Canon Announces EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR

20.2MP dual-pixel full frame sensor, 4K 60P video, 14FPS burst - we take a first look review for underwater photo and video
By Brent Durand

Canon has announced the much anticipated EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR camera. The new flagship EOS camera matches many rumored specs, delivering a fast, sophisticated camera that will produce stunning images and video quality.

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II uses a new 20.2 megapixel full-frame sensor combined with dual DIGIC 6+ image processors, plus a 61-point AF system and up to 4K 60P (or Full HD 120P) video recording with dual pixel CMOS Autofocus (for fast video AF and tracking).

Retail price (body only):  $5999

Availability:  April 2016


EOS-1D X Mark II Highlights

  • Fastest shooting EOS-1D, capable of up to 14 fps* full-resolution RAW or JPEG, and up to 16 fps* in Live View mode with new Dual DIGIC 6+ Image Processors.

  • Achieves a maximum burst rate of up to 170 RAWs in continuous shooting at up to 16 fps, and 4K movies using CFast™ cards in the new CFast 2.0™** slot.

  • Experience less noise in higher ISO images via a new 20.2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, with an ISO range of 100-51200; expansion to ISO 409600.

  • Improved AF performance through 61-point High Density Reticular AF II system with 41 cross-type points, improved center point focusing sensitivity to -3 EV and compatibility down to f/8***.

  • Accurate subject tracking for stills and video with new EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition AF with 360,000-pixel metering sensor.

  • 4K video (4096 x 2160) up to 60 fps (59.94), with an 8.8-Megapixel still frame grab**** in camera. Full 1080p HD capture up to 120 fps for slow motion.

  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF & Movie Servo AF for high speed, high frame rate and continuous autofocus during video shooting.

  • View and control high quality stills and videos via the 3.2-inch touch panel LCD with 1.62 million dots.

  • Increased resolution and fine detail, with lens aberration correction and diffraction correction via new in-camera Digital Lens Optimizer technology.

  • Built-in GPS***** provides geotag information including auto time syncing with Universal Time Code via satellites.

  • The new optional Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E8A is compatible with IEEE 802.11ac/n/a/g/b, supporting both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi® bands.

  • Durable and rugged magnesium alloy body with dust- and-weather resistance for demanding shooting situations.

* View the full details for each of these highlights on the Canon 1DX MkII website.

Thoughts for Underwater Photographers

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II will be a nice option for those serious about underwater photography. The 1D X is a definitely step up from the Canon 5Ds and 5D Mark III, the latter having proved extrememly popular for professional and many 1st time underwater photographers alike.

The body of the 1D X is significantly larger than the 5D series, making the flagship EOS camera a true pro-level DSLR with a lot more bulk and weight to carry around on dive trips. This is a serious consideration as more photographers are turning eyes to the small full frame mirrorless Sony a7R II camera.

So what makes the EOS-1D X Mark 2 worth the extra size? It's a pro's workhorse camera. If you shoot action sports, you already know the benefit of 14FPS for 170 consecutive RAW images (some serious buffer memory!), as well as the fast and accurate autofocus. This is particularly important when shooting macro in dark conditions like the shade at the base of a reef, where the a7 II cameras and Sony 90mm macro lens struggle to focus. The Canon 100mm macro lens is lightning fast, and will be very quick with the new 1DX MkII. That said, you'll find this fast dual-pixel AF on the much more affordable Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 70D.

The 1DX MkII is also features more robust video recording capabilities than most DSLR and mirrorless alternatives. 4K resolution at 30 or 60fps provides the ability to edit slow motion footage, while 120FPS at 1080p will allow for ultra slow motion recording. Just add a monitor or use 3rd party software like Magic Lantern for uncompressed RAW video recording.

Overall, I would recommend the EOS-1D X Mark II per my usual camera shopping guideline: "If you can explain the features on the 1DX that are not included in lower models and how and when you would use them, then you can certainly take advantage of the 1DX's robust featureset to produce incredible underwater photo and video." In general, most u/w photographers looking towards full-frame will be very happy with the 5D Mark III instead of the new 1DX.


Best Lenses

Canon full-frame DSLRs benefit from high-quality pro-level "L" lenses. We've listed the most popular lenses for underwater photography below.

  • Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro Lens Review

    • This is the best macro lens for Canon full-frame shooters.

  • Canon 8-15mm Fisheye Lens Review

    • The fisheye lens of choise for Canon full-frame shooters, offering traditional wide-angle shots at 15mm and circular shots at 8mm.

  • Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II Wide-Angle Lens

    • Popular wide-angle lens for Canon full-frame shooters. Other excellent options include the 16-35mm f/4L and the 17-40mm f/4L wide-angle lenses.

  • Canon 11-24mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide-Angle Lens

    • An ultra wide-angle lens for Canon full-frame shooters recommended by UWPG publisher, Scott Gietler. The lens has excellent image quality, but comes with heavy weight and price tag. 


Related Reviews


1DX Mark II Underwater Housings


Nauticam Canon 1DX Mark II Housing - $5,200 USD

Available Now

With recommended ports, lenses and accessories.


Aquatica Canon 1DX Mark II Housing - $4,849 USD

Available Now

With recommended ports, lenses and accessories.




The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips


Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.