Canon 1D Mark III vs 5D
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Canon EOS 5D are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2007 and August 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark III) and a full frame (5D) sensor. The 1D Mark III has a resolution of 10.1 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.
|Canon 1D Mark III||Canon 5D|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|10.1 MP, APS-H Sensor||12.7 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-3200 (50-6400)||ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 230k dots||2.5" LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|2200 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|156 x 157 x 80 mm, 1155 g||152 x 113 x 75 mm, 895 g|
Body comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs 5D
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark III 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 views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures 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 5D is considerably smaller (30 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark III. Moreover, the 5D is markedly lighter (23 percent) than the 1D Mark III. 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 III). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark III gets 2200 shots out of its LP-E4 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 III 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 III»||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||40.7 oz||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 5D«||6.0 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||31.6 oz||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|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 5D Mark III« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||33.5 oz||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Canon 6D|
|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 5D Mark II« »||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|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 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|
|Canon 1Ds« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||44.6 oz||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D3« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||-||Nikon D2Xs|
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 5D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 27 percent) than the 1D Mark III, 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.
Sensor comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs 5D
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 III features an APS-H sensor and the Canon 5D a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 5D is 65 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.
In terms of chip-set technology, the 1D Mark III uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC III) than the 5D (DIGIC 2), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 12.7MP, the 5D offers a higher resolution than the 1D Mark III (10.1MP), but the 5D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 8.25μm versus 7.21μm for the 1D Mark III) due to its larger sensor. However, the 1D Mark III is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 6 months) than the 5D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 50-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 5D are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3200..
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. 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 III»||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.7||11.7||1078||71||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 5D«||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||-||22.9||11.1||1368||71||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.7||12.4||2381||87||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.6||12.4||2308||86||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D« »||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82||Canon 6D|
|Canon 1D Mark IV« »||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||-||24.0||12.0||1663||80||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N« »||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||-||22.3||11.2||975||66||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||-||22.3||11.1||1003||66||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||-||21.8||11.0||954||63||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D3« »||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||-||23.5||12.2||2290||81||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.2||10.9||489||59||Nikon D2Xs|
Feature comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs 5D
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D Mark III 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 III 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 0.58x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1D Mark III and Canon 5D in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon 1D Mark III»||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||8000||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark III|
|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 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 5D Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||6.0||n||n||Canon 5D Mark III|
|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 1Ds Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||8.5||n||n||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||8000||8.3||n||n||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||8000||3.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D3« »||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2Xs|
The 1D Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the 5D uses Compact Flash cards. The 1D Mark III 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 III 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 III and Canon EOS 5D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 1D Mark III»||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 5D«||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 6D Mark II|
|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 5D Mark III« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 1D Mark IV« »||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D3« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the 1D Mark III 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 III was followed by the Canon 1D Mark IV. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the Canon website.
Review summary: Canon 1D Mark III vs 5D
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1D Mark III and the Canon 5D? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1D Mark III:
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC III vs DIGIC 2).
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 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 (2200 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.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 6 months after the 5D).
Advantages of the Canon EOS 5D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (12.7 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 12%.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.71x vs 0.58x).
- More compact: Is smaller (152x113mm vs 156x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 260g or 23 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (27 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2005).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1D Mark III emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 7 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.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1D Mark III or the 5D. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Canon 1D Mark III vs 5D
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Canon 1D Mark III»||-||-||-||o||-||Feb 2007||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 5D«||88/100||++||o||o||-||Aug 2005||3,299||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||+||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 5DS R« »||+||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||++||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D« »||++||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 1D Mark IV« »||-||89/100||-||5/5||-||Oct 2009||4,999||-||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||-||Sep 2008||3,499||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||-||++||4.5/5||-||-||Aug 2007||7,999||-||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N« »||-||-||-||-||-||Aug 2005||3,999||-||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||-||++||-||o||-||Jan 2004||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||-||++||-||-||-||Sep 2002||8,999||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D3« »||-||++||5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||-||-||-||o||-||Jun 2006||4,699||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 500D vs Canon RP
- Canon 600D vs Nikon D5300
- Canon 600D vs Panasonic ZS200
- Canon M5 vs Olympus E-M1 II
- Canon M5 vs Panasonic GH4
- Canon SL2 vs Canon 1Ds Mark III
- Canon SX70 vs Fujifilm X-A3
- Fujifilm X-A5 vs Fujifilm X-A3
- Nikon D60 vs Nikon D3200
- Nikon D800E vs Sony A7
- Panasonic G1 vs Panasonic GF1
- Pentax K-3 II vs Sony A7R II
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark III vs Canon 5D
|Camera Model||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon 5D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2007||August 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 4499||USD 3299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon 5D|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||28.1 x 18.7 mm||36.0 x 18.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||525.47 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||33.8 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||12.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||4368 x 2912 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.21 μm||8.25 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.92 MP/cm2||1.47 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-3200 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-6400 ISO||50-3200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC III||DIGIC 2|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||71||71|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.7||22.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||11.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1078||1368|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon 5D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||96%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.5 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon 5D|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||300 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDHC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon 5D|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Canon 5D|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||LP-E4 power pack||BP-511A power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||2200 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
156 x 157 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||1155 g (40.7 oz)||895 g (31.6 oz)|
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