Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Leica X2
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Leica X2 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2007 and May 2012. The 1Ds Mark III is a DSLR, while the X2 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (1Ds Mark III) and an APS-C (X2) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 21 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 16.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Leica X2|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Canon EF mount lenses||36mm f/2.8|
|21 MP, Full Frame Sensor||16.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-1600 (50-3200)||ISO 100-12500|
|Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|3.0" LCD, 230k dots||2.7" LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|1800 shots per battery charge||450 shots per battery charge|
|150 x 160 x 80 mm, 1385 g||124 x 69 x 52 mm, 345 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Leica X2? 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 Leica X2. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X2 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the 1Ds Mark III is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica X2 is considerably smaller (64 percent) than the Canon 1Ds Mark III. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1Ds Mark III is splash and dust resistant, while the X2 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the X2 has a lens built in, whereas the 1Ds Mark III 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 III and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the 1Ds Mark III gets 1800 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the X2 can take 450 images on a single charge of its BP-DC8 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.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
|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|
|Leica X2«||4.9 in||2.7 in||2.0 in||12.2 oz||450||n||May 2012||1,995||Leica X2|
|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 1D C« »||6.2 in||6.5 in||3.3 in||54.5 oz||1120||Y||Apr 2012||14,999||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||Canon 5D Mark III|
|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 5D Mark II« »||6.0 in||4.5 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499||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||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||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||44.6 oz||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||Canon 1Ds|
|Fujifilm X100S« »||5.0 in||2.9 in||2.1 in||15.7 oz||330||n||Jan 2013||1,299||Fujifilm X100S|
|Fujifilm X-E2« »||5.1 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||12.3 oz||350||n||Oct 2013||999||Fujifilm X-E2|
|Leica X Typ 113« »||5.2 in||2.9 in||3.1 in||17.1 oz||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica X1« »||4.9 in||2.4 in||1.3 in||10.8 oz||260||n||Sep 2009||1,995||Leica X1|
|Nikon Coolpix A« »||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||230||n||Mar 2013||1,099||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Nikon D3X« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||44.4 oz||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999||Nikon D3X|
|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 manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The X2 was launched at a lower price than the 1Ds Mark III, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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 III features a full frame sensor and the Leica X2 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the X2 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
With 21MP, the 1Ds Mark III offers a higher resolution than the X2 (16.1MP), but the 1Ds Mark III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.41μm versus 4.79μm for the X2) due to its larger sensor. However, the X2 is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 8 months) 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 inch or 71.3 x 47.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.5 x 15 inch or 57.1 x 38 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.7 x 12.5 inch or 47.5 x 31.7 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica X2 are 24.6 x 16.3 inch or 62.6 x 41.5 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inch or 50.1 x 33.2 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.7 x 27.6 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 Leica X2 are ISO 100 to ISO 12500 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 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 III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Leica X2||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||none||..||..||..||..||Leica X2|
|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 1D C||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||4K/24p||..||..||..||..||Canon 1D C|
|Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63||Canon 1Ds|
|Fujifilm X100S||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X100S|
|Fujifilm X-E2||APS-C||16.0||4896||3264||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-E2|
|Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica X1||APS-C||12.2||4272||2856||none||..||..||..||..||Leica X1|
|Nikon Coolpix A||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.4||13.8||1164||80||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88||Nikon D3X|
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the 1Ds Mark III has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the X2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the EVF 2. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1Ds Mark III and Leica X2 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Leica X2||optional||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X2|
|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 1D C||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Canon 1D C|
|Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds|
|Fujifilm X100S||2360||n||2.8||460||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X100S|
|Fujifilm X-E2||2360||n||3.0||1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||n||Fujifilm X-E2|
|Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica X1||none||n||2.7||230||fixed||n||1/2000s||3.0||Y||n||Leica X1|
|Nikon Coolpix A||optional||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/2000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Nikon D3X||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D3X|
One feature that is present on the 1Ds Mark III, but is missing on the X2 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 1Ds Mark III writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDHC cards, while the X2 uses SDHC 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 III and Leica X2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Leica X2||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X2|
|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 1D C||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D C|
|Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark III|
|Canon 1D X||Y||mono||none||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D X|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 5D Mark II|
|Canon 1D Mark III||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark II|
|Canon 1Ds||Y||none||none||-||-||none||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Fujifilm X100S||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Fujifilm X100S|
|Fujifilm X-E2||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-E2|
|Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X Typ 113|
|Leica X1||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Leica X1|
|Nikon Coolpix A||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon Coolpix A|
|Nikon D3X||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3X|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1Ds Mark III (unlike the X2) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the 1Ds Mark III and the X2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1Ds Mark III was replaced by the Canon 1DX, while the X2 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Leica websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1Ds Mark III or the Leica X2 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (21 vs 16.1MP) with a 14% higher linear resolution.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- 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 (1800 versus 450) 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.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2007).
Reasons to prefer the Leica X2:
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 1Ds Mark III requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x69mm vs 150x160mm) 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 III).
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 8 months of technical progress since the 1Ds Mark III launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 1Ds Mark III is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 7 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 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 III and the Leica X2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 1Ds Mark III and the X2 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.
This is where reviews by experts come in. 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 ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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, 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 would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu 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 500D
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Canon G1 X Mark III
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Fujifilm X-T1
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Olympus E-M1 II
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Olympus E-M5
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Panasonic FZ82
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Panasonic GM5
- Canon 500D vs Leica X2
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Leica X2
- Canon RP vs Leica X2
- Fujifilm X-T1 vs Leica X2
- Leica X2 vs Sony HX99
Specifications: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Leica X2
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||Leica X2|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||36mm f/2.8|
|Launch Date||August 2007||May 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 7999||USD 1995|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Leica X2|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||23.7 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||369.72 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||21 Megapixels||16.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5616 x 3744 pixels||4928 x 3264 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.41 μm||4.79 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||4.35 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-1600 ISO||100-12500 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-3200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1663||..|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Leica X2|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.7 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Leica X2|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDHC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Leica X2|
|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 III||Leica X2|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1800 shots per charge||450 shots per charge|
150 x 160 x 80 mm
(5.9 x 6.3 x 3.1 in)
124 x 69 x 52 mm
(4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in)
|Camera Weight||1385 g (48.9 oz)||345 g (12.2 oz)|
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