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Canon 1D Mark II N vs 5D

The Canon EOS-1D Mark II N and the Canon EOS 5D are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public in August 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark II N) and a full frame (5D) sensor. The 1D Mark II N has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the 5D provides 12.7 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Canon 1D Mark II N   Canon 5D
Canon 1D Mark II N Canon 5D
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
8.2 MP, APS-H Sensor 12.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (50-3200) ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 230k dots 2.5" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
8.5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
1200 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1565 g 152 x 113 x 75 mm, 895 g

Body comparison: Canon 1D Mark II N vs 5D

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark II N and the Canon 5D is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 1D Mark II N and Canon 5D
Compare 1D Mark II N versus 5D top
Compare 1D Mark II N or 5D rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 5D is considerably smaller (30 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark II N. Moreover, the 5D is substantially lighter (43 percent) than the 1D Mark II N. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 5D) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (1D Mark II N). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark II N gets 1200 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the 5D can take 400 images on a single charge of its BP-511A power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1D Mark II N has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the 5D, Canon provides the BG-E4 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 Mark II N» 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.2 oz 1200 Y Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D« 6.0 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 31.6 oz 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
 
Canon 6D Mark II« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 27.0 oz 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 5.9 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 31.4 oz 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Canon 5DS« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
 
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
 
Canon 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 43.4 oz 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » 6.0 in 4.5 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 40.7 oz 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 54.1 oz 1200 Y Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 42.9 oz 1200 Y Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.9 oz 500 Y Sep 2001 6,499- i Canon 1D

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 5D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 18 percent) than the 1D Mark II N, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1D Mark II N vs 5D

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 Mark II N features an APS-H sensor and the Canon 5D a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 5D is 58 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 1D Mark II N and Canon 5D sensor measures

With 12.7MP, the 5D offers a higher resolution than the 1D Mark II N (8.2MP), but the 5D nevertheless has marginally larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 8.25μm versus 8.17μm for the 1D Mark II N) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.

The Canon EOS-1D Mark II N has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 50-3200.. The Canon EOS 5D offers exactly the same ISO settings.

1D Mark II N versus 5D MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the 5D has a markedly higher DXO score than the 1D Mark II N (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.6 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 0.5 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 Mark II N» APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.297566Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D« Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871Canon 5D
 
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
 
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
 
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D« » APS-H 4.1 2496 1662-----Canon 1D
Neither the 1D Mark II N nor the 5D offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D Mark II N vs 5D

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D Mark II N and the 5D are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the 1D Mark II N offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 5D (96%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the 5D has a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.55x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1D Mark II N and Canon 5D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon 1D Mark II N»optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 8.5 n n Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D«optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 5D
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
 
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
 
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 8.3 n n Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 8.0 n n Canon 1D

The 1D Mark II N writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SD cards, while the 5D uses Compact Flash cards. The 1D Mark II N features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 5D only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1D Mark II N vs 5D

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II N and Canon EOS 5D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon 1D Mark II N»Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D«Y-----2.0---Canon 5D
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Canon 5DS« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
 
Canon 5DS R« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
 
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D« »Y-----FW---Canon 1D

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the 1D Mark II N and the 5D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 5D was replaced by the Canon 5D Mark II, while the 1D Mark II N was followed by the Canon 1D Mark III. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the Canon website.


Review summary: Canon 1D Mark II N vs 5D

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1D Mark II N or the Canon 5D – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II N:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 5D:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.7 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 25%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.55x).
  • More compact: Is smaller (152x113mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 670g or 43 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (18 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 5D emerges as the winner of the match-up (8 : 5 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

1D Mark II N 05:08 5D

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 1D Mark II N or the 5D perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews: Canon 1D Mark II N vs 5D

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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 Mark II N»----- Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D«88/100++oo- Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »+80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« »++87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Canon 5DS« »+83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
 
Canon 5DS R« »+83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
 
Canon 6D« »++83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »---o- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-++4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II« »-++-o- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-++--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D« »-++--- Sep 2001 6,499- i Canon 1D
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 1D Mark II N:
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Canon 5D:
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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon 1D Mark II N vs Canon 5D

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1D Mark II N Canon 5D
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2005 August 2005
    Launch Price USD 3999 USD 3299
    Sensor Specs Canon 1D Mark II N Canon 5D
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-H Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 28.7 x 19.1 mm 36.0 x 19.1 mm
    Sensor Area 548.17 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 34.5 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.3x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 8.2 Megapixels 12.7 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3504 x 2336 pixels 4368 x 2912 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 8.17 μm 8.25 μm
    Pixel Density 1.49 MP/cm2 1.47 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-3200 ISO 50-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC II DIGIC 2
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 66 71
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.3 22.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.2 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 975 1368
    Screen Specs Canon 1D Mark II N Canon 5D
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.55x 0.71x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 1D Mark II N Canon 5D
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 8.5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF or SD cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 1D Mark II N Canon 5D
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 1D Mark II N Canon 5D
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-E3 power pack BP-511A power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1200 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 156 x 158 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    152 x 113 x 75 mm
    (6.0 x 4.4 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 1565 g (55.2 oz) 895 g (31.6 oz)

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