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Canon 1Ds vs Olympus E-1

The Canon EOS-1Ds and the Olympus E-1 are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2002 and June 2003. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (1Ds) and a Four Thirds (E-1) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 11 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 4.9 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   Olympus E-1
Canon 1Ds Olympus E-1
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
11 MP, Full Frame Sensor 4.9 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1250 ISO 100-800 (100-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD, 120k dots 1.8" LCD, 134k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
600 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
156 x 157.6 x 80 mm, 1265 g 141 x 104 x 81 mm, 738 g

Body comparison: Canon 1Ds vs Olympus E-1

The physical size and weight of the Canon 1Ds and the Olympus E-1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the 1Ds – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Canon 1Ds and Olympus E-1
Compare 1Ds versus E-1 top
Compare 1Ds or E-1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-1 is considerably smaller (40 percent) than the Canon 1Ds. Moreover, the E-1 is substantially lighter (42 percent) than the 1Ds. 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) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-1).

Concerning battery life, the 1Ds gets 600 shots out of its NP-E3 battery, while the E-1 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1Ds has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the E-1, Olympus provides the SHLD-2 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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
Olympus E-1« 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 26.0 oz 750 Y Jun 2003 1,699- i Olympus E-1
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 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 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 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 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 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« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 54.1 oz 1200 Y Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
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
Leica Digilux 3« » 5.7 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 21.4 oz 750 n Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Olympus E-5« » 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.8 oz 750 Y Sep 2010 1,699- i Olympus E-5
Olympus E-3« » 5.6 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 30.9 oz 750 Y Oct 2007 1,699- i Olympus E-3
Olympus E-330« » 5.5 in 3.4 in 2.8 in 22.5 oz 750 n Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« » 5.8 in 3.3 in 2.5 in 22.0 oz 750 n Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 81 percent) than the 1Ds, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Canon 1Ds vs Olympus E-1

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 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 Olympus E-1 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-1 is 74 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.0. The sensor in the 1Ds has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-1 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon 1Ds and Olympus E-1 sensor measures

With 11MP, the 1Ds offers a higher resolution than the E-1 (4.9MP), but the 1Ds nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 8.83μm versus 6.78μm for the E-1) due to its larger sensor. However, the E-1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the 1Ds, 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 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1250, which can be extended to ISO 50-1250. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-1 are ISO 100 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200..

1Ds versus E-1 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. 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
Olympus E-1« Four Thirds 4.9 2560 1920-----Olympus E-1
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 1D Mark IV« » APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.297566Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 5D« » Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871Canon 5D
Canon 1D Mark II« » APS-H 8.2 3504 2336-22.311.1100366Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark II« » Full Frame 16.6 4992 3328-23.311.3148074Canon 1Ds Mark II
Leica Digilux 3« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
Olympus E-5« » Four Thirds 12.2 4032 3024720/30p21.610.551956Olympus E-5
Olympus E-3« » Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736-21.610.557156Olympus E-3
Olympus E-330« » Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352-----Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« » Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448-----Olympus E-300
Neither the 1Ds nor the E-1 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Canon 1Ds vs Olympus E-1

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 1Ds and the E-1 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon 1Ds and Olympus E-1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar 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»optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 1Ds
Olympus E-1«optical Y 1.8 134 fixed n 4000 3.0 n n Olympus E-1
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 1D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 8.5 n n Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 5D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 5D
Canon 1D Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 8.3 n n Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »optical Y 2.0 230 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark II
Leica Digilux 3« »optical n 2.5 207 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
Olympus E-5« »optical Y 3.0 920 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-5
Olympus E-3« »optical Y 2.5 230 swivel n 8000 5.0 Y Y Olympus E-3
Olympus E-330« »optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 4000 3.0 Y n Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« »optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Olympus E-300

The 1Ds writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the E-1 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

Connectivity comparison: Canon 1Ds vs Olympus E-1

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 and Olympus E-1 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»Y-----FW---Canon 1Ds
Olympus E-1«Y-----2.0---Olympus E-1
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 1D C« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 1D C
Canon 1D Mark IV« »Ystereo-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 1D Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 5D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 5D
Canon 1D Mark II« »Y-----1.1---Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark II
Leica Digilux 3« »Ystereomono---2.0---Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
Olympus E-5« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Olympus E-5
Olympus E-3« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-3
Olympus E-330« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« »Y-----2.0---Olympus E-300

Both the 1Ds and the E-1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1Ds was replaced by the Canon 1Ds Mark II, while the E-1 was followed by the Olympus E-3.


Review summary: Canon 1Ds vs Olympus E-1

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 1Ds or the Olympus E-1 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1Ds:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (11 vs 4.9MP) with a 53% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: Larger pixels generate 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 (2.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2002).

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Advantages of the Olympus E-1:

  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (134k vs 120k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (141x104mm vs 156x157.6mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 527g or 42 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 600) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (81 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (8 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 1Ds emerges as the winner of the contest (9 : 6 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 09:06 E-1

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the 1Ds and the E-1 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.

Expert reviews: Canon 1Ds vs Olympus E-1

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 detailed reviews can be accessed 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
Olympus E-1«-Recrevrev- Jun 2003 1,699- i Olympus E-1
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 1D Mark IV« »-89/100-5/5- Oct 2009 4,999- i Canon 1D Mark IV
Canon 1D Mark III« »---rev- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 1D Mark II N« »----- Aug 2005 3,999- i Canon 1D Mark II N
Canon 5D« »88/100HiRecrevrev- Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
Canon 1D Mark II« »-HiRec-rev- Jan 2004 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark II« »-HiRec--- Sep 2004 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark II
Leica Digilux 3« »----- Sep 2006 1,499- i Leica Digilux 3
Nikon D2Xs« »---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Olympus E-5« »-75/1004/5-4.5/5 Sep 2010 1,699- i Olympus E-5
Olympus E-3« »88/100HiRecrevrev4/5 Oct 2007 1,699- i Olympus E-3
Olympus E-330« »-Recrev3.5/5- Jan 2006 999- i Olympus E-330
Olympus E-300« »-Recrevrev4.5/5 Sep 2004 799- i Olympus E-300

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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 are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, 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.

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    Specifications: Canon 1Ds vs Olympus E-1

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 1Ds Olympus E-1
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2002 June 2003
    Launch Price USD 8999 USD 1699
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 23.8 mm 17.3 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 856.8 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0 2.0
    Sensor Resolution 11 Megapixels 4.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4064 x 2704 pixels 2560 x 1920 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 8.83 μm 6.78 μm
    Pixel Density 1.28 MP/cm2 2.19 MP/cm2
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1250 ISO 100-800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC TruePic
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 1.8 inch
    LCD Resolution 120k dots 134k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or XD cards
    Connectivity Specs
    USB Connector Firewire USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-E3 power pack BLM-1 power pack
    Battery Life600 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 156 x 157.6 x 80 mm
    (6.1 x 6.2 x 3.1 in)
    141 x 104 x 81 mm
    (5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 1265 g (44.6 oz) 738 g (26.0 oz)

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