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Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D700

The Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and the Nikon D700 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2009 and July 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D Mark IV) and a full frame (D700) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 16 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.


Headline Specifications
Canon 1D Mark IV   Nikon D700
Canon 1D Mark IV Nikon D700
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
16 MP, APS-H Sensor 12.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-12800 (50-102400) ISO 200-6400 (100-25600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 920k dots 3.0" LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
10 shutter flaps per second 8 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
1500 shots per battery charge1000 shots per battery charge
156 x 157 x 80 mm, 1230 g 147 x 123 x 77 mm, 1074 g

Body comparison: Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D700

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D Mark IV and the Nikon D700 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button 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 IV – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 1D Mark IV and Nikon D700
Compare 1D Mark IV versus D700 top
Compare 1D Mark IV or D700 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D700 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Canon 1D Mark IV. Moreover, the D700 is markedly lighter (13 percent) than the 1D Mark IV. 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 IV) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D700).

Concerning battery life, the 1D Mark IV gets 1500 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the D700 can take 1000 images on a single charge of its EN-EL3e 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 D700, Nikon provides the MB-D10 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 IV» 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 43.4 oz 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
Nikon D700« 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 1D X« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.7 oz 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon 60D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 3.1 in 26.6 oz 1100 Y Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 7D« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 30.3 oz 800 Y Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
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 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
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 Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 42.9 oz 1200 Y Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Nikon D4« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Nikon D800« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 D700 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 40 percent) than the 1D Mark IV, 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D700

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. 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 IV features an APS-H sensor and the Nikon D700 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D700 is 66 percent bigger. 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.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Canon 1D Mark IV and Nikon D700 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 1D Mark IV offers a higher resolution of 16 megapixels, compared with 12.1 MP of the Nikon D700. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.70μm versus 8.43μm for the D700). However, it should be noted that the 1D Mark IV is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 3 months) than the D700, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage.

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 D700 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600..

1D Mark IV versus D700 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 consideration, the D700 has a markedly higher DXO score than the 1D Mark IV (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 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.

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 IV» APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
Nikon D700« Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
Canon 60D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.581366Canon 60D
Canon 7D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.011.785466Canon 7D
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
Nikon D800« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395Nikon D800
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 1D Mark IV indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D700 does not. The highest resolution format that the 1D Mark IV can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D700

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D Mark IV and the D700 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1D Mark IV and Nikon D700 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Canon 1D Mark IV»optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark IV
Nikon D700«optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
Canon 60D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel n 8000 5.3 Y n Canon 60D
Canon 7D« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 8.0 Y n Canon 7D
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 8.3 n n Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4
Nikon D800« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n Nikon D800
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D3X
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D700 has one, while the 1D Mark IV does not. While the built-in flash of the D700 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 1D Mark IV and the D700 write their files to 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 D700 only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D700

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 D700 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Canon 1D Mark IV»Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D Mark IV
Nikon D700«Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 1D X« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
Canon 60D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 60D
Canon 7D« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 7D
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1D Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D810« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
Nikon D800« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D800
Nikon D3S« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3X
Nikon D3« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3

Both the 1D Mark IV and the D700 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D700 was replaced by the Nikon D800, while the 1D Mark IV does not have a direct successor.


Review summary: Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D700

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1D Mark IV and the Nikon D700? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (16 vs 12.1MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8 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 1000) on a single battery charge.
  • 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 3 months after the D700).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D700:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • More compact: Is smaller (147x123mm vs 156x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 156g or 13 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 (40 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in July 2008).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (7 points each). 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.

1D Mark IV 07:07 D700

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 D700 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.

Expert reviews: Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D700

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed 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 IV»-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
Nikon D700«89/100HiRec4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon 60D« »Rec79/1004/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 1,399- i Canon 60D
Canon 7D« »HiRec84/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2009 1,699- i Canon 7D
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1D Mark III« »---rev- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-HiRec--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Nikon D800« »HiRec82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
Nikon D3X« »-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
Nikon D3« »-HiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3

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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D700

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1D Mark IV Nikon D700
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2009 July 2008
    Launch Price USD 4999 USD 2999
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-H Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 27.9 x 18.6 mm 36.0 x 18.6 mm
    Sensor Area 518.94 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 33.5 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.3 1.5
    Sensor Resolution 16 Megapixels 12.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4896 x 3264 pixels 4256 x 2832 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.70 μm 8.43 μm
    Pixel Density 3.08 MP/cm2 1.40 MP/cm2
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 200-6400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-102400 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC IV EXPEED
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 8 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Connectivity Specs
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E4 power pack EN-EL3e power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1500 shots per charge1000 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 156 x 157 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    147 x 123 x 77 mm
    (5.8 x 4.8 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 1230 g (43.4 oz) 1074 g (37.9 oz)

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