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Canon 1D X vs 1D Mark II

The Canon EOS-1D X and the Canon EOS-1D Mark II are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2011 and January 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (1DX) and an APS-H (1D Mark II) sensor. The 1DX has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the 1D Mark II provides 8.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Canon 1D X   Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1D X Canon 1D Mark II
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
17.9 MP, Full Frame Sensor 8.2 MP, APS-H Sensor
1080/30p Video no Video
ISO 100-51200 (50-204800) ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.2" LCD, 1040k dots 2.0" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
14 shutter flaps per second 8.3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
1120 shots per battery charge1200 shots per battery charge
158 x 168 x 83 mm, 1551 g 156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1535 g

Body comparison: Canon 1D X vs 1D Mark II

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1D X and the Canon 1D Mark II is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 1D X and Canon 1D Mark II
Compare 1DX versus 1D Mark II top
Compare 1DX or 1D Mark II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 1D Mark II is notably smaller (7 percent) than the Canon 1D X. Moreover, the 1D Mark II is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the 1DX. 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 1DX) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (1D Mark II). You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 1DX gets 1120 shots out of its LP-E4N battery, while the 1D Mark II can take 1200 images on a single charge of its NP-E3 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 following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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 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 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 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 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 5D Mark III« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 33.5 oz 950 Y Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » 6.0 in 4.5 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
 
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 5D« » 6.0 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 31.6 oz 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
 
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« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.9 oz 500 Y Sep 2001 6,499- i Canon 1D
 
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D4« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4

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 Mark II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 34 percent) than the 1DX, 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 X vs 1D Mark II

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 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 X features a full frame sensor and the Canon 1D Mark II an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the 1D Mark II is 37 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.3. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon 1D X and Canon 1D Mark II sensor measures

With 17.9MP, the 1DX offers a higher resolution than the 1D Mark II (8.2MP), but the 1DX has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.95μm versus 8.17μm for the 1D Mark II). However, the 1DX is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 years and 8 months) than the 1D Mark II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The Canon EOS-1D X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS-1D Mark II are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-3200..

1DX versus 1D Mark II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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"). Of the two cameras under review, the 1DX provides substantially higher image quality than the 1D Mark II, with an overall score that is 16 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.5 stops in additional low light sensitivity. 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 X» Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark II« APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----Canon 1D C
 
Canon 5D Mark III« » Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
 
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 5D« » Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871Canon 5D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D« » APS-H 4.1 2496 1662-----Canon 1D
 
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 1DX indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the 1D Mark II does not. The highest resolution format that the 1DX can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1D X vs 1D Mark II

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1DX and the 1D 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 1DX has a higher magnification than the one of the 1D Mark II (0.76x 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 X and Canon 1D 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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon 1D X»optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark II«optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 8.3 n n Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D C
 
Canon 5D Mark III« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 6.0 n n Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
 
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 5D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 5D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 8.0 n n Canon 1D
 
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 8000 14.0 n n Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4

The 1DX writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the 1D Mark II uses Compact Flash or SD cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1D X vs 1D 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 X and Canon EOS-1D 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 X»Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark II«Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D C« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 1D C
 
Canon 5D Mark III« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
 
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 5D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 5D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D« »Y-----FW---Canon 1D
 
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4

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

Both the 1DX and the 1D Mark II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1D Mark II was replaced by the Canon 1D Mark II N, while the 1DX was followed by the Canon 1DX Mark II. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the Canon website.


Review summary: Canon 1D X vs 1D Mark II

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1D X or the Canon 1D Mark II – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1D X:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 8.2MP) with a 48% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (16 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.5 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.55x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 8.3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.1).
  • More modern: Reflects 7 years and 8 months of technical progress since the 1D Mark II launch.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II:

  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (34 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in January 2004).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1DX is the clear winner of the match-up (12 : 2 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.

1DX 12:02 1D Mark II

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 1DX and the 1D Mark II in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews: Canon 1D X vs 1D Mark II

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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 X»--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark II«-++-o- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D 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 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
 
Canon 5D Mark III« »++82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« »++83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
 
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 5D« »88/100++oo- Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-++--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1D« »-++--- Sep 2001 6,499- i Canon 1D
 
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon 1D X:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 1D 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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon 1D X vs Canon 1D Mark II

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1D X Canon 1D Mark II
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2011 January 2004
    Launch Price USD 6799 USD 4499
    Sensor Specs Canon 1D X Canon 1D Mark II
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-H Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 28.7 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 548.17 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 34.5 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.3x
    Sensor Resolution 17.9 Megapixels 8.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3456 pixels 3504 x 2336 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.95 μm 8.17 μm
    Pixel Density 2.07 MP/cm2 1.49 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-51200 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-204800 ISO 50-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5+ (Dual) DIGIC II
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 82 66
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.8 22.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.8 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2786 1003
    Screen Specs Canon 1D X Canon 1D Mark II
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.76x 0.55x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2 inch 2.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 1D X Canon 1D Mark II
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 14 shutter flaps/s 8.3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or SD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon 1D X Canon 1D Mark II
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 1.1
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 1D X Canon 1D Mark II
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E4N power pack NP-E3 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1120 shots per charge1200 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 158 x 168 x 83 mm
    (6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3 in)
    156 x 158 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 1551 g (54.7 oz) 1535 g (54.1 oz)

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