If there were ever a phrase in the language more likely to cause me to love and admire Andrew Ritchie and the Canon EOS 1Dx Mk II, I have yet to hear it. He let us into this secret last night at the Northbridge Hotel while addressing the audience at the product launch.
Leaving his pictures aside...and they were very good pictures...his candid admission that the rough and tumble of his world - the newspaper photography game - is a tough one on cameras was a telling point for the brand. The Canon EOS 1D cameras of various marks are built to withstand all the rough treatment that they are likely to encounter. He knows it and he prefers them. He drops 'em all the time...
The evening was much the same as many product launches - a brief address from one of the CE owners - Saul - a talk about some of the new technical points of the equipment by the manufacturer's representative - Sheryl - and then a show and tell by a photographer who has had a chance to use the camera - Andrew. The audience was, in the "Casablanca" sense, the usual suspects...but in this case they were the suspects for a different crime. Specifically for paid professional work that demands high speed and durability.
Andrew had been given use one of only two of the new EOS 1Dx Mk II cameras in the country and had to find suitable subjects that would test it out. He selected water sports, low light environmental portraiture, and his curly spaniel in the park with a green tennis ball. We can report that in all cases the camera and the Canon lenses that he selected to work with produced saleable, printable, publishable, hangable images. And the dog is gorgeous.
The camera is apparently a lot easier to use than previous evocations - they have taken a leaf from the more humble cameras and incorporated touch-screen technology to allow people to select what the AF system is going to do. It also has the ability to do a lot more than before, including tracking useful subjects even when interrupted by intruders into the frame. The viewfinder is a lot brighter than before.
The thing can shoot JPEG images as fast as it can get electricity - any where from 12 to 16 frames per second depending on the type of battery. And it can keep on shooting until the card fills up... the buffer has enough capacity for this. Even if you are firing off raw images it will go to 178 before needing a rest and sip of Gatorade. This means you get a picture of the spaniel and the ball in 178 frames of the tennis ball holds up..If you need to alter the raw file in-camera and then send it off fast to an editor ( or to Facebook...) you can do this as well.
ISO performance seemed good. He was shooting at ISO 2000 but of course the device will go into the 5-figure mark if you want it to.
From what I could hear, there will be an April delivery date for the new camera, but I could also hear the wholesale and retail people saying that you would be very wise to get a deposit in for the camera right now...there may be a rush and a delay in the supply otherwise.
Nota bene: The audiences at these beanfests do vary according to the sort of equipment that is on show. Of course camera people are always interested in cameras and lighting people are always interested in lighting, etc, but it is notable to observe the degree of concentration evinced and the sorts of questions that come forth from this crowd. These people are serious photographers and know what they need from their cameras. Their questions were sensible and to the point, and anyone listening to them and to the answers was benefitted.