Canon 1D X Mark II vs 1Ds Mark III
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2016 and August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 1DX Mark II has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the 1Ds Mark III provides 21 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|20 MP, Full Frame Sensor||21 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|4K/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-51200 (50-409600)||ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.2" LCD, 1620k dots||3.0" LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed touchscreen||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|16 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|1210 shots per battery charge||1800 shots per battery charge|
|158 x 168 x 83 mm, 1530 g||150 x 160 x 80 mm, 1385 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III? 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 X Mark II and the Canon 1Ds Mark III 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 Canon 1Ds Mark III is notably smaller (10 percent) than the Canon 1D X Mark II. Moreover, the 1Ds Mark III is markedly lighter (9 percent) than the 1DX Mark II. 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 1DX Mark II gets 1210 shots out of its LP-E19 battery, while the 1Ds Mark III can take 1800 images on a single charge of its LP-E4 power pack. 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
|Canon 1D X Mark II»||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III«||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D X Mark III« »||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1440 g||2850||Y||Jan 2020||6,499||Canon 1D X Mark III|
|Canon 6D Mark II« »||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 5DS« »||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||930 g||700||Y||Feb 2015||3,699||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 1D C« »||158 mm||164 mm||83 mm||1545 g||1120||Y||Apr 2012||14,999||Canon 1D C|
|Canon 5D Mark III« »||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D« »||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||Canon 6D|
|Canon 1D X« »||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II« »||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II« »||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Nikon D5« »||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The 1DX Mark II was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the 1Ds Mark III, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the 1DX Mark II uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 6+ (Dual)) than the 1Ds Mark III (DIGIC III (Dual)), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the 1Ds Mark III offers a slightly higher resolution of 21 megapixels, compared with 20 MP of the 1DX Mark II. This megapixels advantage translates into a 3 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the 1Ds Mark III has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 6.41μm versus 6.57μm for the 1DX Mark II). Moreover, it should be noted, that the 1DX Mark II is much more recent (by 8 years and 5 months) than the 1Ds Mark III, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.
The 1DX Mark II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-409600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3200.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 review, the 1DX Mark II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the 1Ds Mark III (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.1 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|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 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D X Mark III||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||..||..||..||..||Canon 1D X Mark III|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 5DS||Full Frame||50.3||8688||5792||1080/30p||24.7||12.4||2381||87||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 1D C||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon 1D C|
|Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82||Canon 6D|
|Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88||Nikon D5|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 1DX Mark II indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the 1Ds Mark III does not. The highest resolution format that the 1DX Mark II can use is 4K/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1DX Mark II and the 1Ds Mark III 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%), as well as the same magnification (0.76x). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1D X Mark II and Canon 1Ds Mark III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D X Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||2100||fixed||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||n||Canon 1D X Mark III|
|Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 5DS||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 1D C||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Canon 1D C|
|Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||n||n||Canon 6D|
|Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Nikon D5|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The 1DX Mark II has a touchscreen, while the 1Ds Mark III has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The 1DX Mark II writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or CFast cards, while the 1Ds Mark III uses Compact Flash or SDHC cards. The 1DX Mark II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 1Ds Mark III only has one slot.
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 X Mark II and Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Canon 1D X Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y||Canon 1D X Mark III|
|Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Canon 6D Mark II|
|Canon 5DS||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Canon 5DS|
|Canon 1D C||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D C|
|Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 6D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 6D|
|Canon 1D X||Y||mono||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Nikon D5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the 1DX Mark II has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the 1DX Mark II and the 1Ds Mark III have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1Ds Mark III was replaced by the Canon 1DX, while the 1DX Mark II was followed by the Canon 1DX 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.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1D X Mark II or the Canon 1Ds Mark III – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 6+ (Dual) vs DIGIC III (Dual)).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/60p movies.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1620k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (16 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 8 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 1Ds Mark III launch.
Advantages of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III:
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1800 versus 1210) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2007).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 1DX Mark II is the clear winner of the match-up (15 : 2 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 X Mark II and the Canon 1Ds Mark III 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1DX Mark II or the 1Ds Mark III. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, 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 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 Mark II vs Sony HX95
- Canon 1D X Mark II vs Sony RX100 II
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon 77D
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon D30
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon G7 X Mark II
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Olympus E-PL1
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- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Sony A6400
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Sony HX95
Specifications: Canon 1D X Mark II vs Canon 1Ds Mark III
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 X Mark II||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2016||August 2007|
|Launch Price||USD 5999||USD 7999|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1D X Mark II||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||36.0 x 24.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||864 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||43.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||21 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||5616 x 3744 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.57 μm||6.41 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.31 MP/cm2||2.43 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/60p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-51200 ISO||100-1600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-409600 ISO||50-3200 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 6+ (Dual)||DIGIC III (Dual)|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||88||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.1||24.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.5||12.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3207||1663|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1D X Mark II||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1620k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1D X Mark II||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||16 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||500 000 actuations||300 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or CFAST cards||CF or SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1D X Mark II||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Geotagging||GPS built-in||no internal GPS|
|Body Specs||Canon 1D X Mark II||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1210 shots per charge||1800 shots per charge|
158 x 168 x 83 mm
(6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3 in)
150 x 160 x 80 mm
(5.9 x 6.3 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||1530 g (54.0 oz)||1385 g (48.9 oz)|
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