and vice-versa, which makes them be truly entertaining and interesting in terms of making a head to head comparison. Therefore, I’d suggest getting into action right away and find out which cameras would be a better choice for you, even though both of them are truly fascinating!

Head To Head Comparison

Canon 1D X

The Canon EOS-1D X features a sleek, matte-black colored yet tough magnesium alloy body that employs a weather sealing with the intention to let you have an uncompromised shooting experience regardless of the weather condition, and from the very beginning, I’m sure that you have already set your expectations regarding this camera!

Aside from being sleek and tough, the EOS-1D X is fairly comfortable to shoot with, due to the fact that its grip is covered in a hard polycarbonate and texture leatherette which will play a huge role throughout your shooting sessions, because it makes the camera comfortable to hold and to remain steady in your hands! Good job, Canon!

For your information, this unit houses numerous controls which are set in an organized and intuitive fashion, so that you’d be able to access them any time you want without facing difficulties at all!

Namely, on the top-center, there’s a hot shoe, 3 dedicated buttons on the left, and an information LCD screen that is surrounded by 4 buttons plus an M-Fn button and a release shutter button that sit on the right.

On the rear, the control layout is kind of compressed due to the compactness of the camera, but I don’t mind it at all. On the top, there is a Menu and Info button that sit on the left to the viewfinder, whereas, on the right, there are 4 more buttons of which the most notable is the AF-ON button.

What’s cool is that there are even more controls that are set on the right side, and even below the main, LCD screen of which you can take advantage and adjust the image playback and even add voice to the images. Below these buttons, you can find one more monochrome LCD which will keep you notify regarding the card slot status ( whether is active or not) and also inform you about the selected file format.

Let’s take the controls aside for a minute, and let’s quickly describe the viewfinder and the main LCD screen.

Well, the EOS-1D X screen is fairly large, because it measures 3.2″, has a resolution of 1,040k-dots, and even though it is fixed, it is good enough to output superb visuals with the intention to elevate your user experience to a whole new level regardless of your viewing perspective.

On the other hand, the viewfinder has a pentaprism design and combines a magnification of 0.76x magnification with a coverage of up to 100%. Once you start shooting through it you will completely immerse yourself with the given view because you’ll be able to capture everything that is positioned next to your sight!

Moving on, the connection options consist of a mini-HDMI port, USB 2.0 port, dual CF card slots, microphone port, and unfortunately, it doesn’t have built-in support for Wi-Fi, so, you’d have to invest in a wireless transmitter in order to share your content. In my opinion, considering the price tag, I really think that Canon could have done a better job here!

When it comes to performance, the EOS-1D X runs on Dual DIGIC 5+ image processors which dramatically improve the processing speed of the camera and boost its ability to handle the noise throughout the ISO range of 100-51,200 which is expandable up to 204,800. The other components include a full-frame 18.1MP CMOS sensor, impressively quick 61-point AF, and a continuous shooting speed of 12fps for capturing RAW + JPEG format imagery and up to 14fps only for JPEG imagery!

What got my attention the most regarding this camera is its ability to control the noise nearly perfectly good, and the best results are taken at ISO 6400, because they are exceptionally sharp! This pattern continues even at ISO 51,200, however, at this stage, the noise becomes prominent, although images are still usable. As expected, once you reach the highest native or expandable point, blur starts to overcome the image quality.

Also, keep in mind that noise reduction may aid in producing more noise, but sometimes it has some advantages, especially at high ISOs in which images look far better with noise reduction enabled.

In the end, I’d also like to let you know that the EOS-1D X records 1080p videos at 24/25/30fps, 720p videos at 60/50fps, and lacks 4K capability. The overall footage looks pleasing for the viewer, however, I really think that recording 1080p videos at 60fps would make the camera’s performance nearly perfect.

Canon 5D Mark III

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III sports an elegant, black-painted, magnesium-alloy construction that feels smooth and solid on touch, however, in comparison to the EOS-1D X, it doesn’t really share the same nor the similar level of protection which by default means that at this stage, the EOS-1D X has a better overall build quality.

Either way, the grip is textured and it is covered in a rubber-like coating, which is really good because the camera will sit steadily in your hands and be comfortable to shoot with, and here, Canon definitely deserves credits from all of us!

Speaking of the control layout, well, on the top-left, there’s a Mode dial with an On/Off switch, a hot shoe that sits at the top-center, whereas, on the right, there is a monochrome Information LCD screen that will notify you regarding the modes you’re using. Above the screen, there are 4 dedicated buttons labeled as WB, AF-Drive, ISO, and a lamp which activates the backlight of the screen once pressed. At the grip, you will also find an M-Fn button and a shutter release button.

On the rear-left, there’s an array of buttons that sit next to the screen, but also, there are multiple buttons set on the top and on the right-handed side which are easily accessible and you can take advantage of them any time you want without any problem.

On the top, there’s an optical, pentaprism viewfinder with 100% of coverage, has a magnification rate of 0.71x, and it allows you to focus onto a specific target quickly and effectively which is always welcome, and since it covers such a vast area, you will unlikely miss a target throughout your shooting sessions!

In addition, the 3.2″ LCD screen lacks flexibility, and you will be restricted to adjust its position in order to shoot from different angles, however, thanks to its 1,040k-dot resolution and the presence of an optical gel which is set inside its glass cover, you’d be able to have a clear sight even if you’re positioned under a bright daylight!

In terms of the connection options, the EOS 5D Mark III houses an HDMI-mini port, USB 2.0 port, microphone and headphone port, and as was the case with its opponent, the EOS-1D X, it lacks built-in support for Wi-Fi, so, you would have to invest in an optional wireless adapter to be able to transfer your content.

Performance-wise, the EOS 5D Mark III incorporates a 22MP full-frame CMOS sensor, has a 61-point AF system, burst shooting speed of 6 fps, ISO range that stretches from 100-25,600 which is expandable up to 50-102,800 and it is powered by a DIGIC 5+ image processor that improves the overall performance of the camera, starting from its processing speed, and the level of clarity your imagery/videos will have!

For your information, this model does a fantastic job in keeping the occurrences of noise as low as possible. To be more precise, starting from ISO 800 – 3200, images look surprisingly good, and remain like that until you push the ISO levels upwards and reach ISO 25,600. At this level, noise becomes heavily pronounced, and decreases the overall quality but it isn’t nowhere near as bad as it would be if you push between ISO 51,200 – 102,400. Hence, I’d recommend you avoid using the upper sensitivity expansion settings unless you really have to go that far.

This is nothing to be surprised of to be honest, due to the fact that there isn’t a single camera that does not fail to maintain the image quality on the highest levels once you take advantage over the upper sensitivity levels.

Before we end, I would also like to mention that the EOS 5D Mark III records 1080p videos at 30/25/24 fps, same as the EOS-1D X, and to be honest, although both of them produce a well-defined footage, still, recording at 60fps makes the difference. For now, the result is a tie.

Feature Comparison

Canon 1D X Canon 5D Mark III
Camera Type
DSLR
DSLR
Megapixels
18.1
70 PX
ISO Range
100-51,200;204,800
100-25,600;50-102,800
Flip-Out Screen
No
No
AF Points
61 AF Points
61 AF Points
Viewfinder
Yes
Yes
Touchscreen
No
No
Video Recording
Yes
Yes
Sensor Size
Full-Frame
Full-Frame

Conclusion

In the end, I hope that you’ve had an entertaining reading and that you’re also aware that both cameras are very similar to each other, albeit some differences which is normal though since we aren’t talking about the same product.

Prior to announcing the winner, let’s quickly make a quick overview of the strongest points of both cameras, and where each of them outperforms the other.

For Portrait photography, the result is very similar between the cameras, although the 5D Mark III is slightly better thanks to its sensor ( 22 mp vs 18), and the same is also stands for Street photography.

For Sports photography, the 1D X is better because of its faster continuous shooting speed, whereas, for Daily photography, once again, the 5D Mark III performs a bit better.

However, the EOS-1D X beats the EOS 5D Mark III by having a 100% higher Max ISO ( 51,200 vs 25,600), because of its continuous shooting rate ( 14fps vs 8), the stronger battery life ( 1120 vs 950), and the better low light ISO performance.

In my honest opinion, I’d go for the 5D Mark III because it is similar to the 1D X in terms of performance and even if it fails to beat it, it is a way better cost-effective option!