Canon: why the 1DX Mark III is a DSLR rather than a mirrorless camera

The Canon 1DX Mark III, arguably the biggest camera story of CES 2020, is a bit of a conundrum. It’s a cutting-edge professional sports camera, perhaps the most advanced ever made. And yet it also has a DSLR design that looks and feels pretty dated in this mirrorless age. So why has Canon stuck to DSLR tradition for a camera that, in every other way, feels like a glimpse of the future?

There are a few reasons, some of which Canon revealed to us during pre-brief event for the 1DX Mark III in Marbella, Spain. Canon has long been in the classic incumbent position of needing to balance the needs of existing photographers, while attracting new ones with shiny innovation. And it certainly isn’t stubbornly ignorant of the mirrorless benefits showcased by the likes of the Sony Alpha A9 II (below).

(Image credit: Sony)

As Mike Burnhill, Professional Imaging Product Specialist for Canon Europe, told us: “One day technology will move on and yes, eventually mirrorless will be there for everybody. But there are pros and cons. We understand that you can see what you’re going to take [with mirrorless EVFs]. You can apply your color profile, see in black and white, check the exposure, et cetera. And that’s great for some photography,” he said.


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