Canon 1Ds Mark III vs 7D
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Canon EOS 7D are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2007 and September 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (1Ds Mark III) and an APS-C (7D) sensor. The 1Ds Mark III has a resolution of 21 megapixels, whereas the 7D provides 17.9 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 III and the Canon EOS 7D? 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 side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds Mark III and the Canon 7D. 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 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 7D is considerably smaller (32 percent) than the Canon 1Ds Mark III. Moreover, the 7D is substantially lighter (38 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. A larger imaging sensor (as in the 1Ds Mark III) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (7D). 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 7D can take 800 images on a single charge of its LP-E6 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1Ds Mark III 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 7D, Canon provides the BG-E7 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|2.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|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 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|6.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|7.||Canon 1D C||158 mm||164 mm||83 mm||1545 g||1120||Y||Apr 2012||14,999|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499|
|9.||Canon 1D X||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799|
|10.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|11.||Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|12.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999|
|15.||Canon 1Ds||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1265 g||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999|
|16.||Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The 7D was launched at a markedly lower price (by 79 percent) than the 1Ds Mark III, 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1Ds Mark III features a full frame sensor and the Canon 7D an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the 7D 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 7D uses a more advanced image processing engine (DIGIC 4 (Dual)) than the 1Ds Mark III (DIGIC III (Dual)), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
With 21MP, the 1Ds Mark III offers a higher resolution than the 7D (17.9MP), but the 1Ds Mark III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.41μm versus 4.31μm for the 7D) due to its larger sensor. However, the 7D is a much more recent model (by 2 years) 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 its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 1Ds Mark III implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 1Ds Mark III for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 28.1 x 18.7 inches or 71.3 x 47.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.5 x 15 inches or 57.1 x 38 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.7 x 12.5 inches or 47.5 x 31.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon 7D are 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
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 7D are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, 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 III provides substantially higher image quality than the 7D, with an overall score that is 14 points higher. This advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|1.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|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 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|7.||Canon 1D C||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|9.||Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|11.||Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74|
|15.||Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63|
|16.||Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The 7D indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1Ds Mark III does not. The highest resolution format that the 7D can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1Ds Mark III and the 7D 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 7D (0.76x vs 0.63x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1Ds Mark III, the Canon 7D, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|2.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|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 7D II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 1D C||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
|9.||Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|10.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|11.||Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
|12.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
|15.||Canon 1Ds||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n|
|16.||Nikon D3X||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The 7D has one, while the 1Ds Mark III does not. While the built-in flash of the 7D is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The 1Ds Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the 7D uses Compact Flash cards. The 1Ds Mark III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the 7D 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 III and Canon EOS 7D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||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 7D II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Canon 1D C||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 1D X||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark III||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Canon 1Ds||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D3X||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
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 7D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1Ds Mark III was replaced by the Canon 1DX, while the 7D was followed by the Canon 7D 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 how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1Ds Mark III or the Canon 7D – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (21 vs 17.9MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (14 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.76x vs 0.63x).
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1800 versus 800) on a single battery charge.
- 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 August 2007).
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 7D:
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (DIGIC 4 (Dual) vs DIGIC III (Dual)).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (148x111mm vs 150x160mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 525g or 38 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 (79 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years of technical progress since the 1Ds Mark III launch.
If the count of individual advantages (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 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 III and the Canon 7D 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 1Ds Mark III and the 7D in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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 III||..||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|2.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark III||..||+ +||5/5||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2020||6,499|
|4.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|5.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||3.5/5||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|6.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|7.||Canon 1D C||..||..||..||..||..||..||Apr 2012||14,999|
|8.||Canon 5D Mark III||..||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499|
|9.||Canon 1D X||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799|
|10.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|11.||Canon 5D Mark II||4/5||91/100||..||79/100||4/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|12.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|13.||Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2007||4,499|
|14.||Canon 1Ds Mark II||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||7,999|
|15.||Canon 1Ds||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2002||8,999|
|16.||Nikon D3X||..||..||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, 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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon 40D
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Fujifilm X-M1
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Panasonic LX100
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Samsung NX30
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Sony NEX-5N
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Sony RX1R
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Canon 7D
- Canon 7D vs Canon SX70
- Canon 7D vs Nikon D100
- Canon 7D vs Panasonic ZS100
- Canon 7D vs Sony A9
- Canon 7D vs Sony NEX-5T
Specifications: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon 7D
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 III||Canon 7D|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Canon EF mount lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2007||September 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 7,999||USD 1,699|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Canon 7D|
|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||21 Megapixels||17.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5616 x 3744 pixels||5184 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.41 μm||4.31 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||5.39 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 3,200 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC III (Dual)||DIGIC 4 (Dual)|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||66|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||22.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||11.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1663||854|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Canon 7D|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Canon 7D|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||300 000 actuations||150 000 actuations|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDHC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Canon 7D|
|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 7D|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1800 shots per charge||800 shots per charge|
150 x 160 x 80 mm
(5.9 x 6.3 x 3.1 in)
148 x 111 x 74 mm
(5.8 x 4.4 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||1385 g (48.9 oz)||860 g (30.3 oz)|
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