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Canon 1D versus Canon M3

The Canon EOS-1D and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2001 and February 2015. The 1D is a DSLR, while the M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on an APS-H (1D) and an APS-C (M3) sensor. The 1D has a resolution of 4.1 megapixel, whereas the M3 provides 24 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 vs Canon M3

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D and the Canon M3. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 1D – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 1D vs Canon M3
Compare 1D versus M3 top
Compare 1D and M3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M3 is considerably smaller (69 percent) than the Canon 1D. Moreover, the M3 is substantially lighter (77 percent) than the 1D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D is splash and dust resistant, while the M3 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. Hence, you might want to study the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the 1D gets 500 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the M3 can take 250 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1D has a battery grip build 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 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» 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1585 g 500 Y Sep 2001 6,499- i Canon 1D
Canon M3« 111 mm 68 mm 44 mm 366 g 250 n Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon M6« » 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 151 mm 116 mm 76 mm 890 g 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon M5« » 116 mm 89 mm 61 mm 427 g 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon 5DS« » 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« » 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon M10« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon G7 X« » 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon 1D C« » 158 mm 164 mm 83 mm 1545 g 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon M« » 109 mm 66 mm 32 mm 298 g 230 n Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Canon 1D X« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1551 g 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 150 mm 160 mm 80 mm 1385 g 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« » 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1565 g 1200 Y Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1D Mark II« » 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1535 g 1200 Y Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« » 156 mm 157.6 mm 80 mm 1265 g 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds

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 M3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 90 percent) than the 1D, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1D vs Canon M3

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 features an APS-H sensor and the Canon M3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the M3 is 39 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the M3 uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6) than the 1D (DIGIC), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 1D and Canon M3 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the M3 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 4.1 MP of the 1D. 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 3.72μm versus 11.56μm for the 1D). However, it should be noted that the M3 is much more recent (by 13 years and 4 months) than the 1D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

1D versus M3 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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 M3« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972Canon M3
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----Canon M6
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 M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277Canon M5
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----Canon 1D C
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765Canon M
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
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

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The M3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1D does not. The highest resolution format that the M3 can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D vs Canon M3

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 1D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the M3 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF-DC1. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1D, the Canon M3, 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»optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 8.0 n n Canon 1D
Canon M3«- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n Canon M3
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M6
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n Canon M5
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n Canon M10
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 2000 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D C
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n Canon M
Canon 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 8.5 n n Canon 1D Mark II N
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

One feature that is present on the 1D, but is missing on the M3 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 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the M3 uses SDXC cards. The 1D features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M3 only has one slot.

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 M3«YstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-Canon M3
Canon M6« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M6
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon M5« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon M5
Canon 5DS« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
Canon 1D C« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 1D C
Canon M« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Canon M
Canon 1D X« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
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 the 1D and the M3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1D was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark II, while the M3 was followed by the Canon M6.

Review summary: Canon 1D vs Canon M3

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1D or the Canon M3 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1D:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (16000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 4.2 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 (500 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2001).


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M3:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 4.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 140%.
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6 vs DIGIC).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 120k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 1219g or 77 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (90 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 13 years and 4 months of technical progress since the 1D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M3 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 9 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.

1D 09:15 M3

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 or the M3 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 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»-HiRec--- Sep 2001 6,499- i Canon 1D
Canon M3«rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i Canon M3
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i Canon M6
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« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i Canon M5
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon G7 X« »HiRec77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
Canon 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i Canon M
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- 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« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds« »-HiRec--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds

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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, 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. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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