Canon 1D vs Nikon D70s
The Canon EOS-1D and the Nikon D70s are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2001 and April 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-H (1D) and an APS-C (D70s) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 4.1 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||Nikon D70s|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|4.1 MP, APS-H Sensor||6 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 200-1600 (100-3200)||ISO 200-1600|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.0" LCD, 120k dots||2.0" LCD, 130k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|8 shutter flaps per second||3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|500 shots per battery charge||500 shots per battery charge|
|156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1585 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 and the Nikon D70s? 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 and the Nikon D70s is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size 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 D70s is considerably smaller (37 percent) than the Canon 1D. Moreover, the D70s is substantially lighter (57 percent) than the 1D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D is splash and dust resistant, while the D70s 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) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D70s).
As can be seen in the images above, the 1D 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 D70s, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Canon 1D»||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||55.9 oz||500||Y||Sep 2001||6,499||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D70s«||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||500||n||Apr 2005||899||Nikon D70s|
|Canon 1D X Mark III« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||50.8 oz||2850||Y||Jan 2020||6,499||Canon 1D X Mark III|
|Canon 1D X Mark II« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.0 oz||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 1D C« »||6.2 in||6.5 in||3.3 in||54.5 oz||1120||Y||Apr 2012||14,999||Canon 1D C|
|Canon 1D X« »||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.7 oz||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799||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||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||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||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||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||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||44.6 oz||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D40« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||470||n||Nov 2006||499||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50« »||5.2 in||4.0 in||3.0 in||21.9 oz||400||n||Apr 2005||749||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70« »||5.5 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||24.0 oz||400||n||Jan 2004||999||Nikon D70|
|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 D70s was launched at a markedly lower price (by 86 percent) than the 1D, 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 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. 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 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 Nikon D70s an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D70s is 32 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.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CCD sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the D70s offers a higher resolution of 6 megapixels, compared with 4.1 MP of the 1D. 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 7.85μm versus 11.56μm for the 1D). However, it should be noted that the D70s is much more recent (by 3 years and 6 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.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D70s implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D70s for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 15 x 10 inch or 38.2 x 25.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 12 x 8 inch or 30.6 x 20.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 10 x 6.7 inch or 25.5 x 16.9 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 Nikon D70s are ISO 200 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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.
|Canon 1D||APS-H||4.1||2496||1662||none||..||..||..||..||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D70s||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70s|
|Canon 1D X Mark III||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon 1D X Mark III|
|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 C||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon 1D C|
|Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.2||975||66||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 1D Mark II||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.1||1003||66||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D5300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D40||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|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 D70||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||20.4||10.3||529||50||Nikon D70|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1D and the D70s 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 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D70s (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 1D has a higher magnification (0.55x 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, the Nikon D70s, and comparable cameras.
|Canon 1D||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/16000s||8.0||n||n||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D70s||optical||n||2.0||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70s|
|Canon 1D X Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||2100||fixed||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||n||Canon 1D X Mark III|
|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 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|
|Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|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 D70||optical||n||1.8||130||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D70|
One feature that is present on the 1D, but is missing on the D70s 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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 1D and the D70s write their files to Compact Flash cards.
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 Nikon D70s and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 1D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1D|
|Nikon D70s||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70s|
|Canon 1D X Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y||Canon 1D X Mark III|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 1D C||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D C|
|Canon 1D X||Y||mono||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 1D Mark III||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D Mark II N||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 1D Mark II||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Nikon D5300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D40||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Nikon D80||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D50||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D50|
|Nikon D70||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.0||-||-||-||Nikon D70|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1D (unlike the D70s) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1D and the D70s have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1D was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark II, while the D70s was followed by the Nikon D80. 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 is the bottom line? Is the Canon 1D better than the Nikon D70s or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D:
- 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 (0.55x vs 0.50x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/8000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2001).
Advantages of the Nikon D70s:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (6 vs 4.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 20%.
- More compact: Is smaller (140x111mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 906g or 57 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 (86 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the 1D launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1D emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 6 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 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 and the Nikon D70s 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 or the D70s perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 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.
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 your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
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- Canon 1D X vs Sony RX10 III
Specifications: Canon 1D vs Nikon D70s
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||Nikon D70s|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2001||April 2005|
|Launch Price||USD 6499||USD 899|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D||Nikon D70s|
|Sensor Format||APS-H Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||28.7 x 19.1 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||548.17 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||34.5 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||4.1 Megapixels||6 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||2496 x 1662 pixels||3008 x 2000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||11.56 μm||7.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.76 MP/cm2||1.63 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||200-1600 ISO||200-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-3200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||50|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||10.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||529|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D||Nikon D70s|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0 inch||2.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||120k dots||130k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D||Nikon D70s|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D||Nikon D70s|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 1D||Nikon D70s|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||500 shots per charge|
156 x 158 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||1585 g (55.9 oz)||679 g (24.0 oz)|
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