Canon 1D Mark II vs Nikon D80
The Canon EOS-1D Mark II and the Nikon D80 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2004 and August 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark II) and an APS-C (D80) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 8.2 megapixels, whereas the Nikon 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||Nikon D80|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|8.2 MP, APS-H Sensor||10 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)||ISO 100-1600 (100-3200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.0" LCD, 230k dots||2.5" LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|8.3 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|1200 shots per battery charge||600 shots per battery charge|
|156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1535 g||132 x 103 x 77 mm, 668 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D Mark II and the Nikon D80? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark II and the Nikon D80 is provided 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 Nikon D80 is considerably smaller (45 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark II. Moreover, the D80 is substantially lighter (56 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 D80 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) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D80).
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark II gets 1200 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the D80 can take 600 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e 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. In order to provide similar functionality for the D80, Nikon provides the MB-D80 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon 1D Mark II»||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||54.1 oz||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Nikon D80«||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||Nikon D80|
|Canon 5DS« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 1D Mark IV« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||43.4 oz||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||40.7 oz||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||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||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||55.2 oz||1200||Y||Aug 2005||3,999||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||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||42.9 oz||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||44.6 oz||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon 1D« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||55.9 oz||500||Y||Sep 2001||6,499||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D3000« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D90« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||24.8 oz||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D300« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||2.9 in||32.6 oz||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D70s« »||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899||Nikon D70s|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The D80 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 78 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 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 Nikon D80 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D80 is 32 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the D80 offers a higher resolution of 10 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 6.11μm versus 8.17μm for the 1D Mark II). However, it should be noted that the D80 is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 months) 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 Nikon D80 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D80 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inch or 49.2 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.5 x 10.4 inch or 39.3 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 12.9 x 8.6 inch or 32.8 x 21.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 1D Mark II are 17.5 x 11.7 inch or 44.5 x 29.7 cm for good quality, 14 x 9.3 inch or 35.6 x 23.7 cm for very good quality, and 11.7 x 7.8 inch or 29.7 x 19.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
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 Nikon D80 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.
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. Of the two cameras under review, the 1D Mark II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the D80 (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.2 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 0.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon 1D Mark II||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.1||1003||66||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Nikon D80||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.2||975||66||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon 1D||APS-H||4.1||2496||1662||none||..||..||..||..||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D3000||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.3||11.1||563||62||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D90||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||977||73||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D300||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.1||12.0||679||67||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.2||10.9||489||59||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D70s||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70s|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D Mark II and the D80 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 D80 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the D80 has a higher magnification (0.62x 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 and Nikon D80 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 1D Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||n||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D80|
|Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.5||n||n||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon 1D||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/16000s||8.0||n||n||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||Y||n||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D300||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70s|
One feature that is present on the 1D Mark II, but is missing on the D80 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 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SD cards, while the D80 uses SDHC cards. The 1D Mark II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D80 only has one slot.
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 Nikon D80 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 1D Mark II||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Nikon D80||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Canon 5DS||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 1D Mark III||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon 1D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D3000||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D90||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D90|
|Nikon D300||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D70s||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70s|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D Mark II (unlike the D80) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1D Mark II and the D80 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1D Mark II was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark II N, while the D80 was followed by the Nikon D90. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 1D Mark II better than the Nikon D80 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- 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%).
- 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 (8.3 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 600) 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).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D80:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (10 vs 8.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 11%.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.62x vs 0.55x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More compact: Is smaller (132x103mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 867g or 56 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 (78 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 1D Mark II launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1D Mark II emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 9 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. 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 Nikon D80 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 specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 1D Mark II and the D80 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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 use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Canon M3
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Canon SX420
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Nikon D70
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Nikon D7500
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Sony A3000
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs YI M1
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Canon 30D
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Sony A58
- Canon 1D Mark II vs Sony HX99
- Nikon B500 vs Nikon D80
- Nikon Coolpix A vs Nikon D80
- Nikon D7000 vs Nikon D80
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark II vs Nikon D80
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||Nikon D80|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2004||August 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 4499||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Nikon D80|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||28.7 x 19.1 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||548.17 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||34.5 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||8.2 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3504 x 2336 pixels||3872 x 2592 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.17 μm||6.11 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.49 MP/cm2||2.69 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||100-3200 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||66||61|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.3||22.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.1||11.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1003||524|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Nikon D80|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0 inch||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Nikon D80|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||8.3 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SD cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D Mark II||Nikon D80|
|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||Nikon D80|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||600 shots per charge|
156 x 158 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
132 x 103 x 77 mm
(5.2 x 4.1 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||1535 g (54.1 oz)||668 g (23.6 oz)|
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