Canon 1D Mark II vs 850D
The Canon EOS-1D Mark II and the Canon EOS 850D (labelled Canon T8i in some countries) are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2004 and February 2020. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark II) and an APS-C (850D) sensor. The 1D Mark II has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the 850D provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D Mark II and the Canon EOS 850D? 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 and the Canon 850D are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side 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 Canon 850D is considerably smaller (45 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark II. Moreover, the 850D is substantially lighter (66 percent) than the 1D Mark II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D Mark II is splash and dust resistant, while the 850D 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 (as in the 1D Mark II) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (850D). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark II gets 1200 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the 850D can take 800 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1D Mark II has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
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, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1535 g||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499|
|2.||Canon 850D||131 mm||103 mm||76 mm||515 g||800||n||Feb 2020||749|
|3.||Canon 250D||122 mm||93 mm||70 mm||449 g||1070||n||Apr 2019||599|
|4.||Canon 77D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||540 g||600||n||Feb 2017||899|
|5.||Canon 800D||131 mm||100 mm||76 mm||532 g||600||n||Feb 2017||749|
|6.||Canon 5DS||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|8.||Canon 750D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||555 g||440||n||Feb 2015||749|
|9.||Canon 760D||132 mm||101 mm||78 mm||565 g||440||n||Feb 2015||649|
|10.||Canon 1D Mark IV||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1230 g||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark II N||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1565 g||1200||Y||Aug 2005||3,999|
|14.||Canon 5D||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999|
|16.||Canon 1Ds||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1265 g||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999|
|17.||Canon 1D||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1585 g||500||Y||Sep 2001||6,499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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 850D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 83 percent) than the 1D Mark II, 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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D Mark II features an APS-H sensor and the Canon 850D an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the 850D is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, the 850D uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 8) than the 1D Mark II (DIGIC II), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the 850D offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 8.2 MP of the 1D Mark II. 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 3.72μm versus 8.17μm for the 1D Mark II). However, it should be noted that the 850D is much more recent (by 16 years) than the 1D Mark II, 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 Canon 850D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 850D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 1D Mark II 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 850D has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark II 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 Canon EOS 850D are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.1||1003||66|
|6.||Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|10.||Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark II N||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.2||975||66|
|14.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74|
|16.||Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 850D indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1D Mark II does not. The highest resolution format that the 850D can use is 4K/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D Mark II and the 850D 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 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 850D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 1D Mark II has a higher magnification (0.55x vs 0.51x), 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 and Canon 850D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||n|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|10.||Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark II N||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.5||n||n|
|15.||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, but is missing on the 850D 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 850D has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 1D Mark II does not have a selfie-screen.
The Canon 850D has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The 1D Mark II writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SD cards, while the 850D uses SDXC cards. The 1D Mark II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 850D only has one slot. The 850D supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the 1D Mark II cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 and Canon EOS 850D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark III||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark II N||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 850D offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the 1D Mark II does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D Mark II (unlike the 850D) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The 850D is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the 1D Mark II has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 1D Mark II was succeeded by the Canon 1D Mark II N. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1D Mark II or the Canon 850D – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II:
- 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 0.51x).
- 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.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 800) 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.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2004).
Advantages of the Canon EOS 850D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 71%.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 8 vs DIGIC II).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/24p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (131x103mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 1020g or 66 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).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (83 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 16 years of technical progress since the 1D Mark II launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 850D is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 10 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 and the Canon 850D 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1D Mark II or the 850D. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark II||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||4,499|
|2.||Canon 850D||4/5||+||80/100||4/5||3.5/5||Feb 2020||749|
|3.||Canon 250D||..||o||79/100||4/5||4/5||Apr 2019||599|
|4.||Canon 77D||4.5/5||..||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||899|
|5.||Canon 800D||4.5/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2017||749|
|6.||Canon 5DS||..||+||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|7.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|8.||Canon 750D||5/5||..||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||749|
|9.||Canon 760D||5/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||649|
|10.||Canon 1D Mark IV||5/5||..||89/100||..||..||Oct 2009||4,999|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2007||4,499|
|12.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark II N||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2005||3,999|
|14.||Canon 5D||..||88/100||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299|
|15.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||7,999|
|16.||Canon 1Ds||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2002||8,999|
|17.||Canon 1D||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2001||6,499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon 1D Mark II vs Canon 850D
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||Canon 850D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2004||February 2020|
|Launch Price||USD 4,499||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 850D|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||28.7 x 19.1 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||548.17 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||34.5 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.17 μm||3.72 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.49 MP/cm2||7.22 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC II||DIGIC 8|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.3||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.1||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1003||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 850D|
|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||2.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 850D|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8.3 shutter flaps/s||7.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 850D|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 1.1||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Canon 850D|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||800 shots per charge|
156 x 158 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
131 x 103 x 76 mm
(5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||1535 g (54.1 oz)||515 g (18.2 oz)|
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