Let’s be honest. Many of the assignments photojournalists are sent to are mundane. Most of our sports assignments are at high schools. Most of the politicians we photograph are members of the city council or county board.
So how does the 1DX hold up with the daily grind of a photojournalist? Very, very well.
Let’s start with the easy thing. Sports. As I mentioned in my previous post about this camera, the auto focus speed and accuracy is incredible. Twelve frames per second helps you nail the right moment in peak action.
I shot my first baseball game with this camera last week. I shot the game with either just a Canon 300mm f/2.8 or that lens paired with a 1.4x teleconverter (which makes it a 420mm f/4). One of the first things I noticed was how quick it was to lock on to action and stay there.
Sometimes, I’ll have my camera trained on a certain player when the action happens in another direction. Before, I would quickly pan my camera pressing the auto focus button, only to have the camera hunt for focus. Often times, the play would be over before the camera finally focused. Not anymore.
While my camera was trained elsewhere, a runner on first stole to second. I turned and fired. The frame was crooked. Nothing a little rotational crop couldn’t fix. But it was in focus. Not a spectacular frame. But it was in focus. This goes to show that the camera will be ready to keep up with me when a spectacular play does happen.
As I continued to shoot the game, I noticed how minimally the auto focus speed and accuracy was affected by the 1.4x teleconverter. The images were still razor sharp and in focus almost instantly. The high resolution of the camera allowed me to shoot deep into the outfield and crop later, maintaining tremendous detail. The image below originally had the entire body of the outfielder, as well as much more of the background.
I also have had the opportunity to take this camera to a track meet or two. Again, the moment you point the camera and hit the focus button, it’s on.
It would be redundant for me to say it again, but this camera has rocked at soccer too.
But my job isn’t all sports. And luckily, the 1DX isn’t either. It has superb focusing in low light situations. Not to mention the image quality at high ISOs. The following image was shot at ISO 5000. Still crisp and clean. I was able to use the faint overhead and window lights, giving it a more natural look without requiring any additional lighting.
And of course, it does play well with artificial lighting.
The high-resolution (18 megapixel) sensor has already saved my butt a few times. Sometimes, long glass isn’t long enough. You need the digital crop that high resolution cameras can give with clarity.
I was at a spot news assignment where a murder suspect had been caught. We knew the police had the suspect in the back of a police van and we were waiting for them to transfer him to a squad car. While ultimately they did the exchange out of our view, I was able to snap a few frames when they briefly opened the van door. I was shooting with a Canon 300mm f/4 lens from a good distance away but had the resolution to crop in and see the suspect. While I did do a little dodging to the suspect’s face, it’s not as much as you might think. This camera maintains detail in a wide tonal range unbelievably well.
Lastly, a fun assignment (as long as it’s just a drill). The Chicago Rockford International Airport held a disaster drill, practicing as if two airplanes collided midair. Emergency responders had to react on the fly. People were made to look injured or dead, scattered around the crash site.
I think it goes without saying, this camera performed flawlessly again.
I continue to learn new things about this camera. There are infinite customization options and it seems like it can handle anything I throw at it. From mundane to major, this camera is ready for everything I’ve got and then some.
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