Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D70
The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and the Nikon D70 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2009 and January 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark IV) and an APS-C (D70) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 16 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 IV||Nikon D70|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|16 MP, APS-H Sensor||6 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-12800 (50-102400)||ISO 200-1600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 920k dots||1.8" 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|
|1500 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|156 x 157 x 80 mm, 1230 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 IV and the Nikon D70? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark IV and the Nikon D70 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D70 is considerably smaller (37 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark IV. Moreover, the D70 is substantially lighter (45 percent) than the 1D Mark IV. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D Mark IV is splash and dust resistant, while the D70 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 IV) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D70).
Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark IV gets 1500 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the D70 can take 400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1D Mark IV 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 D70, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (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, 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 IV»||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1230 g||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Nikon D70«||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||400||n||Jan 2004||999||Nikon D70|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 1D X« »||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 60D« »||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D« »||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||Canon 7D|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D« »||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||Canon 50D|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 300D« »||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899||Canon 300D|
|Nikon D4« »||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S« »||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D80« »||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||133 mm||102 mm||76 mm||620 g||400||n||Apr 2005||749||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s« »||140 mm||111 mm||78 mm||679 g||500||n||Apr 2005||899||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D100« »||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999||Nikon D100|
|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 D70 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the 1D Mark IV, 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.
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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1D Mark IV features an APS-H sensor and the Nikon D70 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D70 is 29 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 16MP, the 1D Mark IV offers a higher resolution than the D70 (6MP), but the 1D Mark IV has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.70μm versus 7.85μm for the D70). However, the 1D Mark IV is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 8 months) than the D70, 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 IV implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 1D Mark IV for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 16.3 inch or 62.2 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 13.1 inch or 49.7 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 10.9 inch or 41.5 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D70 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 IV has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D70 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 IV provides substantially higher image quality than the D70, with an overall score that is 24 points higher. This advantage is based on 2.4 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.3 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 IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Nikon D70||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 60D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66||Canon 7D|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||none||21.8||11.4||696||63||Canon 50D|
|Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 300D||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||none||21.0||10.8||544||55||Canon 300D|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82||Nikon D3S|
|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 D70s||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D100||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||..||..||..||..||Nikon D100|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 1D Mark IV indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D70 does not. The highest resolution format that the 1D Mark IV can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D Mark IV and the D70 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 IV offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D70 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 1D Mark IV 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1D Mark IV, the Nikon D70, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Nikon D70||optical||n||1.8||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n||Canon 7D|
|Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n||Canon 50D|
|Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 300D||optical||n||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Canon 300D|
|Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D3S|
|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 D70s||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D100|
One feature that is present on the 1D Mark IV, but is missing on the D70 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 IV writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the D70 uses Compact Flash cards. The 1D Mark IV features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D70 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 IV and Nikon D70 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Nikon D70||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 1D X||Y||mono||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 60D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 7D||Y||mono||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 50D||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 50D|
|Canon 1D Mark III||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 300D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 300D|
|Nikon D4||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D3S||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D80||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70s||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70s|
|Nikon D100||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D Mark IV (unlike the D70) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1D Mark IV and the D70 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D70 was replaced by the Nikon D70s, while the 1D Mark IV does not have a direct successor. 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? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1D Mark IV or the Nikon D70 – 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.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16 vs 6MP) with a 63% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (24 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2.4 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.3 stops ISO advantage).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- 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 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k 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 (1500 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.0).
- 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: Reflects 5 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D70 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D70:
- More compact: Is smaller (140x111mm vs 156x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 551g or 45 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 around for much longer (launched in January 2004).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 1D Mark IV is the clear winner of the match-up (19 : 5 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. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 IV and the Nikon D70 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 IV or the D70 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 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.
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.
- Canon 1100D vs Nikon D70
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Canon 80D
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Canon SX50
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Fujifilm X10
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D1H
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Panasonic GX80
- Canon 1D Mark IV vs Sony RX1
- Canon G7 X Mark II vs Nikon D70
- Canon S120 vs Nikon D70
- Nikon D70 vs Panasonic L1
- Nikon D70 vs Samsung NX500
- Nikon D70 vs Sony A6300
Specifications: Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D70
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 IV||Nikon D70|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2009||January 2004|
|Launch Price||USD 4999||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D Mark IV||Nikon D70|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||27.9 x 18.6 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||518.94 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||33.5 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3264 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.70 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.08 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-12800 ISO||200-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-102400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||74||50|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.8||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1320||529|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D Mark IV||Nikon D70|
|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||1.8 inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||130k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D Mark IV||Nikon D70|
|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 IV||Nikon D70|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 1.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 1D Mark IV||Nikon D70|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1500 shots per charge||400 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||1230 g (43.4 oz)||679 g (24.0 oz)|
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