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Canon 5D Mark III vs 1DX

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Canon EOS-1D X are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in March 2012 and October 2011. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The 5D Mark III has a resolution of 22.1 megapixels, whereas the 1DX provides 17.9 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 5D Mark III   Canon 1D X
Canon 5D Mark III Canon 1D X
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
22.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 17.9 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-25600 (50-102400) ISO 100-51200 (50-204800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.2" LCD, 1040k dots 3.2" LCD, 1040k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6 shutter flaps per second 14 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
950 shots per battery charge1120 shots per battery charge
152 x 116 x 76 mm, 950 g 158 x 168 x 83 mm, 1551 g

Body comparison: Canon 5D Mark III vs 1DX

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 1D X is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 1D X
Compare 5D Mark III versus 1DX top
Compare 5D Mark III or 1DX rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 1D X is considerably larger (51 percent) than the Canon 5D Mark III. Moreover, the 1DX is substantially heavier (63 percent) than the 5D 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the 5D Mark III gets 950 shots out of its LP-E6 battery, while the 1DX can take 1120 images on a single charge of its LP-E4N power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the 1DX 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 5D Mark III, Canon provides the BG-E11 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 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 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 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 5D Mark IV« » 5.9 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 31.4 oz 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« » 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
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 6D« » 5.7 in 4.4 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 1090 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
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 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 5D« » 6.0 in 4.4 in 3.0 in 31.6 oz 400 Y Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Nikon D4« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Nikon D600« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
Nikon D800« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
Nikon D800E« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 3,299- i Nikon D800E

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 5D Mark III was launched at a markedly lower price (by 49 percent) than the 1DX, 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 5D Mark III vs 1DX

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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.

Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 1D X sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the 5D Mark III offers a higher resolution of 22.1 megapixels, compared with 17.9 MP of the 1DX. This megapixels advantage translates into a 11 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the 5D Mark III has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 6.25μm versus 6.95μm for the 1DX). In this context, it should be noted, however, that the 5D Mark III is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the 1DX, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon EOS-1D X are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800..

5D Mark III versus 1DX MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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 5D Mark III» Full Frame 22.1 5760 38401080/30p24.011.7229381Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D X« Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
Canon 1D X Mark II« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.612.4230886Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D C« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34564K/24p----Canon 1D C
Canon 6D« » Full Frame 20.0 5472 36481080/30p23.812.1234082Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 37441080/30p23.711.9181579Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 5D« » Full Frame 12.7 4368 2912-22.911.1136871Canon 5D
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
Nikon D600« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094Nikon D600
Nikon D800« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395Nikon D800
Nikon D800E« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.614.3297996Nikon D800E

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).

 

Feature comparison: Canon 5D Mark III vs 1DX

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 5D Mark III and the 1DX 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 5D Mark III, the Canon 1D X, 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 5D Mark III»optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 6.0 n n Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D X«optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
Canon 1D X Mark II« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D C« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D C
Canon 6D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 fixed n 4000 4.5 n n Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 3.9 n n Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 5D« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 5D
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4
Nikon D600« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.5 Y n Nikon D600
Nikon D800« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n Nikon D800
Nikon D800E« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n Nikon D800E

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 5D Mark III and the 1DX write their files to Compact Flash cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

 

Connectivity comparison: Canon 5D Mark III vs 1DX

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 5D Mark III and Canon EOS-1D X 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 5D Mark III»YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D X«Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
Canon 1D X Mark II« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0YY-Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« »YmonomonoY-mini3.0---Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D C« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Canon 1D C
Canon 6D« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0Y--Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 5D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 5D
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
Nikon D600« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D600
Nikon D800« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D800
Nikon D800E« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D800E

It is notable that the 5D Mark III has a headphone jack, which is not present on the 1DX This port makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process.

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the 5D Mark III and the 1DX have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 1DX was replaced by the Canon 1DX Mark II, while the 5D Mark III was followed by the Canon 5D Mark IV.


Review summary: Canon 5D Mark III vs 1DX

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon 5D Mark III or the Canon 1D X – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (22.1 vs 17.9MP) with a 11% higher linear resolution.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • More compact: Is smaller (152x116mm vs 158x168mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 601g or 39 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (49 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 4 months after the 1DX).


Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS-1D X:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1120 versus 950) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2011).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 5D Mark III emerges as the winner of the contest (6 : 4 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.

5D Mark III 06:04 1DX

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 5D Mark III or the 1DX. 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.

Expert reviews: Canon 5D Mark III vs 1DX

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews 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 5D Mark III»HiRec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Mar 2012 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 1D X«--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
Canon 1D X Mark II« »-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i Canon 1D X Mark II
Canon 5D Mark IV« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS
Canon 5DS R« »Rec83/1005/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i Canon 5DS R
Canon 1D C« »----- Apr 2012 14,999- i Canon 1D C
Canon 6D« »HiRec83/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Canon 6D
Canon 5D Mark II« »91/10079/1004/55/5- Sep 2008 3,499- i Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
Canon 5D« »88/100HiRecrevrev- Aug 2005 3,299- i Canon 5D
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Nikon D600« »HiRec87/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
Nikon D800« »HiRec82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
Nikon D800E« »-84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2012 3,299- i Nikon D800E

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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon 5D Mark III:
Check Ebay offers
Canon 1D X:
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 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 5D Mark III vs Canon 1D X

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 5D Mark III Canon 1D X
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Canon EF mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2012 October 2011
    Launch Price USD 3499 USD 6799
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 864 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 43.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 22.1 Megapixels 17.9 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5760 x 3840 pixels 5184 x 3456 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.25 μm 6.95 μm
    Pixel Density 2.56 MP/cm2 2.07 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 100-51200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-102400 ISO 50-204800 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 5+ DIGIC 5+ (Dual)
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 81 82
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.0 23.8
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.7 11.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2293 2786
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.71x 0.76x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 1040k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 14 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 Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type LP-E6 power pack LP-E4N power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)950 shots per charge1120 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 152 x 116 x 76 mm
    (6.0 x 4.6 x 3.0 in)
    158 x 168 x 83 mm
    (6.2 x 6.6 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 950 g (33.5 oz) 1551 g (54.7 oz)

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