Canon 1D Mark II N vs Olympus E-420
The Canon EOS-1D Mark II N and the Olympus E-420 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2005 and March 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark II N) and a Four Thirds (E-420) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 1D Mark II N||Olympus E-420|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|8.2 MP, APS-H Sensor||10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-1,600 (50 - 3,200)||ISO 100-1,600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.5 LCD, 230k dots||2.7 LCD, 215k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|8.5 shutter flaps per second||3.5 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|1200 shots per battery charge||500 shots per battery charge|
|156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1565 g||130 x 91 x 53 mm, 440 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D Mark II N and the Olympus E-420? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark II N and the Olympus E-420 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-420 is considerably smaller (52 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark II N. Moreover, the E-420 is substantially lighter (72 percent) than the 1D Mark II N. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D Mark II N is splash and dust resistant, while the E-420 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (1D Mark II N) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-420).
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark II N gets 1200 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the E-420 can take 500 images on a single charge of its BLS-1 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.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon 1D Mark II N||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||55.2 oz||1200||Y||Aug 2005||3,999|
|Olympus E-420||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2008||599|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||5.9 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||31.4 oz||900||Y||Aug 2016||3,499|
|Canon 5DS||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||43.4 oz||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999|
|Canon 5D Mark II||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|Canon 1D Mark III||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||40.7 oz||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||5.9 in||6.3 in||3.1 in||48.9 oz||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|Canon 5D||6.0 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||31.6 oz||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299|
|Canon 1D Mark II||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||54.1 oz||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||42.9 oz||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999|
|Canon 1D||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||55.9 oz||500||Y||Sep 2001||6,499|
|Olympus E-450||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.5 oz||500||n||Mar 2009||499|
|Olympus E-620||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699|
|Olympus E-520||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699|
|Olympus E-410||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699|
|Olympus E-400||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Sep 2006||699|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 E-420 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 85 percent) than the 1D Mark II N, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 Olympus E-420 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-420 is 59 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 2.0. The sensor in the 1D Mark II N has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-420 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the E-420 offers a higher resolution of 10 megapixels, compared with 8.2 MP of the 1D Mark II N. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.74μm versus 8.17μm for the 1D Mark II N). However, it should be noted that the E-420 is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 months) than the 1D Mark II N, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Olympus E-420 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the E-420 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 18.2 x 13.7 inches or 46.3 x 34.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 14.6 x 10.9 inches or 37.1 x 27.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.2 x 9.1 inches or 30.9 x 23.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 1D Mark II N are 17.5 x 11.7 inches or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inches or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inches or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
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 corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-420 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 review, the 1D Mark II N has a notably higher overall DXO score than the E-420 (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.8 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 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.
|Canon 1D Mark II N||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.2||975||66|
|Olympus E-420||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.4||527||56|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Full Frame||30.1||6720||4480||4K/30p||24.8||13.6||2995||91|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|Canon 1D Mark II||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.1||1003||66|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74|
|Olympus E-450||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.5||10.5||512||56|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51|
|Olympus E-400||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||..||..||..||..|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1D Mark II N and the E-420 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 E-420 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 1D Mark II N has a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1D Mark II N, the Olympus E-420, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 1D Mark II N||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.5||n||n|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||7.0||n||n|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
|Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|Canon 1D Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||n|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
One feature that is present on the 1D Mark II N, but is missing on the E-420 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The 1D Mark II N writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SD cards, while the E-420 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
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 Olympus E-420 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 1D Mark II N||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||-|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1D Mark III||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1D Mark II||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D Mark II N (unlike the E-420) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1D Mark II N and the E-420 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1D Mark II N was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark III, while the E-420 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Olympus websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon 1D Mark II N better than the Olympus E-420 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II N:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.46x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8.5 vs 3.5 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 500) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2005).
Reasons to prefer the Olympus E-420:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 8%.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More compact: Is smaller (130x91mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 1125g or 72 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (85 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 1D Mark II N launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 1D Mark II N is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 1D Mark II N and the Olympus E-420 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 1D Mark II N and the E-420 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Canon 1D Mark II N||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2005||3,999|
|Olympus E-420||85/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2008||599|
|Canon 5D Mark IV||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||3,499|
|Canon 5DS||+||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||..||89/100||..||5/5||..||Oct 2009||4,999|
|Canon 5D Mark II||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||o||..||Feb 2007||4,499|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|Canon 5D||88/100||+ +||o||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299|
|Canon 1D Mark II||..||+ +||..||o||..||Jan 2004||4,499|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||..||+ +||..||..||..||Sep 2004||7,999|
|Canon 1D||..||+ +||..||..||..||Sep 2001||6,499|
|Olympus E-450||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Mar 2009||499|
|Olympus E-620||88/100||72/100||4.5/5||o||5/5||Feb 2009||699|
|Olympus E-520||87/100||+ +||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699|
|Olympus E-410||86/100||+ +||4/5||o||4.5/5||Mar 2007||699|
|Olympus E-400||85/100||..||4/5||..||4/5||Sep 2006||699|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated 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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Canon 1Ds Mark III
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Fujifilm X-A7
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Fujifilm X-Pro2
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Fujifilm X100
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Nikon 1 J4
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Nikon 1 V3
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Olympus E-1
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Olympus TG-4
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Panasonic S1H
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Sony A6500
- Nikon D7200 vs Olympus E-420
- Olympus E-330 vs Olympus E-420
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark II N vs Olympus E-420
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 1D Mark II N||Olympus E-420|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2005||March 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 3,999||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark II N||Olympus E-420|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||28.7 x 19.1 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||548.17 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||34.5 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.17 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.49 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC II||TruePic III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.3||21.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||975||527|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark II N||Olympus E-420|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.5inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||215k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark II N||Olympus E-420|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||8.5 shutter flaps/s||3.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SD cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D Mark II N||Olympus E-420|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|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||Olympus E-420|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
156 x 158 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
130 x 91 x 53 mm
(5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
|Camera Weight||1565 g (55.2 oz)||440 g (15.5 oz)|
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