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EOS-1D X on film:
Pt. 2 – CMOS sensor and image processing explained

EOS-1D X on film

November 2011

The EOS-1D X DSLR features a full-frame CMOS sensor to capture light and Dual “DIGIC 5+” processors to process that light and deliver outstanding image quality. The second of a series of six films (just click on the window above to view it) about the capabilities of the 18.1 Megapixel EOS-1D X takes a closer look at the camera’s CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 5+ processors.

In the film Canon Europe’s European Professional Imaging Communications Manager, Mike Owen, explains the key features and benefits of the CMOS sensor and the DICIC 5+ processors. He reveals how the full-frame sensor has pixels that are 21% larger than in previous EOS cameras to allow for more light to be captured, with less likelihood of motion blur, plus how the DIGIC 5+ processors offer two stops of noise benefit over previous EOS DSLRs, as well as a standard ISO range of 100 to 51,200 (expandable down to 50 and up to 204,800).

The film also features experienced photojournalist Bruno Barbey (Magnum Photos) giving his initial thoughts on the EOS-1D X. Barbey commented: “With the motordrive you can shoot at up to 12 frames per second so, you can imagine if you are in a war situation or shooting sport, it’s impossible to miss a good picture. You can work incredibly well in low light because ISO can go up to 200,000, which means at night you can photograph things that even your eyes don’t see.”

The camera's CMOS sensor uses gapless microlenses located above each photodiode to maximise the light gathering capability, no matter what angle the light arrives at the sensor from. It is the first time gapless microlenses have been employed on a full-frame sensor and they help to open up the high ISO capabilities of the camera.

The EOS-1D X uses a 16-channel high-speed output with two-vertical-pixel simultaneous readout to allow the 14 frames per second shooting speed – a first for a camera with a 35mm full-frame digital sensor. The sensor has also been developed to excel when capturing Full 1080p HD Movie footage to show reduced moiré patterning and false colour, offering greater detail and improved image quality.

DIGIC 5+ processors

The Dual “DIGIC 5+” processors offer increased processing power that, combined with the improvements in sensor design, has allowed an increase in high ISO performance with a gain of two stops over the EOS-1D Mark IV in the normal range, to ISO 51,200, before ISO expansion is set. Extra processing power means setting High ISO noise reduction to Strong will not reduce the number of continuous shots that can be captured in a burst.

Enhanced DIGIC 5+ processing has also allowed developments in in-camera lens correction. The new Chromatic aberration correction removes colour fringing and halos around high contrast edges, thereby improving the overall image quality and maximising the performance with Canon lenses.