How did the Canon 1DX perform…..


How did the Canon 1DX perform on its matronly voyage to the Mara? Unbelievably Awesome! Kudos to Canon for rebuilding the AF system from the ground up. I have not been this happy with a “high speed” body, since the 1D Mark II, not to be confused with the 5D Mark II. Yes, the camera is only a tool in the creative process, but when it comes to certain genera’s of photography such as; wildlife, sports, and fast unpredictable action, the AF tracking system, FPS (frames per second), and low light capabilities become critical in capturing compelling moments.

This year, I arrived in the Maasai Mara a few weeks earlier than years past. That was a good thing as the migration was in full swing already. However, since this was only the begging of the massive herds crossing over from the Serengeti, most of the Mara was still covered in beautiful, high, dry, grasses.  It was the perfect cover for the big cats to slither through while hunting prey.  The past few years, this would have been tragic for me, as the AF system on the 1D Mark III (not to be confused with the 5D Mark III) would not have captured the sharp images posted below.

I have posted several series of images to show how well the AF system continuously captured sharp images of cats through the tall grasses, about the same color as their coats, with very little contrast. It was pretty rare that the system focused on a blade of grass, for more than one or two frames, in a burst of shots, if any. I would highly recommend this body to any photographer shooting wildlife, sports, or fast unpredictable action. I am not saying 1DX is better than the D4 by Nikon; I think both are amazing cameras and I would recommend either one!!

I would like to mention that in the past 2 years, it seems Canon has really gotten back on track focusing on their professional line of camera’s and lenses. This has me very excited, as I have always loved my Canon lenses, which I have owned for 8+ years.  As I continue to move my photography forward shooting more video and creating multi media pieces, I am very excited by the R&D Canon has been putting into video. There is also talk about a medium format camera in the works. It’s safe to assume, I will be staying a Canon girl for a while.


For those of you following my long dilemma over switching systems, or not, here are some final words……….

Several months ago, I finally became angry enough to speak out against the photography corporation that had caused me so much grief. This was not done lightly, but after many years of problems with multiple high-end products, witnessed by many friends, colleagues, and workshop participants.  It was also after numerous attempts in respectively speaking with many individuals in the corporation about the problems, to stand behind their product, and do the right thing. The post was not written because I was having a bad day, and one tiny situation set me off.

There was some pretty big backlash to this one blog post and only one announcement of it through FB.  Several high-profile people and photographers, that have never commented or complimented my work, felt the need to jump in and discredit my opinion. Regardless, I am not afraid to speak out, if I highly question the ethics of a company because it seems they have taken advantage of  a lot of consumers, and I want to share my experience with others.

The other side to this is that I am constantly promoting great companies and products that I use and believe in. I think speaking out says a lot about the honesty of my opinion on the companies and products I do promote. I want photographers to know that my opinion is authentic, based on my experience, and not because what a company can do for my career, the free product they may give me, or that I hope they will give me. I want companies to sponsor me and support my work because of my dedication to the art and craft of photography, passion to take risk to tell important stories, and the talent to capture compelling images.























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13 Responses to “How did the Canon 1DX perform…..”

  1. Thorsten Klint

    First beautiful pictures !
    Next, would you be so kind and give me a reference to the article/blog post your are referring to above, since I am in the process of buying a new body e.g. a 1 DX.
    All the best Thorsten

    • Piper Mackay

      Hi Thorsten
      Thank you. The past article/blog was taken down but was not about sharing technical details. You want to choose a body that is the best tool for the photography that you do. If you are not invested in a system yet……If you shoot mostly landscape, I would suggest the D800 by Nikon, if you shoot people and landscape, I would suggest the 5D MarkIII by Canon, also a great body for video. IF you shoot mostly wildlife or fast action I would highly suggest either the 1DX by Canon or the D4 by Nikon- I have used both bodies and they are both great camera’s.

      • Thorsten Klint

        Hi Piper
        Thanks for taking your time and explain and suggest. I do have invested in a system and are presently working with a 5D MarkIII and an 1d Mark IV, but start to get somewhat cumbered by the Mark IV (now passed 100 000 exposures at present), so that’s the reason … it is very nice with someone’s opinion who really have work with the body, and not just tested it in the store. All the best

        • Piper Mackay

          Hi Thorsten
          You are welcome. The top wildlife photographers that shoot with it, raved about it. Do what I did, borrow the lens from borrow lenses for a few days. I went out and shot fast diving pelicans on a cloudy day. I had grey birds, grey skies, grey water, and fast action. The 1DX nailed it every time. I was so impressed. I loved my 1D Mark II years ago, and I am now loving the 1DX… it was actually after the 1D MarkII that they changed the AF system… they have not rebuild it from the ground up….. it’s a great camera, and once again it is exciting to be out photographing wildlife.

  2. don hamilton

    Good morning, please direct me to the blog you are referring too…. so i can catchup… being a 1dx shooter myself.. i think you made a great choice….. Fantastic camera, especially when paired with the the newer state of the art lens offerings!
    Good Shooting!!!

    • Piper Mackay

      Due to all the headaches is caused, I have taken it down. There has been a rather large audience following this story for about a year, so it was mentioned is the blog to put closure to all that went on. At this point, I felt there was no sense in opening back up that “can of worms”, so to speak.
      I am very happy with the performance of the 1DX and that it seems Cannon has gotten back in the game with their professional line of products.

  3. Phyllis Sale

    a million thanks for these impressive pix and history of origin……you are such an asset to us all……..

  4. Russ Considine

    I very enjoyed your article Piper. I have been primarily a Sony user for the past few years after having tried various Nikon and Canon bodies and lenses. Recently I have been thinking of switching to either Nikon or Canon, however your commentary and beautiful photos above may have sold me on trying the Canon 1DX… Thanks for sharing! Russ

    • Piper Mackay


      What I always do and suggest to others, it to rent the gear you are thinking of buying. Companies like Borrowlenese make this a cheap and easy to test out gear before making a large investment.


  5. Gary Hess

    Piper, I have followed this journey of yours and have to say that, at least in my view… all of us will probably benefit from the fact that you had the courage to speak out and did so in what I thought was a constructive way. I am a long-time Canon shooter as well and would not lightly walk away from my investment in what I think is some of the best glass money can buy… but you were right to raise the issues you were having with Canon bodies.. and I am sure they heard you… and others…and they stepped up their game as a result. So, thank you for your part in keeping the industry focused on their customers… we all benefit! And… glad this story had a happy ending… and some exceptional images are proof that it did!

  6. Wayne Marinovich

    Hey Piper.
    Firstly and more importantly – rocking bloody sightings…

    I remember the post well, and I think you were right to take the corporation on, regardless of who they are. I did smile at some of the comments though. I have been very lucky with Canon since 2003, but I have friends that have been lucky and unlucky with Nikon too. Its all angles and grams anyway. Your talent would come through using an iphone. I meet more and more Pros who are shooting with both systems, seems the Nikon cameras and Canon Lenses are the way forward…;-)

    Keep up the great work and look us up if you ever hit London.

    Safe travels and Good light

  7. Kalyan Chakravarthi

    Well said dear friend. I liked ur frankness n the way u live with royal attitude n dedication. Pls continue. Humans need quality not only money.

    Daring images, last pic touched my heart.