Canon 1Ds Mark II vs 50D
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and the Canon EOS 50D are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2004 and August 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (1Ds Mark II) and an APS-C (50D) sensor. The 1Ds Mark II has a resolution of 16.6 megapixels, whereas the 50D provides 15.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Canon 50D|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|16.6 MP, Full Frame Sensor||15.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)||ISO 100-3200 (100-12800)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.0" LCD, 230k dots||3.0" LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||6.3 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|1200 shots per battery charge||800 shots per battery charge|
|156 x 158 x 80 mm, 1215 g||146 x 108 x 74 mm, 822 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and the Canon EOS 50D? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds Mark II and the Canon 50D are illustrated 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 width, height and depth 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 50D is considerably smaller (36 percent) than the Canon 1Ds Mark II. Moreover, the 50D is markedly lighter (32 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. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 1Ds Mark II) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (50D). 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 50D can take 800 images on a single charge of its BP-511A power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1Ds Mark II 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 50D, Canon provides the BG-E2N vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Canon 1Ds Mark II»||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||42.9 oz||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 50D«||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299||Canon 50D|
|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 70D« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199||Canon 70D|
|Canon 6D« »||5.7 in||4.4 in||2.8 in||27.2 oz||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||Canon 6D|
|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 60D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||3.1 in||26.6 oz||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399||Canon 60D|
|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 7D« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||30.3 oz||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||Canon 7D|
|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 40D« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.9 in||29.0 oz||750||n||Aug 2007||1,299||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D« »||5.7 in||4.2 in||2.9 in||27.7 oz||750||n||Feb 2006||1,399||Canon 30D|
|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 5D« »||6.0 in||4.4 in||3.0 in||31.6 oz||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||44.6 oz||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||Canon 1Ds|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 50D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 84 percent) than the 1Ds Mark II, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
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. 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 1Ds Mark II features a full frame sensor and the Canon 50D an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the 50D is 62 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.6. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, the 50D uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4) than the 1Ds Mark II (DIGIC II), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 16.6MP, the 1Ds Mark II offers a higher resolution than the 50D (15.1MP), but the 1Ds Mark II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.21μm versus 4.69μm for the 50D) due to its larger sensor. However, the 50D is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 11 months) than the 1Ds Mark II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 1Ds Mark II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 1Ds Mark II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25 x 16.6 inch or 63.4 x 42.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.7 x 33.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.6 x 11.1 inch or 42.3 x 28.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 50D are 23.8 x 15.8 inch or 60.4 x 40.2 cm for good quality, 19 x 12.7 inch or 48.3 x 32.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.8 x 10.6 inch or 40.2 x 26.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
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 corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS 50D are ISO 100 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 1Ds Mark II provides substantially higher image quality than the 50D, with an overall score that is 11 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.1 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 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 50D||APS-C||15.1||4752||3168||none||21.8||11.4||696||63||Canon 50D|
|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 70D||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||22.5||11.6||926||68||Canon 70D|
|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 60D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.2||11.5||813||66||Canon 60D|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 7D||APS-C||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||22.0||11.7||854||66||Canon 7D|
|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 40D||APS-C||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.1||11.3||703||64||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D||APS-C||8.2||3504||2336||none||21.5||10.8||736||59||Canon 30D|
|Canon 1D Mark II N||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.2||975||66||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63||Canon 1Ds|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1Ds Mark II and the 50D 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 1Ds Mark II offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the 50D (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 1Ds Mark II has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.59x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1Ds Mark II and Canon 50D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n||Canon 50D|
|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 70D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n||Canon 70D|
|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 60D||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n||Canon 60D|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n||Canon 7D|
|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 40D||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.5||Y||n||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Canon 30D|
|Canon 1D Mark II N||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.5||n||n||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 50D has one, while the 1Ds Mark II does not. While the built-in flash of the 50D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 1Ds Mark II and the 50D 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-1Ds Mark II and Canon EOS 50D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 50D||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 50D|
|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 70D||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Canon 70D|
|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 60D||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 60D|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark IV|
|Canon 7D||Y||mono||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 7D|
|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 40D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 40D|
|Canon 30D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 30D|
|Canon 1D Mark II N||Y||none||none||-||-||none||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark II N|
|Canon 5D||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D|
|Canon 1Ds||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds|
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 50D 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 50D was followed by the Canon 60D. 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? Is the Canon 1Ds Mark II better than the Canon 50D or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.6 vs 15.1MP) with a 5% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.1 stops ISO advantage).
- 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 (0.70x vs 0.59x).
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 800) on a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2004).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 50D:
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 vs DIGIC II).
- 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 (920k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6.3 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (146x108mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 393g or 32 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 (84 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 11 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 match-up finishes in a tie (9 points each). 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro 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 1Ds Mark II and the Canon 50D 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 1Ds Mark II or the 50D perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. 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 review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Canon 2000D
- Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Canon G3 X
- Canon 300D vs Canon 50D
- Canon 50D vs Canon 550D
- Canon 50D vs Canon M6 Mark II
- Canon 50D vs Leica T
- Canon 50D vs Nikon 1 V1
- Canon 50D vs Olympus E-M10
- Canon 50D vs Olympus E-PL9
- Canon 50D vs Panasonic GX80
- Canon 50D vs Samsung NX500
- Canon 50D vs Sony NEX-5R
Specifications: Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Canon 50D
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 1Ds Mark II||Canon 50D|
|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 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 7999||USD 1299|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Canon 50D|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||22.3 x 14.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||332.27 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||26.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.6 Megapixels||15.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4992 x 3328 pixels||4752 x 3168 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.21 μm||4.69 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.92 MP/cm2||4.53 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-1600 ISO||100-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-3200 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC II||DIGIC 4|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||74||63|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.3||21.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||11.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1480||696|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Canon 50D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Canon 50D|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||6.3 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|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 1Ds Mark II||Canon 50D|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Canon 50D|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||800 shots per charge|
156 x 158 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
146 x 108 x 74 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||1215 g (42.9 oz)||822 g (29.0 oz)|
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