Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D70s
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Nikon D70s are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2007 and April 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark III) and an APS-C (D70s) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 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 D70s|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|10.1 MP, APS-H Sensor||6 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-3200 (50-6400)||ISO 200-1600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 230k dots||2.0" LCD, 130k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|10 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|2200 shots per battery charge||500 shots per battery charge|
|156 x 157 x 80 mm, 1155 g||140 x 111 x 78 mm, 679 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Nikon D70s? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark III and the Nikon D70s. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. 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 Nikon D70s is considerably smaller (37 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark III. Moreover, the D70s is substantially lighter (41 percent) than the 1D Mark III. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D Mark III is splash and dust resistant, while the D70s 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 III) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D70s).
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark III gets 2200 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the D70s can take 500 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3a 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 D70s, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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 III»||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||40.7 oz||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Nikon D70s«||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899||Nikon D70s|
|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 D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||Nikon D5300|
|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|
|Nikon D40« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70« »||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999||Nikon D70|
|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 listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D70s was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 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.
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 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 Nikon D70s an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D70s 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 D70s (6MP), but the 1D Mark III has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.21μm versus 7.85μm for the D70s). However, the 1D Mark III is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the D70s, and its sensor might 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 D70s are 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inch or 25.5 x 16.9 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 D70s are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
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"). Of the two cameras under review, the 1D Mark III provides substantially higher image quality than the D70s, with an overall score that is 21 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.3 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 D70s||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70s|
|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 D5300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D2Xs||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||none||22.2||10.9||489||59||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D40||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.9||10.8||560||55||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1D Mark III and the D70s 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 D70s (95%), 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 0.50x), 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 D70s 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 D70s||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70s|
|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 D5300||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70|
One feature that is present on the 1D Mark III, but is missing on the D70s 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 III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the D70s 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 D70s 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 D70s 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 D70s||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70s|
|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 D5300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D2Xs||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D40||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D Mark III (unlike the D70s) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1D Mark III and the D70s have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70s was replaced by the Nikon D80, 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 what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 1D Mark III better than the Nikon D70s or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark III:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (10.1 vs 6MP) with a 29% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (21 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.3 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.58x vs 0.50x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- 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 130k dots).
- 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 500) 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 10 months after the D70s).
Advantages of the Nikon D70s:
- More compact: Is smaller (140x111mm vs 156x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 476g or 41 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 (80 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2005).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 1D Mark III is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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 D70s 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 III and the D70s 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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, 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? 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 G5 X
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Fujifilm X-E3
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Olympus E-PL1
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Panasonic GH4
- Canon D30 vs Nikon D70s
- Canon G7 X vs Nikon D70s
- Canon M5 vs Nikon D70s
- Canon SL3 vs Nikon D70s
- Nikon D50 vs Nikon D70s
- Nikon D70s vs Panasonic G3
- Nikon D70s vs Panasonic GH2
- Nikon D70s vs Sony RX10 II
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D70s
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 D70s|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2007||April 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 4499||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Nikon D70s|
|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||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.21 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.92 MP/cm2||1.63 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||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||71||50|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.7||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1078||529|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Nikon D70s|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||130k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Nikon D70s|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||300 000 actuations||50 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in 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 D70s|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|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||Nikon D70s|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||2200 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
156 x 157 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
140 x 111 x 78 mm
(5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||1155 g (40.7 oz)||679 g (24.0 oz)|
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