The 1D X will be a little better, but you pay a lot to gain very little. I'd rent one and see if it does the job. The AF is about 90% the same, its faster due to the higher voltage driving the AF motor in the lens, but accuracy is not going to be but just a little better. The camera settings you use can have a big impact on the type of use you are doing.
As to your old one, 3 or 4 months is a long time to hold off on a return.
Here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Contact Henry Posner of B&H and ask him for help. He is their Goodwill Ambassador and will do anything he can. e-mail henryp[at]bhphoto.com
2. If you used a credit card, contact your credit card company and see if they can help, sometimes there is insurance that allows a return.
3. Contact KEH and Adorama. They will buy it, but you might not like what they offer.
4. Sell on craigslist, Fred Miranda, or eBay.
Note, prices have dropped, so don't expect to get near the new price when selling used. New, they are found for $3200, and as low as $3,000 on ebay.
Realistically, $2700-$2800 on craigslist or $2900 on ebay is the best you can hope for, assuming its in the box with all accessories and no mechanical scratches or damage from salt spray.
Before you sell it, RENT. Otherwise, you may find that you still do not have a solution. Also make sure you are using a fast lens, f/2 or faster is best. There again, a rental might be smart.
Also consider a more powerful strobe. There are much more powerful ones available.
Wow, very helpful information, I will reach out to Henry and see what can be done. Credit Card may be a good option as well. As for what I am hoping to get, I would hope for $3850, and would try and do the Camera + 24-105mm Lens Kit it came with and the BG-E11 Battery Grip, 4x Canon LP-E6 Batteries + Canon Charger + Pearstone Dual Charger + B+W Filters for 24-105(clear and uv), which would normally be $4300+$240+$650(mixed)... So $1500+/- savings(just some quick math, probably a bit askewed), and yes the whole unit is clean as can be, did not use any of the extra accessories in the box, I keep all my stuff very very very clean, probably too clean, lol. Preferably, I would like to keep the 5D for the underwater stuff I am doing, so I have a Wet Rig and Dry Rig ready at the drop of a hat. But that will just be a huge chunk to endure, but as I am learning fast in this biz, does not come cheap, nor easy
And on the note of your suggestion of the function of the 1DX, the AF being faster is what is going to make ALL the difference on me getting a shot, and not.
i'm picturing you in the dark on a boat with your camera on a tripod trying to focus on a fish in the black water. if that is the case i'm afraid that's just never going to happen. not until they use some other focusing methods at least. B&H and Adorama are awesome, and i don't blame you for trying to return the gear, but at this point that's pretty much insane to think that they should take it back. That ship has long since sailed. I really have no idea what the shooting conditions are like, but you probably just need some lights. I couple Alien Bees einsteins( FWI a shoe mounted flash is about 60Watt seconds for comparison with every doubling of power netting you a "stop")with their lithium power supply cost almost nothing compared to the 23k you dropped on the rest of your gear. if you are in the dark it'll make more of an impact on your photos than whatever camera/lens/etc you're running. 23k=1dx+some flashes+?
really, this does sound like interesting stuff though. night fishing and photography that is.
LOL, that would be some funny stuff. Actually we are under a bridge, very dark, but in 75% of cases we are shooting into a area that has a very light ambient light coming from the actual bridge. This helps in alot of cases with being able to acquire focus, but not all. For solutions on how to light, I have that down very well actually, it is the few milliseconds of no AF that are killing me. I am trying to do some stuff with AF Lock, basically have the shot pre focused and ready, but that doesnt produce favorable results either. For the lighting I have a CB Junior bracket mounted backwards with a 600ex mounted on the end of the bracket. Strapped on the flash I use a Harbor Designs Flash XTender, which is basically just a Fenrel lens that extends out my light 2 stops. Where I get stuck, which I almost have fixed, is the pre-light for focus. So I looked into getting a SureFire flashlight, that has a attachment available for law enforcement to use for compression lighting. So when I grip the handle, it turns on the Sure Fire enough for me to get AF, and shoot. But as I said above, it is the time for AF to get with the program in some cases. With tests I have seen here and other forums, as well as my own, I am seeing just a much more intelligently focused image with opportunities that have so many moving elements, and when a 150lb fish is jumping, and all those little particles of water are going, I am trying to not miss a single particle of water from being sharp, especially up close on the fish. I have went to the extent of using Gaff tape and my 600ex and hooking it onto a piling to create a more dramatic exposure, and I can assure you one way or the other we are going to nail it, just is timing, when there is fish that bite with when we get our setup perfect, to being pointed in the right direction, haha, like the alignment of the 7 moons of Venus.
I actually found in some quick tests, that I was able to focus in light so low, that the high ISO was pretty much too noisy to use, which is a first for any camera I've owned, usually the AF falls apart first. While it was only on stationary targets (apart from some slight wind) and darker subjects were a problem due to lack of contrast, I was impressed. It did depend on the AF selection though. I think I was using single point (as opposed to spot or point assist). Light was low enough for me to drop to ISO 25,600 and f/4 @ 1/125th handheld (420mm) and still almost a stop underexposed. It was extremely noisy (so not alot of detail left), but it seemed to be in focus, although it was so dark it was difficult to tell which point of the flowers and grasses I'd focused on. To be honest, I don't know that many (if any?) cameras would be able to focus any better in such low light and few would produce cleaner images (D3s perhaps), so I'd definitely add a voice to renting first. Another possible option would be trade-in, it's worth asking anyway.
Thanks for the insight!
And to be flat honest, the review by Andy Rouse of the 1DX, really sold me on the upgrade as well: http://www.andyrouse.co.uk/blog/223.php