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.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|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 body||Weathersealed body|
|156 x 157 x 80 mm, 1155 g||157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Nikon D1? 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 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.
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.
|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|
|Nikon D1«||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||..||Y||Jun 1999||5,499||Nikon D1|
|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 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 D300S« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||33.1 oz||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||Nikon D3|
|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 D200« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||32.5 oz||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D1X« »||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999||Nikon D1X|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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.
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.
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 much more recent model (by 7 years and 8 months) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 1D Mark III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 1D Mark III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 19.4 x 13 inch or 49.4 x 32.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 15.6 x 10.4 inch or 39.5 x 26.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 13 x 8.6 inch or 32.9 x 21.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1 are 10 x 6.6 inch or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inch or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inch or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
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.
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.
|Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Nikon D1||APS-C||2.6||2000||1312||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D1|
|Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||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 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||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 1D Mark II||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.1||1003||66||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D300S||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.5||12.2||787||70||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81||Nikon D3|
|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 D200||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.3||11.5||583||64||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D1X||APS-C||5.9||3008||1960||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D1X|
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 viewfinder in the 1D Mark III offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D1 (96%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 1D Mark III has a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.53x), 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 III and Nikon D1 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Nikon D1||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/16000s||1.5||n||n||Nikon D1|
|Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS R|
|Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n||Canon 5D Mark II|
|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 1D Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||n||n||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3|
|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 D200||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D1X||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/16000s||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.
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.
|Canon 1D Mark III||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Nikon D1||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Nikon D1|
|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 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||none||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||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 1D Mark II||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D300S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D300||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D2Xs||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D200||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D1X||Y||none||none||-||-||none||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. 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1D Mark III or the Nikon D1 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D Mark III:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (10.1 vs 2.6MP) with a 95% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.53x).
- 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.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D1:
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/8000s) 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 (13 : 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. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 III and the Nikon D1 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 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 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.
This is where reviews by experts come in. 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 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.
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.
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Canon 250D
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D5000
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Panasonic FZ150
- Canon 6D vs Nikon D1
- Canon G3 X vs Nikon D1
- Nikon D1 vs Nikon D700
- Nikon D1 vs Nikon D70s
- Nikon D1 vs Olympus E-PL6
- Nikon D1 vs Panasonic G5
- Nikon D1 vs Sony A7S II
- Nikon D1 vs Sony NEX-3N
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D1
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 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||Canon 1D Mark III||Nikon D1|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||28.1 x 18.7 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||525.47 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||33.8 mm||28.4 mm|
|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||Canon 1D Mark III||Nikon D1|
|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||2.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||120k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Nikon D1|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|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||Canon 1D Mark III||Nikon D1|
|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||Canon 1D Mark III||Nikon D1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
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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