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Nikon D1 vs D2Xs

The Nikon D1 and the Nikon D2Xs are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 1999 and June 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D1 has a resolution of 2.6 megapixels, whereas the D2Xs provides 12.2 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
Nikon D1   Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D1 Nikon D2Xs
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
2.6 MP, APS-C Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1600 (200-6400) ISO 100-800 (800-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD, 120k dots 2.5" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g 157.5 x 149.5 x 86 mm, 1252 g

Body comparison: Nikon D1 vs D2Xs

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D1 and the Nikon D2Xs. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. 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 side – the D1 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D1 and Nikon D2Xs
Compare D1 versus D2Xs top
Compare D1 or D2Xs rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D2Xs is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Nikon D1. However, the D2Xs is markedly heavier (14 percent) than the D1. 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 Nikon Lens Catalog.

As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. 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)
Camera
Model
Nikon D1» 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
Nikon D2Xs« 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D4« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
Nikon D2H« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 37.7 oz 2900 Y Jul 2003 3,499- i Nikon D2H
Nikon D1H« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499- i Nikon D1H
Nikon D1X« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X

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 D2Xs was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the D1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D1 vs D2Xs

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. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D2Xs is 1 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D1 and Nikon D2Xs sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the D2Xs offers a higher resolution than the D1 (2.6MP), but the D2Xs has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.52μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). Yet, the D2Xs is a much more recent model (by 6 years and 11 months) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Nikon D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D2Xs are ISO 100 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 800-3200..

D1 versus D2Xs 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 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
Nikon D1» APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1
Nikon D2Xs« APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.110.947659Nikon D2X
Nikon D2H« » APS-C 4.0 2464 1632-18.910.035240Nikon D2H
Nikon D1H« » APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1H
Nikon D1X« » APS-C 5.9 3008 1960-----Nikon D1X
Neither the D1 nor the D2Xs 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: Nikon D1 vs D2Xs

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D1 and the D2Xs 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 Nikon D1 and Nikon D2Xs 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
Nikon D1»optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 1.5 n n Nikon D1
Nikon D2Xs«optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 8000 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« »optical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2X
Nikon D2H« »optical Y 2.5 211 fixed n 8000 8.0 n n Nikon D2H
Nikon D1H« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 5.0 n n Nikon D1H
Nikon D1X« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 3.0 n n Nikon D1X

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D1 and the D2Xs write their files to Compact Flash cards. The D2Xs features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D1 only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D1 vs D2Xs

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 Nikon D1 and Nikon D2Xs 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
Nikon D1»Y-----FW---Nikon D1
Nikon D2Xs«Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
Nikon D3« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2X
Nikon D2H« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2H
Nikon D1H« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1H
Nikon D1X« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1X

Both the D1 and the D2Xs have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1 was replaced by the Nikon D1X, while the D2Xs was followed by the Nikon D3X.


Review summary: Nikon D1 vs D2Xs

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D1 better than the Nikon D2Xs or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D1:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (16000/sec vs 8000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 152g or 12 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 1999).


Advantages of the Nikon D2Xs:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 2.6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 115%.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 120k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 6 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D2Xs is the clear winner of the contest (7 : 3 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.

D1 03:07 D2Xs

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D1 or the D2Xs handle or perform in practice. 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: Nikon D1 vs D2Xs

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). 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
Nikon D1»-HiRec--- Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
Nikon D2Xs«---rev- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
Nikon D300S« »HiRec82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
Nikon D3« »-HiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Nikon D300« »HiRecHiRec5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
Nikon D200« »HiRecHiRecrev5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
Nikon D2X« »-HiRec-rev- Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
Nikon D2H« »-HiRec-rev- Jul 2003 3,499- i Nikon D2H
Nikon D1H« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2001 4,499- i Nikon D1H
Nikon D1X« »-HiRec-rev- Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, 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 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D1 vs Nikon D2Xs

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D1 Nikon D2Xs
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date June 1999 June 2006
    Launch Price USD 5499 USD 4699
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 372.09 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5 1.5
    Sensor Resolution 2.6 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 2000 x 1312 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 11.93 μm 5.52 μm
    Pixel Density 0.71 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200-1600 ISO 100-800 ISO
    ISO Boost 200-6400 ISO 800-3200 ISO
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 120k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/16000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 1.5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF 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 EN-4 power pack EN-EL4a power pack
    Body Dimensions 157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    157.5 x 149.5 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    Camera Weight 1100 g (38.8 oz) 1252 g (44.2 oz)

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