Should I buy the 1DX or the 5D Mark 3?

I’ll be honest with you! If the Canon 1DX and the 5D Mark 3 were my only two options, for the similarities involved, I would buy the 5D Mark 3. Why?
In my previous blog, I found 9 similar features between these two cameras and I think those 9 features are definitely great to have on the new 5D. The differences to me aren’t worth the extra $3000 for a EOS 1DX, but then again some features on the 1DX could be worth it if you really need it.

Reasons To Buy The 5D Mark 3 Instead Of The 1DX:

  1. Both cameras are full frame but the 5D Mark 3 is cheaper. Click here to see it’s price on a competitive scale.
  2. 2 Digic 5+ processors on the 1DX are great to have on a camera and it will undoubtedly increase the speed and quality of the photos in which they are processed, but the 5D Mark 3 already uses one of them which still makes it a very advanced camera. (Remember the 5D Mark 2 uses just one Digic 4 processor and it’s a legendary camera!!!)
  3. The high ISO capabilities are also great to have but lets be real! In my work, I never really used H1 and H2 ISO settings and don’t think I will if I get the 1DX. Moreover, the ISO range of the 5D Mark 3 exceeds most standards that most pros use.
  4. Noise reduction with the help of the new Digic 5+ Processors is also great to have but I need to test and see the differences between these two cameras. My only reservation about noise correction is that digital noise can be fixed easily in post with photo applications such as photoshop.
  5. Intelligent subject analysis only exists on the 1DX but one must ask, do we need it? Yes it’s nice to have, but to me, it’s not necessary because I don’t like having a computer do all the lighting or color corrections for me. I rather learn how to adapt to different ambient and flash metering situations manually. Besides, it helps me become a better and knowledgeable photographer in the long run and could save my wallet. Maybe I’m just being old-school but if you don’t have the time, then may be the 1DX is perfect for you.
  6. Contrary to what some people say about megapixels, size matters to me! Why? Flexibility. I like to have a lot of megapixels and then be able to adjust how much I can use depending on what is involved (JPEG, sJPEG, RAW, sRAW, and etc. ). I find it strange however that the most expensive of the two, the 1DX, has lesser megapixels than the cheaper 5D Mark 3. Then again, may be this was not technologically possible especially when a lot of emphasis was going for the high shooting rate of 14 fps.  BTW, if the 1DX had the same megapixel quality as the 5D and shot at 14fps, the total amount of megapixels it will need to process will equal 323.4  megapixels!!! Just can’t imagine the buffering load because that is a lot of data!!!
  7. Price…. a 1DX will cost about $6,500!!! The 5D will be about $3500 ! With those numbers, I think would rather buy a 5D Mark 3. With the extra change I would have left, I’ll be able to get some high quality lenses. Or since the price of the 5D Mark 2 is expected to fall, why not buy a full-frame 5D Mark 2 and buy some lenses. Use your money wisely “they” always say, even if you have lots of it!!!
  8. Size! The 5D Mark 3 is smaller and lighter than the 1DX. It feels good to hold a big camera esp a camera from the 1D series but holding a 1DX for hours will be a pain!!! Actually if feels just like the 7D.
  9. Battery type. The 5D Mark 3, 5D Mark 2, and the 7D use the same batteries. As an owner of a 5D MK II, I think it would be convenient to have another camera that uses the same batteries.
  10. I don’t always use the “rapid machine gun style photo shooting” on all my cameras. Again 14 shots per second is really sweet to have especially for London 2012 or shooting other high action sports but in reality, 6 fps on the 5D Mark 3 is good enough for most pro photographers! (Honestly, I’d get a GoPro Hero 2 because it can shoot great quality images at a rate of 11 shots in a second!)
  11. Great HD VIDEO!!!
  12. Good ergonomics! Here’s my blog about the feel of the Canon 5D Mark 3!!!

Different User Classes

I almost forgot that these two featured cameras are in different user class ranks. The 1DX is in the professional ranks, while the 5D is in the advanced user rank. Regardless of the ranks, the 5D Mark 3 I predict will be a preferred camera among professionals and semi-pros because of their similar features! Of them, the full frame sensor is my most favorite feature. But now, we have the most compact full frame camera called the EOS 6D!

In addition,  I really think that the 5D Mark 3 has it all except the speed of the 1DX. If you want to go for speed, get the 1DX. For everything else, get the 5D Mark 3.

Don’t Forget The 5D Mark 2!!!

I’m a real happy user of the 5D Mark 2!!! It has the potential to do what most photographers and filmmakers want Also, since the price is expected to drop, why not get the Mark 2 which has been used by many professionals.

As a note… If you never shot with full frame before or want to try industry level video, try the 5D Mark 2. The 5D Mark 2 is still an awesome camera that is cheaper than both the Mark 3 and the 1DX. Check out how the 5D Mark 2 was used to make the movie Act of Valor.

Some upgrades on the Mark 3  that really catch my eye compared to the mark 2 are the 5+ Digic processor and the 60P video frame rate that is nonexistent on the Mark 2. Some say they would get it for the 61 AF points but I think that’s a bit redundant and here’s why!

Maybe I’ll just buy another 5D Mark 2 as a backup camera… hmmm… or maybe I’d just buy the new EF 24-70 Mark 2! Let’s see!

For Digital Photography Success, click here!
Learn more about the author

*I use affiliate links at no cost to you. If you choose to make a purchase through my link I make a small commission. Thank you for trusting my recommendations!

5 thoughts on “Should I buy the 1DX or the 5D Mark 3?”

  1. Thanks
    Thanks for writing this article. I made up my mind to buy the 5D Mark 3 which is coming in the mail within a day or two.

  2. 5D Mark3 Vs. the 1DX
    Hello Joe,

    Appreciate the comment. Thank you.

    I hope you have fun with your new 5D Mark 3. The Mark 3 is impressing a lot of pros with what it can do. One hell of an investment to make if you’re a serious photographer/ videographer! 😀

  3. The new 5D is awesome.
    The new 5D is awesome. I have to mention that this article help make that choice to get the mark 3 instead of waiting for the 1dX. Do you know what it taking so long for the 1dx?

    Anyway I’m 3000 dollars happier and pleased with what the new 5D can do.

    • 1DX release
      Hello Shaun,

      Glad to hear you made that choice.

      To be honest, I have no idea why the 1DX is not out yet. I know that the 1DX was used extensively at the London Olympics but none of them are out in the public yet.

      Good luck with your photography and feel free to share your experiences!


Leave a Comment