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Canon 1Ds Mark II vs 1Ds Mark III

The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2004 and August 2007. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 1Ds Mark II has a resolution of 16.6 megapixels, whereas the 1Ds Mark III provides 21 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 1Ds Mark II   Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II Canon 1Ds Mark III
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
16.6 MP, Full Frame Sensor 21 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (50-3200) ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD, 230k dots 3.0" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
1200 shots per battery charge1800 shots per battery charge
156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1215 g 150 x 160 x 80 mm, 1385 g

Body comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark II vs 1Ds Mark III

The physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds Mark II and the Canon 1Ds Mark III are illustrated 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.

Compare Canon 1Ds Mark II and Canon 1Ds Mark III
Compare 1Ds Mark II versus 1Ds Mark III top
Compare 1Ds Mark II or 1Ds Mark III rear

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 somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Canon 1Ds Mark II. However, the 1Ds Mark III is markedly heavier (14 percent) than the 1Ds 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 1Ds Mark II gets 1200 shots out of its NP-E3 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 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 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 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 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 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
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 IV« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 43.4 oz 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
 
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 1D Mark III« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 40.7 oz 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D 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 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 1Ds« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
 
Nikon D3X« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X

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 two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same 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 1Ds Mark II vs 1Ds Mark III

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. 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 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.

Canon 1Ds Mark II and Canon 1Ds Mark III sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the 1Ds Mark III offers a higher resolution of 21 megapixels, compared with 16.6 MP of the 1Ds Mark II. This megapixels advantage translates into a 13 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 7.21μm for the 1Ds Mark II). However, it should be noted that the 1Ds Mark III is much more recent (by 2 years and 10 months) than the 1Ds Mark II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 50-3200.. The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III offers exactly the same ISO settings.

1Ds Mark II versus 1Ds Mark III 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 1Ds Mark III has a markedly higher DXO score than the 1Ds Mark II (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 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.

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 1Ds Mark II» Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D 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 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
 
Nikon D3X« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
The 1Ds Mark III offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The 1Ds Mark II lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark II vs 1Ds Mark III

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1Ds 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%), but the viewfinder of the 1Ds Mark III has a higher magnification than the one of the 1Ds Mark II (0.76x vs 0.70x), 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 1Ds Mark II and Canon 1Ds Mark III 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 1Ds Mark II»optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III«optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D 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 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
 
Nikon D3X« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D3X

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 1Ds Mark II and the 1Ds Mark III write their files to Compact Flash cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark II vs 1Ds Mark III

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-1Ds 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.

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 1Ds Mark II»Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III«Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D X« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1D Mark II N« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II N
 
Canon 5D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 5D
 
Canon 1D Mark II« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« »Y-----FW---Canon 1Ds
 
Nikon D3X« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3X

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

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


Review summary: Canon 1Ds Mark II vs 1Ds Mark III

So how do things add up? Is the Canon 1Ds Mark II better than the Canon 1Ds Mark III or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 170g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2004).


Advantages of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (21 vs 16.6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.70x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1800 versus 1200) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 1Ds Mark II launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1Ds Mark III is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 2 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.

1Ds Mark II 02:08 1Ds Mark III

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 1Ds Mark II or the 1Ds Mark III 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.

Expert reviews: Canon 1Ds Mark II vs 1Ds Mark III

This is why expert reviews are important. 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 1Ds Mark II»-++--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III«-++4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 6D« »++83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
 
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »---o- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D 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 1D Mark II« »-++-o- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« »-++--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
 
Nikon D3X« »-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 1Ds Mark II:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 1Ds Mark III:
Check Ebay offers

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. 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 1Ds Mark II vs Canon 1Ds Mark III

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1Ds 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 September 2004 August 2007
    Launch Price USD 7999 USD 7999
    Sensor Specs Canon 1Ds Mark II Canon 1Ds Mark III
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    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
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 16.6 Megapixels 21 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4992 x 3328 pixels 5616 x 3744 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.21 μm 6.41 μm
    Pixel Density 1.92 MP/cm2 2.43 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-1600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-3200 ISO 50-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC II DIGIC III (Dual)
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 74 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.3 24.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.3 12.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1480 1663
    Screen Specs Canon 1Ds Mark II Canon 1Ds Mark III
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.76x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 1Ds Mark II Canon 1Ds Mark III
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations300 000 actuations
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Canon 1Ds Mark II Canon 1Ds Mark III
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 1Ds Mark II Canon 1Ds Mark III
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-E3 power pack LP-E4 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1200 shots per charge1800 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 156 x 158 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    150 x 160 x 80 mm
    (5.9 x 6.3 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 1215 g (42.9 oz) 1385 g (48.9 oz)

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