Canon 1D Mark III vs Olympus E-3
The Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Olympus E-3 are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2007 and October 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark III) and a Four Thirds (E-3) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 10 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D Mark III and the Olympus E-3? 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 Olympus E-3 are illustrated 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-3 is considerably smaller (33 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark III. Moreover, the E-3 is markedly lighter (24 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 Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-3).
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark III gets 2200 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the E-3 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 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 E-3, Olympus provides the HLD-4 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on ebay).
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-3||142 mm||116 mm||75 mm||876 g||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 5DS R||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 1D Mark IV||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1230 g||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1535 g||1200||Y||Jan 2004||4,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 1Ds||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1265 g||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D2Xs||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-5||142 mm||117 mm||75 mm||873 g||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-30||142 mm||108 mm||75 mm||701 g||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-520||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||535 g||750||n||May 2008||699||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-510||136 mm||92 mm||68 mm||538 g||750||n||Mar 2007||799||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-1||141 mm||104 mm||81 mm||738 g||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The E-3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 62 percent) than the 1D Mark III, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 Olympus E-3 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-3 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 2.0. The sensor in the 1D Mark III has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-3 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 10.1MP, the 1D Mark III offers a slightly higher resolution than the E-3 (10MP), but the 1D Mark III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.21μm versus 4.74μm for the E-3) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-3 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the 1D Mark III, 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 Olympus E-3 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the 1D Mark III provides substantially higher image quality than the E-3, with an overall score that is 15 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 1.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 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.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|2.||Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|3.||Canon 5DS R||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.6||12.4||2308||86|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|5.||Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|7.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark II||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.1||1003||66|
|9.||Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63|
|10.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|11.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|13.||Olympus E-5||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56|
|14.||Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55|
|15.||Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55|
|16.||Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52|
|17.||Olympus E-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||20.0||9.7||-145||44|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1D Mark III and the E-3 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.58x). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1D Mark III, the Olympus E-3, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Olympus E-3||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 5DS R||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9/s||n||n|
|7.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark II||optical||Y||2.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3/s||n||n|
|9.||Canon 1Ds||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Olympus E-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|15.||Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5/s||Y||Y|
|16.||Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||Y|
|17.||Olympus E-1||optical||Y||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that differentiates the E-3 and the 1D Mark III is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-3 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the 1D Mark III offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.The E-3 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 1D Mark III does not have a selfie-screen.
The 1D Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the E-3 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
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 Olympus E-3 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 1D Mark III||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-3||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 5DS R||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark II||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 1Ds||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D3||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D2Xs||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-5||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-30||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-520||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-510||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Olympus E-1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
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 E-3 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 E-3 was followed by the Olympus E-5. Further information on the features and operation of the 1D Mark III and E-3 can be found, respectively, in the Canon 1D Mark III Manual (free pdf) or the online Olympus E-3 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1D Mark III and the Olympus E-3? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1D Mark III:
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.2 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 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 750) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2007).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus E-3:
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (142x116mm vs 156x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 279g or 24 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- 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: Was introduced somewhat (7 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1D Mark III comes out slightly ahead of the E-3 (9 : 8 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 Olympus E-3 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 partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1D Mark III or the E-3. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2007||4,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-3||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 5DS R||5/5||+||..||83/100||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||3,699||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon 5D Mark III||..||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 1D Mark IV||5/5||..||..||89/100||..||..||Oct 2009||4,999||ebay.com|
|6.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Canon 1D Mark II||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jan 2004||4,499||ebay.com|
|9.||Canon 1Ds||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2002||8,999||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D3||..||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2006||4,699||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-5||4/5||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,699||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-30||..||..||..||71/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2008||1,299||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-520||..||87/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2008||699||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-510||..||89/100||..||+ +||3.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2007||799||ebay.com|
|17.||Olympus E-1||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jun 2003||1,699||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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 make your choice using the following search menu. 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 Fujifilm X-T1
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Fujifilm X30
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Nikon D300
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Panasonic GX8
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Panasonic LX10
- Canon 1D Mark III vs Sony RX1R
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Olympus E-3
- Fujifilm X-T4 vs Olympus E-3
- Leica M10-P vs Olympus E-3
- Leica S Typ 007 vs Olympus E-3
- Leica V-LUX Typ 114 vs Olympus E-3
- Olympus E-3 vs Sony A58
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark III vs Olympus E-3
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||Olympus E-3|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2007||October 2007|
|Launch Price||USD 4,499||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Olympus E-3|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||28.1 x 18.7 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||525.47 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||33.8 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||10 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3888 x 2592 pixels||3648 x 2736 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.21 μm||4.74 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.92 MP/cm2||4.44 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 6,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC III||TruePic III|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||71||56|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.7||21.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.7||10.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1078||571|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Olympus E-3|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Olympus E-3|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||300 000 actuations||150 000 actuations|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDHC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D Mark III||Olympus E-3|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|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||Olympus E-3|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||2200 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
156 x 157 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
142 x 116 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||1155 g (40.7 oz)||876 g (30.9 oz)|
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