Canon 1D Mark III versus Canon 7D
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Canon EOS 7D are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2007 and September 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark III) and an APS-C (7D) sensor. The 1D Mark III has a resolution of 10.1 megapixel, whereas the 7D provides 17.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.
Body comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs Canon 7D
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark III and the Canon 7D. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 1D Mark III – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 7D is considerably smaller (33 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark III. Moreover, the 7D is markedly lighter (26 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 1D Mark III) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (7D). You can find a comprehensive overview of suitable optics in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
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.
|Camera Body Specifications|
|Canon 1D Mark III»||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||40.7 oz||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||-|
|Canon 7D«||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||-|
|Canon 5DS R« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||32.8 oz||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon G3 X« »||4.8 in||3.0 in||4.1 in||25.9 oz||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|Canon 7D II« »||5.9 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||32.1 oz||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|Canon 70D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||-|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||6.0 in||4.6 in||3.0 in||33.5 oz||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499||-|
|Canon 60D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||-|
|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 50D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||-|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||5.9 in||6.3 in||3.1 in||48.9 oz||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999||-|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||54.1 oz||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499||-|
|Canon 1Ds« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||44.6 oz||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||-|
|Nikon D3S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||43.7 oz||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||-|
|Nikon D3« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||-|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||-|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 7D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 62 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs Canon 7D
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 III features an APS-H sensor and the Canon 7D an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the 7D is 37 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.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the 7D offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixel, compared with 10.1 MP of the 1D Mark III. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 7.21μm for the 1D Mark III). However, it should be noted that the 7D is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 months) than the 1D Mark III, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
For most 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 review, the 1D Mark III has a notably higher overall DXO score than the 7D (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, and 0.3 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 III»||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/60p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|Canon G3 X« »||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|Canon 7D II« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|Canon 70D« »||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||22.5||11.6||926||68|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|Canon 60D« »||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66|
|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 50D« »||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||-||21.8||11.4||696||63|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||-||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||-||22.3||11.1||1003||66|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||-||21.8||11.0||954||63|
|Nikon D3S« »||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|Nikon D3« »||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||-||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.2||10.9||489||59|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 7D indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1D Mark III does not. The highest resolution format that the 7D can use is 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs Canon 7D
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1D Mark III and the 7D 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1D Mark III, the Canon 7D, and comparable cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.
|Canon 1D Mark III»||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||8000||10.0||n||n|
|Canon 5DS R« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n|
|Canon G3 X« »||-||n||3.2||1620||tilting||Y||2000||5.9||Y||Y|
|Canon 7D II« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||8000||10.0||Y||n|
|Canon 70D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||8000||7.0||Y||n|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||8000||6.0||n||n|
|Canon 60D« »||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||8000||5.3||Y||n|
|Canon 1D Mark IV« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||10.0||n||n|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||3.9||n||n|
|Canon 50D« »||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||8000||6.3||Y||n|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||8000||8.3||n||n|
|Canon 1Ds« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||8000||3.0||n||n|
|Nikon D3S« »||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n|
|Nikon D3« »||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||8000||11.0||n||n|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||8000||5.0||n||n|
Both the 1D Mark III and the 7D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1D Mark III was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark IV, while the 7D was followed by the Canon 7D Mark II.
Review summary: Canon 1D Mark III vs Canon 7D
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1D Mark III and the Canon 7D? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark III:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (2200 versus 800) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2007).
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 7D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (17.9 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 33%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- More compact: Is smaller (148x111mm vs 156x156.6mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 295g or 26 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (62 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 1D Mark III launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 7D emerges as the winner of the match-up (8 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1D Mark III or the 7D. 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 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). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Canon 1D Mark III»||-||-||-||rev||-||Feb 2007||4,499||-|
|Canon 7D«||HiRec||84/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699||-|
|Canon 5DS R« »||Rec||83/100||5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699|
|Canon G3 X« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||3.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|Canon 7D II« »||Rec||84/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|Canon 70D« »||HiRec||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199||-|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499||-|
|Canon 60D« »||Rec||79/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399||-|
|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 50D« »||HiRec||HiRec||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299||-|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||-||HiRec||4.5/5||-||-||Aug 2007||7,999||-|
|Canon 1D Mark II« »||-||HiRec||-||rev||-||Jan 2004||4,499||-|
|Canon 1Ds« »||-||HiRec||-||-||-||Sep 2002||8,999||-|
|Nikon D3S« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199||-|
|Nikon D3« »||-||HiRec||5/5||rev||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999||-|
|Nikon D2Xs« »||-||-||-||rev||-||Jun 2006||4,699||-|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.
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