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Canon 1Ds versus Canon M3

The Canon EOS-1Ds and the Canon EOS M3 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2002 and February 2015. The 1Ds is a DSLR, while the M3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (1Ds) and an APS-C (M3) sensor. The 1Ds has a resolution of 11 megapixel, whereas the M3 provides 24 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 vs Canon M3

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds and the Canon M3 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also use the toggle button to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the 1Ds – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Canon 1Ds vs Canon M3
Compare 1Ds versus M3 top
Compare 1Ds and M3 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon M3 is considerably smaller (69 percent) than the Canon 1Ds. Moreover, the M3 is substantially lighter (71 percent) than the 1Ds. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1Ds is splash and dust resistant, while the M3 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.

Concerning battery life, the 1Ds gets 600 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the M3 can take 250 images on a single charge of its LP-E17 power pack.

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.

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)
Canon 1Ds» 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i
Canon M3« 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.7 in 12.9 oz 250 n Feb 2015 679- i
Canon M100« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.7 oz 295 n Aug 2017 499 i i
Canon M6« » 4.4 in 2.7 in 1.8 in 13.8 oz 295 n Feb 2017 779 i i
Canon M5« » 4.6 in 3.5 in 2.4 in 15.1 oz 295 n Sep 2016 979 i i
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 T6i« » 5.2 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 440 n Feb 2015 749- i
Canon 1D C« » 6.2 in 6.5 in 3.3 in 54.5 oz 1120 Y Apr 2012 14,999- i
Canon M« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 10.5 oz 230 n Jul 2012 599- i
Canon 1D Mark IV« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 43.4 oz 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i
Canon 1D Mark III« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 40.7 oz 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i
Canon 5D« » 6.0 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 31.6 oz 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i
Canon 1D Mark II N« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 55.2 oz 1200 Y Aug 2005 3,999- i
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 42.9 oz 1200 Y Sep 2004 7,999- i
Canon 1D Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 54.1 oz 1200 Y Jan 2004 4,499- i
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The M3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 92 percent) than the 1Ds, 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1Ds vs Canon M3

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 features a full frame sensor and the Canon M3 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the M3 is 61 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.

Canon 1Ds and Canon M3 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the M3 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixel, compared with 11 MP of the 1Ds. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.72μm versus 8.83μm for the 1Ds). However, it should be noted that the M3 is much more recent (by 12 years and 4 months) than the 1Ds, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

1Ds versus M3 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most 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 consideration, the M3 has a markedly higher DXO score than the 1Ds (overall score 9 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Canon 1Ds» Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463
Canon M3« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.811.8116972
Canon M100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.512.9127278
Canon M6« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Canon M5« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.412.4126277
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
Canon T6i« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p22.712.091971
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----
Canon M« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.282765
Canon 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871
Canon 5D« » Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871
Canon 1D Mark II N« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.297566
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074
Canon 1D Mark II« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The M3 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1Ds does not. The highest resolution format that the M3 can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1Ds vs Canon M3

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 1Ds has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M3 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1Ds and Canon M3 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 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
Canon 1Ds»optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n
Canon M3«- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Canon M100« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 6.1 Y n
Canon M6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Canon M5« »2360 n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y n
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n
Canon T6i« »optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 5.0 Y n
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n
Canon M« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 4000 4.3 n n
Canon 1D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n
Canon 5D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n
Canon 1D Mark II N« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 8.5 n n
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n
Canon 1D Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 8.3 n n
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n

Both the 1Ds and the M3 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1Ds was replaced by the Canon 1Ds Mark II, while the M3 was followed by the Canon M6.

Review summary: Canon 1Ds vs Canon M3

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 1Ds and the Canon M3? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1Ds:

  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Easier setting verification: Has an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 250) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in September 2002).


Advantages of the Canon EOS M3:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 11MP), which boosts linear resolution by 48%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (9 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • 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 (1040k vs 120k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.2 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (111x68mm vs 156x157.6mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 899g or 71 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (92 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 12 years and 4 months of technical progress since the 1Ds launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M3 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 6 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 06:15 M3

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 or the M3. 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 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 full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Canon 1Ds»-HiRec--- Sep 2002 8,999- i
Canon M3«rev75/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Feb 2015 679- i
Canon M100« »Rec-4/5-3.5/5 Aug 2017 499 i i
Canon M6« »-80/1004/54.5/54/5 Feb 2017 779 i i
Canon M5« »Rec82/1004/54.5/54/5 Sep 2016 979 i i
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i
Canon T6i« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749- i
Canon 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i
Canon M« »Rec-4/53.5/54/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Canon 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i
Canon 1D Mark III« »---rev- Feb 2007 4,499- i
Canon 5D« »88/100HiRecrevrev- Aug 2005 3,299- i
Canon 1D Mark II N« »----- Aug 2005 3,999- i
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-HiRec--- Sep 2004 7,999- i
Canon 1D Mark II« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 4,499- i
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 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 use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you do not see the camera that you are looking for, please send me an email, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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