Camera - - AWARDS -

This was truly the clash of the ti­tans. And not just the long-term ri­valry be­tween Canon and Nikon, but the two rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the newly-re­vived dig­i­tal medium for­mat sec­tor. Of course, in the end it did come down to a clas­sic Canon-ver­sus-Nikon stoush, mainly be­cause cost is still the big is­sue with the DMF D-SLR sys­tems – es­pe­cially if you want 100 megapix­els – and bril­liant though they are on a tech­ni­cal level, they’re highly spe­cialised prod­ucts be­yond the bud­gets of even many work­ing pho­tog­ra­phers.

In truth, the EOS-1D X Mark II is also a spe­cialised piece of equip­ment (as is the Nikon D5), so the EOS 5D Mark IV would po­ten­tially be the bet­ter choice for many pho­tog­ra­phers and video-mak­ers, but we’re talk­ing here about cam­eras where the ca­pa­bil­i­ties come be­fore – well be­fore – any other con­sid­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing the cost.

It’s the pro-level video func­tion­al­ity which edges the Canon ahead of its Nikon ri­val (even af­ter the lat­ter’s all-im­por­tant firmware up­grade), but there are other key su­pe­ri­or­i­ties such as the 14 fps con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speed (with full AF and AE ad­just­ment) and the ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ sys­tem. It’s not only su­per-fast, but gives ex­cel­lent frame cov­er­age which ben­e­fits the sub­ject track­ing. Be­ing able to ad­just the speed of the fo­cus tran­si­tions is a big plus when shoot­ing video, al­low­ing for the lin­ear­ity and smooth­ness to be fine-tuned. The Canon’s touch­screen con­trols are also most as lim­ited as the Nikon’s, but it does have the con­ve­nience of touch fo­cus which al­lows for very quick ad­just­ments or easy set­ting of the start point for track­ing. In­ci­den­tally, with the re­flex mir­ror out of the pic­ture in live view, the -1D X II can shoot full-res stills at a re­mark­able 16 fps. When us­ing the ‘con­ven­tional’ 61-point AF sys­tem, ev­ery point is sen­si­tive down to f8.0 – mainly to ac­com­mo­date shoot­ing with a tele­con­verter – and 21 of the 41 cross-type ar­rays are avail­able at f5.6, the rest of them op­er­at­ing as hor­i­zon­tal line de­tec­tors. Also notable is the pro­vi­sion of ‘Dig­i­tal Lens Op­ti­miser’ pro­cess­ing. Con­verted RAW files are ready to go (as JPEGs) straight out of the cam­era.

While Canon has been care­ful to avoid the -1D X II tres­pass­ing too much on Cinema EOS ter­ri­tory – so there are ac­tu­ally some sur­pris­ing lit­tle omis­sions – it’s still a video pow­erhouse with its ex­cep­tional dura­bil­ity ob­vi­ously again an im­por­tant as­set.

If you re­ally need more of ev­ery­thing in a D-SLR, the Canon EOS-1D X II is with­out peer… which is why it wins here.

PRO­FES­SIONAL DIG­I­TAL SLR – THE FI­NAL­ISTS Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Has­sel­blad H6D-50c Nikon D5, Phase One XF 100MP

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