The Canon EOS 1DX mark II AF settings for Bird & Wildlife Photography are very similar to the Canon EOS 7d mark II and Canon EOS 1DX ones. I had a very short time to put a few frames in the new body and to run a first field test. So, this is a short review where I tried to push the camera where the prior generation was meeting some limits in the bird and wildlife photography arena.

AF settings_Canon 1dX mark II

As you may see above, the dimensions to adjust are the same as prior bodies with one additional measure unit in the Accel/Decel. tracking dimension. I decided to follow the same settings than with the Canon 7d mark II to the exception of one thing:

1. Tracking sensitivity => how fast the AF system reacts to a new object entering the scene. It is better than the autofocus system is not too reactive to avoid having the autofocus locking on another bird or animal crossing in between you and your subject. I recommend -1.
2. Accel./decel. tracking => Even though another measure unit has been added here, I still recommend to push it to the max all the way to the right in order to stay locked on sudden accelerations such as take offs and landings.
3. AF pt auto switching => speed at which the AF system changes from one point to another when having AF point expansion activated. I changed my mind here and think that all the way to the left is the better approach. If the bird decides to jump to the side all of a sudden, the autofocus will stay focused on my subject’s target zone a bit longer and avoid having the autofocus system to look for a subject that is no longer there, maybe locking on something else in the process.

Lens Aberration Correction_Canon 1dX mark II

The Lens Aberration Correction settings is new! More specifically, having the Diffraction Correction on allows for a slight sharpening of the details and a mitigation of the low pass filter, which very slightly blurs the image by design in order to avoid pattern issues in the image. The elimination of the low pass filter is what gives the extra sharpness edge to the Canon EOS 5DS R. This a very well welcomed feature!!

The combination of better ISO performance, higher battery power, better image quality, slight sharpness improvement and autofocusing with all focus points at f/8 does help when adding teleconverters to your lens! I have to admit, it might be the main reason why I decided to upgrade from the Canon EOS 1DX.

Alaska Bald Eagles in flight - Photography Tour

Adult Bald Eagles in flight – South of Anchorage, Alaska
ISO 1000 | f/5.6 | 1/1600 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo | rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS II USM lens (review here) with at 400mm, the Canon EOS 1DX mark II

The photograph of the Bald Eagles in flight above is a testament to the quality of the Canon 1dX mark II autofocus system. Even in low light conditions, the focus acquisition is lightning fast.

Roseate Spoonbill banking in flight - Photo Workshop

Spoonbill with full breeding colors banking in flight – Tampa Bay Spoonbill rookery, Florida
ISO 500 | f/5.6 | 1/5000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review) with a 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 1DX mark II on lowered tripod in the water with a Jobu Design Gimbal Head.

From day one, I have striven to create this image: a perfect banking movement with wings and feet fully extended, in front of a very pleasing blurred green background. Working with extender is absolutely no problem given the higher power of the Canon 1dX mark II battery. This is one of the main advantages over working with a prosumer body. In fact, I recently discovered that working with the 2.0x extender was still a very viable solution for action shots. This is only true with this body though…

Florida Ospreys Photography Tour

Florida Ospreys Photography Tour

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

Florida Spoonbills Photography Workshop

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Comments (2)

  1. nilesh Tandel


    Hi !! I am using 400 DO is with 1 DX mark2 body . I too have 100-400 is2 which i never pluged with 1dx . Would you say perfect ness & sharpness is better with 100-400 is2 . thanks . Nilesh T

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