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Canon 1D Mark III versus Nikon P900

The Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Nikon Coolpix P900 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2007 and March 2015. The 1D Mark III is a DSLR, while the P900 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-H (1D Mark III) and a 1/2.3-inch (P900) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 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 Nikon P900

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark III and the Nikon P900 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative 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).

Compare Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon P900
Compare 1D Mark III versus P900 top
Compare 1D Mark III and P900 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon P900 is considerably smaller (41 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark III. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D Mark III is splash and dust resistant, while the P900 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P900 has a lens build in, whereas the 1D Mark III is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the 1D Mark III and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark III gets 2200 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the P900 can take 360 images on a single charge of its EN-EL23 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1D Mark III has a battery grip build in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and contributes to its long-lasting power supply.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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
  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 P900« 5.5 in 4.1 in 5.4 in 31.7 oz 360 n Mar 2015 599- i Nikon P900
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 4.2 in 2.4 in 1.7 in 11.3 oz 265 n Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
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 SX60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
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« » 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
Kodak AZ901« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 4.7 in 27.4 oz 400 n Jan 2016 499 i i Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« » 5.7 in 4.7 in 7.1 in 49.9 oz 250 n Jul 2018 999 i i Nikon P1000
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Ricoh GR II« » 4.6 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 8.9 oz 320 n Jun 2015 699- i Ricoh GR II

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 P900 was launched at a lower price than the 1D Mark III, despite having a lens build in. 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 P900

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 tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 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 P900 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the P900 is 95 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 5.6. The sensor in the 1D Mark III has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the P900 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 1D Mark III and Nikon P900 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the P900 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 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 1.33μm versus 7.21μm for the 1D Mark III). However, it should be noted that the P900 is much more recent (by 8 years) 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the P900 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

1D Mark III versus P900 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 P900« 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Nikon P900
Canon G7 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
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« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« » Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463Canon 1Ds
Kodak AZ901« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p----Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Nikon P1000
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
Ricoh GR II« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880Ricoh GR II

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The P900 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1D Mark III does not. The highest resolution format that the P900 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon P900

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the P900 has an electronic viewfinder (921k dots), while the 1D Mark III has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1D Mark III, the Nikon P900, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-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 P900«921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 7.0 Y Y Nikon P900
Canon G7 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 8.0 Y Y Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
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« »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
Kodak AZ901« »202 n 3.0 920 swivel n 2000 5.0 Y Y Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« »2359 n 3.2 921 swivel n 4000 7.0 Y Y Nikon P1000
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
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
Ricoh GR II« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n Ricoh GR II

One feature that is present on the 1D Mark III, but is missing on the P900 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.

Both the 1D Mark III and the P900 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 P900 was followed by the Nikon P1000.

Review summary: Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon P900

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1D Mark III or the Nikon P900 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark III:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (2200 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2007).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix P900:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 23%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 1D Mark III requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (140x103mm vs 156x156.6mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the 1D Mark III).
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years of technical progress since the 1D Mark III launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the P900 emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 10 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.

1D Mark III 10:13 P900

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 P900 handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. 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). You can find the full text of the reviews 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 P900«-77/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2015 599- i Nikon P900
Canon G7 X Mark II« »HiRec81/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Feb 2016 699 i i Canon G7 X Mark II
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon SX60« »HiRec75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549- i Canon SX60
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« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« »-HiRec--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Kodak AZ901« »--3.5/5-3/5 Jan 2016 499 i i Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« »--3.5/5-3.5/5 Jul 2018 999 i i Nikon P1000
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
Nikon D3« »-HiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Ricoh GR II« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699- i Ricoh GR II

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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