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Technical

June 2014

The EOS-1D X is Canon’s flagship professional DSLR and offers photographers a host of features including an 18.1 Megapixel full-frame sensor, a 61-point AF system, up to 14 frames per second shooting and ISO capabilities up to 204,800. This highly advanced EOS camera is the choice of many of the world’s top photographers who are seeking to benefit from its potent combination of speed, performance, customisable options and reliability. CPN spoke to a variety of photographers who have recently started shooting with the EOS-1D X to get their opinions on the camera - just click on their names in the black bar below to find out their stories.

Sports photographer Keith Campbell is based in Scotland and has been working with the Canon EOS-1D X DSLR and EF lenses since October 2013. Here he explains his initial thoughts on working with the EOS System and chooses his favourite image taken with the EOS-1D X.

What Canon cameras and EF lenses are in your kitbag?

“I have a good collection of lenses to suit the needs of a sports photographer – the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM and EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lenses, plus the EF20mm f/2.8 USM, EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF400mm f/2.8L IS II USM fixed focal length lenses. As for cameras... I have three EOS-1D X bodies and I also use a PowerShot G1 X, which is a great little camera – I have taken some great pictures with it that have appeared in The Scottish Sun; [it gives] stunning [picture] quality and is very easy to use.”

Please tell us the story behind your favourite image taken with the EOS-1D X?

© Keith Campbell/The Scottish Sun

Hearts’ Callum Paterson (far right) scores his second goal against Hibernian in a 2-1 win for Hearts during a Scottish Premiership match at Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland, on 27 April 2014. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF20mm f/2.8 USM lens; the exposure was 1/640sec at f/2.8, ISO 125.

“My favourite picture was taken at the Hibs v Hearts derby game at Easter Road near the end of the [2013-14] football season. Callum Paterson scored with a great header, his second goal of the game. The picture was taken on my third EOS-1D X, with my fixed 20mm lens attached, that I use as a remote camera behind the goal. I also had a decent image from my position to the left of the goal, which I shot with a 70-200mm lens, but it was just another goal picture from that position.

When I downloaded the pictures from the remote camera, I had already lined up the picture from my 70-200mm [lens] to send to my picture desk but the determination on the Hearts players’ faces looking right down the lens of my remote picture made it a far better image.

The Hearts team were the underdogs going into this game and they were already relegated because of a 15-point deduction for going into administration. The Hearts team completely overran the Hibs team with a very young group of players who showed great courage and determination. I thought that this picture showed that. I didn’t even send the photo taken on the 70-200mm as the remote image told the story of the game. The picture was published and fitted really well with the reporter’s match report.”

How have you found the EOS-1D X DSLR performs in terms of speed and frame rate, for example, up to 14fps?

“This camera is amazing! The great thing about the 14fps frame rate is that you miss nothing and, most importantly, every frame is razor-sharp. The only problem that you have is what frame to send to your picture desk!”

What is your opinion of the overall image quality performance of the EOS-1D X?

“In my opinion the image quality is second-to-none and the ability to crop into the frame and not lose any quality is a real plus for me. I have used images [shot] from the other end of a football pitch that I have cropped beyond imagination; then have had the image printed across a double-page [newspaper] spread and it looked great.”

What is your favourite EF lens to work with and why?

“I think that most sports photographers would answer this question with the lens that we use most - the 400mm f/2.8 which is a truly great lens. But my favourite is the 300mm f/2.8 (pictured right) because it is so versatile and lightweight. The 300mm is extremely sharp, very light and can be used handheld or on a monopod. I use this lens when I’m photographing rugby as it’s easier to move position when you don’t have to lug a monopod around with you. In this situation I usually have my 1.4x converter handy if the play moves quickly to the other side of the pitch.

The 300mm is also fantastic for indoor sports like basketball. It’s such a bright lens so the action is incredibly clear and when you are photographing basketball you have to be quick. The high ISO quality of the EOS-1D X combined with the 300mm is the perfect combination for indoor sport.”

What is your opinion of the autofocus capabilities of the EOS-1D X?

“The autofocus is fail-safe, 99% of my pictures are sharp and this is brilliant when you are photographing a fast-moving sport like football. After trying various settings I have settled on the tennis mode that seems to suit my needs for all sport perfectly.”

How does the EOS-1D X handle in terms of ease of use and camera settings?

“The EOS-1D X is very easy to use. Settings that you need to change quickly are extremely easy to get to and the ability that you have to change button modes means that you can customise the camera to suit your needs. The EOS-1D X is without doubt the easiest camera to use that I have ever owned and the positioning and layout of the function buttons and dials make it the perfect camera for anyone wanting to capture a great image. The EOS-1D X also feels great in the hand and fills you with confidence.”

What is your favourite feature of the EOS-1D X DSLR and what does it add to your photography?

“No question about it, in my opinion the best feature on the EOS-1D X is the Auto ISO. I use it all of the time at football matches where the available light is changing quickly. By using Auto ISO I can be sure that the image is the best quality available when you press the shutter release. The accuracy of this feature is incredible and never fails to produce a great image. For football I usually set my camera to manual, set my lens to f/2.8 and set the shutter speed to 1/800th of a second. I then set the ISO [range] to Auto and just concentrate on the action.”

Do you have any other overall thoughts about working with the EOS-1D X and EF lenses?

“The sharpness of the EF lenses is the best that I have ever seen and the great build quality means that even [when] using them on a daily basis they never let you down. Combined with the light weight of long lenses, they make the Canon EF range the finest and most versatile in the world.”

What would be your best piece of advice for up and coming photographers in your genre (sports) of photography?

“Don’t be frightened to make use of all the great features that you have access to on the EOS-1D X and EF lenses. I have often thought that I could out-smart my camera, but I’ve learned over the years that these cameras are good; very good, and on most occasions they will work it out for you. If you learn how to use the built-in features you can trust them to take great pictures for you without giving you brain damage. These cameras and lenses are precision instruments that have never let me down.”

Biography: Keith Campbell

Keith Campbell

Keith Campbell was a professional golfer for 28 years as well as being a keen amateur photographer. As a result of his interest in photography he was approached by Mark Sweeney (Picture Editor of The Scottish Sun newspaper) to become part of his team. He started off covering general news and sports and then got the opportunity to specialise as a sports photographer. He mainly works with Glasgow Rangers Football Club but also photographs major events in a variety of other sports, including rugby, basketball, athletics, boxing and golf.



Showcase

Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd (left) celebrates scoring against Partick Thistle with teammate Manuel Pascali during the Scottish Premiership game on 21 December 2013. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM zoom lens at a focal length of 145mm; the exposure was 1/640sec at f/2.8, ISO 2500.