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Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D1

The Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Nikon D1 are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2007 and June 1999. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark III) and an APS-C (D1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 2.6 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.

Headline Specifications
Canon 1D Mark III   Nikon D1
Canon 1D Mark III Nikon D1
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
10.1 MP, APS-H Sensor 2.6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-3200 (50-6400) ISO 200-1600 (200-6400)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 2.0" LCD, 120k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
10 shutter flaps per second 1.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
156 x 157 x 80 mm, 1155 g 157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g

Body comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D1

The physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark III and the Nikon D1 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 1D Mark III and Nikon D1
Compare 1D Mark III versus D1 top
Compare 1D Mark III or D1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D1 is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark III. Moreover, the D1 is markedly lighter (5 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 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 III) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D1).

As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have 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. 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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 1D Mark III» 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 40.7 oz 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D1« 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i 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- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark IV« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 43.4 oz 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i 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- i 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- i 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- i 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- i Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D1X« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 1D Mark III was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 18 percent) than the D1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 Nikon D1

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 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 III features an APS-H sensor and the Nikon D1 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D1 is 30 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.

Canon 1D Mark III and Nikon D1 sensor measures

With 10.1MP, the 1D Mark III offers a higher resolution than the D1 (2.6MP), but the 1D Mark III has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.21μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). However, the 1D Mark III is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 years and 8 months) than the D1, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

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 Nikon D1 are ISO 200 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400..

1D Mark III versus D1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Canon 1D Mark III» APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D1« APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
Canon 5D Mark III« » Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.297566Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1D Mark II« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« » Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463Canon 1Ds
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
Nikon D1X« » APS-C 5.9 3008 1960-----Nikon D1X
The 1D Mark III offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D1 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D1

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D Mark III and the D1 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1D Mark III and Nikon D1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 1D Mark III»optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D1«optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 1.5 n n Nikon D1
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 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 D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
Nikon D1X« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 3.0 n n Nikon D1X

The 1D Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the D1 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 D1 only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D1

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 Nikon D1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 1D Mark III»Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D1«Y-----FW---Nikon D1
Canon 5DS R« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
Canon 5D Mark III« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark IV« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---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 D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
Nikon D3« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
Nikon D1X« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1X

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 D1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1 was replaced by the Nikon D1X, while the 1D Mark III was followed by the Canon 1D Mark IV.


Review summary: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D1

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1D Mark III or the Nikon D1 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D Mark III:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (10.1 vs 2.6MP) with a 95% higher linear resolution.
  • 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 (230k vs 120k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (18 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D1:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (16000/sec vs 8000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 1999).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1D Mark III is the clear winner of the match-up (7 : 2 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.

1D Mark III 07:02 D1

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 1D Mark III or the D1 handle or perform in practice. 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.

Expert reviews: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D1

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Canon 1D Mark III»---rev- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
Nikon D1«-HiRec--- Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 5D Mark III« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« »----- Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1D Mark II« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« »-HiRec--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D3« »-HiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Nikon D300« »HiRecHiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D1X« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X

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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 1D Mark III:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D1:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D1

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1D Mark III Nikon D1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2007 June 1999
    Launch Price USD 4499 USD 5499
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-H Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 28.1 x 18.7 mm 23.7 x 18.7 mm
    Sensor Area 525.47 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 33.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.3x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 10.1 Megapixels 2.6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3888 x 2592 pixels 2000 x 1312 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.21 μm 11.93 μm
    Pixel Density 1.92 MP/cm2 0.71 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-3200 ISO 200-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-6400 ISO 200-6400 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 71 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.7 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1078 ..
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.58x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View n/a
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 2.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 120k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/16000s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 1.5 shutter flaps/s
    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
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 Firewire
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E4 power pack EN-4 power pack
    Body Dimensions 156 x 157 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 1155 g (40.7 oz) 1100 g (38.8 oz)

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