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How the Amazing Canon 1D X Mark II Will Change Your Life

Blue-winged Teal (Spatula discors) take off from a Lake in Dallas, Texas.
Blue-winged Teal

This Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) dries his wings at a Lake in Dallas, Texas.
Drying Off

**Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read my full Affiliate Disclaimer here.

I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, “Why the heck is this fool writing a review on the Canon 1D X Mark II when Canon just released their new flagship camera the Canon 1D X Mark III? Simple. The Canon 1D X Mark II is an incredible camera and is still very relevant in the field of wildlife and nature photography. It could very well change your life as a photographer. It has certainly changed mine!

I’m not going to throw a bunch of features, specifications, and information at you. (okay, there is a little tech talk if you are not familiar with the lingo) It’s weird enough that I’m doing a review on a camera that’s been out since 2016 and has recently been replaced by a “better” camera. Instead, I’m going to share with you my thoughts on why this camera is still a great tool for anyone wanting to take their photography to the next level.

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) lands at a lake in Dallas, Texas.
American White Pelican

Let’s be honest. I am not a photography expert. This is just my opinion as an amateur wildlife photographer. The Canon 1D X Mark II is a serious camera for serious photographers with a need for speed and other pro features. There is no little “auto” green square to fall back on. All the images you see in this blog post were taken in my first two outings with the Canon 1D X Mark II and the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens. They are straight from my camera. No editing.

Okay! Here we go!

After ripping open the box and pulling out all the contents like a 5-year-old on Christmas Day, the first thing I noticed was the large camera body. Compared to my Canon 7D, this thing is huge. As I sat on the couch pushing all the buttons and waiting for the battery to fully charge, I became very aware of how comfortable it felt in my hand, and I have small hands! The ergonomics are fantastic. Another thing that stood out to me was the position of the AF-On button. With my 7D, I had to stretch my thumb just a little to reach the AF-On button, which I use a lot for back-button focusing. With the Mark II, the AF-On button is comfortably positioned right where my thumb rests. Also impressive, even though the Mark II is somewhat heavier than my previous camera, it’s not difficult to shoot handheld. I found it very comfortable and maneuverable. You wouldn’t want to shoot like that all day but is manageable for short periods.

I mentioned earlier, I’m shooting with the Tamron 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 lens (which I love). Some reviews I’ve read mention that 2nd party lenses tend to be a little slower when focusing. To my dismay, this lens never focused this fast with the 7D. The 20.2 MP CMOS full-frame sensor with Dual Pixel autofocus locks on and tracts moving objects perfectly. All thanks to Canon's Intelligent Tracking and Recognition (iTR) system. Simply put, when moving from bird to bird, the focus is smooth and accurate. Canon also provides you with plenty of AF options to fit your shooting style and needs.

Let’s move on to Shooting speed. There’s just one thing you need to know about the shooting speed of the Canon 1D X Mark II. At 14 fps in continuous shooting, (16 fps in Live View) it’s fast. Super fast! Super Fast =Super Happy David!

With a lot less noise and a ridiculously fast shutter speed comes sharper images. When you’re using a $6,000 camera (body only) you expect it to be capable of delivering impressive image quality, and the Canon 1D X Mark II is definitely up to the task. The Mark II outperforms all my expectations when it comes to capturing sharp, clear images. Let’s be honest, isn’t that what it’s all about? Being able to capture those beautiful tack-sharp images?

An American white Pelican with no crop with Canon  1Dx Mark II
American White Pelican

No Crop

An American white Pelican at 50% crop with Canon  1Dx Mark II
American White Pelican

50% Crop

An American white Pelican at 100% crop with Canon  1Dx Mark II
American White Pelican

100% Crop

I guess it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. The price! Yes, it is a pricy piece of equipment. Canon lists the 1D X Mk II at $6,000.00. Before you flip out, what if I told you that I purchased mine for $1,700.00 cheaper than the list price? I found that Canon sells refurbished cameras for a lot less than the retail price. They also come with a 1-year warranty. Other online retail stores also offer refurbished cameras for less than Canon does. So, don’t be discouraged if you can’t buy a new, shiny Canon 1D X Mark II camera. You do have less expensive options.

Let’s have a little recap:


1. Ergonomics

2. Amazing focusing capabilities

3. Blazing shutter speed

4. Low noise

5. Incredible image quality


1. Price

In my opinion, if you can afford to purchase a refurbished or even a used Canon 1D X Mk II you will not be disappointed.

As for me, the Canon 1D X Mark II has changed the way I approach certain situations. It has boosted my confidence in capturing wildlife images in not-so-favorable conditions. I guess you can say it has changed my life.

A Mallard duck drake image taken with Canon 1Dx Mark II
Male Mallard Duck

If this is your first time visiting my website or reading one of my blog posts, welcome, and thank you for joining us. Please subscribe here so you can receive updates on the next blog posts on Backyard Birding. You will also receive occasional discounts and newsletters. Please share my blog and galleries with family and friends! Remember to follow the Nature First and Leave No Trace principles and always strive to leave places better than you found them.

Until next time, keep the sun behind you and the birds in view


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