Is Canon’s Mirrorless 1D X Mark II Equivalent Going to Arrive Sooner Than Expected?

Is Canon’s Mirrorless 1D X Mark II Equivalent Going to Arrive Sooner Than Expected?

The wait for a mirrorless flagship sports and wildlife shooter from Canon might be shorter than anticipated, with rumors circulating that it could arrive within the next year, perhaps at the same time as the successor to the Canon 1D X Mark II.

Current thinking seems to be that two high-end Canon mirrorless bodies are in the pipeline: one a high-resolution beast that’s similar to the 5DS/5DS R, the second a fast-frame-rate shooter that is more in line with the existing 1D X Mark II. If I were a betting man, I’d go with the former being called the RS and the latter being called the RX. With the Tokyo Olympic Games rapidly approaching, all of the Japanese manufacturers will be feeling the pressure to get some sports-oriented cameras to market sooner rather than later.

In terms of specifications, what do you think? While some will crave 50 megapixels, I suspect that 30-32 megapixels is more likely given the need for low-light performance and a frame rate that puts it ahead of other flagships. Canon has not given much indication of how the electronic shutter in the R-series can perform in terms of the number of frames per second, and while 25 and above might be entirely possible, I’m not sure that it’s entirely necessary, though others may disagree. It might be more interesting to see how Canon deals with its electronic shutter and whether it will be as quick at sweeping as the mechanical shutter, perhaps allowing users to shoot under artificial lights without such a strong risk of banding. This could allow the highest frame-rates to be used in a much broader range of settings.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, particularly regarding the possible video specifications.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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The idea is not without merit as the criticism both Canon and Nikon received for their debut FF MILCs has impelled them to produce a response quickly to refute the critics.
The flagships of both Canon and Nikon are low volume sellers to a largely enthusiast market. The current DSLRs really do not lag the current ML darling of the A9.
However, fanboyism and the new, near religious schism between the new sect of ML and the orthodoxy of DSLRdom required a proof of fealty to the new theology.

What I mean is that the Sony A9, while good is not absolutely better than the DSLRs in actual performance. The DSLR successors to the flagships will be even better but Canikon are responding to a noisy cohort that believes in the inherent advantages of ML irrespective of the compromises.
ML will exceed DSLRs in high performance in the near future but Canikon are being shoved into it faster than they wanted.
I own ML and DSLRs and both have strength and both have weaknesses.

"the Sony A9, while good is not absolutely better than the DSLRs in actual performance"

Since this is a true statement, it is also true for the reverse. Meaning that the religious schism is pretty pointless.

Schisms are pointless. People focus on the most obvious differences and expand their significance out of all proportion. The fact is that the differences in IQ are invisible and the handling and ergonomics come down to comfort and preference.

Actually the Sony mirrorless is significantly better than any Canon regarding video. It is not even close. They are 5 years behind so if you are a hybrid shooter, the current Canon R is a poor second best compared to a Sony A series costing 1/3 the cost.

I own 2 Canons and 1 Sony. I am not a name brand fanboy. I simply buy the best tool for the task at hand.

I agree, however this is of greater interest to enthusiasts than pros. The flagship models operate under the conceit that they are for "pros" where stills performance is paramount.

Canon doesn't really have the technology to achieve what you describe. They'd need a stacked sensor with ospdaf (or quad pixel af), a brand new processor, new, ai based af algorithms, all at once, while navigating around Sony's parents. It's unrealistic, especially with their ancient semiconductor nodes.

We actually have no idea what Canon has up their sleeve. For all we know they are going out of house for sensor sourcing on this one (if THIS one even exists beyond rumour)

We know that you don't just build a $10b fab, and using a Sony sensor would be a huge loss of face. That limits what they can do. They'll probably release a 1dx3 that's a dslr and a high res (50mp+) mirrorless model.

I really don't see Canon jumping to 30+ megapixels on this one. My guess is that it will be 24 megapixels.

I hope they keep it around 24

The Canon 1DX 3 and a mirrorless equivalent released at the same time? I doubt it. We already know the 1DX3 is out in the world being tested, so unless there has been an accelerated development plan then I think we will have to wait a while longer.

As a 1D X and 1Dx mk2 user I find it fascinating all the talk about the next upgrade... Do I want a smaller body... no, I use big lenses and a smaller body would not be good. I find the ergonomics of the current 1Dx bodies superb and don't want them changed... Do I want higher frame rate... no, 16fps is more than enough. More mega pix hmmm bit more would be nice. Better dynamic rage would be nice and lower noise with higher iso would be good. EVF and mirrorless would be a bad idea in my view, having an exposed sensor when changing lenses would be a nightmare. There is a high chance it would get damaged. Also I often shoot around lasers which could damage the sensor. EVF is likely to suck battery life, I get about 2500~3500 shots per battery and use no power in composition, sometime I can do a lot of that. :-)

I am also a 1D X and 1D X Mk2 user. I've also recently had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Sony where they flew in pro-photographers to test the A9 with their 400mm. This was back in the spring.

I agree with you and love the ergonomics of the 1D X. It feels great in the hand, it's tough, robust, and can take a few knocks.

I disagree regarding the lenses, spending two days with an A9 (with battery grip) and I did not think it felt strange with a 24-70 or even attached to a 400mm. Also I want to point out that on the Canon side of things the new RF mount can also lead to more compact lens designs. The coming RF 70-200 seems to be a lot more compact than it's EF cousin.

Regarding the EVF I walked away from the Sony A9 a believer and the EVF was the thing I was most skeptical about. The lack of blackout when taking pictures is so awesome. Seeing the exposure in the viewfinder. Plus the ability to review image will looking into the EVF for those incredibly sunny days when you are sitting on the side of a pitch and can't see shit on the back LCD screen. So awesome. I would sign up for that right away.

In my completely unscientific testing the battery life of the A9 did not seem as good as the 1D X series, but at the same time it was not bad. I think it would be a minor adjustment.

Regarding the exposed sensor I agree completely. Changing lenses in all types of environments having an exposed sensor seems like a nightmare. Canon has already solved this with the R series where they have a shutter which comes down over the sensor and covers it as you detach the lens from the body. I expect Sony will eventually copy this especially if they release a dedicated sports body. I image they get a lot of feedback over this.

Then I got to take a minute to heap some praise on the Sony autofocus system which is in my opinion a generation ahead of Canon. When the A9 locks on to a subject it stays on it. You can shoot bursts of a football players running full speed and it stays on it. In my experience it is just better than my Mark II. And I am not even talking about any of the advance stuff like AI tracking or Eye-Focus which also are incredibly impressive. I believe general focus tracking performance can improve greatly when you remove the mirror from the equation and you have a constant uninterrupted view from sensor to subject.

I hope Canon releases a 1D X like mirrorless sooner rather than later. Sony is not sitting down and is really trying to court sports photographer hard. The Sony event I went to was in the spring. They had been flying in photographers from all around Europe all week long to test the A9 and speak with their engineers and provide feedback. I know they have since had another event in London a month ago or so. I believe Sony will have a successor to the A9 out before the Olympics, if they are sport they might also do a sports body in a 1D X style frame.

For me I would almost prefer if Canon got a 1D X mirrorless camera out (along with a 400 tele) next year. That way I could by them sell my tele (and get decent money before the value collapses), then switch my other lenses a bit slower as I think the other ones will retain their value a little longer.

If Canon does just another iterative 1D X Mark III I will be pretty disappointed, especially if Sony comes out with a real smoker next year.

The Sony autofocus does looks outstanding but I don't know how well I would get on with it. I do lots of low light work with very high contrast lighting (I spend my life spotting and locking exposure) and I worry how the EVF would handle this. I would want serious time with a new body before upgrading. I expect CPS will be doing this. I would not move to Sony as I don't believe I would get the same level of support that I get from Canon Professional Services who over the years have been outstanding...