Canon silences EOS 1D X Mark III rumors, makes in-development flagship official

(Image credit: Canon)

It may have been announced in February 2016, but the Canon EOS 1D X Mark II is still an excellent option for photojournalists and professional sports photographers. That said, it is getting on in years and definitely needed a fresh coat of paint, with many suggesting an announcement for the next generation full-frame DSLR could be made in February 2020.

Instead of making us wait, Canon has let the cat out of the bag and announced that the EOS 1D X Mark III is definitely in the pipeline.

There's no word on pricing or availability yet, although the camera maker took the opportunity to point out that two more RF lenses have been added to its growing bevy of optics. The RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM and RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS will be available to buy from November and December, respectively, with pricing still to be confirmed.

Better than before

To tease us, and silence the rumor mill perhaps, Canon has disclosed some of the details of the upcoming camera, saying it will "deliver enhanced image quality, continuous shooting and operability over its predecessor".

Under the hood will be a brand-spanking new CMOS sensor (which rumors suggest will come in at 28.1MP) and a new Digic processor (reportedly the ninth generation being debuted in the 1D X Mark III) that will improve image quality across the entire ISO range.

Canon has also revealed that the 1D X Mark III will be able to shoot 10-bit HEIF (High Efficiency Image File) images which offer better color reproduction and higher dynamic range than regular JPEG files.

Canon has also confirmed that the new camera will be capable of 4K video at 60fps with 10-bit 4:2:2 Canon Log (CLog) internal recording.

The Canon 1D X Mark III

The Canon 1D X Mark III (Image credit: Canon)

Fully focused

The 1D X Mark III will come with a new autofocus (AF) algorithm that will harness deep learning AI technology to improve focus accuracy while tracking a moving subject. There's going to 525 AF points available in Live View mode that will utilize Canon's superb Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. These AF points will cover the frame 100% vertically and 90% horizontally. As a comparison, the Mark II only came with 61 selectable AF points.

While rumors had the 1D X Mark III shooting continuously at a whopping speed of 30fps, Canon has confirmed that the new camera will have a burst speed of 16fps when using the optical viewfinder and 20fps when shooting in Live View mode. To compare, the older model has a continuous shooting speeds of 14fps and 16fps, respectively.

As we predicted, there will be two CFExpress card slots which will give the RAW buffer depth of Mark III a 5x increase over its predecessor which, at present, can impressively record unlimited JPEGs and 170 RAW files to the card.

It all sounds very impressive on paper, especially since we don't know much about the competition it will get from the Nikon D6, but we expect to see both DSLRs being used at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.