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Canon 1Ds Mark III versus Contax N Digital

The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Contax N Digital are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in August 2007 and February 2002. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 21 megapixel, whereas the Contax provides 6.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Contax N Digital

The physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds Mark III and the Contax N Digital are illustrated 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 1Ds Mark III – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Contax N Digital
Compare 1Ds Mark III versus N Digital top
Compare 1Ds Mark III and N Digital rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Contax N Digital is notably smaller (13 percent) than the Canon 1Ds Mark III. Moreover, the N Digital is markedly lighter (29 percent) than the 1Ds Mark III. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1Ds Mark III is splash and dust resistant, while the N Digital does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

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. Hence, you might want to study the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have a battery grip build in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.

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» 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Contax N Digital« 6.0 in 5.4 in 3.1 in 34.9 oz 100 n Feb 2002 7,399- i Contax N Digital
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 1D C« » 6.2 in 6.5 in 3.3 in 54.5 oz 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon 5D Mark III« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 33.5 oz 950 Y Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
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 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 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 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Canon 1Ds« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Canon D60« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.2 oz 620 n Feb 2002 2,999- i Canon D60
Leica M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica SL« » 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Leica M9« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The N Digital was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the 1Ds Mark III at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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 Contax N Digital

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. 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 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 III and Contax N Digital sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the 1Ds Mark III offers a higher resolution of 21 megapixel, compared with 6.1 MP of the N Digital. This megapixel advantage translates into a 85 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 11.90μm for the N Digital). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the 1Ds Mark III is much more recent (by 5 years and 5 months) than the N Digital, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.

1Ds Mark III versus N Digital MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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
Contax N Digital« Full Frame 6.1 3040 2008-----Contax N Digital
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 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
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 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
Canon 1Ds« » Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463Canon 1Ds
Canon D60« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-----Canon D60
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188Leica SL
Leica M9« » Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472-22.511.788469Leica M9
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 N Digital lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Contax N Digital

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1Ds Mark III and the N Digital 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1Ds Mark III and Contax N Digital in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

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)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-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
Contax N Digital«optical Y 2.0 200 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Contax N Digital
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 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
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 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
Canon 1Ds« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 1Ds
Canon D60« »optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon D60
Leica M10« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 11.0 n n Leica SL
Leica M9« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.0 n n Leica M9
Nikon D3X« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D3X

Both the 1Ds Mark III and the N Digital write their imaging data to 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 N Digital only has one slot.

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
Contax N Digital«Y-----FW---Contax N Digital
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 1D X« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
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 10D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
Canon 1Ds« »Y-----FW---Canon 1Ds
Canon D60« »Y-----1.1---Canon D60
Leica M10« »Y------Y--Leica M10
Leica SL« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--Leica SL
Leica M9« »Y-----2.0---Leica M9
Nikon D3X« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3X

Both the 1Ds Mark III and the N Digital have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1Ds Mark III was replaced by the Canon 1DX, while the N Digital does not have a direct successor.

Review summary: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Contax N Digital

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Canon 1Ds Mark III better than the Contax N Digital or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (21 vs 6.1MP) with a 85% higher linear resolution.
  • 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 (230k vs 200k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1800 versus 100) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 5 months of technical progress since the N Digital launch.

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Advantages of the Contax N Digital:

  • More compact: Is smaller (152x138mm vs 150x160mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 395g or 29 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2002).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1Ds Mark III is the clear winner of the match-up (8 : 3 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 III 08:03 N Digital

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1Ds Mark III or the N Digital. 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 hands-on reviews by experts 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). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

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»-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Contax N Digital«----- Feb 2002 7,399- i Contax N Digital
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« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 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 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1D Mark III« »---rev- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-HiRec--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
Canon 10D« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
Canon 1Ds« »-HiRec--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Canon D60« »-HiRecrev-- Feb 2002 2,999- i Canon D60
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
Leica M9« »--4.5/54.5/5- Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
Nikon D3X« »-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

 

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. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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