1D X II, 5DS R and 7D II AF Drive Speed Compared

I’m currently waiting for Capture One to support the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II. RAW converter options available at the moment (Canon DPP and Photoshop/Lightroom) do not cut it. Their output is seriously underwhelming compared to Capture One, so I’m trying to avoid to check the camera’s image quality now. That leaves other operational aspects to examine.

My current main camera is the EOS 5DS R – it will definitely remain in this position even with the 1D X Mark II at hand. I highly doubt that the 1D X will be able to challenge its superlative image quality. On the other hand, slow frame rate and especially the small buffer are a headache from time to time.


Swan – 5DS R with the 500/4 IS II and 1.4x III teleconverter

That’s why I had been carrying a 7D Mark II in my bag for the last year and a half. But now the 1D X Mark II casts a shadow on the 7D Mark II’s future…

Today I did a little test to compare the AF drive speed of these three cameras with my Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM – naked lens, as well as with the 1.4x III and 2x III teleconverters.

The measurement was simple: recorded a video of the focus distance scale during a full stroke “infinity to minimum focusing distance to infinity” focus drive operation, and then counted how many frames the operation took.

It took a tad less than 0.8 seconds for the 1D X Mark II to execute this operation regardless of whether a converter was attached or not. What surprised me is that the 5DS R produced the exact same result. I must conclude that stories about the 1D’s more powerful battery in connection with the AF drive speed are marketing bullshit. The 5DS R with a weaker battery can do the same. Even with a teleconverter attached.

The 7D Mark II is a different story, though. The naked lens produced the same 0.8 seconds result, but extenders took their toll. The 1.4x slowed focusing time by some 17%, and with the 2x the full stroke took twice as much time as with the naked lens.

In today’s test the 1D X Mark II scored a win against the 7D Mark II, but the true winner for me is the 5DS R… I expected 7D Mark II level performance from the camera, and being on par with the 1D X just makes me to admire it even more.