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Canon 1D versus Nikon P900

The Canon EOS-1D and the Nikon Coolpix P900 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2001 and March 2015. The 1D is a DSLR, while the P900 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-H (1D) and a 1/2.3-inch (P900) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 4.1 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 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 Nikon P900

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D and the Nikon P900 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display 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 – the 1D – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 1D vs Nikon P900
1D versus P900 top view
1D and P900 rear side

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon P900 is considerably smaller (41 percent) than the Canon 1D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1D is splash and dust resistant, while the P900 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P900 has a lens build in, whereas the 1D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the 1D and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 1D gets 500 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the P900 can take 360 images on a single charge of its EN-EL23 power pack.

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 Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon 1D (⇒ rgt) 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.9 oz 500 YES 2001 6,499discont. check
Nikon P900 (⇒ lft) 5.5 in 4.1 in 5.4 in 31.7 oz 360 no 2015 599 latest check
Canon 5D Mark IV (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.9 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 31.4 oz 900 YES 2016 3,499 latest check
Canon 1D X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.0 oz 1210 YES 2016 5,999 latest check
Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt) 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 YES 2015 3,699 latest check
Canon 5DS (⇒ lft | rgt) 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 YES 2015 3,699 latest check
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 no 2015 499discont. check
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.9 in 4.0 in 4.8 in 36.7 oz .. no 2015 2,499discont. check
Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 no 2014 549 latest check
Canon 1D C (⇒ lft | rgt) 6.2 in 6.5 in 3.3 in 54.5 oz 1120 YES 2012 14,999discont. check
Canon 1D X (⇒ lft | rgt) 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.7 oz 1120 YES 2011 6,799discont. check
Canon 1Ds Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 YES 2007 7,999discont. check
Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt) 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.2 oz 1200 YES 2005 3,999discont. check
Canon 1D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 54.1 oz 1200 YES 2004 4,499discont. check
Canon 1Ds (⇒ lft | rgt) 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 YES 2002 8,999discont. check
Kodak AZ901 (⇒ lft | rgt) 5.5 in 4.1 in 4.7 in 27.4 oz 400 no 2016 499 latest check
Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt) 4.6 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 8.9 oz 320 no 2015 699discont. check

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 P900 was launched at a lower price than the 1D, despite having a lens build in. 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 Nikon P900

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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 Nikon P900 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the P900 is 95 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.3 and 5.6. The sensor in the 1D has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the P900 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 1D and Nikon P900 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the P900 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 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 1.33μm versus 11.56μm for the 1D). However, it should be noted that the P900 is much more recent (by 13 years and 5 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the P900 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

1D versus P900 MP

For most 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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon 1D (⇒ rgt) APS-H 4.1 2496 1662 no - - - -
Nikon P900 (⇒ lft) 1/2.3 15.9 4608 3456 1080/60p - - - -
Canon 5D Mark IV (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 30.1 6720 4480 4K/30p 24.8 13.6 2995 91
Canon 1D X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 20.0 5472 3648 4K/60p 24.1 13.5 3207 88
Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 50.3 8688 5792 1080/60p 24.6 12.4 2308 86
Canon 5DS (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 50.3 8688 5792 1080/60p 24.7 12.4 2381 87
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 22.2 11.4 753 65
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 12.0 4000 3000 4K/30p - - - -
Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/2.3 14.2 4608 3072 1080/60p 19.2 10.8 127 39
Canon 1D C (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 17.9 5184 3456 4K/24p - - - -
Canon 1D X (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 17.9 5184 3456 1080/30p 23.8 11.8 2786 82
Canon 1Ds Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744 no 24.0 12.0 1663 80
Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-H 8.2 3504 2336 no 22.3 11.2 975 66
Canon 1D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-H 8.2 3504 2336 no 22.3 11.1 1003 66
Canon 1Ds (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704 no 21.8 11.0 954 63
Kodak AZ901 (⇒ lft | rgt) 1/2.3 20.2 5184 3888 1080/30p - - - -
Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.1 4928 3264 1080/30p 23.6 13.7 1078 80

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The P900 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1D does not. The highest resolution format that the P900 can use is 1080/60p.

Feature comparison: Canon 1D vs Nikon P900

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the P900 has an electronic viewfinder (921k dots), while the 1D has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1D and Nikon P900 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Canon 1D (⇒ rgt) optical YES 2.0 120 fixed no 16000 8.0 no no
Nikon P900 (⇒ lft) 921 no 3.0 921 swivel no 4000 7.0 11.5 YES
Canon 5D Mark IV (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1620 fixed YES 8000 7.0 no no
Canon 1D X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1620 fixed YES 8000 16.0 no no
Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1040 fixed no 8000 5.0 no no
Canon 5DS (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1040 fixed no 8000 5.0 no no
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 4.6 5 no
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1030 tilting YES 2000 3.8 no YES
Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt) 922 no 3.0 922 swivel no 2000 6.4 5.5 YES
Canon 1D C (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1040 fixed no 8000 14.0 no no
Canon 1D X (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1040 fixed no 8000 14.0 no no
Canon 1Ds Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.0 230 fixed no 8000 5.0 no no
Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 2.5 230 fixed no 8000 8.5 no no
Canon 1D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 2.0 230 fixed no 8000 8.3 no no
Canon 1Ds (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 2.0 120 fixed no 8000 3.0 no no
Kodak AZ901 (⇒ lft | rgt) 202 no 3.0 920 swivel no 2000 5.0 YES YES
Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1230 fixed no 4000 4.0 3 no

The P900 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the 1D has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 1D was succeeded by the Canon 1D Mark II.

Review summary: Canon 1D vs Nikon P900

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1D and the Nikon P900? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1D:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Has 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 7 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2001).

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Advantages of the Nikon Coolpix P900:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 4.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 92%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • 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 (921k vs 120k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 1D requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (140x103mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the 1D).
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 13 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 1D launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the P900 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 9 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.

1D 09:14 P900

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1D or the P900. 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 why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Canon 1D (⇒ rgt) - HiRec - - - 2001 6,499discont. check
Nikon P900 (⇒ lft) - 77/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2015 599 latest check
Canon 5D Mark IV (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 87/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2016 3,499 latest check
Canon 1D X Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) - 89/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2016 5,999 latest check
Canon 5DS R (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 83/100 Silver 5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2015 3,699 latest check
Canon 5DS (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 83/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2015 3,699 latest check
Canon M10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - reviewed 4/5 2015 499discont. check
Canon XC10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 - - - 2015 2,499discont. check
Canon SX60 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 75/100 4/5 - 4.5/5 2014 549 latest check
Canon 1D C (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - - - 2012 14,999discont. check
Canon 1D X (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2011 6,799discont. check
Canon 1Ds Mark III (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec 4.5/5 - - 2007 7,999discont. check
Canon 1D Mark II N (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - - - 2005 3,999discont. check
Canon 1D Mark II (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec - reviewed - 2004 4,499discont. check
Canon 1Ds (⇒ lft | rgt) - HiRec - - - 2002 8,999discont. check
Kodak AZ901 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - - - 3/5 2016 499 latest check
Ricoh GR II (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2015 699discont. check

The review scores listed above should be treated 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 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. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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