Canon 1Ds Mark II vs G1X
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and the Canon PowerShot G1 X are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2004 and January 2012. The 1Ds Mark II is a DSLR, while the G1X is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (1Ds Mark II) and an 1.5-inch (G1X) sensor. The 1Ds Mark II has a resolution of 16.6 megapixels, whereas the G1X provides 14.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and the Canon PowerShot G1 X? 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 1Ds Mark II and the Canon G1 X is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. 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 G1 X is considerably smaller (62 percent) than the Canon 1Ds Mark II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1Ds Mark II is splash and dust resistant, while the G1X does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the G1X has a lens built in, whereas the 1Ds Mark II is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the 1Ds Mark II and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 1Ds Mark II gets 1200 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the G1X can take 250 images on a single charge of its NB-10L 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.
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, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999|
|2.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1440 g||2850||Y||Jan 2020||6,499|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|6.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|7.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|8.||Canon 650D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||575 g||440||n||Jun 2012||849|
|9.||Canon 1D X||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799|
|10.||Canon 1100D||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||495 g||700||n||Feb 2011||449|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark IV||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1230 g||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999|
|12.||Canon 500D||129 mm||98 mm||62 mm||520 g||400||n||Mar 2009||799|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|15.||Canon 1D Mark II N||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1565 g||1200||Y||Aug 2005||3,999|
|16.||Canon 5D||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299|
|17.||Canon 1Ds||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1265 g||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or 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 G1X was launched at a lower price than the 1Ds Mark II, despite having a lens built in. 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 G1 X an 1.5-inch sensor. The sensor area in the G1X is 70 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.85. The sensor in the 1Ds Mark II has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G1X offers a 4:3 aspect.
Technology-wise, the G1X uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5) 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 G1X (14.2MP), but the 1Ds Mark II nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.21μm versus 4.30μm for the G1X) due to its larger sensor. However, the G1X is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 3 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 inches or 63.4 x 42.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.7 x 33.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.6 x 11.1 inches or 42.3 x 28.2 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon G1 X are 21.8 x 16.3 inches or 55.3 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 17.4 x 13.1 inches or 44.2 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 14.5 x 10.9 inches or 36.8 x 27.6 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 PowerShot G1 X are ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 1Ds Mark II provides substantially higher image quality than the G1X, with an overall score that is 14 points higher. This advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.2 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.
| DXO |
|1.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74|
|2.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.2||14.5||3248||91|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|7.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|9.||Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|15.||Canon 1D Mark II N||APS-H||8.2||3504||2336||none||22.3||11.2||975||66|
|16.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|17.||Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The G1X indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1Ds Mark II does not. The highest resolution format that the G1X can use is 1080/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1Ds Mark II and the G1X 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1Ds Mark II and Canon G1 X along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
|2.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||2100||fixed||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||n|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|9.||Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|15.||Canon 1D Mark II N||optical||Y||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.5||n||n|
One feature that is present on the 1Ds Mark II, but is missing on the G1X is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The G1X has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the 1Ds Mark II does not have a selfie-screen.
The 1Ds Mark II writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the G1X uses SDXC cards. The 1Ds Mark II features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the G1X 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-1Ds Mark II and Canon PowerShot G1 X and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Canon 1D X||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark III||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 1D Mark II N||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1Ds Mark II (unlike the G1X) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1Ds Mark II and the G1X 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 G1X was followed by the Canon G1X Mark II. 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 G1 X or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16.6 vs 14.2MP) with a 10% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.2 stops ISO advantage).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 1.9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1200 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2004).
Advantages of the Canon PowerShot G1 X:
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5 vs DIGIC II).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/24p video.
- 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 (922k vs 230k dots).
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 1Ds Mark II requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x81mm vs 156x158mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the 1Ds Mark II).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 3 months of technical progress since the 1Ds Mark II launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 1Ds Mark II emerges as the winner of the contest (14 : 12 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. 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 1Ds Mark II and the Canon G1 X place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1Ds Mark II or the G1X. 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||7,999|
|2.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2020||6,499|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|6.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|7.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|8.||Canon 650D||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2012||849|
|9.||Canon 1D X||5/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799|
|10.||Canon 1100D||..||80/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2011||449|
|11.||Canon 1D Mark IV||5/5||..||89/100||..||..||Oct 2009||4,999|
|12.||Canon 500D||..||+ +||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2009||799|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2007||4,499|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|15.||Canon 1D Mark II N||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2005||3,999|
|16.||Canon 5D||..||88/100||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299|
|17.||Canon 1Ds||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2002||8,999|
|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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Canon 1Ds Mark II vs Canon G1 X
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 G1 X|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||28-112mm f/2.8-5.8|
|Launch Date||September 2004||January 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 7,999||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Canon G1 X|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1.5" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||18.7 x 14.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||261.8 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||23.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.6 Megapixels||14.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4992 x 3328 pixels||4352 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.21 μm||4.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.92 MP/cm2||5.43 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DIGIC II||DIGIC 5|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||74||60|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.3||21.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||10.8|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1480||644|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Canon G1 X|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||74%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Canon G1 X|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||1.9 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Canon G1 X|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|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 G1 X|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
156 x 158 x 80 mm
(6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
117 x 81 x 65 mm
(4.6 x 3.2 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||1215 g (42.9 oz)||534 g (18.8 oz)|
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