Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Panasonic LF1
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2007 and April 2013. The 1Ds Mark III is a DSLR, while the LF1 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (1Ds Mark III) and a 1/1.7-inch (LF1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 21 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 12 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Panasonic LF1|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Canon EF mount lenses||28-200mm f/2.0-5.9|
|21 MP, Full Frame Sensor||12 MP, 1/1.7" Sensor|
|no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 100-1,600 (50 - 3,200)||ISO 80-6,400 (80 - 12,800)|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (200k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 230k dots||3.0 LCD, 920k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|1800 shots per battery charge||250 shots per battery charge|
|150 x 160 x 80 mm, 1385 g||103 x 62 x 28 mm, 192 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1? 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 Panasonic LF1. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic LF1 is considerably smaller (73 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 LF1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the LF1 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.
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 power pack in the LF1 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|Panasonic LF1||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||250||n||Apr 2013||499|
|Canon 1D X Mark III||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1440 g||2850||Y||Jan 2020||6,499|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon S120||100 mm||59 mm||29 mm||217 g||230||n||Aug 2013||449|
|Canon 1D C||158 mm||164 mm||83 mm||1545 g||1120||Y||Apr 2012||14,999|
|Canon 5D Mark III||152 mm||116 mm||76 mm||950 g||950||Y||Mar 2012||3,499|
|Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Canon SX50||123 mm||87 mm||106 mm||595 g||315||n||Sep 2012||429|
|Canon 1D X||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799|
|Canon 5D Mark II||152 mm||114 mm||75 mm||850 g||850||Y||Sep 2008||3,499|
|Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1215 g||1200||Y||Sep 2004||7,999|
|Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
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 LF1 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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1Ds Mark III features a full frame sensor and the Panasonic LF1 a 1/1.7-inch sensor. The sensor area in the LF1 is 95 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 4.5. The sensor in the 1Ds Mark III has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the LF1 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 21MP, the 1Ds Mark III offers a higher resolution than the LF1 (12MP), but the 1Ds Mark III nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.41μm versus 1.89μm for the LF1) due to its larger sensor. However, the LF1 is a much more recent model (by 5 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 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 Panasonic LF1 are 20 x 15 inches or 50.8 x 38.1 cm for good quality, 16 x 12 inches or 40.6 x 30.5 cm for very good quality, and 13.3 x 10 inches or 33.9 x 25.4 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 are ISO 80 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 80-12800.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 LF1, with an overall score that is 28 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.2 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|Canon 1D X Mark III||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.2||14.5||3248||91|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|Canon 1D C||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||4K/24p||..||..||..||..|
|Canon 5D Mark III||Full Frame||22.1||5760||3840||1080/30p||24.0||11.7||2293||81|
|Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||1080/30p||23.7||11.9||1815||79|
|Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Full Frame||16.6||4992||3328||none||23.3||11.3||1480||74|
|Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The LF1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1Ds Mark III does not. The highest resolution format that the LF1 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the LF1 has an electronic viewfinder (200k dots), while the 1Ds Mark III has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1Ds Mark III and Panasonic LF1 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 1D X Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||2100||fixed||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||n|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2||1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0||n||n|
|Canon 1D C||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|Canon 5D Mark III||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||n||n|
|Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|Canon 5D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.9||n||n|
|Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||optical||Y||2.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
One feature that is present on the 1Ds Mark III, but is missing on the LF1 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 LF1 uses SDXC cards. The 1Ds Mark III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the LF1 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 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1D X Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1D C||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 5D Mark III||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1D X||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 5D Mark II||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1D Mark III||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the 1Ds Mark III has a hotshoe, while the LF1 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon 1Ds Mark III (unlike the LF1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The LF1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the 1Ds Mark III has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the 1Ds Mark III was succeeded by the Canon 1DX. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Panasonic websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1Ds Mark III or the Panasonic LF1 – 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 12MP) with a 35% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (28 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.2 bits more color depth).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (3 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) 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 250) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- 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).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1:
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 1Ds Mark III requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (103x62mm 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 travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 8 months of technical progress since the 1Ds Mark III launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 1Ds Mark III emerges as the winner of the contest (15 : 13 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Panasonic LF1 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 1Ds Mark III or the LF1. 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 expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera 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.
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|Panasonic LF1||+||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|Canon 1D X Mark III||+ +||..||..||..||..||Jan 2020||6,499|
|Canon 1D X Mark II||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999|
|Canon G16||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|Canon S120||+ +||..||4.5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2013||449|
|Canon 1D C||..||..||..||..||..||Apr 2012||14,999|
|Canon 5D Mark III||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2012||3,499|
|Canon 6D||+ +||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Canon SX50||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2012||429|
|Canon 1D X||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799|
|Canon 5D Mark II||91/100||79/100||4/5||5/5||..||Sep 2008||3,499|
|Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||o||..||Feb 2007||4,499|
|Canon 1Ds Mark II||..||+ +||..||..||..||Sep 2004||7,999|
|Nikon D3X||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Panasonic FZ200||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Panasonic LX7||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Panasonic LF1
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Leica V-LUX 1
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Olympus E-1
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Olympus E-PL3
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Olympus E-PL7
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Panasonic GF5
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Panasonic GX8
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Panasonic ZS200
- Canon G5 X vs Panasonic LF1
- Canon M5 vs Panasonic LF1
- Fujifilm X-T10 vs Panasonic LF1
- Leica C-LUX vs Panasonic LF1
Specifications: Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Panasonic LF1
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||Panasonic LF1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||28-200mm f/2.0-5.9|
|Launch Date||August 2007||April 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 7,999||USD 499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Panasonic LF1|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||21 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5616 x 3744 pixels||4000 x 3000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.41 μm||1.89 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.43 MP/cm2||27.70 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||80 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 3,200 ISO||80 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC III (Dual)||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||52|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||20.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||11.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1663||211|
|Screen Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Panasonic LF1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||200k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|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||Panasonic LF1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Panasonic LF1|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|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||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Panasonic LF1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1800 shots per charge||250 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
150 x 160 x 80 mm
(5.9 x 6.3 x 3.1 in)
103 x 62 x 28 mm
(4.1 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)
|Camera Weight||1385 g (48.9 oz)||192 g (6.8 oz)|
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