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Canon 1D vs 1Ds Mark II

The Canon EOS-1D and the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2001 and September 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D) and a full frame (1Ds Mark II) sensor. The 1D has a resolution of 4.1 megapixels, whereas the 1Ds Mark II provides 16.6 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 1D   Canon 1Ds Mark II
Canon 1D Canon 1Ds Mark II
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
4.1 MP, APS-H Sensor 16.6 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1600 (100-3200) ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD, 120k dots 2.0" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
8 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
500 shots per battery charge1200 shots per battery charge
156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1585 g 156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1215 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D and the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II? 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.

Body comparison: Canon 1D vs 1Ds Mark II

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D and the Canon 1Ds Mark II. 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.

Size Canon 1D vs Canon 1Ds Mark II
Compare 1D versus 1Ds Mark II top
Comparison 1D or 1Ds Mark II rear

In this particular case, the Canon 1D and the Canon 1Ds Mark II have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the 1Ds Mark II is markedly lighter (23 percent) than the 1D. 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 (as in the 1Ds Mark II) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (1D). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras 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» 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.9 oz 500 Y Sep 2001 6,499- i Canon 1D
 
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
 
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 5D Mark IV« » 5.9 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 31.4 oz 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Canon 1D C« » 6.2 in 6.5 in 3.3 in 54.5 oz 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
 
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 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 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 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 N« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.2 oz 1200 Y Aug 2005 3,999- i 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- 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
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 1D was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 19 percent) than the 1Ds Mark II, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 vs 1Ds Mark II

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 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 features an APS-H sensor and the Canon 1Ds Mark II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 1Ds Mark II is 58 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the 1Ds Mark II uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC II) than the 1D (DIGIC), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 1D and Canon 1Ds Mark II sensor measures

With 16.6MP, the 1Ds Mark II offers a higher resolution than the 1D (4.1MP), but the 1Ds Mark II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.21μm versus 11.56μm for the 1D). Yet, the 1Ds Mark II is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 11 months) than the 1D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 1Ds Mark II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 1Ds Mark II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25 x 16.6 inch or 63.4 x 42.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.7 x 33.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.6 x 11.1 inch or 42.3 x 28.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 1D are 12.5 x 8.3 inch or 31.7 x 21.1 cm for good quality, 10 x 6.6 inch or 25.4 x 16.9 cm for very good quality, and 8.3 x 5.5 inch or 21.1 x 14.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS-1D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3200.

1D versus 1Ds Mark II MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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» APS-H 4.1 2496 1662-----Canon 1D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----Canon 1D C
 
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II N« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.297566Canon 1D Mark II N
 
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
Neither the 1D nor the 1Ds Mark II offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D vs 1Ds Mark II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D and the 1Ds Mark II 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%), but the viewfinder of the 1Ds Mark II has a higher magnification than the one of the 1D (0.70x vs 0.55x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1D and Canon 1Ds Mark II 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)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon 1D»optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 8.0 n n Canon 1D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II«optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 1/8000s 7.0 n n Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 14.0 n n Canon 1D C
 
Canon 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
 
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

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 1D and the 1Ds Mark II write their files to Compact Flash cards.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1D vs 1Ds Mark II

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 and Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II 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»Y-----FW---Canon 1D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II«Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Canon 1D C« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 1D C
 
Canon 1D X« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II N« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 1D Mark II« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« »Y-----FW---Canon 1Ds

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the 1D and the 1Ds Mark II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1D was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark II, while the 1Ds Mark II was followed by the Canon 1Ds Mark III. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.


Review summary: Canon 1D vs 1Ds Mark II

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1D and the Canon 1Ds Mark II? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1D:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/8000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (19 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2001).


Advantages of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.6 vs 4.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 100%.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC II vs DIGIC).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.55x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 120k dots).
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 370g or 23 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 500) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 11 months of technical progress since the 1D launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 1Ds Mark II is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 4 points). 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. 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.

1D 04:11 1Ds Mark II

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 1D and the Canon 1Ds Mark II 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 remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1D or the 1Ds Mark II. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Canon 1D vs 1Ds Mark II

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.

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»-+ +--- Sep 2001 6,499- i Canon 1D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II«-+ +--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 5D Mark IV« »+ +87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
 
Canon 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
 
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »---o- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-+ +4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II N« »----- Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 1D Mark II« »-+ +-o- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« »-+ +--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 1D:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 1Ds Mark II:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Canon 1D vs Canon 1Ds Mark II

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1D Canon 1Ds Mark II
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2001 September 2004
    Launch Price USD 6499 USD 7999
    Sensor Specs Canon 1D Canon 1Ds Mark II
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-H Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 28.7 x 19.1 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 548.17 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 34.5 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.3x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 4.1 Megapixels 16.6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 2496 x 1662 pixels 4992 x 3328 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 11.56 μm 7.21 μm
    Pixel Density 0.76 MP/cm2 1.92 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-3200 ISO 50-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC DIGIC II
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 74
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 23.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1480
    Screen Specs Canon 1D Canon 1Ds Mark II
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.55x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 2.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 120k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 1D Canon 1Ds Mark II
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon 1D Canon 1Ds Mark II
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector Firewire USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 1D Canon 1Ds Mark II
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-E3 power pack NP-E3 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge1200 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 156 x 158 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    156 x 158 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 1585 g (55.9 oz) 1215 g (42.9 oz)

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