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Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Nikon D1X

The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Nikon D1X are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and February 2001. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (1Ds Mark III) and an APS-C (D1X) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 21 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 5.9 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   Nikon D1X
Canon 1Ds Mark III Nikon D1X
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
21 MP, Full Frame Sensor 5.9 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (50-3200) ISO 125-800 (125-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 230k dots 2.0" LCD, 120k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
1800 shots per battery charge1200 shots per battery charge
150 x 160 x 80 mm, 1385 g 157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g

Body comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Nikon D1X

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds Mark III and the Nikon D1X. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 1Ds Mark III and Nikon D1X
Compare 1Ds Mark III versus D1X top
Compare 1Ds Mark III or D1X rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 1Ds Mark III and the Nikon D1X are of equal size. However, the D1X is markedly lighter (21 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 will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (1Ds Mark III) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D1X).

Concerning battery life, the 1Ds Mark III gets 1800 shots out of its LP-E4 battery, while the D1X can take 1200 images on a single charge of its EN-4 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. 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
Nikon D1X« 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
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 1Ds« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D3X« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
Nikon D1« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 D1X was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Nikon D1X

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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 Nikon D1X an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D1X 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.

Canon 1Ds Mark III and Nikon D1X sensor measures

With 21MP, the 1Ds Mark III offers a higher resolution than the D1X (5.9MP), but the 1Ds Mark III has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.41μm versus 7.92μm for the D1X). However, the 1Ds Mark III is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 years and 6 months) than the D1X, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its 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 Nikon D1X are ISO 125 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 125-3200..

1Ds Mark III versus D1X MP

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"). 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
Nikon D1X« APS-C 5.9 3008 1960-----Nikon D1X
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 1Ds« » Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463Canon 1Ds
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
Nikon D3X« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.110.947659Nikon D2X
Nikon D1« » APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1
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 D1X lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Nikon D1X

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 1Ds Mark III and the D1X 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1Ds Mark III, the Nikon D1X, and comparable cameras.

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
Nikon D1X«optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 3.0 n n Nikon D1X
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 1Ds« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 1Ds
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
Nikon D3X« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D3X
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« »optical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2X
Nikon D1« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 1.5 n n Nikon D1

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 1Ds Mark III and the D1X write their files 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 D1X only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Nikon D1X

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 Nikon D1X 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
Nikon D1X«Y-----FW---Nikon D1X
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 1Ds« »Y-----FW---Canon 1Ds
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
Nikon D3X« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3X
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2X
Nikon D1« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1

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 D1X have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1X was replaced by the Nikon D2X, while the 1Ds Mark III was followed by the Canon 1DX.


Review summary: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Nikon D1X

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1Ds Mark III or the Nikon D1X – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (21 vs 5.9MP) with a 88% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Richer colors: Larger sensor generates images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
  • 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 120k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1800 versus 1200) on a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D1X launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon D1X:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (16000/sec vs 8000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 285g or 21 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2001).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1Ds Mark III is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 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 11:04 D1X

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1Ds Mark III or the D1X. 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 Nikon D1X

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). The full reviews are available 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
Nikon D1X«-HiRec-rev- Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
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 1Ds« »-HiRec--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D3X« »-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
Nikon D300« »HiRecHiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« »-HiRec-rev- Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
Nikon D1« »-HiRec--- Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1

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. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Canon 1Ds Mark III:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D1X:
Check Ebay offers

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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Nikon D1X

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1Ds Mark III Nikon D1X
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2007 February 2001
    Launch Price USD 7999 USD 5999
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 23.7 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 21 Megapixels 5.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5616 x 3744 pixels 3008 x 1960 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.41 μm 7.92 μm
    Pixel Density 2.43 MP/cm2 1.59 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 125-800 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-3200 ISO 125-3200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 80 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.0 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.0 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1663 ..
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.76x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View n/a
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 2.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 120k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/16000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 Firewire
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E4 power pack EN-4 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)1800 shots per charge1200 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 150 x 160 x 80 mm
    (5.9 x 6.3 x 3.1 in)
    157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 1385 g (48.9 oz) 1100 g (38.8 oz)

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