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Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1DX

The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Canon EOS-1D X are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and October 2011. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 1Ds Mark III has a resolution of 21 megapixels, whereas the 1DX provides 17.9 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 III   Canon 1D X
Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D X
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
21 MP, Full Frame Sensor 17.9 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1600 (50-3200) ISO 100-51200 (50-204800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 3.2" LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 14 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
1800 shots per battery charge1120 shots per battery charge
150 x 160 x 80 mm, 1385 g 158 x 168 x 83 mm, 1551 g

Body comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1DX

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds Mark III and the Canon 1D X. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 1D X is notably larger (11 percent) than the Canon 1Ds Mark III. Moreover, the 1DX is markedly heavier (12 percent) than the 1Ds Mark III. 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 III gets 1800 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the 1DX can take 1120 images on a single charge of its LP-E4N 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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 III» 150 mm 160 mm 80 mm 1385 g 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D X« 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1551 g 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
Canon 1D X Mark II« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
 
Canon 1D C« » 158 mm 164 mm 83 mm 1545 g 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
 
Canon 5D Mark III« » 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 950 g 950 Y Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
 
Canon 6D« » 145 mm 111 mm 71 mm 770 g 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
 
Canon 5D Mark II« » 152 mm 114 mm 75 mm 850 g 850 Y Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1155 g 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1215 g 1200 Y Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« » 156 mm 158 mm 80 mm 1265 g 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
 
Nikon D4« » 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
 
Nikon D3X« » 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1260 g 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X

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 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the 1Ds Mark III, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1DX

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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.

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.

Technology-wise, the 1DX uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 5+ (Dual)) than the 1Ds Mark III (DIGIC III (Dual)), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Canon 1Ds Mark III and Canon 1D X 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 17.9 MP of the 1DX. This megapixels advantage translates into a 8 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 6.95μm for the 1DX). Moreover, it should be noted that the 1DX is much more recent (by 4 years and 1 month) 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 Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 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-1D X are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800..

1Ds Mark III versus 1DX 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"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 III» Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D X« Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
 
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 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« » Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463Canon 1Ds
 
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
 
Nikon D3X« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288Nikon D3X

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 1DX indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1Ds Mark III does not. The highest resolution format that the 1DX can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1DX

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1Ds Mark III and the 1DX 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Canon 1Ds Mark III and Canon 1D X along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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 III»optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D X«optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
 
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 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 1Ds
 
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4
 
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 III and the 1DX 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 III vs 1DX

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 III and Canon EOS-1D X 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 III»Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D X«Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
 
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 1D Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« »Y-----FW---Canon 1Ds
 
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
 
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 III and the 1DX have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1Ds Mark III was replaced by the Canon 1DX, while the 1DX was followed by the Canon 1DX Mark II.


Review summary: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1DX

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 1Ds Mark III better than the Canon 1D X or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (21 vs 17.9MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 166g or 11 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1800 versus 1120) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2007).


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1D X:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 5+ (Dual) vs DIGIC III (Dual)).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • 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 (1040k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 1 month of technical progress since the 1Ds Mark III launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1DX is the clear winner of the contest (8 : 4 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.

1Ds Mark III 04:08 1DX

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 1Ds Mark III and the 1DX in practical situations. 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.

Expert reviews: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 1DX

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known 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 III»-++4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Canon 1D X«--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
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 1D Mark III« »---o- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-++--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
 
Canon 1Ds« »-++--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
 
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
 
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 ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. 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, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon 1Ds Mark III:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 1D X:
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 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.

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    Specifications: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon 1D X

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D X
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2007 October 2011
    Launch Price USD 7999 USD 6799
    Sensor Specs Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D X
    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 21 Megapixels 17.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5616 x 3744 pixels 5184 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.41 μm 6.95 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 2.07 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-51200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-3200 ISO 50-204800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC III (Dual) DIGIC 5+ (Dual)
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 80 82
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.0 23.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.0 11.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1663 2786
    Screen Specs Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D X
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.76x 0.76x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D X
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 14 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy300 000 actuations400 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 III Canon 1D X
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 1Ds Mark III Canon 1D X
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E4 power pack LP-E4N power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1800 shots per charge1120 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 150 x 160 x 80 mm
    (5.9 x 6.3 x 3.1 in)
    158 x 168 x 83 mm
    (6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 1385 g (48.9 oz) 1551 g (54.7 oz)

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