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Canon 1Ds versus Nikon P900

The Canon EOS-1Ds and the Nikon Coolpix P900 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2002 and March 2015. The 1Ds is a DSLR, while the P900 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (1Ds) and a 1/2.3-inch (P900) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 11 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 15.9 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 Nikon P900

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds and the Nikon P900. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display 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 – the 1Ds – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 1Ds vs Nikon P900
Compare 1Ds versus P900 top
Compare 1Ds and P900 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon P900 is considerably smaller (41 percent) than the Canon 1Ds. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 1Ds is splash and dust resistant, while the P900 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P900 has a lens build in, whereas the 1Ds is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can find an overview of optics for the 1Ds and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 1Ds gets 600 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the P900 can take 360 images on a single charge of its EN-EL23 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.

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» 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Nikon P900« 5.5 in 4.1 in 5.4 in 31.7 oz 360 n Mar 2015 599- i Nikon P900
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 M10« » 4.3 in 2.6 in 1.4 in 10.6 oz 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon SX60« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 4.5 in 22.9 oz 340 n Sep 2014 549 i i Canon SX60
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 1D Mark IV« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 43.4 oz 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
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
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 5D« » 6.0 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 31.6 oz 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
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 1D Mark II N
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 1D Mark II« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 54.1 oz 1200 Y Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
Kodak AZ901« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 4.7 in 27.4 oz 400 n Jan 2016 499 i i Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« » 5.7 in 4.7 in 7.1 in 49.9 oz 250 n Jul 2018 999 i i Nikon P1000
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Ricoh GR II« » 4.6 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 8.9 oz 320 n Jun 2015 699- i Ricoh GR II

The camera’s price is obviously a critical decision-making factor. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The P900 was launched at a lower price than the 1Ds, despite having a lens build in. 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 Nikon P900

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. 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.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon 1Ds features a full frame sensor and the Nikon P900 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the P900 is 97 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 5.6. The sensor in the 1Ds has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the P900 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 1Ds and Nikon P900 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the P900 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 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 1.33μm versus 8.83μm for the 1Ds). However, it should be noted that the P900 is much more recent (by 12 years and 5 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the P900 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

1Ds versus P900 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 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» Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463Canon 1Ds
Nikon P900« 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----Nikon P900
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
Canon SX60« » 1/2.3 14.2 4608 30721080/60p19.210.812739Canon SX60
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----Canon 1D C
Canon 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 5D« » Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871Canon 5D
Canon 1D Mark II N« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.297566Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
Canon 1D Mark II« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366Canon 1D Mark II
Kodak AZ901« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p----Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34564K/30p----Nikon P1000
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
Ricoh GR II« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.613.7107880Ricoh GR II

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The P900 indeed provides for movie recording, while the 1Ds does not. The highest resolution format that the P900 can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Canon 1Ds vs Nikon P900

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the P900 has an electronic viewfinder (921k dots), while the 1Ds 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 1Ds, the Nikon P900, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

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»optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 1Ds
Nikon P900«921 n 3.0 921 swivel n 4000 7.0 Y Y Nikon P900
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.6 Y n Canon M10
Canon SX60« »922 n 3.0 922 swivel n 2000 6.4 Y Y Canon SX60
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D C
Canon 1D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 5D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 5D
Canon 1D Mark II N« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 8.5 n n Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
Canon 1D Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 8.3 n n Canon 1D Mark II
Kodak AZ901« »202 n 3.0 920 swivel n 2000 5.0 Y Y Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« »2359 n 3.2 921 swivel n 4000 7.0 Y Y Nikon P1000
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
Ricoh GR II« »- n 3.0 1230 fixed n 4000 4.0 Y n Ricoh GR II

Both the 1Ds and the P900 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1Ds was replaced by the Canon 1Ds Mark II, while the P900 was followed by the Nikon P1000.

Review summary: Canon 1Ds vs Nikon P900

So what is the bottom line? Is the Canon 1Ds better than the Nikon P900 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS-1Ds:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • 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.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (600 versus 360) 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).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon Coolpix P900:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 11MP), which boosts linear resolution by 18%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • 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 (921k vs 120k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the 1Ds requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (140x103mm vs 156x157.6mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens build in (unlike the 1Ds).
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a build-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 12 years and 5 months of technical progress since the 1Ds launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the P900 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

1Ds 08:15 P900

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the 1Ds or the P900 handle or perform in practice. 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 why expert reviews are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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»-HiRec--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
Nikon P900«-77/1004/54.5/54/5 Mar 2015 599- i Nikon P900
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon M10« »---rev4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
Canon SX60« »HiRec75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2014 549 i i Canon SX60
Canon 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark III« »---rev- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 5D« »88/100HiRecrevrev- Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
Canon 1D Mark II N« »----- Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-HiRec--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
Canon 1D Mark II« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
Kodak AZ901« »--3.5/5-3/5 Jan 2016 499 i i Kodak AZ901
Nikon P1000« »----- Jul 2018 999 i i Nikon P1000
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Ricoh GR II« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2015 699- i Ricoh GR II

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when refering 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? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. 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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