Canon’s Latest Firmware Update for the 1D-X Allows Cross Type AF at F8

We’re still waiting for a review unit of the Canon 1D X, but today Canon announced a new downloadable firmware update for the camera. In a nutshell, here’s the rundown:

– 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…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).”

This should’ve been a feature in the camera already and I’m amazed that that wasn’t in there when the 7D had it.

– 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.”

Sounds pretty exciting. Somewhere else where this might be useful: photographers that focus and recompose but do so slightly at f8.

In the meantime, you can check out our hands on experience with the camera. If you already own the camera, head over to this link to get your update.