Will the Canon 1DX III Help Save the DSLR Market?

The Canon 1DX III is a specialist tool, but it shows there’s still life left in DSLRs.

There has been a lot of debate about the current state of the camera market. Many believe that DSLRs have had their time and that Mirrorless cameras are now the king of the jungle. Others believe that DSLRs still have a role to play. It seems as though two giants of the industry (Nikon and Canon) think that DSLRs still have some life left in them yet. Canon’s leading the charge with its 90D, and now the newly announced Canon 1DX III. The new Pro body DSLR from Canon will no doubt be a hit with photographers working in the field, but what will these cameras do for the DSLR market overall? Let’s talk about that after the break.

The Canon 1DX III is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful DSLRs ever made. In a world of Mirrorless cameras that boast insanely fast burst rates, and hundreds of autofocus points, the Canon 1DX III stands up alongside them, and on paper, fights them well. The 1DX III sports a new CMOS sensor, and a new DIGIC processor. It will offer significantly improved high ISO performance compared with the 1DX II, and it can shoot 10-bit HEIF (High-Efficiency Image File) format. The Canon 1DX already sounds like a powerful sounding camera.

The 1DX III also boasts 16 frames per second when shooting with the optical viewfinder, and 20 frames per second via live view. You’ll get AF and AE with tracking in both modes, and a RAW buffer that’s five times larger than the buffer on the 1DX II. The Canon 1DX III also boasts Canon’s famous Dual Pixel autofocus, 525 autofocus points when shooting in live view, and deep learning algorithms, which improve tracking and stability. Users should also expect much better dynamic range when compared to the 1DX II, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet connectivity, GPS, and 4K recording at 60p.

Canon 1DX III


The technology that has made Mirrorless cameras so popular is finding its way into DSLRs. The real question is, have manufacturers like Canon and Nikon waited too long to increase the capabilities of DSLRs? I’ve said this before, and I will repeat it. I do genuinely think that DSLRs have a pretty significant role to play in the current camera market. Look along the sidelines of any major sporting event. Check out the photographers at any major news event. What you’ll see is professional photographers mainly using DSLRs.

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Sure, you’ll see Mirrorless cameras at these events. You’ll more than likely see the Mirrorless Sony A9, but the majority of shooters will be sporting tried and true DSLRs because they just work. Sports photographers and photojournalists out in the field have also likely built up massive lens collections over the years. Switching systems probably doesn’t make sense to them financially. Canon and Nikon know this. It’s the reason why the Canon 1DX III and Nikon’s D6 are coming to the marketplace. DSLRs will be here for a while because it’s the right tool for the job for many who work in the field. One area where the DSLR will likely die (albeit slowly) is the consumer market.

Now, let’s be clear here. I’m not saying that as a (insert genre here) photographer, that you’re not a professional. What I’m saying is that most Mirrorless cameras on the market are all the camera most photographers need. There’s simply no real reason to buy a DSLR over a Mirrorless camera unless you prefer the feel of a DSLR and the overall user experience. Mirrorless cameras offer every piece of technology 98% of photographers need, whereas DSLRs which haven’t been updated in years are really showing their age. DSLRs in the consumer space will die off, there’s no doubt about that.

Canon 1DX III

Professional photographers (mainly photojournalists and sports photographers) need ultra-rugged, tough as nails, battle-tested DSLRs like the Canon 1DX III. These cameras are built to survive in the most extreme conditions. They may not have some of the technology that Mirrorless cameras have, but you can bet your bottom dollar on them working in extreme conditions. This is why tools like this exist. Apart from the Olympus OM-D EM1X, which has enough weather sealing to survive the next great flood, Mirrorless cameras just aren’t built to withstand grueling conditions. The newly announced Sony A9 II looks positively dainty in comparison to the new 1DX III and Nikon D6. This is why DSLRs won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon. They will co-exist with Mirrorless cameras for a few more years yet.

If you require a DSLR that’s built to survive the apocalypse, you might be interested in the Canon 1DX III. At the time of writing this piece, Canon has not mentioned potential pricing or release dates. For more information, head on over to the official Canon website.