It’s a Whole New World: 1D X AF at f/8 « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

It's a Whole New World: 1D X AF at f/8

This Comedocino was photographed at Farellones, Los Andes with the Canon 500mm f/4L EF IS II USM lens, the Canon 2x EF Extender III (Teleconverter), and the Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera body.
ISO 800. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/10.

Central sensor Expand AI Servo/Rear Focus AF and re-compose. Click on the image for a larger version.

Thanks to my new friend, Osvaldo Larrain (Fotografo Profesional) and his pal Walter, for guiding Denise and I to two great spots near Santiago, Chile over three days, 10/17-19. You can see lots of Osvaldo’s killer images here. Not only is Osvlado Chile’s best bird photographer, but both he and Walter are two of the nicest, sweetest folks you could ever hope to meet. More on these two great guys later, and still more when I get back to civilization.

I saw what seemed to be an accurate rumor of the new firmware on Wednesday but could not corroborate it. That came on Thursday morning. I downloaded the new firmware here and loaded it onto my 1D X on the way up the Andes in search of Condors. I did not get to try out f/8 AF until late in the day when we got to photograph some nice songbirds including the male Comedocino above. Lots of folks have been announcing AF at f/8; here you get to see what you can do.

Being very brief here, AF at f/8 changes everything as far a lens choice: the new 600 becomes far more attractive for folks with a 1D X and the 800 loses some of its luster…. There are many ramifications. More on that when I get back home on 11/11.

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You can see the entire glitzy announcement here and download the firmware here.

It’s a Whole New World: Canon EOS-1D X AF at f/8

AF at f/8

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., October 17, 2012 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced a new firmware update in response to user requests which further enhances the capabilities of Canon’s flagship EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. The EOS-1D X will now be capable of AF point illumination during AI Servo AF and cross-type AF for maximum apertures as small as f/8. The new firmware update is available now at no charge from the Canon U.S.A. website and can be downloaded by end users or through Canon Factory Service Centers.

AF Point Illumination During AI Servo AF

To support the needs of wedding, portrait, sports, wildlife, and theatrical performance photographers working in low light, the new firmware allows AF points in the EOS-1D X’s viewfinder to be illuminated in red when the shutter button is pressed halfway during AI Servo AF, for easy viewing of the selected point. This valuable feature will enhance the photographers’ ability to aim the camera accurately in low-light conditions, and when photographing dark subjects. To preserve exposure-metering accuracy, illumination is intermittent, not continuous. Three choices will be selectable from the menu system – Non-illuminated, Illuminated (Normal) and Illuminated (Brighter).

Cross-Type AF Support at f/8

The EOS-1D X is equipped with an innovative 61-point High Density Reticular AF System featuring up to 41 cross-type AF points, depending on the lens in use. The cross-type AF points recognize a wide variety of subject matter, making them highly desirable for maximum autofocus performance. Until now, cross-type AF on the EOS-1D X has been limited to EF lenses and lens/extender combinations with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or larger. The new firmware allows cross-type autofocusing with the center AF point even when the maximum aperture of a Canon EF lens/extender combination becomes as small as f/8. Ideal for wildlife photographers and others who often use EF super-telephoto lenses with extenders, this new feature greatly expands the range of EF lens/extender combinations that support autofocus when used with the EOS-1D X.

If AF point expansion is selected with an f/8 maximum aperture lens/extender combination, the four AF points surrounding the center point will act as AF Assist points. This option effectively expands the size of the AF detection area to enhance autofocus performance with subjects that are small in the frame and difficult to track, such as small animals and birds in flight. AF points above and below the center will be sensitive to vertical contrast, while points to the left and right will be sensitive to horizontal contrast.


I will have more to say on the fine points above when I return. Please remember: I will be off line from the very early morning of Saturday, 10/20 until 11/11.

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11 comments to It’s a Whole New World: 1D X AF at f/8

  • Arthur:
    So glad to have met you at Santiago de Chile, hope you had a good time, and get you back soon.
    Great shot of the “cometocino” (Phrygilus gayi) at “Walter’s Peak” 😉

  • avatar Charles Scheffold

    I’m glad to hear that you were able to get the update before going “off the grid”. Of course, I just bought a 5D Mark III a week before this announcement, because I figured why spend the extra money on the 1D X if I won’t get f/8 AF? Doh! Looks like I am going to end up with both now 😉

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      AF at f/8 for the 5D Mark II coming in April. But the two bodies make a killer bird/wildlife/scenic combo…. And the 1D X rocks for birds….

  • avatar Allan Warner

    As for myu previous question about f 8 v. f 10—you probably focused at f 8 and then just stopped down from there to get more depth of field, right?

  • I stacked my Canon 2x Teleconverter version II, Canon 1.4 version II teleconverter on my 500mm F4 L is, and the 1Dx with new firmware and it autofocuses. It registered at F8. It was not fast, but it worked. I wonder if it will do the same with version III equipment?

  • Big surprise the 5 DMKIII works brilliant with f8 and all focusing points work… just the actual aperture is not transmitted to the camera but the quality isn’t to bad

    have a look

    This is with the 500mm 1.4 Canon + 1.4 Tamron…..

    Cheers Gerhard

    @Art great capture of a stunning bird

  • avatar Allan Warner

    Great news. Hope similar new firmware for 5 D III will follow. Caption on Comedocino bird shot say ” f 10″, not the f 8 that discussion was about. Is this a typo, or was focus done manually?

    Incidentally, Jim, back in Florida said today he did not know the amount of the discount for late registrants for the Bosque IPT, but that spots were available.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      5D III AF at f/8 coming in April. If a combo focuses to f/8 you are free to shoot at smaller apertures and still get AF…. We are now offering the largest ever late-registration discount and Jim knows about it 🙂

  • avatar Nick Sharp

    This is great news. Thanks for the email. Now my desire for getting a 1DX grows a lot stronger.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      After I wrecked my first one–it is in the shop–I purchased a second one 🙂 Please remember to use our B&H link once you succumb.