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Canon 1D X versus Canon M5

The Canon EOS-1D X and the Canon EOS M5 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2011 and September 2016. The 1DX is a DSLR, while the M5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (1DX) and an APS-C (M5) sensor. The 1DX has a resolution of 17.9 megapixel, whereas the M5 provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 1D X vs Canon M5

The physical size and weight of the Canon 1D X and the Canon M5 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 1DX – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 1D X vs Canon M5
Compare 1DX versus M5 top
Compare 1DX and M5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M5 is considerably smaller (61 percent) than the Canon 1D X. Moreover, the M5 is substantially lighter (72 percent) than the 1DX. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1DX is splash and dust resistant, while the M5 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the 1DX gets 1120 shots out of its LP-E4N battery, while the M5 can take 295 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 1D X» 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1551 g 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon M5« 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon 200D« » 122 mm 93 mm 70 mm 453 g 650 n Jun 2017 549 i i Canon 200D
Canon 77D« » 131 mm 100 mm 76 mm 540 g 600 n Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 760D« » 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 849- i Canon 760D
Canon M3« » 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon 6D« » 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark III« » 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 950 g 950 Y Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D C« » 158 mm 164 mm 83 mm 1545 g 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon 5D Mark II« » 152 mm 114 mm 75 mm 850 g 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 150 mm 160 mm 80 mm 1385 g 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » 156 mm 157.6 mm 80 mm 1215 g 1200 Y Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D5« » 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Nikon D4S« » 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
Nikon D4« » 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Sony RX100 IV« » 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 298 g 280 n Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The M5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 86 percent) than the 1DX, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1D X vs Canon M5

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D X features a full frame sensor and the Canon M5 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the M5 is 62 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon 1D X and Canon M5 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the M5 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 17.9 MP of the 1DX. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 6.95μm for the 1DX). However, it should be noted that the M5 is much more recent (by 4 years and 10 months) than the 1DX, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

1DX versus M5 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 1DX has a notably higher overall DXO score than the M5 (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.6 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 1D X» Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
Canon M5« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
Canon 200D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon 200D
Canon 77D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.397178Canon 77D
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 760D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570Canon 760D
Canon M3« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972Canon M3
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark III« » Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----Canon 1D C
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
Nikon D4S« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
Sony RX100 IV« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.659170Sony RX100 IV

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the M5 provides a faster frame rate than the 1DX. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the 1DX is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D X vs Canon M5

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M5 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the 1DX has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1D X and Canon M5 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 1D X»optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
Canon M5«2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M5
Canon 200D« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 200D
Canon 77D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n Canon 77D
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 760D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n Canon 760D
Canon M3« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Canon M3
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark III« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 6.0 n n Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D C
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 8000 14.0 n n Nikon D5
Nikon D4S« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4
Sony RX100 IV« »2359 n 3.0 1228 tilting n 2000 16.0 Y Y Sony RX100 IV

The M5 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the 1DX has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 1DX was succeeded by the Canon 1DX Mark II.

Review summary: Canon 1D X vs Canon M5

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 1D X better than the Canon M5 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D X:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1120 versus 295) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in October 2011).


Advantages of the Canon EOS M5:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 17.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 16%.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 1040k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More compact: Is smaller (116x89mm vs 158x168mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 1124g or 72 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (86 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 1DX launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the M5 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 9 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

1DX 09:13 M5

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1DX or the M5. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 1D X»--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon M5«Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon 200D« »HiRec78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549 i i Canon 200D
Canon 77D« »-82/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 899 i i Canon 77D
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 760D« »Rec77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 849- i Canon 760D
Canon M3« »rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark III« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-HiRec--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
Nikon D4S« »--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Sony RX100 IV« »HiRec85/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 999- i Sony RX100 IV

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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