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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.

Photographers Alex Chailan and David Piole (who collectively are have been working with Canon EOS-1D X DSLRs and EF lenses since November 2013. They deliver their thoughts on working with the EOS System and choose their favourite EOS-1D X image.

What Canon cameras and EF lenses are in your kitbag?

David Piolé explains: “I have one EOS-1D X and one EOS 5D Mark III body. My lenses are the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, the EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, the EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM and the EF300mm f/2.8L IS II USM. I also use three Speedlite 600EX-RT flashguns.”

Alex Chailan reveals: “I also have one EOS-1D X and one EOS 5D Mark III body. My lenses are the EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, the EF35mm f/1.4L USM, the EF50mm f/1.2L USM, the EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, the EF85mm f/1.2L II USM, the EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM and the EF135mm f/2L USM. I also use two Speedlite 600EX-RT flashes.”

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


Twice MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (centre) signing autographs during the Le Mans MotoGP weekend on 16 May 2014. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF35mm f/1.4L USM lens; the exposure was 1/200sec at f/1.4, ISO 100.

“Well, [it is] probably one of the last [images] that we did recently. We work a lot for Monster Energy and, for the MotoGP in Le Mans, they were a ‘title sponsor’ and organised some activities around the track. Usually we work with our lighting generator pack for these [type of] pics but, as we mentioned, the dynamic range of the camera is really wide, so even to do pictures as classic reportage, we tried to play with the light and the 35mm lens at f/1.4. The sunset was really in the perfect position and, for the signing session with Jorge Lorenzo (twice MotoGP World Champion), we could create a really soft and relaxed mood.”

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

“The performance for [frame] rate and speed is just amazing. We don’t shoot a lot of pure action but it’s really a pleasure to have this possibility. For example, in motor racing we can shoot 14 pictures and maybe 11 or 12 [of them] are in focus; we had never seen that before.”

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

“What is very important for us is the true colours that the 1D X delivered. The whites in the pictures are white all the time; in bad light conditions (we work in RAW, but in post-processing we can easily adjust the white balance), and at high ISOs too. In motor racing in the garage of some teams who have green and white [team colours] with a lot of green, the whites stay white, and there’s no problem if we are [working] at ISO 6000.

Colours, in general, are close to perfection. For [shooting] faces the skin tones are really good too. We work a lot with PhaseOne IQ, which is amazing for skin tones, and with Canon we are close to these tones; for a 35mm system it’s really good and this is really important when we work with the two brands on the same set. With other cameras we found that [the skin tones of] people were yellow and it was really difficult to fix it, so we never mixed the [image] production with the PhaseOne [results].

High ISO [performance] is unbelievable; it’s possible to do many things with this [1D X] body. Even if we are [shooting] at ISO 6400, we still have texture and good colours; there is not a lot of blur.”

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

Alex Chailan reveals: “The prime lenses are fantastic. The new 24-70mm [zoom] too but, in my case I didn’t use it a lot, since I worked with medium format (in 2010), I used no zoom lenses, and I feel very good [working] like this. So, with the opportunity to switch to Canon, I brought all the prime [lenses] I need. The quality, sharpness at wide apertures, the contrast and colour, the entire mood they [the lenses] provide helped me to re-discover the 35mm camera system.”

David Piolé explains: “The 35mm is amazing in reportage, we discovered this kind of lens and I think the possibilities [with it] are endless. The 85mm (pictured right) is also amazing. When you’re looking for creative photographs these lenses are good tools.”

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

David Piolé explains: “In AI Servo [mode] it works really well; out of focus is something we see less now. For action shots on the track, the autofocus is formidable, I will explain why. With our other camera system, the focus worked fine but worked via contrast, so when there were different colours on the bike, often, some bikes were really hard to catch. Now, with the 1D X, we don’t seem to have this problem. The system is fantastic because, as we saw, it doesn’t ‘care’ about the colour of the subject, and works very well. The new firmware provides good things for the AF settings; the possibilities to fire only if the first and second frame are in focus is really good. For example, for basketball games the precision is fantastic; really fast.”

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

“We don’t use a lot of different styles of picture because we shoot in RAW and prefer to adjust afterwards and keep the best possibilities in post-production. We don’t work for press [agencies or publications], so we never have to rush to send pictures. The menus are good and clear, and one really good point is the 1D X has the same menu as with the 5D; it was not the same before.”

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

David Piolé says: “Generally, all is good in this body. We can customise buttons to our preferences so the ergonomics are good and the menu is clear, so it’s no problem to use it.

The sensor has a really good dynamic [range] and can provide us some spectacular pictures, for example when we have sun in the field of the camera (see the picture of Jorge Lorenzo at Le Mans, below), it can improve our creative possibilities a lot.

For basketball games I like to use the ‘rating’ function: I give stars to the good pictures and, after, in my software (CaptureOne) I automatically find the image ratings and the selected pictures; I can work so fast with this.”

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

“It’s difficult to answer because each person is different. In our case we enjoy each time we shoot, even if the situations on location are hard. Always believe in your ability; be honest with your own production, if it’s good you know, if it’s bad too, and the next time you will remember what works or doesn’t.

Lots of people forget that it’s not the camera system that takes the pics, it’s how you catch the light etc. When we started we didn’t have all of this [equipment] and we try to be different in our approach to the photography, this is why we have worked together since 2009… because we like the same kind of pictures. The vision of what you do and provide is the most important, even if you shoot with medium format [cameras] or a phone, for example. Creating your own style is not easy. Sure, photographers can inspire you but don’t copy [them] as you will be not credible.”

Biografía: Alex Chailan &
David Piolé

Alex Chailan &<br /> David Piolé

French photographers Alex Chailan (far left) and David Piolé (left) have been professionals for 10 years and began to work together in 2009 (and do so to this day as A&D). Since then they have primarily worked in the world of MotoGP bike racing, providing advertising, fashion and PR pictures to teams, sponsors, organisations and riders. They specialise in providing production shoots during MotoGP race weekends using studio lighting or generator packs when shooting in the pit lanes or on the starting grids of MotoGPs.


A portrait of MotoGP rider Bradley Smith of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, 19 March 2014. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF85mm f/1.2L II USM lens; the exposure was 1/640sec at f/4, ISO 100.